Friday, November 2, 2012

Thankful for: A Softer Heart

     A bible study that I have been doing the past month was on loving like Jesus and what that means.  It has put as much emphasis on patience each week as the word love itself.  I have always been one to struggle with patience with others.  I love how God led me to this study so I could really focus on how the two go together and how I will never truly be able to show the love that has been given to me until I first learn how to be a more patient person.

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,  then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.   
Philippians 2:2-4

     All month long, it seemed everywhere I turned I kept running into the same message from God. I won't even ask if that ever happens to you because I think it happens to us all.  God loves to speak to us any way He can and I believe He will continue to do so until we recognize it.  FOCUS is what He kept telling me, just focus.  There are so many distractions to call our attention away from Jesus, but the more I can call him back to my heart and mind the better off I will be.  For when my mind is on him and what he has done for me and continues to do, it makes me want to be a better person.

     When my heart grasps his loving sacrifice for me and for all, when I did nothing to deserve such an act, its easier to look at the world full of people around me and love them just because he loves me.  To wrap my brain around his forgiveness and sit and ponder it for meer seconds when faced with adversity helps me to be able to just let it go. The person that hurt me yesterday, the offensive rudeness of a stranger last year, the moodiness of a friend or family member today.... is me, and he loves us all the same.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Boats Against the Current

     Sometimes when I feel like I don’t understand my children and why they do certain things, I like to ask God to show me that same fault in myself.  And He always does.  Tonight I was trying to work with my daughter, getting her to study for an upcoming test.  She has a tendency to not see the importance of her education and a good grade has never been a source of motivation for her.  I’m still trying to figure out what is.  So, there we were butting heads but getting it done.  When we were finished I left to go grocery shopping and had some alone time to think about all of it.

     In order for God to really teach me, my focus has to be on Him.  That’s when His power and glory can really work through me and I can finally start to be effective in what I do.  My days could be spent giving and changing the lives of others first which would in turn give me what I need the most.  Grace and compassion could move me to forgive and be a peacemaker instead of adding to the turmoil in the world.  If I didn’t see my time as mine, He could show me how best to use it.  His unending fountain of patience could keep me from being distracted by the clock and focus more on the hearts in my presence.   He lives in me and his intentions are always good and even perfect.  When it comes to my kids, mine are not always perfect, but they are good.  I want the best for them and sometimes they don’t cooperate.  And guess what?  I don’t always let Jesus work with me and mold me like I really should.
    I thought about what motivates me to want to change.  After a wonderful ladies’ retreat this weekend and a great sermon today, I feel I have the answer.  What motivates me more than anything is to have peace and joy by complete life by the Spirit.  I want the kind of relationship with Jesus that never feels weak.  I want to wake up and go to sleep with constant joy in my heart knowing I am never alone and always loved no matter what.  I used to think heaven was the motivation, and of course I do want to end up there someday.  But for now, I want to surround myself more with him…hidden in him and alive through him.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.  Colossians 3:1-4

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Prayer for Our School Year

Heavenly Father,

     I can honestly look back at this first week of school and say it was the best one yet!  Just like when you formed the Heavens and the Earth and put everything in its perfect order, I know and have known,  that you also put the right kids with me.  I love the fresh perspective they give me every day.  I can’t wait to see what they will teach me tomorrow.  I sat down to be their teacher today and walked away knowing and seeing a little more of the fruits your Spirit provides in me.
    Each year that I get with my children offers me a chance to mold them, pray for them, and love them.  I get the privilege of watching all of their firsts.  I get to see them overcome hurdles and celebrate victories.  It gives me one more year to make up for lost time, my mistakes, my ignorant deeds of the past and other regrets.  This beginning week I get to pray all of that negativity away and strive to hit the mark once again.  With you I can do anything I set my heart to do.  I must just trust and obey and never cease to remember that you love these children even more than I do.  So, when I’m at a loss and don’t know the answer, You do. 
   Thank you God, for 13 years now, I have been a wife and mother first.  Thank you for giving me the courage to home school and for helping me those first years when I was so unsure.  Those days still come now and then, but not as often.  Because when they do I know where to go for guidance.  You have never failed me.  Thank you for a loving, hard-working husband that has supported me from day one and has also never let us down, but has sacrificed and shown his love with actions as well as words. 
    Homeschooling is hard work and sacrifice, I’ve heard it said.  But I think it would have been a much bigger sacrifice to have gone a different road.  Please, Father, continue to bless us and help us with our days of learning together.  Help me to continue to grow in your ways and to show my kindness, patience, gentleness, self-control and all of Your other attributes more and more.  Help the kids to learn all of the important facts and information that is so crucial for their success.  I pray that they look back at their time of growing up and being educated at home and consider it a blessing in their lives.  But, above all Father, help them to learn about You and follow You all the days of their lives.  Forgive me for my wrongs and help me to make them right by your power.  In Jesus’ precious name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Golden Rule...When it's Hard

