"Blessed is she, who has believed, that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished." Luke 1:45

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Just for Fun ~ 12 Days of Christmas

I have watched this about 50 times. I LOVE IT!



Sunday, December 20, 2009

Here With Us

It's so important to remember WHO Jesus is...




It's still a mystery to me
That the hands of God could be so small,
How tiny fingers reaching in the night
Were the very hands that measured the sky

Chorus
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Heaven's love reaching down to save the world
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Son of God, Servant King,
You're here with us
You're here with us

Verse 2
It's still a mystery to me, oh,
How His infant eyes have seen the dawn of time
How His ears have heard an angel's symphony,
But still Mary had to rock her Savior to sleep

Chorus
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Heaven's love reaching down to save the world
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Son of God, Servant King
Here with us
You're here with us
(Ohh, mmm, here with us)

Bridge
Jesus the Christ, born in Bethlehem
A baby born to save, to save the souls of man

Chorus
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Heaven's love reaching down to save the world
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Son of God, Servant King
You're here with us
You're here with us

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Silver Bells

I love this song. We finally got to do some Christmas shopping this weekend and the only thing missing was snow falling. I absolutely love this time of year. I pray you hear some silver bells this week!



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5X4o73ETgsc&feature=share

Saturday, December 5, 2009

First Gift of the Season

I got my first gift of the season today. It wasn't even my gift to give or recieve, but I was still blessed by it.

One of our dear, dear friends got married today.  The church was full of twinkling Christmas lights and stained glass shining in the setting sun.  The isle was lined with white bows and candles. The groom (our friend) walked out with the biggest goofy grin on his face, and it didn't leave until he got his first glimpse of his lady in her gown. Then he just kinda melted.

All the ladies were in draped black strapless dresses carrying white flowers with a red flower in the center. The first attendant down the isle carried my friend's son (who was totally adorable in his little tuxedo suit with no shoes on :), and then finally his lady. She was in a strapless draped dress carrying red roses and looked like a fairy tale bride. The entire ceremony was filled with giggles and happy tears.

This was our dear friend who swore he would never marry.  He was a big 'ol goofy grinnin' gettin' married fool today.

It was such a blessing and gift to watch him marry such a beautiful and wonderful woman, and to hear prayer and scripture put over their marriage.

We have known him since he was fourteen. He was an usher in our wedding.  We helped him get his business off the ground. We were there when his dad past on. We were there for the birth of his son. We were there tonight. Walking through life with someone is the greatest treasure.

I love the gifts that God grants. They are almost never in shiny paper and topped with a bow. But they refresh your heart and bring joy to your soul.

I will leave you with the scriptures that were read during the ceremony today.

I saw today a glimmer of love that will only know full brightness in Heaven.

But what a preview.



If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ding Dong Merrily On High

I had to post this song to kick off the Christmas season on my blog. It was always my absolute favorite song to sing in a choir setting. So fun!



Head over to Signs Miracles and Wonders for more!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Perfect Gift

I love giving gifts. I try my best to pay attention to what people say, what they are interested in, and what they enjoy so that I can give them a gift that will be meaningful and fit them well.

As we go into the Christmas season, I have been paying extra attention to a few of my friends and family. I want to make sure I get them something that they know I put thought, time and energy into. I want them to know that they mean something to me. I want them to know they matter.

I was just sitting here thinking, "If Jesus was sitting right in front of me, what would he want to find when he opened his present? What is important to him? What would he want as a symbol of my relationship with him?"

It was really sad how quickly he answered.

"More time with you."

I have been so busy serving and working and living, that I forgot (and truthfully, haven't made the effort) to simply be with him.  He is my best friend and I have neglected him shamefully.  I am so thankful that he is not a fickle human. I would have lost my best friend a long time ago because of the way I have ignored him and prioritized many other things ahead of him.

So how do I give him more time? I think that a great way to do that is to do what he did, and love what he loved. What did he do and what did he love?

Scripture.

He poured over it, memorizing it, learning it, teaching it. He used it to dictate his actions, his attitudes and his faith. He used it as a weapon.

How better to spend time with Jesus and get to know him better then to share an activity with him that he loves? I have made excuses and had reasons why I haven't been spending time studying my Scriptures for my own knowledge and benefit, but none of that really matters.  What matters is that I need to do it and I haven't.

So, I am giving Jesus what he asked for for Christmas. Time with me together in the Word. After all, there is nothing wrong with all the fun and participating in the traditions we have for Christmas. But it is, ultimately, Jesus' birthday. The most important gift should be for Him alone.

I love it when I find the perfect gift!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Here I go/ There I go

I think I just passed myself walking down the hall.

Have you ever felt like that?  There is the Mom-me, Wife-me, Employee-me, Home CEO-me, Ministry worker-me, Trying to do some type of Bible study-me, Friend-me; Can I just say all of us are a little tired?

I miss blogging so much! I love to just open my computer, pull up a blank screen and see what I get. Sometimes it makes no sense and I just delete it once I get it all out. Other times I feel like God really had something great for me to share, so I stick it on here. And sometimes, I just like to ramble, have fun, or post a song or video that I am loving at the moment. It's my brain dump.

Well, I haven't gotten to visit the blank-page therapy room lately.  Between work, being a mom and wife and trying to be better about spending time in the Word (still not consistant on that one), and trying to be a friend, I have been feeling spread a little thin. Oh, and did I mention I am apparently trying to single-handedly lead half the ministries in my church (not really, but some days it feels that way!)

About a year ago, I really felt pulled to start a First Place group at my church. I didn't want to lead it alone (it looked really intense work-wise) so I thought I would join one and go through a session before bringing it to my home church. Well, it fell through and I didn't get to go, but I did find out one of my friends in my church had felt led to start a First Place group as well. So, starting about three months ago, we began the process of developing this ministry for the women in our church. We are scheduled to begin in January 2010.  This has been hard for me. I get an idea, flesh it out, and then am ready to implement it and move on quickly. All this planning and such has been driving me crazy...but I am pretty sure God is using this to refine me and teach me patience and the blessing of being prepared.

Then, about 6 weeks ago, our youth pastor announced he was leaving the church. Bob and I have been the only other adults that have served faithfully for the last 3 years, so the leadership of the youth group just sort of transfered to us.  We have spent the last weeks getting speakers, setting curriculum, planning activities and starting the process for camp in the summer. We also lead small groups for Sunday school, so we study for that, as well as making sure that we have people lined up and prepared to use our curriculum for Wednesday night youth group. Adminstrating a youth ministry is a full time job. I am driving to the church on my lunch hour. I am not complaining. Just stating what my day is like.

