Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Works-for-me Wednesday

This is a coffee mix I love to give each year. People really like it. In fact, one year I gave it to one of my the kids' choir teachers, and she was excited because the teacher my child had had the previous year had told her how good it was, and she knew that we gave it each year. (My son looks forward to helping me because he's my official "mint crusher" :)

Bavarian Mint Coffee

1/3 cup powdered coffee creamer
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup instant freeze-dried coffee
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 hard peppermint candies, crushed

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients. Store in airtight container.
To use, stir mixture before measuring.
For each serving, place 3 tablespoons mix in cup and add 6 oz. boiling water. Stir well.

To make as gifts, I usually triple the recipe and usually end up making more than one batch. I put enough for 3 or 4 servings in decorative Christmas bags with tags or labels denoting the serving suggestion. I also usually use decaffeinated coffee, and have found that people appreciate that.


For more great tips from some of Santa's most industrious elves, visit Rocks In My Dryer.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Book Poll

This was on Laurel's blog, and since I'm feeling "bookish" today I thought I'd play:

1. Where do you most often buy your books? Online? Secondhand stores? Big name bookstores?

Online and at Half-Price Books.

2. If you buy online, which do you prefer - B&N or Ebay? or elsewhere?


3. Do you put your name in your books? If so, are you a bookplate or stamp person?

Yes. I usually write my name and the year I bought/read it. I put name labels in the ones I loan out.

4. How do you feel about loaning books to others?

I do loan mine out, but I have loaned out so many- particularly homeschool books- I began keeping a list in my Palm Pilot. (Not because I don't trust the person I loaned it to, but because I'll forget I loaned it out and tear up the house looking for it or end up buying a replacement thinking that I've lost it!)

5. Do you highlight or mark your books as you read?

Yes! That's why I can't do non-fiction audiobooks. I can't highlight or make notes!

6. How often do you visit your local library?

Every two or three weeks. In fact, today was library day. :)

7. Do you collect any certain kind of book?

I've got almost all of Elisabeth Elliot's books, and most of Amy Carmichael's.

8. What do you do when you’re done with a book and no longer want it?

Kids books go in the garage sale pile or are donated. I've got some Christian books that I'm planning to donate to an annual Prison Book and Bible Drive that a radio station here does each year. In the past I've also sold some at Half Price Books.

9. Do you keep a list of or catalog the books you own?

I'm considering using Librarything, but haven't gotten it together enough to start.

10. Any other weird book habits you’d like to share?

Not sure if this is weird or not, but I've become a post-it-note-aholic for bookmarks. I use those little tiny ones because they won't fall out when I toss my books into my bookbag or carry one in my purse. I used to dog-ear the pages, but I got out of the habit when the kids were little and I only read a page or two at a time, and every other page would be creased! Then I discovered the post-it note maneuver. Also, not sure if this is weird either, but I always keep several books going at one time. And I almost never, ever read fiction. (Since I read so much fiction to the kids.)

There. Now you know everything. I'm an open book. :)

Are you "all there?"

Have you ever felt "out of it," or said to someone, "Please forgive me, I'm not "all here" today!" I have! The question is... where am I? Still in yesterday? Am I in two hours from now? Or am I well into next week? I'm always somewhere, but not in the present moment. Moms especially know what it's like to hear your sweet child's voice while you’re nodding and saying "Mm-hmmm…" only to be snapped into the moment by, "Mom, MOM! Are you listening?"

Yep, not all there. Somewhere… but not there!

One of my favorite Jim Elliot quotes is:
"Wherever you are, be all there.
Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

That quote repeatedly sprang to my mind last week while we were on vacation. It was as if, at times, I had to will myself to be “all there” and not, well, here in this week. It seems as Moms, we are often physically in the present moment, but mentally in the next. Oh sure, I've been to this moment... but it was yesterday! I can’t tell you how many events we’ve planned for our ministry or activities I’ve done with my family and after it’s over I’ve thought… “Hmm. That appeared to go well. Did we have fun?”

I was looking over my calendar this morning at the events and activities that make up December for us. I don’t want to miss them. Even though I’ll be there! (Once I get December coordinated, I might be tempted to tackle the New Year!)

