Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hey! Stopping In To Say Hi!

I'm at the kids school. School gets out in 20 minutes. I'm hoping to take a few to say hello and give a personal update.
First of all....congrats to Christy and her husband for their new baby! I don't know much except for the fact that the baby is here. Tricia gave me the heads up! I don't get to read blogs either till I get a few hours to crash over at my neighbors and that has not happened yet. Anyway..yeah you guys! I'm so happy for you.

Rick and I have taken 3 sessions of foster parenting classes.

Princess had a HUGE sleepover with three girls from school and one from church. That was exciting....for her. No, really it was fun, we had pizza and played a game and her teacher came, it was great. All the girls went to church with us too...I thought I would never survive getting six girls ready for church but we were.....drum roll please....early! I work well under pressure. :)

About the classes and foster parenting journey....where do I begin!!! Wow, it's been a blessing. It's intense to be trained on what these kids have been through. Last night was our attachment disorder session. Oh, my goodness, it makes you want to save every kid on the! I have gone through mood swings of self doubt, money fears, fear of people we will be exposed to, fear of the child we take, you name it. I had something recently that the enemy really used to make me even doubt my own parenting skills. BUT GOD!!! Oh, God is good. He reminds me and feeds my mind with truth. He tells me not to fear. He tells me I can trust Him with the details. He fills my heart with desire to give...somehow, to help. Even trying is a step of faith.

We talked to the kids. We told them my history. There are no more secrets at our house. I was so scared how to get it down on the level of Lilo and Superkid but God just stepped in and it all was so simple and came out so clear. I wish I had more time to tell you some of the cute things Superkid said as his brain was turning. We still have a lot of family talking to do. Superkid has had lots of questions. He could not easily fathom the parent who would not care for their child or especially hurt them. It was hard to burst his innocent bubble on that one but until we see the world how it is, we don't feel the pain, hurt and need. I am so thankful for our public school transition for this reason too. It has opened my eyes to need, both spiritual and physical of some children.
They also seemed to understand about my bio-father. It was a little confusing at first. I told them basically what I said here about wanting to honor their Papa by doing what he had done for me. That seemed simple and easy to understand. They are excited. We told them this is a very up in the air type of journey. There is much that will be unexpected and we have to be loving and flexible and extremely laid back to ebb and flow. Thankfully, I think our family, or at least Rick and I are naturally laid back people so perhaps we were made for this type of ministry. We both have a common desire to major on the majors, catch the vision, and then, enjoy life and the diversity it brings. I am so thankful my husband shares this passion as I do, it makes us more of a team. I think my children are developing it in their own way. It's a blessing to see. I want them to understand the huge power of love for people. God knew that and he sent his Son to die from that passion for people. We should imitate his heart.
So, I'm almost out of time. School is out soon and I have to spell check this since I'm awful at it. There is a little boy in Princess class who does not have support much at home and he made honor roll today! I'm taking him a balloon and some new pencils with a congrats note. He is so excited. Pray for him if you think of it today. He has a tough home life.
Hope to be back sooner than later!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Carry Your Story, Loose Your Burdens

I've been thinking a lot this weekend. You can imagine, the type of thinking you start to wish you could just stop with a switch. Well, I did, I took a long afternoon nap.

I've been thinking about the Christian life. I've been thinking about this verse:
(forgive me I don't know the reference)
"Let us throw off every burden
And the sin which so easily entangles,
and let us RUN with endurance
The race that is set BEFORE us."

Notice the verse does not read like this:
"Let us gather our rocks of guilt and shame,
Let us put them on our backs and tie up our feet with falsehoods,
and let us hobble backwards as much as possible
All the days of our lives."

I know, it's ridiculous isn't' it?! Yet, it's easily done. This is how:
"Let us throw off every burden"- what are the things that burden us? They are guilt and shame from the wrong things we have done. Maybe Christ has forgiven us but we have not forgiven ourselves. Perhaps they are wrongs done against us or bitterness that collects and is not cleaned out of our hearts. They can be fear of the future and pain of the past. They are heavy collections of what has gone wrong and what we fear MAY still go wrong in our lives. They can even be non-sinful things that have just gone wrong for us in life. They can be loss and misfortune or temporal distresses the Lord has allowed to take place. They only become a burden when we keep carrying them ourselves. He intends for them to make us strong but if we carry them as burdens we will be weaker and even stunted. We will also not be focused on Him and what he wants us to do from there, we will only see the burden in our hands and the tears that fall upon it.
What are we to do with them? LAY THEM ASIDE! Throw them off. They have no place on the backs of the followers of Christ and not because of us but because of...well, I'll tell you what because of in a minute.

