Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The devil made me do it

Aaah. . .summer is over. Chilly mornings have been waking me up. . .the neighbor kids are back in school. . .we have started our homeschool year, and there is, once again, peace on the homefront. Sweet peace. . .

. . .Except for the spiritual wars going on inside me, of course.

I have many wars in many areas of my life that I need to "give to God." What does that even mean? I've said it over and over, even weeping at times. . ."God, I surrender. This is yours. Please take this burden from me." And I wait. . . Nope. Nothing seems different.

Darn Satan! If he'd just leave me alone, I wouldn't have these problems! Right? Yeah. . .no.

To quote one of my favorite songs (that you can hear on my playlist to the left, if you'd like) by Sara Groves, "Generations":
To say that the devil made me do it is a copout and a lie
The devil can't make me do anything when I'm calling on Jesus Christ!
It's not the devil's doin', although he is constantly poking at me. The Bible tells us that we have authority over him. (So in the name of Jesus, get behind me, Satan!!!!!)

It's not that God doesn't want to take my burdens from me. It's that I take my eyes off of Him. It's like Peter in the boat. Peter told Jesus, "Lord, if it's you, tell me to come to you on the water." Jesus simply replied, "Come." Peter walked on the water, but as soon as he took his eyes off of Jesus and let fear creep in, he began to sink.

It seems so simple, yet, the distractions of this life draw our eyes elsewhere, in the opposite direction of God. I have been praying for focus. . .focus on Him. And He has answered. I suspect He's always answered me in one way or another. I've just made the foolish mistake many times in the past of asking and then just expecting all to be well. This time I have asked, believed and kept my eyes on Him. The peace and comfort and power and freedom I'm feeling are immense. And this, I believe, is what He wants for me.

I hope and pray the same for you. (Really! I just prayed for you!) :)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

He Delights in Me

The most beautiful thing happened last night, and I didn't even realize it until I woke up this morning.

Actually, let me back up and give you some insight into how I have been feeling lately. And by lately, I mean for at least the last eight years.

So I've been feeling inadequate, falling short of being special to anyone, just kind of "there." I have mainly felt inadequate in the eyes of my husband. Mind you, he has never told me I am inadequate, but his [perhaps] inadvertent actions speak loudly. That's a whole other show, though, so I won't go into details. Let me assure you that I love my husband. He is a good man.

So I woke up this morning, and these words were in my head: "He sings over me." What? I frantically searched my brain to find where these words came from. I wanted more. Oh, please give me more! So I prayed. God, please show me where these words came from so I can go to that book or that magazine article or wherever to find more. He showed me these words written on a piece of notebook paper. Hmm. So I sat quietly. And then it hit me. This was in my dream last night!! How cool! So I tried to remember more of my dream, but to no avail.

So what next? I turned to the computer. I searched for "He sings over me," and I was led to Zephaniah 3:17:

"The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." (NIV)

Then I thought I'd check the Message translation:

". . .don't despair. Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, he'll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs."

And then I found this song, "The Father's Song," by Matt Redman.

I've been looking to the wrong source, wishing for more from my husband when all along, God has been loving me the way I need to be loved, singing songs over me, calming me with His wonderful love. I realize all I have to do now is be present, be still, be accepting of this intense love that He offers me. Only He can fill this hole in my heart. Only He can take away the pain.

Does this mean I'm done feeling inadequate in my husband's eyes? I suppose not. But I am hopeful I can get to that place. Will I stop hoping that my husband will do/say things that make me feel special like he used to? I suppose not. Will I still be crushed when my husband does/says things that make me feel inadequate and hopeless to ever measure up to his standards? I suppose so.

But my heart's desire is that this verse, which has just found its place in my heart, will allay the pain in the future. I will take refuge in the presence of my Warrior who sings songs over me. When I seek His face and sit at His feet, He doesn't just allow me to be in His presence. He rejoices over me with singing!!!!! The Creator of all sings over me?

Heavenly Father, please allow this verse, this truth, to sink into my heart and reside there forever. I pray that you will allow me to see how special I am in YOUR eyes. You are so faithful, Lord, and I have fallen short. Not only have you forgiven me, but you saved me, you delight in me, you wash over me with your peace. You sing songs over me. I am humbled by your grace. Please fill my life again. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hello, Ocean

Our trip to Maine was our kids' first time meeting the ocean. Our daughter wasn't so sure about it, while our son just jumped right in! After a few minutes, they were both loving it. Love the picture of my son when he found his first dead crab. Excitement!!! :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Be vigilant, my friends

In my quiet time this morning (a rare pleasure!), I was reading a devotional from Streams in the Desert, and I'd like to share an excerpt with you today.

