Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Have you discovered yet? We love it at our house. I listen whenever I get a chance.. to Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Beth Moore, John Piper, and Chuck Swindoll. Many times I'll be listening to a radio broadcast while driving home, or on the way to pick up the kids. Then I'll pull into the driveway or the kids will pile into the car midway through. So, I can just look up that radio ministry on Oneplace and listen to the rest of it later. (Like yesterday when I caught the tail end of this. Oh my word- good stuff.) I just love it!

I've been listening to a great Nancy Leigh DeMoss series this week as part of my morning quiet time/ Bible study. As I type this post, my son is sitting beside me listening to an episode of Adventures In Odyssey that he hasn't heard yet (a big hit in this house!)

If you haven't been to Oneplace yet, I'd encourage you to check it out. It really works for me!

For more tips, visit Rocks in My Dryer. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

It's the little things...

Mother Teresa said, "We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love."

I love this quote because it reminds me of all those small things I do each day for those in my family, and inspires me to do them with great love. Today, a friend of mine did what she probably considers a small thing- she invited me over for a cup of tea and a quick Indian-style (as in, from India) brunch. Each of us had limited time, so I was just at her house for a bit while our boys enjoyed the crisp, sunny air outside. As I sat at her counter sipping tea, watching her scramble eggs and listening to her wisdom, I was touched by the great love with which she did such a small thing.

I just wanted to share that today, as I was reminded anew that so often it is those little things- a scrambled egg, a cup of tea, and a listening ear- that mean so, so much.

In Other Words: What Manner of Spirit You are Of

"Satan's ultimate lie is that you are capable of being the god of your own life, and his ultimate bondage is getting you to live as though his lie is truth."
~ Neil Anderson ~

They obviously thought Jesus didn't have the situation well in hand. Upon seeing the Samaritans reject Jesus, James and John asked, "Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?" (Luke 9:54) This cracks me up every time I read it. It's just what I do. I can just imagine, if Jesus were still on this earth in the flesh standing before me, I might say the same thing. I might actually ask God incarnate, "Do you want me to handle this? Let me get this one." But Jesus rebukes them, saying, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of." (v. 55) You are not God. He then explains what His plans were- which at that point did not involve charring the Samaritans, but saving them.

It's the first lie that humankind ever bought into. Satan convinced Eve (the woman fell for it first!) that God was holding out on them, that He had something He didn't want them to have, but that they deserved: the position of being God. And, ever since, that's been our main struggle in one form or another. We do not know what manner of spirit we are of.

Sometimes like James and John, I just want to help. Like maybe I'm saving Him the trouble of dealing with my minutia while there are such bigger things in this world for Him to handle. "It's okay, God. You formed me in my mother's womb and died for my eternity, but I can take it from here. You've got bigger fish to fry. Like that whole thing in Iraq." Other times it's more out of a desire for comfort or image. "I'm afraid God won't give me what I want if I leave it up to Him." At times it's out of fear. "I've seen what happens to people who are 'sold out' for Jesus. They end up as missionaries or martyrs. No way!"

I've been struggling personally (off and on) for the past few years with another form of "being the god of my own life," a baptized version of it: Doing God's will in my own strength. It's exhausting! He didn't call me to tasks for which I wouldn't need Him, just the opposite. He is about relationship. He calls me to what will send me running to Him and keep me clinging to Him, for my good and His glory.

No matter how the enemy convinces us we can be our own god, we are as succeptible to it as Adam and Eve were. But I like to remember that even after they fell for the lie God came looking for them. He still sought them. What grace. What love! He still scoops me up, pushes my hair back from my eyes, brushes the dust of self-will off of me, removes that ill-fitting crown from my head and says, "Why don't you let Me, child. You do not know what manner of spirit you are of." No matter what I may have thought I was, His answer is "I AM."

I think I'll let Him.

To read more insights from other IOW participants or to add your own link, visit Christine at Fruit In Season. Thanks for hosting, Christine!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Monday, Meme, and Music

I was tagged by Jenny at Home is Where You Start From to participate in this meme based on the Mastercard commercials. (You know, the ones that list how much certain things cost, then at the end it says one thing that is "priceless?") SO, this is my "Priceless Five"

5 ...... days since I've posted on this blog ::gasp!::

4..... really challenging days are behind me (I hope! They sort of snuck up on me in the first place!)

3.....the number of brain cells I have left to rub together as a result of the aforementioned, which would explain why this isn't going to be a very Deep and Meaningful Post. :)

2...... blogs I clicked on this morning before I found:

1.... that I had never read before: One Woman's World

Priceless.....Clicking on Heather's link to find that I am a
in the category of "Most Thought-Provoking" blog. Wow! And on a day that I haven't been able to provoke any thoughts! (Besides, I was actually going over there to nominate other people. Isn't that fun?) So, whoever nominated me, thank you, thank you. I really needed this today!

As I mentioned, it turned out to be a challenging week. No one's sick, like at Kim's and Sissy B.'s. (I've been praying for them and for all of you who may have viruses making the rounds in your homes.) We are in the midst of "ordering our lives" at our house at the moment, in a radical way. In every area- financially, spiritually, organizationally, and prioritizationally (I just used my three remaining brain cells to make up that last word. Shoot.) Anyway, it's a challenge. It's been lovingly brought about by the Lord Himself, but it's difficult. And it has involved lots and lots of paint, boxes, prayer and a few tears. The upshot of all of it is that I have learned that even when you think you've already come to the end of yourself, perhaps you haven't. I hope I'm there now.

Along the way these past few days, my ever-faithful God Who knows how music speaks to me led me to Travis Cottrell's newest cd, which was my weekend soundtrack. GO. to. this. website. Click on "music" in the lower left, choose the top album, "Found" and click on the first song: "Falling." Turn up your speakers. You will worship. Oh my WORD.

Okay, I will stop typing so you will go there now. (I mean it!)

