Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ode to FLip Flops!

flippeting, floppeting
down the beach
with colors of silver and purple and peach
flippeting, floppeting
through the sand
making flippety footprints
wherever they land
the flippeting, floppeting never stops
when you're wearing flip-flops!

written by TheBUZZ blogger

That is just ONE of the reasons I love flip flops- the sound it makes. I also love the ease, the feel, the comfort and the fact that flip flops signal something in me that flashes "casual, carefree, summer days should be ahead". Now, I know that never seems to be the case, but flip flops are the perfect medicine to numb my senses into believing all is right with the world if there is a little sunshine in the day. I was ecstatic to be able to wear flip flops yesterday. I just kept walking around outside for the sheer joy that the "flippety floppeting" brings. It did remind me I seriously need a pedicure, but that doesn't affect the absolutely beauty of a pair of flip flops and dry ground! The whole time we lived in AZ- I think I spent 80% of the time in a pair of flip flops- I had date night flip flops, church flip flops, grocery store flip flops, field trip flip flops, even flip flops to work the horses in (really stupid, dangerous idea- I am ashamed to admit). The only time I wore shoes was work, and the occasional cold, winter day. Ahhhhhh- no wonder I didn't have a mood disorder there- somebody mail me some Prozac. Hehehe Just kidding, I would rather wallow in it, anyways.
So, yesterday our extended family was suffering through sad things, and although it made me cry and reminded me how thankful I am for my healthy, beautiful children- the FLIP FLOPS kept me from the "depths of despair". Pathetic, I know. :)
I am wondering if it is too much to ask for the weather to turn and STAY turned. Yesterday was gorgeous, as I have said, and today the wind is trying to tear the house down and thick, gray clouds are obscuring my view of God's beautiful blue sky. My brother-in-law told me that the color blue is proven to bring happiness, relaxation, and a sense of well being- isn't it interesting when you can see it, God made the sky blue. Hmmmmm...yet another reason to say , "Thank you, Lord."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

AMAZING women drivers!

This made my day- thank you, MR. MASTERS. A friend of ours had this posted on his facebook- and I just had to share it with you. Hehehehe

I love waking up to this...

When the snow is just enough to make everything look clean and pretty- and to play in with regular clothes on- that's my favorite winter scene. No more of this 3 and 4 foot snow drifts, just a dusting to make the world a brighter place.
I was thinking this week, that more than half my struggles are a result of not listing to Augustine. So I am trying to do that today.

"God has made us for Himself and our hearts are restless until we find our REST in Him". Augustine

Pretty smart fella, yes? If I could just remember that- the things people do and say wouldn't hurt so much, and the worries of this life would pale in comparison to God's unending mercy and grace.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I want to start the Purina Diet.

In the dumps, can't be encouraging on my own right now- so thought I would send this along instead. Very funny- use it next time you are buying dog food. :)

"Yesterday I was buying a 2 large bags of Purina dog chow at PetSmart for my dogs
Dexter, Gypsy, Sky, & Blade. I was about to check out when a woman behind me
asked if I had a dog. (What did she think, that I had an elephant?)

Since I had little else to do, on impulse I told her that no, I didn't
have a dog, and that I was starting the Purina Diet again, although I
probably shouldn't because I ended up in the hospital last time. On the
bright side, though, I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive
care ward with tubes coming out of every hole in my body and IVs in both
arms. I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet, and that the way
it works is to load your pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one
or two every time you feel hungry, and that the food is nutritionally
complete so I was going to try it again. (I have to mention here that
practically everyone in the line was enthralled with my story by now.)

Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food
had poisoned me.
I told her no - I had stopped in the middle of the parking lot to lick my butt
and a car hit me.

I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack, he was
laughing so hard! PetSmart won't let me shop there anymore. " (Author unknown- taken from forwarded email- you know the ones we usually all hate.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

If only we were all as wise as Horton...

"Even though you can't see them or hear them at all- a person's a person- no matter how small." Horton in "Horton Hears a Who"

(Note: Be sure to pause the music playing to the right, otherwise the video will be hard to hear.)

