Psalm 119: 12-16 - " Praise be to you , O Lord ; teach me your decrees. WITH MY LIPS I RECOUNT all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

In Real Life... Prioritize ALL of These Unfinished Projects but FIRST Seek Him Early !

     I'm pretty sure we all have them... stacks. Stacks of unfinished projects and to do lists. Looming, lurking around some dark corner in our homes. We know they are there. We may even desire daily to get to one of them, but reality is we often don't. Maybe your stack is in the corner of your bedroom, like mine is. On the kitchen table, reminding you every time the dinner bell rings. Or maybe there are various stacks scattered in multiple places throughout your home. I once knew a lady who had her entire spare bedroom dedicated for just such projects and to do's.These are projects we possibly set aside to be done at a later time. 
      Some items on my to do list include scrap-booking, I think I last did so when my oldest was in fourth grade. He is now a junior in highschool. My list continues... things to sell on ebay , mind you I still do not have an eBay account. Start an herb garden with my daughter. Getting a few chickens to raise with my son. Organize a months worth of meals so I don't worry about what we're gonna eat when I cannot make a grocery list. Trust me the list goes on.The stacks are there too! Homeschool books, pictures and clothes that I keep thinking, " Gosh one day I just might wear that !"
     I also have bigger lists and goals that I hope to finish one day. Writing a book, getting my nursing degree, learning to fight, so I can defend myself and be crowned " Small town girl, turns toughest fighting momma!".( Laughable , I know !) Paying off larger bills so we can have less debt, etc...  These are all lists, to do's and stacks of things that can wait. Some of them are more urgent then others ofcourse. I am plugging away at some of  these things so I  can put a check mark next to a few. But in this busy life, I am trying to prioritize the urgent .
    I am thankful I have goals, ideas, plans and to do's. Sometimes I get discouraged on their slow progress. However, there are certain things in my life and home that I must prioritize. Things that cannot wait. Things that if I do not pursue , will be gone. They cannot be placed on a shelf for a later date, or stacked in a nice ( or not so nice) pile in the corner of some room. They are things that are here for awhile. These are moments I must prioritize because I cannot put them off for a later date. I have to invest, build, take time for and develop, NOW!
    My marriage and my kids are examples of  priorities that cannot wait. Saying " I love you", praying for, investing my time in, building upon and encouraging cannot wait for some later time. What I have is now and I hope I sense the urgent. Looking through stacks of photos proves how fast time has gone and how quick it continues to fly by. The time is precious. I cannot put them on a list or stack them up among all my other projects. I intentionally need to pull them out and set them aside from the other lists and get busy investing..
    As the clock is ticking, as projects get done and others left undone, I hope I am learning to prioritize. But in all my prioritizing I do not want my relationship with the Lord to fall at the wayside.Often it gets stuck on a list, and that is one place it never belongs.

This morning in my devotions this verse put a fresh priority on the importance of Him in our lives. 

Psalms 62:1 "O God, You are my God, Early will I seek you. My soul thirsts for you, My flesh longs for You. in a dry and thirsty land. Where there is no water."

Early will I seek you. It may be that David meant in the early morning. Yet this resounded with me, Early. Now, before problems arise, before time goes by and things happen and time is gone, Early- priority- now. The dictionary describes it as - happening or done before the usual or expected time. That is prioritization !Seeking Him should be number one before any other project. Just like I cannot get back the years with my kids, or those years in my marriage that I didn't make time for. I also cannot replace the time spent with the Lord. This priority time
                                    establishes me
                                    molds me
                                    equips me
                                    changes me                                                                                                                                                                grounds me
                                    renews me
                                    teaches me ABOUT HIM !
In Real Life ...It is the NUMBER ONE PROJECT that cannot wait !

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

In Real Life... Tune in to Your Kids Favorite Station , and Then Rejoice in it !

