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Showing posts from March, 2008

I am Selfish

Sometimes something happens in life that feels like a loud crashing bang. It opens our eyes to what has been going on. Like I've been just floating by with eyes half-closed on this river of life but the rushing rapids have startled me awake. I'm talking about something that makes you look within and evaluate your life.

So, I looked and I saw some stuff that I didn't like. At all.

I am selfish. I really don't have anything exciting to say about this, but I feel that I must admit it honestly. I'm not proud of it.

I get up in the morning when I want to and grumble at anyone who dares interrupt my routines. I cook foods that are easy to make and that sound good to me. I want to hear that you appreciate me. I want to present a side to people that makes me likeable, that makes me look good. I do things that benefit me.

I want to be happy and I keep grumbling about how this or that isn't making me happy. I was talking with my friend about this yesterday. About how clea…

In the Middle

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Songs can move me in ways that words on paper often can't. Words contain power and music also has the ability to evoke emotion. When moving music and powerful words come together, God's spirit speaks to my soul.

On Easter Sunday, a mother and son sang a duet version of the recent Casting Crowns release. The words of this song capture my personal struggles spiritually. The music drew me into the emotions of spiritual angst. And then, the last lines of the song spoke straight from God's heart to mine. Even when my life doesn't match up to my heart's desires, even when I'm caught in the middle, He loves me unconditionally. I pray these words touch you too.

Somewhere In The Middle

Somewhere between the hot and the cold
Somewhere between the new and the old
Somewhere between who I am and who I used to be
Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me

Somewhere between the wrong and the right
Somewhere between the darkness and the light
Somewhere between who I was and …

His Love

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Last week, I encountered a situation that challenged my faith. I wasn't sure if I would be able to get my teaching license in the state of Wisconsin. Yesterday, it came in the mail. So, can you imagine how silly I feel? All that worrying and fretting - for nothing!

Why, oh why, can't I just trust God to work out the details? When I realized that God had a plan, I was disappointed in myself. Where was my faith? Just in my head and not in my heart? Why can't I respond to challenges of faith better? And in this self-degrading moment, a song came and then a book and scriptures to flood my mind with truth.

His love is not changed by my mistakes. His love for me is more amazing than I could ever imagine. I might be disappointed in myself, but God's primary emotion remains love. Nothing can separate me from this love that is beyond comprehension.

How has God reached down from on high to touch your life this week?

Thankful Thursday

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It's that time again. Time to count my blessings one by one and to remind my heart of all He's done.

Thank you Jesus for Your love - beyond limits, beyond comprehension and unalterable.

Thank you Savior, redeemer and friend for providing the right man to complement me, encourage me and love me like You would. I could never have imagined someone better. I wouldn't be who I am today without him.

Thank you Father for entrusting me with three treasures to mold and protect and teach. Thanks for their infectious joy and love for life.

Thank you Lord for friends who understand and care about life's challenges. Thank you for bringing me a special friend right now when I needed it so much.

Thank you God, that I can trust You with my future. You know my dreams, my hopes and my desires and You are ultimately in control. Thank you that You are trustworthy and I can rest knowing my future is in Your hands.

Go find more thanksgiving here.

Generation X Marriage

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Welcome to an 80's reunion around here. Come on in, grab a diet cherry coke and some chex mix. We're going to be chatting about how marriages of our generation (those born in the 70's and 80's) are different from our parents.

That's how Tricia Goyer's book, Generation NeXt Marriage reads - like a friendly discussion around the table with old high school pals adding their thoughts on marriage while the 80's music blares in the background. How is marriage different for our generation? Here it is, according to Tricia...


Five unique marriage challenges faced by Gen Xers and how to tackle them!
1. Gen Xers saw more divorces than successful marriages. The divorce rate doubled between 1965-1977 and Gen Xers were the victims. 40% of us spent time in a single-family home before age 16. We grew up in families with step-moms and half-siblings and living every other weekend with a different parent and faced the loneliness and alienation of our splintered families. As mar…

No Matter What

"Throughout the history of God's people as given to us in the Bible, we see that life is a test. We have before us the option to trust God "no matter what," or to walk away from Him. To walk away from God is to leave the fragments of our dreams in pieces on the floor, but to trust Him is to let God pick up the pieces and make us whole again. When we choose to let Him make us whole again, he will make our lives more beautiful than before."

On Sunday mornings we often sing worship music with profound words and uplifting beats. Recently we were worshipping to an up tempo song, clapping our hands while the worship leader's smile joyfully encouraged us to praise God. The happy little tune didn't match the words though.

It was so dischordant for me that I wondered if people realized what they were singing, "You give and take away...Lord blessed be your name." How many of us really praise God when He takes away something from our lives? It is not…

I'm "It"!

Tag! I'm it...
Tiffany tagged me for:
Who Are YOu Meme.

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player than tags 5 people and posts their names, then leaves a comments on those five blogs letting them know they've been tagged.

What was I doing 10 years ago?
I was finishing up grad school (I graduated in May from Moody Graduate school)
I went to Arizona with my boyfriend to see my family for spring break
I came home with a ring on my finger!