"And the sin which so easily entangles"- What is the sin that entangles us? When I think of entangling I think of secrets and lies; falsehoods spoken from and against us. I also think of idols that can even be ourselves or others that we put before Christ and serve above or in place of Him. They trap us, they trip us up.
What are we to do with them? BE FREE OF THEM! Not allow ourselves to become entangled. Not allow anything to take the place of truth and freedom in Christ's redemptive work in our lives. Entangling gives me the mind picture of lot's of little things that become big things and cause hurt, mistrust, pain and grief. We are to avoid them with truth and Love. Our result will be joy and peace. We do not do this for us, we do it because...well, I'll tell you what because in a minute!:)

"And let us RUN with endurance"- To run is not only to move forward, but to move forward quickly looking neither to the right nor to the left but straight and quick to our goal. There is no doddling, no staying in the tangles and burdens and no walking aback to pick them up again once we laid the down just to remember what it was like to carry them. No remembering of them at all except in testimony of the glory of He who freed us from them. We are to RUN! How do we run? We carry on in the will of God in joy and freedom and we delight in the steps that we take and the energy and strength the Lord gives us from himself to make them. We do not run for ourselves, we run because...well, I'll tell you what because in a minute.:*

"The race that is set BEFORE us"- What is before is never defined by what lies behind. It is however a developed story along the way of what the Lord has done for us along the way and why BECAUSE OF THAT we are able to press BEFORE US in joy. "Look what he did back there! My burden is gone and he made my path more beautiful and gave me more strength because of it!" "Praise him and let me share with you!" "You can let go too, and you can run with endurance because of His goodness!". You do not run back to examine your burdens and consider picking them up again. That would shame Him who took them from you so that you can run before in freedom. Yet, you also do not feel shame when you say what they were and that His work has taken them off of you as you press BEFORE. You continually testify what makes you run straight and strong and to mention that you may need to tell of the entangling and the burdens but you DO NOT take them with you for show and tell! They are gone and at the feet of Jesus. You do not do this for do it for ....

Have you got it yet? YES! YOU DO IT FOR HIM! He alone allows us to lay aside the burdens and lay them at his feet. He alone detangles the messes we make in our lives so we can run ahead. Yet, even in that, we do not run for ourselves, we run for Him! We testify for Him! We focus on Him and He does not disappoint. We make the decsion to RUN, we do not wait for the mood to hit us or the feelings to push us ahead. We just do it. (isn't that ironically a Nike comercial slogan?) We also do not pray, and I know we do this, "Lord HELP me forgive this person becuase I know you want me to Lord". I don't ever remember reading a scripture that says to pray that the Lord would help us forgive, it does just say to forgive. It's a decision also and we are to just do it. On the way the gifts we find along the way are the fruits of the Spirit: Love, Joy, and Peace being the main ones from which the others flow. Love, is above all else for it covers a multitude of sins. Sins we hold over ourselves, and sins we hold over others. Love is the minister of burden lifting and detangling. We can NEVER BE out of the will of God when we are showing love in His name.
To forget these things, to forget Him who has freed us; to take back up our burdens or not to drop them at all, to leave our feet in tangles, to freeze out of fear and not put our feet forward not only to doddle but to RUN, is to loose focus on Christ. The author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set BEFORE HIM, endured the cross. So that you, so that I, so that we, can RUN. So we can feel the breezes of life hit us in the face without shame for what lies behind us and without fear of what is yet ahead. He who holds us does not rest. He neither sleeps nor slumbers. He is intent and intimately aware of the details of our path and He desires that we RUN BEFORE for Him. We are not to argue with him as to what we still feel we aught to have to carry. That is called guilt and there is no room for it in his race. We cannot say "Lord, I thank you for forgiving me of this boulder but I think I deserve to carry it still because of the wrong I did you". "No, he says, I bled so you could lay it aside but more than that, you will not be able to RUN BEFORE as I want you to, not for you, but for me, and your burden would remind and condemn you along the way. Therefore, you do not get to decide to carry it. I tell you to lay it aside. You need to obey me. I love you and know what is good for you.
There is no room for walking backwards in the Christian life. By throwing off burdens you are free to shamlessly declare that you had them, that they are gone and that God has made you free. By refusing entanglement you keep you feet steady and prepared to go forward.