                The older my kids become the more differences I can see in each of them, starting with music. I am trying as a parent to tune in to their station. Not so they think I am the, " cool mom!" Not so I fit in with the teenage crowd, ( cause let's face it ,that is not going to happen.) But I do it especially for a reason. To know them, to encourage them, and to rejoice in their separate differences.
               He scoots in the front seat of the car, slams the door and I know. I know the radio is no longer mine, it's his. I pull out with a sigh as my tunes fade in the past and his tunes drown out the future. Then just as I think I might be enjoying a particular song , his fingers grab the knob and switch it faster than I can blink. He is on to the next song and the next. Back and forth we go until we arrive at our driving destination. My oldest son knows all the artists names, he is up to date on the latest and greatest.  

But why am I surprised?
             He is always on the go. Always hanging out with the guys !He is likable by most everyone that meets him. He is interested in different people and is kind to those that are not exactly like him in personality. He blends in well , even in a diverse group. He is easy to talk to and hang out with.He is interested in names and concerns and cares of others. He flips easily from one station of friends to another, he cares about them all. This is his station, the one I am so privileged to listen to as he grows into a  man.
               When my daughter however, has the remote in the living room and I see the Pandora option on the TV screen, I know. I know where she is headed. It will be something Irish or something Michael Buble. We hop to our feet and usually start dancing. I love hearing her laugh and watching her goof off. Her brothers usually roll their eyes as we roll across the dance ( living room ) floor. It is not what they want to hear. But my daughters heart finds great joy in the music she loves. We make eye contact over smiles and funky moves.I love holding her hands swinging like a wanna be dance star and just loving who she is.

 But why am I surprised.

              She loves to laugh. She listens to the words and tunes of her songs, just like she listens to peoples hearts. She moves others.She is very interested in details of the heart, not just surface issues. It is not enough to tell her you are okay. She looks in your eyes and knows and then she asks and investigates until she knows the truth. Her heart rings out just like the Irish violin or the soothing tones of Buble himself. This is her station, the one I am so privileged to listen to as she grows into a young woman.
              Tonight we dropped our older two off at youth group. I flipped off my oldest  son's music that was still blaring and booming up a beat. " Hey son" I said to my 12 year old." How about we find a country station , what do ya think."  I find I have to make the first move with the music dial. He doesn't push his way and usually let's others, his older siblings included, go first. He is a boy with manners and is very polite.Titus has been my greatest surprise in music selections. No one, I repeat no one in our family likes country. Yet he has become a country music lover. Anything Johnny Cash and classical country lights up his face. I rarely hear him singing , but when I do it is because country is on the station. 

But why am I surprised?

            I have had the privileged of watching this young mans love for fishing , hunting and outdoor events. I have seen his growing interest in raising chickens and having a blast on his friends ranch when he is invited. He even had a slight crush on a cowgirl recently.He sticks up for others and speaks his mind. He is not easily intimidated and he holds his own. He is a protector of his mom and sister, and might I add anyone who would need his help. I love that this is him. This is his station , the one I am so privileged to listen to as he grows into a young man.

Even though they are all  apart of this family they are unique individuals, designed by a loving God for a special purpose.

           We are all different aren't we? If we admit it as moms there are personalities and differences in our families that drive us nuts. But what a boring home, full of one single flare of music, we would have without diversity. We may even find as we get to know the members of our household that we like the freshest tunes, the Irish ring or the country, boot kickin , blaze that comes through our station when these special kids are around. We can grrrr and growl when our personal station flips, or we can rejoice that our kids are special individuals. Set apart for a dance, swing, Irish jig or country line dance of their own someday. It is just one more reason to rejoice in the wonderful people God has made and placed around us. This beautiful song called family. Now that is a station worth listening to!

I Corinthians 12:4-6
4Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.