    I have to admit this, throw it out there and take my chances that someone else can relate.  Earlier this week I was really struggling.  Struggling so much I felt like giving up on some of the things that are exceedingly the most important things in my life.  I was spent and so tired of trying and feeling defeated.  I was just so frustrated.
     Obviously, I was right where the enemy wanted me.  Isn’t that where he does his best work?  I know that and I prayed and had a day of reflection.  I confessed that I was struggling to others and asked for them to pray too.  Then that day I felt like I had the answer.  When you feel like someone just won’t treat you the way you want to be treated, what would Jesus do?  He would love them with action.

photo credit:  Original digital art by Abbey Kreger

“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.  Matthew 7:12

     I know, very kindergarten, right?  But I’m here to say that…y’all… works!  I prayed and worked on my attitude all day and I did just what this verse told me to that day.  It makes no sense to a human.  What the human side of me wanted to do was cry out that I was tired, I was frustrated, you are selfish, you don’t do this, you don’t say enough, you don’t give enough!        Instead, God truly changed my heart and I simply shared an embrace and genuinely made a choice to care that day.  I made someone feel special, I gave love.  In return, guess what?  I got back that love in just the way to reassure me that all is well.  I know now that I am treasured in so many ways.  So simple is Jesus, so wise.  His yoke is easy and his burden is light, I’ve found it so.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Letting Jesus Take the Wheel

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

 At the beginning of the summer I decided after much prayer, and what I felt was a prompting from God to go for it, to take on another role in my life.  I’ll have to admit I worried at first.  I already wear a lot of hats on this head, and so I did the only thing you can do when worry creeps in…I prayed and let it go.  I knew that my usual planning time for school was going to be interrupted by this new chore, I didn’t know that our minister of more than 13 years and my boss was going to be leaving at the end of the summer right when school begins.  

    The great thing is, God knew all of this and before I knew it I had friends joining together and planning school for my children, right under my feet. We are going to band together and make it a group effort this year.  I had our regular co-op offering classes that were really going to help me out, core classes that my kids wouldn’t enjoy as much if they had to do it alone at home.  Before I knew it, all of their subjects were covered and I felt like I just sat back and watched it all happen.  Yes, I did have to plug in some things, but it was effortless.  It was God.
     Wow, did I learn a valuable lesson.  I get hung up on details.  I’m one of those people that feels that if I don’t do it, it might not get done.  I think you call them control freaks?  Yes, that’s me.  So, letting go and letting God has been a long lesson for me and I’m not quite finished learning it yet.  But, what a huge step it was this summer.  That’s why I’m writing it down.  I don’t ever want to forget what the  power of letting go feels like.  I want to cherish letting God take control and watch Him work.
     I’m ready to watch my son and daughter flourish under His wings this year.  This has all shown me that this is the year to go with the flow.  I’ve tried many things as a homeschool mom of 8 years now, but that is one I haven’t tried yet.  So far it’s going so smoothly that the control freak in me says “DON’T TOUCH IT, YOU’LL MESS IT UP!”  Yes, I believe I’m convinced that this school year is going to be the best one yet!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Grasping the Obvious

     Why is it so difficult to understand one another?  Or to give each other the benefit of the doubt?  Why do we feel offended, ashamed, angry, scared, or alone?  Pride is a reason.  Sometimes I pray and feel deserted.  How full my heart would be if my pride never got in the way.  How much more would I get a glimpse of God!  It’s a blindfold to the soul, hiding me from the love I long for the most.

