Friday, July 29, 2011

The Time I Wore My Mom's Dress

I was in the sixth grade. I'm not sure how much I weighed but I'm pretty sure since I only weighed 110 when I graduated high school that we can safely assume I was a light-weight. My dad was holding the fort down while my mom went to Florida to see one of our relatives. I imagine it was for some sort of short term emergency because I can't even imagine my mom leaving my dad to make sure three kids 11, 9, and six years old were washed, tucked in, fed, dressed and off to school with completed homework and an apple for the teacher.......all the while him working his own job with various shifts thrown in. But I'm quite sure he was capable.

I guess I was hankering for something different to wear. Like most six graders I was at a very awkward stage....braces had yet to be put on, I wore glasses, for some reason I was sporting a Dorothy Hamil haircut and I was so skinny. I thought my mom dressed like a million bucks. Her clothes were so pretty. Her closet was full of things and purses and belts and coats....OK...really it wasn't full and it was a small closet...but when you're 11 things look different. And on the day that I tiptoed into her closet while she was in Florida and dad was at work I knew I wanted to wear one of her dresses to school the next day. I spotted the grey dress with small pink flowers, puffed sleeves and the light weight matching vest that was sewn to the front, the tie in the back and the soft pleated skirt. It was one of my favorite dresses my mom wore. I snatched the dress from the rack and took off to my room.

The next morning, outfitted in the beautiful (then) dress, I loaded into the car. I don't remember my dad giving me a second could he not notice that the dress was too big? How could he not remember seeing my mom in it? How could he have not even raised an eyebrow? I have no idea. But I went to my 6th grade class proudly wearing my mom's dress that day...thinking I was as beautiful as she was when she wore it. Looking back I realize how ridiculous I must have looked. I wonder what my teacher's must have thought! It was a decade later at least when I told my mom this story and we have laughed a hundred times about it since.

Silly huh? But as I was thinking of this story today, I realized that as a Christian woman living in the modern world it is easy to think that I can go into the world's closet and try on their garments and walk around for a day in their shoes and that no one would notice. It's just a day, it's just one dress, it's just a trip to school and back. No one will notice. But the world is watching much more closely than my dad was that day in 1983. The ultimate fashionista enemy wants us to put on pride, arrogance, anger, bitterness, lying, covetousness and anything else that feels good.  But the truth is we look ridiculously clothed in the garments that weren't made for us. We become the hypocrites, the laughing stock. We become Christianity's poster child for WHAT NOT TO WEAR.

It's a silly analogy I know. But I want to look different than the world. I want to rise above my circumstances, bad luck, unfortunate events, bills, laundry and back to school blues. I want to be a light in a dark world and that can't happen if I am dressed just like the world. So....this girl's gonna make an effort to wear the clothes that were made to fit me perfectly....a garment of praise, the armor of God and righteousness....and no matter how cute, perfect or just my size that pride...anxiousness....or a bad attitude look at the moment...that's on my WHAT NOT TO WEAR LIST.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Prayer Request

This is a picture of my brother, Andy and my sister-in-law, Jan. They'll be celebrating their sixth anniversary in just a few days. However, that celebration will be under the shadow of some medical issues that my sister in law is battling. Last week while suffering from a horrible migraine she went to the doctor seeking some relief. They did some blood work and found her iron level to be dangerously low, and after a few other tests determined she is bleeding somewhere. She's had a CT scan that came back clear. They started iron infusions on Wednesday and today during her 2nd infusion she had a horrible allergic reaction. Her primary Dr. had called earlier today to say that the urgent colonoscopy and endoscopy that needed to be done had been scheduled for SEPT. 5.....that's five weeks away.

So, after the horrible scare of today my brother and mother will be on the phone with drs. in the morning, trying to get things moving faster. Did I mention Andy and Jan have an 19 month old daughter? 

So you can imagine that our hearts and minds are heavy with the unknown. Thankfully Jan has a close relationship with the ultimate Healer. As a family we know God is in control. We're asking our friends to pray for peace for Andy and Jan and for all of us who love them....and yes, kinda selfishly, we'd like everything to be ok.

Will you pray?

The Government...To Respect or Not Respect?