The Bible verse to focus on is 1 John 5:4. . .Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

If a person allows it, he can find something at every turn of the road that will rob him of his victory and his peace of mind. Satan is far from
retiring from his work of attempting to deceive and destroy God's
children. At each milestone of your life, it is wise to check the
temperature of your experience in order to be keenly aware of the surrounding conditions.

If you will do this and firmly exhibit your faith at the precise moment,
you can sometimes actually snatch victory from the very jaws of defeat.

God is still on the throne, and He can turn defeat into victory in a split
second, if we will only trust Him.

"Be keenly aware of the surrounding conditions," I love that. Gosh, it is so important, and it's something about which I need to be more vigilant. There are temptors everywhere, and depending on your vice, you can be bombarded seemingly at every turn. Commercials, billboards, magazines. There are a wide variety of sins that can be carried out just by looking at one of those three things.

But I was enlightened the other day while having coffee at a friend's house. There were three of us there, all Christian women seeking to further their relationship with Christ. Not a place I would expect to be sucked into sin. Sure enough, we got to talking, and by the end of our several-hour-long conversations, we were all convicted that at the beginning of our talk, we were gossiping. We recognized the sin and turned from it. We now have a plan to have a Bible verse or Christian topic to be the focus of our future discussions.

Whatever road you're traveling today, I pray that you will stop and pray before each turn.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lacking Fruit

Photo courtesy of Flickr

So as I lay awake in bed in the middle of the night (this morning), I began to reflect on my behaviors, attitudes, actions and thoughts lately. In particular, God showed me that I have fallen way short in the areas of patience and self-control (in many areas of my life). I snap at my kids, my husband. I then berate myself for snapping. I recently joined a Fit by Fall challenge, and I have been eating like a madwoman ever since! I, again, berate myself for lacking self-control. Nothing comes fast enough. Everyone is on my last nerve, including me!! :}

So I was laying there wondering, Where has my patience gone? My self-control? God gently reminded me that these two characteristics are fruit of the Spirit. [Edit: After re-reading this post, I realized that it is not just those two characteristics I'm lacking. I'm lacking in all of the fruit of the Spirit. If I am lacking in one of those areas, I am lacking in all of them. They are all intertwined. I've never looked at it like that before! Thank you, Lord, for opening my eyes.]

Well, friends, I have not been tending to my Spirit. Like a garden, my Spirit must be cultivated. I've barely touched it in the past couple weeks. I went on vacation, brought my Bible with me and never even took it out of my suitcase. Just like I can't expect my flowers to bloom if I don't water them and feed them, I can't expect the Spirit within me to bear the fruit God so desires for me if I don't feed it the Word of God.

So I go into this Thursday, and invite you to join me, with Galatians 5:22-26 close to my heart:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Our family just took a trip to beautiful Maine. It was a bittersweet trip. My aunt has cancer, and we all wanted to spend time with her. She is my mom's twin, and it was their 60th birthday while we were there. So about twenty adults and kids flew to Maine. We rented a nice house on the ocean for about a week. It was a peaceful trip. The picture above is the path that led from our street to the ocean. Aaaahh. . .the memories.

My aunt has a wonderful outlook on her situation. She is a beautiful person. Makes me want to be a better person. . .live in the moment. . .not take everything so seriously. . .lighten up.

I love the ocean. On our last day there, I went down to the water, walked a little, sat down a little, thought a lot. One of my thoughts was: I really need to think more. :) Very seldom do I make the time to be alone and reflect on God's creation that surrounds me, who He wants me to be, what He wants me to do. It was easy to reflect at the ocean (especially at 4:45 a.m. when no one else was around!).

I took a trip to Maine one summer when I was in high school, and I have longed to go back ever since. It is so beautiful.

When we returned to our home in Iowa, I felt an almost immediate feeling of stress, tension, uneasiness. I'm pretty sure that's not how God wants me to feel in my own home. I need to figure out where that is coming from. It really is good to be home. I do love Iowa. I think maybe it has to do with the fact that we just moved and half of our stuff is still at our old house (that we just sold two days ago -- YAY!), so there is a lot to do, in addition to the already-busy days of a homeschooling mom (or any parent in any situation, for that matter).

