Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Economics aside, what I do understand is freedom, liberty, and history. I appreciate the need to learn from history lest we repeat its mistakes and so that we can replicate its successes. So when I watched this clip at Melissa's blog, it resonated with me. This I understand. This is the kind of man that I want representing me during this time. This is wisdom in the midst of panic!
Grace and Peace,
Sunday, September 28, 2008
As we learned about "soul care" beginning on a personal level in the home and proceeding to cell groups, the church as a whole, and the community, we struggled and were overwhelmed at times. But God is faithful, patient, and promises victory in Christ Jesus (and our facilitators were fantastic!). There were some victorious moments this weekend which were amazing to see. I was broken and humbled, but I was also restored and forgiven. The result of such is indescribable. For the first time in my life, I participated in a foot washing ceremony. As vulnerable as I am all the time, I was terrified. I don't know why exactly, but in overcoming that fear of humbling myself before others, I experienced such grace! It was amazing. I also enjoyed the freedom to walk in my spiritual gifts. I haven't always experienced that. It was a beautiful thing.
I am so excited for the future of our church. The stagnancy that our body has been experiencing was overcome this morning as the overflow of our retreat poured out on this morning's service. We don't want to lose what we experienced this weekend, we don't want to return to where we have been. We are zealous to see God continue to move in us and in our body. We're tired of seeing the enemy have victory, and we are clinging to the promise that we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. This is a war. The spiritual attacks had begun before we left, our church was blind-sided with some pretty serious attacks about a year and a half ago that caused some of the hurt and pain that was dealt with this weekend. I know the enemy will not cease to attack now that we're back and united. I know that there will be hard days ahead as the afterglow fades, but I am ever more aware that if God is for us, who can be against us? I am not afraid.
Grace and Peace,
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I won't think ill of you if you said it was October of 2005. I'll understand completely if you tell me that although you were very faithful in taking the kids to the awesome Jamaican pediatric dentist that you loved in Virginia where the kids rated a trip to the dentist right up there with a trip to the circus, you haven't managed to get them in to see the dentist since you moved to Indiana. I can relate if you had no good reason and just couldn't seem to pick up the phone to schedule the appointment despite the fact that you received continual harassment from the dentist & his wife who are among your closest friends from whom you purchased your house and who you see regularly at church and home fellowship and even on camping trips. Life is just busy after all and you're not guilted into doing things no matter how important. Mmm hmm.
So if you overcame your fear of speaking on the phone to dental receptionists and actually scheduled and then endured 4 back to back appointments and more than 2 1/2 hours at the dentist's office, I'm proud of you! Atta girl! Way to go! Even though two of your kids have cavities and in fact two of your oldest daughter's teeth are half gone from decay and you didn't even notice since you've trusted her to brush her own teeth for years, and don't ever have occasion to actually look inside her mouth anymore now that she's 9 years old, I won't judge you. Be encouraged; your friend the dentist assures you that he doesn't go home and tell your friend, his dear wife, how horrible your kids' teeth have become in the almost three years that you haven't taken them to visit the dentist. I will say though, please make sure to schedule a follow up appointment before your dear girl has to endure a root canal from neglect, and do something about that 7 year old who continues to suck her thumb despite quitting for 6 months two years ago before she ruins her entire mouth and requires some kind of crazy bone breaking reconstructive surgery. I'm trying to give you some grace, but seriously! Get it together, girl!!!
Oh and one more thing, enjoy yourself at your first eye appointment in more than 5 years tomorrow. I'm so glad to hear that you overcame your fear of optometrist receptionists and actually picked up the phone to schedule an appointment so that you will finally be getting a new prescription which will hopefully result in a decrease in headaches and severe eye pain! Do keep in mind that when you wear glasses, you really should get your eyes checked at least once a year; I'm sure they'll probably mention that to you tomorrow though.
I can't wait to see your new glasses! Please remember to post a picture! Did I hear correctly that your daughters think you should get pink or purple, "something that shows," "not brown or black ones!"? I hope you're not trusting them for advice when your eyes are dilated and you're supposed to be picking out new frames but you can't see anything! Did you also say that you're trusting your 4 children to sit patiently and quietly in the waiting room while your eyes are otherwise occupied in an examination room? I'll be praying for you; sounds like you're going to need it!