We live in a burdensome world of sin. I think that the reason Jesus wants us to run before every moment in the light of his redemptive work is this: if we stand still or meander back hording our burdens as our own or allowing our feet to stay entangled we not only become non-productive in the work of Christ, but we stand the chance of becoming consumed the longer we stand still. Any message beside the one that is from the Lord telling us to lay them aside, is a message of deception and it will allow those burdens to grow and those tangles to spread.
I personally don't want to waste any time in my life when I could be RUNNING BEFORE.....
FREE with a story in my pocket but not a pebble on my back.

(this is my last post for real now as my computer goes out tomorrow morning. feel free to comment, i will take the moderators off so you can leave them and I will try to check in from my neighbors till the computer comes back)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Deflated But Not Defeated

I've come up with a new way of doing things. I really enjoyed meeting new friends through blogging and although my old friends (yes, that's you) are golden to me, I hope to remain connected.

I have shrunk my blogging down to two blogs. The old recipe blog is now my public blog it's called "The Happy Homebody" and her is the link: ,and you can visit it anytime. I you would please, change your SFE link on your side bar to this and you can put in parenthesis "formerly Shoot For Eternity". Then when they get there, they will read what the deal is.

This new blog will be for all kinds of random blogging but not about my family in a personal way nor about the journeys we are on now. That will stay here, under lock and key as it were.

So, thank you again for bearing with me.

We know all things have a purpose. I am not stressed, just adapting.

Friday, January 9, 2009

This Has Been Hard

Fortunately my computer is not out the door just yet.

It is with great sadness that I have to say that SFE is having to be a private site. Because of the meddlesome actions of three people in my immediate area who decided to call my mother and leave a message on her machine that I talked about my bio-dad on the blog. She is very upset. My parents did not support me re-connecting with my bio-dad in any way. They told me I was dishonoring them to do so. It was VERY hard for me. One of the hardest things I've ever done because I was and still am sure the Lord wanted me to continue anyway. I was never regretful of that decision especially because of getting the chance to talk to him about the Lord and let Him know I forgave him. Though talking of these things, he was able to forgive his own father. Little did either of us know he was about to die. I never brought my children into any of it, it was something I did on my own. I will never regret it. He lived across the country so I did not fear of it effecting my life here.
Somehow, three people who know my family felt it their duty to call my mother and inform her or "give her the heads-up" that I had talked of this. Unfortunately she did not read the whole post to see that I was honoring my dad Mark by sharing this story. She just was upset that I talked about it.
It is a struggle to be honest and real and sensitive at the same time when blogging. I see no shame in the fact that my story is what it is. If anything..I see the hand of God. I cannot tell you the immense pain this has caused me. I have been crying all of an hour. I have shut the blog down and invited only a few who I feel I can trust to read.
I thought the story I wanted to share of my dad's great sacrificial love to take me and that giving me the burden to do the same was well worth sharing. It is so hard for me to have to change what was good because some people decided to take my heart sharing and put it to distressing use. I am in shock.
I don't see how anyone can think that calling a woman and leaving a message on her answering machine that her daughter blogged that she had a bio-dad was helpful. If they had been with me a while they would have known that I've mentioned it before. No calls that time I guess. I knew what I wrote was something my mother could read. However, if she had not been so rudely alerted, she may have read the whole thing and seen where I was going with it. Anyone who truly knew my mother and her decisions to not talk about the fact that Mark was not my blood father, would have known better. You don't call a widow and do such things...let along LEAVE IT ON HER MACHINE! (i'm sorry, I 'm so upset) Little do they know that two other people do the same and she has to come home to three such "heads-up" messages. It's unbelievable.
My mother and I differ greatly on the story of my life. She believes I dishonor my dad by saying he was not my blood father. I see more greatness in the story as it truly is. I have always been grateful that God saved me from a bad situation many years ago. This is my story as it is, I cannot help that it's a fact and I'm not ashamed of it. I'm not very good at saying things other than what they are.
Being in a church where your parents go is sometimes very hard. Many Sunday's the only thing people say to me is "How is your mom?". I become the go-between and it was that way when my dad was alive. "I can't get a hold of your mom, is she okay? I left a message." I swallow it over and over again and try to be patient. On the flip side is this, someone treating me like a 12 year old in a home that I'm not in anymore instead of the 32 year old woman that I am with a life story. Instead of calling me, they have called my mother. It's patronizing. I DID NOT, nor would I have EVER say anything disrespectful of my mom and dad. If anything, I let it be known that my bio-dad was not a good man.
I have never been this honest on the blog before, and perhaps I feel I can be so now. My mother and I see things very differently when it comes to the story of my life. She was even hurt when I told her that I informed Princess that I had a bio-dad just a few months ago. Princess is 11 now, I felt she should know. My mom kept secrets from me till I was 19 years old. I did not want to live my life that way because I saw that in Christ, there was no shame, only the amazing redemptive story of his goodness. I forever have the haunting false guilt that I should not talk about this, or I should pretend it's not what it is.
We cannot pretend that things are not what they are. We can deal with them graciously, as much as possible. We cannot however cover up and hide because of past mistakes, the goodness and the greatness of the working of the will of God in our lives. That story needs to be shouted over and over and over and over. That is what I believe to be true. That is what I wanted my blog to be. Imperfection made into beautiful redemption, and the story and stories of my life. I will no longer be able to spread that as freely as I would have liked.
I ask myself, how do I shoot for eternity in this? I will have to pray for many days to get over some great hurt and anger, and now I have a very big rift between my mom and I. She has never wanted me to talk about her past to anyone. I think I had started to forget that again because I get to caught up in what God has done through it. There are times when you have to pray God will help you honor your parents even though you do not agree with them. I am truly trying on this one. I shoot for eternity by telling what God has done through the good, the bad, the ugly. I forgive people and do not hold it against them, even when it's hard. I pray lots. I take great care to show my children Christs love despite hurt.
My story is what it is. I wish I could have just been free to say what it was.
I appreciate your prayers. I'm very sorry to put you all through this extra step. I feel completely deflated. There is only so much sharing one can do in life. I definately have a great desire to share and so if it's to a shrunk set of trusted be it. I do always try hard to do it right and my husband feels that the way I said what I did was not wrong. So, I have to let it rest. I just need to get over all this crying. The point that I had a bio-dad was important to understanding the whole story of my growing burden for children without a home.
Thank you for still coming.
If you have me linked on your blog (and I thank you) you can feel free to let anyone know of the priviate setting. I am open to allowing invitations after I can filter them. Just email me