Have a blessed Monday!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Blast From The Past

I was tagged by Margaret over at GoGo's World to do this fun meme (originally started by Lindsay.) It's so neat, because I used to post SO much stuff... before anyone was reading my blog besides my mom and my sweet friend Holly. I originally started this blog to keep everyone up on our travels and to post updates on my sweet 12-year-old daughter as she traveled without her parents in China last summer. For 5 weeks. (Oh, how I needed y'all then!!) Once I had my blog it just became the overflow of my brain. Now that a couple more of you are reading it, it would mean SO much to me for you to read some of what I've written in the past!

Instead of posting links, I've reposted the posts here so there's not a lot clicking involved for you... just s-c-r-o-l-l-i-n-g. There are four categories: Funny, Serious, Ugly, and All About Me.


originally aired July 17, 2006

This afternoon I read the book The Purse-Driven Life by Anita Renfroe. (SO funny! Short, and perfect for a quick, summer-afternoon read, when it's too hot to think too deeply...) In it, she quotes this poem, written by an unknown author and an obvious take-off on the much loved "Footprints" poem. Although I hadn't see it yet, I Googled it and found it all over the internet!

Buttprints in the Sand

One night I had a wondrous dream
One set of footprints there was seen
The footprints of my precious Lord
But mine were not along the shore

But then some stranger prints appeared
And I asked the Lord, "What have we here?
Those prints are large and round and neat
But Lord, they are too big for feet."

"My child," He said in somber tones
"For miles I carried you alone
I challenged you to walk in faith
But you refused and made Me wait

"You disobeyed, you would not grow
The walk of faith you would not know
So I got tired and got fed up
And there I dropped you on your butt

"Because in life there comes a time
When one must fight and one must climb
When one must rise and take a stand
Or leave their buttprints in the sand."

Now, while it cracks me up (no pun intended- oh, who am I kidding, all my puns are intended) somehow it just doesn't sit well with me (ahem) . So I added to the end:

"As you sat upon the beach
You were never beyond My reach.
Your knee prints that I see beside
Remain untouched by the approaching tide

"They show you knew to call to Me
And I heard your heartfelt plea
Let Me help you to your feet
And your joy I'll make complete.

Remember, draw your strength from Me
As you battle the enemy.
You may leave buttprints in the sand
But no one can snatch you from My right hand."


originally aired July 23, 2006

Last night, our teaching pastor delivered a message entitled, "Stars." The focus scripture was Psalm 19:

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge." (verses 1 & 2)

If, he pointed out, "day after day they pour forth speech," what are the stars saying?

1. He is God. (verse 1)

2. That we are not. (Isaiah 40 :25-26)

3. We are loved. (Psalm 8: 3-4)

It was an excellent, excellent message (and very timely for us as we are studying astronomy!)

As I listened, I was reminded of a similar message I heard a few months ago by Louis Giglio at a Chris Tomlin concert. There was a certain photo he showed that absolutely took my breath away, so I stayed up late last night searching the internet for it. I found it at the Hubble Site:

This image of the core of the nearby Whirlpool Galaxy, was taken with the camera on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. It shows a striking , dark "X" silhouetted across the galaxy's nucleus. The "X" is due to absorption by dust and marks the exact position of a black hole which may have a mass equivalent to one-million stars like the sun.

What this looks like to me, is a reminder that "we are loved." (NASA can call it an "X" if they want... the Greek letter "chi" is a common abbreviation for "Cristos" in some New Testament manuscripts.) I love that it's due to "absorption by dust" and marks a massive black hole. My punishment was absorbed on the cross, and my sin may as well have disappeared into a black hole. What a glorious thought!

Our pastor quoted from the book, The Privileged Planet , that "Earth is located in the prime place for life, but also observation." From that he highlighted the fact that "God gave us the best platform to observe and know Him." According to the NASA website, "the [Whirlpool] galaxy is spectacular because it is tilted nearly face-on to Earth, allowing for an unobstructed view of its bright core."


Unobstructed view.

The best platform to observe and know Him.

This morning I am reminded afresh that the cross of Christ is a "face-on, unobstructed view" of the Father's love for us. It is the "platform by which we may observe and know Him." The cross is there, for those who will find it. And it is there to be found.

Ugly: (I categorize this as "ugly" because it was sort-of a rant)

Maybe I'm Missing Something...

originally ranted posted August 2, 2006

but is this really necessary to reach today's youth for Christ?

Don't get me wrong. I love fun. I love games. I love games with kids/youth. In fact, my husband and I coordinate the Awana club at our church which draws 400+ kids (age 3 through high school) each week, and one of the key components is the game portion of the night. We've had kids start coming for the games, then begin attending club each week, which eventually led to the entire family joining the church. Praise God! We've played games on the beach in China and in villages in West Africa. I've seen total strangers come together and, through games, build a rapport and eventually hear the saving message of the gospel. I totally get the idea of using games as outreach. But, some of it has gone too far in my opinion. And I've found out that apparently others feel the same way. Since this was on my mind this week, I did a search and found an article (in its entirety at that was originally published in "World Magazine" back in 2002. I think Gene Veith summarizes nicely why some of the games in today's youth groups, and one in particular that I've witnessed recently, bother me so much:

"What do teenagers learn from these youth group activities? Nothing of the Bible. Nothing of theology. Nothing of the cost of discipleship. But they do learn some lessons that they can carry with them the rest of their lives:

Lose your inhibitions. Young people usually have inhibitions against doing anything too embarrassing or shameful. These exercises are designed to free people from such hangups. For some reason, post-Freudian psychologists—whose "sensitivity groups" are the model for these kinds of exercises—maintain that such inhibitions are bad. Christians, though, have always insisted that we need to feel inhibited about indulging in things for which we should feel ashamed. This is part of what we mean by developing a conscience.
Though being "gross" may not be sinful in itself, overcoming natural revulsions can only train a child to become uninhibited about more important things.

Give in to peer pressure. Defenders of these kinds of activities maintain that they help create group unity. The way they work, though, is to overcome a teenager's inhibitions with the greater desire to go along with the group. In other words, these exercises teach the teenager to give in to peer pressure. Instead, youth groups need to teach Christian teenagers not to go along with the crowd and to stand up against what their friends want them to do.

