A Few of My Favorite Things

  • God and all that goes with Him
  • Time Spent With Family
  • Bedtime Prayers
  • Family/Group Hugs
  • The Beach
  • Good Friends
  • Good Music
  • Laughter

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Time of Truth

Sometimes in our hurt and frustration anger becomes the avenue for saying things that need to be said but at a time when the fire is no longer burning. I have to admit that this is one of my big weaknesses. I hate confrontation and would much rather smooth ruffled feathers than deal with the issue at hand. I will put those things off until I explode. First of all, this is NOT how our Heavenly Father intends for us to deal with things.

Psalms 4:4 Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.
Eph. 4:26-27 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.

If I would just remember to do things God's way then things would go much better. My little man is becoming a tween-er and quick. He doesn't mind saying what he thinks, has a strong sense of right and wrong, and can be very loud, and repetitive. All of these qualities will do him so much good as he gets older that I don't want to squash them. However, our house is a headache house. We live with low lighting as quietly as possible, so that, my head doesn't feel like it is going to pop off. We literally use migraine meds for church and then a special day out. I guess I'm trying to say that he knows just which buttons to push and boy have we been on a roll lately. If I would handle each infraction as it happened then we might not have as many times of anger.

If I would think through the issue that is really the problem and pray about how to face it, then things would go a lot more smoothly. But to be honest, there are days when I promise it feels like he wants to find out just how much my head can take...will Mama cut the assignment short or put off til tomorrow those sentences that need diagramming. Yes, there are days it works for him....shame on me. I set a precedent that says let's test the odds and see if we can achieve the same thing next day or the next. I did it to my Mama too. If we could just stretch those boundaries then fun could be had. What he's doing is he actually wants to see if I care enough to make him do right. I know the psychology but the action can be so hard.

Mama/ Teacher isn't supposed to lash out, but do the job of getting school done. So when I laid into him all the pain that it felt like he wanted me to feel came spewing out of my mouth and onto him. There were things I said that needed to be said, but not yelled. He needed some time to think about what I said, but he didn't need to feel like I didn't want to deal with him. He needed to know just how tired I am and how hard it is to make school happen some days, but he didn't need it the way I did it.

He has every right to be frustrated and tired too. Being stuck in the house isn't fun, and Mama not feeling like doing the field trips I'd love to do isn't fair. But God didn't promise us this life would be fair. He found out that many days I feel guilty because I do have the headache and yet we adopted him anyway. I know that there are times when he must wonder what it would be like to have a Mama with no headache and who could have had a house full of siblings for him to play with, fight with, and share memories with. We had the headache under control when we decided to adopt...oh, there it is not my plans, but God's?! I don't believe for one minute that the Father enjoys me dealing with pain anymore than I want to see my sweet boy in pain.

So where did the anger come from: the pain, the repetitive noise, the singing the answers to questions at the top of his lungs when I'm sitting right next to him...no, not really all that anger comes from the Deceiver. By letting things go and go, I gave room for Satan to put his foot in my home. I didn't fix things the way God would have me to. So I'm trying and he's trying, and we are going to scale school back a little and do the easy academics and work on the hard cleaning out of anger and frustration in our souls. We'll do it as a family. He knows that I can't begin to imagine my life without him. He taught me how to laugh and smile again. He's taught me that God can take a heart that's broken into pieces and when it's put back together again it has even a bigger capacity to love.

Now before I let you go, I'd like for you to think with me about how when we sin, don't you think that our Father is hurt because of our lack of concern for His place in our lives. If we hurt when our children have done wrong, how much more so does the Father when we are risking eternal life?! It's made me stop and realize again the power of grace and mercy when combined with humble obedience to the Word. May God forgive us of our wrongs and may He help us to deal with anger the way He wants us to; so that, we don't allow the Deceiver a foothold in our homes. May we recognize when breaks are needed and when time in prayer is absolutely necessary before taking the next step or saying that next word.

I promise the next time I write, I'll leave this topic alone for a while. Isn't it wonderful how God forgives and makes us new!

Acts 26:18 ‘to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Time of Anger

James 3:16-18 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. (NLT)

We've been studying the book of James this semester for school. I picked it because it's one that I know I need the most work in. I wanted my boy to see that I recognize that when I complain and fuss about things and people that I know it's something I need to work on. I haven't been doing a good job of keeping my tongue under control. I mess up a lot. In fact, I mess up so often that I began to wonder am I really trying to control what comes out of my mouth. If I'm wondering it, I can only imagine what my sweet boy thinks.

Then yesterday, we had one of those days. A day where it seemed as if everything he said or did was in the opposite direction of where I wanted our day to go. He saw a side of me that to be really honest only my sweetheart has seen on a few occasions...I mean the last time I can remember being that angry was when I was a teenager fighting it out with my younger sister. (Those days I didn't even try to control my temper and Jenny and I both had scares from some of our fights.) I promise I didn't touch my boy, but he probably wished I had because by the time I unloaded all the frustration and anger on him...I know he felt the sting of words that cut deep and can't be taken back. He was trying me to see just what he could get away with and instead of taking care of things one at a time, I waited for the explosion.

