Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Joy...



I was looking around facebook today perusing through the recommended friends that I might know and I came across a young man that I went to high school with. I clicked on his profile because though his name was familiar, I didn’t have a clue who he was from the picture posted. Well, he had some other pictures on there of him and his family and before too long, despite the shaggy beard and long hair, I started to recognize him.

I didn’t befriend him. I didn’t know him well in school…he was one of those “know of” people. But something in his pictures struck me.

Joy.

The pictures of him and his wife, him and his children and even shots of just him, radiated joy.

I was reminded how precious life is. How short our time here on this earth with our loved ones really is.

A stranger, for all practical purposes, in a handful of facebook photos, spoke into my life about the sanctity and sacredness of all the things we have been given responsibilty over this side of heaven.

For those of us that are blessed with partners in this life, we have been given divine responsibility in tending to another’s heart. To care for an nurture an adult, probably completely different from ourselves, in all ways physical, emotional and spiritual.

And for those of us that are parents, we are ordained to train up and lovingly guide our children. We’re beyond blessed to nurse wounds, to wipe away tears, to give piggy back rides, protect, cuddle and live as an example for these little hearts.

But so often, somewhere in there, with the demands of life and heartache and disfunctional upbringings, we lose the joy that is meant…that is necessary in these relationships.

Our marriages are our legacy.

Our babies are our gifts.

And it is up to us to not only conduct these bonds with Joy, but to create Joy for those we are bonding with.

I’ve always imagined traveling far and wide with my family, but because I fall into the “oh, we can’t do that until the kids are older” category I limit myself in what I think we’re capable of doing or not doing. This is a tiny example and kids don’t need cross-country excursions to taste joy, but I find that I place these limitations across the board of my life in a lot of what I do. I become stingy. Disgruntled. And before too long, I won’t even consider going to the park after a rain just to let my girl jump in puddles.

It’s the little things. Smiles and laughter. A little dirt and a lot of fun, literally and figuratively.

And it’s been entrusted to me to create joy in a number of shapes and forms through grace and through love.

I confess to letting things get to me and allowing them to rear their ugly heads when interacting with my husband and daughter. The two people who bring the most peace to my existence, the most happiness to my soul, I take out the bulk of my frustrations on. I sometimes lack joy.

So, in turn, I commit to smiling more. And letting the calm of God’s presence settle over my heart. I commit to kissing my husband and holding tightly to him as if today might be my last. And I commit to being a parent first to my children, but being their friends as well...a woman who they cling to now as their mommy, but will one day cling to as the woman who raised them in faith, strived to make life and learning fun, who would die for them and ultimately the woman who taught them to pass on this same joy it’s taking me a lifetime to learn.

Dear Jesus,
I praise you that you have thought it wise to give so graciously to me my husband and children. They are great and precious responsibities, ones I too often take lightly. But my prayer is that You will give me the wisdom and the strength to be the wife and mother you would have me to be. I yern to love like you love. To parent as you parent. And to walk in joy as you have said I can do through the joy of You…though I will face trial, never once allowing the enemy to snare my steps. Lord, I love you and I thank you so much for all the blessings you have bestowed upon me. Help me to know how to best bring forth fruit from Your havest in my life. You are an amazing God.
I love you.
Amen.



Monday, November 29, 2010

Be still...


I was struck by a song I heard on the radio this morning. It really resonated with me and though a Christmas song, I think it can speak volumes into my life right now as well as in the days and months to come.

Amy Grant’s “I Need a Silent Night”.

The chorus says it all….

I need a silent night, a holy night
To hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise
I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here
To end this crazy day with a silent night

It’s the holidays which in terms of busyness needs no explaination.

I’m expecting our second child, again…needing no further detail.

My girl is growing leaps and bounds before my eyes and craves, right here and right now, “togever” time with her mama. I know this won’t last forever.

With the dawn of a new year, I cast my gaze upon a multitude of changes in my life. None bad, but all very scary. And consuming.

Everything in this world around me is whirling and in my head I hear this song…

I need a silent night, a holy night…to end this crazy day with a silent night.

But in reality, it’s not just a night I need. What I really need and what God is gently yet persistently calling me to is having a “silent life”.

He is urging me to lay it all down…at the foot of the cross and let Him do what he is so very good at doing. He’s telling me over and over, just be still and know that I have it all under control.

But my feeble brain tells me I’m nesting and I have to get this checklist of stuff done before the baby gets here. The season tells me that I have to have THE perfect gift for everyone on my list and some of them need to be handmade. Oy.

