Friday, January 29, 2010

This Week's WORD

O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

Psalm 139:1-2

I have joined Leah in a scripture memory challenge, and have been meditating on the above two verses for a few weeks now.
At first I was simply delighted to consider the fact that God knows me so well, and still loves me. But over the course of this past week, He has helped me to see myself - to perceive my own thoughts - a little more clearly. And honestly, I was rather disappointed with some of the things I came to know.

Oh, I want to be less like me. And more like Him!

But the LORD has searched me and He knows me. And still, He loves me. He knows exactly what is necessary in my life to make me into the woman He wants me to be. The woman who will delight His heart. And I am trusting Him to do it. Committing to be faithful to Him through the work He has begun, which He will be faithful to complete.

I am so thankful for the Word of God, and for the ways He speaks to me through it. Let me encourage you to join in the Memory Challenge. (It isn't too late.) We're memorizing Psalm 139 this year - one verse every two weeks. BUT, if you participate, you must be prepared for God to speak to your heart.
And though you may not like what He says at first, I know you can trust Him to do a good work in you.

May the peace of Christ reign in you this weekend. I'll see you back here Monday!

P.S. Just turned word verification back on. Sorry, but I was getting really tired of deleting spam comments.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Through Elizabeth's Eyes

So, last week I posted a sweet story Elizabeth wrote. I told you the next one would pull at your heart more. And I think it will.
Brings me to tears. Because of how she sees things. And because of her tenderness and compassion. You may want to prepare yourself. (Amanda, you always said I should post a warning about tears...)
To be fair, Elizabeth did admit to spicing things up a bit for a more dramatic effect. Like the burnt casserole. I have never burned dinner! LOL!

The Mad House

"I hate you! I hate you! I HATE YOU! AND YOU HATE ME, TOO!" Joshua shrieked. "YOU NEVER LET ME DO ANYTHING!"

"Joshua, of course I don't hate you," whispered Mom, her voice wavering. Her short hair was rumpled and messy, and her eyes were red and watering. Josh didn't seem to care at all. He kept on ranting and making Mom feel awful about herself. All I could do is sit there and watch, horrified at what was happening. A winter chill drifted in through the open window, making me shiver uncontrollably. "Elizabeth, close the window," Mom snapped. Jumping up hastily, I scampered over to the window and pulled it shut with a bang. From the kitchen the smell of burnt casserole wafted to my nose. Joshua's shouts and stomping gave me a headache.

"Mom, why can't I go to Jeremy's house?!" Joshua tried again.

"Because dinner is almost ready and we will eat as a family," she responded. A single tear rolled down her cheek, and others threatened to come. I could not see my mom like this! It was too much to bear. She loves me and Josh, and she raised us to be loving, too. To see my brother treat her this way; to break her heart, filled me with anger.

"Josh, maybe you could play with him after dinner...?" I suggested softly.

"Shut up, Elizabeth! It is too dark after dinner. You're not even part of this!" he yelled back. His hair was frazzled as well and his eyes said he wanted to hurt someone. It was hard, though, to suppress the giggle begging to come out. So instead I held my hands up and backed away.

Josh spun on Mom and yelled the most hurtful thing you could ever say to her. "I truly hate you Mom! You never loved me or you would have let me play with my friends! I wish you would just fall dead!"

I gasped. So did Mom. "I hope you don't mean that, Joshua," she croaked. As a reply, Joshua stomped off to his room and slammed the door with such force that it almost broke. With tear stained cheeks, Mom yanked the casserole out of the oven and ran off to her room. That feeling that I could do nothing to comfort her choked me. I swore to myself there and then, that I would never fight with my parents. I would never break their hearts like Josh did.

So there you have it. A picture of one of the bad days. Through Elizabeth's eyes.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Today I'm at Faith, Family & Fun

As parents, I think one of the greatest things we can do for our children is to pray for them. And sometimes it's easy to know what to pray.
*Our children are facing a struggle, and we pray for resolution to their trouble.
*They have a test coming up in school, and we pray they will do well.
*There's an overload in the sibling rivalry realm, and we pray for peace.
*They're driving us nuts, and we pray that God will grant us patience.
Ahem, I mean, I'm not the only one who experiences this, am I?