Grace and Peace,
Monday, September 22, 2008
1. Post the rules on your blog
2. Write 6 random things about yourself
3. Tag 6 people at the end of your post
4. If you're tagged, DO IT and pass on the tag
So I'm DOING IT already!!!
- I love the outdoors and have a lovely yard, but I get trapped inside the walls of my house for days in a row and never even step foot outside.
- I'd choose steak (medium-rare closer to rare than medium) over chocolate if I could only have one or the other.
- Beyond the easy stuff like throwing out junk mail and old flyers, I'm totally paralyzed by clutter.
- I don't decorate my house seasonally, except at Christmas and even then I'm no Martha Stewart.
- I skip over pictures to read the words and have to make a mental note to go back and look at the pictures or else I won't.
- I'd much rather have a few cordial comments than 61 in a heated debate.
Now comes the tagging part which drives me crazy for some reason. Hmmmm...Are there 6 of you who are greater carnivores than chocoholics? Tag you're it!
While we're on the subject of Gayle (before the random stuff about me) I'd like to encourage you to visit her other blog The Grocery Cart Challenge. She's done an awesome job with it and I just made one of her frugal recipe suggestions this evening Lentil and Brown Rice Casserole. I know, doesn't sound all that appetizing, especially for carnivores like me, but it was pretty good and everybody ate it without complaining (well just a tiny bit from Miss Picky who also has a cold & stomach-ache, but she even finished it after drizzling Catalina on top), a couple of my kids even asked for seconds and we have none leftover. It won't become a favorite, but for frugal and healthy, it's a definite winner!
One more thing while I'm being random, Blogger has added a fabulously fun feature where you can have the avatar pictures of all the people who follow your blog displayed on your sidebar. I love it! So, if you would please take a minute and click "follow this blog" on my right sidebar, you can be an EEEEMommy Groupie. How cool is that? :) Your life's aspiration, I know. ;) Yes I know that this requires those of you who are reading my feed to actually visit my blog, get over it already and just DO IT. LOL Thanks for humoring me.
Grace and Peace,
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I can't resist. This new My Husband Rocks Friday is such a great idea!
And my husband definitely rocks.
Wednesday was a challenging day for me. A sleepless night, conflict, and a never-ending list of things that must be done left me feeling frazzled by evening. It makes perfect sense to me that I should burst into tears when he walked in the door that evening and asked how I was doing. I don't think it surprised him either, and (because he rocks) he'd already anticipated my response and decided that we needed to get out of the house (and away from the computer) to go play tennis. So after grilling some hot dogs, he packed us all up and took us to the high school to play. And then, to make things even better, he stopped for ice cream on the way home. Tennis & ice cream: exactly what the doctor ordered.
My hubby rocks!
To read about other rockin' husbands, click here. Please join in; tell me how does your hubby rock?
Grace and Peace,
In this glorious fall weather, the kids have spent hours creating an outdoor playhouse. Three days in a row they hauled furniture, baby dolls, play food, and multiple other accessories outside. They gathered twigs and pieces of bark from the yard to define the individual rooms. They built imaginary fires and constructed tee-pees. And then they played; enjoying the fruits of their labors.
At the end of the day, everything had to be taken back inside and put away. When morning came the set-up began again in earnest.
I just love the way kids play. I love the imagination, the ingenuity, the creativity, the joy.
I also love how much they're learning through play, and the freedom homeschooling affords us to enjoy such things as outdoor playhouses.
What warms your mommy heart?
Grace and Peace,
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I can't sleep. I read a post, got all fired up, and now as hard as I try to lay still, rest, pray, and fall asleep in my warm, cozy bed, I can't because my mind is racing and my eyes keep popping open. The political debater monster has been awoken and I won't be able to rest until I can release the thoughts that are racing through my adrenaline stimulated brain. Fight or flight, right? I don't flee.