Five Things on my to-do list today
Finish up my poem
Read books to the kids (no school today)
Work on some writing projects
Memorize verses with the kids for Awana
Laundry

Five Snacks I enjoy
String Cheese
Peanuts
Pistachios
Dark Chocolate
Homemade cookies

Five Things I would do if I were a billionaire
I would buy my husband a beautiful wooded property (80 acres?) with a stream going through it, surrounded by hills with pines and oaks and pretty serene meadows.
A…

Thankful

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God graced His beloved children with a wonderful gift - creation.

He gave us everything we needed for life.

But humanity stepped outside of God's perfect world for us and outside of the protection of His love.

And so, He beckoned us back.

He built a bridge. Not made of wood or stones. But made of flesh - His own flesh.

He called us back into His embrace and welcomed us to redemption and restoration.

Thank you for Jesus, the way to true life.

And Father, thank you that you still give good gifts.

Gifts like unexpected scholarships to writing conferences (yippee! Write-to-Publish here I come!)

Gifts like opportunities to write for Your glory (thanks Laced with Grace!)

So many good gifts from You, my Father. A loving man to stand beside me, a family full of hope and promise, a future...

Thank You God for every gift You gift. And thank you especially for the greatest gift of all: love.


Visit Iris for more thankful hearts today.

Imagine

I need to get my teaching license in the state of Wisconsin. I've been licensed in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Michigan and now I need to go through the process once again for this state. In Texas, I had to take exams to prove I could teach math in addition to providing the board with all of my previous credentials and my transcripts and my fingerprints.... In Michigan I also was required to take a test to prove that I was literate. Neither test was particularly onerous, but I felt a twinge of anxiety because my certification depended upon a passing score.

When I first received my license in Arizona, there were no state tests required for certification. Things have changed in fifteen years. Now, there are additional courses required and specific tests must be passed.

But back to Wisconsin. Which happens to be where I live right now. I received an email yesterday stating that I needed to take the Arizona state exams in order to get my license in Wisconsin.

What? What i…

Pause

Pause Ponder Consider What Happened Here Meditate Imagine Wonder Envision Pause

Inheritance

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My grandpa was an amazing man. He had the heart of a missionary, the mind of a teacher and the skilled hands of an artist. He delivered milk and then Coca-Cola before he went back to school to get his teacher's degree.

He bought an old bus and brought the kids home from school once a week to hear about Jesus at his house. Who knows how many children entered the kingdom because of his life? He learned Spanish so he could help a church plant and he often preached sermons about the love of God there.

He was a skilled musician (could've been a professional) and enjoyed many other art forms as well: oil painting and wood crafting especially. After he retired he turned his old school bus into a workshop and filled it with his supplies.

His love for "stuff" was so great that the space of his small house (and the bus-workshop) was not enough to contain all of it. His love for people was so great that his body could not contain his heart.

After he went home to get his hug from Je…

Jehovah Jireh

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Jehovah Jireh....Our Provider

He provides each breath we take.

He provided a ram in the thorns for Abraham and
He provided The Lamb wrapped in thorns for humanity.

He provides the Spirit to infuse us with strength to follow.

He provides resurrection power.

He provides all we need for life and godliness.



Romans 8:32
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for
us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all
things?


He provides everything.

Today, I am thankful that He also provides community. I am spurred on, encouraged and admonished by this fellowship of believers.

I find community not only in my local body of believers and through the Internet, but also in the authentic writing of true believers. I am reading Scribbling in the Sand by Michael Card and it has been the apprenticeship I have longed for, the mentoring I have needed. I'm thankful that God provided this book right when I needed it.

I'm thankful especially for a friend who took the time this week to …

Finite

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Dishes in the sink Kids in the tub Doing more than I think Humanly possible, that's the rub

Eating my vegetables Cutting out coupons Washing a basin full of stubbles while putting the toothpaste cap on
Folding the jeans, sweaters and socks Vaccuming the popcorn off the couch Putting things in their place, even the rocks Sit up tall, walk with grace, don't slouch

Falling upon the bed wearily, wondering Did I do all I could? Did I do all I should? My savior smiles, understanding, forgiving.

We leave something incomplete everyday, whether it's an area
of housework, school, work, friendship, ministry ~ because we are finite."
~
from The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer~
fi·nite
\ˈfī-ˌnīt\
adjective
1 a: having definite or definable limits b: having a limited nature or existence 2: completely determinable in theory or in fact by counting, measurement, or thought
3 a: less than an arbitrary positive integer and greater than the negative of that integer b: having a finite number of ele…

Significant

We all want to feel significant.




sig·nif·i·cant (sĭg-nĭf'ĭ-kənt)
adj.
Having or expressing a meaning;
meaningful.

I remember when I won the district debate competition. Of course, our district was small and filled with small schools. There wasn't much competition. Nonetheless, I felt significant. Then, I went to the state competition and suddenly felt insignificant in the swarm of masterful debaters.

I pursued a teaching career because I wanted my life to make a significant impact in this world. And then I went overseas as a missionary to do significant work for Christ.

