Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Year that Was

2010-how did you get here? Wasn't I supposed to have my flying car by now and spandex suit?
But, here we are rocking the 2000's.

Some things that stick out as I look over the year are,

Celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary
Speaking for the first time as the "Lessons from Aisle 12 Lady"
Sending my boy off to middle school (and surviving-both of us!)
Showing my kids the ocean for the first time-and them loving it as much as I do
Staples in the back of two kids heads
Dental work
Buying a popup camper-and being excited about using it
Camping with my little people and enjoying the quiet evenings around the campfire
Great Movies
J riding on two wheels-or should I say FLYING on two wheels?!!?

J heading off to first grade, and being gone all day for the first time in his seven years.
Seeing B in her first ballet outfit and crying through her first recital.

Making new friends
Watching old friends leave for places far far away to serve Jesus

God's constant provision
God's constant presence
God's constant protection
God's constant peace

And God's amazing grace! I said earlier this month that the older I get the more I say God's grace written on every page of my life-and that is so very true.

What about you? What sticks out to you as you look over 2010?
Wednesday, December 29, 2010

To Resolve or Not. . .

I took a very informal poll on facebook the other day about New Year's Resolutions.

The general consensus was, no resolutions. And I think I probably fall into that camp as well.

For many years I've made them, only to face February all ready in defeat.
I'm the kind of the person that once I fail, I have a REALLY hard time mustering the courage to start again.

The other side of the coin is: It's good to have goals, something to aim for.

So what about you? Do you set New Years Resolutions?
Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

We are at the Grandparents house for the rest of week, so far today we've played about 40 games of Memory, made cupcakes for Jesus birthday, built the worlds largest Hot Wheels track and now the littles are taking a much needed nap while I finish wrapping presents.
Tonight we will partake of my favorite Christmas Eve tradition-a candlelight service at our church.
Then home for snacks, games and the favored ONE present to open. I love that even though 2 of my kids know that it's their Christmas pj's they are still excited about that one gift!

But, while surround by those I love today, my heart cannot help but think of those who are hurting. This time of year seems to bring those hurts up front, even for those who wounds turned to scars long ago.

So, to those who are hurting and feeling alone, know that I am praying for you today.

Jesus came to heal the hurting, everyone of us. I pray you find Peace in Him this Christmas season!

A very Merriest of Christmas to each reader and even in your darkest hour you can cling to the promise of Emmanuel-God is with us!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Everything Means Something

I believe God does everything with a meaning and purpose.
I don't believe God deals in the random.

So with that in mind, these are always a few things about Christmas that I love to reflect on.

The Bread of Life was born in Bethlehem, The House of Bread.

The Lamb of God first visitors was a group of Shepherd's.

The Light of the World had only a star to guide seekers to him.

The Great Shepherd was born in a lambing cave with only their feeding trough to lay Him in.

There are many more and feel free to leave one that is special to you.

When I reflect on Christmas the thing that sticks out the most is this thought:
The only reason why Christ came is because of love.
Love for you and me. Love undeserved.
Love poured out over and over again from the beginning of time, but fully manifested that night in Bethlehem and ending on a cross on Calvary that lead to an empty tomb.

I pray this Christmas season you have felt the presence of Emmanuel, God with Us.
And, if you haven't I pray you will call out to Him and that you will look at every corner of your life and see Him there in every part.

Merry Christmas!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Do You Hear What I Hear?

We were taking my oldest to basketball practice tonight.
Couldn't find my keys so as usual we were rushing, rushing, rushing out the door.

Traffic was crazy and there were sirens in the distance.
My mind was swirling with all that needs to be done before we head to Grandma's house on Thursday.
The news came on our local Christian station and distractedly I heard the news of the day. None of it good.
I really paid it no mind though, as those I know who are hurting began to enter my thoughts and silent distracted prayers went up.

But, in the midst of the noise and chaos and clutter of my mind, I heard a little voice from the backseat, sweetly singing "Do you hear what I hear".
She'd been singing for awhile but I had just put it in the noise category that was swirling around me, until I heard that precious tiny voice singing the line:
A Child A Child sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light.

A tear sprang to my eye, as I thought about how distracted I can become by all that is going on around me that I forget the Child sleeping in the night.

He's here now, just like He was then.
So many missed Him then because they didn't stop and listen,just like so many miss Him now for the same reason. We don't listen, or see because we're so distracted.
I know I can be.
Often the things that distract us are important.
The sirens were going to someone who needed help.
My friends are hurting and in pain because of real things in their lives.
Things really do need to get done.

But, if I can stop and listen and remember the One who came to bring Peace-who is Peace himself suddenly I can see what this life is just a temporary stop on our way to live in Peace with the Prince of Peace someday.

A little tiny voice in the backseat during rush hour, reminding me what the season is all about.
Of course, of course that is what it was. And I am so grateful.
Monday, December 20, 2010

Lamb of God

Once upon a long night after a hard cry Somewhere in bethlehem
A baby graced the silence sweetly he's crying I AM EMMANUEL
Then angels gave him music
Shepherds gave reverensce and a message to the land
A widow held and cherished the god who became a man

Oh Lamb of God
Oh Prince of Peace
What tribute shall I bring to worship thee
I have no gold to lay at your feet
So lamb of God I offer me

Can you see the wise men?
A star did guide them searching all the earth
Till they found the one child the very godchild who ruled the universe
Did they know the lady's little baby was God and fully man
And everything they gave him he himself had made with his hands

I bring you all my hopes
I bring you all my dreams
I give you all my soul my mind and all my strength I wrap them all inside my heart to give to the
And I come
O come let us adore him
O come let us adore him
O come let us adore him Christ

Oh lamb of God oh Prince of Peace
What tribute shall I offer thee
I have no gold to lay at your feet
So lamb of God may I offer me

See I have no gold to lay at your feet so lamb of God
Please let me offer me

Lamb of GOD I offer me

Written by David and Nicole Mulluns
Saturday, December 18, 2010

Around the World and back again. .

I was looking over the latest stats from the blog last night.
I was overwhelmed with love and gratitude! And grace. Sweet sweet Grace.

So, I just wanted to thanks to every reader, from Thailand (thanks Lanie!) to Russia to Slovenia to my facebook peeps-the ones I know and the ones I don't, those who've come over from other blogs.. .
Thank you.
Thank you for taking the time to read, to pass along to a friend, to leave a comment.
I don't ever take that for granted!

Thanks for helping to make this a great year!

Peace and Joy to you and yours in the New Year!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2 years and a 1000 prayers

Two years ago tomorrow our precious little girl went into our local children's hospital for kidney surgery.

Here's a pic from that day

and another

Here she is today

There were many highs and lows in those days before Christmas and I'll never forget that terrifyingly long week in the hospital.
Turning my baby back over to God for what seemed like every hour.

But He is good and kind and faithful, and with us every step of the journey- whether on the mountain top or down in the valley.

I've had to remember that again the past few days as some precious friends have walked a road of their own with their sweet 7 year old.

And then I think about Christmas, when God sent his only son to us to ultimately be our sacrifice so we could live with Him someday.
He is intimately and acutely aware of our pain and sadness as we watch our children struggle.
He is not unaware or unmoved by our feelings of grief.

What an unspeakable gift.

I pray you receive it this year.

So, two years and a 1,000 prayers later I am reminded once again of His love for us.
Thursday, December 9, 2010

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

One of the best versions of this song there is-make me teary every time I hear it.

Do you hear the bells?
Like the Angels singing
Open up your heart and hear them

Peace on earth
Goodwill to men
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Heart of Merry Christmas

I originally wrote this two years ago.
Although the world is a darker place now than it was then, I still stand by what I wrote.
Feel free to let me know what you think!

Let me say two things right up front.
1) I do think there is a cultural 'war' on Christmas. In our quest to make everyone happy and comfortable, many have taken things to a ridiculous level.
2) I LOVE Christmas! I mean, I love everything about Christmas!

So, that being said, the whole 'We Say Merry Christmas' thing often leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.
Not that I don't think we shouldn't say Merry Christmas-- at our house we say it to all we greet this season. (note I do make an exception to those CLEARLY of a different religious belief)
And not that I don't think it's just plain silly to say 'Holiday' tree and the like. Seriously, I think everyone can agree it's a Christmas tree.

My problem with the whole thing is the attitude behind it. If you are saying Merry Christmas to prove some kind of point- The point you are proving is that you have attitude. Wishing someone Merry Christmas should come from the heart! That you do want them to know the true meaning of Christmas not that you have an agenda.
Never once have I found someone not respond back to with a smile and a "Merry Christmas to you too!" when saying it to them.

I know we've drifted far away from our founding principles as a nation and I know that is scary thought for so many of us. But, I want to teach my children and show others around me that Jesus came so long go, because He loves us.
I'm not sure you can do that with a chip on your shoulder.

When I think back to that cold Bethlehem night in a stable far away, I think of the love and compassion of a God who sees us and loves us anyway.
I have a hard time believing He would want us to use that night so long ago as weapon for when the "World" acts like the "World" always will.
Jesus came to be the Light of the World and calls us to be light in a dark place.
I'm not sure how much light we're putting off while tearing someone else down.