Click here to read the rest.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I hope you had a chance to watch yesterday's video, which really is the first part of this post. If you did not, please click here to catch up.
I am totally and completely sincere in my belief that God is gracious and understanding when we are weary.
Everything I said in yesterday's video? I meant it with all my heart!

However, as I have been thinking about Gianna's question I have realized there is another important factor we need to consider.
If you are exhausted, I think it's important to ask the question, Why?
Because it's important to understand the reason if we are truly going to give God our best. And this is where it gets a little uncomfortable because I *might* say some things that will step on a toe, or two. It isn't because I want to offend anyone, but because I believe God always deserves our best.
So, Why are you exhausted?
Is it because of the things I mentioned yesterday?
Rest assured, God understands!
OR, are you exhausted because of the choices you're making? Because of how you're choosing to spend your time and care for yourself?
Are you staying up too late - watching TV, updating your Facebook status, or *gasp!* reading blogs?
Are you eating foods that feed only your stomach, and not your body?
Are you giving your body the exercise it needs?
Do I sound like a fitness guy's wife, or what???
Are you over-scheduling yourself with too many things to do? Even though they're all "good" things?

I know from my own experience that very often the choices we make can lead us to exhaustion, and that keeps us from giving God our very best. So today, I am encouraging you to take an inventory of how you're feeling and why. Perhaps you'll see the need for a change, or two.
And if you do need to make a change, I know just the One who can help.
Ask Him!

***Update on Allie: She's home! Yay! Thank You, Jesus!!!


Monday, January 25, 2010

Are You Exhausted?

****Update on Allie: Her platelet count is 80,000. Up from 41,000 yesterday. Which was up from 16,000 the day before! Thank You, Jesus! And thanks to each of YOU for praying!

Friday, January 22, 2010

This Week's WORD

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Luke 6:38

When I read these words yesterday morning, after I was very frustrated with both of my sons - for forgetting things, and dawdling, and expecting me to clean up the mess - I wondered, How can I measure out grace to them generously, without also enabling them to shirk off responsibility?
Received some great ideas from Facebook friends.
Had a good conversation with my mentor.

I have received so much grace from God, and I want to measure it out to my children generously. Praying He will lead me to train them with strength and grace.

And I pray this for you, too, my friend!

May the peace of Christ reign in you this weekend. See you back here Monday!

*****Update on Allie: The Blain's still need prayer. Please click here to visit Allie's Caring Bridge site to see their requests.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

She Makes Me Proud

My daughter, Elizabeth, had an assignment in school to write memoirs. She was to select events and occasions in her life which have shaped her into the person she is today, and write about them. And I, dear old Mom, had the pleasure of proof-reading.
Oh, my. I'll admit to being biased. I mean, she is my daughter. But I am so impressed with Elizabeth's writing skills! Seriously. As in, I bet her teacher will read some of her writing to the class.
I always wanted to write something "good enough" for my teacher to read in class.
It never happened.

Anyway, I thought this particular piece was just charming and asked Elizabeth if I could share it with you. Next week I want to post another one which will pull a little harder at your heart. But for today, I present you with this:

Outside, the breeze rustled the lush grass and green leaves of the mighty walnut tree. Sweet aromas floated to me on the air from the flower garden out back. Pleasant chitter-chatter of birds soothed me. The sun was shining. Summer was fully here.
I lugged my bike out from the overflowing garage and started riding around. There wasn't really anywhere to go, but it was a beautiful day out, not to be wasted.
Turning down a street, a sound caught my attention. Under the shade of a giant oak tree, two squirrels sat there, eating acorns and squeaking to each other. It was as if they were conversing over lunch.
I restrained myself from laughing aloud, in fear of scaring them off. After a while of watching them gleefully, I started to ride away again. Something caught my eye, though.
A scrawny squirrel with matted fur and only half a tail was crouched across the street. At the sight, or smell of him (I don't know which) the other squirrels jumped into an offensive, I-am-the-tough-one-here kind of look.
The pitiful little squirrel backed away, and I could almost hear his tummy growl. "Oh, shoo! Shoo all you squirrels," I yelled, waving my hands to scare them off. When all the fluffy-tailed rodents were out of under the tree, I scooped up some acorns and crossed the street, leaving my bike to wobble and crash.
"Come on little squirrel, I won't hurt you," I crooned. I tossed one acorn a few feet from where I was. "I'll name you Joe, okay?" Joe crept up to the food, sniffed it, and scampered backwards a little, with the nut in his mouth. His furry little paws shoved the food in his cheek, and then he cocked his head for more. I tossed another. And another. Soon Joe was off burying the acorns his full little belly couldn't hold.
A great fullness swept over me then. A sense of purpose and helpfulness filled me up. Sure, the weather made me cheerful, but this was amazing. I felt carefree and powerful, like I could do anything in the world.
Just then I realized something: I want to help as much as I can if it makes me feel this way.
And I absolutely and totally, under all conditions, love squirrels.
Isn't she sweet?
She makes me proud!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lessons from the Dog