"Despite facing threats of disqualification, a 12-year-old girl took first place in a speech contest when she eloquently argued for the rights of unborn children – after an offended judge quit.
"What if I told you that right now, someone was choosing if you were going to live or die?" the seventh-grader begins in a video recording of her speech on YouTube. "What if I told you that this choice wasn't based on what you could or couldn't do, what you'd done in the past or what you would do in the future? And what if I told you, you could do nothing about it?"
The girl, a student at a Toronto school identified only as "Lia," continued:
"Fellow students and teachers, thousands of children are right now in that very situation. Someone is choosing without even knowing them whether they are going to live or die.
"That someone is their mother. And that choice is abortion."

See this link for full article-

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” Paul Boese

I have been praying for a friend as she struggles to forgive some huge hurts, and I remember a time when I felt so similar to her. It almost felt like by giving up my right to be hurt, I was agreeing with the offender- that what they did was o.k. This quote reminded me that it was never mine to punish anyways, and the minute I forgave completely and let God decide the outcome- my life colored again and I could see "the forest through the trees" so to speak. My world became so much bigger and better, and the future had so many more options. I am so praying that would happen for my friend. She is afraid that if she forgives, her future is cemented in sadness and pain. I hope God will show her all the doors He will open, if she can obey. Pray with me.

"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.
"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart." Matthew 18:21-35

Turned around...

It is so funny to me how things can go from great, to horrible, to o.k., to better if you just give it enough time. I am usually too quick to try to fix things on my own instead of waiting to see what God is going to do- and I miss the chance to let things transition calmly.
Sunday was tough and great at the same time- I hate church sometimes because it always reminds me what I need to do- forgive, believe, trust, and love, knowing all things work for the "good of those who love Him", and then I love church because it reminds me! What a freak I am. The rest of the day was a blast because I got to teach my dear friend, Karen, how to make egg rolls, and laughing and hanging out with her is the best. She has to be the nicest person God ever made, and I don't know how He did it. It's kind of disgusting to be around her, because I realize how "un-nice" I really am, but she likes me anyway, so there must be some hope. Anyways, we had a great time, Jazz was a huge help and got to spend time in the kitchen with us, and her family loved the yummy treats.

Then Monday night hits, and I am overwhelmed with worry and second guessing, thanks to my soon to be 14 year old. Jordan has some tough choices to make, and for the first time- I have absolutely no say in how he does it. And that SUCKS. There is no good way to say it. Having to watch your baby become a man and choose right from wrong, accept consequences, and GROW UP is terrifying. So Tuesday was spent on my knees, and in many tears- but I think that is exactly where God wanted me.
Here we are- Wednesday- I have a peace that doesn't make sense, and it is really nice. No matter what, God is God, and He loves Jordan more than I ever could. God, be with him- and do whatever it takes to draw him towards you. Help the people in his life to be shining lights for you, and protect him from decisions that will have overwhelming consequences. Make him a man after your own heart, Lord. And help me to shut up and pray. :)
The next time days are flying by and making me feel like I am more on a roller coaster rather than the Tilt-A-Whirl of my regular life, I hope I can remember this day, and the blessing that comes with just being still and waiting on God.
"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Such a Nice Visit.

Steve's family came to visit this weekend- his Grannie and Grandpa, and his Uncle and Aunt from Homer, Alaska. It is always nice to catch up with family, and talk about what has happened in the last few months. It seems they are all doing very well, but Grandpa is definitely getting older. He will be 89 years old this May. Steve's grandparents are such special people, I enjoy spending time with them so much. It has gotten bittersweet over the last few years because it makes us sad to see age taking a toll on them. But they are enjoying their time together, and love to be involved in their church and the activities in Bellevue. I doubt we will ever get them to move this way. What a blessing some family can be!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The enemy of "the best" is not "the worst". The enemy of "the best" is "just fine".

(HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! Give your family a hug and a kiss, and read 1 Corinthians 13. If only we loved like that- what a day we could make this!)