I love these verses, don't you ? I want to encourage you to read all of chapter 12. It's a beautiful reminder as to how we are all apart of the body, we are all unique and individually important. We are all different in Gods family, just like we are different in our own individual families. Is there someone in your family or Gods family that annoys you, rubs you wrong or you just do not " click " with. This chapter has been a great reminder to me that we all belong to God in Christ. He is working on each of us, that's for sure. None of us have arrived. I am so glad he uses us with all our different personalities, corks and gifts as well.  We belong to Him, but we do not all talk, act and sound alike. Our commonality is Christ. Is there a person at home, work or church we could stop and listen to with this perspective in mind? 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

In Real Life... Apply the 80/20 Rule to Your Teenager

              " I know what you mean !" I said, sipping a hazelnut latte, while discussing our kids. "Sometimes I have to remind myself, he's only 17, he's only 17!"  I didn't stop there, I went on.But not before another sip of course. " I took a math class with him last semester, that was stressful ! " I now said, laughing a little." Let me tell you , he can talk a big game , but he lacks discipline in studying."
               Right about then the man sitting across from my husband and I said, " Well, I don't care what you both say. I think your son is a great kid. He is always respectful to me and polite. Let me tell you that kid has a lot going for him." I sat there kind of stunned and a bit embarrassed. I know my son has great qualities and there I was harping on the few that had gotten on my nerves these last couple of months. I knew the wonderful things about my son as well, I just was choosing to discuss the flaws instead.
              After our dinner that night I thought about it.I had plenty of time to think anyways since I had downed a latte at 9 pm. My heart was beating to my caffeine drum, but also to conviction.  My focus was way off. What was I looking for, perfection? Looking in my own mom mirror I new that was not attainable for me. So then, how could I expect my teen , or anyone in my family for that matter to try to attain it.
             I wandered out in the living room and  gave my son a hug before heading to bed, "I'm so proud of you!", I said with my head nudged in his armpit. That seems to be where I fit lately, since he keeps growing and I don't. I wanted to be here, under his arm, smells and all. I was so proud of my teen. I wanted to see the 80 percent. Everyone else see's it, it would be a shame if he remembers his mom only harping on the 20.
             The next night at ladies Bible study our pastors wife stood up and shared this quote by Lars Gren, husband of Elizabeth Elliot. 

“A wife, if she is very generous, may allow that her husband lives up to

 perhaps eighty percent of her expectations. There is always the other twenty
 percent that she would like to change, and she may chip away at it for the               
 whole of their married life without reducing it by very much. She may, on the
 other hand, simply decide to enjoy the eighty percent, and both of them will be happy.”
"Here is my challenge to all of the wives out there:  meditate on the 80%.  Most of the time we focus so much on what our husbands are not doing or what we'd like to change, that we miss the 80%.  We married them for the 80%.  Let celebrate that. "
         The quote was fitting since we were discussing as women how to be husband and children likers . I knew this quote was directed toward wives. However, in my heart I felt a nudge, sitting on my metal fold up chair , I knew I had to also apply it to my ever growing, learning and maturing teenager.
            There is 80 percent of my son that blows me away.He is caring, extremely funny, a great friend, hard worker and polite to others. Yet, as his mom I tend to zoom in on the 20 percent. As a mom I need to change. I long to appreciate the 80 percent. I was thankful for this quote to stir me, and a man eating gelato across from me , to remind me. In Real Life, I need to apply the 80/20 rule to my teenager.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for teenagers. Thank you for my teenager. Thank you for the 80 percent that he is doing well. I am so proud of him. May I encourage him in the 20 percent , but never focus so much on it that I forget the 80. I am so thankful to be a mom. To have this teen in my care. Lord change my heart. Thank you that I need grace too. I have 20 percent mess and flaws. I would want others to see the 80 in me and not nag at the 20. I extend this same grace I long for to my son. Help me to apply the 80/20 rule to my teenager.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

In Real Life... Keep the Door Open a Crack For Our Kids !

Titus 2 :7 -And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. 