As I watched Mindy scramble to eat up the cereal Joshua spilled on the floor, it occurred to me: If everyone in the family was as quick to clean up messes as our dog is - keeping our home neat would be so much easier!

*****Update on Allie: She's out of surgery, and Dr.s say it went well. Thank You, Jesus!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Please Pray for Allie

I have a good friend whose daughter has been sick with a blood disorder for the past three years. It's called ITP. (Well, it has a much bigger name, but I cannot possibly pronounce it, let alone spell it out.) Tomorrow she is scheduled to go in for surgery to have her spleen removed. The doctors believe this is the only option they have left to help Allie.

So, today I am asking you to pray for this sweet little girl.

Specifically, her mom told me they need prayers as follows:
*They're giving Allie a medicine which needs to increase her platelet count in order for her to have the surgery. Pray that her platelets increase.
*Allie has had very bad reactions to this medicine in the past. Pray that she would not have such a reaction this time. (And pray for her mom - Renee - as it is very hard for her to see her daughter in such pain!)
*Allie is only 6 years old, but she is very aware of what is going on, and her heart is heavy. Pray that she will be able to go to sleep tonight, and rest well - that her body may be ready for surgery tomorrow.
*Please, please, pray for the success of this surgery. They want so much for Allie to be able to run and play like a 6-year-old should.

Thank you, friends, for your prayers and support.
Our God is good. I know it.
And nothing is too difficult for Him. I know that, too.
Praying He will be glorified in this circumstance!

***Edited to add: I will update you on Allie's progress, but it just occurred to me, I can give you her Caring Bridge link, too. Feel free to visit and let her know you're praying!
***Edited to add, again: As of Tuesday evening, Allie's platelets are way too low. Renee says they're struggling. Please pray that God will show His power in Allie's body, and that He will comfort the family's hearts.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

This Week's WORD

"When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?" says the LORD Almighty.

Malachi 1:8

I have come to the end of the Old Testament in my read-thru-the-Bible-in-a-year program. And even though I know what to expect in Malachi, every time I read it God fills me with a new desire to always and only give Him my best.
I don't want to give Him that which is blind or crippled or diseased.

So, even on the weekend, let's give Him our best.
And I'll meet you back here Monday for some encouraging words.

Love you!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Failed Expectations

Joshua flushed ice cubes down the toilet.
He went outside barefoot.
He walked down the stairs backwards.
He wore his pajamas backwards.
Though I have no eyewitness confirmations, I am told he even had his boxers on backwards.
The weatherman said it was going to snow, and Joshua wanted to do everything he could to assure school would be cancelled the next day.

But the next day was not a snow day.
And when I went into Joshua's room to wake him, when he asked, "Is it a snow day today?" and I said, "No," oh - he was mad!
In fact, the stewing he was doing that morning was hotter than the stew I had made for dinner the night before.
This kid was angry.
I didn't get it. Before Joshua went to bed we told him not to plan on a snow day - that they'd probably be able to have the roads in good condition the next day. We tried to set his expectations correctly.
But it didn't matter. Joshua had his mind made up that there would be no school, and now nothing I said was going to put him into a better mood. He stomped around the house, grumbled about school being "stupid," even updated his Facebook status to let the world know that he was mad because it wasn't a snow day. He was a piece of work that morning.