Okay, enough with the random thoughts. I sincerely hope you are all doing well and feeling the love of Christ in you today. I have missed my blog friends and hope to catch up with you all soon.

Blessings to you all.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kids Say The Darndest Things!

This was e-mailed to me today and made me laugh, so I thought I'd share. Enjoy! :)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sweet Award

Thank you, Latte Lady, for this nice surprise!! I really appreciate it! And I love your blog too. I am always inspired to be a better homeschooling teacher after reading Homeschooler Cafe.

The award comes with some instructions:

1. Post the award on your blog. Link to the person who gave you the award.

2. List seven things you love:

My family

Coffee with the girls

3. List seven blogs you love and let those people know you’ve given them the award. (I would, of course, give this right back to you, Latte Lady. I LOVE your blog! But it would be redundant, huh?) :) And I'm going to try to give it to people whom I've never shared an award with before. :)

Melissa at Home is Where Your Story Begins

Alicia at Confessions of a Snowflake

Jennifer at Getting Down with Jesus

Prairie Chick at Prairie Prologue

Darlene at The Only Thing Worth Walking Toward

Heather at Blog She Wrote

Jamie at Rose Cottage

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dressing Modestly (Your thoughts, please)

I've been away from my blog for a month. . .wow! We've moved to a new home and had some life-threatening health scares in the family over the last month, so I've been away from my blog friends. :(

Okay, to the topic at hand. I am a big proponent of modest clothing. I'm not talking turtlenecks that go up to your chin and baggy pants or skirts that go down to your toes (although there is certainly nothing wrong with either of those!). I'm simply talking about dressing in a way that doesn't cause our brothers in Christ to stumble.

I have wonderful Christian friends who disagree with me on this. They argue that in order to stay with the trends, skin has to show. . .including much cleavage. It's just today's fashion, they explain. I see women at church in clothes that I am stunned they would even think to wear at church, let alone anywhere else. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming that they don't understand how this affects the men in our church who are trying to focus on God and the message of our pastor.

I am looking for any resources that back up my position on this. A male friend of my husband and me is looking to speak to a group of men and women about this very subject. He feels comfortable speaking to the men but is not sure how to address the women. He wants to be bold, to the point, but not judgmental.

Has anyone read any books or seen video clips from Christians on this topic? I have Googled Beth Moore and this topic because I thought in one of her books I read something like this. And I know of one Bible verse that addresses this topic, so any more would be welcome, of course!

If you have ANY resources you can recommend to me, I would surely appreciate it.

I am not looking to defend my position on this topic in this particular post. I'm sure not everyone agrees with me, and that is, of course, perfectly fine. And if you feel led, you may leave me a comment stating your position. Just don't expect me to debate on the topic. That's a whole other show, folks. ;)

Thank you in advance!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A meeting with the Lord

As I lay in bed trying to wake up this morning, this song by Ten Shekel Shirt ("Meet with Me") was playing over and over in my mind. I LOVE it! My favorite words in the song are:

I'm here to meet with you
come and meet with me
I'm here to find you
reveal yourself to me

I thought, What great words to say when I am starting my time of worship, whether it be prayer, reading the Bible or singing to Him.

I truly hope that this song brings at least one of you feelings of JOY and the desire to worship and praise God this morning!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

What a Sweet Surprise!!!

Beth (One Blessed Nana) at An Instrument 4 His Glory has made me feel like one blessed mama! :) She has given me this fabulous award, my first blog award! (Is it legal to send it back to the person who sent it to you? I have learned so much from you, Beth, and am truly inspired to be a better woman because of you!)

Two rules accompany this award:

1. Confess 5 things you are addicted to.
2. Pass the award on to 5 deserving bloggers.

Five addictions:

1. Seeking the Truth through His Word (and seeking to make it more and more of an addiction all the time!)
2. Time alone with my husband. LOVE connecting with him and laughing, laughing, laughing!
3. Cuddling with my kids, especially at night when they are sooooo talkative.
4. Coffee with my girlfriends. (I get to meet with them tomorrow morning. . .yay! It's always so uplifting and FUN!)
5. Chocolate!