Christianity is stupid. Status-conscious teenagers know that those who are so desperate to be liked that they will do anything to curry favor are impossible to respect. Young people may come to off-the-wall youth group meetings, but when they grow up, they will likely associate the church with other immature, juvenile phases of their lives, and Christianity will be something they will grow out of.

Teenagers get enough entertainment, psychology, and hedonism from their culture. They don't need it from their church. What they need—and often yearn for—is God's Word, catechesis, and spiritual formation."© World Magazine, 2002. To learn more about World, visit the magazine’s web site at or call (800) 951-NEWS (6397).

Though I'm leery of anything labeled "contemplative" these days (another blog topic for another day!) I found a review for the book Contemplative Youth Ministry. The review (which can be found here) has some interesting observations from the book as well as thoughts from the reviewer:

"Mark writes that youth ministry has often lacked a sense of presence, that instead we’ve concentrated most of our ministries on either the anxieties of young people or the anxieties of the adults within our churches."

"When the anxieties that drive us are those of the young people, (Church is boring, God is about conformity, Christians are boring) then we create programs and events that are all about fun and recreation, the programs attempt to be culture friendly involving frozen chickens, data projectors, play stations and mystery trips but lack the deeper, prayerful and mission action of the Christian faith."

I feel I should say at this point that I really admire those who have committed to work in youth ministry. That takes a special calling and a unique set of gifts (most of which I admittedly do not have!) I am awed and humbled by some of the dynamic folks at my church who serve in our youth ministry, motivated by hearts completely on fire for the Lord. It's wonderful to see! Now that I have a "youth" of my own, our family is directly feeling the impact of those dedicated servants.

But I feel the above authors make great points. I think there is a fine line between purpose-driven outreach and anxiety-driven wackiness. When that line is crossed, the message is lost. As I read some of the ideas offered on the internet on youth ministry websites and observe some of the games at gatherings I've attended personally, I can't help but ask myself, "Is this being done to the glory of God? Can this be done to His glory? Is any of this pointing to Jesus Christ? What are we really teaching these kids?"

Does playing Butt Charades , swallowing live goldfish , or drinking nasty concoctions from a blender do a good job of teaching: "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, Whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." (1 Cor. 6:19)

Maybe I'm missing something...

All About Me:

I will post a link for this one, since it was so recent and you probably read it anyway. If you didn't, here are 5 Things You Didn't Know About Me.

Well, there you have it. If you've read this far... thank you! Now that I've found your blogs I wish, wish, wish I had known you were there all along. If anyone else does a "blast from the past" let me know, I want to see it! God is using so many of your blogs to speak to me each day.

For now, I tag Laurel, Sissy B., and Iris.

Works-for-me-Wednesday: Highlighting Footnotes

This post was inspired by these fun new retractable highlighters I bought last night. I was so excited, I couldn't wait to open them this morning and... highlight stuff! Woo-hoo!

Perhaps it's weird, but I have a thing for highlighting when I read. That's why audio books are practically excruciating for me unless they are fiction. I desperately need. to. highlight. My Bible looks like it might be a Rainbow Study Bible, but no, it's just all my intellectual artwork.

One year for my birthday a good friend of mine gave me some of these, which combine two of my favorite things: highlighters and post-it notes (which I'm all about for using for bookmarks, since they don't fall out when you toss your book into your tote or purse) and these are huge for me in using my prayer Bible.

Anyway, this post isn't simply about how highlighters "work for me,"though in general they are just about one of my favorite things on the planet. What WORKS FOR ME besides highlighting any text I can reach, is highlighting footnotes in a book.

A few years ago as I was reading I kept noticing that many times when I would highlight a particular meaningful passage it would be footnoted. I started flipping to the back and highlighting the corresponding footnote. When I'm finished with a book, I'll scan the footnotes and see if a particular author or original source was repeatedly highlighted and I'll possibly pick up that book or author. (If they are older books, then frequently I'll find them on Amazon for like a penny or something.) Years ago this is how I found out how much I loved Amy Carmichael- from references to her and quotes of hers in Elisabeth Elliot books. I've also gotten some wonderful Bible study tools because I've highlighted the sources some of my favorite Bible study authors have quoted. This has been helpful for me because I've been able to get right to the source and read some of the authors who are influencing some of the authors who are influencing me.

For more great tips, visit Rocks In My Dryer. Highlight something fun today! :)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

In Other Words: Influencing the Lost

"You act more like a Christian by your influence on the lost,
than the saved people you impress"
~ Dr. Alvin Reid ~

It's simple, really. It's why we're still here. What were we created for, exactly? According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and worded so well by John Piper, "The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." But, we can do that in heaven. If that's all He wanted us to do He could take us all home right now. Are we created to praise Him? Again, we could do that in the heavenlies. (And will! I can't wait!) Fellowship with other believers? We will enjoy that for eternity in heaven as well. The one and only reason we are still on this earth at this very moment is to "influence the lost." Every other purpose for our existence could (and will) be realized in heaven. I will spend eternity being impressed by other saved people, no doubt. Corrie Ten Boom, Jim and Betty Elliot, Joseph, Amy Carmichael, Apostle Paul and Adoniram Judson, among countless others come to mind. It's not wrong to be impressed by the saved, but it's not what we're here for and there's time for that (in the proper perspective) later. The one thing (for which we were created) that we can't and won't do in heaven is influence the lost. The time for that is now.

To read more thoughts from In Other Words participants, visit Laurel Wreath.

Thanks for hosting us today, Laurel!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Made to Prosper

God's Word speaks to me every day, but this morning in particular I found myself speaking to it. Right into my Bible. Specifically, to Joseph. I've been hanging in there with this poor guy for a few days now. I always wince when he boasts to his brothers about the coat and when he proudly proclaims his dreams of them bowing to him. I read quickly through the part about the pit, my own way hurrying the events along to get him to the palace, I suppose. I enjoyed his time in the palace with him and then that darned incident with Potiphar's wife lands him in prison. And then the one guy he helped gets out forgets to tell Pharoah about him! Today I caught myself saying, "Hold on, Joseph! It's okay! I've read chapter 41! It's all going to work out!"

