Thursday, October 17, 2013

Seasons of life

        The change of seasons is upon us. Here we are in the fall season. Today it is cold, grey, and very wet outside. 

        I simply cannot watch the changing of the seasons without reflecting how they are so much like the seasons of our lives. Right now I am in the summer of my life. My children are young, our lives are busy, I'm fully grown and hopefully producing fruit. 

         Spring time. A time of newness, energy, and life. This is my children's season. They are still young and growing. There is still innocence and purity. The springtime is the best time to plant seeds. How true this is of the knowledge  we place in our children. While it can be planted later in life, the ground is most yielding and furtile at this season of life. We must take advantage of it and plans seeds of Gods word, kindness, and truth.  Sadly not all seeds will germinate. Even with careful tending these seeds can die. Yet, they have no chance of growing if they are not planted in the first place. 

      Summer time. I am in the season of summer in my life. Business, fruitfulness, tending gardens, long days, joy and light. Oh, and thunderstorms. :-) Summer is often the season we look back on and long for during the cold days of winter. When there were great days that seemed they would never end. When thunderstorms would come and cause fear and threaten us. But we feel clean and renewed after the storm passes. So true of the storms of life as well. There are times on these summer days when we long for winter. Yet the ones sitting in winter long for just one more day of summer. Children laughing and arguing, places to go, people to see, friends to meet, and battles to fight. 

      The season of Fall. This is the season I see my parents in. They have the joys of seeing the fruits of their labors. Fully grown children and young grandchildren. Life has been long enough to appriciate  the colors changing all around them. Life is quieting down a little. The days are shorter and sometimes they can be gloomy. There is still so much life in autumn. A new kind of life. In a way it is like a second spring. We, summertime people look on at the color, beauty and full maturity of fall with awe. Fall is a time of gathering fruits of the harvest and reflecting on the work of spring and summer as you look on to winter. 

       Winter. I see this in my grandparents. The life of winter is quiet and lonely. There are a few who fight the cold and make us see the beauty in winter. Winter brings sleep, hibernation, and reflection. I see people in their winter longing for the days of spring and summer when so much lay ahead of them. Many of their friends and loved ones have already fallen asleep and await the eternal spring awakening. We summer people can bring warmth to the winter. Let them know you care. Some defy the winter and go out in the cold and show us the little things that there is still much joy to be found in. Winter is a season of wisdom. All the seasons have passed and there is so much knowledge there. Soon the winter ones fall asleep and will be awakened to an eternal spring. Eternal spring. Doesn't sound so bad, does it? 

        Make the most of the season you are in. Plant your seeds, tend them, watch them bloom. And do not fear winter, because winter brings spring. 


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Why do I home school?

      I have been asked this question a few times. Some asking out of honest curiosity, while others wanting to know why I've chosen to "do this" to my children. Let me start by saying home schooling is not for every family. I have nothing against people who send their kids to the school system. It is each parents responsibility to choose what is best for their family. That being said, I will tell you why I choose to home school my children. 

       It allows us to focus learning on God. The world today is so lacking in basic biblical knowledge that it is sad. It is the foundation of life. I've had people tell me that it is horrible that I keep my kids home to "brainwash" them with religious falsehoods. I choose not to let them be "brainwashed" by the world, thanks. I want my kids to learn what purity is, and that a lot of what goes on in the world is NOT ok. I want them to know that they are more than products of a pile of ooze millions of years ago. No, they need to know that God created them, and every fiber of their being, and that he did so with a purpose, because he loves them. They need to know that no matter how bad this life may get, what awaits them is going to be worth it. 

        I love the freedom of allowing my kids to pursue their interests as school subjects. They learn so much more! I love that we aren't tied to a building. We can go visit family and take school with us. My daughter can pursue her passion for ancient Egypt, fashion design, and animals, and my son can fully explore his love of building, and designing. We are talking history, science and art right there! I guide their learning within their interests so I can be sure they are learning well. 

      We get time to be a family. Life is so busy and people hurry everyplace. My kids don't have to spend their evenings swamped in home work. We get to do things together. I go to work a lot of evenings, but it gives them quality dad time when I'm not there. Dad time and family time are rare things in our world. 

       I homeschool for social reasons. What?? Yes, you read that correctly. I tire of the same question: "What about socialization?" My children get much more positive social interaction with peers and those above and below their age level. I do not think 25 other 7 year olds are who I would like teaching my 7 year old how to act. They do have friends and are both involved in extra curricular sports/activities. Am I sheltering them? Yes, to a degree, I am. I want them to develop into confident, well rooted individuals. I feel they need to know where they stand before they can stand firm. I want them to not be bullied, or picked on for obscure reasons. They know this stuff is out there. I see no constructive reason that them missing out on it everyday will hinder their emotional growth. People have asked me how I can deprive my daughter of going to prom. Seriously? I wasn't aware that prom was such a key factor to my child's education, life, and well being. I guess I missed the memo on that one. Teaching them at home allows us to let them focus on learning, and having fun. Not worrying about being made fun of. 

         I choose to home school because of all these reasons and then some. I have been entrusted with a great responsibility-my children. There are days when I can't imagine doing anything else and there are days when I want to do anything else. There are ups, downs, and corkscrews. I'm far from doing it "right" or perfectly. I can do so much better than I am, I'm sure. Yet, I feel this is the path God wants me on. 

        Homeschooling is a journey, not a destination. For my family it is the best choice. I am thankful for our freedom to do this. I realize that there are people out there who may use this freedom inappropriately, but the good ones far out number the bad. You can't judge the many, by the few. 

          I could go on and on about the many reasons and describing them in great detail. However, I feel that this is sufficient in giving people a good picture. I hope this helps to answer questions and encourages those who already home school. Life is diverse, and so are we. 


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Here is your information overload.

      A few posts back I said I would begin answering questions on my blog that were emailed to me.
Well, I did receive a few questions. However, they were so personal in nature I didn't wish to publish the answer. So, keep the questions coming and I'll do my best to answer.  If the person asking wishes me to write an answer publicly I will. 

I received a great response to my last post. In this entry I'd like to tell you all of a few of the resources that I've found. I'm not perfect, and fail at many things, but I try to do my best, and pray Gods mercy will fill up my great lack of...everything. 

I hope that these help you and inspire you to try to learn more and teach more. 

First, there is an amazing blog, hands on bible teacher, that is full of amazing ideas and methods. I HIGHLY recommend this. Another good site is It is full of great print outs (some free, some not) and some lesson plans.  

       I have also had great luck with lap books. If you aren't sure what they are, please "google it". It is a LOT of fun for kids. I google bible themed lap book ideas and get a ton of information. 

      If you are looking for a traditional curriculum, I also have a few recommendations. We have used Christian light publications. It is very thorough and accurate. I learned a lot going through it with my kids. 
        Rod and staff publishers also have good stuff. They are very conservative in their views, and most of the illustrations depict Amish and Mennonite if that gives you a gauge. It is good stuff though. Lots of pure bible information, especially Old Testament. 
       I really really enjoy finding curriculum and putting it together into lessons. If you too, are demented like that, you can find all kids of random information online that you can put together yourself bit by bit. I sadly don't always have the time that I want for it. 

         One of my favorite bibles for kids to use (and even adults if you need to brush up on your bible stories) is the Action bible. It's a giant comic book that is very accurate with its stories, in my opinion. It is great to sit down as a family and go though it story by story. Who doesn't like comics? You, in the back, put your hand down. 