I felt sorry for my son. It hurt to see him so upset about something which really was not important. I wanted to be able to formulate articulate words of wisdom which would penetrate his heart and help him distinguish between that which matters and that which does not.
And then I realized something.

This battle with failed expectations is not my son's, alone.

How many times have I, myself, gotten upset over something that I thought would go one way, but ended up going another? And at the failure of my expectations, how many times have I stomped and stewed and called things "stupid"? Oh, I am a piece of work, too!
Do you know what I'm talking about?

But the grace of God is big enough to cover our childish fits. It's big enough to carry us through our disappointments. God can handle that which makes us sad. And we can trust Him.
Whether tomorrow is a snow day, or not; whether the economy turns, or it doesn't; whether you can fit into those jeans, or you can't; God will be the same.
Yesterday, today and forever. God will never change.

And that is one expectation which will never fail!

I wrote this post a few weeks ago. And the kids have since had a snow day. All is well! *grin*


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Category of the Month

When Edie was giving my blog a makeover, I went through my old posts and gave them labels. (Something I guess I should have been doing all along...)
I had a blast doing it!
Marveled at how life has changed.
And I found so many old posts I wanted to share with you!
So I decided to do a new thing each month. I'm going to re-post something that makes me smile, or cry, or whatever, and then feature that particular category in my sidebar - inviting you to read through them at your leisure.

For January, I'm highlighting the "For Laughter" category. And here's one to get you started - originally posted January 8, 2007.


Those of you with elementary aged children are probably up-to-your-ears familiar with this game. Those of you with younger (or much older!) children will have to recall the days of your own childhood.
Surely you played "Jinx."
This is how it goes with my kids: Two of them say something, word for word, at the same time. Then they yell, "Jinx" and whoever says "Jinx" last isn't supposed to talk until the other individual says their name. The way it works around here is, in addition to saying the initial word or phrase simultaneously, my kids usually say, "Jinx!" at the same time. Then they get into, "Jinx before you!" "Jinx before you again!" "Jinx before you a hundred times!" "Jinx before you'll ever say it again!"
Most times it ends in laughter, sometimes fighting about who really "won," and always with Brian and I rolling our eyes at this silly game.
Tonight it was our turn to be silly. We were eating dinner when Elizabeth excused herself from the table saying, "My tummy is really gassy." As she passed by us she, uh, passed gas.
Brian and I looked at each other and said, "I guess so!" And followed our comments with, "Jinx!" Then quickly, "Jinx before you!" I was laughing so hard, I nearly spit my food out at him!
I am so mature...

One other change here. And this one is for you, Amanda. I'm removing the word verification for comments. So, happy commenting! *grin*


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Together in Prayer

I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.

The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me;
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.

Psalm 18:1-6

I love the internet. Love how it allows us to be so close, and aware of one another - even though miles and miles (and miles!) may separate us physically.
I love being aware of - and able to pray for - so many people and their needs.
But, honestly? Sometimes it overwhelms me.
There are so many people, with so many needs!

And then I remember and marvel at how BIG our God is.

God does not need the internet to keep up with the latest prayer requests. He doesn't need email reminders to know what you or I, or anyone else, needs.
From His temple, He hears our voices; our cries come before Him, into His ears.
In fact, He knows our needs even before we speak them.

God is that good!

Do you have a specific need today? God already knows what it is, but I would love the opportunity to pray for you. Please leave your request in the comment section and know that I will pray for you today. And, if you're willing, would you please pray for the person who has left a prayer request before you?
If you would rather not "go public" with your request, please feel free to email me instead.

May the peace of Christ rest upon you today, as you trust Him to meet your needs.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Friday, January 08, 2010

This Week's WORD

On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king's hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.
Esther 5: 1-2

Esther risked her life by approaching the king, uninvited. (Esther 4:11)
And as I sat thinking about how fearful she must have been - dressing in her finest robes, wondering, Will he extend the gold scepter to me? - I thought about the joy I have in knowing Jesus.
Because of the blood of Jesus which covers me, because He has given me a robe of righteousness to wear, because He has atoned for my sin through His death and resurrection, I am free to approach the KING. Anytime!

I have no royal robes.

I have nothing to offer God, no reason that He should accept my presence.