     Those times that I’ve longed for Him to be present and to show me something and I felt like I walked away empty-handed, it wasn’t His fault.  It was my corrupted mind shielding His offering from my unseeing eyes.   My hands are always full, so if I feel empty, it is simply ingratitude for what I have and don’t deserve.  Every day that I live He provides more than enough.  His grace is sufficient for me.
     He’s constantly explaining myself and others to me.  He’s always by my side trying as hard as He can to guide my steps, to whisper in my ear, to offer His hand, to soften my heart.  I simply need to step out of His way and let Him do His work.  I need to know that I have what I need for today.  For this day, I am fed.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Times are A-changin'

     Is this the life of a teen-ager's mom?  I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I had no idea of all of the feelings that I would have.  I heard about the smart mouth, the rebellion, the disrespect, the “know-it-all” mentality, etc. and all of the things that would happen to my kids.  I’ve seen glimmers of all of these, but no one told me what would happen inside of me.  The little girl that once followed me around trying to get my attention all day is now the same one that disappears for hours at a time into her “cave” of a room and doesn’t seem to need me anymore.  I have to admit it makes me sad.
     It reminded me today of this…

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.  When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom.   After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends.  When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.  After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.  Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.  When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
   “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”   But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
   Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.    And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

     His parents were anxious when he disappeared.  They weren’t ready, but he was.  They knew that and they trusted God once he told them what was happening.  In the same way, my daughter is ready for a new phase in her life.  She isn’t leaving anytime soon or anything, she will still be with us and hopefully she will try to follow his example to live obediently with us.  And I, like Mary, will treasure that in my heart and I will pray that she will grow in wisdom and her own God-given stature in her life with Christ.  I will pray and trust and try to get used to this new time in our lives together.  I never read this story the way I did today as a mom of a thirteen year old.   It just proves to me that God’s word never changes but we do and what we read yesterday could speak to us completely differently today.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  
2 Tim. 3:16-17

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Well Done...Good and Faithful Servant

    As I walked in a few minutes late because I arrived just on time and the parking lot was completely filled, I had no choice but to bypass any back pew and walk straight down the middle aisle and find a seat near the family, I was in awe.  So many people loved him!  So many!  I can’t say that I was surprised, it just made me think.  It must have been on the mind of the person giving the eulogy as well, for he stressed the fact that the building was full several times.  What an awesome testimony of a life well-lived.

     Later on, when I got home and was cleaning my house, I thought about the sweet brother we lost this week who went to be with Jesus.  Just like the speaker said, heaven must have gotten a little bit brighter.  I did begin to reflect on his passing from a personal standpoint.  I haven’t lived and loved enough.  I want to so much.  Not because I want to earn anything, but because it must be a wonderful life to really live like that.  By not doing it, I’m not missing out on praise, or pats on the back or recognition, I’m just missing out on life.  I’m missing out on the full life that Jesus promises if we live for his glory and his glory only.
    I would like to love better, love without fear.  Love just for His sake.  Give and never worry about getting, love so much that receiving love would be the last thing on my mind.  Love like that is a full life and I saw a glimmer of the affect it can have on a family today.  It can touch the hearts of so many people and be passed down for generations.  There is a strength in love that like God’s word says, “covers a multitude of sins.”  Sacrificial love... I need to love like this.  

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  
John 15:13

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Making Way for the New

     It’s the time of year that we purge our home.  School is wrapping up, fun is around the corner, and it just seems right to start the summer fresh.  So, while in my daughter’s closet cleaning and filling trash bags to the brim, one after the other, I couldn’t help but feel like it was wrong to throw so much away.  We do this serious purging only once a year or so, and she has outgrown so many of the things that we were taking out, but it still just seemed like so much, so wasteful. 

     God has shown me a great deal in the past year and a half.  His promises, that I always have had, have finally become mine.  He has revealed to me that His love is enough and that I only need to go to Him for my needs, no one else satisfies like Jesus.  While cleaning He revealed something else.  In order for me to have a place to store these truths in my heart and mind, I have to let go of the old.  The things I have outgrown need to be purged.  It’s not wasteful, it’s time.

You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  Eph. 4:20-24

     As long as I continue to store my old ways, lack of self control, impatience, self-pity, selfishness, the list goes on.  I can’t possibly take down the new ways from the shelf and try them out.  They are waiting in limbo for a place to call their own.  Sure, I use them sometimes, more than I used to, but until they have a permanent place, I won’t readily reach for them.  I’ll keep reaching for the old raggedy, worn-out methods that are cluttering my heart and mind.  It’s not wasteful to dispose of the old, sometimes it’s necessary.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

That's What Friends Are For

    When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
     But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.  Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
      Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.