Finally, I am a full time volunteer in our women's ministry. Because of the other things going right now, I don't have time to serve as I feel called to serve, but I know God is patient and preparing the way for me to step into that role later, when staff is in place in our church. I know I will be leading a women's Sunday morning Bible study group, but not right now. I really enjoy planning and executing events for the women in our church, and love knowing that women will have a chance to get to know Jesus just a little (or a lot) better through our ministry.

Bob and I have made a priority of spending a night together every week, so we signed up for ballroom dance classes with some friends of ours. We just finished our first session and have a break until January. It is so much fun and it is a dedicated "us" night every week.

I have also been horribly neglecting my own personal growth through Scripture. I have spent all my time studying to be prepared to lead/teach, and not spending any time growing myself. I have signed up for a Beth Moore Bible study to begin in December and run through until January. It is good to study the Bible in order to help someone else grow, we should all do it, but not at the cost of allowing God time to communicate with us in our own intimate relationship with Him.

Abby is in full-on crazy 2's. She isn't terrible, just uh.... fickle. I have never been so entertained or enraptured with the wonder of life as I am when I am with her and I get to try to see the world through her 2 year old eyes.

Kevin is going through a rough period now as well. With so much change and unpredictable-ness around him, he has really been struggling. We are dedicating more time to helping him with and through all that is going on around him. At the age of 10, boys are in a sticky spot. They are feeling more of the protector, fix-it, handle-it drive of man-hood, but still struggling with the knowledge that there isn't alot in their power that they can do about it. It is horrible frustrating for him. I am starting to get a glimpse of some of the things we will deal with as he is a tween, things I had no idea would be coming. I have to admit I feel a little like a duck-out-of-water with him. I just don't GET most of it. I want to, it just isn't something that makes sense to me. Thank God for my dear sweet husband, who I know will lead him well through this time.

We also are trying to have friends! In all the busy-ness of life, the blessing of friends often gets shoved to second, third, or even further down the priorty list. We are making an effort to pour into those we love, and those we want to know better.

Finally, the holidays are here!!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas. It is my favorite season of all, and I try to soak up every drop of it before the new year gets here. I have moments of sadness. This was my mom's favorite time of year as well, and we shared so much every year. It is the time I miss her most, especially now that we have Abby, whom she never got to see.

As if that all isn't enough, I still have things that I am struggling to get through, things that I refuse to let go of, and things that God has firmly stamped "wait and see". All of these things adds up to blogging on the back burner. I wish it wasn't what I have to do, but it is. For this season. I am praying that it is a SHORT season. I pray with 100% confidence that our church will have an amazing pastor placed there soon, and that he will put into place amazing staff that will love and serve our community with a heart, hands and feet of Jesus.

I have titled this season of my life "Here I go/There I go" for obvious reasons. The easy thing about it is, I am at peace knowing it is just a season.  I have faith that God will bless all the calendar checking, life balancing and saying no to things that I really want to do. I have faith that this is a very short time in the span of God's plan, and if the Isrealites made it through 40 years in the desert, I should handle this season with grace and trust.

I am not doing too bad, either.

Most days.

;)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Can't Get Away

No matter how I pull and stumble; get lost and run away...I can't get away.

No matter how dark it is, even when I can see nothing but my own situation, you make sure I can't get away.

No matter what you call me to do, even when in my own power I can't see the victory, I keep running into you.





Head over to Amy's for more great songs.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I miss you!

Oh, Bloggy world... I miss you so much!

I will post soon as to why I have been gone...and why it will last for a while longer.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

In Christ Alone

I have been so focused on my situation, I didn't see the big picture.

 I forgot who was in charge. I forgot who goes before me. I forgot the battle has been fought and won with a victory that cost my Savior everything, and He paid it so willingly. Not just obligated, not just called, passionately humbled to serve~ especially by His very death he served us.

"There in the ground, his body lay, light of the world by darkness slain. Then bursting forth, in glorious day, up from the grave He rose again. And as he stands in victory, sin's curse has lost it's grip on me; for I am His and He is mine. Bought with the precious blood of Christ."

My sisters, sing it to your Savior, sing it to your God...lay it on the altar of incense to burn forever as a love offering for his passionate grace and glory!



Head over to Amy's blog for more moments with God...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Crossing the Jordan ~ Then and Now

Joshua 3 ~ Crossing the Jordan (NIV)


1 Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. 2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3 giving orders to the people: "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about a thousand yards [a] between you and the ark; do not go near it."
5 Joshua told the people "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you."

6 Joshua said to the priests "Take up the Ark of the Covenant and pass on ahead of the people." So they took it up and went ahead of them.

7 And the LORD said to Joshua, "Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. 8 Tell the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: 'When you reach the edge of the Jordan's waters, go and stand in the river.' "

9 Joshua said to the Israelites, "Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD -the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap."

14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea [b] ) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.

We have to know everything these days, don't we?

The Israelites didn't have a clue where they were going. All they knew was they were to follow the Ark of the Covenant.

That's faith.

That's having a real, living and breathing relationship with God. If we don't have that level of trust, we will never fully follow him the way we should, or to all the places he wants us to go. We must learn to be humble to get to that level of faith. Having to know everything is pride rising up and telling us that we deserve to know where we are going, what to expect along the way, and even convincing us that we could do a better job of being in charge. In essence, we are telling God to follow us.

In verse 5 we see that the people are to prepare themselves for the Lord to use them. This is so important, and I think it is a step that we don't think much about. We want to be used by God, but we don't want to look too closely at ourselves. But, God can't use something that is already full of something else. We should regularly look at our heart, our thought life, our spiritual health, and our physical health. We have to get rid of the things that are not glorifying to God before he can use us. We may have to address things that we would prefer to hide, but if we don't, we will not be in a place to be used by God. Even the smallest thing, when neglected, becomes the source of great struggle. It can even lead to a disconnect from God. Just as faith like a mustard seed can move mountains, so can sin like a speck become our undoing. Check everything about yourself and remove anything that isn't of God.