(Now, here's the hard part!! I have been blessed and have learned so much from so many of you!!!!!)

Five deserving bloggers:

1. Miss Charlene at Bring on the Rain.
2. Julie at Jewelz Sightings.
3. Yolanda at Higher Grounds.
4. Cricket at A Simple Girl's Life.
5. Deanna at Inside Deanna's Diary.
6. Mimi at He & Me + 3.

What? I can't count? I know, I broke the rule and chose six instead of five. There are so many wonderful women of God out in blogland, and it was so hard to choose. Thank you to all of you teaching me, uplifting me, praying with me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Please Pray with me

My aunt Sheila (my mom's twin sister) was diagnosed with liver cancer yesterday.
She just finished chemo and radiation for breast cancer in November of 2008. She is 59.

Please lift her up in prayer.

And more frightening than anything, she is not a believer. So even if it's not God's will to heal her at this time, I will pray fervently that He will open her eyes and her heart to receive Him.

As the Spirit leads, will you pray with me, please?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Teaching Typing to Your Kiddos

I found a great link on Latte Lady's blog to a FUN typing website that my son is having a blast with! It is called Dance Mat Typing. It's an easy and fun way to learn typing.

For all you homeschoolers out there, Latte Lady's website is loaded with great information. She speaks of her personal experiences and also has many links to a very wide variety of topics. Hop on over there some time! :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

You're Gonna Miss This

Last night my dear hubby was snoring like a bear with a bad case of sinusitis, so after almost two hours, I got up and snuggled into bed with my sweet daughter, without her knowing. Well, when she woke up this morning, she crawled out of bed (as I kept my eyes closed), and she got her softest little teddy bear (aptly named Soft) and put it right next to my cheek on the pillow.

Then she hopped back into bed laying on her side facing me, my back to her. And she started to softly rub my back with her sweet little hands. Then she went under my shirt and rubbed my back with a gentleness that about made me cry. It was something a mother would do to her child. I still pretended to sleep, just enjoying her precious love.

Lord, thank you for this loving, giving little girl that you have trusted me to watch over.

Pam at You're Gonna Miss This has this ongoing meme every Saturday. Check it out and join in!

Interview with Naomi Lynn

And here is the interview with my almost 5-year-old daughter:

1. What is something Mom always says to you?
Yuv you.

2. What makes Mom happy?
When I do good things.

3. What makes Mom sad?
When I whine.

4. How does Mom make you laugh?

5. What was Mom like as a kid?
Hmmmm. . .eating ice cream. (Hey! I resemble that remark!)

6. How old is Mom?
13? (ter-teen) :)

7. How tall is Mom?
14? (por-teen) :)

8. What is Mom's favorite thing to do?
Read the Bible

9. What does Mom do when you're not around?
Read the Bible and eat. (I'm sensing a food theme here.)

10. If your Mom becomes famous what will it be for?
Doctor. (okay!)

11. What is Mom really good at?

12. What is Mom not good at?
Oh. I'm tinking. . .What is Mom not good at? I wish you could give me a hint. (I said, I don't know.) Mom, you're not good at doing a somersault. (the girl's got a point there.)

13. What is Mom's favorite food?
Helfee tings (healthy things. . .she doesn't see what I eat when nobody's watching!) ;)

14. What do you and Mom do together?

15. If your Mom was a TV character who would she be?
A cook and cook yummy treats!

16. How are you and Mom different?
Because you're bigger and I'm smaller.

17. How are you and Mom the same?
We yuv the same books.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Interview with Brandon Thomas

I got this great interview idea from 50s Housewife. It sure was fun to see me through my kids' eyes!

Today I will post my interview with my son who is 7 1/2:

1. What is something Mom always says to you?
I love you.

2. What makes Mom happy?
When I hug her.

3. What makes Mom sad?
If you be mean to her.

4. How does Mom make you laugh?
By tickling me. Cuz try it. (brief tickle break was taken)

5. What was Mom like as a kid?
You liked your mom and got fun stuff.

6. How old is Mom?
34 1/2, almost turning 35 in June. Right, Mom? Yep.

7. How tall is Mom?
5'4" (5'5 1/2", thank you very much!)

8. What is Mom's favorite thing to do?
Hmm. . .let's see. Chores. (okay then.)

9. What does Mom do when you're not around?
Clean. (Sure. We'll go with that.)

10. If your Mom becomes famous what will it be for?
Singing because I think you're a good singer.

11. What is Mom really good at?
Hmm. . .what ARE you really good at? Washing the dishes. You are good at that. (wow.)

12. What is Mom not good at?
Tic Tac Toe

13. What is Mom's favorite food?
Green smoothies with spinach, especially if they're frozen.

14. What do you and Mom do together?
Play games.

15. If your Mom was a TV character who would she be?
Mommy the GREAT! (pointer finger went enthusiastically straight up in the air for effect.) :)