My daughter is telling me that she knows her world is about to be rocked when her sister comes into this life and I translate that into having craft time and dance time and movie time…

My Lord and Savior tells me to go out into the world and make disciples in all the nations baptizing in His name.

And I’ve got laundry and dishes and church responsibilities and bills and what about down time?

What about me time? Or time for my husband?

It’s overwhelming. It’s too much.

But it doesn’t have to be.

If I’m being frank…all of it, every last bit…is self imposed.

I don’t need the perfect gift for everyone. In fact, gifts aren’t what it’s about at all is it?

This baby is coming into this world whether the dishes are done or not. Why have checklists and gridcharts to map out what ultimately I can’t control or change anyway?

My girl doesn’t crave activities…she craves me. So what about just…cuddle time?

And what if…just what if going out and making disciples is less about the “doing” and more about “being”? We don’t have to make it difficult, because it’s not.

I recently told a friend that in order to live out our lives for Jesus we had to be willing to DO just as He did. Looking back, now I think I was a bit wrong in that…

Truly we hold the power of the Holy Spirit within us to do just as Jesus did on this earth. But I think we, and I’m really referring to myself, tend to take that to mean we are the ones DOING it. When in reality we aren’t DOING anything. God is doing it, through us. We are but a vessel…He doesn’t need our help… with anything in this life. He is the Almighty God of the Universe, surely He could snap His fingers and all would be done. Why do we constantly nip at his heels hoping to help things along? Hoping to make things better? Striving to organize and strategize, staking our claims, making our marks, making/having the best____(fill in the blank) etc., etc.

He calls us not to do. He calls us to be. Be examples of his love and grace and joy. He calls us to be willing to let Him work through us. He’s calling us to chip away the “just good” for the “truly great.” To be able to lay our everything on the alter of sacrafice and let Him work His will in the refining flames.

He calls us to be still.

We have Thanksgiving under our belts now as the Holiday season surges forward. Oh, and there is so much to be thankful for.

Won’t you take time to bask in that thankfulness. To revel in the beauty that is being in God’s presence. Christmas is upon us and Jesus came to us in a silent night so that we might have eternal rest in Him.

Be.

Still.

In.

It.

Rest. In. It.

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for your love…your mighty, convicting love. Remind me that my reasoning and scheduing and to-do’s and holiday rushes are irrelevant in Your infinite and amazing plan for my life. Assure me that the blessings I have and the accomplishments I aspire to are not of my doing, but of yours. Use me Jesus…in such a way that my life, through the simplicity of being still in Your power and grace, is a testament to those around me. Thank you for Your love for me and this world. Thank you for coming to us in the form of a child. Thank you for Your life. And for Your death on the cross. What more needs to be done…for You have done it all.
I love you.
Amen.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Stupid...


 I grew up being taught that the word "stupid" was a bad word and unacceptable.  In fact, the one spanking I remember receiving from my Papa (who never spanked) was because I said "stupid".

Maybe it's trivial...but I determined long ago that my children wouldn't use the word either.

And it's a tough rule to follow because sometimes it sounds so fitting in certain contexts, but really, if you think about it, "stupid" (or any other similar word) is unnecessary to use.

As I've started reading the book of Matthew the last couple of weeks, it's funny, this was brought to light in one particular Scripture that had me both proud for implementing this rule, but also extremely enlightened at that severity in which it's discussed by Jesus.

Our words are precious.  And we must...MUST chose them wisely.

You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment."  But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. (NLT)
~Matthew 5:21-23

This is pretty serious stuff, people.

Wouldn't you know it, Emma heard it for the first time not too long ago (not by her mother or father I might add) and now it's become more and more of a favorite word of hers.

It's her "button" word when she wants to trip ALL my buttons.

She'll look at me or her daddy and say, "sssssssssssssss-TUPID, Mommy".  Or, "ssssssssssssssss-TUPID, Daddy."

A test.

And right, wrong or indifferent, I just don't think it's a word any two year old child should run around reciting.  It's just not nice.  Therefore we've taken to repremanding her when she says it.

Some would say this was too harsh...it's JUST a word for crying out loud!

In fact, the very person Emma heard it from recently pointed out to me that in the Message version of the Bible, "stupid" was in fact used. 

Given the above verse, I had a sneakin' suspicion I might know of at least one particular Scripture that used the word so I looked it up.

And sure enough...