     " Mom, I saw you today !"
       " What do you mean?" I asked puzzled.
       " I saw you, when dad and I brought you lunch. The door was open a crack , and I saw you being kind to that lady."
        I was taken back. I had no idea my daughter was in the hall watching me.  She smiled at me before hugging me and bouncing off in that sweet , happy way that she does. I sat and pondered her words for a minute, " I saw you mom !"  I realized the truth in what I have been told by older, wiser moms for a long time. Our kids are watching. They are watching us whether we know it or not. Sometimes when we least expect it.
      It was a great reminder to me that my kids are indeed watching. They are watching how I treat others, respond in hard situations and talk when others are not present. They are even watching when I may not know they are. They are watching to see if I live out what I tell them I believe when I'm at home . Am I just telling them or are they seeing it in my life?  Am I walking with the Lord, reading His Word and asking Him to work in my life ? Is it coming out in my day to day routine and actions? Is it apart of my life at home, at work, in public and even when I am all alone?
      We cannot set up scenarios for our kids.  It's not a set of phony scenes we  can play out for our kids so they think we are good people. It should flow naturally out of our lives as we spend time drawing closer , and getting to know the Lord. It's a reflection of His goodness not our own. It should be an overflow of spending time getting to know Him.
     On the flip side my kids have seen other things in my life over the years. They have heard me criticize another person, or watched me pass up opportunities to thrive because I was hurt. My kids have watched me worry and whine. In those times I wasn't even cracking the door for them to see my bad behavior, I was pushing it open and letting it all roll out. They have seen the times I have not spent  in prayer or asked God to control my tongue and my attitude. But  hopefully as the years tick on my kids have watched me grow. I am not even close to being a perfect parent, but I hope I am a growing parent. He grows us moms so that we can be an example to our kids.
     You know dear lady just living this real life day to day, we know we cannot do it on our own. But when we take the time and make it a priority to seek the Lord, read his word and ask for His help, he is faithful to answer and to walk this life with us.I fall short more than I care to admit, but I hope when the door is accidentally open a crack and my kids catch me unaware that I am doing something that blesses their heart. Something that sets an example for their own life. Something that reflects Jesus. I will not always hit the mark, but I pray I am setting that example for my kids more and more.
     I desire as our kids grow, become adults and make choices of their own that they can reflect over examples we as parents have left. Not because we planned, and plotted out scenarios for our kids to catch us in some sort of fake act. No , but because we loved the Lord. Hopefully because we allowed him to work on us and use us in the midst of real life. Hopefully because we are living life as we follow Him. If our kids catch us with the door open a crack what a joy it would be to know they are seeing how we live when we don't know they're watching. What a privilege to set an example for them.

    Dear Lord, it is really about you working in us as moms ( parents). You are the one working on us and I pray our kids can witness that work. If we touch a life along the way it is because you are so good in our own lives that we wish to bless others. We fall short, and will fall short but you are in the habit of picking us up when we seek you for guidance. Give us a heart for people that need TLC, care, compassion and kindness and then give us the means to act on it. Help us as parents to reflect what walking with you looks like. And when you see fit lord leave the door open a crack for our kids to catch a glimpse of what following you means. Thanks that you can use any mom, anywhere. Not just a select few. You are able to enable us when we ask you for help.What  I want my daughter to know more than anything is , Mom did this because she loves the Lord. God you are the real example.

There are real life ways we crack the door open for our kids in our everyday life as their moms. Are you delivering a meal to someone sick, bring your kids. Are you going on a mission trip, bring the kids. Are you mowing a lawn, bring the kids.  Whatever you are doing, those small things God has layed on your heart to do for someone else, bring the kids. Not to show off, or put on a show, but to crack the door a little for your kids to see what that means to you. to set an example of how good God is in your own life.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

In Real Life... There is One Great Thing We Can Pray for Our Kids.!