          What I do not recommend doing with kids is reading straight through a bible. I mean, it's all pretty interesting until you get to numbers. Even most adults stall out Numbers. It's like reading the never ending story problem. Don't do it. You as an adult, I believe, should read the Bible cover to cover. When you do this (trudging through the book of numbers) you get a better sense of the completion of the bible and how it is so intricately connected from start to finish. 

       Right now with my own kids, I'm doing something with them together and separately. My 11 yr old is assigned a daily devo to read and write in a prayer journal about. My 7 yr old is working on memorizing the books of the Old Testament and praying. Together we work on memory verses. We are also going through the major stories in the bible right now. They learn  different things from the stories, even though we do the same story. For example, we are going through the story of creation. My son is working on memorizing what was created on what days with little projects and worksheets. My daughter is looking at it from a creation vs evolution prospective and digging deeper. 

        Now, allow me to give a disclaimer here. I want not a soul to think I've got this all figured out and do it perfectly. If you envision us all getting up at dawn with cups of hot tea sitting at desks studying hard as we are all dressed like we are going to church, you are so very very wrong. Allow me to paint you a more accurate picture. It is 11 am and My son, still in his underwear, is crashing matchbox cars on the floor while I try to read the bible lesson. I tell him to focus, and he laments. So I let him continue, as long as he can tell me what I've just said (which he always can and it drives me nuts. But he learns while moving, I think). My daughter is laying sprawled on the couch chewing gum and doodling. We try to say a prayer and the dogs suddenly think its time to play, which cracks the kids up and they start giggling. Some days I feel like they learned nothing and others I feel like they are hanging on my every word. I feel that that is why we do more than just read. We do worksheets and projects too. We also hang charts and draw pictures. For those days when the story seems to float over them like a cloud, it helps the information to stick.

          Finally, don't hold yourself back. If you feel like you need to know more before you teach your kids, don't. Learn together. Let them see you making discoveries in a Gods word, so that they can be eager to make their own. 


Thursday, September 5, 2013

A dull blade for battle.

I'm going to start you off in this post with some interesting math figures.
    The average child in America spends 6 hours a day in school for 180 days per year, for 13 years. So 6 x 180=1,080 hours per year. Then 1080 x 13= 14,040 hours per child for k-12. Now, this is an estimation on time spent, so don't get your knickers in a twist. We won't count hours spent on projects, homework, etc. Like I said, we are using basic numbers here.  
Now I will give you a new set of numbers. If your child attends Bible class every single Sunday for a year and classes are an hour of instruction, that is about 52 hours per year. Let's multiply that from the time they are born until they are 18. So 52 x 18=936 hours in 18 years. That friends, is less than the amount of time spent in one year of school. So we wouldn't quite have graduated Kindergarten. If you want to add in an hour long bible class for every Wednesday night in there it would be roughly a total of 1872 hours from birth to 18 years....not quite enough to pass first grade. 

         Those numbers make you think. I understand that your child may spend more than that per week in the bible and I also understand that I am lumping things together and not dividing learning into subjects when I do the estimates for a school year. Yet, even with those things it is nothing short of shameful. Would we send our kids into the world with less than a 1st grade education? Certainly not! Then why do we think its ok for their knowledge of the Bible to be so sparse? We are sending our children to battle with blunt blades. How effective can this possibly be? 

        It might be argued that the children learn the Bible by watching you live it. While that is a noble idea, and there is something to be said for making your actions an example, I wonder if you would let them learn math by you living it. A lot of people use math more often than the Bible during the day and would still not find it acceptable.  Can we learn how to build a rocket by seeing one launched?  We need basic knowledge that is steadily built upon. 

        If we do want to talk about examples, let's look in the mirror for a moment. When was the last time your kids saw you sit down just to read the Bible? Or pray when it wasn't a meal? We must practice what we preach! Bible stories used to be common knowledge, even among non-church goers. Most of it has all but faded away from common knowledge. Most people I talk to about reading their Bible insist that it's just too difficult if a book, and they'll just trust a preacher to help them out with questions. Preachers can be wrong. They are human. It is OUR responsibility to study and sort truth from fiction. Look at acts 17:11. Personally I love to question everything and I even enjoy a good debate now and then with reasonable people. You learn so much by questioning. 

         Currently we live in a world where anything and everything you ever wanted to know and learn is at your fingertips.....except things like, compassion, honesty, and common sense. I think that some part of us feels we can look up what we need to know, when we need to know it. While that might be great for finding a recipe, it is not the same as having the knowledge tucked away in your heart. What is tucked in our hearts shows through in our everyday lives. 

          We are also a busy society. We profess to put God as #1, yet we talk to Him rarely and know so little of His letter written for us. I wonder how it would go over if we used the same level of "#1" with our spouses. I picture it going over like a pig without wings. I pray that if we find time for soccer, dance, piano, movies, and  baseball practice,  we can find time for teaching our children the word of God....and ourselves for that matter. 

        We are all in this. Our culture doesn't want us to teach our children all this "god stuff".  I've been told more than once that I should expose my children to everything and let them decide. More importantly, Satan doesn't want us to teach our children. Satan likes a nice, dull blade. 

       Don't know where to start? There are so many curriculums and programs out there, that it's crazy. Ask for help or suggestions. You don't have to spend money or get fancy. You have options, you just have to be willing to try something new and maybe even step outside of your comfort zone.  

       Do not be deceived into thinking that you know the stories, or know what you "need to know". It is our sword. We need to know it, how it moves, feels in our hands, and exactly how to handle it. There is always more to learn. Always. God will highlight different thoughts at different points of your life. Let God teach you.

         We need to sharpen the blades of our children and teach them how to keep it sharp.  Don't let them go to battle unarmed. The world is ready for them, ready to destroy them. They are our children, nieces, nephews....our future.  In fact, what do OUR blades look like? This is really about All of us, isn't it? How can we teach our children to sharpen their swords if we don't even know where ours is?? 


Let's get to work renewing and expanding our knowledge and handing it to the next generation as well. Let no one be unarmed. 


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Open my heart.

There is a song we used to sing when I was a teen at camp and it had these words in it;

"Open my heart to what you know, so I can stretch, so I can grow. My feelings toss me to and fro. Open my heart to what you know."

At least that is one verse of it. What do those words mean to you? In my head I can hear voices singing the sad slow tune together. To me they remind me of how our hearts are to be open, though it often causes conflicting emotions.

     Have you ever come to something in Gods word when you are studying, or in a class that just makes you freeze? Right now in our Sunday morning bible class we are doing an in depth study in the book of Romans. We have come to content that has a lot of people at a loss. People are frustrated because what we are seeing in the bible is contradicting our traditional thoughts. I am enjoying it immensely.  People are getting frustrated with it, but I will tell you that I have seen more actual studying going on than I have in a long time. Whether or not people realize it or want to admit it, this class is lighting fires under behinds.

     Honestly, we all need to step back and ask why we believe what we believe and seek the true answers to these things. I personally have asked people in the past why we believe something and the response I have gotten is, "Because it's the way it has always been." Not. Acceptable. Not even a little. How are we to minister to people about the bible, if we don't KNOW the bible. Do not be fooled. Just because you've gone to church for X years or you think you know all the "stories" doesn't mean you know all there is to know. What you think you know may not even be true. May we NEVER get to a point in our lives where we think we have learned all we can from the bible and we no longer need to study it or believe that we know it all.

