Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I just about missed it. Thanks to a friends post I was reminded to get my list of gratitudes on the trusty ole blog!

This week I am thankful for:

1. Some one on one time with Bruce on Monday. I share him a.lot. and I don't mind but  it sure was nice having him all to myself for a day.

2. Savannah is loving tennis! Finally a sport she likes! The magnitude of this praise seems slight compared to other things but if you know Savannah it is a huge step!

3. The opportunity to intercede on behalf of others.

4. A few major chores accomplished this week.

5. My sweet class...who finally after 7 months now includes me in their list of people they pray for every morning. So sweet! ...and did I mention they can say the pledge of allegiance better than anyone I know?

So....what are you thankful for today????

Small Changes

A few things that changed this week:

1. Spring clothes unpacked
2. Winter clothes packed
3. Shoe organizer bought
4. Plan for our own version of Trading Spaces....bedroom edition (stay tuned for the details)
5. Morning routines posted in bathroom for both kids (thinking about making Bruce one --hehe)
6. Threw away some old....really old....really worn out clothes
7. Bought new storage containers 
8. Took Valentines decor off tree.... I'll be doing THIS for Easter
9. Cleaned off the kitchen table and redid centerpiece for spring
10. Took 5 bags of trash out of my house.....WHERE DOES IT ALL COME FROM!!!

One reason I am posting this is to convince myself that I'm heading in the right direction! Boy is there a ton to get done....and I am determined to have it done by the time school is out for the summer....cause I don't want to spend my summer doing it!!!

Do you have an organizational tip you want to share....I'm all ears!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Gift

Spat on
Yelled at

and yet....He was Jesus....God's own Son



and I am...

Entirely forgiven
Unbelievably grateful
Immeasurably undeserving
Completely humbled
Totally awed
Quietly amazed
Unconditionally loved
Eternally Thankful

....and even seems such a small whisper in the ear of God.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Getting out of the Way

The last few weeks have been rough. Emotionally I've been heartbroken about a couple of issues, physically I messed up my diet, Spiritually I was needing to hear from the Lord and mentally....well...I'm off most of the time what's the difference??? :)

A week ago Bruce took the kids away for several hours so that I could have some time to sit before the Lord. I was trying to prepare for a speaking engagement, a new Sunday School class and just needed some personal quiet time with the Savior. So I sat down, Bible in lap, diet coke on the nearby table, notepad on the arm of the chair and feet propped up. And that's about as far as it went for the first thirty minutes. I sat there...mind racing...trying to get quiet before God. Seriously. It took But mind slowed, my heart opened and within just moments God had completely given me exactly what I needed to be able to prepare for the speaking engagement. If was A-MA-ZING!...and all HIM.

So, today was the day I headed over to Gilmer, a little town just an hour away, to share about the goodness of the Lord with their ladies at their Spring Tea. Bruce was out of town so the grandparents came and watched the kids. I was sure to leave in plenty of time to get there, knowing I needed to stop at the gas station (sorry to the guy I flashed as I pumped my gas...darn dress and the wind made for a disastrous display) and Sonic for a diet coke (yes, there is a pattern here). I was pretty pumped...I felt prepared...peaceful...even had a decent hair day (and yes, if you had hair like mine you would count that as a victory). A friend texted and I had told her that if the Lord would just take care of the giant zit that had appeared on the side of my face yesterday (TMI?) then all would be well with the world. It was a good day. However...with each mile that ticked away on the odometer, I felt my nerves creeping up. Darn them!!! I so wanted the day to go well....God had given me something really special to share with these ladies and I didn't want to get in the way of the delivery. an attempt to get my mind on the Lord, I started searching for a Christian radio station to listen to.   The first attempt was complete failure. I didn't know east Texans had such a love for Hispanic and Rap stations...but if you're in the market for that...there are 8-10 of them between Sulphur Springs and Gilmer. Start packing now. I gave up, turned the radio off and decided to enjoy the ride. It wasn't five minutes later that I passed a house with large 6 ft letters in the yard that spelled out:


Hmm....was He trying to tell me something? 

I continued driving and eventually tried the radio again. Scan....scan...scan...nothing ....until....Yes, 89.5...KVNE. Finally something worth listening to! And wouldn't you know the song playing on the radio....Heart of Worship....It's all about you....It's all about you Jesus. 