The last few weeks in my Sunday School class we've been studying the issue of What God's Word Says about Morality and Integrity. Last week the issue of "the government" came up and how we are are to be respectful of those who have rule over us as long as their "rules" don't conflict with God's rules.

So we began talking about the word respect and what that looks like, and when I walked out the classroom door I felt like I had touched on one of the most conflicted areas in society today. So I'm asking you today....what does a Christian look like who shows respect for the government? 

I've given some thought to this since our classroom discussion and I came up with a few things that I think make the list:

1. A Christian does not make jokes that make the government look bad

2. A Christian does not talk about governmental leadership in anger, hostility or violence

3. A Christian prays for the government

4. A Christian encourages good decisions

5. A Christian talks about the good things happening in government

6. A Christian talks about issues that concern them to the people who can do something about it....sometimes that means other citizens and sometimes that means calling your government official. 

7. A Christian talks about these issues with firmness but respect

8. A Christian follows the laws...pays taxes, obeys the speed limit, doesn't long as they don't conflict with God's Word. His authority is always supreme.

9. A Christian doesn't overreact or throw a temper tantrum when things don't go their way. They find a way to express themselves in a mature and rational way.

10 Above all, we follow God's rules, act godly and do not sacrifice out testimony for the temporary satisfaction of spewing our opinions and feelings out on a world who ultimately needs Jesus...not government. 

How did I come up with my list....well I know what respect looks like when it comes to my family. I know that as a wife I am to build up and not tear down my husband and that I am to show him respect. I can also go to him with disagreements I have and as long as I am godly in my communication, I can still be respectful. I also know what I expect from my kids. I want them to communicate with me in a manner of respect...I don't want them talking bad about me behind my back or throwing tantrums when things don't go their way. There is a right way for us to discuss things and I will listen to their concerns, but ultimately the decisions lie within the parents power, and I expect them to accept that decision with respect...even when they don't agree. 

By no means am I advocating a Christianity that allows the government to walk all over us. I'm advocating a Christianity that follows God's Word, that is representing to a lost, hell bound world the essentials of Christianity, hope and love and that stands for the things that God stands for....with respect for the governmental authority that God has allowed to be in office....for such a time as this. you have anything to add to the list? Leave a comment and let me know!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What Stands in the Storm

I just received my copy of Southern Living in the mail yesterday. Nine pages of the August edition of the magazine are dedicated to a small community in Alabama that was hit by the horrid tornadoes that ripped through the south last spring. I hardly ever read every word of any magazine article but this one is filled with pages of beauty in devastation. This real story of a community reaching out and loving their neighbor is such a refreshing change from the world of politics, crime, bad economy and sin. Sometimes you need a pick me up story, sometimes you need to be reminded that someone has your back, sometimes you need to believe that God has a greater purpose...a better purpose....even when you lose it all (and really, if we have Christ we never lose it all). Thanks Southern Living for embracing a community and for not being scared to talk about faith, fellowship...and of course some good southern food!

Go HERE to read the article.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Slowing Down

I've been enjoying the last week or so of nothing in particular to do. The house is clean, we're managing to maintain that since our major purge earlier this month, the laundry is caught up, it's hot outside, we've been to Peru, the kids have been to GA, we've had VBS and various other activities. So now, it's been a couple of weeks with nothing much planned. It's been nice to slow down.

I've had a little more than usual time to think, pray, read and clear my head over the last few days. That's what happens when you slow down. The Lord speaks louder or I listen better when I slow down. Usually when my mind and schedule are racing with the next thing I have to do, there is little or no time to really stop and think and pray and ponder and listen. HE has showed me so many wonderful things over the last few days that I am more convinced than ever to make stillness a part of each day.

Stillness isn't laziness. It's not selfishness. Those thoughts ran through my head when I first realized I had these hours of unplanned activity to fill with...nothing. I thought if I sat down for more than a few minutes with nothing to do that I would be setting a bad example for my kids. But what God showed me was the exact opposite. I actually found that the stillness brought a sense of purpose. He showed me a few things that He has purposed for our Women's ministry for this fall at church, He pricked my heart to spend some time in prayer for my enemies (yes, I know, not a popular thing to do....or even admit that you have), gave me peace about Savannah's schooling for next year, found a few new songs I love, gave me fresh ideas for my own classroom, healed a few wounds that in my busyness I didn't even realize were there, gave me a boost of energy, helped me stop running from some grief that I was backpacking and allowed me to spend some down time showing my kids that there is a time for everything....running and resting. 