I want to live not just the holiday season, but each day of my life “to the hilt.” All of it, not just the pretty moments. Not just the fun ones. Not just the blog-worthy or scrapbook-worthy ones. God is using all of the moments of each of my days to shape me into who I am to be, and what would bring Him the most glory. If I don’t believe a certain moment to “be the will of God,” then I can invite His very presence into my present and claim it for Him. But I can’t invite Him into it if I’m not there myself.

So, I’m planning and praying for the future (with the help of the One who has really already been there!) and endeavoring to live- to the hilt- in the now. I pray that for you as well.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Well, huh. I guess I am.

Last weekend I was at a baby shower and everyone was discussing their Thanksgiving plans. I had just gotten back to my seat after getting some cake, and someone turned to me and said, "So, you're going camping for Thanksgiving?" I replied, "Yes!" enthusiastically, but inside my head I thought, "Well... it's not really camping. I mean, we're going in an RV." A nicely appointed one, at that! Sitting outside by a beautiful campfire drinking pumpkin spice coffee and looking at the fall leaves. Napping when I feel like it. Loving on my family. Not camping!

In my mind, going camping meant roughing it. Outdoors. In the elements. Sleeping on the ground. I never grew up camping. The roughest we had it on vacations were some beautiful, rustic cabins by a stream in Colorado where we would go in the summers. Other than that it was always nice hotels. I only went to church camp a couple of times and I really didn't like it. I'm just not a "camper." Or at least, I've never considered myself one. But, now that I think of it, RV-ing is camping! I was wondering to myself last night after we got home (and I was taking only my third hot shower of the week) why I hadn't thought of myself as a "camper." The thought flashed through my mind, "Cyndi, you've been asking God to change you for years now. He's doing it!"

I read an Evelyn Christenson book a few years ago called Lord, Change Me! and one of the things I have asked God to change about me in recent years is to make me less... high maintenance. More content. Easier to please. I realized last night that the old me would've definitely considered spending a week in an RV camping. Perhaps even roughing it! And I probably would've shuddered at the thought of serving Thanksgiving dinner out of plastic containers and ziploc bags, and eating it outside! Looking at the whole scenario with my new eyes, I can't imagine a better way to spend a holiday. It was a beautiful setting, the 3 people and dog that I love most in this world slept just a few feet away, we laughed and joked, ate great food and thoroughly enjoyed one another. Did I appreciate the microwave and the bathroom in the RV? Absolutely! Would I have spent the week in a tent? Quite possibly.

So... apparently I am a camper. And a happy one!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

All I need...

We spent the weekend "decking the halls" so all our Christmas decorations would be up when we get back, and I spent yesterday cooking turkey and baking. It's all ready and here we go!

Here's where we'll be this week:

And here's what I'll be doing. (That's the back of my head sitting in front of a wonderful campfire that my sweet husband builds for me each day, where I sit, read, and relax...

If you've ever seen "The Jerk," and remember that scene "All I need..." that's what I'm doing this morning. (Well, not the drinking and paying bills part. And I'm not in a bathrobe. Anyway...) It's one thing to pack for a trip. It's quite another thing for your "hotel room" to be parked right by your house where you can just cart it all out there. I take a few things out. Then I see something else and grab that. Oh! And I might want to read this book. And I'll probably want to wear that. I'm sure we'll want to snack on this. Wouldn't this be fun to have along?...

I'm SO thankful for this time away with just the four of us. I'm SO thankful for our dear, generous friends who offered us their RV. It was such a treat last year, and they were so kind to offer it to us again this year. Now I fancy myself some sort of "RV-er" and this year I'm ready with Christmas lights and a little turkey windsock for the awning. You know, so we can look like the neighbors. It'll be cute. (My classy friend who owns the RV is rolling her eyes, I just know it!)

If you're reading this today, know that I'm thankful for you, and that you're being prayed for.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving! See you in a week!

(Note to potential burglars: Our security system is set and our attack fish are on duty.)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Thankful List or Thankful One?

In my reading from Elisabeth Elliot's book Keep a Quiet Heart this morning, she made an interesting comparison between the thankfulness we show when we receive gifts from others, and how we express gratitude to God.

I'll paraphrase: Remember when you received wedding gifts? To whom did you send thank-you notes? Only those who gave you something you liked... or everyone who gave you a gift? Did you send one to the person who gave you the crocheted toilet paper cover as well as the one who gave you a place setting of your china? Of course, if you were raised like I was you wrote thank-you notes to everyone and as soon as possible!