Be still my soul. For real. Coincidence? I think not. I continued driving but the presence of God in that car was so great as I talk out loud about giving this day over to Him. He was there...taking away my nerves, my insecurities and my desires for the day. Out loud I said "Ok...Lord I get the message....this day is about You!" Wow...that takes the pressure off me! 

And in another post I will tell you all about the wonderful ladies of Grace Baptist in Gilmer, Texas and their wonderful pastor's wife, Marie. But for in the fact that when we don't know how to juggle the nerves, the responsibility, the commitments ....we don't have to....He can take all of it and create so much more beauty than we ever imagined. It's all about Him anyway....right?

Understanding More

Part of this whole weight loss journey is about understanding yourself more. I have had a couple of off days....meaning I turned my internal good decision maker off when it comes to food. I have eaten just about every type of bad food you can think of...chips, processed, sweets.....and while none of these done in moderation would have hurt me "too" bad, I am not one who does very many things sometimes moderation gets tossed to the side.

Here's what I learned:

1. When I have a busy week, if I am not organized from the get matter what's in my pantry, I will opt for ease. Sometimes that means fast food, a handful of gold fish or 7 twizzlers. I don't give a hill of beans that I could have used the same energy to have made a salad or made a turkey took too much energy. So in essence when it comes to food....I'm lazy.

2. When my house is disorderly, I cannot function. Period.

These two things are VERY important to me in the scheme of understanding why I eat the way I have and in understanding the things that need to happen so that I don't fall into these same traps again. So over the next 48 hours I will be making a plan for the next week that will hopefully set me up for better eating. One thing I've already learned is that for me, I need to focus more on order...I'm not talking about the over the top OCD focus...goodness knows that won't be me...ever. But, since I know that I begin to sweat when things get out of control around my home, I need to set myself up for a better success rate....which means the reinstatement of the chore charts, weekly goals and laundry schedule (can you hear my family groaning already?)

So...there it first major setback for the year. I'm surprised it took this long honestly...and glad that I am not giving up just because it happened. That's what I've done in the past. This time..I am identifying, thanking God for showing me and setting up a plan to not fall in this trap again. If you know me at all then you know this is progress. God is changing me.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday

This week I am thankful for:

1. A God who sees everything and knows exactly how it will all work out...and in the midst of that teaches me great and valuable lessons that I need in order to honor Him more.

2. I got to visit with my friend Mel and her girls and see her baby Grayson the other night. What a blessing to see God working things out for their good..slowly but surely. You can read a little of her story here.

3. The opportunity to speak at a women's event in Gilmer, Texas this weekend. Humbled by the opportunity...thankful for the enlarged territory.

4. Friends who talk about what God is doing in their lives. It's motivational, inspiring, exciting and uplifting.

5. Some quiet time alone with the Lord last know...that kind you don't get everyday...several uninterrupted hours of communing with Him. I needed it.

So....what are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Park Pics

Yesterday Savannah was scheduled to begin tennis lessons. Well it was so windy that they had to rescheduled lessons for Thursday. Since I had planned on walking at the park where she has lessons I was as disappointed as she was. So...I suggested we go to the other side of the park where there was more for the kids to do and I could still get my walk in. We had a great time! 

Tickling her toes in the creek. I love this girl! 

I love the look on her face here....she was so silly!

Tucker suggested we all pose together....
thank goodness for that little reverse camera feature on my phone! *Wow my head sure is big

Such a cutie pie! My favorite 5 year old ever!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to Encourage Someone

I've been discouraged lately and a few people have done a few nice things to encourage me (mostly unbeknownst to them). I thought I'd share a few ideas on how we can be a blessing to others through the ministry of encouragement.

Here are a few things I have learned:

1. Money is not necessary to send encouragement someone's way. It doesn't matter if you have $50 or $5 there are ways to bless someone. Here are a few...a note slipped under an office door, a love note in your child's lunch,  words spoken at an opportune time, a good solid hug or an "I LOVE YOU".