     With all of this being said, we are to maintain an open heart when we study. If we don't, then there is indeed nothing we can learn. Personally, I like to pray before I study. I pray for God to guard my heart from letting Satan twist the scriptures and for God to open my heart to Him. I think this is important because Satan knows the scriptures very well, as evidenced by all the times he quoted and misused it when tempting Jesus in the wilderness.

      Does this mean we should believe every new thing we hear? Absolutely not. Should we dismiss everything we hear? Nope. We need to search the scriptures to prove that which is true.

1 Thess 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good.

Acts 17:11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; They received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Many times when we are presented with something that contradicts what we have believed, we become defensive and closed up. It ought not be this way. We should approach these things in love and kindness. The word of God is our sword. We must learn it, inside and out. We cannot defeat Satan without a weapon.

   I'm excited about being challenged. but at the same time, it can be an emotional struggle when we wrestle to find the truth. It is hard to hear things that contradict what we have held to as certain truth. I believe, however, it is good for us to be challenged. It keeps us digging deeper into God's word and brings us closer to him.

God is so good and truth is beyond value. Find the truth. Seek it out and hold fast to it. Keep your heart open, yet guarded. Then ask yourself to prove with scripture why you believe what you believe.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Coming soon!

     As I have started gathering followers I have been getting emails, and feedback. So, I am announcing that I will start taking questions and topics you wish for me to blog on. I am very excited about this! So, get those emails ready and send them in!

     I will continue to write about topics as they arrive in my everyday life as well. So this blog will be like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are gonna get....but it'll be chocolate, so hey. :-)

     This week is going to be a good one!Busy but good. It is VBS crunch time at our congregation!  This means that we will be at the building several hours everyday preparing for VBS week. I am in charge of crafts, and we will be making a lot of pieces of the "armor of God." Be prepared for swords, breastplates, and more! I LOVE the fellowship that we get while setting everything up. We sing, pray, joke and work......TOGETHER. Is it any wonder why we are left the examples of the first century Christians spending everyday together? God is good! I get to watch the people around me put their talents into high gear and

      I apologize that this is so short, and not much of an entry, but know that I pray for everyone who reads this. God loves you. I tell my kids, I love you more than you'll ever know...but God loves you even more than that. Take that with you today and remember that you are loved! Happy VBS crunch week!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Parenting 101

This past month I've learned that (at least) seven of my friends, acquaintances, etc. are expecting. They are all due around the same time so....maybe it was a full moon?? Or the water?? Whatever the case, it's interesting for me to watch. I'm 30 and had my first child when I was 19 and my second when I was 23. Most of my expecting friends are my age. While my friends were in college, I was changing diapers and fighting to fit a rear facing car seat into my car. They were crazy and hard times. I will admit that I feel I was too young, yet I wouldn't trade it now for anything. God has a plan. Everyday I watch my children grow and watch the plan unfold. 
       Having children makes you keenly aware of how our relationship with God is in many ways. We get the new perspective of being fully responsible for, loving, feeding, guiding, guarding, and teaching a being. Yes, it's very overwhelming, but that's why we need Gods help to do it. 

Now I'd like to address the new parents and parents of young ones with something I wish I'd been told. 

Dear newbies, 

        Welcome to parenthood. The most exhausting, crazy, sad, happy, exciting, rewarding journey of your life. 

        People are going to give you more advice (and blankets) than you ever thought possible. Some will be good, some will be not so good. The key is to remember that this is your child, not theirs. 

       There will be perfect sleepy, cheerful babies, and there will be those who cannot be consoled. With both types there will be nights (oh there will be nights) when you question why you did this, and if you'll ever sleep again and if your baby will ever stop crying. You'll cry while your baby is crying because you are sleep deprived and feel helpless. You'll learn that you can't always make it better, but you can try. There will be times when you question if you are both going to survive this. It's ok to let them cry it out sometimes. Though these nights seem to last forever, it will be soon that they are forever behind you. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Don't feel like you have to be superwoman. We are human and we all need help sometimes. My daughter would scream for hours every single night. Seriously. Hours. I had nobody near me to ask for help. The good thing is now I can tolerate any screaming or unhappy baby for ridiculous amounts of time (take note of this and put me on speed dial if you need to!).

        Remember that every child is different in every way. They will be different sizes, have different features, different abilities, and personalities. Don't compare your child with others, in good or bad ways.   There will be kids who seem to be able to recite the dictionary at 2 yrs and there will be kids who you think will never speak. There will be children who seem to be potty trained from the womb and then those who are afraid of the idea of sitting over a hole til they are 3. Don't worry, they will not go off to college in diapers. 

          You'll find that the quiet house is a time to become suspicious rather than peaceful. That nap time is a gift from God, and your house will never be as clean as it once was. Things that come from every part of your baby (mouth, and diaper area) will be on you at some point. Some of them frequently. 

       You will question if you were ready for this. The answer is always no. Always. You simply cannot ever be fully ready for this. Parenthood is a learn-as-you-go thing. You can read books and get great ideas and be super prepared, but you cannot be ready. And that is ok. You are also going to make mistakes. There is no such thing as a "perfect parent".

        Kiss your baby as much as you can. Read them bible stories even if you think they can't understand. Pray with them and for them. Teach them who God is and why he loves them. The time you have with them is so short, you have to make the most of it. Watch your baby sleep once in a while. It is one of the most precious things you'll ever see. 

      You are about to receive something that will teach you that you may not have really understood love before. That love is much deeper and stronger than you thought before. 

        When your child is crying because they don't like something that you are doing for their own'll think of how you cry and fight when God does something for your own good. You'll get a better grasp on the fact that God knows so much more than we do. 

        You'll laugh, cry, smile, hurt, and love like you never have before. 

        There may be times when you wonder if you *can* love your baby. When my oldest cried all the time, I admit that I had a hard time feeling that "oh look at the cute baby" feeling. There were times when I felt hopeless and exhausted. These feelings don't mean your a bad parent or a horrible person. Find a friend and open up with what your feeling. Never keep it stuffed inside.

        Remember, your baby was assigned to you by God. He knows what he is doing. You can do this. They, and you, will reach milestones at different points than those around you. And teach your kids that you *do* have eyes on the back of your head and that God loves them even more than you do. 

        Best wishes to you all! I'm here if you need me! It's going to be so worth it all. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Rome, June, lights, and everyday faith.

The month of June has been a massive tangle of ups, downs, ins, outs, and every other imaginable direction. I feel like all month I've been riding an emotional "wanka-vator". This month has included a birth, a vacation, my daughters birthday, my late grandmothers birthday, the passing of my husbands grandmother, more headaches than I can count, and just your everyday issues. 

My headaches have been out of control the past 2-3 weeks. I have one more often than I don't. Although it was this time last year that I was in ICU with my head, so perhaps there is something this time of year. Who knows? It does make it difficult to think and accomplish any sort of task that requires much though. When I get a bad headache I feel like part of my brain is frozen and slowly unthawing. I honestly look at people sometimes when they're talking and  have to try to make sense of the words they are saying. Almost like they are speaking a different language. So, in part, these headaches have kept me from writing much. 

             So, let's move on. 

       In Sunday morning bible class we started a study on the book of Romans. I'm very excited because Romans is my favorite book. I feel as though there is so much packed into it and it addresses such a wide range of topics. On top of this our teacher is also leading a more in depth study on the book for those interested in digging deeper. As part of the digging deeper group we are to read some assigned material. I'm so excited about all of this because I want to dig into God's word but you can only get so far without someone to lead you.