She asks the question, "Wouldn't that be a good thing for us to do with God?"

We are to give thanks in everything, in all circumstances. And we know that. I know that. But do I do that?

She goes on to say, "The mature Christian offers not just polite thanks but heartfelt thanks that springs from a far deeper source than his own pleasure. Thanksgiving is a spiritual exercise, necessary to the building of a healthy soul. It takes us out of the stuffiness of ourselves into the fresh breeze and sunlight of the will of God. The simple act of thanking Him is for most of us, an abrupt change of activity, a break from work and worry, a move toward re-creation."

But the reality is... that's hard! I know that, but do I know it? I do that, but do I really do it? Do I sow that seed of truth into the daily soil of my reality? When I receive bad news or my circumstances (or those of a loved one) are beyond my comprehension I don't feel thankful. What am I to do? Wouldn't thanking God for those things be lying?

Elliot suggests in those moments thinking on the "givens." What you unshakably believe in. "God the Father Almighty. Jesus Christ His only Son. The Holy Ghost, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, life everlasting." Wow, what a list! And those are the "givens!" In true Ephesians 3:20 style, God has given us "immeasurably more that we could ask or imagine" in just that list above. We can be thankful for the "givens."

What do you resolutely believe in? The Apostles Creed is a great place to start. She suggests taking what you're not thankful for and measuring it against the "mighty foundation stones" of your faith. So, it is in this exercise that we can see our disappointments, betrayals, losses and bitterness in their true light. She concludes, "Those disappointments give us a chance to learn to know Him and the meaning of His gifts, and, in the midst of darkness, to receive His light. Doesn't that transform a thankful list into a thankful one?"

Heavenly Father, make it so.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Well, Laurel has not only blessed me this morning, she has also inspired me to do a "Thursday Thirteen." Her recent post about packing to travel with kids, the fact that we're spending next week out of town (in the woods!), and the fact that my mind has been wandering back to Ghana lately... inspired me to do my first-ever T13 on:

Thirteen Things I Always Travel With

1. My Bible
2. My iPod/mp3 player. (Along with extra/backup batteries) Because sometimes I need to be alone. Even when surrounded by people.
3. Almond M&M's
4. My daughter, the best world traveler I know!
5. Make up (because I love my traveling companions too much)
6. Brush-ups (for the same reason as #5)
7. My stress vitamins
8. My sleepy vitamins (I get these at Walmart)
9. Extra sunglasses (Standing around squinting is so unattractive.)
10. Lots and lots of underwear (Mom, I put this in just for you.)
11. Something to read
12. A blank book to write in
13. Flip flops Because they're the shoes God intended us to wear, and also because they're handy for defending yourself against creatures. (But not geckos. Because I'm growing.)

May God bless all of your journeys in the days and weeks to come!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Okay, okay. I GET it!

I posted a couple of weeks ago that I have started playing in our community band. It's been fun going to rehearsals and learning Christmas music. And, since French horns are a "Christmas-y" sort of instrument, the pieces we are playing have some pretty (but difficult and exposed) horn parts.

So I have been practicing. You know, filling the house with "joyful noises."

Well, the noise apparently doesn't bring joy to my little dog, Zac.

When I get my horn out to practice, he begins skulking around, low to the ground, never taking his eyes off of it. When I blow air through the mouthpiece (which isn't making a sound except air) he gets more concerned, as if something might be hissing at him. When I start playing, that does it. He begins barking and then rushing at me like he's going to defend me from the Great Honking Beast that seems to be attacking my face. Then he scuttles backwards like "On second thought, I'm not going near that thing. You're on your own, Mom!" He remains concerned, agitated and ever-vigilant the entire time I'm practicing. He doesn't settle down until The Beast is put back in its case and his short attention span allows him to scoot off to do something else, like perhaps guard us from any cars that might be driving down the street.

He's never been fully housetrained, no matter how hard we've tried. Bless his heart, he has little accidents every few weeks for which he is properly remorseful and seems to be genuinely sorry. (No really, you should see his face!) Usually his accidents (whether #1 or #2) seem to be wherever he happens to be at the time. There's never a certain place that they happen.

Until this week.

Twice this week, right next to my French horn case in the corner of the dining room, I've found a... well, you know. Deposit. The kind that would show the most disrespect, if-you-know-what-I-mean. RIGHT there next to it, as if he had to position himself just so to get it there. And he hasn't acted sorry at all.