2. Small thoughtful deeds mean something. A little boy in my class brought me a diet coke a few weeks after school started. I had know idea that he knew I drank diet coke but he had been paying attention and seen me pour one into my cup one day and went home and told his mom. What a thoughtful deed that encouraged me so much.

3. A well thought out word. I'm not saying a habitual "thank you" doesn't go a long way, but I am saying that someone can tell if you have thought about what you are going to say to them. I was eating at a restaurant a few weeks ago when I saw one of my students waving frantically at me. After her meal was eaten she and her mom came over to say "hello." The mother then expressed some extremely kind words to me and when she walked away I was overwhelmed by her kindness and encouragement. In the midst of a difficult week she had spoken life into very weary bones.

4. Don't assume people know how you feel. If you appreciate someone...let them know. If you love someone... tell them. People don't automatically know that you feel that way about them... but if they did...think about how secure that would make them feel in the relationship.

5. Think of what would make the other person happy. Would going fishing with your son make him the happiest boy in the world? Would bringing your friend a coffee to work one day make her happy? So many times we don't even think about what brings happiness to another person's life. Make them feel special by truly thinking about things that bring happiness to their life.

6. Encourage with scripture. Share a verse in a sweet...loving...gentle way.

7. Be interested in someone else's life. It's easy to get consumed with what's on your plate or behind your front door. But when we are so inwardly focused we tend to put everything else on the back burner. That back burner still needs some attention every now and again.

Have you been encouraged lately...I'd love to hear how......please comment!!!

The Value of Things

I am not attached to too many personal items. I found out when living in hurricane infested southeast Texas that pretty much everything that is of any earthly value can fit into one rubbermaid tub. Because of three hurricane evacuations during a three year period of time, I was able to hone in on my packing and prioritizing skills. Evaluating the value of my earthly goods really did help me realize that these things really are worth so little in the scheme of life.

However, there are some pieces of furniture that have been passed down on both sides of the family that I do enjoy and other knick-knack sort of items that are pleasant to look at. The value isn't necessarily monetary, it's more sentiment and emotional. It probably doesn't surprise anyone that this past week when I went to GA I came back home with one such treasure. This time in the form of a adoption doll. Ever heard of one? No, I didn't think so.

A little the early eighties the Cabbage Patch Kid Dolls were becoming popular. Being 8 or 9 years old and a pretty much demanded that you own one of these preciously perfect patch kids.   That coupled with the fact that just a few miles north of Atlanta was the very "hospital" where you could go pick out your very own adoptee. Well, there as also the little fact of $$$$. And....the fact that we didn't have much. So, my mom made me this:

This was my adoption doll....aka Cabbage Patch Kid knock-off. Only thing was....I didn't realize until just recently that the Adoption Doll never made it as big as the Cabbage Patch Kid. I thought everyone knew what am Adoption Doll was.....little did I know.

Yet, silly as it may seem, I have an attachment to my doll. Mainly because my mom made it. In fact she made me two...the other one was a larger version. Nonetheless, I value it because of the time she took to craft it. I value it because she was making something so that I would have something similar to other girls and she didn't want me to feel left out. I value it because of the craftsmanship. I value it because it represents a mother's love through the giving of her time and talents...and isn't that so much about what motherhood is?

I've had some hysterical laughs with a few friends over my naivety over this doll. Here I was thinking she was something special from my childhood when really back then she was more of a substitute for the real thing. But through the years...I think I'm the lucky one...the one with something that represents much more than a doll.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Turned Around

I love how men (in general) characterize getting lost....they're turned around....took a wrong turn...getting their bearings (not even sure what a bearing is...) but they are NEVER lost. 

Such was the case around 8:30pm, March 11, 2011, as the family made the trip thru Memphis, TN. Now there is just about nothing in TN that I don't like....good BBQ, great tourism, the Smokey Mtns, the weather, I was born there...and so much more. BUT if I had to say one thing I hate about TN it would be the Memphis traffic and lack of signs for the interstate that we always seem to need. Soooo...once again, we found ourselves lost and in the middle of the part of town where they film COPS (only kidding...sort of). Pretty scary. 

So after wandering the streets for about 15 minutes we stopped and thought we'd ask some locals how to get to our sought after road. The looks on their faces were we spoke a different they had never heard of anyone wanting directions OUT of Memphis before. 
Thank the Lord for the iphone that got us the heck out of Memphis.
Note to self....find an alternate route next time!