So here we are back to why I've picked James for our Bible Study. Words are powerful! They can build up and tear down. I want my speech to reflect peace and gentleness....even when the pain in my head brews like a storm. So today, I decided to read James to him from the New Living Translation. As I was reading, I heard an oh and hmm. I know he was listening. Our study Bible is the NKJV, but for the first time he was really grasping the struggle that every Christian has to love the world or the spiritual. He finally understood why this is my go to book when I'm working on my mouth and loving those around me.

I don't think he'll ever forget the “fit” Mama threw yesterday, and I don't want him to forget. But I hope that he remembers that after a period of cooling off, that I came into his room and had him get on his knees with me to pray. I begged for forgiveness for how I said the things I said. I pleaded for mercy and grace not only from the Father but from my son. It's my prayer that the memory of Mama crying a prayer for the two of us will teach him the power of God's grace and a humble heart. So that takes us back to James 3:16-18, I want my speech to be pure. I want the words he hears come out of my mouth to be peace loving and kind and gentle. I want him to witness a Mama whose trying her best to be full of mercy and good deeds. I want him to know I'm sincere when I say I love all people. I want to be that Mama who is a peacemaker planting seeds of righteousness and peace.

I know that I will fail at times, but I want him to know that this life we've chosen as followers of Christ is not always an easy one. It's a daily battle with the Deceiver, who can so easily use our tongue for evil instead of good. I want him to watch me work out my salvation daily with fear and trembling, and I pray that he will see a humble heart bowed before our Father in heaven. I pray that God will grant me the strength and patience to set the example he needs from me. Above all I pray that he will see the need to do the same in his own life. The teen years are upon us early and he has his own struggles to fight. I pray that God will be with all of us as we work to raise our children to glorify and honor the Father in all things.

P.S. Schooling at home is hard and I think it's time for us to slow down a little bit for a while. Allow ourselves some room to work on character and home as well as the 3 R's. May God bless you and your family as you strive to bring Him honor and glory forever, Amen.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Fanning the Flame

2Tim. 1:5-7 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. NKJV

This scripture has come to me over and over again in the last week. Anytime that happens I figure it’s time to sit down and really look at it and my life. Sometimes I find encouragement to stay on the track I’m on, and sometimes I find some work in a certain area needs to be done. This time it’s a combination of the two.

One of the first things that really stood out was “stir up the spirit of God“, in the NIV “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God”. Notice that Paul is not telling Timothy you don’t have this gift and not even that he’s not using it, but that he needs to fan into flame the spirit of God. How often do we go about doing the work of the church with love but without fervor. I love how Paul says to fan the flame. He’s saying you’re hot but you can be hotter. Add that something special to your service and be a fire for Christ.

I’ve been coming back to this verse over and over again. The question is am I serving and sharing in a “Flame on” fashion? Am I praying with faith that knows if it is God’s will then it’s already done? When my brothers and sisters come into contact with me are they warmed by flame as I am by their's? Am I loving both inside and outside the building to the point someone can say “I want what she has”? Am I so excited to study the word of God that I can sit down and read scripture for hours at a time? Am I meditating on THE word and filling my life with the things that are pure and good?

2Tim 1:12-14 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

So, I know I need to hold onto the word of God knowing that it will produce a stronger faith. One that can withstand the sufferings of this life because Christ suffered here in the worst possible way for me and you. I must let go of all control and give it to the one who has promised me a home in heaven. I must trust fully in his promises and know that HE HAS THIS. Wow, let me say that one more time…HE HAS THIS. I may not understand the whys and wherefores but GOD HAS THIS. He has all the daily struggles. He has the solutions to replacing dead refrigerators, washers, and not getting to do outings that I want. He sees the big picture and I’m looking at this moment under a magnifying glass. What I see as huge and insurmountable (like my mountain of laundry), He sees in perspective to my life and all those around me. If I’m willing to fan the flame, the blessings will come. I can know without any doubt that the longings…needs of my heart are in His safe keeping and he has promised to work ALL things together for good in my life.

Father, thank you for the richness of your promises. Thank you for the comfort, peace, and courage that comes from reading Your word and spending time with You in prayer. Help us to fan the flame of Your Spirit and to pass it along to others as we strive to please You in all we do and say. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

R 16:16

Friday, July 19, 2013

We Finished Our Third Year of Home Schooling.

Once again it seems that I am writing this entry at the end of the summer instead of the beginning. It amazes me just how quickly time flies and that it is now time to get ready for reviews and some FUN practice activities. But the real purpose for writing today is just how much I learned this year.

My little man, who is now almost as tall as me, did very well and learned what we had set out for him to learn plus some. Yet, it always amazes me just how much I learn during the school year. I learned more grammar this year than I ever have. We both enjoyed Analytical Grammar Jr. A definite set of rules for how to diagram a sentence is awesome! This math mind loves to have a formula and this program fit that bill. We’ll be starting their Middle School program this year, and I can’t wait to see just how much we learn about the process of writing a good paper. I learned that we enjoy doing scripture for handwriting practice and that we both remember more scripture when we’ve written it.