    The message of this passage is obviously that Naaman didn’t have the faith to do what he was told to be healed, but when he finally obeyed, he was.  There is also a pride message here.  One in that Naaman seemed to know better than the prophet what needed to be done, almost a sense of entitlement on his part.  Of course, these are wonderful messages for all of us.  It’s so important that we listen to truth and obey, it’s crucial that we let go of our pride and change our minds sometimes.  My mind has been changed by the spirit.  It has been changed by reading scripture.  God can change our hearts and minds in many ways and this story illustrates one.
    What if Naaman had no servants, or dare I say, friends?  If they hadn’t been there to convince him, would he still have gone down to the river?  I know there have been times in my life where I just needed someone to convince me of the truth.  Maybe I already knew it and was being stubborn.  Maybe I just wasn’t seeing it at all because of my foolish pride or the lies that were hindering my view of truth.  Whatever the case, my loving friend telling me that truth made the difference between my receiving a blessing and letting one slip by forever.  Thank God for the friends that love us enough to push us toward a better life.  God gave us one another, let us remember to encourage the ones we love.      

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Whys of Not Worrying

     Time escapes you and my first instinct is to worry about it.   Worry about now, how you can’t even seem to get close to finishing your list of duties every day.  Worry about your future and wonder if I don’t find a way to nip this in the bud today, what will become of you?  Worry.   We were reading in the old testament and discussing why God wouldn't want the Israelites to eat certain foods.  I suggested that even though we are under the new covenant now and it's okay for us to eat those foods, maybe He was looking out for our health.  Even though we can eat them now, maybe it's not the best choice.  I believe He tells us a lot of things for our own good.  Something I have learned is why Jesus doesn’t want worry to be a part of my life.  I sat and prayed and thought of it today while trying to come up with a different way.

     When I worry about this, it causes fear.  The fear causes panic, which leads to stress.  The stress then causes me to take it to you in a way that you can’t possibly understand.  You have only lived thirteen years.  You don’t know what this problem will cause for you.  You don’t know enough to care.  This panic that takes over me, takes over my brain and heart, but more importantly it takes over my tongue and before I know it I’m saying it all again.  Stress is bad for our bodies and bad for our relationship.  It does no good.
     When God disciplines me, He doesn’t worry about me.  He knows what will happen to me.  I don’t know what will happen but I do know that I can trust Him with you.  Instead of worrying and reacting, I can take it to Him and trust Him.  I can quietly enforce discipline that will have an effect rather than words which only serve to frustrate both of us.  So, today I prayed for guidance, I prayed for wisdom, I prayed for more trust.  I prayed for less words.  I prayed for you.  I’m just a mom trying to do the best I can with what I have.  God gave me precious children and we are all so different from one another.  I’m glad for that.  He knew what He was doing.  There are things I’m supposed to be learning from the two of you.
     I acknowledge that I desperately need Him to help me.  Now, I will watch in humble expectation as I see how your lives unfold and how His way is better.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, 
   neither are your ways my ways,” 
            declares the LORD. 
 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, 
   so are my ways higher than your ways 
   and my thoughts than your thoughts. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Trouble With Stuff

     Today I was having some computer problems and I called my only resource, my husband, for some help. The problems actually started yesterday, so technology is not my BFF at this point. I'll admit I'm a tad frustrated with all of it. I suppose I sounded that way when I called him, actually I know I did. How do I know? He told me his frustrations too.
     People call him often with their computer woes. By the time they do, they are at the end of their rope and angry. Not at him, but with this little rectangular blob of information that doesn't want to give any of it up to them. They can't take it out on the blob, so my poor helping husband gets the brunt of it. Wow, did that open my eyes to what he goes through, and also to what all people go through sometimes.