But like many things on this trip. God used our little Memphis excursion to remind me that when I follow the GPS of HIS WORD I will never find myself in a town I don't know or a place I need to be afraid of. He's driving this life and as long as I don't become the backseat driver, then I'm in the best hands ever. No worries about misunderstanding directions or not seeing road signs. He's got it covered. That's good news!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


God knows exactly what we need. His timing is perfect. 
This is a lesson that I was reminded of during our trip to Georgia. When my brand new step-sister Stacy said that she had a couple of extra tickets to see American Idol's Mandisa and Women of Faith funny lady Anita Renfroe I couldn't say YES fast enough! I was mostly looking forward to laughing so hard I would need to wear a diaper (if you know what I mean) but quickly remembered Mandisa's incredible weightloss and was secretly hoping I would hear something inspiring from her.

So here I am with Mom and sister in law Jan ....yes we are giddy....there is no denying it!
We enjoyed the concert so much. Anita was hysterically funny....she did the Momsense Song, All the Wrinkled Ladies, The Spoof on Love Story and so many other things that truly only women "get". If you've been living under a rock the last 10 years or so and haven't a clue who she is....two words...You Tube. Check her out!

Mandisa did not disappoint. With her new album due to release in a few days she of course was promoting it. Only thing is....those songs were written out of a time of desperation for her. During her darkest moments she got real with herself and started realizing why she had treated her body with such abuse over the years. She talked about Idol and the impact of the negative words that were said about her while she was on the show and ultimately she talked about forgiveness and healing. Giving 100% credit to the work God is doing in her life, she attributed 5 things to her success. 

1. Scripture memorization
2. Prayer
3. Christian Counseling
4. Eating Right
5. Zumba

One this that she kept reiterating was that God was stronger than the strongholds of food addictions that we binding her and literally weighing her down. I LOVE THIS. It's something that He is teaching me, and in a moment when I needed to hear it again....God spoke loudly. I'm thankful for each step of this journey and the lessons that I am learning ever so slowly. I've known many of them for my head...but we've seen where that has gotten me. It's the heart makeover that makes the eternal difference.

Check out this video:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Utter Sweetness

This is my brother Andy, his wife Jan, and my 15 month old niece, Sydney. I hadn't seen Sydney in a year and she didn't seem to remember all the fun we had the last time we were together. This broke my heart. But what really sent me over the edge was the fact that she and Bruce (Boo-Boo) bonded like peanut butter and jelly. WHAT???? Yes, she loved so much. Nope....Gigi didn't rank. 

But who couldn't love this little bundle of sweetness....

And speaking of sweetness...she had a taste of her first Krispy Kreme donut while I was there...

So after some therapy I will be ok...and maybe next time Syd and I will become the best buds I always dreamed we would be...and if not next time then surely by the time she's of shopping age....believe me...she'll be ditching Bruce by then!

First things First

God blessed my heart so much on our trip to GA. I took some time away from the blog to really soak in all the different experiences that we had and now, I feel refreshed and ready to take on the next 10 years...ok...maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean.

The next few days will be spent recapping some of the things that happened on the trip...and how God used each one to speak to me. It's funny, I guess I just take for granted that He speaks to me through life...does anybody else feel like you can hear so much from God through everyday, ordinary events? That's how I feel. His Word become more alive to me when I am thinking about it as I do dishes or laundry. His wisdom becomes real to me when I think about it as I contemplate things as simple as grocery shopping or as complex of purchasing a major appliance. During my trip I took so many pictures of things that God used to speak to I am warning you...there will be lots of pictures in the coming days!

The first thing that God used to speak to me during this trip happened before I even left. I tend to get a little stressed out when packing and preparing for trips...not because that part is particularly stressful...but because in my house the packing and preparing are usually left up to me. That means that not only the packing....but the doing the LAUNDRY is completely my responsibility. Now...please don't get me wrong...this is MY choice. Bruce would willingly help, except that after a few loads of pink laundry and shrunken (is that a word?) clothing, he's been dismissed from laundry duty. Ok..back to the point. Usually by the time we leave I am completely wiped out, grumpy. But, this time was different....