I also learned that we are not ready for any type of block scheduling. We both feel less stress and remember more taking a little from each subject each day rather than trying to absorb a whole course in 9 to 18 weeks. I’m so thankful I decided up front to keep Bible, math, and English going year round. I’ve had to accept the fact that we need a definite start time each day. It’s amazing just how easy it is to put off getting started for what seems like good reasons. I found out that even with a special ball chair my little man will still find ways to fall and make noises that irritate me and the migraine (Yes, the public school teacher in me still feels like a chair needs to sit on all four legs, and that fiddling with stuff means that he’s not listening.) I feel like I have made some great strides in this area though as long as what he’s holding doesn’t make a noise and he can repeat back to me what I said I can handle him holding something in his hands and not making direct eye contact. I’ve also learned that if he’s moving when he’s learning facts and spelling words his memory is better. Yes, I know that this would not work in a classroom full of kids, but it is a benefit to schooling at home.

I think to some degree I’ve figured out how he thinks which is one of my favorite things about teaching. It’s so neat to watch him process information and then share his interpretation of the facts. I totally enjoyed history, science, and reading for this very reason. His point of view has had me looking at things in a new way and I love it!.

We set some spiritual and developmental goals for him this year as well. It has been a great joy to watch him grow in faith this year. He has become more helpful and will see a need and fill it without being asked. Those goals were more important than any academic goal we had set for him. I know now that his faith is strong and that hard headed, stubbornness that can drive me crazy will serve him well through this life. He’s also learned how to do laundry and some basic cooking. Both of these have been useful to the two of us, and little man has found joy in doing for himself.

So where do we go from here? Lord willing, we’ll start and finish another school year, we’ll both grow in faith as we study our Bible lessons this year, I’ll learn to let go more, and he will become more of an independent learner. Prayerfully, we start each day seeking how we can glorify the Father in all we say and do.

Once again, if you know me, the what I say part is the one I struggle with. I am not super mom or super teacher. I make many mistakes. There are days when all I hear is the pain and I have to work extra hard to really listen to little man, to be patient and kind. I’m praying that as he watches me struggle to live a life pleasing to God through the pain that he will also learn that no matter what adversity there is with God as our guide all things are possible.

It’s now time for me to finish packing up this years work and get the next year’s plan in ink. I know we will have good and bad days, and it’s my prayer that I’ll recognize the bad day and take the time to turn it around. Sometimes that just means leaving the room for a few minutes, sometimes it means loading up and going for a ride, or it may mean we put some of school in a bag and go to the park to work for a while.

Finally, sweet friends, I ask that you pray for us as we get ready to hit these tween years and Mama is both Mama and teacher. I’ll be praying for all of you too. Whether you school at home or if your children are in public or private school, may God give us the desire and strength to parent intentionally. To consciously make decisions and choices that will lead our children closer to the Father. May He use our mistakes to help us teach our children about grace and love, and may He allow them to see Him in us…and that we can see Him in them.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Can pain be a good gift???

Jam 1:17-20 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

This verse has become one of my favorites :)
1) It is a reminder of where my blessings come from. It's in the "little" things like breathing in and out, really taking the time to watch my baby grow both physically and spiritually, spending time with my sweetheart just holding hands, the beautiful sound of the children in my life both laughing and crying, and the incredible ability the Father has given us to express ourselves not only in words but more importantly in touch and prayer.
2) He is the Father of lights...when I feel like I'm in a deep dark cave or in the middle of a hurricane...He's there shining, guiding me. Even when it feels like there is only pain, I can know that He will see me through. I am His and He is mine and His word is truth. There are no shadows in his presence and he does not change.
3) It is because of His greatness...not mine...that I must be quick to hear. I don't mean just hearing those around me but really listening. I need to spend the time the person is speaking to me really taking in what they have to say...not just formulating my reply. Maybe...just maybe that means, I'll hear the broken heart, the hurting spirit, or even the absolute joy behind the words not only just what was spoken.
4) I need to be slow to speak...honestly, this is probably the one that gets me the most often. Between the "sound" of the pain in my head and that voice inside saying "I can do it...I can be out and about...I can help!" Between those two competing "noises" is the stream of words that comes out just trying to keep back the tide of overwhelming disappointment that I am no longer who I used to be. (Note to self: Go back to point one and count my blessings and know that good will come from this as long as I continue in my walk with Christ.)
5) I've got to be slow to anger....my sweet boys don't intentionally do things that make me want to remove my head from shoulders. I need to make sure that what I'm angry about is worth getting angry over (I don't know about you but I’m thankful for the examples of God’s anger over sin…it’s nice to know that not all anger is wrong and it’s what I do with it that makes it sin or not. I need to hear the “ I love you so much I don’t want to watch you hurt because you do “X” when my sweetheart goes into Knight mode and tries to keep me from activities he knows I’ll deal with pain from later. (I’m not always good at this and more often I find myself ready to fight because he’s right and it stinks to not be able to do and play like I would love to.)
6) If the wrath or anger of man doesn’t produce righteousness then I need to be in the word working on cultivating the things that do.