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Testimony and A Temporary Goodbye

My computer has to be sent to Dell to be fixed. The screen detached way too early. IF they give us a fuss, we are cashing in our insurance on it and getting something different. I'll let you know my evaluation of their helpfulness!:)

So, this is my last post for a while unless I can let my buddy/neighbor let me blog over at her house a little.

Have to share in brief what God is doing in our lives. It gives more meaning to the poem below but is not related to the situation I alluded to through the public school. That won't ever be detailed here to protect the privacy of some. This is so related to my heart right now in that poem. Thank you for your kind words regarding it. IT is my dream to send them all to a Christian publisher someday. I need to learn how to get a copyright on my blog too, does anyone know how to do that? Do you know, when it's the right poem I cry when I read it myself. Not because I think it's good, but because I hear my deepest heart and it's like that piece has been taken out and written down forever. That is why I love poetry.

The story:
About a year and eight months ago my dad died at 54. Most of you know that. What you may not know is that my dad was not my bio-dad. I was born to man who had many issues but the main one was alcohol. My mom became a Christian and married Mark when I was five. They had grown up together from kindergarten. Mark took me in and loved my brother and I as His own. He never had his own children. (on a side note, I re-connected with my bio-dad over the phone and through mail about four years ago. He came to the Lord but was a very young christian with lots of life baggage. I thanked God for the chance to talk to him. It was good for us both. IT turned out that he contracted Lue Garricks disease the year my dad was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He died very quickly in June of '06 and my dad Mark died in May of '07. God has never been so near to me as he was that year of events. He became my heavenly Father in a new way. They were both the same age, born in '52. )
When he died I was overwhelmed with many different emotions. One of them was the bottled up reflections of the effect of him taking me in. I was given a deep and real burden for adoption. I wanted to do what my dad had done for me. In honor of him. I shared my burden with Rick. He did not share it. I think I've blogged about this before...can't remember.
I don't believe it is God's will to do something when he has not laid it on both hearts. I also did not believe it was right to convince my husband of anything or to make him feel the burden I felt. I knew God had a reason and I decided the burden must be for some other use. Over a year went by. I never brought it up once.
A few months ago Family Life had a few programs where they were encouraging Christian families to show Christ's love through adoption. I was totally in agreement. I had all ready been in the public schools with my kids and my heart for unsaved children was growing very full. I loved meeting the kids at school and giving them smiles when I was in the classroom or just dropping off and picking up my own kids. Many kids now days are eager for just a kind word and a smile. It gave me such great joy! There were some I saw who I knew needed more at home and wished I could help a child myself. What a perfect way to advance the kingdom, I thought. We had a neighbor boy with a tough situation in his home come over a great deal and his mom told me it was hard because he would come over to our house and come home and ask her why his dad can't play with him like Rick does with the kids, or why he can't have siblings, or why he can't have a real family. It reminded me again how I wanted ot help. Well, then I remembered Rick's feelings and realized again that this was not for us but that maybe God wanted me to be involved in coordinating such a ministry in our church or something many years down the road. Or just keep reaching out to the kids at school or the neighborhood when I could. I forgot about it again.
Then... this past December I heard an advertisement on Christian radio that was encouraging Christian parents to consider foster care. I was beginning to wonder why God was nagging my heart if it was not a direction that was open to me.