      Last night I tried to do some of my assigned reading. I waited until the kids were in bed. After retreading the first paragraph 8 times due to the kids,who were supposed to be in bed,  interrupting for various reasons I wanted to get in the car and go sit in a parking lot so I could focus. Finally the 9th try worked and I managed to get in a decent amount of reading. The papers I was reading was basically talking about the importance of knowing what life was like for Christians and Jews in the very beginning of Christianity in Rome. The idea being that we need to understand lifestyles, circumstances and daily life for this period in order to really get a good hold on what the letter is saying. During my reading I marked a few things with question marks, underlined some, and marked the papers up with poor handwriting. However there was one thing that stuck with me above the others so far.

       This section that grabbed my attention, is a group of theories on how Christianity debuted in Rome. The last theory basically states that Christianity moved to Rome as the people did and lived and worked together with other foreigners. I'm not sure why it captured my attention, but it did. I think it is natural for us to bond with people in similar circumstances. When we travel and we see someone from "our neck of the woods" we feel a bond with them even though we may never have met. Or if you travel and find someone else who is a foreigner, even if you aren't from the same foreign land, you have something in are both strangers in this place. Common circumstances can be a great bonding agent for people who would otherwise never even speak. In Rome the groups of foreign people formed their own little communities within communities. I imagine we would do much the same. In many ways we do.  After all, none of us really belong here, do we?

       I guess what struck me as interesting about all of this, is the idea of Christianity being spread through everyday people in the flow of life. What I mean is, wherever life took these people, they took their faith with them. They were able to spread it through daily life.  Too often we think we must go to a far away place to be missionaries. Or that we must fit a certain profile to share our faith. While we do need people to travel to far places and share the news of Christ, we also need people here, where you stand. 

        America is often compared to Rome, and not in good ways. Yet, there are many parallels. I suppose that is why so many parts of the book of Romans are so relatable. 

      Now think of the possibilities. If we all start sharing our faith in our daily lives and just lay it all out there. Perhaps we could attract others who know they don't belong here and help them find their way home. 

        Life can stink. People get hurt, die, are lonely and so many bad things happen. But so do good things. Remember, we may be residents here but we are not citizens.  We are allowed to grieve, be sad, and upset. Yet let us be the ones who show our faith through the circumstances. Let us be the ones who are bright lights in dark places and perhaps we too can be used by God to change the lives and hearts of others in everyday life. 

         So though this month has been.....less than perfect, I hope my light can still shine and my faith will only get stronger through every day life and its problems. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Three times.

These past few weeks there has been much on my mind. I don't count much of it worth sharing for fear of turning my blog into a "soap box" or a "wailing wall" for my own venting and lamentations. I want to write stuff that can inspire or encourage. There is a fine line between sharing a lesson I have learned and just yammering on about what troubles me. 

         I have been struggling as of late. I have felt unworthy to write to anyone and offer what little knowledge I have. Sometimes I leave bible class telling myself that I talk too much. Or I speak up too often. Sometimes I get in modes where I replay every mistake I've ever made, big or small. I replay what I could've done to make it right, or could do now to make it right. I truly, in the depths of my soul wish we had the power to forget. I suppose then we wouldn't learn from our mistakes. Forgiving ourselves is so hard. Sometimes I wonder how it is that God could use me. Just me. Within this fleshly chamber that I dwell, how can be worthy of Gods love and mercy? Honestly, I'm not. I receive grace and mercy. Things that are given to those that don't deserve them. I have to remind myself of that. We all do. When you are down and people ask the empty question, "How are you?", remember you are loved by God. You don't earn his love or his mercy, yet he gives it freely to those that seek him. He takes us, the unworthy creatures that we are, and makes us His. When we feel like we don't belong anywhere, he will always take us in. 

           These are things that I learn on my journey. I learn them over and over. Each time it reaches a little deeper into my heart. I more often than not, feel like I'm an outcast. Though my exterior can smile and shake hands, inside, often I am solem. I try to flood my soul with scriptures of strength, courage, and hope.  I try to take in as much of my blessings as I can each day. My family is my greatest blessing on this earth. I thank God for them every single day. Sometimes it scares me how short life can be. It is something I actuly think of often. Nothing gets you set straight in a hurry like being told you are going to die. Three times. That is how many times doctors have said I would not survive the night. Three. Times. These three times remind me that we are all here for a reason, and that we are also here for a short time. 

            The first time, was when I was first born. I was born with fluid in my lungs and a hole in my heart. Doctors told my parents to say goodbye to me. Yet people prayed, and God spared me. Then when I was 13, I started losing my vision during a Wednesday night bible study. I was taken to the ER where we were told that I should not survive the night. A CT scan of my head showed an aneurism in my brain. People prayed, and God spared me. Next, I was 18, and a newly wed. I lost consciesneness and started having seizures. I was taken to the ER where a CT scan showed a tumor on my brain. I was flown to a larger hospital in a helicopter and they found the same thing. My new husband was told to tell me goodbye. People prayed, and God spared me. He spared Sometimes, I struggle with almost a type of "survivors guilt". But, mostly I am overwhelmed, and want to use this life he has given me, my all. Every bit of my being, I want to belong to him. 

            I am here for a purpose....God's purpose. We all are whether we know it or not. When we feel alone, we aren't alone. When we feel rejected, we are welcomed. You are here for a purpose. God gave you this life for a reason. Don't waste a second of it. Serve him fully with your whole heart, until your last breath.  God is so good to us. We are never beyond the reach of his mercy.

            I suppose, we need to learn from our mistakes, then let them go. It is hard, so very hard. But it is possible. We want to be like Peter, not Judas. Both messed up, big time. Both were overcome with guilt. Peter learned from it and moved on, while it overcame Judas and he took his own life. Don't let satan use your guilt to convince you that you aren't worthy. No, rather let God help you learn from it and let it go. God loves you....yes you.....more than you know. The question is, will you let him?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Communication failed.

Have you ever pondered the evaluation of communication?

Let's just skip a little and go to when we started with mail. Snail mail that is. It was special and unique. It was a great way to keep in touch with people. Eventually it got overrun by companies, bills, and junk mail.

Then we evolved to email (but we still have snail mail). You were so cool to have your own email account. It was a great way to keep in touch with people. Then became overrun by companies, bills, and junk mail.

Then we moved to FB (but we still have email, and snail mail). It was a great way to keep in touch with people. Then it became overrun with companies, drama, adds, and junk mail.

Are we seeing a pattern here? Not only are we now bombed with snail mail, email, and FB (or the like) but we are having to filter through more than ever before. While we gain new forms of communicating we never really seem to drop the old. It all just builds up.

What about talking? We have gone from face to face, to telegraphs,to telephones, to cell phones, to texting and video chat. Ok, we don't use telegraphs anymore, but I think you get the idea though.

Yes, these all have good that come from them. But can we have too much of a good thing?

It used to be (long long ago) that if you were home you didn't hear much of anything about what was happening outside your walls. Even if you went to town you were ingesting things more slowly.

Now we have flashing billboards, Internet, texting, the news, tv, commercials, smart phones, emails, and on and on. I don't know about you, but I feel in some ways all of these "advances" in communication have left us regressing in our communication with each other. We now get frustrated when we can get ahold of someone right away. We are saturated with instant everything. Remember the days not so long ago, when if you weren't home, people just left you a message?Remember when it was ok not to have people get ahold of you every second of every day? I miss those days. Rather than communicating with those far off, people got to know those around them.