     How many times have I been frustrated at some company and taken it out on the customer service person, the undeserving victim who answered my phone call? I don't remember doing it lately, but I have in the past and I feel bad about it now. It made me think of a video I watched last night from a series called "The Truth Project". The subject of this particular video was work and how that fits in with our spirituality. There are many small aspects involved in this subject with one being our material things. The professor teaching on the subject was saying what we all know: Everything belongs to God! He was pondering what the world would be like if every Christian REALLY believed that...if we lived it.
     What I'm doing when I get frustrated at my things is I'm letting things come before my relationships. My relationship with God and man. If the thing is causing me to stumble in that way, then it's time to stop and pray and reprioritize. Nothing should steal my joy or allow me to get so worked up that I call and steal someone else's joy too. Lesson learned. Next....

Monday, April 2, 2012

Like a Lion

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

     It hurts when you argue with someone you love more than life itself.  Irrational words,  selfishness and pride fuel the fire and before you know it, anger and pain overtake you.  It happened to me recently and right in the midst of it, right when I could have gone on blaming, accusing….saying.  I stopped and quietly suggested that all of this wasn’t us.  It was the enemy trying to come between us.
     How that thought can turn things around for me.  Seeing all of it, like God probably does; looking upon us and shaking His head.  Wondering why we let this happen.  Seeing that we were giving our power over to the wrong entity somehow seemed to halt everything.  It turned into a war with him instead of the one that was erupting between us.  When you become alert, all of a sudden the lion is sitting right there laughing at you.  But I don’t lose heart.  That’s just it, when I become alert, I can make that lion disappear.
    That night I had a dream.  We were picnicking at a park with a playground.  The kids were happily playing and we were relaxing on a blanket in the lush grass.  There was an old farm,  smooth-wire fence held up by beaten wooden posts and just beyond it were animals of all kinds.  Among all of the harmless, frolicking animals I saw a lion walking slowly toward the fence.  I wondered, “Is the fence strong enough to hold him?”
     He began to get agitated and growl at us then he backed up several steps and ran toward the fence.  He hit the wire full force and bounced back ready to try again.  I stood and calmly suggested that we leave this place.  I awoke that morning and immediately knew that dream was powerful.  I will fear the enemy but I don’t have to panic.  All I have to do is be aware of what he does and know when to make my escape.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Abbey

     Today marks your 13th year on this earth.  How the time really does fly.  I remember all of the details of the day you came into my life.  Your tiny little hands and feet, your beautiful little eyes, nose and mouth, you were perfect to me.  You have grown into a precious young lady.  You have talents and character qualities that God has given you and an inner joy that lights up your surroundings wherever you go.  It always has.  Just like when you were small, your bubbly, positive personality is contagious and wonderful and is what I love about you the most.  There has not been a day with you that I have not treasured.  I hope you know that.
     We are at a turning point.  The next years with you here at home, will be your growing up years.  The years that you decide your place in this world; that you go where God leads you is my prayer.  Please never forget that I want to help you.  That my advice, my reminders, my discipline…..yes, my nagging...they are all my love.  No matter how old you are, where you are, what you become, you will always be WHO you are to me now and forever.  Your dad and I love you very much, sweet girl.  What a blessing you are to us!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Random Dog Blog

     Do you ever wonder what dogs could say if they could talk?  No, this isn’t a very deep and meaningful write-up, but I’m not feeling very sentimental lately.  I think I’m too busy to think.  Tonight I sat down to write a blog, but didn’t have a clue what to write about, when I felt some big brown eyes boring into me.  Betty Betty Birddog or BBBD for short, does this every evening if I forget to feed her after dinner.  I sit at the computer and she assumes her position right next to my chair, rear end parked on my foot, eyes fixed on my face. 

     Tonight I looked down at her and wondered.  If she could talk, what would she be saying to me right now?  Would it be polite?  “Excuse me, Mom.  I believe you forgot to feed me my kibble.”  Or would it be more of a frustrated (I’ve had it with the service around here) kind of tone like, “Look, I don’t ask for much; just a bowl or two of dried beef nuggets every day, Lady.  Do you think you could get off of your bedonkadonk and get to it!”  Just looking at the face, I really can’t be sure what kind of expression I’m getting.  It could be either one.
     My daughter likes to talk for the dogs.  It’s pretty funny.  They both have an English accent and beg very politely and properly at the dining room table.  They ask for a spot of my meat and they always say, “Thank you Mumsy, might I have anotha?”  She actually makes them hard to resist and against everything I’ve ever learned about dogs, I find myself giving in and giving them bites.  I’m a sucker when it comes to the dogs.  Yet, even though they are spoiled rotten, they are really pretty good animals.  They can’t talk, thank goodness, but I do believe that Peanut understands English.  That’s for another story though.
     I guess if I’m going to write all of this, I should really have a point.  I was watching a documentary about a horse trainer last night called “Buck.”  It was really good.  He was a horse whisperer type, that just had a way with horses.  He just seemed to speak their language.  I never had a dog growing up.  Sure we tried a few times to have one.  We put it out in the backyard and every time we went outside it jumped all over us until we didn’t want to try anymore so we didn’t.  Soon we forgot we had a backyard or a dog.  These are the first dogs that I have ever trained and I feel like that guy Buck sometimes.  I feel like I know what they are thinking.  I love my doggies, and I talk to them all the time.  Even though I can’t really hear them talking, I feel like they talk to me.  And right now BBBD is telling me to get her dinner. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Celebrating Us