The title is a quote by Dave Ramsey- you will probably be reading lots of his little sayings over the next few days, as I am totally committed to dropping the charade and doing a "total money makeover". It is a terrifying concept, and horribly humbling- but Steve and I feel so strongly that this is one area in our lives that we have never totally given over to God. Why? Because we are "instant gratification" junkies, never learned to balance a checkbook, and pretty much haven't cared because we could always get by- and had enough money to play with. "Tell your money what to do, or the lack of money will tell you what to do for the rest of your life." Ugh! Telling my money what to do means actually making and working a budget, which means I have to actually THINK before I whip out said money! BUT- it will be so worth it.
In every area of our lives, we have always tried to work Elizabeth George's model- "Good, Better, Best". To progress each day of our lives, from simply being saved, to actually being on fire for God and His glory- to bring a smile to my Jesus' face. Her example years ago had been when you first become a Christian, a baby step might be turning off your rap music and turning on Christian music- good. Then you progress to turning off the Christian music and turning on Christian talk radio and learning from great Bible teachers- better. And finally, you might get to the point of turning off the radio all together and spending time with God, whether it is praying, listening, or simply being quiet before His throne- BEST. It makes so much sense to me, the growth process, in other areas of my life, but with money- I have pretty much seen it as a necessary, but hated, tool- but unfortunately I wield it kind of like I wield a chainsaw- "watch out everyone and everything, here I come and I don't know how to use this!". (Side note- you should come see the shrubs and trees I trimmed this week- terrifying- they are all pretty much stumps. I kept messing up, so they kept getting shorter and shorter!)

Anyways, in all things today, don't settle for "just fine". That is not what Jesus designed for you when He gave you His life. He made you a "co-heir" to the very Kingdom of God! Wow, so go for "the best"! And pray for me that we can do this total transformation. We know we need it, we so badly want to change it, but do we have the gumption and self-control to see it through? I will let you know!

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of GOd is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Financial Peace...

Quick note: For the first time in 3 years, I got to spend the morning with my dear friend, Kerry, and it was so awesome! To hear about her life, her new house and neighborhood, and her sweet little children- it was the best. We call Kerry and her husband our spiritual parents, because they are the ones whole took the time to come into our pit and pray with us to receive Christ. They helped us through the milk stage, and then sent us on to learn more about God and love Jesus better. And no matter how much time passes, our friendship never changes, and we can always pick up right where we left off. Godly relationships are so awesome!
So I was listening to Dave Ramsey last night, this crazy money guru who tells you horribly sensible ways to get free from debt, materialism, etc. Now, I would rather him tell me how to get rich quick, and to live my life with reckless abandon. Wouldn't that be nicer to listen to? I think so. :)
Seriously, a friend of mine gave me his book and CDs in Arizona, and I started reading it, got totally overwhelmed, and then hid it under my nightstand and envelopes I save and never use. Well, after I got Chloe and Carson to bed last night (Stef and Nickers were on a date- hurray!), I turned on Fox News looking for some good political bashing or at least a bloody, fatal car accident, you know, fodder for nightmares and stress-filled dreams. Anyways, Mr. Annoying and Rude but Horribly Right Ramsey was on, and of course, God finally got my attention. As I listened I got this feeling in my gut, the kind that hurts but not bad, and demands attention but quietly enough if you really wanted to you could ignore it for a bit and it would go away. I contemplated that, and changing the channel to Sponge Bob instead, but as I sat there, I thought of my Jesus, and how He died to set me free. Now- if He wanted me to be free so badly, why would I want to get enslaved and tied up in financial woe, when there is a way out? Why wouldn't I want "financial freedom" like Ramsey talks about- at the small price of "living like no one else now, so you can live like no one else for the rest of your life". It makes so much sense to me, and yet it seems so hard sometimes. You just muddle along, paycheck to paycheck, and pretend that you are being a good steward of what God has entrusted you with. I felt ashamed and sad, but also motivated and hopeful. Can we do it, Lord? Could we really scale so far back, and finally delay gratification- so that we can bring you glory in this area of our lives?
I so want to. So, thank you, Miss Patty, my friend- for giving me those much needed resources that I didn't want. I am ready for them now. Thank you Stef, for getting home late and forcing me to sit quietly and watch t.v. And thank you, Father, for bringing me to a place where my heart is finally ready to truly honor you in all areas. Help me to follow your design- no matter how hard it gets. :)
Now I actually have to get out of bed and start doing it. :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Trail of Tears