The following passages show us how to do it.
Jam 1:21-27 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

Okay so to create the righteousness that I want to have I must put away the filthiness and the overflow of wickedness. I can go back and tie this to point 4. If I am not slow to speak, then all the junk will just come tumbling out. Is what I’m saying kind or helpful or is it full of the foul language I hear on TV, or in the presence of friends and coworkers? If I truly want the righteousness promised here, I must have the implanted word of God in my heart. In other words, I’ve pulled all the weeds out of my life and planted the word of God there. Words are my “sin that so easily besets me”. But not only do I need to plant the gospel in my life, I must share the produce of the gospel and salvation. I have a lot of work to do on me. I know that I will not make it through life’s journey without getting mess on my clothes with the filthiness of this world.

So sweet friends in a week that has been a roller coaster from start to finish, I am hanging on to the promises …that while I may not understand why two sweet little girls will have to grow up without their Mama or the whys of Mickey’s death…we will see Danielle and Mickey on the other side of Jordan. In the midst of the heartache, we have enjoyed many precious moments with family. Time spent in play and the joys of watching nieces try to catch a frog and Aunt Steph actually grabbing it up and giving it to them. The happiness in the faces of nephews as they took on the responsibility of setting off the fireworks this year, but the cherry on the top was heading out to camp to get my boy and hearing them call his name as boy camper of the week. God does answer our prayers. He gives us the light to walk through the dark valleys and His glory shining through others who touch our life are the rainbow of hope that this world is only a temporary place and we have someplace far, far better to go to.

Dear Father, please be with me today as I deal with the frustrations of pain. Help me to express myself appropriately and to not allow my anger to become sinful. Finally, please help me to glorify you in all I say and do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, May 6, 2013

When Mama Sings

I love how certain songs bring back specific memories. When I was growing up there were a couple of songs that Mama would sing at very specific times. Instead of an alarm clock waking us up in the morning, Mama would sing about the sunshine and happy faces. I have to say there were many mornings she didn’t have the happiest faces rolling out of bed. She would come through singing that song and we’d know it was time to get moving. There was no trouble IF (Don’t you just love the word if) we got moving. If she had to come through twice, we knew the next time her sunshine wouldn't last much longer. It was her way of giving us a heads up before we would get into trouble.

She did the same thing when we were fussing amongst ourselves except the song she sang was “Angry Words”. If she made it to the chorus after the third verse then she would reappear and take matters into her own hands. I have always loved how she gave us the that little time to fix what needed fixing before she came to move us to our separate corners. It was like the clock in a boxing match and the end of the song was the bell to end the match. There were times when Mama had to wade in like the Ref and put us where she wanted us. But on the whole, just hearing Love one another thus says the Savior, Children obey the Fathers blest command would stop us. Mama had found her way to teach us the lesson she wanted, reminded us that God was watching, and it was time to obey her.

She sang often and the examples above are memories that bring a smile now. I must admit that I hated hearing those songs as a kid, but today the love that she parented with comes back loud and clear.

My Favorite time to hear Mama sing was bedtime. As she rocked the babies to sleep, her sweet voice would carry through the house. Since I was the oldest, I can remember listening many nights from my bed and the sense of peace and comfort would come right along with the notes she sang as we fell to sleep to “Climb Up the Mountain”, “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love”, and “Jesus Loves Me”. Those songs are engraved on my heart. When I hear them now, they bring a smile along with that peace and comfort and a little bit of longing for the next stage in life, because above all else Mama taught us “This World Is Not My Home”.

How blessed the four of us were to grow up in her home. Mama’s love for the Father and my Daddy came through in her every word and deed. It has always been my prayer to be able to provide for my family the rich blessings she provided and continues to provide.

Proverbs 31: 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her:

Dear Father, Please help us to find ways to create rich memories wrapped in your love for our children. Help us to reflect your love in all we do as mamas, wives, daughters, sisters, aunts, and friends. Forgive us when we fail and in all things help us to bring glory to your name. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dear Son...I'm Praying for Your Future

Dear Son,

I know that right now you are more interested in playing with friends and food than anything else. But before I blink you’ll be driving, dating, and be in college. I've been praying for you and your future wife since you were a week old, and I want you to know that I will love the girl you bring home as wife. It is my prayer that she’s being raised by parents who love God above all else and that they are teaching her the value of purity just like Daddy and I are trying to teach you. You've already made the most important decision of your life by choosing to put on our Lord in baptism. I’m so pleased with what I see in your heart…your love for God and others makes me strive to live the way I’m supposed to. Your tender heart is beautiful and your ability to put smiles on my face and that of others is a wonderful gift. I love you but before you get much older, I thought it might interest you to know what’s in my heart.