So, I'll say Merry Christmas to the overworked check out person at Wal Mart and to the diligent bell ringer as I drop in some change, to the tired waitress who messed up my order, not because I'm proving a point, but because I do indeed hope they know the peace, love and joy of a very Merry Christmas!
Monday, December 6, 2010

Hair today Gone tomorrow

Maybe you're not as shallow as me. Frankly, I hope you're not!
But, I love a good hair cut and color and I especially love highlights.
I've always had a thick, full of body hair. Without fail, every time I've sat down in a hairdressers chair she has said.
WOW! You have thick hair!

I've always loved my hair.( I know that sounds so vain doesn't it??) It does what I want (usually) and can adapt to just about any cut. When you are the round shape and wear glasses, well, let's just having great hair is blessing you cling to some days.

Recently, I began to notice my hair was falling out. And not in strands. In Clumps.
I've known for awhile that I have a thyroid problem, but have basically ignored it even though all my nurse friends have told me that is bad bad idea. I have serious needle phobia and the other side effects of the non working thyroid I felt I could live with-that is until the hair started falling out. That got me on the phone faster than you can say " I'll take the blond highlights please!"
So, on the medicine I've gone and really I have felt so much better and have confessed to my nurse friends that yes, indeed they were very right.
But, the hair hasn't stopped falling out yet.

And let's just say I was having a fit the other day between flat ironing attempts.

It went a little something like this:

" Please, Lord not my hair! I've given you everything else haven't I?? My marriage, my kids, my ministry. What else do you want from me? My hair, are you kidding me? That's the only thing I've got going for me-really my hair too? You want my hair too??"
And once I shut my mouth long enough to hear, in the quiet of my soul, I heard:
"And why not your hair? Can't I use anything I want? You say you've given me your life, but you can't spare your hair?
How many women are sick and have lost their hair? How many vain women need to know beauty-all beauty is from within? Give me your hair and let me show you what I can do with anything!"

I know it may sound silly to some, but right there in the bathroom, I gave God my hair. The Bible says you know every hair on my head. You created me, I belong to you, all of me. Whatever it takes to bring you glory, I give to you. Whatever you need to remove from my life, I give it to you.

I wish I was deeper, but I'm not-God wanted my hair that day. I have no idea what will come and you know, still not thrilled at the pile of hair I see in the sink each day, but have come to the place of knowing God is the master of all and only has my best in mind.
And, I really hope he doesn't ask me for chocolate and Diet Coke next. :)
Friday, December 3, 2010

Selah - Light of the Stable

Another one of my Christmas favorites. Think this will stand the test of time and become a classic!
Thursday, December 2, 2010

Desperate to be Real

I've never seen an episode of Desperate Housewives.
Wish I could say it's because my viewing habits would never permit such a thing.
But, really it's because the name really hacked me off when it first came out.
Many a stay at home mom has felt the need to 'defend' herself and her calling to be at home with her kids.
I didn't/don't need the TV telling me I'm desperate too.

However, if you are an avid people watcher, like myself, there is something compelling about reality tv. And besides all the cooking/fashion competitions, I have found myself drawn the the 'Real' Housewives series.

But, as I was watching a recent episode, with yet another fight between the women. I was trying not to laugh as I realized that unless you could hear the words they were saying, you would have never known they were angry, because their faces never moved.
The eternal quest to stay young, has caused them the inability to express their feeling in any other way besides shouting.

Lest, you think I think I'm so above that, let me just state that I've got some major areas where I could use a little botox -but seriously have you seen the SIZE of those needles???
Chicken I am. Needles and you know, that whole putting a flesh eating bacteria in your face have steered me away from that path.

But, I got to thinking how in my circles we may not Botox, but we certainly can be just as plastic. Ok, perhaps I shouldn't speak for others and only for myself.

It seems to me though, that often where you should find the most genuine people is where you find the most plastic, fake people.
Never a fight with their spouse. Children who never roll their eyes or talk back.
Bank accounts always full. Fulfilling jobs. Extended families that there is never any conflict between. Pornography, never heard of it. Lose my temper, why I never heard of anything so outrageous.
Everyone and everything in our lives is fine, just fine, thanks -and you?

Not that we need to verbally throw up on everyone we meet and tell them every struggle we are having whether it's major or minor.
But, we've got to come to a place were we are real.
The world doesn't need any more plastic fake people.

I've heard my whole life how Christians are to be 'set apart' from the world. We are not to blend in but stand out. Be different.

Yes, we are set apart. Maybe one of the things we should be most set apart about is our genuineness.
Be the kind of people that when someone is in need or trouble we are the first people they think of talking to-not the last.

The older I get the more I find myself so desperate to be real. Maybe it's because real is so rare.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Downhere-How Many Kings

One of my favorite Christmas songs.
Happy Dec. 1!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Our 7 year old has been dealing with some pretty significant dental issues.
Sadly (queue guilt trip!! I'm quite familiar with that road) we didn't realize that is what was wrong until Sunday night.
Sunday night was ROUGH. Lots of tears and can you please make it feel better Momma???

So, yesterday after a preliminary dental visit he got some heavy duty medicine so he could (hopefully) sleep pain free.

I was so frustrated yesterday. Tired. Cranky. Grumpy. A 'I want off the roller coaster' kind of day.

Then I heard this at prayer time

"Dear Jesus, please help my mouth feel better.
But, if you can't tonight, thank you for the pain, because the pain tells us something is wrong and that my body is trying to feel better."

It was hard to hold back the tears. That's an awful lot of wisdom to come out of a wild little man.

Thank you for the pain. I don't say that enough.
Monday, November 29, 2010

christmas card 2010

Family Wall Red Christmas Card
Make a statement with Shutterfly Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.
Thursday, November 25, 2010


Thanksgiving Day is here.
Good smells are already wafting through the house and eager anticipation is building at the thought of spending the day with the people I love the most.

But, before the craziness of the day takes over, I wanted to pause and give thanks.

I'm so thankful for God's overwhelming Grace, for a Saviour who came and gave everything, when He didn't have to give anything.

Thankful to live in a country who's founders braved the ocean and the unknown to come to a land where they could be free to worship.
We read a story to the monkeys last night about those first Pilgrims and it was hard to keep from crying thinking about how they gave up everything in order to be free.

Thankful for the Hubs and the 3 Monkeys. Without them I'd be a selfish, spoiled brat.
They have all filled my life with joy and I'm so undeserving to be called Mom. But, so grateful that I am.

Thankful for a church home where I can be myself and a pastor who not only preaches the Word, but shows love and kindness to his people. I don't have to pretend that I've got it all together or that I have all the answers. People don't have that everywhere, I don't want to take that for granted.

Thankful for my Bible study ladies, who put up with me every week and study so hard. They are and inspiration.

Thankful for a warm house, clothes and food. I often take for granted that I can go turn the heat up-just because I've got a chill, I can get a drink of water anytime I want and open the fridge to always find food. Most of the world can't do that. I am blessed.

Thankful for you. For every reader-whether lurker or someone who comments ( although the comments are always fun!)you have blessed my life this year.
What a privilege that you would take the time out of your crazy life and read my silly words. So, please let me say Thank You! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I pray you are surrounded by the people you love most-and if you're not, that you will fell the presence of God in a real and mighty way.

God Bless!

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Ps 100:4
Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Dip in the Road

This is the time of year where we reap the consequence of having big old trees in our yard.
In a word.
In another word.

And until the last one drops not just from our yard, but from the neighbors. . .it's a constant task to keep up.

So, from rakes, blowers, vacuums to the ridding lawn mower trying to grind them down we have and do try it all.

As, I took my turn on the ridding mower, which starts out fun, but ends up with you going over and Over and OVer and ovER and O V E R the same patch of grass, I began to notice a small dip in our front yard. The mower would slow down a bit and then get right back to normal. At first.
But, after I'd done that pass several times, it went from slowing down to really slowing down where I'd have to give it a little wiggle to get it moving again, until the last time. Then it just stopped.
The Hubs had to come and give me a push.

Now, I knew the little dip was there. The imperfection of non level ground, yet I kept running over and over the same spot.
It reminded me of how I often I do that to the people I love.
Run over and over that little dip in their life. A little imperfection that we both know is there, but my running over just makes worse.
At first it may just slow them down-an annoyance but not to bad.
But, if it doesn't let up-well after awhile it can just make them want to quit.

Let's face it, we all have things we need to work on, but having someone just run you over and over may get the 'leaves' out of the way, but it'll never make the 'dip in the yard' disappear.
That's up the Creator. Not. Me.

Oh,that I would learn that. I have a feeling my family might have the same prayer :)
Friday, November 19, 2010

Addison Road - All That Matters(Official Music Video)

All that matters is your love has set me free. . . .