For such an "advanced" people, we sure are lacking. Lacking in human contact. We live in an information overloaded world.

Now here's the kicker. How well are we communicating with God? Prayer hasn't changed. We have time to surf, click, text, chat, browse, etc. Where is our time for God? Are we allowing all this information overload and devices in our lives to consume our time? Do we spend more time checking status updates, or checking the scriptures? Do we spend more time texting 5 people at once or talking to God about those people? Hmmmm. Now that is interesting, isn't it? Who isn't guilty? We all are.

This coming week I'm going to stay away from as many of the above things as I can and start cutting back on all forms of media. We need to step back and declutter the things in our life that crowd out our time with God and family. I challenge you to do the same.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Penniless thoughts

A lot of my posts are about something I learn. This time I'm going to start out writing something I feel and see where it goes. Often the things that are there to be learned are in plain sight and we just need to lay it all out so we can look at it in its entirety.

I often think of myself as not a very emotional person. This is in fact, not correct. I think it is just that my emotions run very deep. I often struggle with how to express my emotions, yet I lay my heart on display in this blog. How does that work?? I like to hide my heartache behind a corny joke or sarcastic comments. I don't like to cry. I don't often cry, but when I do, you know something is very wrong.

In Bible class last night we read a little from the psalms. When I was younger I could never understand why people liked the psalms. To me they were emotional dribble that was a great thing to read to make you sleepy. Now I'm older and I've put away many (not all!) childish ways. Now when I read the psalms it is as if my heart is aching to speak the words that are spoken in that book. To read them is almost to speak them myself. Maybe I'm getting soft or maybe I'm realizing that not everything can be stuffed down and bottled up. If this great man, a man after Gods own heart, can lay his heart on paper, why can't I?

David messed up....a lot. So do I. So do you. Our mistakes just aren't written for all to read. But David kept coming back to God. He had a relationship with God. David craved his presence. When he messed up, he made it right.

Sometimes, I wish I could catch a glimpse of me through Gods eyes. Maybe he sees potential there that is unknown to me and all others. At the same time, I know God loves me. He loves everyone. It is just hard for us to imagine a love that is not displayed in this world. Lets just admit, no one can love like God can. Oh we can try, and we can have amazing love, but God's perfect love....we can't match that.

This week has been tough. Stuff came that I didn't see coming. I've been praying and trying to make sense of everything. Sometimes though, things just don't make sense, and never will. We just have to wade through them and come out better on the other side. When we go through a refiners fire, we learn what we are made either get purged or you get burned up.

I've also stepped away from some of my responsibilities this week. I let go of something that I didn't want to let go of, but something had to give. I am committed to so many things that I can't fully commit to any one thing. So I cut back. Was it hard? Extremely. Do I think it was the right thing to do? Absolutely. I'm sure people will wag their heads and say I "gave up" or "quit". But I am one person and if I am to be used effectively in any area I have to cut back in some area. So I did.

Tonight I'll be reading the psalms. Not to fall asleep though. No, not even to relax to. Rather, To pour my heart out to God.

So I'm not even sure if this post means anything or if it is even worth reading. But to those who read my blog, thank you. For what it's worth....these are my thoughts with no pennies.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The problem is the problem.

There has been a lot of violence this year. It seems each week some new form of evil is rearing its ugly head to destroy the innocent. People are throwing the blame on anyone and everyone within reach. Fingers are pointing, voices are raising, laws are tightening. People are sick of the violence.

We want to line up the suspects and carry out a sentence. This country is broken. It's people are broken. The more we remove God, the more room evil has to wiggle. We try to change our laws and shake our fists at the air in rage. We have tried to put a band aid on a broken leg. It's not gonna fix it! We need to get to the root of the problem and treat the problem, not the symptoms.

We want someone to blame? Find a mirror. We let our families fall apart. We forget to take care of our children and teach them the value of a human life. We tweet, Facebook, and text (these things are fine IN MODERATION) our lives away while our children grow up without us! The weapons are not the problem, we are! We are responsible for molding the next generation. Our country is so self-absorbed and concerned with instant results, that we have failed to look at our future.

Forget political parties and agendas! It is all just band aids! Those politicians are people. People that were once children. Children that needed to be shaped. They are People who are now shaping children.

Little girls aren't taught how to be women, little boys are not taught how to be men. People don't know what commitment is or what promises are.

We are a broken people. We have come to accept our brokenness as the norm. In doing so, we have passed it on. We have to fix ourselves. We have to let God fix us. We have to sit down and talk to our children. Teach them what is good and honorable. Teach them that there is value to every single human life. Love them no matter what. Show them love in action.

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 NASB)

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Let us over shadow this evil with good.

Our country is once again left shell shocked and searching for answers. My post "this is when." may offer some comfort. Now is the time to act. Spend time, good quality, non-electronic, time with your kids. In my previous post I spoke of the fear we have to stand up for what is right. If there ever was a time to stand...this is it.

Just imagine the possibilities!! What would this world be like if we stopped blaming and started taking blame? I am as guilty as the next guy. Lets rip off the band aids, and treat the injury not the symptoms. On the count of three:!

"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. (Matthew 7:1-5 NASB)

Monday, April 15, 2013

No god? Know fear. Know God? No fear.

Once again I had a post all put together. Once again it mysteriously disappeared from my drafts. So, yet again I am trying to rewrite what I had wanted to say. Often when I write it is about something I feel a passion for and so the words just flow. Once my passion is poured into something, it is hard to duplicate.

Everyone is afraid of something. One of my minor fears is bats..yuck. Or of my major fears is being buried alive. When you are afraid of something you generally try to stay far from it. Fear can help us in some situations. It can kick our adrenaline up and help us in crazy situations. However, the ways fear can help us are minimal. Although I do believe our country could do with a healthy dose of god fearing. Do I mean we should sit in a corner our whole lives and be afraid? No. I mean we should know our God enough to know that we should have a healthy respect for him and his omnipresence, omnipotence, and those other omni words. Basically he knows all, sees all, is everywhere, knows everyone, and is all powerful. Yep, sounds worthy of respect to me.

What I want to know is, when did we become a people afraid of the very truth we proclaim? Why do we fear we will offend others? Why to we dread discussion of our faith? Why are we afraid and what are we afraid of? Where have the fires gone that burned in our hearts? It's time to fan those flames!!

Why do we sit idly by as people smear the name of our Lord? We are just as the children of Israel in the bible. They turned from The Lord so many times! We sit in our comfy pews and ask why they were so dense. We like to think we would do differently. We'd like to think that when others are worshiping idols we will hold fast to the truth. We'd like to think that we won't bend the laws of god to fit the laws of man. But what are we doing?

The bible has much to say on the topic of fear.

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28 KJV)

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV)

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Hebrews 13:6 KJV)

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18 KJV)

How can we try to tell people how great and powerful God is if we have too much fear to do so? We must live what we believe! People will call us haters and discriminatory. Let them. We will still love them. Hating sin and standing for truth does NOT mean we hate the people, but rather we pray for them and shine the light of truth and love. {Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. (Romans 12:14 KJV)} Make them ask why it is that you still love and pray for a person when you don't approve of what they do. Wet the appetite of the world for God.