So many times I struggle with scheduling too much or enough....and yet I've never thought much about the spiritual application of that. I want my kids to be OK with being busy, but after this time with the Lord over the last few days I think I want them to be more OK with being still and listening to what God's plans are for their time. He's ordered their days too...ya know?

So this still time has been anything but lazy time. Over and over I wonder why I struggle with this...and every time I slow down I am reminded that God wants to speak to me in ways I cannot even imagine. He's ready to heal, renew, bring peace and restore. All I have to do is commune with Him in the stillness.

Do you struggle with getting still? What hinders you? Maybe you've got this mastered or you have a tip for getting still....I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Interest n Pinterest? the title of this blog post is a little corny....but who cares really?

I got a text from a friend today: "Are you ever going to blog again?" So here I am.

I feel it's the right time to tell you about my addictive personality. Not really, but since I've got your attention now I will tell you what's been keeping me away this week.

One word: Pinterest ....if you don't know what this is (like I didn't) now's the time to do a quick google search and read about it. Or, better yet, go sign up for an invitation on their site.

Pinterest is a social community where people can "pin" all their favorite things in one place. Say for instance you really like to bake brownies. You can pin all your favorite brownie recipes to one board, look for new ones and drool over pictures others have posted of their favorite ones.  Like cars? You can pin pictures of old cars, new cars, ugly cars, hot cars, fast cars...all in one place so when you want to see them, learn more about them, daydream about them, you don't have to go to 5,000 places on the internet. They will be waiting for you at Pinterest. Whatever you like, food, flowers, cars, books, clothes, purses, people, perfume, music. You'll find it.

I've been there this week. Looking for ideas for my classroom and along the way finding a few other things I like too. You can find me there...look me up...follow me your favorite some, dream a little, get your creative juices flowing.

It's kinda like shopping without spending money.

Go. Look. Now.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

REfocus the Spotlight Please!!!

I've been thinking about Bruce's sermon Sunday night and about how a complaining spirit really focuses the attention on ourselves or on others in a negative light....

Imagine this....

1. I complain about the service at a store....the focus is on my disappointments with their service, my lack of happiness with them and their negative customer service.

2. I complain about my family....the focus is on my frustrations, unmet expectations and their bad behavior or failures

3. I complain about my church... the focus is on my wants, desires, lack of fulfillment and the church or the leadership's poor planning, lack of vision, their mistakes or failures 

4. I complain about my job... the focus is on my expectations, my opinions, my expertise and the job's poor leadership, poor pay scale, lack of management, less that good work conditions

Let me ask you....What does this accomplish? Other than disunity I can't think of a lot. In every illustration complaining gets you nowhere...except maybe a little closer to complaining's good friends bitterness, gossip and meanness. It focuses the attention on needs, my opinions, my preferences, my wants, my desires, my issues, ME, ME, ME, ME, ME. 

But when we refocus the spotlight and focus on the good that is happening all around us things look different....

Maybe look at your family through the eyes of a grandparent...they see the good, the beautiful, the important. 

Maybe look at your local store through the eyes of a missionary...they see the enormous array of choices and conveniences....the 10 types of toilet paper, the many different snacks and chips and meats.

Maybe look at your church through the eyes of Jesus....He gave His life for this organism....this living, breathing picture of what HE is. Look at the work that is being accomplished and instead of picking it apart or complaining that it isn't what you think it should be, think about what you can do or be to help the church accomplish it's purpose.

Maybe instead of looking at your job as the means to a thankful for the blessing of having a job in this economy and look for ways to do your best turn being a reflection of Jesus.

Is there a time and place for sharing your concerns....YES! But most of the time we don't take the proper course of action....which is to go to the one who can do something about it. Instead we talk amongst ourselves, give snide looks, say things under our breath or worse...we walk away with a bad attitude.  

When we refocus the spotlight off complaining and onto praising we get our eyes off ourselves. We in essence die to what we want and focus on glorifying God in whatever He has us doing. Hard task? Yes, sometimes. Jesus gave us the ultimate example of doing hard things. Going to the cross wasn't easy just because He was Jesus. He still felt the pain, hurt, humiliation and distress....yet He knew God would be most glorified by His physical death....and so, He willingly laid down His life. 

