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Showing posts from July, 2008

Thankful for Relationships

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**I'm so thankful for my eternal relationship with Jesus, first and foremost. He's my very best friend and the only One who knows every crook and cranny of my heart. He loves me and accepts me even with full knowledge of my failures and foibles.

**My husband has been the most wonderful partner God could have ever chose for me. I'm so thankful for him, for his friendship, for his love, for his understanding spirit, and for his heart to encourage me.

**I'm thankful for the friends I've made since we moved to this area. Like my friend who spent the day with preparing for VBS even though she doesn't go to my church! Or my friends who watched my kids so I could go to a writer's conference, a job interview, and a field trip with one daughter.

**I'm thankful for good relationships with my children and I pray that we will always be close.

I'm glad God gave us relationships - He knew that we needed each other.

Thanks Iris for reminding us to be thankful …

The Martha in Me

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I'm not at all like Martha: I hate cleaning and I don't usually spend much time on food preparation or presentation and I'm not much for crafts. But, somehow, I still have a Martha spirit...like when I get all frazzled over the details of an event instead of remembering what Jesus said to Mary.
Come and remember Jesus' timeless principle about simplicity today at The Internet Cafe. Just click on the coffee cup to join me for a latte!


Eating Toads

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My husband returned from an informative (read: boring) lecture on retention rates and reducing no-shows with an interesting piece of advice about eating toads. What do toads have to do with counseling?

Mark Twain once commented that if you start your day by eating a toad, it can only go uphill from there and if you have to eat two toads, then you ought to eat the uglier one first.

Wise advice from a funny guy. Or is that funny advice from a wise guy? My kids catch toads just about every day and then they make a home for them in the wading pool, including complicated devices for play, food and rest. But, I'm not going to EAT any of those "pets."

Oh, you don't think that's what Mark Twain meant?

Well, I had to eat a few toads today(ewwww). I started my day off with the first toad and as soon as I completed that project, my stomach settled right down.

Midday, I discovered that I had a few more toads to swallow. I tried to postpone them for as long as I could…

Teen Challenge

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Teen Challenge visited our church yesterday for an amazing morning of testimony and worship. There was no three point sermon to illuminate the Scriptures, but instead a living example of the power of God's word. In front of us stood forty men and women whose lives had been dramatically changed by Jesus. They were once in prison, suicidal and strung out on drugs or alcohol, but NOW, now they are free from Satan's grip by the power of Jesus' blood.

Through tears or jubilant smiles, they told their stories. About living without hope. Living in sin and living in lies. How Satan lied to them about their worth in this world, convincing them that they were junk. How Satan stole from them, their hope, their identity, their futures. But, when they turned and asked Jesus for help, He came in a mighty way and rescued them. He is the restorer of hope. He is the voice of truth, speaking tenderly to each heart how much He loves them and forgives them in spite of their sin.

My husband sa…

Mom the Builder... (Can we fix it?)

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YES WE CAN!!!

Ok, maybe I can't really fix anything around my house that requires hammers, screwdrivers and the like, but I CAN do some home renovation projects to our spiritual atmosphere. Me plus the power drill makes a dangerous combination, but I think God and I are a great combo!

“We as women, think of ourselves as mothers, teachers, nurses and son on, but God says that we are builders. We usually relegate this role to the men, but we are building with something far great than brick and timber.” Nancy Campbell, The Power of Motherhood: What the Bible Says about Mothers.

We are building character. We are building the next generation. We are building upon the Rock and trusting Him to finish what He's begun. Hopefully, we're building things that will withstand the test of time and will not burn at the judgement.

I remember remodeling the bathroom with my husband: the biggest "building" project I've ever undertaken. It took pre-measuring, planning and vision to…

Burma

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One of my bestest friends from college days has begun a blog. But I'm pretty sure it won't be much like mine. My friend Ann is a world traveler for Jesus.

She hops a flight from Maui (yeah, that's where she lives) to India without much thought, as long as the purpose is telling others about Jesus. She's got a heart for people that's about as big as I've ever seen.

So, when I heard that she was bound and determined to go visit the areas in Burma (Myanmar) and China that were recently devastated by natural disasters, I was excited. Go visit her blog to see pictures and hear more about her trip to the other side of the world.

Less is More

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I just had a big "Aha!" moment yesterday (you will laugh at that if you've already done PowerLab).

Sometimes (just sometimes, really, it's not all the time), I get this idea that I'm supposed to do everything and to do it all excellently. I'm pretty smart so I don't know why I can't understand that doing everything is IMPOSSIBLE. Someday I'll get through my little head.

I visited with a children's ministry coordinator for a church 7 times as large as mine. Bigger is better, right?