When we are prepared to be used by God, use us he will! Verse 7 shows us that God is very ready and very able to use us. Once we are in a place of being prepared, he will work a mighty truth through us for others to see. You may be inclined to think that God can't use you for something big, something amazing, but you would be wrong. God can use anyone, anytime, anywhere and in any circumstance to bring glory to his name! Oh, and make no mistake. It will be very apparent that we do what we do not through our own power or design, but through the one that created us all. His power. His glory.

Amazing!

The most important part of this, I think, is in verses 13-16.

The priests had to step out on faith and trust. The raging waters were fearsome and unknown; uncontrollable and dangerous, but the priests had to step in before the waters would stop. There really was no guarantee that the waters would stop. The only thing they had was faith in God. Faith to do something like that can not be weak. It must be strong, and it must be complete.

Just like the priests, God is ready to do mighty miracles in our life as well, but we have to have the faith to step out so that he can work through us.

In verse 17, we are told that the priests stood firm on dry ground. Yes, the water was held back, but you have to imagine, there was probably a wall of water right behind them. It was also probably raging, swirling, ready to surge forward at the slightest command from God. I think that would have been just the tiniest bit nerve-wracking. Don't you? But the priests stood there. Stood firm.

Once we are in the middle, we can't just walk off. We have to stand firm until it's done. Our obedience, resolve, dedication and perseverance can make the difference to those God sent to journey with us. If the priests had faltered in any of those areas, the waters would have surged forward, taking the Israelites that were crossing with it.

God will call us again and again to be faithful to stand for someone else. It is a huge responsibility. One misstep from us could cause pain to someone else. We have to be strong and solid in our faith.

Does that mean that we will never get it wrong? That our faith will never falter? No, I wish it did. But when we build and grow our trust and faith in God, those times are fewer and further between. God is ever faithful to be generous and compassionate with us.

In those times we can again fall back on God's promise in Isaiah 55:9:

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
as well as 1 Samuel 16:7b:

"The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
God knows we will get it wrong. Make the wrong choice. Forget to have faith. But he also knows what is in our hearts. He will know our intent. He will honor that. Even when we fail, he will know why we wanted to try, and why we will want the opportunity to try again.

I am encouraged again and again as I read through scripture. Not in the way you would think. I am encouraged because no matter how many times the Israelites got it wrong, God was faithful to them. I know he will be faithful to me as well. The God of the Israelites then is the same God who walks with me now.

I think sometimes we forget that.

The same God that could hold back raging waters, deliver an entire nation safely into a land that he held for them, and that repeatedly forgave and blessed a stubborn people, is the same God that I try to put in a box of understanding. He is unknowable, unchanging and unending.

Even though it isn't good to go backward, sometimes it's good to look back on the things that God had done already. If you are wanting to step out in faith, but are not sure where to start, perhaps looking back on all the ways that God has already been good to you will be a great way to begin.

Oh, and if you are like me, you have to take God out of that little box of understanding that you keep trying to fit him in. He is way to big for it. Just let go and step out on faith.

Be like the priests of the Israelites...jump into some raging water with both feet.

he promises he will be there.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This is our God

When God is leaving you in the storm, it isn't because he has forgotten you, it isn't because he is angry at you, it isn't even because you are stubborn and need to "learn your lesson". God is leaving you in the storm, because he loves you in a way that you will never understand, and maybe, just maybe, in the storm, is where he refines you the most. His love will blaze out as a holy fire and burn off all but the things that glorify him most.

If you are in the storm today, praise God! He is with you, refining you, meeting you, walking with you, holding you up to get you through.

Keep holding on.

Exodus 14:14

"The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."
If all you have left is to dig your fingernails in and beg for mercy, DO IT! But don't give up. If you can't hold yourself up anymore, fall to your knees. I promise; I PROMISE his love will meet you there.







Join Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders for more great songs.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Your Not Shaken

During times of change, I used to worry and wonder, now I understand something I had never really considered. Nothing, NOTHING is a surprise to God. My faith in Him can be sure, no matter what I can't understand. I can trust God to always be who he says he is, and to do what he says he will do.

Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;

It is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.

It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.

Let him sit alone in silence,
for the LORD has laid it on him.

Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.

Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.

For men are not cast off
by the Lord forever.

Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.

Lamentations 3:21-32




Head over to Amy's blog to listen to more great songs.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Brain Dump

Sometimes I need to just have a little clutter clearing in the thought process.

Here goes...

It's sad when the only expectations you have are negative. It's even sadder when those expectations are met. It's easy to be disappointed in people if you have expectations of them. It's better to just not expect anything.

Times of change and uncertainty just don't bother me. I am in a season of uncertainty and I am not bothered. I know that I am exactly where God wants me, doing what he desires for me. God has made himself apparent in many ways, and I have been affirmed that I am on the right path. It isn't necessarily the path I would have chosen, or maybe the scenery is unexpected is a better way of putting it, but I am excited to see where it will lead.

I have discovered some new friendships. It is nice to have people around you that love God and like to just hang out. They don't have agendas or ulterior motives, they just want to serve God and study his word, and do it with his people. I like that.

I have been having really great times of worship. Not in church, but in my heart.

The seasons changing makes me love God all over again. His creativity, artistry and generosity are abounding.

Autumn is my favorite season.

I watched Abby play daycare yesterday. She fed all of her babies before putting them down for naps on their own pallets. She shushed me and her dad. All I could think of was how much my heart hurt from just pure happiness with my life.

Today, she danced around her room and sang along with her CD. Oh to have that abandon and joy for whatever task I am doing.

Kevin needs more physical outlets. I saw this tonight as he was wrestling with my brother, I realized that he has so much energy contained, that it's no wonder he can't concentrate on anything. I am thinking of Te kwon do. Exercise, discipline and respect for authority. Can't go wrong with that combo.

Bob and I are planning our first true vacation. We are looking at taking a cruise. WE are planning to drive down to Florida as part of the trip. I have never been to Florida, I have never seen the ocean, which naturally leads to the fact I have never been on a cruise. I am so excited that I will be getting rid of so many "nevers" in just a few months!

I just ordered a new Bible study on overcoming fear. Oh, did I mention I am terrified of new places and going where I have never been? I guess this will be a never I can get past too!

We have already started Christmas shopping! Never have we gotten this big a start!

We are making great strides on becoming debt free! God has been so good with us and to us! (We love Dave Ramsey!)

My new favorite verse is Luke 1:45:

"Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"


How amazing!

I just had the best cup of hot cocoa. Half dark chocolate, half milk chocolate.