Hmph. I guess I know what he thinks of my music!

Works-for-me Wednesday

The focus of today's WFMW are things that make our holidays easier/ more fun. So here are a few of mine:

Saving the top of the Christmas tree: It's been a couple of years since we got a real tree, but the last two years that we did, I had my husband cut off the top of it before we (sadly) disposed of it. I would leave the top propped up in the corner of the garage where it would, of course, dry out and whatever needles hadn't fallen out all over our living room would fall off. As we approached Easter, I would put that dead, prickly tree, or "branch" in a pot for our Easter tree. ("Branch" is a name for the Messiah in scripture: Is. 4:2, Jer. 23:5, 33:15; Zech. 3:8, 6:12) I also have several beautiful cross ornaments that I use on our Christmas tree that I would set aside to use on the Easter tree. For me, it was a powerful symbol of how Christmas points to Easter- that's why He came. To die. On an old, dead tree. But the beautiful cross ornaments would remind me of the beauty of the cross, for what it means to all who believe on the name of Christ and accept His gift of salvation. And, it's particularly meaningful when that piece of an old, dead, tree was the very tree that had looked so alive, green and lit up in our living room just a few months before. It was simple to do, made Easter all the more meaningful (and we got more "mileage" out of our Christmas tree!)

Dollar Grab-bags: Two years ago my daughter and I discovered those little $1 "grab bags" at Dollar Tree. They are small paper sacks, stapled shut, labeled for boy, girl, male, female, child, adult, with an assortment of... stuff... in them (presumably for that age group.) Well, just for fun, we grabbed one for each member of our family. It was so fun the first year, we did it last year, too. (I think mine last year had a dish scrubber, a little towel and some other odds 'n ends in it.) It's fun for there to be "mystery" bags under the tree that even Mom and Dad have no idea what's in them! And it's usually something you can use!

Our make-ahead breakfast: I know many of you make your Christmas morning breakfast ahead of time, too, so I just thought I'd share what I make. My Grandad used to always make sausage balls for Christmas morning. I made them a Christmas tradition in my home because they taste like the Christmas mornings I remember from my childhood, and because they're super easy. I've always made them ahead and stored them (unbaked) in a container in the fridge, then popped them in the oven when the hubbub dies down in the morning. Here's the recipe I use:
  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 8 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 lb. hot bulk sausage
  • Mix together and roll into walnut-sized balls
  • Bake at 375 until brown

I also make some muffins ahead of time, and serve it all with Starbucks Christmas Blend coffee, and cocoa for the kids.

For more Christmas tips, visit Rocks In My Dryer.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Gifts or Burdens?

One of my favorite Ginny Owens songs ever, "Free to Dance," begins with:

Turning molehills into mountains,
Making big deals out of small ones,
Bearing gifts as if they're burdens,
This is how it's been.

The first two lines... yeah. I've been doing that since I was Bethany's age. I think somehow it came with the territory as a teenager, and I carried it right on into my early twenties and now well into momhood. Molehills into mountains and making small deals big ones. But it's that third line that I've really been struggling with the most the past few years:

"Bearing gifts as if they're burdens."

Whoa. Who would do that? It's a gift! Not a burden!

Homeschooling? A gift.
Mounds of clothes overflowing the laundry baskets? A gift.
(A snoring dachshund who loves to snooze in the laundry baskets? Also a gift!)
Too many groceries for such a small pantry and such little freezer space? A gift.
People who need me? A gift.
7th grade Life Science? A gift.
A phone that rings? A gift.
A ministry that requires a lot of work? A gift.
A busy day ahead of me? A gift.
A sink full of dirty dishes? A gift.
Anything that forces me to get to the end of me, and forces me to lean on Him- a gift.

It's all a gift! This song sprang to mind this morning as I was praying and my mind was racing to the day ahead. I could feel myself becoming somewhat burdened by the day ahead... and I could sense the Lord impressing the thought, "Don't bear gifts as if they're burdens, Cyndi!" Pretty timely as we approach this season of thankfulness. And gifts. And stress.