What a wonderful gift!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

David Crowder Band - SMS [Shine]

This is an amazing video by on of my favorite groups.
But as amazing as the video is, don't lose the lyrics-equally as amazing!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oswald Chambers and Dirty Clothes

I found my self grumbling at the pile of laundry that has overtaken my laundry room and frankly felt a bit of resentment as I threw yet another load in this morning.
After all I've got a Bible study to prepare for and a speaking opportunity on Friday at a local church.

Don't they know I've got more important things to do??

Then I read this by Oswald Chambers: We want to be able to say, “Oh, I have had a wonderful call from God!” But to do even the most humbling tasks to the glory of God takes the Almighty God Incarnate working in us. To be utterly unnoticeable requires God’s Spirit in us making us absolutely humanly His. The true test of a saint’s life is not successfulness but faithfulness on the human level of life.

Talk about toes being stepped on and heart full of conviction.

The greatest blessing in my life will never be standing in front of a group of women.
It is a blessing, a huge one. To be called of God to teach is humbling and overwhelming at times. And I wonder EVERY DAY why He chose to look at me with all my imperfections and craziness and say 'Yep, that's the one I want to use.'

But, my greatest blessings will always be my family.
And right now my family needs clean clothes, clean bathrooms, a nurse, a teacher and a playmate and a carpool driver.
So I will do all those things with as much joy and gladness as I do getting ready to go speak or write.

So many women I meet feel so insignificant and lost in throws of motherhood. And it can be overwhelming at times, feeling like no one sees all you do. When no one thanks you for the clean underwear in their dresser drawer. But, always rest assured that God sees and He is pleased with the care you are giving your precious family.

We are told over and over again in the Bible how much God loves and cares for His children, so how special we must be to be put in charge of the littlest ones who can't care for themselves.

Today, I'll happily fold the laundry, clean the stool and drive around town to 2 different basketball practices, because that is my task that the Creator of the Universe - and the Creator of my family gave me. And as much as I do it for them, I do it all for Him even more.
Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dusty Heart

This was originally published on Veteran's Day of 2010. 
I wanted to share this again today in honor of my Hero Dad and all the other hero's we honor today.

I found it in a cardboard box long long ago on some childhood exploration.
A small black box, very unadorned.

I opened it up and looked inside.
And there settled in white silk was a ribbon and a heart.
Shiny and purple there it gleamed with the face of a man looking out at me.

I gasped in delight and was so excited.
To my little girl eyes it looked just like jewelry.
So off to Momma I ran.
Can I wear this?, I eagerly inquired?

Oh no she said with a look in her eyes I did not recognize.
For that belongs to Daddy

Where did it come from I wanted to know.

Go and ask she replied,
So he can tell you his story.

To his lap I ran
Tell me Daddy, Where did your pretty heart come from?

Silence followed for quite awhile and then he said
Now listen honey, I fought in a jungle far away so you could always be free.
I got hurt and so they gave this to me.

Oh Daddy you're so brave, my little girl heart swelled.

Daddy, I asked, Can we take your pretty heart out and put on display for all to see?

Little One, he said, Let's keep it tucked away
There were others who gave their lives in that jungle, they gave so much more than me and promise me you'll never forget all that was sacrificed for you.

You're my hero I said.
I'm no hero, I was just a boy doing what I was asked to do.

But, my little girl heart somehow knew My daddy was a hero even if he let his purple heart grow dusty.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13
Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What's Up Doc?

I have to recap our trip to parent/tot gymnastics this week.
It's just to good not to share.

First you should know that it's a pretty diverse (relatively speaking) group of people that are there. And typically you see the same faces each week.

Oh, and my kids have been watching a lot of classic cartoons lately.

But, this week there were about 5 to 6 new faces at during our group time.

As an avid people watcher I was excited-new faces to watch!

About half way into our time I realized an interesting dynamic between a couple of parents with kiddos about the same age.
Comparing who could do what on which equipment and the like.
Then came the MOST FASCINATING conversation about preschool I have ever heard.

(Just to clear my name, I wasn't eavesdropping, they were talking right next to me)

It went from class size, style comparisons, location,to the one that really got -and that they were extra proud of-which language immersion their child was doing.
A serious game of one upsmanship was happening.

Meanwhile, my little princess has climbed onto the trampoline and said 'Look Momma I'm bouncing like a bunny!'
Everyone turned to look at her, and I was nodding telling her 'I see you hopping like a bunny.'
When she says "See I'm Drugs Bunny!".
The over the top parents froze in mid sentence and it seemed as if time stood still.

"Do you mean Bugs Bunny?" trying not to giggle.

"Yep, that's me Drugs Bugs Bunny! What's Up Doc?"

We homeschool for preschool and our immersion is in classic cartoons. Thank You very much.

If there is anything that will get you over yourself and teach you all about grace it's children. And having more than one teaches you to be very generous in how and when you pass those things out.

Something tells me those parents won't be back to play with us anytime soon.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010


We parents all face it.
The dreaded morning whirlwind.
Dirty pj's on the floor , beds getting made, brushing teeth, breakfast is ready.
Backpacks, lunch boxes-is that my 200th peanut butter and jelly made yet?

Slick back hair, kisses on the head-have a great day, honor God, hug your sister good bye.

And as crazy as the morning rush is, it ends almost as quickly as it begins.

That is where I found myself this morning. Looking at the aftermath of dishes piled in the sink and a sigh of resignation that if I don't clean that up no one else is here that will.

But, just as quickly as that disgruntled feeling came, the thought of thankfulness came too.
If I didn't live in the whirlwind that is my life, that means I wouldn't be surrounded by the people I love.
I only get to take care of them for such a short while.

So, thank you Jesus for little bodies who need me to fix their lunch and their hair.
For good morning hugs and did you sleep well questions.
For three cereal bowls in the sink.
And a peanut butter covered knife.

All reminders of my blessed life.
Monday, November 8, 2010

Think Happy Thoughts

Our house has been plagued by sickness this past month. Between numerous trips to the doctors which leads to numerous trips to the pharmacy which leads to much less money in the bank account, it can be very wearing. Not to mention the whole being sick part and frankly at times being sick of yourself and everyone around you because you feel so cruddy. Out of the five of us, 4 are on perception meds right now for whatever creepy crude this is that has attacked us.

Please know that I know there are so very many others that have it so much worse that we do.

And with all the sick and the yuck I've spent about a week and half just feeling stuck.
So, to help with my attitude check-besides much prayer and being in The Word I decided to make a list of some things that are making me happy right now.

Please know that Jesus and the Fam will always top the list. These are just other random things.

The wonderful fall we are having in the Midwest. Not to cold and the leaves are just beautiful right now.
I love a gorgeous red tree this time of year!

Micheal W. Smith's latest CD Wonder. I know he's been around forever and there is lots of great music out, but I love me some Smitty and this CD is current and fresh and just makes me happy.

Candy Corn. I know. It's wrong. But so right too.

Saving $96 at Kohl's on Saturday. I love a good sale combined with a 15% off coupon.

Hearing each of my children pray. There is something so precious about hearing the thoughts of a child expressed to their Creator. It's a beautiful thing.

My walking buddy, Erica. She makes morning exercise bearable and dare I even say-enjoyable.

Watching my daughter dance to the songs from Annie. There is nothing cuter than a little girl in a tutu. She's got no rhythm but boy does she love it!

I'm so grateful for the current Bible study I am doing. I've been beaten up and blessed all at the same time.

For a God who is loving and patient with me. Because seriously, I'm just way to much of a handful most of the time.

That most of our Christmas shopping was completed over the weekend. Yep that's right.

So, those are some of my happy thoughts right now, in between coughing and the passing out of tissues.

What's making you happy this week?

My Own Little World

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

TobyMac - Lose My Soul feat. Kirk Franklin & Mandisa

Stuck in the Middle

I feel stuck this week.
Probably from having been sick for the past three weeks and finally breaking down and going to the doctors. I got a lecture and three medications. They are pretty heavy duty making it difficult to much else.

I have a blog brewing down inside of me but can't get the words out just quite yet.

So, I was wondering, do you ever feel stuck?
Whether from being sick physically or emotionally. Do you ever feel like you should be moving but you're not sure which way is up?

I'd love to hear about it, after all -we're all in this together.

(and if that last line made you start humming a Disney tune, for that I am so sorry)
Monday, November 1, 2010

Back to the Future part 3

Ok, You know I had to do it. . I LOVE a theme!!

Just to recap, the original was what I would go back and tell my high school self. Part 2 was what I would tell my newly/nearly married self. As I thought about the ending, it only seemed right to visit my 'brand new mom' self.
What would I go back 12 years ago and tell that woman?

So away we go!

1) Take a nap. You may never sleep peacefully again. Oh there might be times of get aways, but they'll be few and far between. Even when they get older there will be other things that you'll be concerned about besides is it time to eat or do they need a diaper change.
So, in the hospital when the nurse comes to you and ask if you'd like the baby to go the nursery so you can some rest, say YES!

2) Your self worth is not wrapped in
a) how long you did/didn't nurse
b) when your child first began sleeping through the night
c)when your child was/wasn't potty trained.
d)and when they hit 2 1/2-3 how many fits they do/don't throw in the foyer at church/walmart toy aisle/doctor's office.