This morning I awoke to more snow if you can believe it, and a feeling of content with whatever lot God chooses to send our way. Now I just have to get out of bed. Hehehe It amazes me that I can ever forget that the Father is looking out for me, even more than I ever care and provide for my children. He is so faithful, and we can be so ugly. I truly have so little to cry about, and so much to thank Him for.
I read a little book called, "Remember My Name" by Sara Banks to prepare for the kids next History lesson, regarding the Indian Removal of 1838. It is terrible to know how greedy and wicked we can be if we want something, and actually to do those hurtful things in the name of Jesus. At that time, Georgia had many Cherokee nations within it's borders- and these Indians occupied the majority of the land that was fertile and perfect for growing cotton. To remove a people that Georgians saw as a threat, and to take possess of the best lands- they fought in legislature until they got laws passed that stated Indians could not own land or gold, and were to be removed by force- the Governor had the backing of the Federal Government, with thousands of military troops to "help" with the removal.
A sad day it was as Cherokee after Cherokee was forced from their homes and herded to stockades built in the biggest cities all over the "Deep South". Not hours later, White families would move into their homes and take over all their material belongings. Once they finally began the movement, thousands of Indians were in a forced march over thousands of miles- through Arkansas. More than half died of disease, exhaustion,or starvation, and often mothers could not even stop long enough to bury their children.(Note: this happened to many other tribes as well- Seminole, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw- in all the "Deep South" states.)
It boggles my mind to even dream of that happening today, or how anyone could move in to a home they didn't EARN OR PAY FOR as they watched the very backs of the owners walking away. But I suppose that is the importance of history, to force us to
consider decisions and motives, and learn from our successes and mistakes. Hindsight truly can be 20/20.
There was a side note in the book, regarding "The Controversial Eleven". Lead by Rev. Samuel Worcester and Dr. Elizur Butler, eleven missionaries dared to decry the wrongs against Indians, preach to the indigenous people, and translated the book of Matthew into Cherokee. Governor Gilmer of Georgia regarded this teaching of Indians to be the reason the Cherokees were so stubborn and refused to leave their lands. So they passed a law that all Whites needed to obtain a license from the Governor to live in the state, and to get that license they must recite a loyalty oath to the State of Georgia. Eleven missionaries refused to take the oath, and were tried before the County Supreme Court and indicted. They were released on bond while awaiting trial before the State Supreme Court, but Worcester was told that he would be arrested again if he remained in his home in New Echota. He reluctantly went to Tennessee to await his next trail, leaving his brand new baby, and wife Ann. But on August 14, his daughter died after never recovering from her difficult birth, and Worcester hurried home to care and comfort his grieving wife. He arrived too late for the funeral, but the Georgia Guard were waiting for him. They arrested him again, and the Elven were sentenced to four years of hard labor for supporting the Cherokee people and refusing to take the oath.
Because Gilmer did not want the Eleven to become martyrs in the eyes of the people, he offered pardon to any who would take the oath or move out of the state. 9 of the 11 agreed, but Worcester and Butler refused. They served one year and four months of their sentence before a new governor was elected and freed them.
Marian Starkey was able to report a comment of how the Cherokee people felt of the two men's imprisonment and refusal to be released under such terms. A Cherokee leader said: "That one act of courage makes the whole world braver."
One godly choice to be courageous does make a difference.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Working hard, living well.