     Sixteen years ago we said “I do.”  Love drove me down the aisle that day, and love is what keeps this bond strengthened all these years later.  I look back and I can actually see eras in our marriage.  We have had ups and downs, but we have always ridden them along side one another.  I never doubted that we weren’t a perfect fit.  I doubted myself sometimes.  My abilities as a wife or mother, I have always questioned from time to time.  I had to learn what a helpmate was and what that meant for our specific home.  But the longer I walk this road with you, the more sure I know that God picked you for me.

     Many kinds of love reside behind these four walls.  You always seem to give me what I need just in the nick of time and I only hope I have been the same constant in your life.  Forgive me if I have ever seemed dissatisfied.  Sometimes I find myself not really realizing how blessed I am with the life that God has given me.  I am ashamed of that, for every single thing that I hold in my hand is worthy of praise.  Every good thing in the life of a Christian is for the glory of God.  Even the bad things that God uses for good, so even when times were tough, it was for his glory.  It thrills my soul when I think that our union was meant for the glory of God. 
     I never want to take a day with you for granted.  I know I already have.  To focus on our life and bring to the forefront of our minds this gift of our love should be a daily practice.  To know that the strong hand that holds mine, is the hand that God meant for me to clasp brings me a rush of gratitude.  I don’t need you to have a successful career, or that house in the country.  I know you’ll never be able to read my mind or satisfy all of my fleshly desires, and that burden is not yours.  The mention of burden brings to mind that I want yours to be mine.  Please, never hold your troubles back.    My prayer this anniversary is that one day, perhaps fifty years from now, I will still feel your hand holding mine.  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

He Holds Us Together

     We watched this for our morning bible time…the kids and I.  Shivers run through me every time I get to the part where he shows the laminin diagram, no matter how many times I’ve watched this video.  I think about how awesome it is that when we were fashioned into a body at the beginning of creation, a cross was already part of our molecular make-up, before the cross was even a part of history.  God’s spiritual plan visually displayed in the physical form; we were meant to carry the cross.

Never should I be “coming apart at the seams”.  For You hold me together like none other ever could.

Monday, January 23, 2012

One For the Mom Team

     Mothers need one another.  Can you imagine trying to be a mother without having any others to talk to?  I can’t.  Last night my BFF and I were discussing a situation where we share a common thread and it made me realize how important it is that mothers are there to encourage one another.  Parenting is no easy task.  I think it is by far, the most important calling I have had or possibly will have, in my entire life.  It made me realize something that I hope I never do again.
     There have been times in my life as a mom that I have been prideful.  I have actually been proud when my kids acted the way I expected, and ashamed when they did not.  I have taken it on as solely my responsibility when their behavior was pleasing or disconcerting.  I have given advice as though it was a guarantee that a certain technique would bring about perfect results every time.  I have criticized other parents for their ways of parenting.  I gave myself FAR too much credit with the fate of my children.