Here's the rest of the song:

Fear of coming out of my shell,
Too many things I can't do too well,
Afraid I'll try real hard and I'll fail -
This is how it's been.
Till the day you pounded on my heart's door,
And you shouted joyfully,
"You're not a slave anymore"

You're free to dance-
Forget about your two left feet
And you're free to sing-
Even joyful noise is music to me
and you're free to love,
Cause I've given you My love,
and it's made you free

My mind finds hard to believe
That You became humanity
and changed the course of history,
Because You loved me so.
And my heart cannot understand
Why You'd accept me as I am,
But You say You've always had a plan,
And that's all I need to know.
So when I am consumed by what the world will say,
It's then You're singing to me,
As you remove my chains

You're free to dance-
Forget about your two left feet
And you're free to sing-
Even joyful noise is music to me
and you're free to love,
Cause I've given you My love,
and it's made you free,

Free from worry, free from envy and denial
Free to live, free to give, free to smile

You're free to dance-
Forget about your two left feet
And you're free to sing-
Even joyful noise is music to me
and you're free to love,
Cause I've given you My love,
and it's made you free
I've given you My love,
and it's made you free
I have set you free

May we all enjoy our many gifts today. And dance!

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Coming Apart At the Seams

Ever feel like you're "coming apart at the seams?"

This weekend I was reading Daniel 7, regarding the antichrist. Without getting into the ins and outs of eschatology, and speculating on whether we are in fact, in the "end times" or not, I just wanted to share a verse that caught my attention. Verse 25 of Daniel 7 says of the antichrist:

"He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law;" (NASB translation)

We may not know who the antichrist will be or when he will appear, but we do know who he will be working for and where he will derive his power. From the same enemy we face- Satan. It is interesting to me that he will "wear down the saints." The NIV renders it "oppress," but it is from the Hebrew word "bala" or "bela" which means "wear away" or "to afflict," and literally means "to wear out as one would wear out a garment." The verse refers to what the future antichrist will do, but very much points to what his Boss, and our enemy is up to at this very moment- wearing us ("the saints"- followers of Christ) out! The question in the study I was doing asked, "How does Satan attempt to oppress you?" It occurred to me that I most often get "worn out" at the seams, just like my favorite jean jacket (pictured above). I am most likely to wear out at the point of tension, and what's holding me together gets stressed. And if what's holding me together is me, then there will inevitably be a rip. Then a tear. Then a gaping hole. It can be revealing. And it isn't pretty.

But that need not be the case for a follower of Christ. Romans 13:14 says to "Clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ." Not only that, as a believer I can put on the full armor of God. Add to that that I'm lined and filled with the Holy Spirit, and I've got wear-proof, tear-proof spiritual clothing! Satan knows he can't truly wear me out, but he can, for short seasons, fool me into thinking I'm coming apart at the seams, wearing thin, flying by the seat of my pants, or coming unraveled.

That's when I must come before the One who knit me together in the first place. Let Him repair my holey-ness so that I might walk in His holiness. Allow Him to replace my self-willed stitching with His threads of grace, according to His perfect pattern for my life. Try as he might, the enemy can't irreparably alter what isn't his, whether it's the "times" or the "laws,"... or me.

"Pierce my weak areas with your Word, Father. Thread the seams of my soul with your truth. Search me and know my anxious thoughts which so quickly become my points of tension and lead to holes in my thinking and openings for the enemy. Help me to put on love, above all else, as love is the very essence of Who You are. Lord, you hem me in- behind and before. You have laid Your hand upon me. Oh, how I love You. Amen."

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Awana Grand Prix

It's Grand Prix night! Since I didn't have this blog a year ago, I didn't post this picture taken on Grand Prix night last year. So here they are, looking a year younger...

Awana Grand Prix is sort of like the Scouts Pinewood Derby; you get a block of wood and make your car. (Google the words "Awana Grand Prix" and you can see that it's a big deal at clubs all over the country!) In our club, the 3rd-6th graders participate. The Sparkies (K-2nd graders) come watch and cheer. The Cubbies bring their Matchbox and Hot Wheel cars and "race" them on little tracks in the main hall. It's a fun night!

There are 1st through 3rd place trophies given for speed and design. Last year out of 60 cars Bethany's car won 1st place for design and Kyle's won 3rd place for speed. Way to go!

I just have to post this picture of Bethany's car that she and Luke designed last year. Since it was her last year to participate in Grand Prix, they went all out! (Obviously she was going for design, not for speed. She's SO related to her mother.)

Here is Kyle's contender for this year.