"You're familiar with the command to the ancients, 'Do not murder.' I'm telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother 'idiot!' and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell 'stupid!' at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill. (The Message)
~Again Matthew 5:21-23

My point is this:

Regardless of whether we take this verse literally or figuratively, the truth is (and Jesus is saying this, ya'll) our words hold a power in them that we can barely even begin to comprehend.  They can destroy relationships, they can shatter self-esteem.  Words can communicate hate, disrespect and as an example of the latest Bullying deaths, words can kill.  What we say can strike at the heart of souls.  And in the case of believers, the words we chose can either back-up or negate our testimony for Christ.    

My challenge to everyone reading is to be thoughtful of what you say in the coming days.  Be aware of your responses with your loved ones, your co-workers and even the guy who cut you off in traffic.  Consider the verbage your children are picking up on and/ or using at school or Facebook.
And do something about it.
Make a change and stop spewing off at the mouth.
Because you don't always know who's listening or who it's affecting.

One day, it could come back to affect you.

Let's stay true to the old saying, "if you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all."

I know this is something that's going to take a lot of work on my part.  But I'm with you on this walk.

Our words...

It really, truly is serious business.  Think about it, folks.

Dear Jesus,
Guide my mouth and the words and tone and attitude that come from it, Lord.  I ask that you give me only love to speak of and the patience to hold my tongue when anything less wants to come flying out.
Lord, I ask that you give me the strength and wisdom, despite what others think, to teach my children both Your Word and Your words.  May You, through me, instill in them the very same love.  May the importance of what they say always be on their hearts and I pray all that flows from their lips is truth and grace.
I love you.
Amen 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

God Eavesdrops...


Remember that infamous church sign I saw a couple weeks ago that read,
"Short Sermon Week"?

Well, again on my way to work today I passed the same sign and now it reads,
"God Eavesdrops".

This sign makes me think. 
I'm starting to take a liking to it.

I was seeing this right at the exact moment that I was marveling over God's providence...
and in utter amazement that He IS involved in the minute details of our lives.

I was riding the fine line of wonder and doubt.

Does God really care about that?

Oh, He eavesdrops alright...

But it goes way beyond that as well.

I experienced an answered prayer today.  Nothing earth shattering.  Nothing major.  But a prayer nonetheless.  I had a simple worry that I let get to me until a few days ago when I said...you know what...God did not create me to worry.  Tomorrow can worry for itself.
And I handed it over to Jesus.

Today, my worry no longer exists because God provided an answer to my need.

The thing with eavesdropping is you can choose to sit on the learned info or you can use it.
God already knows what's in your heart so He doesn't have to "eavesdrop" per se.  I think what He's intent on hearing is...
your surrender.

So He can move in your life.

God can do anything...
He can change any heart...
He can move mountains and remove any obstacle...

Regardless.

He is involved in every facet of our lives.
Because He loves us.

But sometimes, not that He's standing idly by, we're just too busy paying attention to all the other junk plaguing our lives to notice that God is on our side.

He's eavesdropping and He's doing something about it.
Because He loves us.
We just have to learn to accept it and let Him.
Then be amazed.

Dear Jesus,
I love knowing that you take care in the little things of my life.  You are involved with everything, both big and small, that consumes my heart and my mind.
Lord, I give it to you.  And I beg you to work in my life and in the lives of those I love.
I pray you open our eyes to Your majesty and Your handiwork, no matter the concern or the worry.
Amaze us with Your attentiveness.
And answer our prayers, please Dear God, in Your will and Your way.
I love you,
Amen


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Simple...

On my way to work today I passed by a church.

You know how most churches have signs out front with some sort of message?

Sometimes they're witty like...

"CH__CH.  What's missing?  UR."
(bu dump bump ching)

or

"Autumn leaves - Jesus doesn't."

Sometimes the signs simply state what's going on.

The church I passed today..their sign read this:

"Short Sermon Week."

And though I don't think it was intentional on the part of the sign, I found this extrememly funny.
I laughed out loud.

Then my mind started reeling...

Did the pastor do that to bring people in?  Because everyone LOVES a short message.
Was it a ploy...?  We'll put Short Sermon Week on the sign to bring in the masses and then once they're in here we'll have a play on words and then make them sit for over an hour."
Or, is it really Short Sermon Week?  Is there a game that Preacher wants to get to so for the sake of honesty he's being up front and letting people know..."Hey guys, I've got VIP tickets to X game and church is gonna be over by 11:53 on Sunday."