So, why is it that we are so afraid to stand up for what is good and right? I think there are a lot of reasons. One reason, I think people just don't want to get involved. It's easier to sit on the sidelines. How is remaining silent better than agreeing? I'm not sure it is. I also think a tiny voice in people likes to ask...what if I'm wrong? That is satan. He wants us to doubt our faith. He wants to weaken us, just enough to get his foot in the door. Perhaps we need to step back and ask why we doubt. We need to consume the word of God. People don't know the word like they used to. It is our can we fight without it?
Are we afraid of "persecution"?

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:10-16 KJV)

Why are we afraid?

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12 KJV)

I believe that in the next few generations being a Christian may be outlawed if we stay on this path. I hope that if I'm ever arrested for being a Christian that there will be enough evidence to convict me. If there isn't, then I have been doing something wrong.

We cannot be afraid. God did not give us a spirit of fear! We must speak the truth with gentleness...not silence. The world is searching for God. They are trying to fill the void with all manner of things. We must live our lives with Joy, and light. For as tough as this life may be, it will all have been worth it. How will they know the truth if no one will tell it?

Let your light shine!! Stand up for what is right. Help when others hide. Reach out when others retreat. Sing when others are silent. Cast out your fear and cling to God and his promises.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Trust and talent

I apologize now if this post seems short.

I never tire of the parallels between my relationship with my children and my relationship with God. So often I scold my kids for something then as soon as the words have left my mouth I think about how I am towards God, my father.

In this entry I want to share with you one of the lessons I learn while trying to teach my children.

My daughter is amazing. She has a pure heart, and a passion for God. She can be a goofball and I love it. Today though, she broke my heart a little.

Lately she's been trying her hand at a little of everything, and just can't find where she excels. She came to me broken hearted and crying wanting to know what her talent was. She wanted to know why she had no special talent. She wanted to know why she couldn't run fast, go across monkey bars, or write songs like she wanted to. In her heart these are important to her. She wanted to know why she wasn't naturally good at these things.
What am I good at? What are my talents? These were the questions she was asking.

From my perspective, as her parent, I can see her talents. I can watch her grow every day and see the ways she is growing. I can see how good her heart is. I can see her kindness. I can see so many talents she has. She is amazing with young children. Yet, she cannot see these things. I try to praise her and show her what a great person God is making her into. Yet, she cannot see these things.

In the end we talked, prayed and cried. I gave her glimpses of what I see, and assured her we all feel like this at some time.

Now, after I was done talking to my daughter, I had a thought. How many times have we sat there, convinced God has no way to use us? Convinced we have no talents? Convinced that We feel as nobody has felt before? Many times.

I know for me, it has been just within the past couple years that I feel I'm finding my talents. So many times, God tried to show me what my talents were. But,they weren't what I wanted them to be, so I dismissed them. Are we open to what God's will is? Or are we convinced the things we want are better?

The older I get the more I realize what a wide range of talents there are and how they are all equally important. When I was young, if I didn't have a popular, well known, or huge wasn't a talent.

Our talents and gifts can change with time. Or God may not be ready to reveal them to us because he's still helping to equip us to use our talent. Whatever the case, we have to have faith that he can see us in a way we cannot understand. God really does love us with an immeasurable love.

What is your gift? Will you trust God to reveal it when the time is right? Will you trust you are worth more than you know? My daughter had to trust me, that I can see her talents, and her worth more than she can. I have to do the same, and trust God. Will you?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The battle.

Life is a battle. Sometimes we watch the battle helplessly, and other times we are in the midst. Whichever the case, the battle is for us. Really, it's true. Every single day Satan wants you to join him. Every day you must fight or be fought for.

Each soul is a battle ground in the war for souls. We know that God wins the war. The bible assures us of this throughout scripture.

What about the battle? That's where we come in. Our free will plays out. We can choose to seek shelter in Christ our Lord, or we can choose to give in and stop fighting. Stop sounds so nice, doesn't it? Just give in and stop the exhausting battle. No more struggling, heartache, or care. At least it would seem that way.

God is always at work for us and it often goes undiscovered. Your pulse. Your breath. The sunshine. The air. Take God out of this life and what are we left with? Hell. That is the best description I can muster for is a place where God isn't. Think about that. Let it sink in and stew.

Now, misery loves company. Satan is misery and he wants all the company he can get. He is going to coax, lie, and allude. As wonderful, and tempting as his offers may seem, we know he is a liar. We are armed with that knowledge.

When you are frustrated, discouraged, and feel hopeless, know this; this battle is worth fighting. Shall we go into battle naked? Certainly not!!

Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth , and having put on the breastplate of righteousness , and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace ; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation , and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:11-17 NASB)

How is your armor? Are you familiar with your sword? Do you know how to use it? What of your shield? Is your faith strong?

Too often I've heard people tell me,"I don't need to read the bible, I know what it says."
How sad! Do we really think we can come to a place when there is nothing more we can learn from the word of God? I hope not. Our hearts should always be open to the different ways scripture can apply to our lives. Never. Stop. Learning.

Lately I've felt overwhelmed by life. Moving stinks. That is only one small piece of what is going on. I am guilty of not reading God's word daily. Shame on me!! Even a single psalm or verse. I need to improve on this. How could I go to battle with no sword?

This battle we fight may not seem like a battle every moment of every day. It may not be a loud, epic event. It may be quiet, even silent. The person you sit next to could be at battle at this moment and you may not know. You could even be at battle without knowing. Those little things that slowly creep into your life, that you get used to being there. They could be your destruction. A word of caution; if you aren't at battle or haven't been for sometime, you may want to step back and see which side you're on. You may have changed sides without knowing. Believe it or not, if you're under fire from satan, it's because he knows you are a threat. He knows he will have to fight hard for you. Perhaps you're crying yourself to sleep at night because you just don't think you can do it anymore. But you can. You can.

We will slip up, and make mistakes. We will faultier and fumble. At the end of the day pick yourself up, dust yourself off and make sure you know WHO you are fighting and that YOU are worth fighting for. Our battles will not all be the same, but they are worth fighting. Keep your sword sharp, your shield strong, and your armor ready. You are precious to God.

But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:11, 12 NASB)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Faith in Timing. Timing in Faith.

Time is an interesting topic. There are many layers and aspects to time. It is said that the older you get the faster time goes. While it doesn't actually speed up it is a smaller fraction of your life. When your 2 a year is half your life! When your 80, it's 1/80 of your life.

Time is also a gift. God gave us time to repent. Can you imagine never having time to make things right? It is an interesting thought. Time to God is like us looking at a wall. He can see the beginning, end, and everything between. Time does not apply to God though. He always has been and always will be.

10 minutes can seem like 10 seconds when we are with the ones we love. Then there are times in our lives when 10 min seems like an eternity. When we are sitting in a hospital waiting room. When we are holding someone's hand as they pass from this life. When we are waiting for Gods response.

Myself and several people I know are waiting on God's response for one thing or another. Waiting is a tough thing to do, isn't it? I keep reminding myself that God is not late, ever. We have mapped out in our head exactly how and when things are to happen. But Gods timing and ours are very different. We live in a world of instant response. We go nuts when we can't get a hold of someone NOW. We can text, call, email, and face time. Gone are the days when people were ok not to hear from you until you got home and checked your answering machine. I think we have come to expect the same of God. God's timing is perfect. He is perfect and therefore everything he does is perfect. Our view is so limited that we can't see Gods plans and think that if God hasn't made an obvious answer in our time frame, that he has ignored or denied our requests. We are impatient creatures.

God loves us. He really does. When we look at our children and tell them to wait for something that they want an answer to now, often it is because we know something they don't know yet. How then, can we expect our children to trust us, if we will not show that we will trust God?