I wonder....If God's placed you (or me) in an uncomfortable situation at home, work, church, if He could catch me praising? Don't you know that brings Him glory? I'll be working on this today!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Multitudes on Mondays #47-#60

After last night's message at church I was even more motivated than ever to continue journaling the every day blessings.

47. Aroma of dinner cooking slowly in the crockpot

48. The health of my family

49. The privilege to pray

50. Dirty  5 year old feet at the end of the day

51. Birthday Celebrations

52. Talks with mom

53. Anita Renfroe

54. The convenience of Walmart

55. Diligence

56. Joy

57. Praise and Worship Music

58. Fall Women's Ministry Events

59. A new recipe from Pioneer Woman 

60. Family Movie Night

What everyday blessings are you thankful for?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ordinary Days

I don't blog much about my hubby....mainly because we don't really have that sort of gushy mushy relationship that some of you might like to read about. Not that that kind of relationship is's just not the kind we have. We have the sort of relationship that is based on a non-romantic that was comfortable and easy and it has pretty much stayed that way through the, except we added the romance of course! I guess what I'm saying is it didn't begin with roses and love songs, instead, it was Bible College, a singing group, a hot van traveling from church camp to church camp and two-way-too-young college kids who were best friends falling in love.....and that's when the romance finally happened. But for more than a year...we were best buds. I love our story.

Exit the corny blog post. (maybe)

I also don't blog much about Bruce's preaching. One, most of you might not be interested in a pastor's wife rehashing every point of her husband's case you missed one of the points, two, I don't think most of the readership is interested in hearing me brag on him. So....if I'm describing you, you should probably skip to another post right about now....but come back later in the week.....cause I love you and don't want to lose you!

I love to hear Bruce preach. I've watched God do an amazing transformation by growing him as a speaker and communicator and mostly as a man of God. I watch Bruce wrestle with topics and wording and how to be most effective when He speaks. I've watched him go away for prayer and Bible study when he didn't feel focused. I've gone to bed many nights when he's still at the office or laying in the living room floor on a Saturday night studying because the week has been busy and people have died and someone needed to spend time with him, and someone's kid was playing ball and wanted him to come watch and someone else needed to file a complaint and someone else wanted just a minute of his time....and he's never, ever, ever...really NEVER complained. I've witnessed him change a message at the very last minute when He felt God was taking him in another direction with the sermon, I've watched him squirm when He knew the topic of God's message through him was gonna make the enemy REALLY mad. I've watched Him speak with grace, administer healing words at a funeral, encourage a hurting parent, counsel a wayward teen.

He isn't perfect. In fact most of the time he will tell you that the things he preaches about are things that he struggles with and that God is teaching him so much through learning what God's Word has to say about the particular issue at hand. He will eventually let you down. He will over commit himself unintentionally, he will forget about an appointment, he will say something that hurts your fact, you should just count on it....because he is human....human.....very human.

But that very human man is a humble man who will at first realization of an offense apologize. He loves unity in the body of Christ but realizes that this is an area where the enemy likes to fight. He loves fellowshipping with other believers. He will stop what he's doing in a moment if you need him. That's just the kind of guy he is. He's a stellar dad who plays hide and go seek with his kids, knows the sprinkler dance move, plays wii and PlayStation ....but his favorite games are Pre-k level so he can play with our son, he takes his daughter out for dates, loves his parents and cherishes our life together.

He loves me....which is no small task. He's patient, kind, knows the way to my heart is through cleaning, putting away laundry and moo-linium crunch ice cream. He knows I would rather plant a rose bush that receive 12 long stems. He's paid for a hotel room in the town we live in just so I could have a night away...even if we didn't have the time to get away. He drives the entire way to GA to visit my mom. He is a good man....hard worker.....excellent provider and my heart and soul confidant. You won't see us goo goo eyed in public or facebook.... in fact, you're more apt to see us holding hands, joking, playing with our kids, but I know what we have is everlasting. I know because we live it everyday....we do life together.  I cherish these days of raising kids and ministry....these ordinary days that make our life so beautiful.