It made me think of my Dad's pastor who tells everyone ahead of time the Lord has a lot for him to say on that day so get comfortable.

Most people look forward to the idea of Short Sermons.

I for one enjoy a well thought-out and prayerful sermon.  And if that means on the longer side, then so be it.

But from a societal standpoint, we (being the instant gratification, On Demand, DVR, Call Ahead, X-press Pay, WiFi everywhere, I-Phone addicted, Gotta Have it Now, More More More, Me Me Me people we are) have schedules and things to take care off.  The shorter the message the better.  Sunday (or Saturday~ whichever you prefer) is not a day of rest anymore...it's just another day and church can tend to tap into that day that you still need to GET STUFF DONE!

I love learning the in's and out's of Scripture from someone else's perspective.  And if that means sitting for 45 minutes vs. 12 minutes, then that's ok by me.

I like to take notes and soak in what the Holy Spirit is impressing upon my heart in that time.

I enjoy the academic side of it...the preparation and prayer and research and time that goes into what I hope most pastors put into their sermons.  If I were preaching and did all that work, I'd make it long too.

Short Sermon Week

But as all this was going through my mind and I was becoming a bit offended by this sign, God said to me...

"Is that the point?"

Hmmm....

When asked to draw a heart do we draw this?

Or this?


We draw the more simple one don't we?

So why do we, make the message of Jesus so complicated?

Again I thought back to the sign and it occurred to me maybe the pastor is just bringing simple back for a week.

No bells, no whistles, no expository research, no theological training necessary, anyone and everyone can understand...Short Sermon Week.

Because though the life and times before, during and after Jesus are important and interesting and in depth and even necessary for a believer to embrace and learn about at somepoint...

The Message of Jesus is Simple.

In fact, my two year old sums it up perfectly....

Jesus is God.
He was born a baby to His mommy Mary.
When He was big He died on a cross for our sins.
Because He loves us.
He went to Heaven.
But He'll come again.
And we'll get to meet Him.

We can make things really hard sometimes what with all the denominational disagreements and idiosyncracies.  Shoot, most members of ONE individual church have different beliefs most the time!
And we let all that get in the way.
We make it unnecessarily difficult, when it really isn't difficult at all.

But Jesus says,
"Just know me.  That's all."

The Great Big God of the Universe, who hung all the stars in the sky and who made our complex brains, bodies and hearts asks us to simplify.

I Am God.
I made everything you see, yet I came to this earth as a mere babe...defenseless and dependant.
I died a criminal's death.  Hung.  On a cross.
For You.
Because I love you.
I am in Heaven.
But you'll see Me again soon.

Dear Jesus,
Thank you.  Thank you that you have given us brains and hearts to learn about and feel Your message and love.  But praise and glory be to You, Lord that it's a simple one.  One that is meant for everyone, big and small, young and old, every color and creed, from all walks of life.
Speak it to us daily, Jesus.  And give us courage to share it, Lord.
I love you.
Amen


 


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Remembering...

There aren't many things that I (or my parents) kept from my childhood.

It's just not something we did.

Some people have rocking chairs or toy chests or baby dolls to pass on to their children.

Others have neatly pressed linens and clothes from a world gone by to adorn their babies in.

I don't.

Or rather, I don't have a lot of those things.

But what I do have is very special and I take great pride in passing it on to my Emma and eventually this new baby as well.

That's why when we ventured into the attic to retrieve this childhood love, it was an exciting day.


This is a doll sized bedroom set that my daddy gave me when I was a little girl.  The date it was made says Decmeber 15th, 1982.  I would have been two-years-old.

I remember loving playing with this.  It was the perfect home for my babies.  It came with a dresser and mirror, a four-drawer chest and a four-poster bed.

Seeing as Emma is in the babydoll phase right now, I thought it would be a nice addition to her collection of strollers, baby carriers and such.

And she loved it I might add.  Even more so, the happiness on her face when we presented it to her was enough to fill my heart with joy from now until eternity.

I haven't seen this stuff in years.  It's been packed away in our attic longing to be loved again.  And it just so happens when Jon brought it down, floods of emotion came back to me in the memories these precious toys held.

They needed dusting off and the mattress needed some love (ie. a good washing).  It also needed a bed covering and pillow, which I promptly made so Emma's dollies wouldn't go cold.

As I nursed the wood back to it's former sheen I noticed a few scratches here and a crack there.  The headboard of the bed needs a bit of glue.  And there's a few dark patches from where I'm sure I spilled juice or something wet on it at somepoint.