Why is that? Why do we automatically think that a big church has it all together while smaller churches aren't doing things very efficiently? Is there any truth to that?

I have visions to improve our nursery, update our toddler Sunday school room and curriculum, decorate the children's wing in bright and wild colors, create sets, redo our entire organization, write a ministry vision, create a brochure, take photographs of children and put them everywhere.... a…

Thankful for God's Gentle Voice

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It seems like every morning, when I turn to the Word and to my devotionals, I hear God speak right to my situation. This doesn't always happen and I've gone through long stretches of hearing God's silence, but right now it's been amazing to hear God's gentle voice speak to my daily needs.

For example, when I was trying to balance busyness with ministry and my quiet moments spent just with the Lord, I read (in Oswald Chambers' Utmost for His Highest):

"Discipleship means personal, passionate devotion to a Person, our Lord Jesus Christ. There is a difference between devotion to a Person and devotion to principles or to a cause."


When I was feeling anxious or a little stressed about getting the details together, I opened my devotional to read:

Psalm 37: 8
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.

On July 9th, I wondered why the verse was Joshua 24:19 "You cannot serve the Lord." That sounded odd to me. I WAS serving t…

The Bondage of People Pleasing

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“When we are set free from the bondage of pleasing others,when we are free from currying others approval-then no one will be able to make us miserable or dissatisfied. And then, if we know we have pleased God, contentment will be our consolation. ~Kay Arthur



Right now, the only thing on my mind is VBS and Children's Ministries, so forgive me for constantly chattering on about it. Vacation Bible School isn't quite what it used to be. These days, it's a performance, a show of epic proportions that must "wow" and excite children and parents alike. People have expectations of children's ministries in the 21st century that weren't even imagined in D.L. Moody's day.

So, it's become quite apparent to me that I must keep my focus straight. As I worry over set design and redecorating the Children's wing, I'm often thinking of how everyone else will view my work. Yes, I am doing this as a ministry to parents and kids, but ultimately all my work is for…

My Home is a Refuge

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Psalm 57For the director of music. To the tune of "Do Not Destroy." Of David. A miktam . When he had fled from Saul into the cave.
1 Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
for in you my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.
2 I cry out to God Most High,
to God, who fulfills {his purpose} for me.

3 He sends from heaven and saves me,
rebuking those who hotly pursue me;
Selah
God sends his love and his faithfulness.

4 I am in the midst of lions;
I lie among ravenous beasts—
men whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords.

5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.

6 They spread a net for my feet—
I was bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in my path—
but they have fallen into it themselves.
Selah

7 My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is s…

I've got VBS PMS

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If you peek in the window to my home, you might see my head spinning around and steam coming out of my ears. Don't worry. Everything (ahem, everyone) will be ok.

In a few weeks, that is.

After VBS is over. You see, I have VBS PMS. A pretty good case of it too. The lab coats are unavailable, the snack coordinator didn't realize she had other committments that week, and the sets aren't even beginning to look ready. My three year old wasn't much help in painting the beakers bright colors, but he did a great job getting his shirt bright.


Only a week left and the panic is starting to rise. Why did I say I would coordinate this? I mean, sure I could teach, but be in charge of EVERYTHING (read: get blamed when things blow up that aren't supposed to).

Oh dear.

I'd try to get out of it, but I think it's too late. Why did I sign up for this in the first place? Oh yeah, that's right. Because God asked me to. Bummer, can't get out of it now! :)

Don…

Thankful Thursday

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A few things that fill my heart with gratitude...

*Bright explosions in the sky

*Bug repellent

*Calamine and band aids for when we forget about the bug repellent (and the polka dot girl I put to bed each night whose sensitive skin seems to attract the little suckers)

*Days spent at the beach

*Life jackets

*Aloe, although it can't take away a lobster red sunburn, it does soothe

*Photographs and memories

*The public library. My family has been enjoying plenty of summer library programs.

*Ok, I'm even thankful for cockroaches. The kids sure had fun playing with the huge ones the "Bug Guy" Brought in for the last program we attended. They even ate a few bugs. (I am NOT joking!) I, on the other hand, found it conveniently necessary to excuse myself to the restroom right around the time the roaches and tarantulas were being brought out.

*I'm thankful for a new job...which will be starting soon (more on that later).

*Green slime, explosions, goggles and lab coats...yes, VBS is on …

The Devil's Bathtub

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What I want to know is, why does this have to be the Devil's bathtub? It's much too beautiful for him!
(Photos taken by me after hiking up the creek and across the creek a dozen times soaking my shoes, avoiding snakes and poison ivy...to see THIS!)