Thank you for joining me for my brain dump.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Seasons

It has been cooler and rainy the last few days. The poor farmers are watching the skies with prayer and worry, hoping to get their harvest in before the weather takes it from them.

Our school has been closed for a couple days due to a raging outbreak of flu.

I pulled all my hoodies out of storage and dusted off the cool weather shoes.

It's AUTUMN!!

This is my favorite season. I LOVE it. We are planning to take the kids to a pumpkin patch next weekend, then the following weekend we are taking the youth group kids to a haunted house, and then trunk or treat at our church. Then Thanksgiving. There is so much to be thankful for, no matter what struggles, fears, heartache and uncertainty we face.

This is one of my favorite Nicole Nordeman songs. I think it sums up the season's change pretty well.

"Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy." Acts 14:17 (NIV)





Please join Amy for more great songs of praise and worship.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

By Our Love

This is my new favorite song. I just love the melody, but the words as so beautiful. I just had to share.

I know, I know...I post this about every week. It's true every time! I Promise!


"Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord" Ephesians 5:19 (NIV)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Holy Spirit, Have Your Way

If you have been around my blog, my life, or just me, you will know I absolutely LOVE Leeland. Their worship is so pure and beautiful.

I can't seem to get it out of my head, and there are worse things to sing over and over to our amazing God. (More of you and less of me, God. More of you and less of me, More of you, overflowing.)

Enjoy!




For more songs, head to Signs, Miracles and Wonder's TSMSS!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

SOFF

This is one of my favorite days of the year.

Special Olympics Family Festival!

Every year my hubby's company sponsors and completely organizes this amazing festival for the athletes in central Illinois. It is the most fun you can every imagine! We work on the hayride activity. We are one of the most popular attractions. You will see why below!

I just had to share this day with you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to [b] me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.
Psalm 139:13-18
Olympians and Friends for a Day (FFAD) gather at the stage to wait for the opening ceremonies to begin.Olympian Pledge... "Let me win. But if I can not win, let me be brave in the attempt." Makes me cry every year!
The parade kicks off!

The balloon release is the finale of the opening ceremonies...time to get to work!

Me and the hubby at our station, ready to get to work!

Guess who we met!
I don't care how old I am, Scooby will always be my #1!

Ahhh...lunch! Thank you for the hands that prepared a couple thousand lunches...eat at super speed and get back to work!

The real reason we have one of the most popular stops at the festival...and man, do they have an attitude! They know they are the main attraction!
As the day goes on, our lines get longer and longer, but everyone waits patiently. We never have heard of a single complaint.
We took some teens from our youth group. I love serving with these guys!

Can I just encourage you...If you EVER have the chance to work with Special Olympics, in any way, shape, or form; DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! You will be blessed beyond what you could ever imagine!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Focused on service

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a
woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called
Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha
was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him
and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by
myself? Tell her to help me!" "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
Luke 10:38-42



Jealousy. Bitterness. Anger. Distraction. Frustration.

How could these things live inside of a woman who wanted nothing more than to provide comfort and rest to all who entered her home, especially Jesus.

These verses are a very short glimpse into the rapid progression of how love for Christ and a desire to serve him can quickly lead to a "sin spiral".

Martha desired to provide comfort to Jesus. She loved him and wanted to serve him in the power of her gifts. She was a natural born hostess. She knew what was needed to provide comfort, nourishment and contentment. It was her pleasure to serve.

So what happened to get her to the point of questioning Jesus and telling him what he needed to do?

Jesus arrives. Martha probably immediately assessed what he would need to recover and rest from his travels. She feverishly worked to provide those things that would comfort and restore. She loved Jesus and wanted to give her worship through service. What an amazing gift!

But...

Martha got busy.

"Jesus needs something to eat." Martha thought. "And water to wash his feet. Did I beat the cushions today? Should I give him wine or water to drink? Thank goodness I baked bread early this morning!"

Martha got distracted.

"I can't do everything myself! Jesus needs tending to. Where is Mary?"

Martha lost focus.

"Why am I doing all the work? Does Mary think that she is so special that she should enjoy rest and company while I do everything? That girl is always dreaming and lazing around when she should be helping me!"

Martha got angry.

"That's IT! I work and work and work, and what does Mary do? NOTHING!"

Martha got an attitude.

*Huff* *grumble* *huff*
"I'm not going to let her get away with this! Jesus needs to do something. Doesn't he know that Mary is being selfish? I'm going to tell him to make her help me".

Martha's eyes were opened.

Jesus could have easily told Mary to help her sister to prepare food for him, and she would have gladly jumped up and run to do his bidding. He could have invited Martha at any time to come and sit, to let the work wait.

But he did neither.

Jesus wanted Martha to find, on her own, that good thing. But she couldn't. Why? Because she was too busy. What started out as a beautiful act of worship through service turned into a spiral of selfish thoughts and loss of focus on what really mattered. Why? Martha forgot who she was serving because she was too busy focusing on her service.

Have you ever been there? What started out as a wonderful way to show your love and gratitude to God ends up looking like nothing lovely? We get too focused on our own power and what we are going to do for God, and then we start getting into the details and making it look good, and all of a sudden...who is center stage? That little stumbling block we all fight against...Me.

Martha wasn't any different.

When she took her focus off of Christ, and glorifying him, it became all about Martha. We want to serve, but we also want to be front and center, receiving God's undivided attention. When we feel like the balance of work and attention aren't balanced, that God is giving more attention to someone we see as not working as hard, we get angry. We get frustrated. We get angry.

Not very glorifying, is it?

Martha started out great, but lost focus, let herself become the center instead of Christ, and all of a sudden, nothing was as it should be. I think we can all appreciate her desire to give Jesus the best that she had, but once she started losing that focus, it became something sin-laden.

Jesus knows our struggles. He knew that Martha only wanted to please him. He had seen her heart and knew her love for him. And he also saw her human struggle against self. He weighed his teaching and rebuking against that love and was gentle and compassionate with her.

Isn't it wonderful to know that even when we stray far away from our original goal and live a life that is less than glorifying, that Jesus can still see in our heart, and know that even though we just can't seem to get it right, we want the opportunity to keep trying?

We are all like Martha. Paul said it like this:

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there
with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
Romans 7:21-25


Is there something that you are struggling to break free from? What once started out as something that was beautiful and meant to glorify now is a struggle? Have you allowed the world to tarnish something that you intended to shine for Christ?

Don't give up! Martha didn't.