     Yes, the bible does say, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”  I believe that God wants us to do our best and to take our role as parents very seriously.  He also wants us to trust Him with that responsibility.  I believe now, that just like with everything else we do in our lives, He wants us to parent in faith.  I need to teach my kids more about His grace and less about my laws.  Sure I have to have rules to run my home, but His grace is what drives our hearts.  Not the law.  We as mothers are all in the same boat.  Trying to do the best job we can in the short time we have to raise our children to become everything they were meant to be.  We, moms, need to support one another.
     An encouraging word, a hug, and understanding ear, these are what we need to be for each other.  Prayer, positive advice, ideas and most of all love and support will give us that extra boost of encouragement that we so desperately need sometimes.  I, for one, plan to be that for the moms I know.  Motherhood is tough but so rewarding.  We need to know that we aren’t in it alone.  We need to come to each other knowing that none of us are perfect and none of us have all the answers.  We have each other, and praise Him, we have God to mold our children exactly like He wants them, in spite of our parenting.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Lonely Man There on the Corner

      We handed out our first blessing bag today.  This same man has been the very one I thought we would probably be giving our first.  He has a usual spot by our home.  He is dirty and looks sad and tired.  No hope in his eyes, empty and alone.  After I gave it to him out the car window and drove away when the light turned green, I thought about his words, “thank you.”  I felt sad for him.  I have no idea what “real life” is to him.  I suppose he could catch a ride in his brother’s Cadillac at the same corner at 8:00 p.m.  Or go catch the city bus to a nice home in the suburbs.  But I doubt it.  Even if he isn’t homeless, I thought, I would have to be in a pretty desperate situation to stand on a street corner and beg for money/help.
     Whatever his situation I was glad with the idea of the blessing bag.  I found it while surfing the web last week.  I loved it.  I can pack it with dry goods, toiletries, a McDonald’s gift card and anything else that will fit and help and I don’t have to worry about them buying the wrong thing with my gift.  It blesses me too.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
    Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
     The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Oh PMS, How I Hate You!

     This week I made the ingenious decision to change everything that we do on a daily basis.  After our week last week, coming out of the holiday season, I saw we needed some serious structure and discipline.  Yes, the kids too.
     So, last weekend I sat and spent some time and some brainpower coming up with a plan.  I thought about all of the things that need to get done on weekdays, then I wrote down the current hindrances.  I thought of solutions for them and worked it all together into a beautiful masterpiece of organizational bliss to adorn our refrigerator.

     Problem is, I forgot to check with my biological calendar to see how my monthly visitor felt about my agenda.  Not good.  You see, when you drastically change your children’s lives sometimes they don’t take very kindly to it.  Sometimes they even balk at the new exciting things on the schedule.  Often they need to be reminded that there is a new schedule.  Often?  Who am I kidding?  At least five times an hour, and that’s a modest estimate.  Then there is the lack of enthusiasm.  I mean, what’s wrong with these people?  Don’t they see how harmonious and utopian-like this is?
     New family plans require a patient and firm-minded parent to handle all of these minor adjustments.  Preferably one of sound mind as well.  Not one that has to bite her tongue so many times throughout the day that it’s twice its normal size from swelling.  Should I really almost start to cry when I can’t figure out how to do a 7th grade math problem?  Only to find out that I couldn’t do it for the same reason she couldn’t, I wasn’t following instructions.  I’m thinking also of the irony of the fact that I told my son, “There are NO MORE extra chores to do today, don’t ask me ANYMORE!”  He really wanted to earn those tickets.
     No turning back now.  I’m on a mission and I know it is worthy of prayer.  It’s no less important than one that any missionary has lived out on the other side of the world.  Working with souls, teaching them what I know about Jesus and how he works in our hearts.  These young people are on loan to me from God to train up and do the best I can.  I have allowed stress and worry to sneak up on me and all that says is, “I don’t trust you God.  You aren’t big enough.”  He has a plan for them in spite of me.  So turn away from me, PMS Monster!  You have no power here!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Humble Pie Recipe

     Ingredients can be borrowed from your neighbor.  A cup of sugar, for some of their sweetness; some flour, for those sticky situations; a pinch of salt, for we are the salt of the earth and sometimes others just seem saltier.  A little milk, for when our heart just seems so dry or an egg, to crack open the barrier and set the meaningful free.  Yes, we can borrow from our neighbor.

Yet, we must make our own humble pie.

Friday, January 6, 2012

To Be REALLY Known

    I was reading a plaque that a dear friend brought me once when she visited from out of town.  It says:

True Friends Are Like Angels

I believe in angels;
the kind that heaven sends.
I'm surrounded by angels,
but I call them friends.
Many people will walk
in and out of your life,
but only true friends
will leave footprints
on your heart.