         "Good job mom !", she said after highly commending my kids. She had just shared with me a couple things she had seen in my older two that had inspired her. With her " Good job mom ! ", I had a minute to breathe on my hand , tuck my fingers in and give a one two on the middle of my blouse. But I couldn't, I knew the truth about  me and my mothering. Although I would have loved to take the mommy coated glory at that moment I could only look up and say, " Thanks God!" So that is what I told my sweet friend," if any of our kids turn out well and do well, the most we can do is say," thank you God!""
          When I look at my parenting I see a million mistakes and it didn't take long for me to start making them. When my oldest, was born I was overwhelmed with depression from unhealed hurt in my life. I found myself snappy and inpatient. As he grew and more kids came I found myself yelling more than I ever thought possible for a quiet girl like me. Thankfully, God began to heal those wounds and heal my attitude as a mom, but I still worried about those early mistakes I had made.With all my kids I can look back and see where I stressed too much, rushed too much and fussed too much . I was not the perfect mom who followed 5 step plans so that one day, one glorious day I could have the perfect children'.
           I can also look back though and see where God has helped me. to lighten up, have fun and enjoy my kids. He has given me fresh ideas, strength and everything else I needed when I asked Him. I know myself as a mom and I know myself with Gods help as a mom, so I much rather prefer to thank Him for the help.I told my friend before hanging up, " It is God that gets a hold of our kids. If it is not real for them and meaningful to them individually there is nothing we can do, no plan we can follow. It's that personal relationship that changes things.It's God's work in their hearts."
           There has been one great thing I have done that I shared with my friend .In my small opinion it is the greatest for our kids. I have prayed and continue to pray that God would get a hold of my kids hearts. My husband and I have often sat down, talked and said, we know if our kids have Jesus. If they love and cling to Him, they will be alright. He is the solid rock they need in this world of shifting, sinking sand.
             When I was 17, I loved the Lord. He had my heart. I hit struggles and challenges but He helped me, rescued me and got me through. Knowing what He did for me at a young age, there is no doubt He will keep my kids as well when they call on Him for help.I can look back and say this verse now with confidence for my own life and how He helped me when real life came rushing in. John 10:28-29 " I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.…, " 
             I know my kids will hit real life soon enough. They will see things I wish they would never have to. They will encounter cruel people  and a world that threatens safety. They will be hurt by someone , let down by someone and mistreated by someone. They will face choices and may make the wrong choice at times. But I know as a mom if they have Jesus, no one can snatch them out of his hand. If they know and love the Lord, they have the greatest thing.
            So that is my prayer everyday. Among my struggles as a mom, my chore chart that I can never quite organize, my school schedule I can never quite perfect. But my prayer remains the same, "LORD please get a hold of my kids hearts that they will know and love you. "My kids have a big journey ahead. I do not know how or where they will end up. I only pray that every step they will know Jesus is with them. This is my only confidence as a mom. If they have Jesus , they have everything.. If I hear anything good, praise worthy, notable or inspiring, I can surely look up and say, "thank you God. "I know my helper and He deserves the credit. After all it is his hand that He keeps us . Moms and kids included.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Real Life is a " Whatever Circumstance !"