Why is it that we want to find our significance in our accomplishments? I want to SEE with my own eyes that I am doing something worthwhile. I need to know that my life has meaning. And I don't know about you, but I often rely on the praise of others or some recognition. If no one else noticed what I did, then it must not be significant.

What does the Bible say about my significance?

2 Corinthians 5:14-21
14For Chris…

A Little Partying...

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How does a Mommy Monk party? It's an interesting question, isn't it?

1. I don't take myself as seriously as my name implies. If I really lived in a monastary there wouldn't be cereal under my toes or bacon in my bathroom.
2. I turn up the praise music loud enough for the neighbors to hear and dance around (only after making sure no one is watching).
3. I invite all my friends over and try to make a homemade frappuchino using my food processor. It sounded like a good idea at the time, until the ice cubes came flying out and coffee exploded all over my kitchen.
That's the way uh-huh, uh-huh, I like it.
4. I play a mean game of spoons, especially with my six year old daughter. Watch out little girl, you are going down!
5. The only way to party is with copious amounts of chocolate.

Have you ever seen Sister Act? Maybe that's how I would party - like Whoopi!

Go visit Melissa if you like to party with a prayer wimp

Or, go visit Amy if you're looking for a little hope

and i…

Proof that Love Lives Here

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On Wednesday I was wondering how anyone feels truly motivated to clean their house. I was thinking it seemed so pointless to clean something that would only get dirty again in minutes. But my dear friend Miss Sandy gave me some great perspective.

Heather,
I guess what works for me is to remember that any work I
do for my family is holy work. One day I was grumbling to my grandmother about
having to repeatedly clean up muddy boot prints off the floors I had just
cleaned. She was quiet for a moment and she said, "Sandy, I'll tell you this,
I'd give anything to be in your shoes. I'd gladly clean up any muddy boot prints
that were left on my floor with a smile and a prayer because that would mean
that Charlie (my uncle, her only son) would be alive and well and I would not
live in this house alone." I was quiet for a while and I told her she was right.
Her words made an impact on me and my attitude about repeat jobs. I asked myself
what would it be like not to have m…

Thankful for Truth

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"Did you add more spice to my cake mix while I was downstairs?" I aksed knowing the answer by the brown speckles in the bowl."No, I didn't. I promise Mom, I didn't" he replied with his best honest expression. With pudgy cheeks, bright eyes and cherub-like innocence he had wooed me into believing him in the past. But I've begun to realize that he fears punishment (or disapproval) and so he has become quite adept at twisting the truth.



Why is it that we so often fear the consequences of truth? It's ironic because fear binds us up until we are useless. Truth sets us free. Why are afraid of the truth? Why do we hide from the light?

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will
never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
John
8:12
Light extinguishes darkness, so when we step into the light with all our sins looking like dark spots, His light erases our darkness. The exposure of truth and light is nothing to fear because it is not a harsh l…

What works for you????

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Ever since I heard about Works for me Wednesday, which Shannon hosts at Rocks in my Dryer, I've had a recurring thought. What works for me? Ummm, not much, some days. My dryer works, thank goodness. My kids - work? Not so much (I mean, really, they're kids). The dishwasher went kaput this summer and the heater died in late fall. We did not revive them, but thanks to loving parents, we replaced them with appliances that work.

I think the most disturbing appliance that doesn't work around my house is ME. So, ladies, since today is backwards day, what works for you?

How do you motivate yourself to keep a clean house when you know it will only last for mere minutes and no one will know or appreciate it anyway? I just need a little motivation to get this human machine working again.

Would you give me some hints? How do you motivate yourself? What gives you that boost each day to get your housework done?

Thanks for the help!

Sight

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"The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision."

~ Hellen Keller ~

My grandmother has macular degeneration and each year her vision worsens. She is unable to be the same independent woman she was several years ago. She and I used to keep up a regular correspondence, writing once a month. When I lived overseas I could count on letters from Grandma - what an encouragement that was!

But now she can hardly write legible script because she cannot see her own handwriting. She tries to read using a magnifying machine but even that has become difficult. This summer she was able to see my kids for the first time (we live far apart) and she never once let on that she couldn't see well. She still enjoyed their presence, teaching them a silly song about buying bubble gum with a nickel and making great smacking noises. I remember when she taught me that song!

My grandmother may be losing her sight but she has not lost sight of her vision. She wakes each morning and …

Extremism

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A pendulum swings from right to left, back and forth until gravity slows down the swing to a stop in the middle. Society in general has a tendency towards this pendulum behavior as well. Conservative politics swings to liberal policies and then back again. Wonder if this swing will ever slow down and settle in the middle?

I don't want to talk about politics today though; I want to look at patterns of thinking that are unhealthy. Within Christian circles, I see people who swing from legalistic and perfectionistic frenetic activityto a hopeless, giving up on the situation inactivity. We are either trying to prove that we are saints or we have just concluded that we are sinners so why try.



The truth of grace leads us away from extremism to a healthy balance. My daughter enjoys playing on the seesaws at the school playground. Unfortunately I cannot play on these with her since my weight does not match hers. If one side of the teeter totter has more weight, the other side cannot be raise…