Wednesday, June 30, 2010

When I grow up....

About 5 years ago one of my children looked at me and said,

"Mom, when you grow up like daddy what do you want to be"?

Well,I'm still trying to figure that out~

But...

When I ask my children what they want to be when they grow up it usually includes a list of these things, "A teacher,fireman,Doctor,professional athlete,a preacher, video game tester,or a mommy, but one thing I have never heard any of them say is, "I really want to be a servant".

Do I really want to be someone who scrubs floors or shovels smelly smells?

Jesus makes it very clear that servant hood is essential if we want to be part of his kingdom.

His life on earth was based entirely on this model of leadership. Always giving never trying to receive. Always reaching out never rejecting. Always loving never dismissing. Washing others feet instead of expecting his own feet to be washed.

"If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all".

The servant of all.

To aspire to be the servant of all is no small undertaking.

In fact it is probably one of the most difficult paths to take.

In order to be a servant I need to be broken.

Brokenness.

I ran across this convicting list from Nancy Leigh DeMoss...

~Proud people look at the failures of other people. Broken people are quite aware of their own failings and need for Jesus.

~Proud people must have control. Broken people eagerly surrender control.

~Proud people have demanding hearts. Broken people have giving hearts.

~Proud people ask to be served. Broken people willingly serve.

~Proud people blame others. Broken people can see when they are wrong.

~Proud people are defensive. Broken people are able to receive criticism with grace.

~Proud people worry about what others think. Broken people are concerned with what God knows.

~Proud people don't think they need to turn from sin, but are sure others do. Broken people live a life of repentance.

~Proud people need to be recognized. Broken people are eager for others to be applauded.

~Proud people want success. Broken people want others' success.

~Proud people are proud of how much they know. Broken people accept that they know very little and have a lot to learn.

~Proud people refrain from getting close to others. Broken people risk relationally, even when they may be hurt.

~ Proud people find it hard to share their struggles with others. Broken people are authentic and real.

Corinthians 1:26-29 says,

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-and the things that are not-to nullify the things that are, so that NO one may boast before him....

Something real to aspire to...

A life of brokenness and servant hood.

Something that will count for eternity.

So...

I'm thinking that if I really want to be a success in God's eyes, I must "grow up in Brokenness".

And with that thought I think that,

When I grow up I want to be a servant.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thanks for Raising us

It's time for bed and when that happens you can bet on these 3 things....
1.There will be a lot of story telling by children in an attempt to sabotage our bedtime efforts. As if they think that if the story is riveting enough we may forget what we were doing all together and allow the entire brood to stay up the rest of the night.

2. There is usually at least one last request for a drink, a snuggle, and a lament about some ailing body part.

And...

3. Bedtime prayers.


Ahh...How I love bedtime prayers.

Especially when we do it as an entire family. It is not only a chance to hear what my children are processing in their own noggins but it gives me a window into what they are thinking about their Creator.

Last night the little one said this phrase amidst all her little thank yous and please helps....she said,

"Thanks for Raising us".....

And I thought, "How peculiar".

But the more I thought about it. The more I love that little insight from my 7 year old.

As a parent I often thank God for the privilege of raising these children he entrusted us with.

But...

When I think about it, although I am an earthly presence in helping to shape, nurture, encourage and discipline them,

He is ultimately the one raising them.

And

As a matter of fact,

He is still raising me.

He continues to raise us, his children to be who he has called us to be.

So

Today,

Along with my little one I say....

Thank you Father for raising us!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cedar Point

In the last 4 days we made some fun memories ....

We went camping with some friends here in Indiana and then on Sunday we traveled together 4 hours to Cedar Point. It's an amusement/waterpark. What a grand time!

So between our four families we had 19 offspring:)

What a total riot!

Kelsey and Lexi huggin on Jalen...He's feeling the Loooove..:)

And here's one of my new friends I met this weekend....Marcy. What a sweet girl!


This expression tells you exactly how Sophie welcomed most of the rides....Thumbs down.