I decided to email the local foster care department and just ask for information. I wondered if there was some way I could help. I just told Rick I had sent off for info for that reason and when we started to talk he was a totally different person. He really felt that we should look into helping a child ourselves and have the optimum goal of adoption if the Lord led us to. I was shocked but tried not to show it. I wondered who he was and what someone had done with my husband. He asked if we could pray about it right then and there. I said....sure! About an hour later we got an email that said that the beginning meeting, the one you need to go to to get started was that night locally. Amazing, we both thought. We called Trish last minute and she was kindly able to take our kids that evening during the meeting.
We both were amazed by the information and the testimony of grown teens who came to share with us their foster experience. I won't get into the details of the meeting, but it was very good that we went.
We are now in the process of registering for the classes you need to go through to be licensed. It is a 3-4 month process.
We don't really know what God has for us. We don't really know where it will lead. Now that the kids are in school, I was really hesitant to even think of starting with little ones again, but he seems to be changing my heart. Like I said, who knows. We are just willing to be there if He needs us. It could play out in so many ways. We appreciate prayers for wisdom. A lot of people have fears with using the state systems, or county. I have learned that if God leads, I do not need to be afraid. He will not burden my heart to serve and then punish me for doing what he told me to do. Rick and I are limited in our monetary resources for these things so the foster system is best for us because what we do have is time and love. We would need their help with the other part. That is why we are going that route.
And, like I said, we just don't know beyond the next step. It could just end up with a huge road block and we find a purpose along the way for what we went though to prepare. You never know.
The poem though had to do with the fact that I've learned not to say I won't do something. These are things I have said before (at different times):
I will never have my kids in public school.
I will never homeschool.
I could never adopt or take in a foster child, it would be to scary.
I would never move to (the city I live in now:).
I will never let my children read Disney books. (ha, ha, this one makes me laugh now. i was kinda a snobby literature lover)
There are other things I've said that God has not led me actually to do yet like:
I could never give birth overseas.
I could never move out of state.

I really need to learn this lesson of being open and ready. God has to have a good sense of humor is all I can say.

Please Help Fight This Crazy Law

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) as signed into law will make it illegal for parents to resell or even give away their even gently used children's clothing come February 10th, 2009.

The broad scope of the complicated law, and it’s interpretation by CPSC has effectively made it illegal for parents to resell their children’s clothing and gear at a garage sale, on eBay, Craig’s List, through consignment stores or annual children’s consignment sales. If donated to a nonprofit like Goodwill or Salvation Army, those organizations can’t legally resell it, as of February 10th. That’s right. Hand-me-down clothing for kid’s age 12 and under will be illegal to resell or give away. It will be a banned hazardous product. The fines of $100,000, potential jail time and label as a felon for violations are stiff. It will not be allowed to be given away but must be sent to landfills. What a waste of our resources.

Please sign the petition and contact your members of congress to keep used children's clothing legal:

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Unclenching My Spiritual Fists

Where will God lead you? Where will he send?
Will you be willing or will you defend-
The way that things are as you think they should be,
Will you be willing? Will you be free?
Should he stir you to move in a place on you own,
Or call you to stretch in a way you've not grown,
Is there something you've said you won't ever do,
If he asks, will you joyfully do that thing too?
What are you keeping? What do you hoard?
What is it you think you cannot afford?
To loose it, to give it- where do you stress?
What should you hand over, or maybe confess?
Have you looked out at water you say you can't walk?
Are you willing to take back and swallow your talk?
That stated "I'll never", "I couldn't"- "not me",
Will you do it for Him who can make you free?
Free just to trust and gladly be led-
Free just to be in His hand and be fed-
Free to delight in HIS perfect plan-
Free to shrink smaller the opinion of man-
Free to stretch out and see where it leads,-
Free to adventure and plant many seeds-
Free to find out what faith can procure,
When you thought you're plans were ever so sure.