Here's the thing. First, I struggle with the growing number of Christians who are downplaying the significance of abortion. One of the most horrible bumper stickers I ever saw stated simply, "Prayerfully pro-choice." I believe in the power of prayer, but the freedom to choose to kill an unborn child created by God in the image of God is not something I am "pro." Do you really think Jesus would have been prayerfully pro-choice? I think He'd be standing in front of those abortion clinics offering love and compassion and a better choice to the women who are contemplating entering. I think He'd be at the back door offering love and compassion and forgiveness to those women who made the wrong choice. The fact is, that's where He is! There are those who are in Christ standing in front and out back every day. May He continue to work in them and through them to offer hope to those who need Him so desperately!
I truly believe that the pro-life battle is to be won in the hearts and minds of individuals; I'm not counting on the government to win it. That being said, like it or not, it is still a government issue. I'm not going to vote for someone who is going to use taxpayer money (my money) to fund abortions. Exclamation point! I'm not going to vote for an individual who will appoint judges who will overturn my state's parental notification & informed consent laws, or rule against individuals who protest within a certain number of yards of an abortion clinic. I am going to vote for those who are going to work towards making abortion illegal and rare and appoint judges who recognize that Roe v. Wade was an unconstitutional decision! There are individuals who choose abortion everyday because they equate what is legal with what is acceptable. I do believe that making abortion illegal would be a major deterent and significantly decrease the number of abortions. And that would be an excellent thing! Abortion kills babies. Abortion violates women. What kind of choice is that? How can any individual who is filled with the Holy Spirit of God support it? How?!?!
But there's another issue that's been running through my mind. During this election time, I hear a lot of promises about what the individual candidates are going to do "when" they're elected. There are a lot of problems in our world today beyond abortion: poverty, malaria, unemployment, disasters, war, child por*nography, homelessness, rising healthcare costs. Children are sold as s*x slaves. Families endure horrible living conditions. People are starving. People are dying. And the next President of the United States is going to fix it all, right? Wrong.
There is only One man who can bring about the kind of change that this world needs; I am longing for His return. Until then, is it really the government's responsibility to solve all these problems? I don't think so. I think it's ours. The Church has the Power to be an agent of change in our world today.
- The world needs peace; we know the Prince of Peace.
- The world needs healing; Jehovah Rapha is the LORD who heals.
- The world is hungry; we can introduce them to the Bread of life.
- The world needs clean water, and so much greater is their need for the Living Water.
Jesus is He who mends the broken hearted and sets the captives free.
So where is the Church?I'm studying the book of James with my kids. Today we read chapter two and marked every occurance of faith and works. James doesn't hold back any punches. "Faith without works is dead." This world needs to see us live out our faith in our works. In Ephesians 2:10, Paul writes, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." Jesus told us that what we did unto the "least of these" we did unto Him. Did He tell us that government would take care of the poor? No! While He was on the earth He ministered to the poor, He fed them, He healed them, and He wants us to take up our cross and follow Him. The people of the early church understood how He wanted them to live. Acts 4 describes how the early church lived and in verses 34&35 it says, "For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles' feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need." Is that what our American churches look like today?
When I was in Jr. High, my family received Food Stamps for an entire year. It was a humiliating experience. I remember vividly standing in line at the food stamp office with my broken and humiliated father. I remember standing at the check-out with my mother, feeling shame as she paid for our groceries with the stamps. Our affluent church was aware of our situation, my dad was working as hard as he could to provide for our family of 7, but there wasn't enough to put food on the table without assistance. We got a few food baskets, and a couple of people gave us money, but not enough or consistently enough to provide until Daddy's income increased. Our church abdicated its role to the government. I don't think the situation has improved much in the past 20 years. We also learned how broken the welfare system is, another thing that I doubt has improved, but that's another post in and of itself.
How I see it is that as long as the government takes on the responsibility of being agents of social change, the less individual citizens realize that it is really their responsibility. When the government takes more and more out of individual paychecks, the more the mentality that "the government will take care of it" and "that's what I pay taxes for" increases. As for me, I don't want the government to take care of it. I don't trust it to do it well! I'd rather keep more of my husband's hard earned money so that I can give to organizations who wisely disperse that money to those who really need it while sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. People need mosquito nets, AND they need Jesus. The organizations that I want to support provide both. The homeless need a place to stay, and they need to be equipped to provide for themselves and their children. We visited a homeless shelter last week which does that in addition to teaching God's Word. That's not my tax-dollars at work, that's the Church fulfilling the Great Commission. I want a government that will allow me to choose to support them, rather than wasting my tax dollars in beauraucracy. We need less government and more first century Church! That's my kind of "change"!