     I thought about my friends this morning.  What a blessing to have real friends that you can always count on to be there.  Especially my BFF!  She loves me, I know, because she’s seen my ugly cry and has still come over again after that.  We have shared so much.  Five million gallons of coffee with International Delight, school ideas, home organization ideas, husband ideas, laughs, cries, secrets and hugs.  We have grown together these 20 years or so that we have come to know one another and I can’t imagine my life without her.

     There are others too.  I know that if any of them read this, they know I’m talking about them.  We all share a wonderful bond in Christ and we love and care for one another.  Meeting some of my friends the way I did proves even more to me that God cares about every detail of my life and He will provide in the most amazing ways.  I met a lot of my friends online a few years ago, which I never did before and will probably never do again.  But God can orchestrate something when He wants to and you can’t stop it.  You wonder how those can be real friends?  They know me.  They pray for me, laugh with me, cry with me, love me.  I figure once you can share inside jokes with one another, you know you have a real friend that knows you and you know them.

     In my bible study this week, I had a list of verses.  I was supposed to pick one to memorize for the week.  I chose this one: 
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.  I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them from my Father’s hand.  John 10:27-28
     He KNOWS me.  You mean he knows what I called that guy that cut me off in traffic the other day?  Or he knows how exasperated I get with my children sometimes?  He knows that I am lazy sometimes, I am selfish more times, and I am impatient almost all the time.  He knows the ugly things I’m thinking on the inside when I’m trying to change my heart by saying something different on the outside.  What about when I just want to retreat inside my cave every 28 days and not serve or do ANYTHING for ANYONE for fear that I might actually bite someone’s head off?  He also knows I hate all of these things about myself.  He knows I’m sorry.  He knows I love him and want to KNOW him.  He knows me.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

He Signed up for This?

     I sat down to write today and thought about how serious I am all the time when I write.  I guess it’s because it’s kind of become my therapy, and therapy is serious business.  Today I thought I might lighten up some and share in my usual style.  I was thinking I’d write about how wacky I can be as a woman sometimes and how when you throw that into a marriage and involve the love of your life, what transpires is quite entertaining.  Well….after the fact.  And maybe to me it’s funny, not sure what he thinks.

     Neediness had overtaken my senses on Saturday night.  Not sure what exactly I needed, but I NEEDED it and someone had better give it to me!  I prayed, and I thought about it and gave it a few hours to subside, then I decided that since the husband was the only one available at the time then he must be the one that should solve all of my problems.  I did the thing you are supposed to do when you are married, I communicated.  A very clumsy display of communication it was too.  I told him that something was wrong, and that I felt like I needed to talk, but when he asked me to explain it sounded something like this…  chirp…..chirp….”er, um, well I dunno, I just uhh, well..y’know.”  chirp….chirp….SNNOOORRREEE (that was his contribution).  Since my audience had now checked out, I had to turn it back to God.  With tears and supplication I fell asleep.
     The next day we went to church.  I was happy to have that distraction from my so-called problem and just get into worshipping and being with loved ones.  However, as soon as we got into the car and were on our way home, the cloud found me again.  It must have stayed in the car during church since evil is not allowed in the building.  When we got home and changed from our church clothes and had a chance to talk again, I was finally able to say something that made some sense.  I got a hug and POOF, all better.  The poor man was baffled.  We survived my hormonal abyss without a fight and all was well.
     So, Monday he comes home from work, being oh so attentive and sweet.  Calling me with his new little pet name for me, “Mumsy….you wanna sit by me?”  After a few times, I “realized” i.e.(a brick flew into our living room and hit me upside the head) “He’s trying to give you extra attention.  You asked for this, you idiot!”  I was playing on the computer, completely content and he’s caught up now and trying to fulfill my needs.  Are we all like this?  Poor men!  We really need to cut them some slack.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Jumping the Walls

     There are times when the desire to reach out is so strong it hurts.  There is nothing physical stopping me, only an invisible wall of lies.  Lies so powerful they come between this bond that can’t be broken.  They have my heart believing, they have it in a death grip.  How dare the master of lies invade my thoughts.  How dare I let him.

     How easily I conquer the wall.  All it takes is a prayer, some faith, and an act of love.  A leap of faith really, for isn’t the lack of it what kept me trapped on the wrong side?  Only by trusting can we tear down the barricades of life.  If I’m not trusting, I’m not living.