The choices you make now will affect your entire life. Your choices of friends and the girls you give a piece of your heart to even now can determine whether or not you reach your goal of heaven. Please be careful with that tender heart, it will be broken at some point for that is the nature of this world. Prov 22:24-25 Make no friendship with an angry man, And with a furious man do not go, Lest you learn his ways And set a snare for your soul. We laugh together when I warn you that girls are nothing but trouble. We both know how much fun you can have when you’re getting into trouble, so be careful. 2 Cor 6:13-14 Now in return for the same I speak as to children, you also be open. Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? Remember you marry who you date, and you date those you choose to spend time with. God wants wonderful things for you and his plans for you are beautiful, so do your part and think before you act.
Pro 19:20-23 Listen to counsel and receive instruction, That you may be wise in your latter days.
There are many plans in a man's heart, Nevertheless the LORD's counsel--that will stand.
What is desired in a man is kindness, And a poor man is better than a liar.
The fear of the LORD [leads] to life, And [he who has it] will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil

I can only imagine that when you read this, the thought will cross your mind, “Yeah, like you have room to talk, Mama!” But it’s because I fell in love with Daddy when I was 14 that I do have room to talk for change. Go places where you will meet girls who will value your relationship with God. Look at their hearts and not only their pretty faces. Can you see the love of Christ shining in her? Does she care for others? How does she talk to her friends? Does she talk about the power of prayer and is she willing to stand up and share her love for the gospel with others? I see you already doing these things and I’m so proud of you! I’m praying you will find someone who will encourage you to do the work of the Father, that she will help you walk the straight and narrow.

I’m not na├»ve enough to think that temptation won’t ever come your way, because Daddy and I know just how hard it is to remain pure. I’m praying you date girls who you can enjoy being with but not have to fight lust and Satan the whole time you’re out.

Please before you give your heart away, visit with the young lady’s parents. Listen to how she talks to her parents, how they talk to her, and how they talk to each other. Your Daddy has been working to raise you to be a gentleman who stands up for what is right and good, and who places women in a place of honor. I can remember when Daddy would hold and rock you and tell you that he was going to raise you to be a loving, spiritual leader in your home if it killed the two of you. Be kind and gentle, yet firm. Lead without stepping on the girls you date, speak up when it’s right, and remain silent when you should. Walk the girl to the door, don’t sit out in the car or spend too long saying goodnight (trust me it’ll make your Christian walk easier…Daddy and I learned that lesson the hard way). If you’ll bring her home to visit, I promise not to tell the embarrassing stories or bring out the photo albums. I pray that I treat every girl you date with love and respect, and that even after you break up with her or she with you that I’ll not say anything bad about her…you just never know, you might fall for her again. (Read Eph. 5:22-6:5)

I pray that you choose a girl who encourages you to call me and Daddy. I pray that she will ask you to spend time with us and her together. Ask her the hard questions early. Remember that she will help determine if you enjoy time spent with family and friends. Know that you can’t change her anymore than she can change you. Make a list of pros and cons before you ask her to marry you. When you look at that list, pay close attention to the cons. Will you be able to spend a lifetime happily with her in spite of those things? Remember that once your married, you’ll both relax and say and do things that will hurt the other, and the cons list will be the arsenal she’ll pull from when you fight. (By the way, at some point I’ll encourage her to make a similar list and make the same choices.)

Remember when you marry her…you marry her family. Can you live with them and they with you? Does she ask you to pray for her? Do you study God’s word together? Do you talk about what heaven will be like and dream about it together? Above all, do you want to spend eternity with her and she with you? Is God the most important being in both your lives? Are you working together to serve the Father?

I know all of this doesn’t make sense today, but it will before I can blink. I’m praying for you and me. I’m praying you will be the husband God wants you to be and that I’ll be the mother-in-law He wants me to be. I’m praying you will find someone who you can open the secret parts of your heart with and she with you. Finally, I’m praying that the commitment you make is not done because you feel like you have to, but because you can’t imagine your life spent with anyone else. Remember two wrongs never make a right and that love is a decision you make not a feeling that comes and goes. I’m praying divorce is a word that you as a couple will remove from your vocabulary, and that you have awesome sex life in your marriage, the way God intends. Remember she can’t read your mind any more that you can read her‘s, so you must talk to each other. I pray that you remember that she needs to hear you say, “I love you”, “You’re the most beautiful girl in the world!”, and she needs your hugs. I pray that she knows her respect for you is the biggest “I love you and hug” she can give you, that she only says good things about you, and that she’ll know that love does not keep a record of wrongs.

OK, so I’ll close. I know that you’re used to me talking too much, but I just wanted you to know I love you and I want only God’s best plan for you…and that you will keep your heart open to His desire for your life.

Love you,

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Trying New Things

I 'm so excited to come across a wonderful new opprotunity. I'm learning slowly how to join blog hops and this will be one of my first link ups. It deals with thankfulness and I must confess that many days that is something that I really have to work on.

The beauty of thankfulness is that it is a choice we make. We can choose to look at life through rose tinted glasses and not those of blue and grey. Those blue and grey glasses not only bring us down but those we come in contact with. I have to admit that many days like today, when it's the headache that woke me up and not the singing of birds outside my window, that I find it difficult not to complain. In fact, I recognize that is exactly what I'm doing now...smh. I can turn this day around through prayer, study, and determination. Those I come in contact with today don't have to know just how bad I'm hurting and in the process I feel better along the way.

Psa 100:4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
:5 For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.

So here's the deal do I choose to be thankful and count my blessings and recognize God's active work in my life, or I am going to start this day counting my blessings. It's our choice what we do with this day, may we all choose to share God's love and joy with those we come in contact with and not pass along the blues and troubles that Satan wants to weigh us down with.