Two verses, so very similar in their wording, stuck out to me today: "...and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper." One time those words were written about his life in the palace (Gen. 39:3), and one time while he was in prison (39:23). The last time I read it "...the Lord made it prosper," I thought to myself, "Sure, but, he was still in prison." God's way of prospering him was not to remove him from the prison. Yet.

I looked up "prosper" in the Hebrew Lexicon, and it comes from a root word for which one of the definitions is "to go over or through, as a river." God didn't immediately change Joseph's location, but he enabled him to "go through" it. To "go over", or rise above it. He was made to prosper in the prison because day-by-day, month-by-month he was empowered to "get through" it, and to rise above his circumstances. Of course, the word "prosper" means what we all think it means, too: "to go well or succeed." We see that in the fact that Joseph was given special responsibilities wherever he was. His devotion to God was evidently obvious to others. Sometimes God can prosper us simply by enabling us to get through something or get over something. As a river. Whether in the pit, the palace, or the prison... God will prosper the one wholly devoted to Him. That's a "prosperity gospel" worth preaching.

My prayer is that you and I would be "made to prosper" today, by God's grace, wherever we are.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sunday Funny

A boy and his mother took their places in the pew and were waiting for the worship service to begin. The boy was excited; this was his first day in Big Church! While anxiously looking around the sanctuary, he noticed a large military plaque on the wall. The plaque had many names listed on it.

"What is that, Mommy?" the boy asked.

"Oh, that," said his mother. "Those are the names of all the people from our church who have died in the service."

The boy sat quietly for a moment, thinking. Finally he asked her nervously, "The 9:30 service or the 11:00 service?"

Saturday, January 20, 2007


"When I pray for any one, I place him right in view of my heart, and neither see nor think of anything else, but look at him alone with my soul."
Martin Luther

Friday, January 19, 2007

Seasons of the Soil

"Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.This is the seed sown along the path." Matt. 13:19

This was me growing up. "Along the path" to young womanhood, sometimes I just wasn't listening. Other times I simply lacked the cognitive ability to understand what was taught to me by those sweet Sunday School teachers or my parents. Besides, my path at that time was so strewn with Tiger Beat Magazines, Judy Blume books and the opinions of my friends, often the seeds of truth couldn't get through to take root.

"The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away." Matt. 13: 20-21

Oh, the "rocky places." High school and college. Rocky, indeed. I loved hearing God's Word. I loved Michael W. Smith songs. Oh, how I was moved at church. But, I could separate my "church world" from my "friend world" so very easily. So much truth bounced right off of me as I bounced between the two.

"The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful." Matt. 13:22

Yes, my "thorny" twenties. Finishing my degrees, chasing success in my career, becoming a mom and desperately wanting to "do it all." (And look good doing it!) How I bought the lie that "You can and should have it all! You deserve it!" Deceitful, indeed. So much truth was choked out.

"But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown." Matt. 13:23

Oh Lord, let this be me now. As I've gone through my "tilling thirties," You have been so faithful to help me identify, uproot and weed out so many of the enemy's lies. How I want to eagerly receive the seeds of truth that are sown into the soil of my heart each day. May it fall on rich, ready soil; soil that is free of rocks and thorns and only along the paths and rows that you have marked out for my life. Thank You for being the Faithful Sower in all my seasons thus far. As I continue treading the terrain of my thirties may I plow ahead, my Savior's yoke upon me, into increasingly fruitful forties and fifties, by Your grace and for Your glory. Amen.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

This is JUST the coolest thing...

In case you haven't seen this yet, go here. God is putting His Ephesians 3:20 thumbprint all over this thing.

Blogging moms rock.

Works-for-me Wednesday: Getting a Good Haircut

I'm in need of a haircut this week, so this was on my mind. I go to an inexpensive hair salon franchise that I started going to a few years ago when I wanted to become less "high maintenance" with my hair. We began traveling more frequently and I found that keeping up with highlights and lowlights and a style that needed frequent trims was both time consuming and costly. When I switched to the cheaper salon (and stopped going to someone who knew my head better than I did) I adopted a couple of habits that work for me. I happened to catch part of a Rachel Ray episode during the Christmas break, and the segment was about getting a good haircut. Some things I usually do were actually featured as "tips" on the show. Go, me!

"Style your hair before going to the salon. When you arrive at the salon, we want to see your hair the way you normally style it. We want to see your abilities, so that when we design a hair style, you can actually do it yourself. You don't want to get a haircut and then get home and you can't manage it."

It's tempting to go in a ponytail and just let them deal with it, but I've had better success when I do my hair before I go, so they can know how I like to look, where I wear my part, etc.

"You should never do a consultation with wet hair. The consultation is the most important thing and it's when the biggest mistakes happen. We want to see your hair when it's dry, what the texture feels like, if there are any colics or other qualities we might not detect when the hair is wet."

Besides, I look just horrible with wet hair and don't like having conversations with anyone while my hair is wet and hangy. (At the pool it's ball cap or hair up. Always. :)

And my favorite:

"Show your stylist photos of hairstyles you like. It's not about trying to look like a celebrity, but about saying "This is what I like," so everyone's on the same page."

It's not about trying to look like a celebrity... No kidding, LOL! Over the years I've brought in so many pictures (though off the top of my head I can only think of Kathy Lee Gifford and Paula Zahn specifically). I wanted certain aspects of the styles in each of the pictures, and it helped my stylist to get a "visual." I've gotten the cut I wanted but alas, no one's mistaken me for Mrs. Gifford or Ms. Zahn.

The rest of the tips can be read at the Rachel Ray website, but these are a few that have worked for me!