It is so funny how 12 hours can easily demolish my resolve. Yesterday, I was encouraged and determined to work harder and quit whining and this morning all I want to do is cuddle up with my kiddos and do nothing. :) I suppose that has something to do with working the late shift and not getting into bed until 1:30, then getting up at 6 am to feed the beasties.
I watched the movie, River Wild, yesterday and something one of the characters said struck my heart. Meryl Strep is complaining to her mother, "I think my marriage is over, mama....everything has just gotten incredibly HARD." Her mother looked at her and said, "You don't know what hard is, because you give yourself an out...My generation didn't have an out- til death do us part meant something...don't you think that if I gave myself an out, with your father's orneriness and deafness- I wouldn't have taken it years ago?" I loved that, because that is often what I do. "I don't want to go to work, I don't want to trim hooves, I don't want to do the dishes, I don't want to pull weeds, I don't want to get up"....and on and on the list goes. What was really cool, is every scene you see the mother and father together- after 50+ years- they obviously love each other- "hard" was worth it.
I thought of one of my co-workers, who is a single mom, works full time, raising two teenagers who give her such a hard time alone- and I realized, she doesn't HAVE an out. Her rent won't get paid whether she works or not, she doesn't have someone to back her when it is time to discipline, and even more, she doesn't have faith in the one true God who died to save her. And I do, so what am I complaining about? My marriage isn't perfect, but it is worth it. My job might be tiring, but it is the best job I can imagine, I have so much to be thankful for, and so little to quit about. If I put half of the energy I do in complaining, into serving my husband and family in any way they need, I would get a lot more done and enjoy life so much more.
Thank you, God, for reminding me yet again to have a merry heart and be grateful in all things. Working hard is a good thing, and to the benefit of all- including myself. Help me to remember that.
So I am going to head to church, attending a meeting, and go to work tonight with a light heart- trusting that I don't NEED an out, because God will give me the strength I need. :)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Best Craigslist ad EVER!

Too crazy of a day to be thoughtful and ponder my existence, my back is broke from trimming my horses hooves, and my daughter planned a movie night for us- but had to send along this ad Steve posted. It is hilarious. Now I want an Xterra.

"NINJA HAULER: 2005 Nissan Xterra - $12900 (Ronan / Lake County )
Reply to: [?]
Date: 2008-12-04, =:15PM MST

OK, let me start off by saying this Xterra is only available for purchase by the manliest of men (or women). My friend, if it was possible for a vehicle to sprout chest hair and a five o'clock shadow, this Nissan would look like Tom Selleck. It is just that manly.

It was never intended to drive to the mall so you can pick up that adorable shirt at Abercrombie & Fitch that you had your eye on. It wasn't meant to transport you to yoga class or Linens & Things. No, that's what your Prius is for. If that's the kind of car you're looking for, then just do us all a favor and stop reading right now. I mean it. Just stop.

This car was engineered by 3rd degree ninja super-warriors in the highest mountains of Japan to serve the needs of the man that cheats death on a daily basis. They didn't even consider superfluous nancy boy amenities like navigation systems (real men don't get lost), heated leather seats (a real man doesn't let anything warm his butt), or OnStar (real men don't even know what the heck OnStar is).

No, this brute comes with the things us testosterone-fueled super action junkies need. It has a 265 HP engine to outrun the cops. It's got special blood/gore resistant upholstery. It even has a first-aid kit in the back. You know what the first aid kit has in it? A pint of whiskey, a stitch-your-own-wound kit and a hunk of leather to bite down on when you're operating on yourself. The Xterra also has an automatic transmission so if you're being chased by Libyan terrorists, you'll still be able to shoot your machine gun out the window and drive at the same time. It's saved my bacon more than once.

It has room for you and the four hotties you picked up on the way to the gym to blast your pecs and hammer your glutes. There's a tow hitch to pull your .50 caliber anti-Taliban, self cooling machine gun. I also just put in a new windshield to replace the one that got shot out by The Man.

My price on this bad boy is an incredibly low $12,900, but I'll entertain reasonable offers. And by reasonable, I mean don't walk up and tell me you'll give me $5,000 for it. That's liable to earn you a Burmese-roundhouse-sphincter-kick with a follow up three fingered eye-jab. Would it hurt? Oh yeah. Let's just say you won't be the prettiest guy at the Coldplay concert anymore.