Written just now. Why?
Because I came home from picking up the kids from school with an amazing swelling in my heart. Something so huge was revealed to me as to one of the many, many reasons I was called into the public schools. I cannot tell you the details. Just praise God for me and pray for more grace to give out and wisdom in the future. I think of Louie Giglio's words in his DVD "Indescribable" "He does not think like us, He does not have a brain like ours. He is working on a canvas bigger than we can ever think or imagine!" I saw the hand of God today and it told me "for such a time as this, you are here". I have had other great confirmations in the past few months. This was a big one. I was honored to be there for my Jesus at the moment I was. I am blessed. I want to bless more. I want to give like I have nothing to loose. I want to live like I'm not afraid. Those are some restated lines in one of the Chris Tomlin's song "The way I was made" I think it's called.
I was so scared to take this adventure. Now I wonder what He has next for me. The poem is written to myself. I want to let go of my small thinking and let Him fill it with His great plan. I want to learn to stop saying "I will never do...." or anything like it.
I think instead I should ask more and more "What cha got for me today God!? I'm willing."
Other conclusion from today:
People are God's treasure. He is intent on their journey. He is moving and working. Sometimes there is pain. There is also great joy in it when His hand is there too. He longs to bring those he can to the aid of those in need. People are his eternal mission. They should be mine too. Always.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

This is So Cute

Princess's teacher sent this to me just now in my email. It is so precious. It reminded me about one of my big lessons of 2008 and that was to learn to see past some huge differences I may have with people and appreciate them for who they are. It takes a few minutes to get rolling.

pause the music first in the side bar.
oh, and if the video does not work here, use this link:

It's Epiphany and My Tree Is Crying for Mercy!

So, tonight is the night.

I'm feeling like it took a long time to get here but I think that's because the kids went back to school and my house says it's still Christmas. When we homeschooled, we did not start school back up until after the sixth.

I'm sad because I still can't find my camera. That is why there are no Christmas pictures (besides, I was sick as a dog on Christmas anyway). Please pray we find it cause the Christmas money is spent!

Also, my Netflix of "The Fourth Wise Man" I told you about is late. Still, it's not too bad since we can't stay up late on a school night so we will be watching it this weekend.

Rick is off tomorrow so that makes this evening so nice. Plus, he gets to be my tote man tomorrow while we put Christmas away.

So, I came here to remind you it's a special night. Don't forget to read the account of the wise men. Daja said her family have always ordered Chinese food, that's a cute idea too. She said it was because the wise men came from the east:). Anytime you can add food to memories they make them that more special. We are having vegi lasagna, salad and ice cream because I didn't plan ahead enough for Chinese. Maybe we can do that the night we watch the movie. I need to come up with something, maybe Rick can do some research for me. Italian may be my favorite type of food but it's not exactly related to the wise men.

Our kids open one gift after the story to celebrate the bringing of the gifts. That ends the Christmas season, and I think if my tree could talk it would say "have mercy!".

Monday, January 5, 2009

Lord Help Me I'm Eating White Again

We are big whole wheat and sucunat people. I have not had the grocery budget for wheat berries and sucunat lately though. I feel the guilt each time I make the kids cookies with white sugar and flour.

Today was different, I felt a wave of peace about it. One big thing is moderation which we should have anyway. I know some people use just sucunat and say they don't eat sugar and I was thinking as I was making cookies.. um, yeah, you do. Sucunat is a sugar, but yes, it's healthier. If we really go good we would cook with black strap molasses because that is the healthiest form of sweetener you can use.

The fact is, we have to learn to be moderate people. That is what I want to learn to do. Nothing this side of heaven is a cure for anything. Many choices make our lives better by feeding our bodies what they need. Right now I just don't have the budget for it though. However, I do have the money for fresh fruits and veggies! That is what I choose to use it for instead anyway. On the treats I need to learn major restraint and using sucunat can actually give me an excuse to have more than I should. Knowing it is really not good for us, but a real treat, helps me moderate myself and children almost better.

I do hope to have it in the budget again later on. You go with what God gives you. You work with what ya got. You let the guilt go.. You show self-restraint. You exercise when you can. You consider everything a gift from God and you use it wisely.