Camping and amusement parks can do this to you after awhile...
Drive you right up the Whack-O tree! Ha!


These 3 little guys hung with J and I one night and we had a great ole time!

We had such a good time in fact,

We talked them into riding with us on the scary Ferris wheel!

We were stopped on top and to get their minds off of it Jason mentioned that maybe that's Canada over there across Lake Huron.

When we got back to the other adults one of the little ones said "We even saw Canada! Or maybe Africa!:)



And cooking over the fire is always interesting. We tried making pizza. It actually turned out pretty yummy.
I had made some pizza crust before we left home and then just made them as thin as I could. Grilled the one side until it was crusty and then flipped them, put toppings on and a roaster lid over top to heat the cheese. They were a nice little change from meat.


Camping makes you really close......
Jus' sayin! :0


And....
It makes you REALLY tired!
It's always so exciting to anticipate a camping trip...
But....
Thank God we don't always live in an RV!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Biscuts and Muffins


Today was a baking day....


I'm like a squirrel on days like today. Storing away goodies.


I wanted to make good biscuits so bad~

So for years I was looking for just the right recipe that would make KFC green.

I don't know that this one is award winning but it has sure been a hit in my kitchen.

I thought I would share these recipes with you.


Biscuits:


2C. flour

4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

2 tsp. sugar

1/2 C. shortening

2/3 C. Milk

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until it looks like small peas. Add milk.
Knead and roll out 1/2 inch thick. Cut out biscuits. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes.

And Then I had some "brownish" bananas which means its time for banana bread...

Except sometimes I make them into muffins....
And you know what I like to say...we call it muffins so we can eat cake for breakfast:)

This is a yummy bread recipe that I got when I lived in Louisville.

1 C butter softened
3 C sugar
4 eggs
1/4 C. buttermilk (or yogurt or sour cream)
6 mashed bananas (or however many you have on hand:)
2 tsp. vanilla
3 C Flour
1 1/2 tsp. soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 C. chopped pecans(or not)

Cream butter sugar and eggs. Sift flour soda and salt. Add dry ingredients, vanilla, buttermilk, and banana's.Fold in nuts bake at 325 in two greased and floured 9x5 loaf pans for about 1 1/2 hour. Or bake in muffin tins at 350 for 25 minute.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bright Spot

I love how in the middle of tears God gives us joy.

Our little one had her first dance recital this past weekend....

It felt so good to smile again.


She is a ballerina.


Waiting....

Lacing her slippers...



And Whirling and Twirling for the world to see....


Spinning and turning...


Love my little one.

I hope she always dances for her king.

Monday, June 14, 2010

He who called you....

There is something about desperation that changes something in us.

Something about feeling like everything is gone that makes us run to the source of where it all came from.

There is a place that no one ever hopes to go.

Down to the pit of sorrow.

The lonely place of isolation.

The valley of darkness.

The place that feels so raw it hurts to be physically touched.


Where it seems impossible to see that life was ever good or will ever be okay again.



When I was a little girl I desperately wanted my Father's affection.

Desperately sought to be loved.

And While I believe my earthly father loved me...

It wasn't enough to fill that void in me.

And later as I grew into a young woman that deep inner longing to be loved also grew.

My heart cried out to be accepted by someone.

A man who would love me unconditionally.
Who would cherish me for who I really was.

And eventually I found someone who filled that void in me.

But....

I married him.

And it wasn't long before I recognized that this man could not keep that hole in my heart filled up. He could never do enough to make me feel loved all the time.
In fact sometimes I wanted to hold up a FAIL sign because he had not filled that hole the way I thought he should.
I was trying to make him "god" in my life.

About 8 years into our marriage I was pouring my heart out to my heavenly Father late one night.... and as I did something changed in me.

He changed me.

He showed me in a very real way that he is the ONLY one who could fill that void.

He was there ready to fill that hole, and I threw myself before him realizing this was what I had longed for.

I spent several hours basking in his love as he spoke softly to me.

But before that time with him ended I asked.....

"Why now? Why are you treating me with this favor?"