For more ideas, visit Rocks in My Dryer. Have a good hair day!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

In Other Words: Words Spoken Against Us

"Let us learn to discern whether the words spoken against us or against God or against the truth are merely for the wind--spoken not from the soul, but from the sore. If they are for the wind, let us wait in silence and not reprove. Restoring the soul, not reproving the sore, is the aim of our love"

~ John Piper from "A Godward Life"~

I have often heard the quote, "Hurting people hurt people." I have found this to be so true. When I am hurting, I lash out. When someone hurts me I can usually discern that they, too, are hurting.

I have also heard, "Never miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut." Is what was said truly against me? Give it to God, my Shield and Defender. Is it against God? Then I don't need to answer it, He can answer for Himself. Was it spoken against the truth? The truth, God's Truth is not threatened at all by human words which fall like pebbles being cast against the side of a mountain. If the words that were spoken are "merely for the wind," then being silent allows the wind carry them to the One Who commands both the wind and the waves.

We are to not just stand idly by in our silence, but stand praying. It is in carrying the sore and the wounded soul behind it before the throne of grace that we find ourselves there as well. And that's where we both need to be.

For more reflections on this week's quote, visit Loni at Joy in the Morning.

Monday, January 15, 2007

5 Things You Didn't Know About Me

Yey, I've been tagged again! This time by Iris. I've been away from the computer all day and in my mind when I tried to think of what to write throughout the day, it sort of morphed into the "Six Weird Things" meme that's been going around. (I have found myself nodding along with so many others on the "weird" meme, so either I'm not as weird as I thought or you're all as weird as me!) Any shred o' normal about me gets posted here , so either you already know it or have access to it in the archives. Besides, some of my best friends as well as my family read my blog, so when I tried to come up with what they may not know, some of it is just this side of normal. As a result, my "things-you-didn't-know-about-me" are somewhat... weird. My kids were happy to help me compile the following list today, so hopefully there's something here for everyone, my new blogging friends as well as those who know me best:

5 Things You Didn't Know About Me
(Some Of Which Might Be Weird)

1. I talk to my weenie dog. That may not be so weird, as there are those who talk to their plants or maybe inanimate objects, but the fun thing is... my dog talks back. His voice is strikingly similar to mine but is slightly higher. I'm not sure if it's characteristic of the breed or not, but I find him to be very insightful and quite witty. My whole family (okay, mainly the kids and I- I'll leave my dignified husband out of this) has gotten used to him interjecting his thoughts into conversations and we all enjoy his quick, clever repartee. I knew we were completely over the edge a couple of years ago when my son said, "Oh, I just love it when he says that!"

2. I am completely directionally challenged. Completely. I can drive somewhere repeatedly and still get lost getting there. It's by the grace of God that I find my way home anytime I leave. It's been frustrating, embarrassing and everything in between, but I'm learning to live with it and almost always find my way home. I'm here right now, at least. :::checking my surroundings:::

3. I make really, really strong coffee. The way my daugher put it, "You just dump the whole bag in when you make coffee." I love it that way. I just bite off a hunk in the morning and I'm good to go... no need for a mug.

4. I cannot stand anything to do with (...I almost can't type the word...) mucus. The Mucinex commercial about makes me run out of the room. I cannot stand thinking about it! When the kids were little and it would be all shades of, you know, and I'd have to wipe their noses I would gag all the way to the trashcan to throw the tissue away. (Or worse was using that little suction thingy!! I'm icking out right now just typing this!) Oh! In China, the men had a (I won't say disgusting, it's cultural) practice of pushing one nostril closed and blowing out of the other one right onto the sidewalk and I would about DIE everytime. (One member of our team called them "snot rockets," which my dear son now sings it to the tune of the "Hot Pockets" commercial when he wants to get a rise out of me.) ::::shudder:::: Okay, moving on.

5. I have very eclectic selections in my iPod. I started to say music, but it's not just music. I've got everything from 80's music (that I love to listen to on the treadmill) to hymns (the Passion variety as well as orchestral/traditional), Chinese and African music, Greek and Latin lessons, Grammar Girl podcasts, Awana verses set to music, musicals like Les Miserables and Wicked, praise and worship, sermons and seminary podcasts... I'm surprised my iPod doesn't explode just sitting there. If I could peek inside it, I can imagine David Lee Roth in one corner and Sandi Patty in another. They're both looking sideways at Prince, and everyone's trying to wrap their minds around what John Piper's saying. It's a party in there for sure! And somebody's gettin' saved...

So there you have it! Five (not-necessarily-normal) things you didn't know about me. I hope it's been educational.

I tag: Chris, Susanne, and Janis to tell us 5 things, weird or not, that we don't know about you. :)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Is it SO wrong...

to be HOME?

So far this weekend:

I have gone through the kids' schoolwork, grading and filing papers...
Bethany and I have curled up and watched our favorite HGTV shows together...
Luke and the kids have made homemade pizzas...
Luke and Kyle have had a Mancala tournament...
Kyle has built all kinds of configurations with the Marbleworks game...
Bethany has cleaned out her dresser and her desk...
We've read whatever books we're into...
I've worked on our school plans for next week...
Luke's been touching up paint around the house...
we've generally enjoyed one another's company. Alot.

And you know what? I've felt guilty the whole time! As Linda pointed out yesterday in her comment, sometimes these "weather events" turn out to be "not so much." Well, it's been insanely cold, and awfully gray and rainy (sometimes even thunderstormy)... but not frozen. We could've gone to _______(fill in the blank with whatever activity we either chose not to attend or which was canceled.) I feel guilty because we could've gone. It was physically possible to get there. We aren't socked in by ice. But you know what? I'm glad we've been home! If the threat of winter weather is what has to happen to get us to all s-l-o-w down and stay home for 48 hours, then I'm glad it was on the radar. We had an Awana event this past Tuesday (which over 370 people attended) so it's okay if everyone stays home tonight to watch the NFL playoffs enjoy family time. Right? Besides, the sore throat and general ickiness that's been passed around lately has landed on me at the moment, and I feel ooky.