3)Just because your man does something different than you would doesn't make it 'wrong.' Sister if you've got a man who is changing diapers and feeding the baby -and HAPPY to do it -LOVE that man and consider yourself blessed beyond measure and for pity's sake quite telling him he's not doing it right!

4)Baby's grow and change so quickly
a)take lots of pictures
b)not every outfit you own for them needs to brand new-they're going to spend allot of time spitting up on them or going to the bathroom on these clothes. Then you'll turn around and their little feet are already popping out of them. Garage sales, consignment stores and the clearance aisle can be your best friend.

( I'll admit here, my first baby boy was basically always in high end clothes and the thought of putting him in something from a garage sale/consignment store did not go over well with me.
I was silly and wasted lots of money! Let's just say, I got over it with baby boy #2 and the princess!)

5) This precious little one that you can't take your eyes off of and you love so dearly is -hang on, it's hard to believe-going to push you to the brink of sanity some days. It's ok to admit that sometimes you need a break! Whether it's a girls night out, reading a book, or just running to the store without having to listen to Bob and Larry sing the old hymns is a good and productive thing.
Speak up and tell your man you need some time -Oh and take a shower, do your hair and get out of your pj's. I promise it'll make you feel like a new woman and that you can accomplish anything!

6) Remember they are just yours for a little while and as much as you love them -Jesus loves them more. Tell His praises in the morning, and sing about Him at night. During the day talk about all He's done -from making the pretty blue sky to their sweet little face.
And know that you're not doing this alone. It's hard to imagine someone loving your baby more, but I promise He does and they belong to Him.

So, that's what I'd tell my new mommy self. What would you go back and tell yourself or another new mom?
Saturday, October 30, 2010

Back to the Future part 2

Earlier this week I wrote about what I would go back and say to my high school self.
That got me to thinking -what would I go back and tell my newly married self?
The Hubs and I married young and I was starry eyed. Some of the things I think I did a good job at -but I see young women doing and I want to scream STOP DOING THAT!!! But, there were others -many others, that I've got to think a lesser man would've been done with about 2 years in. Thank you Jesus for a patient man!

So back in the DeLorean I go to tell that naive bride, ready to walk down the aisle 5 things that would make her life much easier and happy.

1) Your Husband has a Holy Spirit -and it's NOT YOU!
Let the One who knows best, do His own work -you're just in the way, and quite frankly you don't have it together nearly as much as you think you do.

2)All those darling things he does that you think are interesting and quirky-I know you don't believe it right now, but really they will drive you crazy someday.
But, here's the thing -all your quirks are going to do the same to him. Let it go, and accept him the way he is.

3) Don't think he can read your mind. You're going to have to tell him what you need.
And that's ok. It doesn't mean he doesn't love you, it just means he doesn't read minds.

4)You married a man. They are different than you. Don't try and take all that away-after all that's not really what you want.

5) Never under any circumstances criticize your husband in front of a group of women.
Do not belittle or demean him. There is no greater harm you can do to your man than to cut him down.
Build him up, make him believe that he is amazing. That will go so much further than any criticism will-he'll want to be the man you keep believe he is.

There is much more. But those are the top 5 things I'd tell myself or any other new bride.
What about you? What would you tell your newlywed self?
Thursday, October 28, 2010

Back to the Future

Recently, on our morning walk my friend and I were discussing what we would say if we could go back and talk to our high school self.

Oh, I know I'd have a few things to tell that big haired girl!

So since I just read Back to the Future is turning Twenty Five-WOW I'm OLD- I thought I'd hop in the DeLorean and visit my high school self. Somebody pass me some leg warmers and hairspray please.

1)You look fabulous exactly the way you are!
Quit stressing over your body and enjoy your youth -goodness knows it's going to end soon enough.

2) No crying over boys! Your true love is coming and much sooner and in a different place than you think. You don't need to waste your tears on love at your age. It's coming I promise, and when it does, it's going to be great!

3) Don't pick a college because your friends are going there and that is where everyone expects you to go. That's no way to pick the next four years of your life.

4) Jesus loves you and wants you to be free in Him. He thinks you're beautiful and loves you so much and He did not die on the cross for you to live in bondage.

5) Listen to your mother-she's pretty much right about everything.

Ok, your turn-if you could go back-what would you tell your teenage self.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reminded once again

We are reminded once again of fragility of life as a friend lost a parent this week.
She had fought the good fight and is now with her Saviour, but those who loved her mourn for their loss.
And we can Only Imagine. . .
I can only imagine what it will be like, when I walk by Your side...
I can only imagine, what my eyes will see, when Your Face is before me!
I can only imagine. I can only imagine.
Surrounded by Your Glory, what will my heart feel?
Will I dance for you, Jesus? Or in awe of You, be still?
Will I stand in Your presence, or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing 'Hallelujah!'? Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine! I can only imagine!

I can only imagine, when that day comes, when I find myself standing in the Son!
I can only imagine, when all I will do, is forever, forever worship You!
I can only imagine! I can only imagine!

Surrounded by Your Glory, what will my heart feel?

Will I dance for you, Jesus? Or in awe of You, be still?
Will I stand in Your presence, or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing 'Hallelujah!'? Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine! Yeah! I can only imagine!

Surrounded by Your Glory, what will my heart feel?

Will I dance for you, Jesus? Or in awe of You, be still?
Will I stand in Your presence, or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing 'Hallelujah!'? Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine! Yeah! I can only imagine!

I can only imagine! Yeah! I can only imagine!! Only imagine!!!
I can only imagine.

I can only imagine, when all I do is forever, forever worship You!
I can only imagine."

You can't be part of my Kingdom

The princess and I went to a parent/tot gymnastics class yesterday.

No I do NOT do any gymnastics-my job seems to be to keep her from falling off any of the big equipment!

Well, for Halloween they had a big inflatable scary castle type thing that the kids could walk through.
While B was standing outside the entrance trying to decide if she was REALLY going in there, a little girl put her hands on her hips and very boldly and loudly proclaimed 'YOU CAN'T COME IN, YOU CAN'T BE PART OF MY KINGDOM!'

B, just looked at me and chose to move on to something else. While we were walking away, the little girl called out to us and said 'Come back and play with me!'.

Well, B did -eventually-but it took her awhile to decide if she was really welcome in there and if she felt 'safe' enough to go in with Little Miss Bossy Pants.

(BTW, I've been the parent of the bossy kid -I get it they're kids and learning and frankly I was just glad it wasn't me this time doing the tough parenting)

However, it did get me thinking. How often do we stand at the door of our churches, look people up and down and then declare that they can't be part of the kingdom?
Oh, we're more sophisticated than to say those exact words out loud, but we can convey our meaning clear enough.
Not dressed they way we'd like to be, lots of baggage from past mistakes that have left a rocky path in their wake.
And just as they are thinking that perhaps this isn't the safest place for them, we call out and try to tell about Jesus. And then we wonder why they don't want they don't want anything to do with him.
I know I've been Miss Bossy Pants before.Often.

Oh, to be the person others only see Jesus when they look at me.
That our churches would be warm and welcoming to every weary soul that has gathered enough courage to enter our doors so that they will become part of the Kingdom .

When I read the promise of Jesus in Matthew 11:28
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Not only does it give me encouragement it also reminds me that life is hard and those who are coming to Jesus are weary and burdened. And sometimes, when you are those things you might be tough and hard on the outside.
But, if Jesus called them to come, who am I to say 'you can't be part of My Kingdom'?
Tuesday, October 26, 2010

For Pete's Sake

We are studying 1Peter in our adult Sunday School classes at my church.
I love Peter. Have since I was a little girl -I think it's because I can relate so much to someone who loves Jesus so much, yet is always jumping in to be first and says the wrong thing.
Peter the Big Fisherman, who lets us see once again, that God not only tolerates the misfits and often misguided, but loves them and chooses to use them. (Thank you Jesus!!)

Having grown up in church, there are certain verses that everyone memorizes. (BTW, I'm not criticizing, Scripture memorization is a VERY good thing and should be apart of any believers walk)
And a verse that I've memorized and heard preached on many times is 1Peter 3:15 -Always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is in you. (Angie paraphrase)
So, when you are going through difficult or stressful times, you had better be ready to give an a reason why you have a hope.

Oh and here's the actual verse and not just my paraphrase.
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect 1Peter 3:15

Reasons. I like reasons. The reason why I believe the way I do, have the convictions that I have, vote the way I do. Lots O Reasons. And, I'm OFTEN very eager to share them with you and want you to desperately have the same reasons that I do.

That's why, after all my years in church and studying on my own, I was so surprised to see two little words squished into that verse . Gentleness and Respect.

Seriously, if you know much about Peter these are not words you would associate with him.
So, how much more convicting that they would come from the Big Fisherman himself.
Yes, know what you believe and why you believe it. But, when someone asks you why you answer with Gentleness and Respect.