Don't give up! Paul didn't.

They were willing to keep going, keep trying and keep starting over.

Jesus blesses that in mighty ways. Maybe not the ways we first intended. Maybe we will glorify God by telling others of how he had to discipline us instead of through our faithfulness and wonderful deeds. How he was faithful to forgive our sins. How he took our mess and made it beautiful.

Just like Martha, we can easily go from great intentions to stuck in a place of sin. It doesn't take a tragedy. It doesn't take much of anything at all. It just takes losing focus and becoming too busy.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Her service seperated

What happens when we lose focus? I asked this question and got an answer from a woman who had been there, done that. I'll tell you about it soon...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Construction Ahead


This is currently the view of my street. It has been the view for about three weeks. Normally I would find this to be irritating, annoying and highly inconvienent.

Today I find it to be one of those life illustrating life scenes.

They are replacing the sewers on our street. We have to eel out the sewers every January during that weird, midwest warm-up in January. This is also the time that monsoons make landfall in Illinois. We don't know how this happens, it just does. With the frozen ground and the massive amounts of rain in short amounts of time, we end up with lots of water in our basement from the backed up storm sewers.

You might look at this scene and see a big mess and a lot of inconvienence. I see it as an indication that our January in 2010 might be a little less costly, and a little less exciting (in a good way).

This picture also reminds me that sometimes you have to get really messy to get all the groundwork in order. Wouldn't I have more patience and understanding if I could remember that in my own life? I stress so much over the messy outside, I never notice what needs fixed underneath. Sometimes we need these warning signs to let us know that work is coming up quick, and we need to be prepared.

Head on over to Chatting at the Sky for more profoundly normal moments.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Life Light Up

God has opened some doors that I haven't noticed because I have been so focused on the painful realization that some windows had to be closed. I have finally seen the open doors, and I am so excited! This song perfectly captures my heart this week.




For more songs that reflect God's moving in the lives of his children, check out Then Sings My Soul Saturdays.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Joy found at the well


The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman.
How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks
you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living
water."

"Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the
well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our
father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his
sons and his flocks and herds?"

Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks
this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will
never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water
welling up to eternal life."

The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this
water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."

He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back."

"I have no
husband," she replied.

Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say
you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you
now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."

"Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet.

~ John
4:9-19 ~


I have been studying the accounting of the woman at the well. I find her very fascinating, but more so, I find Jesus' response in the above passage very telling of his heart and his purpose.

Jesus has introduced the two main components of true salvation in this one short section of scripture, but I think we tend to gloss over, or even miss, the importance of what Jesus did here.

He has been speaking with the Samaritan woman and has told her of the Living Water that is available to her. He clearly tells her that only he is the source of this water and that with it she will have eternal life.

Like any of us, the Samaritan woman jumps at the opportunity to have this Living Water. She wants the promises of what it will give her, but she doesn't see what is required of her, she doesn't see what it will mean.

She only thinks of the moment, of securing for herself the need to never thirst again.

Jesus will require more of her.

In verse 16 he requires her to acknowledge before him the truth of her life. She asks for the Living Water, but before it is granted to her, Jesus requires of her that she bring her transgressions, her sins and darkest parts, into the light. Into his presence.

Jesus knows there is no place in her heart for Living Water when she is still holding on to the things of this world that afford her what she has always known.  This is the thing that has leaped out and grabbed me by the hand. Right here is where Jesus teaches us about repentance. He obviously wanted to give her eternal life. He knew that she would further his kingdom and that she would bring to him many people seeking his salvation. But he also wanted her to repent of the life that she was living.

She eagerly grasped for the living water, not even thinking about laying her life at his feet first.

How often do we do this same thing? We want the redemption and mercy that Jesus offers, but we don't want to look too closely at all the things that we need to give up or change. We look eagerly to the salvation, but turn our eyes away from the call to repent. We don't want to pull out all the ugliness inside of us and expose it to the Light. We don't want to go through the struggle of letting it go and allowing ourselves to be filled with that Living Water. Even when we know that where we are and where we are going are places we have no business being, we don't want to acknowledge it or turn from it.

Jesus doesn't sugarcoat the woman's sins.

He doesn't couch it in comfortable terms.

He doesn't try to find the most politically correct or gentle and non-confrontational way of bringing up her sins.
In his love he lays it out there in black and white. He asks her, point blank, about her sin. She has no choice but to acknowledge it.

In light of her reaction we should ask ourselves several questions

Do we turn back from complete obedience because we don't want to acknowledge those things to him?


Do we sometimes fool ourselves into thinking that if we don't acknowledge our sins Jesus will simply ignore them?


Are we willing to simply admit to Jesus that we are allowing things in our life to keep us from the relationship He desires to have with us?

It is at this point that I find the woman at the well to be unbelievely brave. When she admits her sins she doesn't justify them. She doesn't ask for pity. She simply admits.

I believe that Jesus found her to be brave as well. He rewarded her truthful admission, her trust in him, by confirming to her that he was the Messiah that she had been longing for.

Can you imagine that moment in her life?

Shock.
Instant hope.
Welling Love.
Joy.
Excitement.

In verses 28-29 we see her leave her water jar and run back to the town. At the moment she realized what had just happened, and who she was talking with, she was overwhelmed with the need to share Jesus with everyone she could find. She forgot everything else as she ran to tell her news.

Jesus offered her Living Water, called her to repentance and then affirmed to her that he was exactly who she was longing for. Her new life had just begun.

Her joy was such that she could do nothing but allow the need to share this amazing thing to direct her feet to where she knew she could testify to Jesus' power.

When was the last time we were at that level of joy in our relationship with Jesus?

When was the last time that we confessed that we need Jesus to continue to well up in us, that we have things in our lives that are holding us back from receiving all the mercy and forgiveness that he has for us?

When was the last time that we were so overwhelmed with joy for what Jesus has done for us, and for what he means to us, that we just couldn't hold back our need to profess him in our lives?

It doesn't matter if we have been walking with Christ our whole life or only a few weeks. For the sacrifice that he made and the gift that he gives us, we should purpose in our heart to continually seek his will, pray and repent of the things that will keep us from knowing the full measure of his grace and mercy, and then joyously and passionately proclaim his working in our lives.

In Acts 1:8 we are called to be Christ's witnesses. Witnesses testify to what they have seen with their own lives, what they have experienced personally, and what they know to be true. We have not been called to do the impossible. Like the woman at the well, we have only been called to testify to what we have seen and experienced Jesus doing in our own life.