Philippians 4:11-13

for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

"What stood out to you honey?" My husband asked, sitting across the room on the couch. I knew exactly what had stood out in the chapter we were reading. It was that moment when a lump forms in your throat and the words jump off the page right into your heart. God's Word was doing it again, challenging me in the midst of real life. This verse was timely and I needed it this week more than ever. I was in escape mode. I wanted to run from my circumstance.
My circumstances had recently changed in an area of my life I have cherished for a long time. The circumstances I was used to, comfortable in. The circumstances that I liked. Things were different and now they seemed hard, challenging and honestly... sad. The thing I once found great joy and satisfaction in had become a heavy weight in the midst of my life. I looked up from the verses that were pounding at my hearts door and I knew I had my answer to this uncomfortable dilemma.
I in no way could or ever can compare myself to Paul's circumstances. When Paul said these things, he meant the worst conditions possible that I could ever imagine to endure. My situation could never compare to his challenges. But I also know and believe that God's Word applies to our everyday life. I knew I could apply what Paul was saying in my very circumstance.
In the last two months I had been trying to change things for the better. I didn't want to deal with the hard, the change. I was no longer appreciated as I had been in the past, I felt as Paul said, abased. I was not experiencing abundance in this circumstance, I felt in desperate need. I wasn't satisfied in changes, I was hungry for something better. I did a few things to try and escape. I was ready to move on and leave these new harder circumstances behind. I had said to myself, " Well, if I am not happy and appreciated here then I'll just move on."
But with my husbands words, " What stood out to you?" I knew my circumstances did not need to change, maybe they would never change. I needed to change my heart and learn to be content. Though I felt abased, I could be content. though I felt like I had been brought low, I could be content. Paul said he found the secret in verse 12. That secret is Christ alone. Paul said in ANY and ALL circumstances, and this fell in the any and all category. I couldn't just run away and pretend God's Word didn't apply to even this.
This week was different for me. Nothing has changed in my circumstances, but my perspective has. Instead of looking to escape this week, I endured a little better. Instead of wanting to run, I stayed. Instead of wishing to be back to my appreciated state I chose to be content, even though I felt abased. I reminded myself of my new found verses and found joy in my secret of contentment. Contentment came and I hope is coming more and more as I grow in the Lord because... " I can do ALL things THROUGH CHRIST who strengthens me."
Do you wish to run, to choose a more comfortable area where you feel appreciated, accepted and let's admit it , easy peasy ? I know how you feel. But Philippians challenged me to stick it out and I hope it challenges you in your circumstances too. I hope as I am growing that I keep learning in my any and ALL circumstances to be content. I hope I am allowing Christ to strengthen me to do all things, even the thing I am not comfortable or content in doing. Real Life is a whatever circumstance. There will always be a new challenge. I can run or I can be content. I can learn the secret.

Lord, you are the secret of contentment in any and all circumstances. When I start looking at people, places and things I get discouraged. My contentment comes in you. Even when I am brought low, when I am abased, would you teach me to be content even in this ? I like things easy, I like to be approved, but I know your Word says I can still be joyful, happy and content when things are not going my way. I choose you Lord. I choose you over people and situations and my circumstances. May I truly be able to say as I grow that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. You be my strength no matter what is going on around me. Help me not to run so quickly, help me to stand in you my secret to contentment, Amen.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

In Real Life... Change a Sad Tune to a Glad Tune

            " Is this okay mom?" My daughter asked as she showed me the birthday card she had just filled out for a friend. I took the card from her sweet hand and tears filled my eyes as I read. Her words were heartfelt for a friend. Every word was full of care, compassion and a heart to build up.She knew her friend all too well. The way she tore herself down at times, but my daughter saw the beauty of how God had made her to be.
              I closed the card , handed it back and said, " I love it , I absolutely love it !"  She began to tell me how her friend always puts herself down. That she is quiet and not outgoing. That she is this and she is that, in a negative light. " But I know her mom, she is beautiful just as she is !"
                My daughter placed the card in the envelope and bounced off Irish step dance style down the hall to her room and closed the door. The birthday party came and went and I hadn't heard another word about it until yesterday in the car.
               My daughter out of the blue, and in between Brandon Heath songs on the cd player, began to tell me about her friend. " Did you know mom that she changed her song after she read my card?" My interest immediately peaked. " What do you mean?" I asked.  "Well, she had written a song that said in the words , that she was not like her older sister. Her older sister was out going , talented etc... but she was not. After she read my card mom she told me she changed all the words !"
              After daughter's sweet words or re-assurance that she was just who God made her to be. That she did not need to compete or try to be anyone but herself, her friend changed her sad tune to a glad tune. My daughter not only encouraged her friends heart, but she encouraged my heart as well. How many women and young girls are singing a sad tune. How can our words , and above all else GODS WORD change it to a glad tune.
              If we take the time, look around and listen there are plenty of women writing a sad song. Gods Word says in Proverbs 12;25- Anxiety in the heart of a man ( woman ) weighs it down, but a good word makes him glad. What good word from Gods truth can you speak into another woman's life today. It may be the difference between a sad song and a glad song.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

This Year... Go Ahead and Adopt Somebody !