So, I'm hoping this feeling of guilt which tells me that we could've or even should've been elsewhere this weekend goes away, and it can take my sore throat with it. Whether it freezes later or not is still up in the air (!) but I'm enjoying being at home in my comfy sweater and fleecy houseshoes.

And if that's wrong, I don't wanna be right!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Frozen in Time

Like most families, we head into the weekend each Friday with a fair amount of plans and obligations ahead of us. We look forward to it, of course, but nonetheless our weekends usually involve running from here to there. Well, this weekend in our area of the state, three little words have brought that to a screeching sliding halt: "Winter Storm Warning."

My sweet nephew, Thomas, had his birthday party this morning. Being the weather wimps we are, and given that they live an hour + away, in the direction of the "arctic blast," we chose to stay home.

I just wanted to say a quick, "Happy Birthday Thomas!" Thanks for singing "The B-I-B-L-E" to me on the phone this week. You made my heart melt! After the Great Thaw, following the Big Freeze, we'll come see you and bring you your birthday present. Aunt Cyndi loves you!!

It just makes good sense to stay home today. The roads between here and there are frot with danger. Of course, they're not icy yet, but they will be. And if that knowledge isn't disturbing enough, the rain itself, which we hardly see around here, can be pretty distracting to drivers. Although the bridges and overpasses are clear of ice at this moment, they are not clear of the news reporters who have stationed themselves along the highways. So, of course, we must be careful...

We also canceled Awana for tomorrow night. Anytime you try to coordinate 500+ people, its best to make decisions sooner rather than later. Since yesterday we were able to send a mass email out from the church office and maximize the time needed to spread the word, we called it yesterday. So, I feel like I have just been given T-I-M-E this weekend!

So what am I doing with it? (Besides blogging about it?) Folding laundry. Grading the kids' work from this week (and majorly having a "teacher work day.") Staying hopped-up on pseudo-Sudafed and Zicam because I'm not feeling 100%. Enjoying my family all being home together. Watching the news of the approaching weather. We'll see if it turns out as icy as they say, but it's definitely good stay-in-and-sip-spiced-tea weather.

Have a good Saturday! For those of you in the path of the winter weather, stay warm!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Continuing to Listen

Abraham Sacrifices Isaac, by Rembrandt 1635

It's a difficult story to read. I've been familiar with it for years, heard much teaching from it, gleaned numerous principles from it, and know how it turns out... but it's still difficult to read.

A few years ago the kids and I began listening through The Bible in Living Sound cd's. As hard as the account of Abraham's test is to read, it's even harder to listen to, even as dramatized for children. One thing that struck me as we listened to the way it was dramatized was how Abraham called out to God as he took the knife to do as God had commanded him. He began to do something that He totally didn't understand. As he prepared to obey God, he was crying out loudly to Him. I can imagine that this is pretty accurate. Surely he couldn't have silently carried out something so unthinkable. Even in the midst of his outcry, though, he heard God's voice once again as He said, "Abraham, Abraham!" and stopped him.

The initial call to go to Mt. Moriah began with God saying, "Abraham!" (Gen. 22:1)

When God spoke to him in the midst of the sacrifice on the mountain it was, "Abraham! Abraham!" (22:11) Perhaps God had to say it twice to be heard over his (and maybe even Isaac's) cries.

It was critical for Abraham to hear God the first time, but it was crucial that he heard Him the second time.

What I learn from this is that as I carry out that which I believe God has directed me to do, both the difficult things as well as the things that bring me great joy, I must stay attentive to His voice. Just as He initially prompted me to do something, He will continue direct me, further refining His plans as they are carried out in my life. He may even change my course entirely!

I don't want to miss it. It's crucial that I hear Him.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Works-for-me Wednesday: Chicken Spaghetti

It's "low fat recipe" day over at Shannon's for WFMW. I have to admit, I have never been a particularly "healthy" cook. I grew up in the kitchen with my mom and grandmothers, three of the best southern cooks I know. I can fry up anything and make gravy to go over it! In the past few years, however, my body's ability to, um, "hide" those extra calories has decreased while my knowledge of nutrition has increased, so I have been watching fat content a little more closely. Rather than going whole-hog (sorry) into "low fat cooking" or become completely crunchy, I have been putting some of my favorite recipes on a diet. I started buying low/non-fat cream cheese, soups, etc. to use in my favorite recipes, and all of them still taste great. For now, that's as "health conscious" as it's been around here (except for the kids being our "trans-fat watchdogs" since we read about how bad those are!)

Here is one of my family's favorite dishes that I have begun making with low-fat, low-sodium ingredients. I've also found it to be very potluck-popular at gatherings.

Chicken Spaghetti

4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 clove garlic (or 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic)
Celery (or celery salt)
Bell pepper
1 can low-fat/low-sodium cream of chicken soup
1 can low-fat/low-sodium cream of mushroom soup
1 can chopped rotel
1 sm. Jar of pimento
1 sm. pkg. spaghetti
Shredded cheese

Boil chicken, save the broth. Cut chicken into chunks. Using a small amount of broth, saute onions, garlic, celery, and bell pepper. Add soups, Rotel, and pimento. If too thick you may add more broth. Add chicken, salt and pepper.

Boil spaghetti. Mix spaghetti and sauce and pour into baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Once mixed together, this dish also does well in a crock pot set on low/warm.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Fun Book Meme

My first tag! Thanks, Kim!

I don't have a fun story to go along with mine like she does, though. Hers is way cool! Go check it out if you haven't been by her blog yet.

Here are directions:

1)Grab the book closest to you
2)Open to page 123,go down to the fourth sentence
3)Post the text of the following 3 sentences on your blog
4)Name the author and book title
5)Tag three people to do the same

I have a stack close to me, but here's one on top:

Get Out of That Pit, by Beth Moore.

Here are sentences 5,6,and 7 on page 123:

"His Highness is willing to come to us in our lowness. Our cries blow the lid off the cistern we're trapped in. They voice openness."