We don't walk this trail alone

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“The Christian life is a pilgrimage. At times the road is difficult and we get lonely. Sometimes we may get discouraged and consider abandoning the journey. It is at such times that God will place a friend alongside us. One of God’s most precious gifts to us is friends who encourage us and lovingly challenge us to ‘keep going.’ “
By Henry T. Blackaby & Richard Blackaby from their devotional book, Experiencing God
When my husband and I were camping in the Black Hills of South Dakota, we took leisurely hikes each day through the canyons and gulches, enjoying the wildflowers and wildlife along the creek beds. One day we decided to follow a trail which lead upward to a beautiful vista. We had no idea what kind of hike we had chosen until we were a little ways up the trail. The sign said that we would travel up 1,000 feet in less than 3/4 mile.

Feeling a little blond, I paid no attention. 3/4 mile seemed like a short easy hike. No problem, right? Until we started to walk vertically.

I sat…

Bedtime Prayers

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Usually, at bedtime, I hold a chubby hand in mine, close my eyes and hear:

"Dear Jesus, Thank you for this day. Have a good day. Thank you for Mom. I'm just going to pray for you Mom, ok? Amen."

The girls' prayers are only slightly more sophisticated, including concerns for "no bad dreams," and prayers lifted up for missionaries, family members and hurting families in our church.

But, one night, it was getting late and I suggested that the girls pray on their own. Later, they told me that they got out the children's Bible and found the Lord's prayer.

How in the world did they find the Lord's prayer? Ok, the oldest "knows" the books of the Bible and John 3:16, but I don't think she knows WHERE to find specific verses! On Sunday morning I have to help her find the passage in the index and then she can look up the chapter and verse and I seriously do NOT remember ever talking about the Lord's prayer with her. So, you tell me, how di…

How to Catch a Fish

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What's the difference between me and the kids fishing at the dam and my husband fly fishing in the Black Hills? Romance...

Come read my devotion at Laced with Grace today:


I'm a Dork Fish

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On June 3rd, I packed up my suitcase with all the "business casual" attire I owned (not much, since my "business" requires clothing that can be messed up by kids! But I found a few capris, one skirt and a dress just in case). I hopped in my gas-saver vehicle and drove south to meet up with someone I had only met once. The woman from my writer's guild got her car packed up and ready to go (including the GPS navigational system). We got on the road and began our trip to Chicagoland.

We started getting to know one another by sharing about our ministries. She had magnets, business cards, pamphlets and a full speaking schedule.

I had an old 3 ring binder with a few papers I had printed out in a panic before I left. No business cards, no laptop, no cell phone. I was totally intimidated.



I pretty much imagined myself looking like a dork as I walked into the conference. Everyone would be busily typing away on their laptops and I would be sitting there scrambling for a pen…

Thankful Thursday

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Absence makes the heart grow fonder. I spent 8 days (on my anniversary trip) away from the kids. I returned feeling so thankful for each one of them.

Thankful for the oldest (she's 7 already!): I'm thankful for her funny spirit and her desire to always do what is right. She is a natural leader, a bookworm, and a student at heart. Ok, she's ME! :)

I'm thankful for the middle one (almost 5 and headed to kindergarten): She's quiet sometimes, so people outside our family don't always see her goofy side. She loves to play alone and use her imagination. She will make a good mom someday because she has a compassionate heart. She is tender and loving. She loves to organize and do the dishes. That's a GREAT reason for me to be thankful! :)

I'm thankful for my little boy too: He loves fish and bugs and worms and all living things (except spiders). He loves food (midnight pantry raider!) and he loves hugs. He is a chatter-bug and a charmer. He's adorable.

I'm …

God's Provision Comes in Unlikely Packages

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Before we left for our 800 mile trip to South Dakota, my husband worried that he might forget something important. He checked the oil. He packed the toolbox. But when we got 70 miles down the road, he realized we didn't have a tire iron. "What if we get a flat tire?" He then discovered that he could use his wrench-set in a pinch to fix a tire.

He's not usually so neurotic. I didn't think much about it until day 6 of our trip. We wound around mountain roads, looking down into deep valleys and twisting and turning our way through gulches and canyons. Finally, we arrived at Mt. Rushmore National Monument. The second I closed my van door, I heard a distinctive hissing sound. The tire was losing air quickly. We had run over a screw somewhere along the way.

What if our tire had blown out as we turned around a curve with a huge drop on one side to the valley below? What if we hadn't had the equipment to fix that flat?

My lifetime lover got to work happily. He saw it a…

A New Name

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If you're married to an Old West buff, then you end up watching westerns over and over again. In my case, it's "Dances with Wolves." While watching it on vacation, I realized there are great spiritual truths in there. Go read my devotional today at The Internet Cafe!