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

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~



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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!

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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