Well my heart has stopped pounding so furiously, and I wonder who's even still reading at this point anyway. I don't pretend to know all the answers, or to have real solutions. I only know that I need to pray about how I can be more like Jesus and see this world through His eyes. I really don't think He'd be relying on the politicians to fix everything. So tell me, why are we?
Grace and Peace,
Monday, September 15, 2008
- no romantic cards
- no gifts
- no restaurants
- no exotic getaways
- no silk, linen, or pearls
I was feeling a bit bummed but too tired to do anything about it, so I decided to enlist help. I told my 9 year old daughter that when I was growing up, I used to bake cakes for my parents on Mother's Day, Father's Day, and sometimes on their anniversary. Then I told her she needed to bake us a cake so that our 12th anniversary wouldn't be a total dud. Fortunately, she fell for my little ploy, so I could at least indulge on chocolate, even if it wasn't from my beloved. Because an anniversary without chocolate...let's not even discuss it!
I only had to help her get started.
Then her lovely 5 1/2 year old assistant stepped in to replace me.
I don't know how you do it, but sometimes it's helpful to sit on the counter while baking.
You can always spot the best recipes in the cookbook by which pages are stained with cocoa powder. Mmmm...chocolate cake batter; I can't wait to lick the beaters!
Cut me a big piece, please!
The lovely couple. Hats off to the chef! Happy 12th Anniversary!
Grace and Peace,
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Chickadee wrote a cute post about an unexpected visitor and asked,
Well, I wouldn't tell you it's all perfect because that would be a lie. And my embarrassment would be overshadowed by my sheer joy. Besides that, people have begun taking me up on my invitation to "drop in anytime" lately (like just a couple of hours ago for example) so I'm getting used to getting over my embarrassment. Maybe that's not such a good thing. There's plenty to be embarrassed about!
- I'm sweaty
- wiping the aforementioned sweat of my face has removed all previously applied make-up
- my wind-blown hair is falling out of my pony-tail
- I'm wearing a ratty t-shirt that is 14 years old
- there's clutter everywhere; the "junk area" has expanded to the entire main level
- don't think of going down to the basement
- nor upstairs
- the "white" kitchen floor hasn't been mopped in over a month
- there's dog hair and crumbs everywhere despite the fact that I swept everything just yesterday
- the bathrooms are just plain gross
- the air conditioning is off because I'm being frugal
- it's very humid
- I can hardly see my desk and the school-table is piled high with who knows what
- the fridge is almost empty
- I could not offer you ice cream because there is none
- nor do I have any tasty snacks
- the lawn is being mowed, but the gardens are dry and dying
- there are dead leaves all over the "patio" and "porch"
- the laundry room looks like something exploded, don't enter it barefoot...
- one of my children looks like she just stepped out of a clothing ad
- one child looks like Punky Brewster
- one child looks like she should be/has been catching crawdads in the creek
- one actually took a shower after his football game although you might doubt that if you smell him...
- because of the mess everywhere, everybody is hard at work except for me; I'm blogging
But like I said, if you happened to show up, I'd just be so thrilled that I wouldn't care and I might even take you on the grand tour despite the mess, just because I'm real like that. ;) Oh, and I'd offer you ice water. :) Please say you'll come! :)
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Grace and Peace,
P.S. You guys were such an encouragement with your excellent insight and great ideas on my last post! Thanks so much! I love you and you are the best! ;)
Monday, September 8, 2008
One of Dave Ramsey's most repeated pieces of advice is,
I'm not a salesman. I never waste my time with garage sales. If I don't need it anymore and can bear to part with it, I give it away. Plus, I'm a packrat. I get attached to stuff. Needless to say, following Dave's instruction has been difficult! But I've been trying; searching through the house for things I can sell.