But all in all, the whole set is in grand shape.  To be almost 30-years-old that is.

Reminiscing about all the times I sat with my dolls on the floor playing in their little bedroom, I was reminded of when I first accepted Christ.

Upon first glance, this bedroom set and my faith have nothing to do with the other.  But the feelings this envoked of my childhood, I was able to see so clearly myself in the delicate grains of wood.  I could feel a love for me in the sturdy craftmanship of these pieces and I was once again transported back to a time when my adoration and faith in Jesus was so simple, yet so profound.

I don't remember a lot from when I was a kid.  And as time passed and I became older, the blurrier my memories get.

But I do know for a brief moment in my history I loved God with all of my heart.  Everything I was, I wanted to be even better for Him.

That's the stuff real faith is made of.  An uninhibited and crazy kind of heart-wrenching love for Someone bigger than you and who you can't see...this that only a child can fully grasp.

Age brings with it doubt.  And questions.  Trials and lots of errors.

Before you know it...

Before I knew it, I didn't know who God was and in turn I didn't know who I was anymore either.

In retrospect, I was sitting in my own attic of darkness and sin, just waiting to be loved again.

Now I'm a firm believer that God brings us to Himself and even back to Himself at regular intervals in our human lives.  We have to be aware of His calling.  And for most of us, because we're just so darn stubborn, we have to be at a total loss, to have hit rock bottom, so that the only thing we can see is God.

It's not out of meaness that He does this, but out of love.
It's how He gets our attention.

And when He does, thirty years of dust and cobwebs, maybe even a hint of mold are wiped clean again.  New coverings are made for you, your broken heart glued in all the right spots.  And your soul is lovingly stroked and tended to so that your spirit shines once again.

Maybe I'm not to my former "childlike" faith.  I still have those bumps, cracks and bruises I've aquired over the years afterall.  But my heart has been restored to it's former joy because my Savior has rescued me once again, just like He did when I was a girl.  And because of that, so too has my purpose in life been renewed as well.

Dear Jesus,
Over and over I've heard it said and even spoken it myself, "You are a God of second chances.  And third.  And fourth.  And so on."
I can't thank you enough for that being so true.  That You love me so much, You would give me even one chance, much less multiple ones to see me through to who it is I am supposed to be in You....that is so remarkable and so awesome.
I thank you for life, Lord.  And I praise you that you take care in constantly nursing my heart and spirit to the condition You wish it to be.
I love you.
Amen.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

God's Provision...


We face decisions every minute of our existence.  That is one thing we human's share...it's something we do...have to do...like it or not.

The difference, we'll find, is the ease (or lack thereof) in which we make these decisions.

Some of us are born decision makers and honestly I think I fall more into this category.

There are others that can't made a decision to save their life...we'll call them INdecisive.

Now, despite the fact that I think I'm a natural decision maker, I have to note that this does not negate the other fact that it takes me a LONG time to make most of the ones I face.  I have to do my research.  I seek out advice and recommendations.  I read (too much) on the internet.  I replay scenarios in my head over and over.  I make pros and cons lists.  I wake up at all hours of the night in a frenzy over unanswered questions.

And I pray.

This is where my faith comes in.

Now, if you are a believer in Jesus, you know that He is the ultimate source of guidence.  And usually, for me at least, when I'm looking for an answer, He gives it to me...with an abundance of peace.

But because I can let all that other stuff (like I mentioned above~ the research, the council, the sleepless nights) get in the way, it's hard to hear or see, often times, where He's wanting me to go.

Such has been my life these last several weeks.  At every turn it seemed I was faced with a decision to make.  Nothing bad or difficult I might add, but choices that required only the divine knowledge and providence of my Lord.  Not the subjective, biased and stubborn knowledge of me.

And there have been many a moment in these last several weeks that I have heard exactly where it was He was leading me.  But inevitably, I'd throw a self-imposed road block in there (like lack of trust) and I'd doubt His path.

REMINDER: Even Christ's desciples doubted His power when He turned around and fed 5000 with a couple fish and loaves of bread.  He was right smack in front of their faces and they STILL didn't trust what He was capable of.  So how much easier is it for us to do the same?

But what I'm learning is that, as if God's grace isn't enough, He provides me (us) with an endless supply of love.  He lovingly guides us according to His will, which is ALWAYS good.  And He has the supernatural capability to take our blinders off so that we might see the truth when we have no intentions of even opening our eyes.