Tonight's message at church reminded me of the wonderful, fun, godly man God chose for me. I do love him... and all his goofiness and lame jokes and bad music choices (IMHO). I'm thankful God gave me Bruce. I'm thankful I get to grow old with someone who I really enjoy being with. I'm blessed. Thank you Lord. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

He Gives More

I was raised singing this song by Annie Flint in church.....

  1. He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
    He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
    To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
    To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
  2. When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
    When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
    When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
    Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
  3. Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
    Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
    Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
    The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
  4. His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
    His power no boundary known unto men;
    For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
    He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

    And for some odd reason, this song has been in my head lately....I was thinking of the words tonight as I was reading over a few friends posts on Facebook. And thought....

    He gives more.....patience when things don't go as planned.
    He gives when we think we've given it all.
    He gives more ....strength when we are empty and tired and can't go on
    He gives more....peace when we get our minds focused on the temporary
    He gives when we lose heart and get discouraged
    He gives more....resources when our plans fail
    He gives's called grace. 

    Isn't that a wonderful thought in the midst of a world that demands so much from us? I'm resting in this truth and it's beautiful and peaceful and memorable. Life can be like this everyday. Just realize and live the truth that HE GIVES MORE!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Here I am, having just spent the last 11 days cleaning every.single.inch. of my house. It's been ugly. I've asked myself these questions more than once-

- where did we get all this stuff?
- how did Tucker's sock end up in the pots and pans cabinet?
- why do we need 6 different types of conditioner?
- who put this here?
- what WAS this?
- what does this go to?

But....I'm emerging from my clutter and am happy to say that 8 big black trash bags full of stuff have made it to the curb, 4 bags of stuff are sitting in the van ready to make their way to Goodwill. Lots of clothes have been given new homes and my house....every clean!!!!!

Here's a peak into my closet...

This makes me happy.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Multitudes on Mondays #32-46

I'm listing the recent everyday blessings that God has poured out on me. There's no way to list them all, remember them all, cherish them all ....because we cannot fathom the earthly everyday abundance we have. This is my attempt to gather and meditate on the goodness of God for a few minutes ....praying that this becomes a lifestyle of intentional thankfulness and gratitude to God and others for the blessings on my life.

#32 - A funeral where the gospel was preached

#33- A smell of lasagna and friendship wafting through the air on a hot Tuesday night

#34- Time for a drive in the country with family....dreaming

#35- A date with my son to see Mr. Popper's Penguins

#36- Prayer at the altar with a mom

#37- The privilege of prayer after the altar.

#38- A clean house

#39- Breakfast for dinner ... and peanut butter on pancakes

#40- Savannah's study of the book of Daniel

#41- Friends who picked up the tab

#42- Teachers who love kids and are faithful each Sunday to tell them about Jesus

#43- A husband who plays wii, bingo, takes out the trash and preaches God's Word....and loves me.

#44- A sister in law who takes her niece to Splash Kingdom

#45- A funny card

#46- A summer ensemble

Don't you have a multitude of blessings that need to be proclaimed? Leave a comment, write them down or tell someone today.....God loves to hear our thanksgivings!

Saturday, July 9, 2011


The other night I was trying to access my email from my "smart" phone and I repeatedly received a message that said my connection to the server was disabled. I am no techie, so my solution was to get the laptop out and see if I could access my account from there. So, I tried to log in and got this beautiful message:


I created a new password, logged in and reset my apps to my phone and within a few minutes all was well. Thankfully!

I was thinking about the message I it is so true to real everyday life.

Don't you wish you could get a message when relationships were compromised....something that said BEWARE...UNSAFE...DANGER....BE CAREFUL? Something that would alert you to be more careful with your heart, your secrets, your pain? Something that would warn you to disable your soul and reset your passwords so people couldn't stomp all over your heart? Don't you wish it were as easy as changing a password, logging in and resetting your apps? Me too.

But the wonderful thing about hurt and heartache is that Jesus has already been down the road and set an amazing perfect example for how we are to live when we feel life has hacked its ugly way through and stolen our valuable information. If anyone knew about being used up, taken advantage of, hurt, heartache and pain, I think we can all agree, Jesus did. Here's what he had to say:

John 16:33- “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

He also, in the very face of death, asked God to forgive those who nailed Him to the cross....those whose sin put Him there, those who mocked, who spat, who laughed. He said, "Father, forgive them....for they know not what they do." 

