Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Believing is Seeing

Most people know this verse:


For God So loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

This past week in his sermon pastor challenged us that no one comes into this world neutral. We can't be in the middle on Jesus.
We are either with him or against him. He brings division. He frustrates people because they can no longer stay in the middle. They can't have it both ways!

People like to say that
" seeing is believing"
but with Jesus it changes...

It becomes ...
"believing is really seeing".



The verse that follows is this:


Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only son. 3:18



Jesus did not come to the world to judge it but the effect of not believing him brings judgement.

As I think of that thought I am once again reminded that there is no middle ground. I cannot tippy toe around trying to be politically correct as a believer.
If I believe that Jesus is truth, that All of what he says is truth, then I will have to conclude that Jesus is the only way to the Father.

I must know his Word better then anything else. Inside out and upside down,(Because remember...we can't be neutral I either am for or against Him).


It just works that way!

God is calling us to be warriors not bench warmers.
And I want to participate as the warrior that He knows I am.
Not as the warrior I think I am.
But the warrior that He sees me to be.

Believing in Jesus is seeing everything in a whole new light.

When is the last time I've shared him with someone.
When is the last time I've asked my friend what he's done for her.
Not just certain friends but any of you.
I know that I may sound like a Jesus freak...
But I'm not gonna lie...

He has become a closer friend then ever before.

So I kind of am a Jesus freak.

And I want you to know him cause he's the coolest thing that will ever happen to you!

Not know of him...not sing songs about him... not speak of him only on Sunday...

But know. him.

As in his voice.
As in his smile.
As in his comfort.
As in his blessing.
As in his rebuke.
As in his Forgiveness.
As in his love.
As in his promptings.
As in his companionship.
As in his tears.
As in his Heart.
As in his intimacy.
As in his creation.
As in his Lordship.
As in his truth.

No Neutral. Know Him!

When you find him you will know it because

He.

Will.

Rock.

Your.

World!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Silly Silly Silly


Dear Silly Band inventor~

I just thought I should thank you for your very clever clever idea!

I will admit that I am a little jealous that you thought of it first....

I mean a rubber band in different shapes is an inspired idea!

I do have one small complaint though....

It's that I find these annoying little shaped rubber bands everywhere,absolutely everywhere in my house.

I know technically it isn't your fault...

But I do blame you.




Basically because I'm mad that you figured out how to sell high priced rubber bands.

Yes they are everywhere in my house....

Floors,

Bathroom counters,

In my laundry,

Tucked in van seats,

Beside pillows....


And beside the bathtub(every night).


I am sure you have a beautiful home in the Bahamas


with a leer jet and maid service(which would explain why you didn't think of me) by now.



So you're welcome!~


And next time you're dreaming up a multi million dollar idea..


CALL ME!





Thursday, August 26, 2010

Parental Transitions

15 years ago when I was about to birth my first child I had NO idea what was coming.


It's good we come into things like marriage and child raising without full knowledge of all that will take place or we may never have dared to try.


Both are the best opportunities I have been given but they are also where most of my hard knocks come.


When I consider how I started with a helpless baby who required complete care.

And then I move to toddler where the words most often used are "do it myself"... but I am still right behind ready to catch them as they fall.

To them getting on that bus, and leaving for school where I have very little control over their responses and bruises during the day.



And now as they are developing into teens. I am having to transition into becoming less of an instructor, and more of a coach.



It's hard.


Transitions...

Treating those big kids like the young men and women they are becoming.

Allowing them to start setting the course for themselves.

Giving them space to take a path that is not as clear.... where I know they may scrape their knees...

Without shaming them or making them feel less confident about making a decision the next time.

Believing that what I have sown in them will not return void.

Admitting to them when I'm wrong and they are right.

Treating them as friends...Giving them the same hospitality as I do those people I invite into our home.


Serving my best to them.

Listening with my full attention
And eye to eye contact.

Giving them the assurance that they can make it in this world without my constant attention or presence. And yet, being present enough to let them know I care about them deeply and want to be in relationship with them.

It changes... parenting does.

It's not a pond,
but a river...

Free flowing with sharp curves.

Rough in patches and smooth in others.