In so many ways, He is smack in front of our face showing us what He can do with our lives if we'd let Him.

As if God's grace isn't enough...

He shows up...everytime.
He provides.

In every sense of that word....so you define it however you'd like.

He is that good.

Goodness that good is beyond my comprehension, but boy am I glad that He is.  And boy am I even more thankful that He has the authority to give me a swift kick when I'm standing in my own way, promptly changing my course to match His.

God is the author and creator of this life. 
He reigns over every woe, whim and descion you and I will ever face.
His hand is upon you, whereever you are.
And His grace and mercy and love and understanding and direction and revelation are everlasting.

Will you trust not just your decisions to Him, but your hearts as well.

Will you let Him give you peace over evey aspect of your life.

Dear Sweet Jesus,
Thank you.
My prayer could be long and lengthy, but Thank you says it all.
And I love You.
Amen

Monday, June 28, 2010

Long Time...No Blog...and a dash of real honesty.


It's been 28 days since I last blogged.  And I've missed it.  I've missed you guys too...my handful of readers.

Life has been crazy to say the very least.  And with all the busyness and stuff going on, my brain has been left void of things to write about.

Do you ever have seasons like that?  Where you just have nothing to say?

I talked with a friend today and she quoted a book she's been reading...it said, "you know that Christ has overtaken your heart when you can just keep your mouth shut."

I found that to be an interesting observation.  And one that really resonated with me in my life...right now...but also how it really summed up what's been going on with me and this blog for the last few weeks.

Though I haven't had much anything to write about, I've still been thinking about it right often.  There were mornings that I would wake up with full intentions to write about SOMETHING (no matter how trivial), but somehow during the course of that day, I would decide not to.  On those days, I ended up feeling as if I shouldn't write just ANYTHING.

So then I started to pray.

At first my prayers started out that God would give me words.  That He would spark inspiration in my heart.  That He would probe every last inch of my brain and pull from it an exquisite round of prose.
But soon, my prayers became less "my prayers" and more of His direction.

Direction in where HE would have me go (or not go) with this outlet of creative expression.

I've been convicted for sometime about how much time I spend on the computer.  It has been one of those things that has pulled me away from my family more than I care to admit.  And though Facebook and Twitter were somewhere in the mix, the bulk of my time was dedicated to this blog, its ratings, comments, followers, advertising, etc, etc, etc.  It's amazing, looking back, how many countless hours silly stuff like that took away from my days.

And as I would read other women's blog posts about their conviction in computer time/ blog time, I would feel their pain.  Yet I would end up right back where I left off...in front of the screen planning my next witty/ spiritual/ deep/ creative post.

I would see multiple, on the minute (it seemed), twitter postings from other bloggers and I would make myself feel better about "how little" time I spent on the computer in light of their constant updates.

I would sit and tell myself how this is a job for some women...which may very well be what God has called THEM to, but it was just a hobby for me so the time I spent was way less then what it would be were I expecting to bring in an actual income.

And then I would rationalize that I was speaking truth into people's lives so surely posting EVERYDAY was what I was supposed to do.

But let's face it....

None of that is true.  I spent the amount of time I did on this computer and this blog because I wanted to.

I'll even go as far to say...

This blog became MY IDOL.

And please, to those of you who have blogs out there and are reading this thinking I'm judging you...know that I am not.  I can't vouch for where your heart and calling are in your blogs.  I can only do that with and for mine.  And right now, the way I have been operating this whole deal is not what God wants for my life at this moment.  That simply, is the purpose of this post...not to condemn anyone else for the joys and/or successes they have in blogging.

So in these last 28 days God has been showing me what His purpose for me is in terms of this blog...and I've just been taking the time to honestly reflect on it and let it all soak in.

It's been sad.  But it's been empowering as well.

I feel enlightened knowing that God does give me what I'm supposed to write about, but now those words will adhere to His timetable and not mine.

A weight has been lifted in that I don't feel like I absolutely HAVE to post something so I don't lose readers.

And I take joy in the fact that as much as my husband loves reading my blog and my children one day will, my time is better spent with them right now...and they love that even more then what I have to say on this here website.

So what does all this mean?

Well, it doesn't mean I'm going to stop blogging all together.

It simply means my priorities have changed.  And I will post when I feel called.  That might look like twice a week and that might look like twice a month.  It's not up to me anymore =).