A good word!

I tag Amberly, Margaret, and Linda. :)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Making a Flap

Poor vultures.

It wasn't their fault. They were just doing what vultures do: perch or fly way up high, look for dead animal carcasses, swoop down and devour what's left on the bones. It may sound gross to us, but it's their lot in life. It's part of the "food chain," "circle of life," or as the Croc Hunter used to say... "Nay-chuh's way".

But not this particular day. This particular day they swooped down and were driven away. Forcefully. What looked to them like animal carcasses conveniently laid out like a buffet was actually a carefully prepared sacrifice, laid before the Lord by Abram. The Lord had just spoken a powerful word over Abram's life (Genesis, chapter 15) and God was showing up later to seal the deal, or confirm His promise to Abram, by a remarkable ceremony. The ancient covenants of that time involved the cutting in half of animals, so that the pledging parties could walk between them, affirming that the same should happen to them if they broke the covenant. God had instructed Abram to set up such a ceremony by cutting a heiffer, a goat, a ram, a dove and a pidgeon in two and arranging the pieces.

Abram had done as the Lord instructed and was faithfully waiting for God to show up. Can you imagine? I can only imagine how Abram's heart was beating. The God of the Universe was going to "cut a covenant"... with him! It must've taken some time to gather the animals, kill them, and cut them (Oh, my. Sawing a cow. Half a heifer. Can you say, "Thank you, new covenant!" That's what I'm thinking right about now!) The animal pieces were carefully arranged for this ceremony that God (did I already mention that the God of the Universe was going to show up for this?? Whoa!) had ordained.

But, who showed up first? The "birds of prey."

And they always do. Whatever it is I have carefully laid aside for God becomes a target for the "birds of prey." First and foremost, my time. My children. My time with my children. Time with my husband. My morning quiet times. Money. Time in God's Word. Meal time with my family. My thoughts. At different times, that which God has ordained that I carefully arrange for Him has gotten "eaten up" by other things. Not necessarily evil things, but other things.

So what do I do? Like I imagine Abram did, I flap. I flail. I yell "Shoo! Shoo!" I say (like my fun husband does when when he's acting redneck and the dog's in the kitchen) "Go own! GIT!"

"I'm sorry, we can't do that today, we're doing school." (:::flap:: flap:::)

"Man, that's a cute top. But if I buy it, I can't be as generous in my giving this month." ("Shoo!")

"Yes, I know that's a fun activity. But if you have that class every week then we'll only have 4 nights at home to eat dinner as a family. Maybe you can do that next semester (or year)." (:::flailing wildly:::)

The Bible birds of prey weren't evil, out to ruin Abram's covenant. They didn't know. Neither are my "birds of prey" bad people or those bent on thwarting my efforts to offer my time, family, and money to God. Organizations run because people give their time. We must spend money, we must participate in activities. I can't go flapping at people just for asking, but it is up to me to discern what in my life is "off limits," when enough is enough, and what is God's and His alone. I'm sure the birds of prey found other food after Abram drove them away. I'm equally sure that those I say "no" to will find their "yes" somewhere else. Whatever I say "no" to in order to ensure my time in God's Word will get done if it's supposed to get done, it always does.

I love how this passage comes so near the beginning of the year in my through-the-year Bible. It causes me to think through what God has asked me to set aside specifically for Him in the new year. And I read it today, a Monday. What is it that God has asked me to set aside for Him this week? I can be sure that as I plan to set it aside for Him and wait expectantly for Him to show up, the birds of prey will get there first.

Time to start flappin'.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Praying Through Your Child's Room

It's quiet this morning. I'm alone in the house, which is odd for a Sunday morning. We attend church on Saturday nights, so we often enjoy family time on Sunday mornings. Every other week, Luke goes out to a friend's house where he meets with 4 other men for Bible Study. This particular morning, Kyle is out there, too, playing with the sons of the other men in the group and Bethany is back up at the church enjoying her new job working in the cafe. So, I found myself alone this morning on the couch enjoying the peace and quiet. I've been reading my Daily Bible, praying through our day and praying through our week. Awhile ago I was prompted, for some reason, to get up and go pray through my children's rooms.

There is a wonderful chapter regarding this in Stormie Omartian's book, The Power of a Praying Parent. I love what she has to say. For some reason as I was praying this morning I was prompted to go in the other room and grab this book, turn to this particular chapter and pray the prayer that she has written. The last statement she makes before the prayer in the chapter is this:

"This is not a superstitious little ritual. This is a powerful claiming of your home, your child, and all aspects of his life for God. It's standing up and proclaiming, 'As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord' (Joshua 24:15.) It's saying, 'My home is sanctified and set apart for God's glory.' "

So I have prayed the following prayer in each of my children's rooms this morning, and for some reason I felt like I should post it here. It could be that perhaps some of your children's rooms could use a "spiritual housecleaning" as well:

I invite Your Holy Spirit to dwell in this room, which belongs to (name of child). You are Lord over heaven and earth, and I proclaim that You are Lord over this room as well. Flood it with Your light and life. Crowd out any darkness which seeks to impose itself here, and let no spirits of fear, depression, anger, doubt, anxiety, rebelliousness, or hatred (name anything you've seen manifested in your child's behavior) find any place here. I pray that nothing will come into this room that is not brought by You, Lord. If there is anything here that shouldn't be, show me so it can be taken out.
Put Your complete protection over this room so that evil cannot enter here by any means. Fill this room with Your love, peace and joy. I pray that my child will say, as David did, "I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set nothing wicked before my eyes" (Psalm 101:2-3). I pray that You, Lord, will make this room a holy place, sanctified for Your glory." Amen.

At the moment I can hear the strains of praise music coming from upstairs, where I have it playing in both of their rooms. I'm not sure why the Lord prompted me to go up there this morning, but I'm glad He did. He's been to all of their tomorrows, and He's been inside their hearts lately. He knows exactly what's going on and what's coming. The song floating out of their rooms at this very minute is "It Is Well With My Soul." Oh, how I praise Him for that assurance, for myself and for my children. Thank you, Lord.