One of the things I'm most thankful for is my little brother and his family are headed to Mama's this week, and Lord willing that means Aunt Sam will get the chance to build memories that will last a lifetime for them and me. As a part of their visit, we'll be headed towards the beach. It's one of my absolute favorite places and I love watching the sun come up and go down. Our heavenly Father is the master painter and His artwork displays the richness of His love for us and the power He has to hold back the waves as the crash upon the shore line. I thought I'd share with you this morning how my little man used to hunt sea shells and how it's my prayer that God will take my life (a worn broken shell) and through the glory of His son make me a treasure that His son's love shines through.

We recently spent time at the beach. It's one of my favorite places to go. I love to feel the wind on my face, the salt spray in my hair, and the powerful sound of the waves as they come in and hit the shore. My favorite time of the year to go is late fall and winter when all you see are the "Snow birds", the sea gulls, and the locals. I love the beauty of God's artwork every morning and evening when He displays the sunrise and sunset, but my most favorite thing to do is walk holding hands with my sweetheart while little man runs in front of "trying" to stay dry. We've gotten in the habit of carrying something with us to store his "treasures" in. I'm always looking for that perfect shell. You know the one that's just the right size,shape and color. As I find what I think is a perfect shell, I'll show it to little man and he says, "Oh that's nice", and then runs back to where he was looking for his shells.
little man's idea of a perfect shell is totally different from mine. He loves to find the broken shells that time on the shore and the waves rolling in have made shiny with time and almost transparent. Those seem to be his favorite. The ones that time has broken into interesting shapes and that once you dust all the sand off of them and hold them up to the sun you can see the light through.
This got me to thinking about God's love for us. I'm so thankful that He looks for "shells" like little man does and not the way I do. I'm thankful that God picks us up seeing that we're broken and covered in sand worn by life's struggles, and He dusts us off, holds us up to the light of His son, and decides to keep us because to him even with all the broken pieces it's the light of His son shining through us that makes us beautiful and worth keeping. He's not looking for that perfect shell because He finds the real beauty in the shell that has been worn by time and experience and allows the light of His son to shine through it.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Maid Servants of Christ | Hungry Bellies and Hungry Souls

Maid Servants of Christ | Hungry Bellies and Hungry Souls
Check out Helene's article on hungry bellies and souls what a great reminder of how we should be looking after our neighbors.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Run for a Mom 2012

I’ve been trying to put this blogg together for almost a year, but the emotions were just to close to the surface and finding the right words just didn’t come. Last year our family participated in Agape’s Run for a Mom. We started talking about, what if we can do this as a family, when the announcement came in Agape’s winter newsletter. With the headache, we never seem to put our plans in stone, but this time it was different. This time my little man spent a lot of time talking about the run and honoring his birthmother. So we put the day in stone and made the plans to be there. Little man picked out a picture of our forever family that included his birthmother (I think he chose that one because of the great memories and silly faces that were made the day the picture was taken.) We then went to find matching outfits for the big day. We had everything together our clothes, running shoes, 3 color copies of the picture, and my meds. If you hade asked me at 5 am that morning if I believed the day would be emotional, I would have said, “YES”, but in a joyful way.

It was joyful! We saw friends that we only see two or three times a year. We were all outside in the sun together, and we were ready to do the Fun Run. We were celebrating that my meds were doing their thing and that a sweet young lady had the courage and self-sacrificing love to place her sweet boy with us. But I have to say that as we stood in line for our packets, each of us got very quiet and the emotions began to become overwhelming. All of a sudden, little man was worried that he was going to hurt my feelings. (I promise we talked about this before hand and I’d reassured him I was excited about honoring his birthmother.) In the packet with our number, there was a place to write who you were running for. My sweet boy looked at me with his beautiful eyes and in them I saw the question, “Mama, are you sure this is okay?” So in answer, I took the marker and on my tag wrote his birthmother’s name. At that point he followed suit and the three of us pinned our picture and numbers to our shirts.

We cheered for the 5K runners as they left and came running back in. The joy on faces as they crossed the finish line was awesome. There were daddies carrying babies in back packs and many parents with strollers, and the celebration of families created by God still gives me goose bumps. We had a little time before the fun run to enjoy some bluegrass music, and then it was time for us to line up. We knew going into it that this Mama would not be running but I would be walking. My boys had planned to run it and then come back and finish it with me. I can’t begin to describe the love I felt waiting to start…you see my sweetheart had two names on his tag and that meant the world to me. He was celebrating me and little man’s birthmother, such a sweet moment. I went to the back of the pack because I knew I would get in the way of the other runners, and my boys were up at the front. I promise I walked that mile as fast as I could, and there were two mamas with strollers who were being sweet and going slower so I wouldn’t feel lonely. About halfway through, I could see two people running back towards me. There were my boys, who had already crossed the finish line, coming back to cross it with me. We were the last ones to finish, and there we were with one of them on each side of me. All I could do was cry and smile, my little man accepted my answer that Mama was just being silly and went off to play. My sweetheart knew my heart and tucked me under his arm and we went for some water.