    Hebrews 13:1-  Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. ( NIV )
          It's December 31st, I'm sitting on my couch with my feet up and enjoying a cup of coffee and the sound of two girls laughing while playing Yahtzee at our kitchen table. The snow is falling ,  the air is cold outside, but my heart is warmed by the sight in front of me. Two young girls without natural sisters by birth, yet they took on one another.Loving each other as sisters.
        My daughter has longed for a sister for some years now. Sandwiched between two brothers, she often has voiced her desire for a major need for "girl time." Last summer was my daughters first year at camp. She was entering her freshman year in high-school and bravely took on the endevour to go to a  youth camp in California. There is where she met a Senior girl from her youth group.
        My daughter laughs now at how they never knew each other before camp. Even though they both attended the same church . The beautiful senior  that week painted my daughters nails, braided her hair the whole trip and trailed her along wherever she went. As the week ended at camp this beautiful 18 year old told my 14 year old, " I have always wanted a sister, you are like the little sister I never had."
       Since the summer these two girls have called each other back and forth, gone to the mall, taken hikes together, and done sleepovers, even taken her caroling with the college group at church. This young gal has become to my daughter like the sister she has never had. I tell my daughter quite often , "Sometimes when we don't have family members in life we long for , we adopt them!" It is a great reminder that God see's and knows just what we need.
        Today I asked the girls to remind me how many years they were apart. They told me there is four years between them. I then told the girls,"when I was just my daugher's age,I also had a 19 year old at the time adopt me too. She was my neighbor across the street who had grown up with since age 4. For some reason in my teens we bonded like sisters. She adopted me and I adopted her. We are like sisters to this day, calling each other every other day or so and getting together when we can."I don't know if she will ever truly know how she helped me as a young teen. I was lonely and there she was, treating me just like the sister I needed.
             Sometimes life gives us sisters by birth, sometimes it doesn't. But there is always someone out there who can use one, who knows it may be you! I am so thankful for my friend/ sister who adopted me as her own in my teens. I am so very thankful for this beautiful senior in high school who has adopted my daughter as if she was her very own sister. 
             My question this new year is who needs me ? Who needs you? You could make a huge difference in someones life.Someone younger than you or older.An elderly person who has lost a spouse, or a child who has lost a parent. Before you panic, say you don't have money or embrace legal paperwork, don't worry. It is an adoption of the heart to love as brothers.
            Even in church we can be lonely, and why? If we each take the time to invest in one lonely brother or sister, what difference would that make? I can only encourage you by saying there is a 14 year old girl in my home that it has made the world of difference to. There is a 18 year old young woman in my home who is modeling a beautiful example to me this new year.There are too many lonely to not adopt someone. So this New Year, Go ahead and adopt somebody !