My kids have been incredibly sick this winter with upper respiratory stuff. Most of the time the in laws have watched them when they've missed school, but last week I was feeling the nudge from God to stay home with Savannah instead of calling in back-up. So, I took a day off and spent time helping her feel better...and doing laundry and packing. See...God gave me some extra hours that are normally spent at school and for once...I managed to see the opportunity placed before me. In just a matter of a few hours we were all packed and suitcases were stacked at the door. This enabled my last night at home to actually be spent fellowshipping with the gals from church at our scrapbook/craft night....which was way more relaxing and enjoyable than packing and preparing for our trip. God has a way of taking something bad and working it into something beautiful.

So by the time we left for our trip...I wasn't in my usually state of lunacy and my family was super grateful! See...God's concerned about the little things as well as the big. He wants to equip us to handle things with more grace...but sometimes we don't look at all our options. I'm thankful for once that I listened to His nudge...His way of escape....and acted in obedience. I can't always say that I do that so I'm rejoicing...that for once....I took care of first things first.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday

This week I'm thankful for:

1. An unexpected sick day at home with Savannah. Hate she is sick, but love the quiet time we got to spend together.

2. My mom, stepdad, mother in law and father in laws relative good health. Several of my girlfriends parents are really struggling with their health. It's scary and a little worrisome to watch our parents struggle with illness as they grow older.

3. Passport papers are in the mail!

4. A great new little pair of shoes...for $8!!!

5. A sweet time of fellowship with the missionary and host wives on a mini shopping spree on Saturday.

Thank you Lord, for all my blessings!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

5 Simple Rules

Dear Children,

On Friday we will be leaving to go see Jojo and Pops. It's going to be a long trip - nearly 800 miles. So here are a few things that might help the trip go smoothly. Feel free to use them.

1. Go to the bathroom at every stop your father makes. Goodness knows he won't be stopping any extra so save yourself and your bladder the pain of needing to "go" and take advantage of every.single.stop.

2. Stay on your side of the car. I know at the beginning you will think you want to sit right next to each other...but before long someone will start complaining about the other one breathing his/her air, or touching them, or looking at us all a favor and stay on your side.

3. It will take us 14 hours to get there. So until we are at hour 13 please do not ask, "Are we there yet?", "How much further?" or any alteration of these phrases. Thank you.

4. You can help pass the time by reading, watching videos, listening to music, playing the license plate game, the count the road kill game...but not read the billboards in Louisiana. There are things that happen there that only they should know about.

5. Remember just because you play your music loud in your headphones, doesn't mean you have to sing loud too. Dad and I have heard just about all we can stand of the Jonas Brothers, PureNRG, Imagination Movers and Handy Manny. We're good just to ride in the complete silence the car affords us.

And remember....we're just as anxious as you to get there!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011



............That was my day. What about yours?

Monday, March 7, 2011

20 Years of Grief

Isn't that an enticing title? 20 years of grief? But if you've ever lost someone you loved then you know the grief never really stops, it doesn't ever get better, it changes and you change, but it never goes away completely. Isn't that encouraging? Yeah..I know.

But before you click onto one of the blogs to the right....the ones about decorating and child rearing and things way more fun and entertaining.....let me tell you a few things I've learned from losing my dad...20 years ago.

I remember getting ready for class my freshman year of college and getting a phone call saying I needed to get a suitcase packed and head to the airport. My dad had had a brain aneurysm and things were grim. I had never flown in an airplane before and was scared...that compounded when I realized I would have to change planes in St. Louis. I remember my mom saying quietly, "bring a dress". I knew then she had an idea he wouldn't make it. I arrived home just in time to make the decision with my family to take dad off life support. He would never have wanted to live like a vegetable. He had lived a vivacious life of basketball with us kids, teaching Sunday School, homeschooling us kids, loving my mom...never in a million years would he have wanted to be kept alive by a machine. So somewhere around 10pm on March 5, 1991, my dad met Jesus. My mom was with him, and me, my 16 year old brother and 13 year old sister stood outside the doors of the ICU and waited for them to call the code. Shortly after, a tear stained cheek mom said confidently "the joy of the Lord is our strength". And truly that has been the theme of her life.