So after pondering on that for most of the day we then finish the weekend off with the Rangers winning the Pennant -heading to their first World Series. ( the Hubs is from Texas, so we are pretty excited at our house)
But, instead of the usual champagne pour in the locker room after a huge victory like that, they opted for ginger ale.
Josh Hamilton, one of their teammates has been very open with his struggle with addiction and his Faith in Christ. So out of respect for him and his stance they opted for the ginger ale.
Now, I don't know much about Josh Hamilton, but I do know if he would have been arguing and ranting about the evils of excess alcohol, I'm pretty sure his teammates would've chalked him up to another 'intolerant' Christian. Instead, with gentleness and respect, he told his story of redemption in Christ. And now, it's being talked about everywhere by those who you'd never think would be talking about such things.

Gentleness and Respect. May I show those things to everyone I meet whether they agree with me or not, not for my glory, but that My Hope in Christ will be evident.
Friday, October 22, 2010

Walking on Water

**This was originally written in July 2009

So, ever since VBS this past June the story of Peter walking on the water has been on my mind.
It's a story, if you've spent anytime at all in church, you grow up hearing about. I mean it is amazing. Jesus walking on the water and Peter jumping out of the boat to go and meet him. Peter taking his eyes off of Jesus and starting to drown and Jesus pulling him up. That's a great story, and what makes it even better is it's true!
What struck me last month and that I just can't get my mind off of, is this thought:
The whole time, Jesus could have calmed the storm. In fact He did, but not until later after He and Peter got back into the boat.
Peter jumped out in the middle of the storm, just to get to Jesus. And, Jesus was walking to him, and encouraging him to come, even though the storm was raging all around.
I find in my life, so often I want Jesus to calm the storm for me. My attitude is, sure I'll walk to you with you, just make it peaceful. You can do it, I know you can-I've seen you do it!
But, just like Peter, I need to walk through the storm. And just like Peter, I'm not alone in the storm. Jesus was always with him, Peter just lost sight of the one he jumped out to follow.
Yes, I believe He can (and often does) calm the storm, but oh how much more my faith grows as I walk through it instead. Sometimes, like Peter, I begin sinking. I start looking around and it scares me. After all, the waves want to consume me, the wind wants to blow me down. ( I hope you can stay with me, I know that is a lot of metaphors)
But, Jesus bids me to come. He doesn't promise to stop the storm, only that He'll be there in it with me.
So, just like Peter, I don't want to wait for it to be calm before I follow. I want to jump out of the safety of my boat and do something I could never do without faith in the One walking through the storm, right along with me.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Little girl twirling in the sun
Waiting for Momma to come home.
For there are cookies to bake
And dresses to be made
All just for fun.

Daddy pulls in and says Momma is never coming home again.
And the twirling in the sun is all done.

Everything has changed and been all rearranged
And all she wants to do is yell STOP!

But, she's got no voice
Not even when the man does his dirty deed
Even when Daddy doesn't believe.

Drifting through church but no one takes a second look
At the sad little girl who no longer twirls.

All grown up now trying to make a life and do what's right
A baby girl all her own is soon to arrive
But, the guy doesn't stay
And really it's just better that way.

Life takes another turn
And little boy soon comes along.
Same sad story as the Daddy goes away and people just can't seem to stop talking.

No one asks why they just shake their heads and sigh.
Looking down their noses and without ever saying so, wish she would just go.

But, Jesus has been there.
Holding her up when no one else was looking.
Even on the darkest nights
When there was no night light
And the world around her was crashing.
As the people turned their heads, He was there instead
Holding out His hands, saying
I will always love you.

Twirl again in the sun my little one, He calls out the invitation.
Let's start again and I'll turn your pain into beautiful things.
Don't let those others take your life away.
I can make you whole again
And give you joy unspeakable
Dry all your tears
As I hold you near
And, let you know Momma is waiting right here for you.
Hand in hand you'll dance again in the sunshine
There will be no night
Because I am your light
And the twirling never has to end.

Quoting Spurgeon

I read this today and was so moved, bear in mind it was written a century ago so the English is a bit wordy for us, but the truths that are written there are undeniable.

We shall, as we ripen in grace, have greater sweetness towards our fellow Christians. Bitter-spirited Christians may know a great deal, but they are immature. Those who are quick to censure may be very acute in judgment, but they are as yet very immature in heart. He who grows in grace remembers that he is but dust, and he therefore does not expect his fellow Christians to be anything more; he overlooks ten thousand of their faults, because he knows his God overlooks twenty thousand in his own case. He does not expect perfection in the creature, and, therefore, he is not disappointed when he does not find it. As he has sometimes to say of himself, ““This is my infirmity,”” so he often says of his brethren, ““This is their infirmity;”” and he does not judge them as he once did.
I know we who are young beginners in grace think ourselves qualified to reform the whole Christian church. We drag her before us, and condemn her straightway; but when our virtues become more mature, I trust we shall not be more tolerant of evil, but we shall be more tolerant of infirmity, more hopeful for the people of God, and certainly less arrogant in our criticisms.
From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled “Ripe Fruit,” delivered August 14, 1870.
Saturday, October 16, 2010


Today I saw a leaf
Floating on the wind.
Eyes up to the sky, I couldn't look away
as I watched it float by.

All alone and on a wild ride the leaf seemed so out of control, even on a peaceful day.

As I watched, I wondered
How many times I've felt like the leaf.
Floating on the wind, no control of where I'm going.
Forgotten and just floating by.

A wild little dance it's doing until it sinks gently onto to the ground.

But, I stop and remember
The Maker of the Leaf knew where it would land, before it even began to float.
He blew the wind that kept it afloat and made the ground it landed upon.
And though the ride seemed wild to leaf and the ones watching it fly by
Others may have looked and thought
Why that leaf
Why make it dance alone in the wind, so seemingly out of control
But, the Maker was preparing it's soft landing spot the entire time
In a beautifully lush piece of grass
Where if that leaf had just stayed in it's comfortable pile
Never would know the comfort of a spot made just for it.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Scaredy Cat

I was that kid who while playing Hide-n-Seek would come out running because I would get scared where I was hiding.
Afraid. Of many many things.

A life lived in fear is one that is not being lived. While I may have broken free of the more obvious strong holds of Satan that had a grip on me in my early 20's, fear was still there. I didn't always recognize it as fear though.
Has that ever happened to you? Have you looked around and found yourself in a pit and not even know you were there?
It had become comfortable. My pit of fear. I was cozy there in that place. After all, it's 'just who I am'. And aren't there many 'legitimate' things to be afraid of.

But, that fear had a tight grip on me and in turn my growing family. And what I was willing to do for the Lord. After all, "I can't do that-it's too scary!". "He'll get someone else more qualified than me." That's just code for I can't do that I'm to afraid.
About 5 1/2 years ago I began to recognize this stronghold of fear in my life.
And what it was holding me back from. All the good gifts God wanted to give me, but couldn't because I was to afraid to receive them.
One of the verses I have claimed in the quest to leave my scaredy cat costume behind is Habakkuk 3:19 in the Amplified Bible The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds' feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!

The last thing I want to do is stand still in terror! And the promise I love and have claimed is HE is my PERSONAL BRAVERY!! Even when I feel afraid and like I have no courage left for the battles that lie ahead-I can have confidence in this: He is my bravery, HE is my army, HE makes me walk and stand firm.
Thank you Jesus that I don't have do to it myself, otherwise I'd be quivering in the corner.

I meet women who are scared. Scared for their health, scared because they are in a new place, scared because they see their marriages falling apart, scared because there is no money. Scared because they don't feel like they are a good enough parent to their children. All this and so much more. Let's face it our world can be a scary place! But, claim it with me sisters -HE is our bravery! We will no longer live in fear!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

All wrapped up in a neat little bow

Usually my posts are nice little stories about what I've seen God up to in my life. In other words, I don't really blog about my day to day activities. Not that there is a thing wrong with that, just not what I'm up to here.
But, this past weekend we went on a family camping trip to the lake (as our gift to our big boy who turned 12). And I wanted to share a few highlights that were so special to me.
What a fabulous time we had.
Laughing together, talking walks to the lake side, sitting around the campfire, hitting the local amusement park -where we terrified and thrilled ourselves on roller coasters and all sorts of spinning contraptions. (Really WHY?? WHY spin yourself until you feel the ground swooning beneath you? Sure is fun though)

My goal this weekend was, in a simple nutshell, to enjoy my family.
Family time-when all five of us are present and able to participate (no homework, housework, practice, ministry stuff pulling us apart) is a rare and special treat these days. Something to be savored and cherished.

So, as I tried not squander a moment these are the places where I saw God at work around me.

In the ability of my children to make a friend wherever we go. In no less than five minutes of setting up camp my kiddos had made friends some of the other children who were camping this weekend.
Seriously, I was nervous about introducing myself to the moms, but not a one of them had a flicker of self doubt. Oh to be that confident in who I was created to be!