You'll also notice there isn't any extra "stuff" on my sidebars.  Nothing to track visitors.  No ads.  As much as I adore my awards and thank you for all of them, they are gone, too.  No more twitter, which honestly, I never really liked anyway.  Basically, nothing to distract me.

I'm giving this blog to Jesus.
And hopefully, I'll know he has invaded this space when I can just keep my mouth shut.

Blessings (and thanks for readings!),

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Prayer...


Hubby and I were talking about prayer this morning.

Well, actually, we were talking about leadership and prayer.

Leadership is his thing...prayer is mine.

We both have equal amounts of passion for our desired topic, but I also think we lack understanding in why the other subject is so near to our spouse's heart.  Jon has definite thoughts, opinions and views of Scriptural leadership that I just don't get.  He can find it in ANY verse of the Bible.  I, on the other hand, have an entirely different perspective on prayer (and grace) than Jon does, and I can find THAT in ANY verse in the Bible.

It's where our differences bring us together and hopefully grow us in our faith with one another.

So....

this post is for Jon, my beloved.

Honey, prayer to me is...
An act of love.  
One that brings you closer to not only your Heavenly Father, but to those around you.  It is something that strengthens marriages.  It bonds family ties.
It mends indiscretions.
It heals wounds and it pieces together broken hearts.
It creates in us an ability to be vulnerable and let our guards come down.
It is a time when we can pray on someone's behalf, but also when we can humble ourselves to God's mighty grace and love so we can experience intercession in our lives from others as well.
It's about communication...but even more so it's about surrender.
It's a matter of the heart.
It's personal, yet it's communal.  It can be enjoyed by one and by the masses...separately and at the same
time.
Prayer is God's gift to us.  To show us He is there and active in our lives.
Prayer is our gift to God.  To show Him that we are listening.
No one prayer is of more or less importance then another.  For they are all honest petitions placed at Christ's feet, for Him to meet in His will and His way.
Prayers are heard.
They are felt.
They are experienced.
And they are answered...
though not necessarily on our terms, but always with our best interest in mind.

And Jon, I'm blessed to call you my partner in prayer.  It is my honor to pray with and for you and our family.
I love you.


And while I'm at it...

Would you leave me a comment to let me know how I can be praying for you today?

Blessings friends,

Friday, May 28, 2010

Girly Things....

Since I didn't have an actual planned post today...

I'm going to share some things that make me smile~ extreme Girly Girl style.

May they add a little ray of sunshine to your Friday as well!!


It's true, I {heart} you Tiffany blue!



Some Anthropologie wardrobe inspiration.


A vintage Vanity Table for getting all dolled up!



Holly Golightly and Carrie Bradshaw~ the ULTIMATE Girly Girls.


An English Settee anyone?  You know for kicking off your heels...or photoshoots!


A batch of flower brooches~ for your bags, your shoes, or your hair!

&


A shade of pink that works with every skintone!!

Happy Friday to all you girly girls out there!!




Thursday, May 27, 2010

BrainQuest...


I've been on the lookout for quite sometime for something I can do/play with Emma to implement a learning time during the day.

Since we are considering homeschooling, I need to get a schedule in place early and although Emma is only two, I don't think children are ever too young to learn.  Not to mention, for me, it's never too early to start a habit of it for her!

There are a ton of books on the market for the toddler age range that incorporate learning into games and/or crafts.  In fact, I love the Dollar Trees selection of pre-K workbooks that teach colors, shapes, numbers, letters.  We have a ton of those.

But one thing that I just recently came across is BrainQuest.  I happened upon them at a children's consignment shop and they are so fun!  We got the 2-3 age range, but they go on up to age 13.

Basically, for our particular set, it's about vocabulary development.  Max the Monkey is the star of the show and through a series of familiar places and activities (like getting up, lunch time, nap time, etc) he encourages conversation with your toddler, thus widening their vocabulary.

For example:
On the getting up card, you might see Max sitting up in his bed in his room and the following questions.
1) Who just woke up?
2) What is Max wearing?
3) What do you see in his room?

Simple to us, but oh so stimulating to your child.  And in my opinion, not only is it teaching words, it also teaches what to do during specific times of day or how to act in certain situations as it walks them through a variety of events.

Emma loves it, too!  This is a special time that she gets to sit down with mommy and "talk"!  What a great way to coincide learning with a time of bonding as well!

So check it out at brainquest.com for more details and their entire product line.

By the way...

BrainQuest has no idea who I am.  Nor was I reimbursed in anyway for this post.  I simply found a product that I love and wanted to pass it along!