Be sure to tune in to ESPN later for the results. Or you could check back here. :)


Presenting the winner of 3rd place in the Speed category, for the second year running:

Way to go Kyle! (And Dad!)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Staying Home with "Bob"

I can always tell when one of the kids is coming down with a cold. They start calling me "Bob." As in, "Doe, really Bob, I feel fide. :::cough:::"

Yesterday Kyle started calling me "Bob." He was supposed to spend the night with a friend tonight, so he spent the first part of the day today trying to convince me he was "fide." Then I got an call from the friend's mom letting me know that her son had 101 degree fever (and was also putting up a brave front, holding out for the sleepover.) Once we postponed the playdate, Kyle was able to properly sneeze, sniffle and snooze.

So... he stayed home from church tonight. With Bob.

Hopefully, we'll both be back to our old selves soon!

Friday, November 10, 2006

I must be tired...

Or very easily amused. Or both. We saw this guy perform this week, and it was one of the funniest shows I have ever seen. He did illusions, magic tricks and comedy (with a Christian message) at our church's sports ministry awards night. This afternoon I've been puttering around the house doing my (otherwise not-too-exciting) Friday afternoon routine, and this image of him popped into my head and now I just can't stop giggling:

Yes, he's in a giant balloon. Watching him get in it was one thing, then the sight of him bouncing all around the stage in it to the "Chicken Dance" song had me just about in tears!

Yep. Easily entertained.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Works-for-me Wednesday

Homemade Syrup

Homemade syrup is a treat I remember from having pancakes and waffles at my grandparents' house growing up. It's super easy to make, and is really convenient because a small bottle of maple flavor lasts a really, really long time, so there are fewer "Oops-we're-out-of-syrup" mornings because we always have some on hand. I just use the recipe on the side of the box of maple:

"Dissolve 2 cups of white (or brown) sugar in 1 cup of water and boil 1 minute. Cool and add 1/2 tsp. maple."

I always just put the sugar in the saucepan with the water and let it dissolve as it heats up, and I add the maple while it it still warm. You may also add 1/4 tsp. vanilla to make it extra yummy.

It's a bit thinner than storebought syrup, but tastes so much better. (It does thicken slightly when stored. I store mine in the refrigerator and warm slightly in the microwave before serving.) I bought a syrup dispenser at Walmart and, voila! The perfect syrup, whether we're having quick, frozen waffles or Texas-sized pancakes.

For more tips, visit Rocks In My Dryer.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

You don't have to be a dog person...

to admit... This is cute! Bethany took this picture of my little Zacchaeus last night:

He almost looks as if he's never done anything naughty!

Monday, November 06, 2006

"Holy Ambition"

The kids and I watched a great John Piper message from Romans 15 this morning on It's called, Holy Ambition: To Preach Where Christ Has Not Been Named. If you have time, I highly suggest watching it. He even addresses part of the message to kids, so if you have kids you think would benefit from a good "word" from Piper, have them watch it, too. (His Piper-style delivery always engages my kids!)

It's an excellent, excellent message.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

"Disturb us, Lord."

I heard this partially quoted in a Dallas Theological Seminary Chapel podcast (in a message preached by Brent Burckart on 10-18-16) so I looked it up to get the full text. For those may not be in the midst of studying explorers with their kids like I am, or who may not remember him from world history, Sir Francis Drake was the first to circumnavigate the world, between 1577-1580. What a powerful prayer.

The Prayer of Sir Francis Drake

"Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst for the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back the horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love."

Disturb us, Lord.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Well, for cryin' out loud...

Yesterday was National Men Make Dinner Day, and we missed it! I cooked! Well, better late than never, I suppose. My better half can be chief cook and bottle washer tonight. I couldn't care less what he makes. I'm a cheap date. Besides, he really knows his way around the kitchen, so it'll be easy as 1-2-3. Maybe he'll make the whole enchilada! I can't believe I let an important holiday like that fall through the cracks.

At least I didn't miss National Cliche Day today...

Returning to Holiness

A few years ago, a dear, Godly, pastor's-wife friend of mine recommended some books to me that have had a tremendous impact on my life: Returning to Holiness and How to Develop a Powerful Prayer Life, both written by Dr. Gregory Frizzell. Both of these books have forever changed the way I pray, but I keep "returning" to Returning to Holiness. He states that " today's highly programmed church, deep spiritual cleansing is either ignored entirely or quickly glossed over in a surface manner. As a result, God's people are largely unaware of the subtle, unconfessed sins that daily quench Christ's full power in their lives."