In the moments of laughing with the people I love the most.
Do you ever wonder if in heaven when we aren't worshiping at the feet of Jesus if we'll be laughing with the Saints who've gone before us? Because don't you know Peter has got to have a great laugh-loud and booming!
And Sarah must still have a chuckle in her voice every time she tells the story of her miracle baby boy.
Oh I can't wait.

I also saw Him as I would look up at the night sky sprinkled with so many stars and know that He had His plan for mankind written in those same stars and when He gave Abraham his promise -He was thinking of me.
So amazing.

One thing we are working on as a family is enjoying the moment. Not worrying about what comes next. Next will take care of its self, but the moment we are living in now will never come again.

So, no wrapped up package with a bow on top this time.
This time God was showing me His Goodness over and over again in every little way that matters most to me.
He's so gracious like that - coming to us over and over again to show us His love and kindness. He could've left us to wander in darkness, or He could've just left us at the cross, after all, that was more than we deserved. But He didn't. Instead He comes to us everyday over and over again reminding us how special we are to Him and how much He loves and cares for us. All we have to do is seek Him - He will reveal Himself to us-sometimes in the smallest of places with those we love the most.
Thursday, October 7, 2010


If you are at all like me the use of the word "Homework" can send shudders down your spine!
But, have no fear this homework assignment should be pretty pain free!

Please leave a comment -ANONYMOUSLY- listing 3 things about the women's ministry at your church. Two positives and one thing you'd like to see worked on.
Remember to do it anonymously, that way we can be free with what we say and no one's feeling will be hurt.

Thanks for your help!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

When My Heart Grew Wings

Twelve years ago today, I felt my heart leave my body for the first time, when they placed a beautiful baby boy in my arms.
Cameron's arrival was eventful but so were the years leading up to his birth with all the numerous infertility treatments.
And after he came not much changed.
He's a walking talking miracle -something he is reminded of OFTEN! I'm not worthy to be called 'Mom', but so grateful for the privilege of being one x 3.
Today we celebrate the person who made me a mommy.

Happy Birthday my beautiful first born son!
Here are 12 things I love about you.

1)Your smile -it lights up your face!

2)Your sense of humor-the fact that you actually have one. You aren't all about gross noises, you are clever and have a dry whit -I love that!

3)I love that you are a varicose reader. You devour books-and good ones, not just easy reading junk.

4) I love that, while not the best on your soccer team -you love your team and wouldn't dream of quitting.

5)Your love for your grandparents. It's a gift that you want to spend time with them and help them.

6) I love that you're already thinking about your future and what God would want you to do. The fact that you talk about going to our local Bible college tells me so much about your heart.

7) I love how you have embraced middle school. All the things that could have made it difficult or scary, you've embraced it with your whole heart!

8) I love that you love going to Youth Group at church. Your excitement is contagious!

9)I love that you can you go from 5 star resort to camping in the woods.

10) I love that you love music. From some great song choices on your ipod to playing the saxophone. You are becoming a well rounded young man. That will serve you well in your life.

11) I love that you still love Lego's. I'm so thankful you haven't grown up to fast.

12) I love that you still want a hug and kiss from your mom, and that you aren't embarrassed to be seen with me.

Daddy and I often call you our experimental child. I'm so thankful for God's grace to cover all our mistakes. It's hard to be the first one, but you handle it like a pro!

It's not easy to be let go of your heart and let it become a walking talking person -but it's so worth it!

Thank you God, for a small glimpse of how much you love us by letting us become parents and feel some of the same things you feel as you look at us.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Perfect Village

I love in a small bedroom community that is sometimes referred to as "Perfect Village".
There are lovely tree lined streets, manicured lawns and some very affluent people.
Who by the looks of things have it all together and are 'perfect'.
Now, before you go thinking I live some kind of idyllic lifestyle, you should know we bought our home because it backs up to our children's school -saving us MUCH precious time and gas money. Also, it's a 'fixer upper'.
God graciously allowed us to purchase our lovely home and we are so thankful for it-just not the 80's wallpaper the previous owner left behind.
I'll never forget the first time I met one of our new neighbors. I'd been removing wallpaper all day - with VINEGAR -can you say STINK?? I was in old sweat pants and paint covered sweat shirt. I hadn't showered yet for the day and had flakes of the wallpaper stuck all over me. Our doorbell rang and I heard the Hubs chatting and then he said those dreaded words 'Let me get my wife so you can meet her.'
I wanted the ground to swallow me whole-but it didn't-and I stepped to the front the door meeting our very cute, skinny, sweet neighbor, in her very high end outfit with her equally styled children.
The only thing I could think of to say was," Sorry I stink."

The desire to be 'perfect' or at least appear that I am has plagued me for years. Led to some ridiculously self destructive, sometimes even sinful behavior.

As I have gotten older and come to see myself as Christ sees me, I can gladly and every so thankfully say that it's gotten better.

But, I will also say that this is by far and away one of the most (if not THE most) struggles I hear from women, on almost a weekly basis.
And, sadly it seems it's the worst in our churches.

It seems if our children aren't A+, captain of the football team type kids, we feel somehow ashamed.
One women confided in me that they hadn't been in Sunday School for almost a year because her son was struggling with reading and he didn't want anyone to know.
Another woman, who's 20 something son has been in and out of rehab for the past year, confided that the pressure to appear like nothing was wrong was felt the most at church.
Another who was miserable in her marriage confided they 'could never go to counseling, because then 'everyone would know we don't have it all together.'

The world can be a harsh and cold place, yet instead of 'the church' being a warm shelter from the cold, to often it's filled with plastic people afraid to let their guard down, lest anyone see the realness of their lives.
(by the way, these stories aren't from just one church, and can be repeated again and again across denominational lines)

It's so maddening and sad all at the same time.

Girls, we have GOT to STOP acting like the house is always clean, the bank account is always full, we've never had a cross word with our spouse and our little darlings are practically perfect in every way. (If any guys have struggled through this far-thanks - and, quit acting like you've got it all together too!)
We do NOTHING but make others-and ourselves feel less than and that there is perhaps no room for their crazy mixed up family in our perfect village.

When I look at the cast of rag tag characters in the Bible God choose -sought out- picked- BECAUSE of their flaws-not in spite of them, I've got to wonder, why WHY do we try and pretend perfection?
There was only one perfect person since the dawn of time. And you aren't it. Neither am I. And that is exactly how God wants it. Everyday he chooses to use broken, wounded, unskilled people to accomplish His will. That way, whatever good we might do can all be laid directly at His feet with all the praise and glory going to Him.

I've got children who struggle with health issues, another who has a learning issue, and I need to lose weight, I sometimes lose my temper and watch way to much tv.

But, I have chosen to believe. Believe it all. Believe that when God says he knew me before the foundation of the world, that he knows my inmost thoughts and even still thinks I am wonderfully made. I'm going to believe that.

So, if you are feeling like the odd girl out in whatever perfect village you think you're surrounded by, know that in God's kingdom, we are all flawed and broken and loved just the same.
And you can be part of my crazy village anytime!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Putting on the Brakes

This past Friday evening The Hubs and I were in the midst of some serious traffic on one of our local highways. Suddenly, The Hubs had to hit the brakes and we held our breath as we came to a sudden and INCREDIBLY close stop. A small sneeze could have sent us into the rear of the other car at that point.

When we took off again, he noticed that the brakes were making a noise. Since we were in the car that I mostly drive, he asked if I'd heard it before.
Well, yes, I had a heard a noise earlier in the week, but thought an acorn was stuck in there.(We live in the land of giant trees and have had that happen before.)

When we arrived at our destination, J, got out and checked the brakes. No, it seems that was not an acorn stuck in there I heard, but the sound of metal on metal.
We were 45 minutes from home. Pulling a camper.

With much caution and white knuckle praying, we made it home safe and sound, taking the time to get our other car and caravan to the repair shop were we could drop off the truck so it could be repaired the next day.

(As a side note, I should point out that I was NOT praising and giving thanks that no one had gotten hurt. I was mad. And pouting. Hate spending major money on repairs like that. . the ones that don't make anything cuter. Would MUCH rather spend the money on something fun or even just let it actually stay in the bank.
It was a wrong attitude, I know. Just trying to be honest here!)

Saturday evening when we picked up the truck and Hubs had given it a test run, I drove it home from Wal Mart. That's when I noticed it. WOW, I can tell a difference now. I had no idea how bad they were, until driving with new and improved brakes.
They really had gone completely out without me noticing.

It made me think about my youngest son's Bible verse for last week.

Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 2 Timothy 2:16

I think often, I become immune to the godless chatter around me and my part in it. And, it's not until I cut certain things out that I realize how ungodly I was becoming.

It starts off so slowly, compromises here and there. "But, it's funny. But it's true. But I find it entertaining. But they'll never know I was talking about them. But, I'm tired and can't have my quiet time now."

I'm so careful (as I should be) to protect my children from all sorts of ungodly talk, whether it be movies, music, tv, video games and yes even some friends- but, sometimes I forget that my mind needs guarded from the chatter of those things as well.

It's a hard line, to be in the world but not of it. To be so spiritually minded you're no earthy good.
To be so worn down, that you don't even notice it until something major happens and you've got to make a quick exit.