Sometimes it gets deep and you think you're going to drown..

other times the water seems shallow and easy to wade through.

Sometimes that river splits and goes into a different direction

And at times the swirling water causes a whirl pool and spins in circles.

It's got movement and energy.



It's exciting and never stagnant.

It's ever changing and irreversible.


I think my mission today is to prepare something special for my young friends.


And then I'll





Invite them to our table and listen with my heart.




******Come back tomorrow and I'll share the special dessert recipe I made for them***

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How will this be?

She was a young virgin.

Barely a teen.



And yet she was soon to be married.



The culture expected it. She was betrothed to Joseph.



And then one day A messenger shows up to tell her,



"You are Highly favored, The Lord is with you".



And you'd think she would have felt honored. But instead she was troubled at his words.



It's like she knew he was about to announce something that would rock her world.



Then the angel says, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."



And what was this sweet girls response after such an amazing description of what was about to happen within her? And to the whole world through her?



"How will this be, since I am a virgin?"



I am struck by these words...

"How will this be"?



When God is asking me to do something that is far beyond my scope, I ask...



"How will this be"....



He messes with my comforts.

He brings me unfamiliar.


He sifts and molds.

He rocks my normal.

Sometimes He takes away.



He Pulls the rug out and then tells me to fall.....



Into..



Him.



It really isn't what I've ever imagined cause it's what He's imagined for me.



And I am once more left to closely examine.



Reevaluate.



Consider Him.



And when this happens, may I respond as Mary did...



"I am the Lord's servant.

May it be to me as you have said".

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

4 carb meal

This community I live in is full of German descendants.

We obviously have been here for some years now but we still have our deep roots in Potatoes...I mean Germany.

We love our potatoes!
And Noodles!

When I was growing up it was very natural to serve two or three carbs at every meal.
It wasn't until I was a teen that I had even heard of counting carbs.

What a crazy idea!

Last night I indulged my family with something they don't get very often....

A 4 Carb meal.

That's right!
Don't think I do this every night.

But I was feeling the need to give them some good ol' German comfort food.

Okay maybe the need came from the fact that I know I'm going to get lots of "kiss for the cook" kisses.... And lots of I'll take more please requests.

So I made this....

And when you make noodles it only makes sense to have mashed potatoes with it...
Along with some good homemade butter bread...




And corn cut off the cob....


This corn gives me a sad ending to this story.

It looks so tasty not?~!

My mother, sister and I just put up 7 bushels.


We have for years gotten together to do our corn...it always goes faster.


But my mom has moved into town in the past couple of years and since they have treated water it made our corn taste like chlorine!


After throwing 30 cobs away and switching the water to purified we thought we had the problem solved but we forgot about the ice water that we soak the corn in to cool it down.

I don't get it !

I used to live in town and cooked all my food with treated water. I never thought of it.


It has us puzzled.


But the result is a freezer full of corn that tastes funny :(


I keep thinking if I mix in enough other things I will disguise the taste.... but my normally unpicky guy is not fooled.


He says he can smell the chlorine.


I told my sis that we can just assume I won't be bringing that carb to Thank giving Dinner!


But back to the 4 carbs.


They all ate and ate until their bellies were bulging and they even humored me by taking small portions of corn.


MMM....


It's tempting to consider making this meal again soon.



Monday, August 23, 2010

A time to heal

FOR I AM ABOUT TO DO SOMETHING NEW!
SEE I HAVE ALREADY BEGUN.
DO YOU NOT SEE IT?
I WILL MAKE A PATHWAY THROUGH THE WILDERNESS.
I WILL CREATE RIVERS IN DRY LAND SO MY CHOSEN PEOPLE CAN BE REFRESHED.
ISA 43:19





Don't you love some refreshment?
A tall glass of fresh squeezed lemonade on a parched throat.


A splash in the pool on a hot, hot day...

MMMM...Oh yes!

That daddy of mine has been pouring water over my weary soul.

He is so good to me~!

Recently I heard Beth Moore talking about Ecc. 3:3
"A time to heal"...

Are you needing to be healed of something?

I am.

She said she's got something down there too.