And I heard him say....

"You will need this for what is to come".

Since that time, I've wondered is this what you meant?

Is this it?

And today....

I know at least in part what that encounter was for.

I know that if my God had not in his tender mercy reached into my heart that night I could have fell without the great awareness that he is with me wherever I go.

I know that he allows us to walk through the fire in order to be refined.

Fire hurts.

And I know he allows us to be sifted as wheat.

Ground up?
Crushed?
Ouch!

And I know that I can cling to his promise that he is continuing to fill the holes in my heart.

He is still my Father.

He is still the one who "Tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms,and carries them close to his heart: He gently leads those that have young." Isaiah 40:11.

And I know that "as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will my Father rejoice over me.: Isaiah 62:5

I believe Him when he says "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt." Jer 31:3,4

He fills the void if I let him.

His word is a healing balm to the desperate soul.

He will never let me fall to a place he has not before been or is not willing to go now.

Thank you so much for all who left messages in my inbox and for your emails. It is your prayers that mean so very much to Jason and I!

I am also praying for the ones of you who requested prayer.

He who called us will be faithful to complete the work he has started...

And He is pouring out his Faithfulness to all of us even now.

I'll be honest...
Rejoicing is pretty hard to do right now.

But I can be glad in this....
I will rejoice in what You are making us to be our Eternal loving Father!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hinds feet...

For our kids bedtime stories we have always enjoyed spending time reading books with deeper meanings. We don't do it every night but we spend time each season reading some book...

We finished the book of Amos by Francine Rivers and now most recently we have picked up my personal favorite...

Hind's feet on High places.
The children's version. It's an allegory of the shepherd taking a young woman from fear to the mountain tops... the way is hard and the desert looms ahead. Pride tries to intimidate her and at times she thinks she won't make it on the treacherous path.



It always moves me as I read it and tonight as I read I just felt like I should recount this chapter for you.

I thought there might be someone out there in blog land that needed a touch from the Shepherd like I felt while reading this.....

Fair Warning: It's LONG!!!

Much afraid is the main character and the shepherd has taken her from her fearing relatives. This part of the book she is walking through the desert and loneliness.


Chapter 3After meeting Pride, Much afraid's poor crooked feet hurt her even more, and the journey to the High Places was slow and painful. As time went on, she still held on tightly to her two helpers, Sorrow and Suffering, and gradually they began to make better progress.

Then one day the path turned a corner, and to Much Afraid's great surprise, she saw a desert in front of them. As far as the eye could see there was sandy land.
Sorrow and suffering started to take her on a steep path leading down toward the desert, but Much Afraid stopped firmly. "we mustn't go down there. The Shepherd has called me to the High Places!" Still they showed her she was to follow them down the steep pathway.

Much Afraid looked to the left and right, but there was no other path. All around them were rocky cliffs as straight as walls.
"I can't go down there!" she cried with fear. "He called me up to the High Places, not to an empty desert!" She lifted her voice and called loudly, "Shepherd, come to me! I need you! Come and Help me!"

In a moment He was there, standing beside her.

"Shepherd I can't understand this. The helpers You gave me are trying to lead me toward that desert, turning right away from the high places! Make a way for us, Shepherd, as You promised!"
He answered her very gently. "That is the path, Much Afraid, and you are to go down there."
"Oh No!" she cried. "You can't mean it! You promised to take me to the High Places!"
"Much Afraid, do you love Me enough to trust Me? Will you go down there with Me, even though the path seems to lead you away from what I have promised?"
She sank to her knees at His feet, sobbing as if her heart would break. "I do love you. You know I do. Oh, forgive me because I can't help crying. I will go with You into the wilderness. I will trust You to choose for me what is best."
So there Much Afraid built her first altar, a little pile of broken rocks. With the shepherd standing close beside her, she laid down on the altar her own desires. A little spurt of flame came from somewhere, and then there was nothing but a heap of ashes. That is, at first she thought there was nothing. The Shepherd told her to look closer, and there among the ashes was a little stone.
"Pick it up and take it with you," said the Shepherd, "to remember this altar that you built and all that it stands for". He handed her a little bag. Much Afraid picked up the stone from the ashes, dropped it into the little bag, and put it away carefully.
Much to her delighted surprise the Shepherd walked with them down into the desert. He began to sing a song from the Great Book, and Much Afraid felt her pain begin to melt away.
They reached the desert quickly because Much Afraid leaned on the Shepherd. By evening they were at one of the great pyramids. At its base were some little huts where they would spend the night. At sunset, when the sky burned fiery red over the western side of the desert, the Shepherd led Much Afraid away from the huts to the foot of the pyramid.
"Much Afraid", He said, " all of my servants had to pass through the desert on their way to the High Places. Here they have learned many things which they could never have learned any other place".