For more head over to


&


Blessings,




Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Our children...

(Illustration by Cyd Moore)

My girl.

I could get lost in her hugs.

Her eyes and her dimples and her smell bring me peace.

My heart revolves around her little hand held in mine.
And I don't look forward to the day she stops clinging to my side.

She calls me Mommy.

A Princess.

and pretty.

I am her protection, her strength and her friend.

 I call her baby.

Doodlebug.

and monkey.

She is my faith, my teacher and my everything.

God so blesses us with children, for they are most often wise beyond their years.  They hold an incomprehensible about of love and trust in their little hearts and though they might not share well and may sometimes require timeouts, oh how they can teach us about the complete character of Jesus. 

My prayer is that I heed this wisdom ordained to me in the responsibility of parenting.  That with this highest call and duty, I would extend nothing but grace and love and patience and perseverance in all that I do pertaining to my children.  That through me they will learn even further what the Love of Jesus is and what it means.  But more importantly that through Christ in them, the world can know it, too.

Dear Lord, 
Thank you for my Emma.
And any other children I might be so privileged to care for this side of heaven.
Amen.


(I'm sharing this as part of the Mom's 30-minute Blog Challenge over at Steady Mom.  Check it out!)

Peace be with you, 

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Grass is Always Greener...


It never fails, when I get to a spot in my life where I don't think anything is going my way...
Where I feel like I'm being punished....
Like things could be better if only....
Like God isn't hearing my prayers....

He speaks into my life and He show's me that the grass isn't always greener on the other side.

Today was one of those days.
Satan had me in a tizzy this morning!  
He did!  
My brain was just a swirling with doubt and self-pity and anger.

"No one has a clue what it is I'm going through!" I mumbled to myself several times.

Problems...

Then I talked with a friend.  Not about my issues.  
But of a little girl she knows who, at the tender age of 13, is facing insurmountable obstacles in her life.
A child that is about to have a child.
A baby, carrying a baby under circumstances so devastating they are unmentionable...
Problems?
What problems?

And I'll be honest, for a brief moment in that discussion, my hard heart actually thought...
"Yes, but despite the severity of her situation, she's young...she has her whole life to experience the redeeming love of Jesus!  And I have, but I don't feel Him right here and right now!"

I looked up pictures of grass and this one was first...

It so accurately portrays my skewed vision in my earlier thought process.
Yes, the grass is greener on the one side, as if I'm standing in the barren pasture, but if I look closely even on the pristine side there is a storm brewing.

God's been telling me to trust Him lately.  More so than He has ever before.
And I'm finding in these coming days, trust won't come easy, but He is there, even when I least expect it.

My woes seem a many, until compared to the plight of someone truly in need.
And again, God is there, giving me wisdom and direction through what I think I can't handle.

I envision Him walking in front of me.
Holding my hand.
Looking back every so often to reassure me He won't lead me astray.
We're in the wilderness and He is clearing my path.
I get glimpses of light through the brush and that's when a branch swings back in my direction.
Only to be caught by my Savior's scarred hand and again He looks back at me and smiles.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday. 
~Psalm 37: 3-6 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
~ Psalm 91

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The fear of man lays a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
~Proverbs 29:25
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. 
~Isaiah 26:3-4

Dear Jesus,
Oh Lord, so often I beg of a different life.  I wallow in what seem like struggles and I dream of that greener grass.  I'm so forgetful to the fact that you are the Author and Creator of my life, Dear God, and I own you nothing less than thanksgiving and praise for all that I have.  Forgive me for extending instead my complaints and resentment, Lord.  Please correct my heart so that it is aligned to Yours in all things.  
Bless me with confidence and strength to be thankful for even the things my human heart considers weighty and trying.  And please, Lord, teach me to understand that You do have my best at heart.
Precious Jesus, I trust you. 
And I love you.
Amen.
What are you facing today that seems too big?
Is it too big for God?
I encourage you to know that it is not.  
What may seem life altering to us...
The things that rock our faith the most...
Are tiny in the hands of Jesus.

So join me in placing our issues there.
Where He can handle them accordingly.

Trust.



Blessings,


Friday, May 21, 2010

A little under the weather...


Hey all...

Just wanted to say sorry for being a little MIA for the last couple days.

I've been fighting off a nasty cold and I just haven't been in a blogging mood.

But, I'm on the upswing I believe and I'll be back to my regularly scheduled program next week!!

I pray you have blessed weekends!!

See you Monday!!

Blessings,