And to take care of it she is committing herself to talking about it with God every day. Asking him to minister to her in that area of wounding. Even on the days she isn't struggling with it. After 30 days if she is not healed she will continue for another 30 until that thing is taken care of.


He does not promise instant healing instead he says, " I will bind up the brokenhearted"....

Binding is a process.

So when we do receive that healing in full we will love him more then ever before.


"A time to heal".

I love the idea.

I am doing the same.

In this, God is giving me a new hope.
He is beginning to stir in me a passion once again.

But I know that there will be crooked paths that lay before me....
I don't intend to look back to Egypt but "have set my face like a flint" Isaiah 50.

He is doing something NEW!

What is He doing in Your life?

Do You need to have a season of healing?

Let Him refresh You with his word.
Let His presence overwhelm Your situation.

We can have a divine appointment with Him today...




Let's do it!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Back to school...

It is already that time again,

School.

Where my kids leave me for 6-8 hours at a time.

It's not all bad.

Sometimes I am thankful for the quietness of the house and the dishes that stay clean.

But part of me really feels the tug as they go back.

Am I doing all I can to ensure they become all they can be?

It feels like I send them out into a world that can be really scary and unfriendly.


This year we decided to have a wrap up of our summer by taking them out to dinner the night before they started.
We had them write down their dining choice on a piece of paper without telling each other what it was.
They were divided down the middle.

2 wanted Mexican.

2 wanted pizza.

We ended up at Apple Bee's.

It seemed the most fair. :)

We couldn't come to a consensus so we just went somewhere they hadn't picked.

After they were done eating Jason and I took turns pronouncing a specific blessing over each child. A compassionate spirit for one. A listening ear for another. Courage to stand up for truth. And friendships for all.

After picking up some last minute school supplies we stopped at the Chief for one last summer ice cream.




And this morning as the kids slowly moved their bodies out of bed....


We had a devotional which was just what we needed to hear~




It was out of Psalms 139...

O Lord you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise.
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely,
O Lord.

You hem me in-behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go to the heavens,
you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.



Today As I think of sending them out I am comforted that God is present. He sees and knows all. Even when I have sketchy details about what actually happens around them.

He Is with them wherever they go.

This I can be sure of.





***Just on a random note...

If you want to hear an awesome song click on the Desert Song.
It ministered to me in church this morning!
Hope it does you too!

Think of it as my hug to you as you start your week.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Visit with Yesterday


I am drawn back some 30 years ago to the place I started.

The old church with all it's peeling green paint and lack luster is where my mind plays today.

The place I first heard of Jesus.

The old basement where the Sunday School teachers told me the stories I still recite today.

The janitor who made us run for cover for fear of being chased out of our favorite spots that were "off limits".

The smell of rubber cement glue that was sometimes used for more creative purposes like bouncy balls and pretend boogers.

I still can taste the food that was served at potlucks,funerals and sewing's....Bologna sandwiches with mayonnaise and cheese.
Topped off with pies the old widow ladies shared and delicious chicken and noodles or scalloped potatoes and ham.

I can see in the frames of my mind rows of elderly people sitting in church. My grandma and her friends all in a row, ready to sing the old hymns of the past.
"Come thou fount of every blessing...

Tune my heart to sing thy praise.

Streams of mercy never ceasing...

Call for songs of loudest praise."

And there I am,little girl, sitting in the middle of my community.
My identity is here.
These are my people, and I am one of them.

And with all the imperfections, I feel a sense of belonging.
I am hemmed in and surrounded by people who love me.

I am a sprout who is squirmy and restless in the August heat. Watching flies hum around my face as I use the funeral fans for a swatter.

My mother is trying to get me to stop fidgeting while maintaining a decorum of dignity.

My father doesn't sit with us. But he can always see me.

He stands in the front and sometimes he catches my eye, and I know the look.

My daddy is the preacher.

I hear the song again....

It's calling my name...
as I hear it echo in my mind...

"Prone to wonder Lord I feel it...

Prone to leave the God I love.

Here's my heart O take and seal it,

Seal it for thy courts above."

My heart is drawn to the alter.
I whisper,
"Jesus come in. Come and seal my heart for you and your kingdom."