      Right now my kids and I are studying the life of Abraham. God promised Abraham and Sarah a child. As many times as I have heard this story something new stuck out to me. The waiting. From the time God promised them a child to the time he was born was (I think) 14 years. Sarah got impatient with Gods methods and told Abraham to have a child with Hagar. as I was reading this I thought....that sounds like something I'd do! I mean, I can see myself getting impatient and trying to force God to hurry up. I can just imagine me trying to figure out a way to make happen what I want to happen rather than waiting on God.

I have also been reflecting on this scripture.

Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the L ord came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He said, "I have been very zealous for the L ord , the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." So He said, "Go forth and stand on the mountain before the L ord ." And behold, the L ord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the L ord ; but the L ord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the L ord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the L ord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" (1 Kings 19:9-13 NASB)

Often we expect God to be obvious. We like to think we know how he works and that we can predict him. We like to stuff him into a box and keep him within our limits. Shame. On. Us. God has no limits and he does not follow our rules. He is God and he makes the rules. In Psalms 46 we are told to "be still and know that he is God." Be *still* ??? In this information overload, instant gratification, instant everything society?? Yes. It has been said that if you are too busy for God than you are busier than he ever intended you to be. Do we spend the time in meditation and prayer that we should? I know I certainly don't. Do we count our blessings?

Every difficult time is meant to make us grow. To purify our hearts. Is it pleasant waiting? Certainly not. I encourage you to find someone to confide your desires in. Pray together. Just because something good will come of it in the end doesn't mean the experience will be pleasant. It does mean that you can make it through. It does mean that God will reveal his purpose. God will not ignore his children. Let's make it through this together.

"Farther along we'll know all about it. Farther along we'll understand why. Cheer up my brother, live in the sunshine. We'll understand it, all by and by."

Ecc. 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Things will work HIS time.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Dream the impossible dream....

       Dreams. There are two kinds of dreams. There is the kind where rainbow unicorns and aliens team up to bake a birthday cake for Cinderella, hopefully these are the ones you have while sleeping. Then, there is the kind of dream that is like a wish or hope; a desire within us. Those passions within us, I believe, have been placed there by God for a purpose.

       Without a dream it is hard to be focused and know what direction we need to go. It should be a dream for all of us to be closer to God, that's one thing. However, within each of us is a separate passion that can be used to glorify God.  My dream is to be a speaker and writer for my sisters in Christ.  It was not always so. We learn more on the journey we are set on by our dreams than by achieving the dream itself. Perhaps you think your dream is silly or you can't see how God could possibly use your talent or desire. Perhaps there is something along the pursuit of that dream that He wants to show you that could rock your world and change everything. We don't know. God works in wonderful and unexpected ways. As long as we seek to glorify him in what we do, He will use that dream.

      Many times I have become frustrated and pleaded with God, "Why did you put this desire in me if I can't use it"? When really I am saying, "Why can't I use this the way *I* think I should be using it"? Yet when I step back and look at the chain of events that lead me here, they were all important parts of shaping who I am and how I view my desires. Often they were sad, or troubling times. Would I change them? Nope. Not one. I often look to Romans 8:28. These growing pains do hurt, but they are necessary. The path to the dream is just as, if not more important, than achieving it. Does this mean you'll never reach you dreams? Certainly not. God gives every bird its food, but he does not throw it into the nest. We must actively pursue our passion. It will not be thrown into our lap. Remember though, our idea of success should not be measured by the worlds standards, but rather by Gods.

      In this world we often like to look at other peoples dreams and chuckle or shake our heads. Why? DO we not serve a God who does the impossible? Look at Genesis 18:14! An OLD woman about to have a baby. We would say impossible! Nothing is too hard for God. With the limits the world constantly places upon us it is hard to think of our God with NO limits. The scriptures are saturated with proof of Gods abilities...and yet we doubt. A human from dust? A baby born to parents 100 years old? Walls of a great city falling by marching around them then yelling? A man carried away in a chariot of fire? A great sea parting and thousands of people crossing on dry land? A bush burning, but not consumed? IMPOSSIBLE!! Not. With. God. Are our obstacles so great that God cannot help us overcome them?

      Do you remember the new found passion you had when you first became a christian? You felt you could take on anything and change the world. As time went by and people dribbled a few drops of doubt on your fire here and there your passion grew weaker. Those dribbles grew larger and soon your fire was low and your spirit was quenched. Not like a refreshing quench your thirst. Rather extinguish a fire that is supposed to keep you warm and safe. There is a stark contrast. Let's shift our focus for a moment from our dreams to the dreams of others. Do we encourage the passion and desire to serve and conquer mountains, or do we sprinkle some water on the fire? Look at 1 Thess. 5:19. You do not know the power of God or what he may have planned for that passion. Should we not encourage and guide? Hebrews 10:25 gives us an idea.  Don't snuff out someones light because YOU think THEY can't achieve it. They may not be able to, but God CAN.

       Here is a little thing for you to try. Look up Phil. 4:13. Read it over and over. Each time emphasize a different word and think about how it sounds each time. Like this:
 *I* can do all things through Christ who Gives me strength.
 I *can* do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
 I can *do*all things through Christ who gives me strength. Keep going until you've emphasized every word.
        Make your dreams big, because God is bigger. Open your heart to the ways he wants to use your passion. Feed your fire. Read scriptures, pray to God. Let God shape and teach you on your journey. Fan the flames of others.   Remember.......     "Nothing is too hard for God."

Sunday, February 10, 2013

It's just stuff.

All right ladies and gents, hang on, because we are going a little bit of everywhere with this post. Remember to keep hands, feet, and arms inside until the ride comes to a complete stop. :-)

The past few weeks I have been in Virginia with my mom and children getting my grandfather ready to move to Michigan with my parents. Eighty years worth of items to sort through, is a task. He simply sat in a chair and had no opinion on what we packed up for him. All he wanted to take was a picture of my grandmother holding my mother when she was a baby. The rest was just stuff.

I have learned a great deal these past weeks. Most lessons we learn aren't ones we want to learn, but we must be ever watchful to see when a lesson is presented. Lessons in life, usually hurt, and can often drive you to boarder line nutty-ness (that's a word in my book). All lessons are taught but not all are learned. Make sense? I have learned that we have to look for the lessons God wants us to learn in everything. The time here in Virginia has been hard emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It's in these times the lessons are ripe for the learning.

What did I learn? A lot about myself. However I want to share some of what I learned with you. I learned it's just stuff. All of it. From heirlooms to handbags to books to furniture. From houses and cars to clothes and jewelry. It's all stuff. Almost a year ago I sat and watched my grandmother pass from this life with nothing left but the pictures of her family that hung above her head. I've watched my other grandmother do the same almost 4 years ago. At the end of their lives all they wanted was family. To know they were loved. To hold someones hand and not be alone. Now, my grandfather, though still alive, just wants his family and to know he is loved. We are to wash away the past and let go of hard feelings, if they linger. We want God to forgive us as we forgive others, don't we? People aren't stuff. Love isn't stuff. Kindness, hope, faith, mercy, none of these qualify as "stuff". Though I've known this, I've learned it more deeply.