I thank God every day for my sweet boy’s birthmother. The gift she gave us goes beyond words. The love that grew even deeper that day was awesome and God given. Over and over again, God has used my little man to stretch my heart and make it wider and deeper. I hope that my boys are learning the same thing. One lesson I’ve learned through adoption is while there may be no physical labor pains, there are emotional ones. I’m thankful for them because they’ve taught me many lessons. The most important lesson is don’t judge a heart based on how you would do things, but open your heart to others just like our Heavenly Father does.

Eph 3:14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, :15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, :16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, :17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith--that you, being rooted and grounded in love, :18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, :19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. :20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, :21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mustard Seed

Matt. 13:31-32 He gave them another parable, saying, Heaven's kingdom is like a seed of mustard, which a man took and sowed in his field. It indeed is the smallest of all seeds, but when it is grown, it is the greatest of the garden- plants, and becomes a tree, so that even the birds of heaven nest in its branches.

I've been thinking about this verse over and over since Wed. night Bible study...The small things we do that allow Christ to shine through us are like that seed. When we talk about Christ and his love for us and for others...we plant the seed. We'll never know how big the tree will grow and how many birds will find rest in its branches, but we'll have done our part. It's not about having an orchard with our name on it, it's about planting the gospel in fertile ground and giving the tiniest of seeds time to grow and become the big tree where the birds of heaven will build their nest. Isn't it awesome?! To consider that our decision to put on our happy face even in the midst of pain and sorrow just may be what is needed for someone else to see the gospel alive and at work.

2 Cor. 12:9-10 but he told me, “My grace is enough for you, because strength reaches completion in weakness.” I will therefore boast in my weaknesses most gladly, so that Christ’s strength will remain upon me. For this reason I am content in my weaknesses, in insults, in necessities, in persecutions and troubles, for Christ’s sake; because I am strong when I am weak.

It’s amazing that once we realize we must take ourselves out of the picture and give God the room to take total control.

Come on, I know what you’re thinking I’ve given my life to Christ and He has control. My response to that in general is “Really?!” I can’t count how often I’ve made that claim and then find myself trying to take care of all my business plus all those around me. Guess what??….You will stay tired and worn, you’ll begin to wonder where God is. I mean didn’t He promise that if I followed Him His yoke would be light??

Matt. 11:28-30 Come to me, all of you who are struggling and are yet burdened, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke and learn from me, because I am gentle and lowly in heart. You will find refreshment for your souls, for my yoke is pleasant and my load is light.

When we really allow God to take control, it means we’ve given up ALL control. Please don’t misunderstand me, God expects us, to study and pray to know what the Bible says about how to live for Him. But, when we do those things and we quit trying to micromanage our lives and those of the ones we love... God will provide a way. It may not be easy, it definitely may not be the way we imagined, but He will provide. Once we are able to release the stress of trying to control all of the details, then we find the absolute joy in living for Christ. We know our basic NEEDS will be met and we become a vessel for God to use to share the word.

So, where does that leave me today? How can I be a mustard seed planter? How can God use me as a mustard seed? 1) I allow those around me to see that I have an inner joy and peace that gets me through even the hardest days. It allows me to speak kindly even with a level 10 headache, It means I allow someone with more items to go in front of me even when all I want to do is go home and hide under my bed. 2) It means I talk about God’s love for me and mine for Him. I share how He gets me through each day, and the wonderful power of prayer. 3) I not only talk the talk, but I walk the walk. If my life doesn’t measure up to what I have to say, then I need to keep my mouth shut because I can hurt more than I help.

I know that we could keep this list going and going. It is both hard and beautiful when we work to empty or lives of self and fill it up with God. My prayer today, is that God will help us to let Him have the reigns and in the doing discover the peace that passes all understanding.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Headache and My Tongue

I’ve been wanting to share some more of my headache journey because we’ve really had to struggle with it again as a family. I’ve been waiting to do it because I’ve been hoping that time would offer a better perspective and I think it has some. The hard part is where to start because “WOW”!! is really all that comes to mind when I begin looking at the gradual changes.

If you know me well, then you know we did a major med change in April because the pain was just getting to be unbearable. I wasn’t able to get out much and I was on some pretty powerful meds and it just didn’t seem to be worth it. We were back to a point where we were looking at quality of life versus possible side effects etc. We’d made the decision it was time to take a step back in time and try a med that had made life much better for me and even allowed us to adopt our precious boy. We just knew we’d have to watch for calcium levels etc.

Long story short the doctor agreed with us and also asked us to try a sister drug to Topamax. I’ve talked about what we went through with it before, so we were hesitant but the doctor assured us that this was like Topamax lite and it had fewer behavioral and cognitive side effects. So fast forward to mid October and I start feeling grouchy and I’m fussing about little things, crying at the drop of a hat, or just plain feeling angry out of nowhere. Now every Mama knows that sometimes we just have bad days or weeks, and kids know which buttons to push so I tried to just shake some of it off. I mean I am 41 so YAY!! Hormones, right?!!

Well, by the beginning of November, it wasn’t just the emotions I was fighting a barrage of ugly thoughts and ugly words over every little thing. This has not ever really been one of those areas that I’ve had to struggle with, but boy was I struggling with it now. If any little thing irritated me, I had a string of ugly words pop up in my head. At this point, I knew it wasn’t entirely me and that the meds had lowered my filter for my mouth. If I thought it, then I had to work extra hard to make sure it didn’t pop out. I was working so hard on just keeping the foul language from popping out that who knows how many times I was more blunt than I should have been, or responded in a more coarse manner than I ever had before.