Last week, I got excited about selling a Longaberger basket. That is a miraculous statement. I don't have very many, and this one was a gift, but it's been sitting in it's original box since we moved here 2 years ago because I don't have a place to hang it on the wall. It's a retired basket, one of the larger ones, and only sold for 2 years, so I thought I might be able to get a decent amount of money for it. Turns out there are a few available on e-bay already and they're selling for less than $30. Not the $85 I had in mind. So much for Longaberger baskets being an investment!
Today, I went through the painful procedure of purging items from my personal bookshelf. I was proud of myself when I was able to select a dozen books that I could part with: no easy feat! I then added four more vintage books that I'd picked up at a garage sale and felt like I was off to a great start...until it came time to figure out how to sell them.
After browsing through e-bay and half.com, I'm skeptical. For one thing, there are already numerous copies of the books in my stack that are already available for purchase. For another, some of these books are selling for $0.75! The vintage books that I thought might be worth something are listed by others on e-bay already, and nobody is bidding. A few things come to mind.
- Some of these books are worth more to me personally than $0.75!
- Selling them seems like a lot more trouble than the pittance I would receive for my efforts.
- I'd rather give them away or exchange them on Paperback Swap.
Let's just say I'm feeling a bit deflated. Am I really supposed to nickel and dime my way to $1000? Is that even possible? So much for "gazelle intensity"! I wonder how much I could get for the kids...Grace and Peace,
Friday, September 5, 2008
- curling up under a cozy blanket and reading a book in the middle of a thunderstorm
- coffee ice cream banana splits with marshmallow cream and hot fudge
- upside down chocolate pie
- triple chocolate mousse cake and a big glass of ice cold without the ice 2% milk (don't try to pass that blue skim milk off on me!)
- the crunch of leaves beneath my feet as I walk through the woods
- staying up until I can hardly keep my eyes open talking to a good friend
- harmonizing with my husband in praise to our King while he plays the guitar
- cheering for my kids from the sideline or the audience; watching them shine
- teaching God's word
- engaging conversations and animated debate with intelligent people
- shooting stars
- massages from my husband
- going to the theater or the symphony
- chubby baby cheeks
- reading blogs like yours ;)
So what about you? What makes you smile? Perhaps you've been more frustrated like I have lately and you've forgotten. Take a minute to remember and encourage us by sharing!
Grace and Peace,
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Here's the conversation I had with my 5 1/2 year old (ED).
ED: "Why is everyone rooting for John McCain? Do they just love him so much?"
Me: "They think he will be the best president and that he'll do a better job than Obama."
ED: "Are they Democrats?"
Me: "No, they're Republicans."
ED: "Well that one lady was a Democrat. She kept saying she was a Democrat and that she was rooting for John McCain. Why did she say that? Did she want everybody to know?"
Me: "She thinks that John McCain will be a better president than Barack Obama."
ED: "Well, I don't know if he will, but I think he will be better."
Me: "Why do you think he'll be better?"
ED: "Because he has shorter hair and lighter hair."
Yeah, she's not ready to vote yet.
But earlier, I had this conversation with my 7 year old EM.
The conversation continued:
EM: "Are Republicans Christians?"
Me: "Some of them are Christians. Some of them are not. Being a Republican does not make you a Christian."
EM: "Are the other people Christians?"
Me: "Some Democrats are Christians. Some are not."
EM: "But their leader says that he's a Christian, except he says it's okay for mommies to kill their babies in their tummies. What's his name?"
Me: "Obama. Barack Obama."
EM: "Barack Obama."
She may only be seven, but she's thinking, asking questions, practicing discernment, and knows Who comes first. I pray that those of you who are old enough to vote are doing the same!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
So that He can draw those people close to His heart through those bad things, be glorified in them, shine through them drawing others into His embrace, and make them all more like Christ in the process.
He never stops loving! He never stops pouring out His grace! He never stops working! God is not silent. He is not watching us from a distance. He is right here with us. He is ever-present in every circumstance. He is intimately acquainted with all our grief, and He is using it to work in mighty ways in the world that He has created.
He is always in the process of making us more like Jesus: more compassionate, more loving, more thoughtful, more willing to serve, more bold, more at peace, more trusting, more yielding, more surrendered...