I don't have all the answers ( I don't even have half the answers).

But, I do know I need to put the brakes on in areas of my life I've begun to compromise in - and it would be easy to come up with a set of rules of do's and don'ts, but if I have learned anything on this journey of life, it's that Christ cares way more about what is in my heart than any man made list I could come up with.

So, taking this life journey together how do you realize your 'brakes' are going out before it's too late?
Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Comfy and Cozy

I enjoy things that I've had for a long time.
A worn out blanket, a favorite robe. . the Hubs laughs and shakes his head at my two favorite towels-that I've had since COLLEGE!(to say they are worn out would be an understatement, yet I can't bear to part with them)
I watch the same old movies every Christmas and put up the same decorations-it makes me happy and all warm and snugly inside.

About 5 years ago, I was sitting in class at church, learning how to counsel others. Knowing I was going to being working with women. And, I remember thinking-but I don't do that (work with Women) I work in preschool, because that is where I am comfortable.
Over these past 5 years, I've seen God move in my heart in life-in ways I would have NEVER imagine or chosen.
I'm finding sometimes it's good not to be so comfortable!

Then, about a month ago now, I was standing during the Worship time on a Sunday morning and the CLEAR thought went through my head-"You know you are really in a place in your life now were you should be mentoring someone"
I don't often have such clear directives like that so I paid attention and said 'Yes, you're right, I would love to do that'. Thinking about what young mom would come across my path.
That night at a fellowship ( that is code for Baptist to eat)I had a friend come to me and ask if I would be willing to lead a Follow Group ( small groups, mentoring, accountability and Bible study) of 6th and 7th grade girls.
Ummm, I'm sorry I'm not comfortable with that. . . I don't do teenagers. . .frankly they frighten me. . .Of course, being the good girl I am, I'd said I'd pray about it. Yeah, I'd pray about it alright-pray she'd move on ask somebody else!

But, pray I did and what I heard (not audibly but in my Spirit) was 'Do you believe I told you to begin mentoring or not?' YES, but NOT giggling teenagers, who might ask me some VERY UNCOMFORTABLE questions!!
'Do you believe, I told you or not? Now obey.'

So, I called and said yes-NOT hiding the fact that I am seriously out of my comfort zone.

Our first meeting, before we broke into our small groups, we met in the larger main youth room. As I watched these teens come in, I broke out into a cold sweat, and kept moving to a corner in the back of the room. (BTW, my very dear friend in serving in Africa right now in the middle of nowhere, so I do totally get that there are much harder things to be called too)
All, I kept thinking was that I was in the WRONG place!
Then I met my girls and we went to our own room-and YES there was much giggling-but as I looked into their faces, I realized these were the young women in training to take my generations place.
Now, I can't say they still don't scare me a touch, but I do know, I'd rather be obedient than comfortable.
Friday, September 10, 2010

A Chosen Daddy's Girl

**This was written almost two years ago for my Daddy's birthday. Seemed appropriate to share it again this Father's Day weekend.

Today is my Daddy's 60th birthday.

I've been called a Daddy's girl many times in my life, and that is a compliment to me.

I get told I look like him and I know we act alike sometimes.

Which tickles me, because you see, my Daddy chose me. He didn't have to love me, he just did.

After a tragic accident my Momma was left a YOUNG single mom.

My parents worked at the same place, but didn't 'officially' know each other and some mutual friends set them up on a blind date.

Mom brought me. If this guy didn't like me what was the point??

We all fell in love with each other and the rest is history. I wasn't quite 2 and don't remember a day without my daddy. And to this day, would dare someone to say to his face that I wasn't his daughter!

He's the strong silent type, but when he speaks you should listen, because there is more than likely some great advise or insight in what he says.
He's humble. He has a Purple Heart from his tour in Vietnam. I was in awe of that thing, but he blew it off like it was no big deal. Just doing the job that was asked of him and his generation.

My Daddy's is a Melancholy who has a Sanguine for a daughter and I can assure you that provided MUCH drama during the teen years. MUCH. Drama.
As I look back, I realize how much he had to stretch himself for me. But, he never said no the the house full of friends, slumber parties or giant birthday parties.
He just did them because he knew it's what I would like, even though it often took him way beyond his comfort zone.
Because that's what Daddy's do for the children.

I've watched him with my children and the love he has for the them is evident to all. And I'll never forget the day my first born was born and Daddy came in the room and we placed him in his arms and announced that we had named him after Daddy.
I can count on one hand how many times I've seen my Daddy cry. That was one of those days. Such joy and love!

But, I think of all the things my Daddy has shown me, is what it's like to be a Daughter of the King.

Because, He chose me too. I knew from an early age what it meant to be chosen by someone who loves you and how you can never be separated. Such a clear picture my Daddy gave me of the love of God toward His children.

Thank You Daddy for loving me, sacrificing for me, loving my children beyond measure. But, more than that-for showing me the love of Jesus.
You are an amazing man and your family loves you so much.
Happy Happy Birthday!
Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sitting on the mountain all by myself. .

My darling little princess got her feelings hurt before dinner tonight.
Well, she said her feelings were-and who am I to say they weren't-but really, it seems to this momma that she was just M A D.

At one point she stomped out of the kitchen and proclaimed "I AM GOING TO SIT ON MY MOUNTAIN ALL BY MYSELF!!!"

Sometimes, it's so hard not to laugh inappropriately at my little people.

Little Miss came back about 5 minutes later, telling me it was lonely on her mountain (a stack of blankets in the family room) and could she PLEASE be with me.
So, we hugged, all was forgiven and we moved on.

But, try as I might, I can't help but get that huffy proclamation out of my head-I'm going to sit on my mountain all by myself!
I've got some friends who've done that, gotten their feelings hurt and huffed off to their own little mountain.
Just written off a community of people, because their feelings are hurt-or they are M A D and just walked away.
Lest I sound high and mighty, I've certainly wanted to or tried to do that too.

In lots of ways it sounds good doesn't it?
Sitting up on our own mountain, able to make our own rules, no annoying people to deal with or be bothered by.
But, Jesus calls us to community. We aren't allowed to just stomp off and walk away-as much as it might feel good to do so at the time.
And, let's face it. It can be a cold and lonely place on top of our mountains.

So, down in the valley is where I'll choose to live. It's crowded and complicated at times. And the seeming peace from the mountain top may call to me (although, I've found over the years, that I can and do annoy myself!) but life is meant to be shared.
Thanks for taking a little time out of your life to share it with me!
Thursday, August 26, 2010

Giving My Life. . .

I've had a song stuck in my head for days now. DAYS I TELL YOU!
Which has been ok, since it's not the Yo Gabba Gabba theme song or anything by Justin Bieber. . .
I love music and I especially love Christian music so my radio is often on-helping get me through my day. So, once a song hits the stations rotation list, chances are it's getting stuck in my head. Sometimes, it's scary to be me ;)

Well, this song by Chris August has -what I think-is an amazing lyric. "Giving my life for the only One, Who made the moon reflect the sun."
Profound. I find myself humming it randomly.

But, as I began thinking of the lyrics, I also began wondering if it's true. Do I really give my life for the only One who made the moon reflect the sun?
As a stay at home mom sometimes life can feel a bit mundane and ordinary. Repetitive might also be a good word. Wiping noses and changing diapers. Packing lunches and doing laundry. Breaking up the 500th argument about the remote.
Maybe working in an office can feel the same way, I just don't have that life experience.
So, has I was folding my 20th t-shirt in a row, I began doing it not out of necessity, but out of love.
Love for the person who would be wearing the shirt, but also out of love for the one who made me.
After all, He blessed me with this life. He gave me this beautiful family to care for and nurture. And sometimes that means folding 10 loads of laundry, making what seems like the same meal for the 1000 time. But, instead of doing those things just because they have to be done, I'm trying to do them as acts of service for my Lord.
No, it's not saving lives in some jungle far away, it's not having an alter call where hundreds come forward to follow Jesus.
But, it is my gift to give back to Him. The one he's allowed me to have them so I'll be able to give it back to him.

Seems small in comparison to what He's given me, but it's my offering to give, daily sometimes hourly. To remember I'm not doing any of these things for anyone other than Him.
Friday, August 20, 2010

Beautiful - MercyMe

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I hate to eat and run. . .

Happy Back to school week!

Two boys back at school and the family trying to get back in the swing of the school day routine.
We've enjoyed an fun filled summer that including sleeping past 7 most days-so this time of year is always an interesting transition!

Baby girl is still at home with Momma this year (thank you Jesus-I dread the day she walks through the doors of school and doesn't look back)so doesn't have to wake up as early as the boys. But, with all the excitement the past two days it was impossible to sleep through! (which is a good thing- who isn't excited about a fresh new start and seeing your friends everyday??).

We are, more often than not, a cold cereal-piece of toast-kinda family. But, those first few days of school, I make a big hot breakfast. Nothing says 'I love you and I'll miss while you're gone' than fried pork product!