How can we live our lives like the woman at the well?

Search your heart for the things that are keeping you from fully experiencing the joy of Christ's love. 

Repent of those things fully, humbly, and with complete honesty before Him. 

Joyously proclaim the amazing things that he has done and is doing in your life.

Then be amazed at what God does in the lives of the people that you tell your witness to.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Empty Me

This is a current favorite of mine, and his voice is so wonderful.

There is such truth in how he talks about how fast our heart can change. Our hearts can change at the drop of a hat, and not always for the good. This reminds me that we need to constantly be in a humble place in our relationship with God.

Psalm 139:23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.




For other great songs, follow the link to TSMS Saturdays in my side column.

Friday, September 4, 2009

An Amazing Woman and a merciful Man

I have met this woman and I can't wait to tell you about her. I have heard people talk about her for years, but never took the time to dig in and get to know her for myself. I can't believe how much I have missed not allowing her to speak in my life!

I am talking about the Samaritan woman at the well. (John 4:1-42)

This woman seemed to have nothing, and have nothing going for her...

But Jesus did.

I am trying to organize my thoughts so that I can tell you all that I learned.

Until I can get my thoughts to quit running and jumbling up in my head, check out this post about a woman that was desperate and a Man with perfect timing.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Deeper

This week I am posting "Deeper" By Meredith Andrews. It seems to be the prayer I pray without words and the way that God is working in me. Going deeper isn't always easy or pleasant, but the relationship that develops makes it all worthwhile.



He changes times and seasons;
he sets up kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.

He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.

I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers:
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king."
~ Daniel 2:21-23~



Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones



For more great songs, follow the link in my side column to TSMS Saturdays.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Complete


Do you remember as a child that there were days that were so complete that you couldn't fathom how life could get better. You played so hard and so long that you were so exhausted your feet felt like lead weights and you body just wouldn't work anymore?


I had the honor and joy of spending the day with my kids last Saturday and we savored every second of it. We went to the State Fair and, although I loved spending time with Kevin and seeing him have fun, I got so much joy by watching Abby experiencing her first fair. She was so exhausted that she barely made it past the fairgrounds on the way home before she was out like a light.


I love the knowledge that I got to be a part of one of those days from childhood that just felt complete, and you couldn't have imagined anything better.


Head on over to Chatting at the Sky for more profoundly normal moments.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

State Fair Day

Today we spent the day at the state fair.

I have to admit, It was fun. We looked at exhibits, saw some live stock, people watched, had fun at conservation world, and the big hit of the day...DOGS!

As soon as we walked in the gates there was a dock dog competition going on. There was a stage that was the "dock", and the dogs would run down it and jump into a huge splash pool chasing a toy. We all watched for quite a while.

Later in the day, in Conservation World, we stumbled upon a Jump! dog show. Of course I forgot my camera today, so I didn't get to get many pictures, and none of the dogs, although they were the hands down favorite thing of the day for both kids.

We were going to take Kevin to the midway and let him ride some rides, but it will be cheaper to take all four of us to Six Flags! He was OK with not riding anything. It was the end of the day and we were all tired of being on our feet and ready to head home.

Although I did forget my camera, I caught a couple fair images on my phone that I wanted to share.









Ahhhh, sweet home-made fudge! I managed to get past with only a picture to sustain me.


No trip to the state fair is complete without checking out the butter cow. This year the artist (s?) really out-did themselves by including Abraham Lincoln reading a book while leaning against a log, a couple woodland animals, a couple of butterflies (I didn't get them in the picture!) and of course, the cow.


Waiting for the JUMP! dog show to start

People watching

All wore out and heading home.

I am so bummed! I was waiting to get a couple pics of Kevin on the rides, then we didn't end up doing rides! He really was there and we had a great day!

Crazy Love ~ Lukewarm and evil sacrifices

In chapters 4 & 5 of Crazy Love by Frances Chan, he talks about lukewarm Christians, and how there really aren't any. You are a follower of Christ or you aren't. Yes, Jesus talks about the lukewarm Christian, but he talks about them in the context of vomiting them from his mouth.

That is not someone who is saved.

Now, I have heard these verses and thought about it, and thought, "I'm not lukewarm, I do love Christ";"I do want to do what he asks of me".

But how desperately am I actually searching for that directive from him?

Frances Chan puts it this way:

It's easy to fill ourselves up with other things and then give God whatever is left. Hosea 13:6 says, When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me". God gets a scrap or two only because we feel guilty for giving him nothing. A mumbled three-minute prayer at the end of the day; when we are already half asleep. Two crumpled up dollar bills thrown as an afterthought into the church's fund for the poor. Fetch, God!

How true this is. We all know it. We all abuse the grace God provides us. But how perfectly is it summed up with those two little words he tacked on the end..."fetch, God!"

We expect God to run after whatever we decide to throw to him, and be happy with it. I was deeply convicted about this. Luckily, God wasn't done with me yet. I read on and felt God sticking me directly in the ugly places of my heart.


But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?" says the LORD of hosts. ~Malachi 1:8(NASB)

With the human tendency to scan over the majority of the Bible, I have missed something essential in this verse. Frances Chan puts it this way:

They assumed God was please because they had sacrificed something. God described this practice as evil. Leftovers are not merely inadequate; from God's point of view (and lest we forget, His is the only one who matters), they're evil. Let's stop calling it a "busy schedule" or "bills" or "forgetfulness". It's called evil.

Evil. When I read that it literally turned my stomach. When I am not offering God my very best, my all, the biggest sacrifice I can give, what I am offering he considers evil.

I can not tell myself that I am busy or that I am at least doing something. I am insulting God with the little that I feel up to giving, no matter how much that is. I have even caught myself in the place of knowing I wasn't doing what God wanted me to do, but since I was doing something, I felt I was fine.

Better than nothing, right?

Like I said, this book has completely messed me up in several areas.

I have been working on trying to prioritize my life correctly. I have seen Christians that try to fit God into their schedules already too-full of sports practices, time with friends, and vacations. I have seen Christians spend so much time searching for God's calling on their life that they are completely useless to him because they are not doing anything. I have seen Christians that think they are working hard for the cause of Christ, but they are only doing so to the extent that they are happy and comfortable in the position they have chosen to serve in.

I have been all of these.

I am striving now to be none of them.