And today as I reminisce, alone, away from that familiar community, the people who once held me in their gaze, my tears fall.

I miss them.

Those people young and old who watched out for me. Who believed the best of me.
I still think of them.
Often.

I drive by their houses and I instantly flash back to those days when I shared life with them and their children.

I am a product of these years.
I will always hold those memories close.

I believe the grace which I have received is a precious gift.
The church I grew up in watched over it's own.

God knew that along with his grace we needed community to live in.
Walls of sorts that give us protection and love.

Just ordinary, fallen, imperfect people who love each other and guard against the enemy who is waiting to devour them.
Normal folks who don't always get it right but who strive for holiness.

Sinners like me who accept the fact that someone had to die to save us from ourselves.

I hear another song playing in the background....

"Count your blessings name them one by one,

count your many blessings see what God has done."


And today as I count my blessings I realize,


I am blessed to have been rooted in community. I am blessed to have the memories of old still linger sweetly in my thoughts.


Yes, I am indeed blessed!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Between my Fingers like sand

Another Milestone is upon us.

At the beginning of every special event I try to write a handwritten sealed letter to that child, telling them of my feelings at the time.
Those letters can be opened as they become adults. So here are some of my thoughts as I think of Malaina entering a new arena this week.

My oldest is turning into a high school er.

That's right.

I sit back and try to think about what it has been like to raise her and I just thank God for his graciousness in allowing me the privilege of having a child who has a heart for him.

She came out of the womb 3 weeks early and was a perfect little 6 lb bundle of pure baby bliss.

I remember those first nights in the hospital(back then you actually got to stay, and she was a c-section so I stayed 4 nights! )just holding her wondering what her life would be. Sobbing as I thought of her walking down the aisle. (Jason did not in all his longings to be sensitive understand what in the world my problem was)

She was perfect to me.

Everything I had longed for up to that point had become a reality!

And as I've watched her go from precocious little girl who spoke to anyone about anything and said unusual things like "when I grow up I'm gonna be a prophet"...
to her self motivated ways of learning, and the sweet ways she tries to relate to her younger siblings, I have become completely moved by her.

She has already taught me so much about grace and having a positive attitude in the face of less then ideal circumstances.

I look up to her in these ways.

She is not perfect of course,
In fact her room is exhibit A for her messy, teen habits.

But I believe she is already great.

Great in the ways of servant hood.

So as she enters High School I pray this blessing over her

My sweet girl,
I pray the blessing of deep friendships over you. I pray that you would feel the depth of God's love for you. A surpassing knowledge and understanding of not only your studies but of the riches found in the great book.
I pray for you purity in all your relationships and protection over you physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
You are in my heart every day! I weep when you do and I am joyful when I see your smile.
May God shine his face on you my little lady~
May you continue to grow up in him.
I love you forever and I'll like you for always!
Mom

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I felt lucky to be me this week~

I am not always very lucky in winning but...

My blogger friend Menno Jeweler was giving away a pair of ear rings,

AND....

I was the WINNER!!

It was so much fun to receive these little beauties!




And Look they match my eyeballs!!

Go visit her and look at all the pretty things she makes!

Thank you Kathy~!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

You make me smile

Three Summers ago Jason and I got away to this sweet little town. It was called South Haven and it's in Michigan.

I loved every second of it! It reminds me of a coastal town and it's only an hour and a half away from where we live.


Ever since that time I have been saying I wanna take the kids some day. And we always planned to but it never happened. It always seemed like we were pretty occupied on weekends~ Especially with church responsibilities.


Since this summer has been a very different kind of season of not having that we have been traveling a lot over weekends.


And this past weekend was the last one we had free before school starts. sniff...sniff...


So we took the kids to my little romantic beach town that has a lighthouse connected to a pier.


It started to rain just as we were driving into town. I was a little nerved up that it would ruin my perfect little visions I had dreamed up for the kids.


Well the rain soon stopped but it stayed overcast and windy. We decided to start by browsing the shops on main street.


We did this for about an hour until it became clear that several of the natives no longer were interested in this activity so we decided to grab lunch and head on down to the beach.....