Pour out your heart like water
before the face of the Lord.
Lift your hands toward Him for the
life of your young children.
Lamentations 2:19

Friday, January 05, 2007

So, I guess I don't really mind it now. In fact... I like it!

The meaning of my name, that is.

Earlier this week the kids and I were looking up our names at and I was disappointed when I saw mine. For some reason, I'd never known it. I wanted something like, "Woman of Grace," "Feminine Flower," or "Unsurpassed Beauty." Maybe even, "Chosen of God." You know, something Deep and Meaningful.

I got: "The Moon Personified."

Well, hmph. Kyle got "Handsome" and Bethany got "Life- a town near Jerusalem" (which I've always thought was so cool about her name- Jesus loved to hang out there.)

I'm the moon. In a book I was reading this week, the author joked that sunning is fashionable, but you get in trouble for mooning! And when thinking of the moon in that way, the fact that it's big and white with craters doesn't make it all that appealing a description. (I'm reminded of a note that one of my 3rd graders wrote me one year that said, "Mrs. K___, You are so buttful." After all I've eaten in the past month, I've been feeling particularly "buttful," as of late!)

So, I sort of "hmphed" about being the "moon personified," but oh well.

God, Who knows what's in every corner of my mind, and Who has been encouraging me in every way, especially in the past few months, let me come across two things this week:

1. In Max Lucado's book, It's Not about Me: Live Like You Mean It , that I'm reading with the kids this week, he says:

"We exist to make a big deal out of Him. It's not about you. It's not about me. It's all about Him.

The moon models our role.

What does the moon do? She generates no light. Contrary to the lyrics of the song, this harvest moon cannot shine on. Apart from the sun, the moon is nothing more than a pitch-black, pockmarked rock. But properly positioned, the moon beams. Let her do what she was made to do, and a clod of dirt becomes a source of inspiration and romance. The moon reflects the greater light."

2. We got in the car yesterday and heard the song "Shine" by Salvador. The chorus goes like this:

Lord let me shine, shine like the moon
A reflection of you in all that I do
Lord let me be a light for your truth
Light of the world, I wanna be used to shine for you.

So there! I don't mind being "The Moon Personified" ... I'm a Son reflector!

The Anvil of God's Word

Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith's door
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
When looking in, I saw upon the floor,
Old hammers worn with beating years of time.

"How many anvils have you had," said I,
"To wear and batter these hammers so?"
"Just one," said he; then with a twinkling eye,
"The anvil wears the hammers out, you know."

And so, I thought, the anvil of God's Word,
For ages, skeptics blows have beat upon;
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The anvil is unharmed - the hammers gone.

John Clifford

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happiness Is...

Boxes to put it all in...
(I was JUST so happy about it, I took another picture from downstairs...)

A patch of sunshine to take a nap in...
..and a blog to post it on, just because...

Have a terrific Thursday, doing whatever brings you happiness!


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Works-for-Me Wednesday

Tortilla Soup Recipe

I didn't take time to post a WFMW this morning, as I hit the ground running, but I had to jump in tonight and post what worked for me today: My friend Mary's Tortilla Soup recipe I found on her website, where she's also listed other of her yummy recipes. (The bolded words in this post are "clickable.")

Thanks, Mary! A perfect dinner for a cold-ish January night with rain-on-the-way. My family loved it!

For more great ideas from other great cooks and all-around smart moms, visit Rocks In My Dryer.

Happy Wednesday (night)!

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Common Denominator

Like others that I've read, I'm not big on "resolutions." Maybe it's because over the years, I have discovered how my New Year's Resolutions have not been very, well, resolute. But is that the fault of the resolutions, or me? Here's the definition of resolution:

-a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.
-the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
-the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.

Okay, if that doesn't work for me, then what do I do instead... set goals?

Goal -the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.

The reason I hesitate to make resolutions, or even set certain goals for myself is because immediately my mind is inundated with past failures and I feel condemnation. As I enter a new year, I am choosing to say "no" to such condemnation, since the source is NOT my Heavenly Father. As I've been "meditating" upon my goals, and even my resolutions for 2007 I believe the Lord has lead me to the overarching goal, the key to any success I will experience in any God-given goals or even [gasp!] resolutions I may make this year: self-control.

Calvin Miller says, "To control the self it to offer Christ a soul free of any other master. To control the self is to stand beyond the soft life and to offer God the studied life. It is to say no to our appetites because we have "food to eat that [those who don't know Christ] know nothing about." (John 4:32) It is to pour out the wine of our addictions because the water of life in Christ is better nectar."

That's it for me in 2007. Self-control. There are many other goals, but they will all be the fruit of self control. But I believe God has shown me through His Word how to boil it down even more, because "self control" itself is a broad goal. As I've been praying through Scripture in the past week, no matter what my readings have been, I have ended up in one place: James 3. The key to self control, I firmly believe, lies in taking control of what I say.

James 3:2 says, "We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check." That blew me away last week when I meditated on it. There is a direct link between keeping your mouth in check and your whole body being disciplined. Verse 3 goes on to say"When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal." I have got to "turn the whole animal" this year. I've got to make some changes. I believe that it hinges on self control but begins with the tongue. By God's grace in 2007, He will transform my speech and my words into something that is glorifying to Him and edifying to others, benefitting "those who listen." (Eph. 4:29) Unless this happens, my goals and resolutions will have been made in vain.

My specific goals and yes, even resolutions, are still taking shape. So I'm sure I'll blog about them more specifically in the weeks and months to come. God has put in my heart to believe Him for some BIG things this year. My husband and I have had some exciting discussions lately about our 2007, some that have still got my mind spinning. God is up to something huge in our family, I'm sure of it! But the journey from "soft life" to "studied life" must begin with self-control and will be evident in my words.

Now to Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Eph. 3:20

For more New Year's Meditations, follow the links over at Laurel's. Thanks, Laurel!