Well, yesterday it was french toast sticks and sausage links. The excitement was contagious and little girl didn't know whether to eat or follow her big brothers around watching & 'helping' them get ready.
And, while I'm usually a stickler about sitting at the table. . sit down. SIT down. SIT DOWN. (sorry, I was getting a twitch) there was just entirely too much going on to make that happen.
And, she said she wasn't hungry anyway.
But, then I saw her come running and grab a toast stick off the table as she went back to what she was doing. About 10 minutes later the same thing with a sausage link.
Then we were out the door to join the rest of the Momarratize taking the required 1st day of school pictures.
After getting the boys to their classes/locker -you can go now Mom-really you can. . .we were back home ready to tackle the day.

We'd only been home a little bit when I heard "Momma, I'm hungry!".
"But, we just ate breakfast." my reply. "But, I'm Huunnggery!!"
This is when it dawns on me her tummy doesn't even know she put anything in it, she was so busy running around while just taking a couple of bits.

I was reminded about how much I miss of the feast, God has prepared for me.
A feast, I'm too busy to enjoy. Can't appreciate, because there is so much going on around me I think I need to help with-I can't sit still and enjoy what is spread before me.
Yes, I might sit and have a quick word with Him, say a quick prayer in the morning and then wonder why I can't funciton in His power an hour later!
It's not because the food-His word- isn't there for me. It's because I haven't taken the time to sit and partake of the table spread before me.
How full I would be and not so ready to fill up with junk later on.

So, I will come and sit before Him at the table He's prepared for me and feast with Him. And be full.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Hole in the Middle

I celebrated another birthday this week. NOT a BIG birthday but a birthday none the less.
Sunday we spent the day with my folks and my mom made a delicious cake, that was my great grandmother's recipe. SO YUMMY!!
After lunch we headed out to their pool, leaving the cake/candle festivities until later in the day.
A couple hours into swimming one of my boys declared he was hungry and heading in for a snack. A few minutes later he was back, saying he'd cut the cake for everyone and had a piece himself. That was really the last I'd thought about it until later that evening when the singing commenced and there among the candlelight was a hole right in the middle of the cake.
My boy was quite pleased with the fact that he'd sliced the cake for everyone and when I asked where he gotten his piece, he said the middle one because that's the best!
Just tickled me to no end. And as I lay in bed later that night reflecting on the day, I had to stop and thank Jesus. He has brought me so far! You see there was a time when a hole-I mean HOLE in the middle of the cake would have made me crazy.
With a capital C.
I like things to be 'perfect'. Or at least act like they are.
Or I used to, I've come along way (thank you JESUS-it's ONLY BECAUSE OF YOU!)

There are many reasons why-the atmosphere in the school/church I grew up. The yearning to be enough DO enough. But it never was.

Square peg in the round hole. Striving but never arriving, then giving up. And if you can't be perfectly perfect, you can be perfectly bad. Either choice makes a huge mess and is hard to untangle.

It has been a long journey to realize that who I am in Christ is enough. There doesn't need to be more. I don't need to pretend there is more. Others can chose to accept me and the flaws ( there are many)because trying to pretend that there isn't a hole in the middle of the cake is entirely to difficult!
Sometimes the dishes are in the sink, the kids (and mom) are cranky and there is a hole right in the middle of the cake.
Not perfect. NEVER perfect. But willing. Willing to be used in the beautiful mess that is me and my life.Not looking around at others who I 'think' are perfect and have it all together. Thinking their life is much easier because of what appears to be perfect on the outside. I am certain there is a hole in the middle of their cake too! Let's face it we all have one. Because I am so convinced that by Christ using the broken, weak messes that we are He shines through us more brightly.
When we pretend to have it all together we (and by we I mean ME) take the glory from Him and place it on ourselves (MYself).

Not perfect, never perfect. But willing and ready.

Now let's go get some cake!
Thursday, August 5, 2010

Back to the Beginning

My previous post about women's ministry and the responses to it (thank you for your input and if you still have something to add-please do!!)
Got me to thinking about why we do or don't do things.
I truly believe we miss out on so much of life because we can't get over our insecurities and/or can't stop playing the comparison game.
Which got me to thinking about my life and the beginnings of Lessons from Aisle 12.
This is the first thing I ever wrote with that title. It's been two years now.
Much has changed, but much is still the same. I'm so glad God never gives up on us!
So from Dec. 2008:

Today, after picking up Jude from preschool, we headed over to Aldi. For those of you who've never experienced the joy of the Aldi shopping adventure. . .well, it's hard to explain.
As our groceries were being rung up, Jude headed over to the counter where you bag your groceries, with his lunchable(ok let's call it his bribery--I'm so NOT above a little bribery). He was waiting for us very nicely and quietly, 'reading' the back of his box. Now for the fun part of Aldi, sacking up your groceries. . it's a nice little work out. Anyway, I digress. . .shocking I know!
A family of five children was heading our way as I was finishing up. They ranged from 8 to baby in a carrier. Three boys and two girls (one of the girls was the baby).
Two of the boys and the oldest girl sat down near Jude and they all struck up a conversation.
Talking about Star Wars, Christmas, the snow. It was really quite cute to listen to them chatting.
And it struck me as I watched them, when do we change? When do we go from just accepting how someone is and chat like we know each other. Because, going through my mind as I first saw them was
WOW five kids, she's so skinny and ones a baby! WOW five kids, I'll bet she homeschools them, because how else are the oldest ones here. She must be a better mom/wife/woman fill in the blank than me, because she: has more kids, is thinner, homeschools and is buying more fresh produce. (You know it didn't have to be those things that just what is was today).
So, when in our lives do we get so beat up by the world/Satan, we can't just enjoy talking with someone?
No comparing, no labeling,no judging (them or ourselves).
When do we stop seeing ourselves as the treasure God made us? His creation, created for His Glory!
The sweet acceptance of my five year old as he talked and laughed with these children. Never thinking for a moment what would someone else think about that, or maybe they wouldn't like him.
What a gift I was given today! A beautiful reminder to love and accept others and myself just the way Jesus does.
Wonder what I'll learn at Wal Mart tomorrow?
Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What A Girl Wants

Ok, All you lovely ladies this is for you.

Recently, I was in a meeting talking about women's ministry. All sorts of things were batted around, but it got me thinking:
"What do women want in women's ministry?"

So, knowing we are all from different backgrounds I would love to hear from you.

What top three things would you like to see in your churches women's ministry -or what are top three favorite things.

Thanks,and I can't wait to hear from you!!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Little Green Apples

When we bought our new home last year, we inherited a lovely yard and garden. Including an apple and tree. During our first spring/summer here last year we had such fun watching everything bloom and grow, finding surprises here and there in what was popping up. Sadly, because of a late freeze last year, we didn't have any apples, so this year we've all found excitement in watching the blooms go from a flower to a real apple (what can I say, it doesn't take much to get us excited around here!)

Last week, J was playing out back with some buddies when he came running in the house with a half eaten small, green apple.
MOMMA MOMMA look what I have!! He was just tickled about this apple and I couldn't hardly get a word in edge wise. But, when he finally took a breath, I had to break his bubble and tell him that the apple wasn't ripe and shouldn't be eaten.
But, Momma, it looks like a real apple and it's kind of sweet!

Yes, I know but if you wait until it turns red, it'll be so much sweeter and taste so much better.

But, MOOOMMMM, I don't want to wait!!

Yes, I know Dear, but you must -trust me on this one. I promise they'll turn red and you'll be happy that you waited!

Shoulders drooped, Ok Mom.

As J went back outside to play, I couldn't help but smile thinking of all -ALL- the times the Lord and I have had the exact same conversation.

The boy I wanted to marry. That I begged God to let happen.
The babies I wanted so desperately and had to wait seven years for.
The jobs.
The opportunities.

Lots of times, I've tried to convince the Lord that what I wanted would be 'good enough', just like J was trying to tell me about his little green apple.

Of course, I can look aback over my life and see what wisdom there was in waiting and what Glorious Good, come from God's perfect timing, but at the time - well, at the time it was so hard and painful.
Going through seven years of infertility, at the time, I would have NEVER said was a blessing. But, now on the other side of it, I can see how God was working all things out in His timing.

There's the Hubs, who has blessed my life beyond measure. I can look back now and laugh with delight as I see how God was working his plan out for us to meet. But, the years before that I certainly didn't have that perspective. I wanted what I wanted and didn't want to hear,' just watch and wait to see what I have growing and ripening for you.'

There are other things too, jobs I didn't get, only to get the next one of few weeks later and seeing how much better that one was for me.

But, there are things now I'm still waiting for. Still waiting for God to move on my behalf, but now with a few years of perspective, I don't have to beg Him to let me just go ahead and eat the little green apple, but I can wait (sometimes patiently) for things to grow and ripen until they are just the perfect time for me.

Not always easy-rarely easy. But, oh so good, to look back and see how a tiny blossom in my life, he as turned into a full and ripened fruit that I can enjoy for His glory.

Whatever you're waiting for right now, hold on, harvest time is coming!
Wednesday, July 21, 2010