In a moment when grief could have consumed her every word....she chose the truth that is in God's Word. She chose truth. TRUTH. It would have been easy (and not necessarily wrong) for her to have come through those doors, fall to the ground, shaking her fist toward God, screaming "WHY? WHY? WHY?" But in those moments of extreme grief...when only the truest words are spoken....the words on her tongue were comforting and soothing and TRUTH. Those words have also been written on the tablet of my heart...and remembered over and over when times in my own life have been tough.

Over the years I've learned a few things about are my lessons:

1. Grief doesn't end. It changes...what once caused you great joy or enjoyment may now bring you to tears...not because it is bad or negative or even painful but because it reminds you of something. Jelly Beans, Five Mile Creek Movies, whistling...these all at certain times have affected me that way. Instead of avoiding those moments and memories...embrace them. If that means it....if it means experiencing it. Don't avoid it because it's painful. Remember it because it was wonderful...and in some way connects you to that person.

2. Express your emotions. Others feel them too. You don't have to be strong. No one expects it....or wants it. They want you to be real.

3. Allow your church to minister to you. This helps them fulfill God's command to take care of the grieving. If you retreat...they can't minister to you and will complain because you will feel they have forgotten. Let them bring a meal, help with chores, your kids, your yard, your pets or anything else.

4. Find a verse and claim it. God's Word is the ONLY word that you can count on. People say good things, encouraging things......and STUPID things. The only words that you can believe and act on 100% of the time are GOD's.

5. Get counseling. REAL counseling. Not retail therapy, friend therapy or chocolate. Your church can help you find someone....or may offer someone on staff to meet with. Don't be afraid to get real about how you're doing. These professionals are used to it...they can handle it....even help.

6. When you're This may be 2 weeks, 2 days, 2 years, 2 months from the date of mourning....but it will come...and you'll be glad for the changed experience. Don't feel guilt. Remember the enemy (satan) wants nothing more that for you to be submersed in your grief for as long as possible.

7. Most of all know that God means this for good in your life. That's a tough pill to swallow. I remember thinking "how on earth could God think this is a good thing....a wife without her husband, children without their dad?" and then I realized that what I characterize as GOOD and what God equates with GOOD are two different things. He sees the whole picture while I only see a portion and most of what I see involves the past. I do believe this was the only way that my family made it through this.

I'm thankful for those 18 precious years I had with my dad. Now I can even say I am thankful for the past 20. God's been faithful....after all...He knows a thing or two about losing someone.

Has God taught you anything through the grief He's allowed you to go through. I'd love to hear about it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Beautiful, the Body of Christ

I was just browsing Facebook a few minutes ago and I saw where one of the missionary wives from missions conference had posted on a couple of our church members walls...thanking them for their hospitality, friendship, prayers during this conference week. It warmed my heart. It made me so very proud to be a part of such a loving, giving, sacrificial body of Christ.

I've been especially thankful for our host families this year. They went above and beyond the call of duty/service. From helping with missionary kids during the week, to having the missionary families in their homes or out to eat for a meal, to taking them to the rodeo...(this is Texas!!!) to being available and present for extra meals, meetings and church activities. I know they are tired...but if they are anything like me, I wouldn't have wanted a "pass" or "skip" card on ANY activity that was offered for me to get to know these wonderful missionary families.

My friend Jaime and her family won't be here this time next year. Instead they will be in Waxhaw, NC finishing up their JAARS training to be aviation missionaries to Papua New Guinea. I am thrilled to see them so close to doing what God has called them to do. I counted this week extra special to be able to spend a little extra time with her and really for the first time since last year, hear her heartbeat for the work God has called her family to do. I kept reminding myself over and over this week "soak this in, cherish this time, take it all in, there won't be another opportunity like this." I tear up just thinking about the wonderful/horrible day that she will get on that plane taking her thousands of miles away to share the most wonderful news with people who don't even have a Bible in their language yet.