There's only 39,000 miles on this four-wheeled hellcat from Planet Kickass. Trust me, it will outlive you and the offspring that will carry your name. It will live on as a monument to your machismo.

Now, go look in the mirror and tell me what you see. If it's a rugged, no holds barred, super brute he-man macho Chuck Norris stunt double, then contact me. I might be out hang-gliding or BASE jumping or just chilling with my ladies, but I'll get back to you. And when I do, we'll talk about a price over a nice glass of Schmidt while we listen to Johnny Cash.

To sweeten the deal a little, I'm throwing in this pair of MC Hammer pants for the man with rippling quads that can't fit into regular pants. Yeah, you heard me. FREE MC Hammer pants.

Rock on."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I am finally glad to be "farsighted".

Just another day God has blessed me with living in. I woke with a peace that doesn't make sense, and was so glad to live in a country where I can choose and plan what to do each day, where I can have God's Word in every room of the house, and am free to worship and post all the blogs I want on Jesus's goodness. We used Skype last night to web-cam with my family in Vietnam, and seeing their faces just made me miss them even more, and feel so afraid that none on them know Jesus. I hate feeling afraid, but sometimes it gets the better of me. (I know, I know- feelings stink- and I remember that, but unfortunately they are unavoidable. I just have to control how I let them affect my actions, right?)Pray if you think of it, that they would receive Jesus, and live forever with us. They are some of the best, coolest, most loving people I have ever met- but they do it all to "earn" heaven, and I don't know how to show them that is impossible. My mom is taking them to a Christian church on Sunday, to visit a pastor friend of hers- would they hear it! They try to mix Buddha and Jesus- and Jesus can not be mixed!
Anyways, not what I planned to write about this morning, but covet your prayers for the Phan family in Long An, Vietnam.

Now- about this "farsighted" business. I am finishing up a study on the Proverbs 31 Woman- yeah, bleck. Unfortunately, I am continually drawn to her story, and although many Christian women I know profess to thinking that the text describes a fictitious woman and it is an unreachable ideal, a passage that makes them feel inferior- I have always disagreed. I doubt I will ever attain to her level of love and work, but I want to TRY. I have known women who seem to bear all her attributes, maybe not every day, but on most of them. And to be that- to be such a God-lover, your children and husband rise up and call you blessed. Wow. I can hear "Eye of the Tiger" playing in the background and I want to run up the courthouse stairs. Hehehehe So, this morning the study said "A Godly woman is farsighted." Now, if you have known me long enough, you know I have this little issue with PLANNING. I tend to plan years in advance, plan YOUR years in advance, and need a schedule, a route, and a course of action for everything I do. Not such a good thing, so I thought. But after reading this, I was encouraged that if I could direct some of that energy into more intentional action towards my plan, and less worrying- I might not be too far off the mark. This Proverbs lady did not fear for her household because her PREPARATIONS and PROVISIONS had provided for them. Very cool, yes? It was encouraging to know that I don't have to throw all my plans out the window and "just trust God"- He wants me to plan and prepare to my heart's content- yet not get bent out of shame when He changes those plans. Can I? I am going to try. Now tomorrow's lesson is another story- "A Godly woman is elegant." Blah. :)
"She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed with scarlet." Proverbs 31:21

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A fantastic day...

This week has been so full of surprises. It is my first "1 day work" week, and with all that I have gotten done, I don't know how I managed when I worked 6 days a week! I suppose I let a lot of things slide, but this has been the best time with my kids and family. I needed a "mountain high"- it feels like sometimes we spend far too much time in the valleys.
Besides walks by the river, hikes through the woods, and finishing up yard chores I had been ignoring, God blessed us with the most beautiful day today, I can't even express how great it was. Blue skies, warm air, and children all around me. What more could a girl want? Not to mention I got to really work all three horses, and they were angels. It was a great feeling to feel satisfied in my own skin, even if the troubles haven't gone away. I want to be able to say truthfully, "We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved." Hebrews 10:39
Oh, thank you, Lord- for days like today, where things seem right in my world, and I can handle the struggles of others with a belief in your goodness, and strength to share.