I have to admit, before I read the book I really didn't think much about daily confessing my sin. As I would pray, certain "biggies" would cross my mind and I'd ask God's help to change, but I was not inviting God to do a systematic, thorough search of my heart and mind. Of course, truth be told, that doesn't sound like much fun, does it? Laying it all out there before Him, discussing all of the ways I fall short... aren't I under grace anyway? Why dwell on the negative? So, for most of my Christ-following years, I ignored the issue of sin as it pertains to my daily walk.

Dr. Frizzell points out, however, that "Even elaborate prayer strategies will have very limited power without an accompanying move of profound repentance. According to Scripture, only cleansed hearts have mighty power with God (Hosea 10:12, Psalms 66:18, James 5:16)." This doesn't point to some daunting, legalistic exercise, however. God is calling us to a loving relationship with Him! Frizzell continues, "Genuine holiness is not about morbid introspection, but about miraculous biblical cleansing that turns us into joyful Christians, dynamic soul winners and mountain-moving intercessors."

He categorizes the sin in our lives into 7 basic categories:
  • Sins of Thought- sin begins in the heart and mind
  • Sins of Attitude- God is deeply focused on the attitude of our hearts
  • Sins of Speech- Oh, what an impact our words have!
  • Sins of Relationships- people we have hurt, grudges we still hold, improper relationships
  • Sins of Commission- any act of breaking God's law or doing something God forbids
  • Sins of Omission- not doing what we know we should
  • Sins of Self-rule and self-reliance- living according to our desires or trying to do things in our own strength

As I began to examine all of those areas in my life, praying through the scriptures that pertain to each one, I began to sense a powerful change. (I actually wore my book out and had to get it hole-punched to put in a binder!) I have found that bringing all my "stuff" before God is not some negative, awful experience to be avoided. You know why? Because He promises forgiveness! (1 John 1:9) What a release! Talk about an effective weight-loss program! After time in prayer of this nature, I get up... lighter!

After a period of incorporating daily, personal confession and cleansing into my prayer life I was still having trouble remembering the categories. Not to be legalistic, but to be thorough. One day I was kneeling in prayer and I glanced down at my hands, which I held open in front of me. I thought of how I was bringing all of my "junk" to Him, laying it down at the foot of the cross. Then I thought of His hands, and they were nailed to that cross for my transgressions. I rearranged the letters of the categories and made a little sketch in my prayer journal of a hand, spelling out the word SCARS- a letter on each finger. This visual image has really helped me remember:

  • Speech
  • Commission and Omission
  • Attitude and Thought
  • Relationships
  • Self-rule and Self-reliance

Whatever sins I lay before Him, He bears the scars for them. "But He was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought our peace was on Him; and by His wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:5 Praise You, Lord!

Confession is not about condemnation, it's about victory.It's about being conformed to Christ's image. It's about breaking strongholds. It's about freedom. It's about fellowship with our Heavenly Father. We are invited to "boldly" come before the throne of grace because of what Christ has done for us, "that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16 I am His dearly-loved child. He wants me to walk in holiness and righteousness before Him. He has already done the work. I simply need to come... not to "get blessed" but because I love Him.

Oh, how I continue seek unbroken fellowship with Him, and how I earnestly pray that for you as well.

"If My people which are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Works-for-me Wednesday

Hot/Cold Thermal Bags

If you're like me, you don't always go straight home after going to the grocery store. My Walmart-runs often happen with little or no planning, and these bags that I picked up have saved me! I found them for about $2.50 in the frozen food section at Walmart. I keep a couple of them rolled up in the back of the car so they're always handy. They really do keep cold food cold while I wait for the kids to get out of their activites or run the rest of my errands. They work for me!

For more tips, visit Rocks in My Dryer.

Have a great Wednesday!

Halloween Cuteness

Peter from Narnia and Halloween Diva

Our fun friends! Lance dresses like Martin Luther each year in honor of Reformation Day. I just love it!

The pumpkin soup was wonderful, and my friend Cindy brought some yummy appetizers. We ate entirely too much, enjoyed great conversation and greeted all of the goblins and superheroes that came to the door (while the kids made a haul in our neighborhood!). We had a really fun evening. Of course, my kids immediately surrendered all of their Snickers upon returning home. That's all I ask...

Now Christmas is officially next month. Yey!