Suddenly the desert was full of people, like an endless parade. Some of them Much Afraid knew from reading their stories in the Great Book. There was Abraham and Sarah, his wife. They had been strangers in a strange land. Then there was Joseph, whose brothers had turned against him. One after another the crowd of people stretched across the desert. The last one in line held out his hand to her, and Much Afraid joined those faithful servants who had walked through the wilderness.
After this the Shepherd took her back to the huts to rest for the night. In the morning, the Shepherd called Much Afraid again. He led her to a little door in the wall of the pyramid and took her inside. There was a hallway that led to the center, and from there a spiral staircase went to the floors above.
But the Shepherd opened another door on the ground floor, and they went into a large room. Piles of grain were everywhere, except in the middle. There in the open space men were threshing the grain. Much Afraid watched how the grains were first beaten until they crumbled to pieces. Then they were beaten with stones until they became the finest flour.
"It is the same with My people," The Shepherd said gently, "They too must be threshed and ground into the finest powder so they can become like bread for others. It is a painful process."
After this the Shepherd took her back to the central room, and they climbed the staircase. There on the second floor was another, smaller room. In the center was a man making pottery. He was working with soft clay upon a potter's wheel, making a beautiful bowl.
As they watched, the Shepherd said, "I work with My people as though they are clay. I mold and shape them to be like beautiful vessels. I want to do that with you, Much Afraid. I want you to be as clay in My hands."
Last of all He took her up the stairway to the highest floor. There they found a room with a furnace in which gold was being refined. The gold was heated until it was very, very hot. Everything inside the gold that was not good floated to the top and was removed, so all that was left was pure gold.
As Much Afraid stood fearfully looking at the fire, the Shepherd smiled and said,"My rarest jewels and My finest gold are those who have gone through the fire." Then He took her hand in His and continued, "So don't be surprised when you are tested by a fiery trial. Rejoice and be happy!"

"Rejoice and be Happy." The words echoed in her mind as Much Afraid walked back down the staircase, still holding the Shepherd's hand. Then she remembered some other words she had read once in the Great Book. " He knows the way I take. When He has tried me, I shall come forth as pure gold". The words were comforting, and she spoke them over and over in her heart.

They stayed in the desert huts for several days. Time was spent resting and restocking their supply of food and water. On the last morning, Much Afraid made a lovely discovery as she went for a walk. Behind one of the huts was an old pipe connected to a water tank. In the pipe was a tiny hole from which drips of water fell one by one. At the place where they landed was the first growing thing she had seen in the desert. It was a beautiful little golden flower.
Much Afraid knelt close to it and asked softly, "What is your name, lovely flower?"
The tiny plant seemed to answer at once with a voice as golden as itself." I am acceptance with joy."



The words of the little flower echoed in her mind and she said to herself, "I too want to be Acceptance-With-Joy. Whatever He lets me go through, I want to trust Him and allow Him to have His way with my life. And I want to do it with joy in my heart."
Then she stooped down and picked up a pebble that was lying in the sand beside the flower and put it into her little bag with the first altar stone.

~Hannah Hurnard


We are going through a desert time right now.

Our family would welcome your prayers.

If you are experiencing a desert time as well please leave me a comment so we can pray for each other. Or you can send me a private email.
We were never meant to walk this road alone.