Quizzno's has an excellent deal that for every $5 sub you buy, kids 10 and under can eat free off the kids menu! Love that! So we all ate for $10! What a deal!



We headed down to the beach only to find the wind was very forceful and it put a new meaning to the word "sand-wich"...we found a little hill that protected us.




Now, I usually think of myself as being a pretty relaxed mom. But it seems like I am becoming more and more tense around water the older I get. I don't understand it all except maybe the fact that I thought I was going to drown 2 years ago in a white water incident or the fact that I hear stories every year of people drowning who thought they could swim....


I don't know what it is but...these waves they were crazy!


And my kids were having crazy fun in them!



And I sat there with white knuckles and a pit in my stomach the entire time.


They weren't up by the shore line they kept creeping further and further out. Jason and I were talking about how dangerous it looked until finally he said, "I'll just go out there with them".

I didn't push him in but I did not argue with his idea...


This helped my nervousness but then I started panicking about things like what if they all get sucked in a rip current....Oh my goodness....what a sickening thought! I couldn't believe how I was letting myself get talked into all this fearful nonsense!


Finally I just decided to start praying and that really seemed to help releave my anxious thoughts.

And wouldn't you know an hour later they all walked out unhurt and smiling from ear to ear.


And I took the paper bag off my mouth and started breathing normal again..:)


Any way just as we got everything packed up the sun came out...BRILLIANTLY!


We looked around at each other wondering if we should unpack and set up camp again but I was really ready to leave the beach.


So we decided to walk down the pier but not before I gave the cautionary "don't walk near the outside...just stay toward the middle, no shoving or messin around...And that especially goes for you Jason....I wanna take all 5 of you home with me today."


What is wrong with me?



After our nice little stroll down the pier where no one perished in the lake we headed on up to a grassy patch back towards town. We decided to have our little church service there. In our bathing suits no less! What a funny little picture:) Jason gave us a little sermon about Paul and the shipwreck, we sang two song led by Sophia and Malaina shared a favorite verse....


Guess what it was.... "Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and petition let your request be made known to God". Aaaaa...thank you my little friend. That's the one I needed about an hour ago:)


After a little more time sitting on the grass thanking God for the beauty of the sun we pressed on back to the town for two more little stops...


One..the toy store.. in which nanny mcfee should have been present...she would have found a new family for her show...


WOW!


I'll have to share that little story some other time. But a toy store really is not a place to take small children who are in charge of their family. I'm not judging , Just making an observation.


And the ice cream store...Yay!! Ice cream and fudge!



What a perfect way to end the day.


The kids were so very thankful and loved absolutely loved those big ole' waves!


Yes that was the fantastic part of this day for them.


So there you have it!


I think it was a success and I slept very soundly last night!


And didn't dream about water at all.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I got news



I've got something to tell you...




Something is "On the Market" again....




After taking a 9 month break we have decided to try to sell our home again.




Part of me is dreeaaaaddding it!




But part of me is optimistic that this time it will be different.




I want to say that if you have heard the little rumor floating around that we are leaving the state we are unaware of that little factoid.




Jus' sayin!






But I will go on to say that if you sense God leading us somewhere please, please give us the heads up ~:)




Arms wide open that's how we feel...




That's kind of a good place to be right?


Not holding on too tightly is a place that I long to be. And right now I feel kind of like I'm in free fall mode....




So If you want a house in the country please look no further.




We would love to share ours with you!




Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer Love





This summer has gone so quickly!




I think it's been one of the speediest July's of all times.



I am not a fan of August simply because that means one very sad, sad thing...





The kids are going back to school.




I Love my summer break.



I love late nights and sleeping in!



I love swimming and sunshine.








I love gardening and flowers.








I love warm breezes and fireflies.




I love spending time with my kids.






I love traveling and camping trips.





I love shorts and tee shirts.


I love parades and fireworks.




I love sitting on my front porch watching everything in slow motion.





I love mowing and the smell of the grass.



I love fresh vegetables and fruits!







And seriously I didn't have to pause and think about these things so I know there are about 346 other things that I could list if I really tried to think about it!


Ahh sweet summer please don't end!

You are my love~

I think I shall cry when you make your exit!