"The work that God assigned to us,
unimportant as it seems,
that makes our task outstanding
and brings reality to dreams.

So do not sit and idly wish
for wider, new dimensions
where you can put in practice
your many good intentions.

But at the spot God places you
begin at once to do
the little things to brighten up
the lives surrounding you."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ida B- "No quitting allowed".

"Apologizing is like spring-cleaning. First of all, you don't want to do it. But there's something inside you, or somebody outside you who's standing there with her hands on her hips saying,"It's time to make things right around here", and there's no getting out of it.
Once you get started, though, you find out that you can't just clean out one room and be done with it; you have to do the whole house or you're tracking dirt from one place to the other. Well, it starts to seem like too, too much, and you want to quit more than Christmas. But there's that somebody or something telling you again, "Keep going. You're almost done. No quitting allowed." Katherine Hannigan

It is amazing to me how perfectly timed our lives can be. I complain mostly that things come around at the wrong time, but that is because it was bad things- and really, who ever thinks there is a "good" time for bad things to happen? I was thinking about forgiveness and reconciliation again this morning, and asking God why we have to be so hurtful to one another- and it came to the point that I just decided trusting God to work things out is always the way to go. My heart has felt so much lighter the last few months, knowing that God has forgiven me and loves me- I wish I could explain it. Not that things are perfect, or even great- but I just know that I am doing all that I can, and God is with me- and will keep showing me where He wants me to "clean up". So I started my day, canceled my walk with Stef because it is too cold, and curled up with one of my kids books called, Ida B. I don't know why I decided to pick it up (hehehe- God thing yet again) but it called my name and I thought- dishes are done, animals cared for, and it's a short book. Well, thank you, Lord for the prompting, because that little book did my heart good this morning. Borrow it from me, you will love it.
It's about a little girl who's world goes upside down when her mom gets cancer and they have to sell some of their land and she has to go back to school after being homeschooled since kindergarten. Ida B. is such an imaginative little girl, you are truly entranced by her little thoughts, as she has to try and figure out how things went from "righter than right to a million miles beyond wrong". You struggle with Ida B. as she hardens her heart, and refuses to forgive her parents, and tries to block out the world. But love, kindness and forgiveness win out as the days go by, and kids, her teacher, and her parents push her to let her heart find happiness in the little things. It's like watching someone act out Matthew 6 in their life today.
After Ida B. apologizes to a girl at school, to her trees and brook- she feels the "peace that passes all understanding", and her heart that was "hardening into a sharp black stone" breaks loose from the coldness and beomes full of happiness again, in spite of the tough stuff life still contained.
"And then there was a silence between us. Now, I knew that silence needed me to cross it. But even though Mama was right there, the space between us felt awfully wide, and getting across it seemed like a dangerous venture. I was thinking that I might want to spend some time putting together a plan to cross it without getting hurt.
But my new-old-big-and-filled-up heart told me that if I'd just take a step, without considering it too much, in an instant I'd be at the other side. So I did."

What a great story, and what a great truth God had for me this morning. Things didn't get "roses and daisies" for Ida B., and they don't for us either. But when we are willing to say " I am sorry", to forgive quickly, and to love big- we can't be wrong. I agree with what Katie DiCamillo said of this book: "...there will be many, many, many readers like me; people who turn the last page of this book and feel a deep gratitude, a profound joy that both Ida B and Katherine Hannigan exist."

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Matthew 6:14-15
God bless you today.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Philip P. Bliss