16. How are you and Mom different?
We're different ages. We're different sizes. I'm a boy and you're a girl.

17. How are you and Mom the same?
We like the same people. . .like Kyle! (his best friend)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday!!

I've read several "Thankful Thursdays" over the months, so I thought I'd join in!
Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

* I am thankful for my Comforter, my Encourager. He has encouraged me this morning in a way that was not expected at all! He is so good to me, even when I am not good to myself, others or even Him. Praise God!! What a wonderful, faithful God we serve.
* I am thankful for my husband. He is such a wonderful father to our children, sitting with them, playing all the board games (that I don't like to play!), reading to them.
* I am thankful for my son Brandon Thomas (7 1/2). He is one of the most sensitive boys I've ever known. It used to bother me, his sensitivity. I thought he should be tough, but I have learned to appreciate his tender heart. And, boy, does he LOVE the Lord! He gets EXCITED to read and memorize Bible verses.
* I am thankful for my daughter Naomi Lynn (will be 5 next month!). She is so caring and compassionate. When someone is hurting or struggling, she runs to them to pat them on the back or to help them. My stepdad has a walker that he uses, and whenever he gets up, she gets up and holds on to his walker, walking slowly beside him, "guiding" him. Such a kind heart she has.
* I am thankful for my health. I have treated my body poorly for almost my entire life. The Lord has recently been healing me from the inside out. It has been an amazing journey. This body He created is more amazing than I'll ever fully realize. To go through what I've put it through and then still be able to function is amazing! And not only is it functioning, it is reversing some of the damage I have done to it. I stand in awe of HIM!!!
Happy Thankful Thursday!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A FUN way to bless others!!

One of our local Christian radio stations (Life 101.9) does this thing called The Drive-Thru Difference (once a month, I think). This is their explanation of it:
The Drive Thru Difference is a random act of kindness in Jesus' name, where you pay for the order of the car behind you in a drive thru line.
This has been so much fun for me and my kids to do. The first time we did it, I printed off the note that the radio station's website offers. Now we just do it whenever we feel led. I have written my own note before as well, and most of the time, I just do it with no explanation.

The great thing about printing off the note from the radio station's website is that people call the radio station and tell how they have been blessed by this, both the givers and the receivers. I remember one specifically where a woman called in and said that someone just paid for her van full of her and her siblings. Their dad had just died a few days earlier, and they just felt so uplifted by it.

Another story that actually makes me laugh is that a woman called in, and she was the one who paid for the car behind her, and that car chased her down to thank her, sharing that she had a horrible morning, and this just made her day. :)

I did this yesterday and had a nice surprise. I was at Starbucks, paid for my drink and then said, "And just for fun, I'd like to pay for the people behind me." The sweet gal said, "Are you serious?" I said, "You bet! I just hope it cheers them up and puts a bright spot in their day." And here's where the unexpected response came. She said, "Well, you have definitely made MY day!" How sweet! I never thought that the "middle man" would feel blessed too! :)

Anyway, if you feel led next time you're going through a drive-thru place, try it out! It's thrilling!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Make 'em wonder what you've got!!

If you listen to Christian radio, you've probably heard the song "Shine" by the Newsboys (click on my Playlist to the left if you want to hear it!). As I was listening to it in the van today, I thought, I'm going to make a concerted effort as I go through this coming week to SHINE for Jesus!!!!! Yes, indeedy, I should be doing that always, but I'm going to be particulary vigilant this week. I am going to carry a note with me that will include:

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. Isaiah 60:1

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:3 NIV

And also the chorus to the "Shine" song:

Make 'em wonder what you've got
Make 'em wish that they were not
On the outside looking bored
Let it shine before all men
Let 'em see good works, and then

Let 'em glorify the Lord!

Won't you shine with me this week? :)