The Shepherd who called us will continue to hold us! And what he is making us to be gives me hope to continue the journey....

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Deep thinker..

I wanted to tell you about this boy of mine....

He was my best baby...Absolutely. He started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks and stayed on a schedule. He was always happy,
And then he turned 2. He was still happy but he decided he would test things a bit.

He is following a sister that loves to perform and be in front of people.

He.... Not so much...He tried but he just didn't like the stage.


He is the chick in this brood who likes to march to the beat of his own drum.





I love his thoughtful questions. I love the way he loves to figure out how a door handle works(although I am not always as jazzed about the fact that he likes to take pens apart and then loses the spring or some other little tiny part).

I love his sensitive conscience that will not let him alone until he makes right his wrong. I love his quick witt and dry answers.

He is introverted and loves to read. He loves anything that involves computers or screens in general.

He can be in a room and get a quick sense of who is in charge...who is popular...who's the bully...who isn't...
I think that's cause he's intuitive.

He's not always had the easiest time finding his spot and my prayer for him is that as he grows he will become more and more aware of those who need a friend.

I recently heard a profound statement ..."We can never truly love until we have felt the sting of rejection"..... Love can come from the most painful place we have had to face.

I believe God is preparing him for something important...Greatness is not measured by what we accomplish but by who we are.

Oh and also...

he loves to play baseball...

I love to watch him!



More than anything I know this kid of mine is God's first. And I feel honored to be entrusted with his care. He is such an important piece to our family. As he grows I want to keep learning and attempting to speak his language.
And I love him so very much!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Dancin' in da rain

This is what I spotted from my window several days ago....

It was raining...

And the little one was taking full advantage of the free shower.

She looked like she was having so much fun.

And I thought she looked so peaceful and carefree.

















So I went out to get a closer view.





What a picture of freedom.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. ~Psalm 5:11

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

As a hen gathers her brood under her wings

Today this is where my thoughts lie....




Nope, I haven't taken to chicken farming...

Although I would like to own a few chickens some day~

Actually, I was thinking about the verse that says,

Jerusalem, Jerusalem how I long to protect you as a mother hen gathers her brood under her wings.

I am so moved by the picture of Jesus being that to us. A mother hen who gathers us together and shields us from the sly fox who wants to destroy our very lives and souls. And my Jesus says I want to protect you my little chicks.

Maybe I feel that so deeply because I am a mother hen. Longing to protect my little brood from the heartaches and tears of life. I want to shield them from evil and shelter their hearts from rejection. I want to give them a secure place to reside and sometimes I physically pull them to myself trying to shield them from life's cruelty.

Maybe that's why Jesus uses this picture instead of the mighty eagle or the Lion, king of the jungle.

He is these as well.... but the hen and her chicks shows a picture of him that is soft and nurturing.

And I like it!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Faces of Some Small group Friends/Big and Small


We were made to love and to be loved.

But the price this world demands
will cost you far too much.

I spent so many lonely years just trying to fit in.

Now I've found a place in this circle of friends.



In a circle of friends, We have one Father
In a circle of friends,
We share this prayer

That every orphaned soul will know

And all will enter in...

To the shelter of this circle of friends.



























If you weep I will weep with you. If you sing for joy the rest of us will lift our voices too. But no matter what you feel inside there's no need to pretend. That's the way it is in this circle of friends.


In this circle of friends,
We have one Father.
In this circle of friends
We share this prayer,
That we'll gather together no matter how this highway bends. I will not lose this circle of friends.




























Among the nations, tribes and tongues, we have sister's and brother's and when we meet in heaven we will recognize each other. With joy so deep and love so sweet

Oh we'll celebrate these friends with a life that never ends.


In a circle of friends

We have one Father,

In a circle of friends

we share this prayer.


That it will not be long until all will enter in

To the shelter of this circle of friends.







That it will not be long until all will enter in...


To the shelter of this circle of friends.





<




Circle of friends.....









This Circle of friends....









This Circle of friends...