I try to tell the kids that the fruits and veggies in heaven (and if you read Alcorn, you know we will be eating in heaven as the scripture says we will feast) will be as they were meant to be, so good you would not want sugar.

They look at me weird.

I know, broccoli as good as's hard for me to.:)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

This Just Came To Me

For some reason I was pondering free will. Am I the only one who just starts thinking about these things? Anyway..
I have been really enjoying the music of Chris Tomlin (as my playlist surely indicates) since being introduced to the Louie Giglio DVD messages . I was pondering the joy I have when God grants me a little growth in my understanding of how big he is, and how intimate at the same time. While pondering this it made me wonder why God did not just reveal himself to mankind. Whey does he use the written word, the bible, and the past revelations written down as well but spoken long ago by the prophets. In essence, why does he not just speak down audibly to mankind and say "HEY! I'm here! I made you and I do care for you!"
I mean really, would that not just make is so much easier? Then there would not be anyone doubting the existence of God or any of those sayings like "well, I'll believe it when I see it. "
I know what you may be thinking...cause my brain does the same thing. "Well, he did it this way to grow our faith in the unseen" or "It brought Him more glory by doing it this way". Or something else I'd love to hear if you want to share. Yet I then began to realize why God could not revel himself this way. I think it has to do with free will.
I started to imagine if the heavens opened up and God spoke to us and the result would be one thing..sheer terror. I think God knows there is something in us as his creation that would have no choice but to respond to him if he approached us directly. Even our thoughts on God as believers is proof of this. As Louie was talking about in one of his presentations, we go about our day and begin to forget about God and make Him small just by that alone. We make him small and make us big. (how wrong we are!) Imagine if we struggle to absorb his greatness as those who believe, how small or non-existent those who do not believe must see him!
At the cost of loosing himself in our eyes, the great breather of the heavens, keeps himself from us directly for the sake of our free will. Only by his revelation through the words inspired by him and written by men or inspired by him and spoken by men, or the birth and Death of Christ (which was in essence the closest we have ever gotten as humanity to God himself and yet he had to lower himself entirely to be revealed...interesting side note), have we heard from God. This along with the mystery of election and the work of the Holy Spirit working in our hearts is what draw us to Him.
If he opened the heavens and spoke to mankind, we would all fall on our knees and worship. We would have no choice. It would be the response of the created to the creator. He wants us to want him. Why? Because that brings him more joy and he exists (as Piper so keenly reiterates) to embellish his own happiness. Let us remember that this is not a selfish thing as it would be with men, but the very existence of who he is by nature and we only benefit by him seeking his own happiness because we are part of his happiness. Can you wrap your head around that? I love working on that brings me such joy when it use to frustrate me until I started to understand.
Do any of us build a robotic husband programed to love us at every turn? No! Why? Because we want to be loved by the will of another, or loved by choice so to speak. By the decisions to want to rather than a programing to do so. To allow us to want Him reveals our realization of his greatness and partnered with the nurturing of the Holy Spirt is a harmony of loving glory.
Every man on the earth would acknowledge the greatness of God if he revealed himself directly. He knows we could not do otherwise. He prefers to win our hearts. Does that sound like a tyrannical God to you? And yet, he does not need it from us either but wants it. What a romantic! What an emotional side of Him. He is looking for depth from us, a seeking and desiring of him. He knows he could have each of us in an instant, devoted and obedient, and yet he restrains himself longing more for the few who hear his gentle voice.

Yet, he also says that he will not restrain himself forever. Once he does though, it will be to late for those who have not chosen to hear him.
"at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth," Phill 2:10

But to have heard and trusted in him, there will be no sweeter moment in our existence. The old things shall have passed away and behold, new things have come!
Can't wait.

So, now on to my other question of God. Remember that I have these with no doubt but complete trust...I just look forward to finding the answers to them!:)
If God is only full of righteousness, as He is, then how can he have created even the possibility of evil? Nothing exists outside of Him, so where did evil come from? Even if the devil is, as we know from the word, a former angel who wanted equality with God and therefore was cast out of heaven with his angels, where did evil itself get it's start so that it could be manifested this way?
It makes me think of Lewis and his allegorical use of the term "deep magic".
See, I know there is an answer, and I know that God knows I cannot handle it right now, but it's great fun to stretch my spiritual thoughts anyway. I think he delights when we do as long as we are not using them as empty human arguments against Him which is the greatest foolishness we come up with.
His thoughts are not our thoughts so I just have to wait for His explanation of some things.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Wowowow, The Sweetest Thing

My favorite present this year turned out to be the little tin mailbox my husband gave me. It does not look like this, it's a Mary Engelbreit one. The purpose of it was to send me love notes in. If the flag is up, I have mail and I can leave him notes in it too. I am really enjoying this and looking forward to it the rest of the year. I am definitely a person who does better writing things down that I would otherwise not say or know how to say. More than that, it's a way to focus on our relationship during the day when we are away. Much like reading scripture helps us focus on the Lord during our day. Oh, the power of the written word.