I have learned to be OK when God isn't calling me to some huge act of faith. Sometimes it takes more faith to get up and keep doing the same thing than to step out and start something new and exciting.

Sometimes God is calling us to strengthen our home so that we will be capable of facing the challenges he has planned ahead.

Sometimes he calls us to spend time growing with him so that we can offer the guidance and council that another might need.

It's not always about the fabulous, exciting and dangerous life of a faithful follower of Christ.

Sometimes it is just about the life of a faithful follower. The difference is giving the very best of myself no matter where I am and what I am doing.

Jesus Paid It All

Ok, I have to post two songs this week!

I was playing around on YouTube and found this. I absolutely love singing this in worship at our church and it has been waaay too long since we have.

That being the case, will you join me?

Happy TSMS Saturday!



Once again, follow the link in my side column to go hang out and praise along with a lot of great people!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hallelujah

I'm taking it all and giving it back as words of love and adoration.

Whatever changes come, whatever I am called to do, big or small, take it all, every part of me and use me as you see fit. If I'm called to the mission field thousands of miles away, or if I am called to never go further than my hometown, I will faithfully follow and strive to do all that you ask, and through it all I will say Hallelujah.




Head on over to TSMS Saturdays to join in on some more wonderful praise! Follow the link in my side column.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Organizing in progress...

I want to post a nice long blog offering. I really do! I just can't.

I have been reading Crazy Love by Frances Chan and I have so many thoughts, comptemplations, realizations and yes, let's face it, some changing to do.

Thanks so much to my dear friend I have never met, Tara over at Giggles N Gulps for recommending this book.

I am hopeful that I can find time to sit down this weekend and organize my thoughts into some kind of written order. At least some of them.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Denial and crying for a little while

My baby just turned 10. At 12:46am he became a kid with a double digit age.

He has friends staying the night, so I was nice. I called him in the other room to do my fun little "at exactly this time 10 years ago..." story.

He is not supposed to be in the pre-teen double digits.

He is supposed to still be playing with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and taking a nap in the middle of the day.

He is supposed to still be a cute little thing that wants to do nothing more than take care of Mommy.

He is not supposed to be playing baseball (and impressing the stink outta me as catcher) and getting ready to head into the 4th grade.

He is not supposed to be doing fearless dives off the high dive at the pool. Running the board, stomping the jump, soaring away....tuck in the head, arms and legs straight, cutting the surface with hardly a splash. I am amazed by his fearlessness and natural ability.

He's not supposed to be giving his dad as good as he gets in a paintball war.

He is not supposed to take off on his own and go to his friends house without me holding his hand to go across the road.

He is not supposed to be only 8 inches shorter than I am.
I keep trying to deny that time is passing, but it is just not playing along. It just keeps marching.

Tick. Tock.

Flip the calendar page and on it goes.

Tick. Tock.

My kiddo isn't a little kid anymore. My Little Man is almost as tall as I am, and we only have a few short years left where I am the only woman that he wants to hug him.

If you will excuse me now, I am going to go cry for a little while.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pink Warriors

I can not make it through this video without crying. I see Jesus so much in these women, it makes my heart hurt.

I hope you experience the same.

Psalm 18:35 (New International Version):


You give me your shield of victory,
and your right hand sustains me;
you stoop down to make me great.





Join in over at Then Sings My Soul Saturdays and post a song that has touched your life in some way this week Just follow the link in my side column.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What Encourages Me?

Over at the brand-spankin' new, still shiny in the box site, (In)Courage, they have a fun little get-to-know-you party going.

The topic: What encourages me?

I read about it while I was over visiting at Chatting At The Sky (you should bookmark her blog and visit everyday. So much to take in and ponder).

Now, back to (In)courage. It looks completely amazing and the grand kick-off is Monday, August 10th. Head on over and enter your encouragement story to win the super-cute tee shirt that is shown on the home page.

So, here goes...

What Encourages Me?

It is what God does with this average, ordinary, insecure and flawed girl typing away her thoughts onto an unforgiving monitor.

for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
~ Philippians 2:13

What does that look like, exactly?

I am encouraged when God uses my words to minister to a sister's heart.

I am encouraged when sharing my struggles allows God to bring me healing through another's hands.

I am encouraged when I read stories of God's amazing power and ability to bring us through things that are too big to even imagine, much less get through without him.

I am encouraged by the way there always seems to be a friend with strong arms around when I need a hug more than I need my next breath.

I am encouraged when I don't think I can take anymore and from nowhere, out of nothing, I feel the desire to just stop and breathe. And remember. I am not alone. I am never called to face anything in my own power, but in the power of the one who created it all.

I went too many years and through too many things without that knowledge and power to take it for granted. If God now chooses to use me, all I can think is: "Wow. Look at little 'ol ordinary me. Doing great things for a God who shouldn't, but does, love me with an indescribable grace and mercy."

How can I not be encouraged by that?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sounds like life to me

How limiting of us to believe that God wouldn't know our day-to-day worries. We take all the "big stuff" to Him, but never lay at his feet our life worries. Bills. Hurt feelings. unwanted duties. Job stress. Uncertainties.

I think too, we sometimes think that we shouldn't have to deal with all that stuff if we are a Christian. I don't know if we expect God to be above us waving a magic "no struggles" wand, but when life hits us a good one, it takes us a while to get back up. Why is that do you think?

While I was watching this video (I heard the song on the radio today and it just made all kinds of sense) all I could think of was Psalm 139. We should live in the knowledge that Psalm 139 is the true image of God, but we forget that in the day to day of our life. God knows everything about our lives. He knows every struggle, every joy, every pain and every fear. We are to be looking onward to our eternal life, and find the joy in it, but we get stuck in what we think is the misery of this life. If we look around at the majority of this world, then look at our everyday life, well, there's no comparison. We are so blessed and so loved by an amazing God. I guess my main thing that I got from this song was no matter what is going on in my life, God is there, God is bigger and He obviously wants me to go through it. So, I need to quit whining so much and throwing pity parties for myself over every little thing, and LIVE whatever my life is to be.

Sure, some of the lyrics and themes in this song are not exactly what I would want for a TSMS posting, but God used it to illuminate something important to me in my life, so I thought I would share.

It was a good wake-up call for me.

I have posted Psalm 139 below the video. It is the NASB version.





LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thoughts from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night," Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day Darkness and light are alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand When I awake, I am still with You. O that You would slay the wicked, O God; Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed. For they speak against You wickedly, And Your enemies take Your name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate You, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way. ~Psalm 139~

For more great songs follow the link in my side column to Then Sings My Soul Saturdays.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Front Porch Sittin'

My new bloggy friend Lynette has started a fun little party over at her blog. It is just a good way to meet people and find new blogs to visit.

She talks about knowing your Friends and how women used to sit on the front porch just sharing life together. You know, there is so much truth in that. Growing up, I can remember my mom sitting over at our neighbors house. We used to stop next door on our way home (if Mom was there visiting) and be put to work, usually shelling beans or sweeping the front porch. Front porches were just as much a part of our friendship culture growing up as the kitchen table.

So, when I saw this invitation, I just had to join in. the whole purpose is just to tell "10 charming, interesting, fun things about you", just to get to know each other. Sounds fun!


(No, not my porch, but a girl can dream can't she?)

Here are my 10 things you wanted (or didn't but will anyway) to know about me.

  • I grew up in Southwest Arkansas. I still consider myself a southern girl, with all the genteel-ness that is implied. Sipping sweet tea, owning a crystal deviled egg serving dish, saying Ma'am and Sir and having doors opened for me are a natural and expected part of a southern girls life. Every time I have the chance to head south, I get so excited. There is a different atmosphere and pace to life in The South, and I truly miss it.
  • I devour books like chocolate. I never have less than two or three that I am working my way through at any given time. I keep a fun fiction book for my bath-time. I keep something that challenges me to place God deeper in my life in some way (marriage, parenting, personal growth, finances), a Bible study. Sometimes I overlap, sometimes I speed through one and neglect the others. I am pretty sure I would wither away without reading.
  • Decorating my life is a passionate hobby. My home, my yard, scrap booking, cooking, crafting; the list goes on and on. I love to find ways to let my creative side out, although rarely does the finished product look anywhere near as beautiful as it does in my head.
  • I love my son and I enjoy him and watching him grow up as been a pleasure and an honor (remind me I said that when he hits the teen years!!) but there is something about my daughter that connects with me and keeps me a gooey, in-love mess. (remind me I said that when she hits the teen years!!). I always thought that it was just Daddys that were wrapped around little girls fingers, but no, Mommys fit just fine too.
  • I watch waaaay too much TV. I adore quirky shows. My favorite TV show is Chuck. Or is it Fringe? Wait, no, it is definitely Dancing with the Stars. And the Bachelor. And Bachelorette. And Bones. And House. I can't forget Biggest Loser or NCIS. Thank goodness I am a confirmed Night Owl and there are tons of shows on line. It is actually the middle of the night when I watch the majority of shows.
  • I love meeting new people and experiencing new things, but I am absolutely terrified of having to go to a place I have never been. I don't know if it is the fear of getting lost, of looking like I don't have it all together, or the uncertainty of going a new path, or even a combination of all of those. I have tried over and over to get past it and still struggle with it.
  • I can listen to music 24/7/365. It is the ultimate way for me to connect with God and praise him. I am listening to music right now. (You Belong to Me by Grey Holiday if you want to find them and check them out!)
  • I am a sympathy crier. If I see tears in someones eyes, hear that little quiver in their voice or even if I imagine that they are close to crying, my waterworks kick into high gear. I also cry at any and every Hallmark commercial, The old Christmas commercial for Folgers where the little girl comes down the stairs and finds her brother home for Christmas ("Peter!") , great songs, movies, books (The Last Valentine took me three hours to read the last three chapters. I had to keep stopping to let my vision clear from the torrent of tears), and finally, I have seen this movie about 20 times and still sob like I am unbalanced when Shadow appears)
  • I don't know how to sleep without my cat. I have had one since I was 7.
  • When I go to the zoo (and I mean every.time.we.go) I pretend to be the Crocodile Hunter when we get next to the croc display. I do the voice, I crouch down and "sneak up" on my prey, I make up completely ridiculous facts and generally run my family off. It is so much fun!!

Now, Go see Lynette and post your own list!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Want to connect? Play!

When things start to feel stressful and you need somewhere safe to go, if you are married, it is your spouse. Well, what if the arguing and frustration is coming from that relationship?

You need to play.

It's really hard to get things started because you have argued about money, or priorities or what needs done around the house. If you are like me you hang on to things for awhile too. He walks out of the room and 15 minutes later it is as if you had never had a disagreement while you are still stewing in your firm belief that he has no clue about the person he married and WHAT are you going to have to do to get through to him, right?

Well, the best thing I have found to do is go do something fun. It is a conscience choice to put aside the things that annoy you and focus on the fun and silly guy you dated. Fun and games is a time where any disagreements or differences should either be utilized in the game, or put aside for the time being.

We have started riding bikes together. It is great family time, and we like to play jokes on each other and our son. It is just a chance to get outside and have some fun while being healthy. I have loved it.

We also have started trying to work together in the kitchen. I am learning how to share the space. I tend to have my way of doing things and my own rhythm, so this is a "fun" activity...in the making.

We also like to work in the yard together. Planning, planting, then sitting back and just enjoying the atmosphere.

We even like to play hidden treasure computer games together. We lay on the bed, have popcorn and look for objects together. Sounds silly but it is relaxing and fun.

What do you like to do to find the fun and silly guy you married? Bowl? Roller skating? Dancing? Cooking?

Make fun time a priority and you will find, as I have, that you are more willing to let the little things that used to annoy you go. Playing and dating like teens reminds you why you found him to be the hottie he is in the first place and reconnects you to each other on a more relaxed level.

For more ideas and inspiration on marriage, plase head over to Marriage Monday. Just click the button to follow the link!

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis
Want this button?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Follow You/On My Knees

This week I am posting 2 songs...

The first is a not-yet-released song. It is off of Leeland's new album due out August 25th (I can't wait!)

I am posting "Follow You" in honor of my friends who will be flying back from Mexico where they spent the last week on a mission trip.

I am also posting this song to remind me of what I should be and focus on what really matters and what I am really called to do. It doesn't matter if I am called to go to the next room in my house, the next town over, or the country across the world. Everywhere is my mission field.




The second is an old friend. It is Jaci Velasquez singing "On My Knees". No one can sing this like she can. This song has always spoken to my heart, and reminds me over and over that I don't have to go anywhere to meet God. He is right here waiting.



For more great songs, follow the link to Then Sings My Soul Saturday