I deserve nothing but death.

But, because of JESUS.

Because of Jesus, I am accepted.
And if you have trusted Him for your salvation, YOU are accepted, too!

Let the wonder of God's love for you carry you through the weekend.
See you back here Monday!


Thursday, January 07, 2010

What Did I Do to Deserve This???

OK. It's confession time.
Time to confess the not-at-all-like-Christ attitude I was harboring recently.

In one evening:
Brian asked me to make granola for his clients as a Christmas gift. He wanted me to get the ingredients, figure out packaging, and put it all together. And I was thinking, Are you going to ever THANK me for all the things I do for you? Why do I have to do this stuff?
Joshua had a hole in his sweatshirt and wanted me to sew it up. And he wanted the shirt washed. In time for him to wear to school the next day. And I wondered, Am I your slave? Why do I have to answer your every beckon call?
Matthew was walking down the stairs with me, carrying his basket of laundry. He was "eeewww"ing about his smelly laundry, and I was thinking, Yeah. And I'm the one who gets to sort and wash and fold it. What did I do to deserve this?

Oh, how quickly Jesus put my attitude in check!
I remembered the grace He has given me through salvation. He lived a sinless life and took my sin upon Himself when He died on the cross, that I might be reconciled to God when I confessed my sin and asked Jesus to be my Savior.
I remembered the grace He gives me every day. He is my Strength when I am weak. He gives me courage to do the right thing when I am afraid. He comforts me when I am sad. He forgives me again and again when I go my own way. He is so patient with me while He is teaching me His way.
I remembered that His grace is sufficient. He knows all my needs and meets them perfectly, as He knows best. God never takes His eyes off me. He never leaves me alone. He is my Protector, my Provider, my Redeemer, my Best Friend. His grace is amazing, and He pours it out on me.

And as God renewed my understanding of His grace - in the midst of my pity party and sour attitude - it was as if He dared me to ask the question of Him. God, what did I do to deserve this?


I did absolutely nothing to deserve the grace of God in my life.

Yet, He gives it freely. Every day. Oh, Lord, my God, thank You for Your amazing grace in my life. I am so in need of it! Please help me each day to extend grace to this family with whom You have blessed me.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Today I'm @ Faith, Family and Fun

The other night my husband was talking to our son about a concern he had regarding our son's friends. Things started getting heated - as our son wanted to be treated like the grown-up he wishes to be, rather than the child he is.

Been there?

Listening to the two of them arguing, part of me wanted to jump in and add my two cent's worth.

To read the rest, click here.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

I'm Just Sayin'

OK, I know we are supposed to serve one another as if we're serving the Lord, right?
Many, many times that thought has been the very thing which moved me to do the things I might not otherwise have done.
Like when Joshua used to "need" a drink of water. Every night. After he was snugly tucked into bed.
Not before he got there.
Nope, thirst never arrived until after he was in bed.
One night I was about to tell him I was NOT going to get him a drink this time, when the thought came to me - If I was tucking Jesus into bed and He asked for a drink of water, I would retrieve it with joy!
So I got Joshua's cup of water, and every night thereafter I thought of bringing Jesus a drink.

Soooo, this past Christmas morning after all our festivities were over and I was feeling a little tired - when I thought it would be nice to just sit and do nothing - Joshua asked if I would make pancakes.

But it was CHRISTMAS morning!

We were celebrating JESUS!

And if Jesus asked me to make pancakes for Him, you know I surely would! So I put aside my selfish desires and made pancakes for my children.
Mixing, pouring, and flipping for Jesus, yes, I was!
I even warmed the syrup and set the table for my precious offspring.
When it was all ready, I called them to the table and they enjoyed those pancakes. And when their bellies were full, they happily went off to enjoy their Christmas presents.
Without cleaning their plates, or even offering to help put the kitchen back together. Nope. Those tasks were left to dear ol' Mom.
And I quickly remembered, I would do it for Jesus...

Then - just as quickly - I thought back to myself, If I were serving Jesus pancakes for breakfast, HE would invite me to join Him in enjoying them, and then He would probably clean up the whole kitchen Himself!

I'm just sayin'!


Monday, January 04, 2010