God truly blessed me this week. Hearing stories, watching videos of the missionary work being done and fellowshipping with each of these missionaries encouraged me to work hard, persevere with gladness when times are tough, love the lost, take care of the orphans, God will never leave me...and so many more lessons. I'm so glad our church gave the congregation many opportunities to embrace the missionary families and their stories, cultures and history. I know those who took advantage of those opportunities were blessed and perhaps changed. It was sweet watching it all unfold and a sweet testimony of the beautiful body of Christ.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Thankful Thursday

This week's list includes:

1. A church whose vision for the lost reaches well outside the borders of our property. Loved the missions conference this week. I've met some of earth's finest.

2. My mother in law, who dropped everything to watch Tucker while he has been sick this week.

3. A multitude of opportunities to learn about the goodness of God through life lessons and creation.

4. That my birth certificate that I had to order a copy of came in the mail 48 hours later....rather than the 5-7 days. Now I can proceed with passport stuff for my Peru trip this summer.

5. Warmer weather.....longer days.....and budding trees.


Getting to know missionaries is a great way to get to know about sacrifice. These beautiful people may get spoiled for a week at our church, but when they get to or return to their various fields the real sacrifice begins....and even though it's honorable and right for us to take good care of them while they are with us in our conference this week, somehow, I wonder if it is even more important for us to be in continual remembrance and prayer and support of them when they are actually in the thick of the sacrifice.

I was talking with one of our missions moms and tears filled her eyes as she talked of her children growing up so far from family. The joys of that close grandparent relationship that most families enjoy won't come easy for them. That's a sacrifice. Another friend of mine who is a missionary rejoices every time she can find a jar of peanut butter at her local grocers. Even though that seems almost comical, how many of us would be willing to forgo the little conveniences and favorite things that make life enjoyable? It's a sacrifice. Another missionary told me that they were completely rejected by their families when they surrendered to the mission field, but couldn't ignore the pull on their hearts to share the gospel in a third would country. That's sacrifice.

I was reminded recently of the small sacrifices I could make to help fulfill the camp needs of young people in Peru. For less than $20 a child could experience a week of fun filled camp and be exposed to the gospel numerous times. $20 hardly seems like a sacrifice for me. And yet...the eternal difference that could make in the life of a child because of the ultimate sacrifice....priceless. But....what if God asked for something more from me?

What about on a daily basis? Do I mock God when He requires or desires a sacrifice. I'm probably most protective of my time. But what if God interrupts my day and asks me to vary MY schedule so that it accommodates HIS? What do I do? What if God pricks my heart to let go of some afternoon quiet time to do something for someone else? What do I do? I wonder, what if God asked me to be willing to sacrifice some of my vacation money or tax refund to further HIS kingdom....what do I do?

See, just because I'm not a foreign missionary doesn't mean that God won't ask or require a sacrifice from me. For some reason this sacrifice issue seems so uncomfortable....yet, experience has taught me that there really is no better position to be in than at a place of emptiness. Who knew sacrifice could be the thing that fills you up with such joy.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
           - Jim Elliot

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Second Guessing

I've been second guessing myself (and ultimately God) a lot lately.

Second guessing....

Who I am....
Who I want to be....
What I am suppose to say....
When I'm supposed to say it...
Why God lets things happen....
What my calling is and what that looks like right now...
What to have for dinner....
Whether or not to work out....
Who really loves me....I mean really really really loves me...
What kind of mother I am....

And the list goes on....and on, but you get the picture. Before you call the local crazy house, I'm not losing it (well, most days anyway) because God is teaching me something. It's like in the midst of all this God says..."Let me". That's it. "Let me".

Let me....

Be the one to decide your relationships
Be the one to direct your ministry steps
Be the one to give you words to say
Be the one to show you when to say those words
Be the one to love you with an everlasting love
Be the one you trust when things go wrong, or you're disappointed, lonely and feeling insecure
Be the one to teach you how to care for this vessel
Be the one to show you how to guide your children

And in those midnight hours when I'm eyes wide open, I'm learning to experience that "Let God" peace.  It's a process. It's hard. I'm miles from the finish line (heaven)....and I feel like most days I am walking two paces and stepping back one....but I'm trying to let God. In all honesty, this is too much for me. I can't juggle these things without Him. I've tried. I've failed. I need Him...seems like more each day...or maybe I am just continuing to learn inch by inch that life is easier that way...the "let God" way.