When we first packed to come here I brought 3 bags of books and school supplies so the children and I could do school. I'll be the first to admit I have a *slight* obsession with books. I felt that I needed all this stuff and more to have the lessons covered. While we do need some things, true learning doesn't need a lot of stuff. I learned how to teach my children with simple things and a bible. Some lessons will require more, I understand. But we live in a world of so much excess. I want my children to learn now, that it is just stuff. I want them to learn how to cherish their family. I want them to learn to see God in everything and to trust Him. My job and privilege as a Christian mom is to teach my children these things (among others) and to love them unconditionally as they learn, and to instill a love of learning in them. One day, I hope that they can see the lessons that God has waiting for them, even in the hard times.

Love today, give mercy freely, and remember most of the stuff we worry just stuff.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Miserable comforters!!

I have been studying the book of Job lately. It is an interesting book filled with lessons to be learned. There is mystery behind the book of Job on who wrote it and other interesting things, but that's for another day.

We all pretty well know the story of Job. He was a righteous man who had a great, comfy life. Satan comes in and starts smack talk about how the only reason Job is faithful is because God is so good to him. God knows better than that. So God says Satan is allowed to get at Job for a while and do anything except take his life. Then ....ka-blewie! Job loses his family, wealth, flocks, EVERYTHING. He is covered with sores and trying to deal with the loss of ALL his children. Job sinks into depression and has "friends" that try to convince him that this is somehow his fault. Eventually, God speaks to Job and his friends and lays down the law. God sets things right and Job was faithful through it all and he ends up even more blessed in the end than he was in the beginning. Whew. So that's the very basic condensed version. If you want the full story go to the old testament a d read the book of Job.

Usually we like to focus on Job, and how we admire the fact that he remained faithful. We focus on the immense amount of suffering he went through. However, I want to flip this around and look at it differently like I enjoy doing.

Too often when we read the bible we don't put ourselves in the shoes of those in the story. We like to sit on our comfy rumps and scoff at the mistakes people made. Are we blameless? Do we Forget that we know how the story from a view they cannot see? We know what each person is thinking and we are able to look at it from the outside.

First I want to focus on Jobs friends. As I read their accusations against Job I felt angry. I kept wondering how they could say he HAD to have done SOMETHING wrong for all of this tragedy to fall upon him. Then, I checked myself. They didn't know what I had read in the first few verses about what went on between God and Satan. They had no idea. To their credit they sat silent for several days with Job. Ever done that before? Job became so frustrated with them and their comments he called them miserable comforters. It was true, they were. This caused me to ask I a miserable comforter? We all have been at some point. We point our fingers and judge people, even our friends. We ask, "How could they afford THAT?" or "If they hadn't done XYZ then this wouldn't have happened."And on it goes. We THINK we know the situation. We THINK we know what the answer is. Just like Job's friends though, we are so wrong. Let us make ourselves aware that we are ignorant, and we have no right to Judge. Job's friends really and truly believed they were doing what was right. Hmmmm, I've been there. You? I've been so sure I was right, then God smacks me upside the head and knocks some sense back into me for a moment. Saul was sure he was right when he was killing Christians. Perhaps when we are sure we are right we need to step back for a moment. At the root of all of this, I believe, is pride. We don't like to admit we are wrong, do we? We like to play goody goody and sit ourselves up and look at other peoples problems when we need to fix our own issues. Job's friends can teach us a lot. We can see how much like them we really are.

The next time someone needs you, don't judge them. Don't pick apart why or why not they should have done something. Be there for them. Show them the love and mercy of Christ. Pray FOR them and pray WITH them. Right then and there and later. Guide them to the love of God.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Burdens are blessings in disguise

There comes a time when Our lives look like scrambled eggs rather than the pretty omelet we expected. Right now this is one of those times in my life. Just when I start to get comfy things get tossed around. I have stopped using the phrase..."when things calm down...". Things aren't going to calm down. One thing after another has been heaped upon me and my family for the last 2-3 weeks. God had been gently tapping my shoulder for months, but these past few weeks he just smacked me upside the head. You have my attention, Lord. At times I'm not sure how much more I can take. Truly it is a blessing.

God is helping me learn to let go. He wants less of me and more of him. The tougher our lives get the tighter we have to hang on to our Lord. When times get tough we ultimately have 2 options; Trust God or trust the illusion of our control. God is in control, now and always. When we think we have control it is an illusion of our own making. We are so good at deceiving ourselves, aren't we? The world teaches us to be independent relying on and caring for only ourselves. What a sad way to live, but all too common.

I struggle with letting go and letting God. I want to fix things. God is making it clear that there are some things I just can't fix. I am grateful.

As the song says; Oh what peace we often forfeit. Oh what needless pain we bare. All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.

Oh how true those words ring! The peace that passes all understanding (Phil 4:7) is free to us. Why do we not take it?? We are prideful creatures, that's why. God WILL give us more than we can handle, because he wants us to let him handle it. Our burdens are blessings, because they are stepping stones to grow closer to God.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)

The hard and trying times in our lives expose our weaknesses so that God can use them to show his strength. The key to all of this is we have to seek God and and his will. We cannot continue in our own way. We have to surrender DAILY to Jesus. When we open our hearts God will give us amazing peace and use us in amazing ways.

Here is to peace, His perfect peace. Will you let go of your worries and take hold of Him?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A little of this and a lot of that...

I realize it has been a couple weeks since I last posted something. It isn't that I don't have anything I want to write about. Ive been missing writing desperately. I'm just trying to find something I SHOULD write about. All I can say is right now, there is a family that needs prayers (no, I'm not talking about us). This family has been occupying my thoughts and I hurt for them. So please pray for them. God knows them, and their needs, just pray.

With that being said, I will move on.

Well, I've done it now! After another incident with my son at school, we pulled him out of the system and brought him home. The first few days, I panicked. The home school veteran in me gave way to the once dominant "What-was-I-thinking?!?' voice in my head. Doubt kept tugging at my heart.....telling me I couldn't do this. Telling me I was crazy (that one may have been right). Upon announcement of our choice I received commendation, as well as condemnation, so yet again it was confirmed that you have to make your own path and not listen to people. After I realized this, I realized that it would be ok, because God is God and if he can raise the dead he can help me do this!

With the start of the new year, I have taken on new responsibilities in many areas. Not only home schooling my son now, but many others.

Now, I want to bestow what random knowledge I have gained upon any new home schooling moms or families out there. First, I know how you feel. It is only strange if you DON'T feel over whelmed and panicked in the beginning (and even a few times throughout). Pray. There will be days when in order to save everyone's life, you will need to just step away and take a field trip to the park. You won't be perfect, which makes you perfect. You'll cry, laugh, and at times want to pull your hair out. Find what works for your family and do it. Pray. Observe other families but don't compare yours or anyone else's. Even the most organized teacher has her disorganized moments. Always take time to answer question your children ask and be flexible enough to deviate from the lesson to explore the answer they are looking for. It's ok if your kid doesn't speak 10 languages and or have the Greek alphabet memorized. Teach them how to love. Play games together. Read the bible out loud and teach them to read it quietly. Pray. Don't compare your kids with each other. Find a learning style or curriculum that suites your family. It's ok if you decided that you don't like the books you're using. There will be times when you second guess yourself....pray. Know up front that some forms of math are the devil posing as a bunch of numbers. At the end of the day write down the good. Kiss your kids. Tuck them in, pray with them, and praise God that you get to homeschool. It's going to be tough, but it will be worth it.

I am a second generation homeschooler. If you have any questions you want to throw my way or you just need a pick-me-up. I'll do what I can. The biggest things we need to remember are we are not alone. Get ready for the best and craziest time of your life.