When you feel taken advantage of, it's true, most of the time the offender has no idea what they are really doing to you... they haven't thought ahead to how it's going to make you hurt or cry or how many hours you will spend wrapped up in the heartache of words or action. And many times, their actions weren't really thought out....they reacted in the flesh...did what felt good for the moment, did whatever made them look good and they didn't think how hurtful it would be if you knew....or if you found out...or if you heard. They...know not what they did.

So, if you're hurting, or struggling with hurt, Jesus says....expect it...but know that I have overcome it...I've conquered it. I've taken care of it. Rest in His peace. Forgive without being asked to and move forward. After all...someone did that for me and you...Jesus...our sins put him on the cross...we spat, mocked, laughed...we did it....and he begged to God for our forgiveness...he bled for our forgiveness....he gave his breath and life for our forgiveness. Thank you Jesus!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Date with My Guy

I have two guys in my is 40 and the other is 5. I don't get to spend too much time alone with either one of them, so when the sil offered to take Savannah to the water park and Bruce was at work I decided Tucker-man and I would have a date. He's been eyeing Mr. Poppers Penguins and I figured we'd give it a try at the theater.

So we left in time to run a few non-date errands, grab an emergency bandaid at Walgreen's, get our tickets and our FIRST round of snacks. I purposely didn't feed him lunch, thinking it would be fun to splurge at the theater and get a big popcorn or nachos or something yummy like that. When I told him he could get whatever he wanted he looked at me like I had just given him $100. He picked nachos and I picked popcorn and we shared a drink....2 straws. We enjoyed the previews and the movie was super cute. But....halfway through he told me he NEEDED some chocolate....and of course I asked why he thought he needed chocolate after he had eaten his nachos and half of my popcorn and had consumed half a diet coke.....his reply.....I just need something sweet to wash the salty down now .....hmmm...wonder where he has heard that before???? So of course...I obliged.

We left the theater...hand in hand....and I took a mental picture (wishing I had taken a real one) of the two of us....knowing these days will not last forever when he wants to walk hand in hand with his mom, when he wants to share a coke, trade snacks and lean on my shoulder....Yes, he will always need me...but days like this are for the memory cherish and replay.... especially on the days when he's more prone to doing things like this.....

A Lesson in Contentment

There are a few things in life that I don't know if I will ever be content with.....

- my personal spiritual growth
- the amount of time I get to spend with family that lives far away
- the salvation of souls

There are just some things that will NEVER be enough.

But, for all those other areas in my life....I have a real choice as to whether or not I'm going to be content. If you've been keeping up here then you know I've been overhauling the house the last few days. One of the things that I am doing is only keeping the things that I truly LOVE. Things that have meaning, relevance ...things that work or have a function. Socks that have a mate, Gladware that has a lid, cloth napkins in sets of at least 4. You get the picture. And after lots of junk sorting and tossing, I'm pleased with the end results...well near end...I'm not done yet! The rooms that are clutter free and clean look beautiful...peaceful, inviting. They are ready to welcome family and guests. There is a contentment in knowing they are perfect...just the way they are.

I didn't need to go buy new stuff. It's amazing when you get rid of all the stuff you don't like, how much you like the stuff you have! It's a great lesson in contentment. I looked around my house yesterday afternoon...after cleaning the front room and the hall closet....and thought to myself....THIS is home...where I want to be...this is a special place....this is what GOD has given me. He's made something beautiful here...not with stuff but with the love and hospitality and encouragement that has been and will be shown in the future. It's a comfortable, welcoming spot on the journey of life. It's not fancy, or high dollar or even modern, but it's what HE gave us...and for me to be discontent, unthankful, and treat it with disrespect....even though to most it's just a's not OK....Because this is HIS. A Place where He has called us to invite others in, minister, feed the hungry of belly and soul and to somewhere along the way be sure our family and guests know how valued and precious they are in God's sight and ours. It's a huge responsibility.

Does this mean we stop dreaming...stop creating....stop looking for other ways to bless others....NO WAY!!! I will always dream of the day where we own a log cabin in the country...where there is enough sun on my property to plant a huge garden, where we own a few cows and a few chickens. I'll dream of the day where I'm closer to family and see them more often...and I'll pray for the day we see more people coming to Jesus. BUT, in matters of heart and home in the present....I'm content. I don't need more than what I have, I don't need better or more up-to-date. I'm good to use what I have to do the best at what God's called our family to do.....