I was getting so frustrated with myself, not to mention the yuck my boys were dealing with at home. (By the way, I found out I had been grouchy for a lot longer than just since October.) We knew to be on guard for changes in behavior. The question was “Was my ability to get out and go places worth the irritation and frustration we were dealing with?” For a while the answer was yes, then all of a sudden it was a big NO. I began to feel like I was losing my fight with the devil and that he gaining ground with each day. I thank God for special friends who put up with you during times like this and will honestly tell you when its definitely time to seek help. What a relief it was to hear it from someone else! My boys love me so much and they love having me get out and go places with them, so they were willing to deal with more…

So I called the doctor, he worked me in the next morning, and he changed my meds around. Its been almost a month and we’re seeing improvement. The ugly words aren’t always at the front and my ability to control what I say is getting better. It’s not great yet and I definitely am not back to my normal, but we’re making progress. I’m not as grouchy, the stuff that slips through the filter isn’t filled with anger but could be phrased better.

The most important lesson I’ve learned is what ever we put in just may come back out and we may have no control over when it does.
Jam 3:5-10 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.

We must be sure that if we only want good things to come out then must only put good things in. I’ve also learned to be more patient and forgiving when someone slips up and says something they didn’t intend to say. We need to give each other the benefit of the doubt. It doesn’t mean we excuse wrong, but it means we are loving and patient, instead of keeping a score card of how many times someone did or said something we didn’t like. Let’s get busy working on ourselves and what we can change within.

Phl 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if [there is] any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.

Father, help me to chose the books I read, the TV shows I watch, and the movies I go to see wisely; so that I do not put into my mind and heart things that do not please you. Help me to study your word daily, to take the time to notice the good, and to work on pleasing you. Help me to set the example I should before my family and friends, and help me to glorify you in all I say and do. In Jesus’ name,

Monday, January 7, 2013

Who Do I Think I AM?

Over the last several years, I’ve noticed a trend and been a part of it. The only time we share what’s happening in our lives with each other is when things are going really great or something catastrophic happens. Have you noticed (unless you’re a mama with small children who uses FB for adult conversation) that we don’t share life’s “little” things.
Really and truly isn’t that what life is? If we look at the life of Christ, he shared His life with his apostles and disciples. It was His habit to find a quiet time with God each day. Mark 1:35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.
Don’t you know he poured His heart out there both the good and the bad! He shared His plans with the apostles. He mourned over the hardness of the heart of Jerusalem(Matt.23:37)….In other words, He did not carry the burden alone.

Do I? If I take the chance and bear my soul is someone going to go out and talk about me, whisper behind my back….

When did it become easier to bear my soul to strangers who have never met me or who rarely see me, than to share the daily struggle of walking in the light (when it feels like Satan has his teeth sunk deep in the back of my heel)with those closest to me. Why am I unwilling to open up and lay my heart open to those who work in the “hospital”?
Really, who do I think I am?? If the son of God would ask those closest to him to watch and wait while He prayed…why don’t I ask those I sit in the pew with to watch and pray with me?
I know Jesus took Andrew, John, and Peter further into the garden that I will still have those special friends who just get to know me…Matt.26:36-38Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray over there." And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me."

You know the kind of friends I’m talking about…the ones who when you call will say I’m on my way without a second thought. The ones who can tell you you’re wrong, yet you know they love you. The ones that when you see them again even after months or years, you can pick up like it was yesterday.

God does not expect me to be perfect, but he does expect me to love. In fact, I’m supposed to love so well that the world can look at me and know I’m a Christian by the love I share. 1John 2:5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

Am I loving others? Do I share that love with everyone or do I share it with a select few? Do I share my heart with those it’s just comfortable for me to share it with, or do I step outside my comfort zone and shower those outside my circle of friends or the hard to love with that same care and concern?

At what point did I begin to share only the good stuff? I need to do that but if I’m fighting a particularly tough temptation I need to be able to ask for prayers. I need to be able to ask for someone to lift up my name in prayer…to pray with me and for me. I know that scripture holds promises that are too good not to go for and in the doing the burden…
Jam 5:13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.
Jam 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
2Cr 9:12-14 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you.

The weight of temptation becomes lighter because not only am I sharing my burden with the Savior, but I’m sharing it with a sister or brother.

I need to know that I’m not the only battle weary Christian, but that together through Christ I know the war has already been won. Hbr 12:3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. If the Savior needed the comfort of friends, who do I think I am when I try to face life’s struggles as one person? Why did He give us the Church, if he only expected me to use it as the Emergency Room?

Father, help me to take that chance. Help me to open my heart. Help me to see those around me so in need of your love. Help me to ask for help from my sisters and brothers. Help me to remember that while this life is full of pain and suffering that I can have a joyfully abundant life because of that pain and the blessings that have come with it. Help me to reflect your love and to be quick to admit when I’ve failed. Help me to be quick to forgive and slow to form judgments. Help me to be the me you want me to be. Amen.