One thing that has been a keen observation for me has been my fostering of love thoughts for my husband. I can have them and then life and kids and messes start happening and I can literally feel them starting to fade away. No fault to him, just life crowding in, or even the temptation to grow bitter or blame about tiny things that frustrate me. I'm really wanting to nourish those love thoughts this year and keep them stirring, focused and surface dwelling most of the time. This little love note box is really helping with that so far. It's like a little mystery in the relationship again. I love it. It was so cute too because he said that he realized that he delivered mail to so many people but never any to his love. Awe, so sweet. I get my own personal mail man....and it's okay if my kids look like him!LOL

So, if you want a good valentine idea's a great gift. Oh, and my kids wanted to leave me notes in it but I very sensitively asked them not to because it was just for me and daddy (actually Rick had to make it a hands off since we may spice life up more even by putting other things than mail in it to send messages and that is a question I don't want from my kids "what's this in your box for mommy?:*). I was however touched that they wanted to do this and I had thought years ago that it would be fun to make them for the kids to leave them encouragement and love too. So, I'm going to work on that for a Valentine gift for them. I also want them to learn to foster love for each other so I may encourage a once a week note to their siblings.

You can never go wrong writing the myriad of "I love you" thoughts in your heart.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The New Year's Commit-It List

btw-my keyboard seems to not want to type the letter "i" unless I work hard at it. So, if you catch it missing, you will know why. It's bugging me to fix it each time.

As I mentioned before, I wanted to do goals different this year. I wanted to commit to the Lord some things he has laid on my heart to shoot for.

1. Lord, I commit to you a desire to know your word better. Both in context and content. I long to really feast on truth this year.

2. Lord, I feel a great burden to grow as a wife. I have been married for nearly 12 years and have been so distracted with a decade of babies and toddler years. I love the new season of life I'm in now and want to put Rick first and get to know him better this year. I commit this desire to you and ask you to give me focus and practical wisdom how to do this. I also ask that you would grow my heart toward him and let the things that distract me fall away.

3. Lord, I commit to you a desire to disciple my children through this next year. Practically in the ways that they are developing their godly world views. I long to be deliberate in planing some of the ways to do this and more so being open to seizing the moments as they come. This desire is related to #1 because I am sure that knowing your word more will fuel my ability to lead them in your truth.

4. Lord, I have a joyful mission to make this home a haven this year. Not by spending money but using the resources you give me creatively. I desire to be diligent in the hours you give me and not waste them but use them to clear the board for family moments when everyone is home. I commit this desire to you and ask that you give me the strength to persevere.

5. Lord, I commit my health to you. To do my part to make wise decisions in that regard but to also not become consumed with wrong motivations and the idol that health can be in our culture. Help me remember that anything I do to be more healthy is for one purpose alone: to glorify you by being better equip to bless those you need me to serve, and to maintain a balanced cheerful mood that is so effected by the every day health decisions I make.

6. Lord, I commit to you my desire to stop reading into other's motives and thoughts. I see this as a hindering sin in my life. Help me do what it says in Colosians and mind my own business. Help me be a friend when I need to be and leave the rest to you of what people may or may not think of me. I desire to be absolutely obsessed with your perceptions of me alone. Thank you that you are faithful to me in this regard.

7. Lord I commit to you a desire to become more resourceful and a good steward of that which you have given. To work well with money in our budget, and learn to make or grow what I can. May I not try to take on more than you would have for me but find balance in what to do or not do.

8. Lord I commit to you a desire to continue to share the gospel with the many unbelievers there now are in my everyday life. Allow me to just speak what you would have me, to just be bold, and above all, to love people you are seeking to save.

Thank you for the prospect of a year to grow in you, but help me not to hold onto even that more than I do to you. Thank you that your work on the cross shadows over all I hope to do this year. Let me remember "it is finished" and let it thunder threw my soul again and again with it's complete perfection and promise eternal.