While reading about Horatio Spafford, I was blessed with the opportunity to learn about the life of Mr. Philip Bliss- the composer of the music to that hymn we all so love- "It Is Well With My Soul". Bliss was a friend of Spafford's, and when he returned to the States with the words God had given him, he asked Bliss to put the poem to music- and thank God for that.
Reading about another great man after God's heart did me good this morning, and Bliss's life reminded me of two important truths. No matter where we are, or how we feel- God is worthy to be worshiped, and God's plans and purposes are ALWAYS best.
Bliss was a powerful leader of worship, and accompanied Dwight Moody and many others as they lead revivals and evangelized all across the United States. One Sunday morning "he had no patience with lukewarm renditions of hymns sung by a thoughtless congregation: 'Let us remember, when we stand up in the congregation to sing, that we are either singing to the Lord or (is it possible?) taking His name in vain!" He reminded his fellow worshipers that God deserved are most heartfelt singing. Bliss also loved writing Sunday School songs in addition to the numerous adult hymns, because he said the children's love and faith in God inspired him. He asked his friends that doubted the necessity of hymns- how many sermons they remembered as a child, and how many hymns. The power of music is a gift from God.
In tragedy, Bliss and his wife died in a train accident on their way to sing at one of Moody's revivals in Chicago, orphaning their two toddler sons. The sadness weighed heavily on all that had known and loved Bliss, so when they found one of his last hymns that he had written- it brought them great comfort to remember how secure their friend was in Jesus, and they would indeed see him again:
"Why had God allowed him to die so young, so tragically? Philip's last hymn, "He Knows", found among his papers not long after the accident, answered the pain of those who loved him best:

So on I go, not knowing,
I would not if I might;
I'd rather walk in the dark with God
Than go alone in the light;
I'd rather walk by faith with Him
Than go alone by sight."

Taken from "Well with my Soul" by Rachael Philips

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Finding balance...

Today was one of those days that I knew I should have never gotten out of bed. Worked the late shift last night, totally exhausted from running my butt off all over the hospital, traumatized from taking care of traumatic brain injury patients who couldn't stop picking their noses and eating the dug up treasure, others trying to pull out their foley catheters without waiting for the balloon to be deflated (horrifying, bloody, and painful). Woke up with too few hours of rest and a severely swollen eyelid that hurt like nobody's business, tried to take a picture of the beautiful sunrise but the beasties wouldn't behave and eat breakfast like they should so I missed the window, and the list goes on. Church was fantastic, and challenged me to be a better "partner" with the people in my life, and no more than 30 minutes later I picked a fight with my husband about something totally stupid. And don't even get me started on the Super Bowl Part. Yes, lovely day that it was- I have to believe that some days are MEANT to be lived under the covers with my chihuahua curled up in my arms. Hehehe
But as I sat here thinking over the events of the day, I realized that if my attitude stinks, everything else in life is going to smell worse than my compost pile on a 90 degree day. That's what went wrong this morning- I went to bed on the "wrong side", and brought that right into the next day. I have a tendency to say yes to everything, because I was such a jerk before I was a Christian I feel I need to make up for it now. So I over-extend and then get grumpy about it later. But I am finally learning there is a healthy balance between being a helper and being a hindrance- hindering the lessons God wants them, and all of us, to learn. So, I might joke about it being a terrible day, but if I am honest, I am glad for the little trials that each day brings, because it reminds me to hold tighter to God's hand. I spent the last year trying to reach for family or whatever to fill the gap left in my heart from the losses of life, and what I really needed was my Jesus. And He is so totally ENOUGH. Now, I have a fresh experience to remind me that following Christ has nothing to do with me following my feelings, and love can cover a multitude of sins. And that is a GREAT day- one where Jesus talks to my heart.
I had a rough morning, but I also had a great time with friends and family cheering on the Cardinals, cuddling sweet babies, and playing with my niece and nephew. No matter if I get my feelings a little hurt by some trivial things, or I feel a bit worn out- the time was not wasted and wisely invested in the lives and memories of the people I love.
So the lesson I got today was: sometimes it is wiser to say "no" when people push themselves on you (long story) or take advantage of you, and whether I decide it is o.k. to stay in bed a little bit longer or I jump up in my ninja warrior outfit ready for battle- every morning God is showing me beautiful nuggets of His character and His beauty, if I will take the time to put my "feelings" aside, and listen.
Very rambling note, and although you probably didn't understand anything I said- sleep well knowing I am doing o.k. and God is on His throne- my new favorite saying if you hadn't noticed. :)
" Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved; clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Colossians 3:12-14