Family Purpose Statement:

The Stinson family purpose is to glorify God by sharing His love through hospitality. We will carry out this purpose by willingly opening our home to family, friends and strangers as God directs. We will purposefully design an atmosphere cohesive to visiting, talking, playing games, eating, sharing, encouraging and relaxing. We will be willing to give of our time, money and energy to help people in need, both materially and emotionally and we will seek to follow the Lord's leading in providing resources that will enable their needs to be met. Most of all we we strive to honor God through serving with humility and grace, reflecting the gifts that He has given our family. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Cluttered Look

When Bruce and I were engaged we were the lucky recipients of 3 wedding showers. The amount of worldly possessions we walked away with that year surpasses the goods at your local Goodwill I pretty sure. All those possessions were then lugged from Texas and Georgia to Springfield, MO, where Bruce and I would continuing living until we finished college. We then lugged our belongings to Paris, Texas then to College Station, Texas, then to Beaumont, Texas....then just a short jaunt down the road to Winnie, Texas where we bought our first home, then on to Gunter, Texas....where we moved 2 times while we were there and then to Sulphur Springs, Texas....where if that stuff has survived all those moves, it now safely resides. After 18 years of marriage I am at the point where it's time to say goodbye to some of this stuff. the mean time we've collected two kids, all the toys, clothes, games and what-nots that come with them, a growing library of books, homeschool curriculum, craft supplies, piano books, sporting equipment and who knows what else. It seems excessive.

Now don't get me wrong....I've cleaned out, reorganized, purged..over the years, but there's always been some crazy reason that I've hung on to some never-used, don't even like it, doesn't work item...sentimental reasons? Who knows, but I've had enough and some of those items...most of them are finding another home.

As I've been taking one room at a time in the house....looking careful at items that have been tucked away I've been keeping only the things that I LOVE. The things that are pretty and functional and meaningful and helpful to accomplishing our family purpose statement. I figure if I am intentional about the things decorating and filling my home, it will help to create an environment that is less cluttered and more welcoming.

Disclaimer...After going back and reading this I feel the need to let you know that I am in NO way a hoarder.....please do not call the TLC for me to be on the latest episode!!!

During the hours of cleaning and purging over the last few days I have realized that the same decluttering needs to happen spiritually speaking. I store things up ....sometimes bad things like bitterness, bad attitudes, fear, disgruntledness, unforgiveness....and routinely I need to be decluttering and removing these things that are not useful or glorifying God. It's not a matter of whether or not I like those things....(cause to date I have not met anyone who doesn't like the occasional pity party, cry fest, temper matter what our age) but what matters is -does it bring glory to God?....and wowzers...I know those actions  (and many more) don't. So decluttering my mind and my heart and transforming it (by God's power) makes a more beautiful dwelling place for the Lord of all creation. And just like my home, makes a more inviting, hospitable place for others to come and sit a while.

What about you? What clutters your home? Your heart? Your mind? Is it time to do some decluttering? Hoarding all that useless junk will do nothing but cause pain and heartache for you...and others.

Remember Romans 12:1-2 -

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

An adventure

I'm headed out in a few minutes to meet up with a friend to go survey some land and an area of my neck of the woods that is enveloped in poverty, drugs, alcohol and all the crime and sin that goes along with those things. I'm pretty excited to see what God is going to show us.

On my trip to Peru the one thing that God kept whispering to me over and over was, "Look around".....Sometimes I get so engrossed in my own little world of kids, husband, church, friends, school....that I fail to look around and I mean REALLY look around and see the needs within an hour of me. So, today is the first step in that direction.

And in God-like fashion....he gave me a friend who is equally excited to see where this journey will take us. Hopefully there will be something to report on when we return!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Meal Plan

Here's what's cookin' for dinner at our house this week:

Monday: Steaks, roasted potatoes, green beans, corn on the cob, strawberry shortcake

Tuesday: Pork Chops, broccoli and rice casserole, tomato and cucumber salad

Wednesday: Hot Dogs, mac n cheese

Thursday: Lasagna, Salad, Bread

Friday: Cornbread Casserole

What's cookin' in your neck of the woods?