Romans 12:10

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

In Real Life... There Will Be a Remodel

            Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
            My husband occasionally has a side job of putting finishing trim in newly built houses. He had just such a job on a house a couple months ago. I was with him on the run for the day and got to see the brand spanking new beauty. I walked in and my jaw dropped.It was not too large, not too small, just perfect. I, being woman, immediately pictured myself , my three kids and husband in it. Living , loving, Ah life ! It was just the right space. It was perfect ! However the price was not perfect, and when the job was done we headed back to our little fixer upper, AKA "our cottage!"                                                               My husband asked me right away on the drive home what was wrong? I guess it showed all over my face. I wanted perfect. I wanted that perfect home, new, bright , fresh. Not one thing to do in it but decorate, decorate , decorate!  But I knew it was about two doctor careers out of our budget. I sulked a little and then we returned to the home the Lord has blessed us with. I picked my pouty heart up and thanked the Lord for our little cottage. Then I think I began doing the dishes :)
            Now, two months later, we have begun a remodel. You see our home is far from perfect,but we do have a vision for it. So three weeks ago my husband did the first major task of taking a hammer to a wall that separated our kitchen from our living room. The dust was everywhere. 1100 sq feet and broken dry wall and sawed off 2 x 4s can make any woman want to scream. However as the wall came down my vision became broader. I could see it now. It was like an IKEA living room /kitchen model before me that they set up in their stores to envisions small spaces. Could it be too, with the wall gone, we can have more people over and not be cut off by this wall that made it hard to move. I was so excited! 
           The next week my husband tore down our upper kitchen cabinets. They had been built under a box that went all around our kitchen. Our need for space, space and more space drove him to smash the box down too, leading him to cutting electrical wires and re-wiring and then reconstructing the wall. We are now into the third week. So here I am , my vision is there but frustrated,. My upper cabinets  are in the back ready for the dump and the new are still in boxes. My kitchen table is covered in glasses, cups, vases and cookware. Did I mention we live in 1100 sq feet. I sweep, I mop and then I do it again as my husband puts up dry wall and sands down dry wall mud making things just right. Meanwhile we live, breath and eat in a mess of tools, bits of wood and dust, dust , dust.I know someday this will all be a bad memory, but today it is very real. We are remodeling. Our home is far from perfect. Our home is not the brand new model home I was ready to move into,Our home needs work.
           Did you know God is working on us too. Just as my husband is working on our home. God has a vision for you and for me. We are a new creation, no doubt. A gift from God is that He now sees us through what Christ did for us when we accept Him as Lord and Savior. But that does not mean there is not work to be done. Philippians 1:6-being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
 He is working. I still remember the Sunday school song I loved to sing sitting with my Grandma on her couch. " He's still working on me, to make me what I ought to be. It took him just a week to make the  moon and the stars. The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars. How loving and patient He must be. He's still working on me.
             I know there is a change immediately with salvation. Then the Holy Spirit moves in and begins working. He is knocking down a wall of unkindness and rebuilding it. Tearing down cabinets that harbor unforgiveness and replacing them with something more beautiful. Taking a hammer  that blocks me in , that isolates me to self. He opens up my heart like my husband is opening up our little space and makes it what He envisions. I often think I have done better only to meet another challenge. " God ?", I ask, " I thought I did this already?" I see the dust again, the imperfections of my heart as I read His word. I realize there is more He longs to do. I still am not as quick to forgive as I thought. I still am not merciful and kind as I dreamed. God is still in a remodel of my heart.
            Remodeling is never fun. Often times God brings to light something ugly in our heart. He holds a hammer ,His active Word (Heb 4:12-For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. )and says," Okay ready for the remodel?Will you be inconvenienced by the dust, debris, and allow me to make something more spacious and beautiful?" I hope I say," Yes Lord, Yes! Take that away and work on me!"
            I love our cottage, but I do not want it to stay the same. Sure it will take time to make it more lovely, more open , more welcoming. I love knowing Jesus too, but I don't want to stay the same. It may take time and His wise hands working,molding, building on me through His Word. But I hope in time to be more forgiving, more kind, more joyful, more welcoming. God promised that he would finish that work until the day of Christ. 
           Isn't it encouraging to know that God has a vision for us?
           Do you hate remodels? Not just your physical homes, but remodels of the heart. Let's trust God together that He's got this. He only see's the best for our lives. He has good gifts to work in our hearts if we hand him the hammer and say, " Do it Lord!" I know that model home will never be ours. It was perfect yes. But we are keeping our cottage remodel and all. Be encouraged that God keeps His kids too, remodels and all. Have any doubts look in the Bible, it can only encourage you that he worked in some of the most imperfect people. He who began a good work in you, WILL BE FAITHFUL TO COMPLETE IT IN YOU ! HAPPY DEMOLITION ALL ! 

Here are some things our home remodel will do...

- I can now cook in the kitchen and be a part of my family at the same time, or whoever else is in the living room.
- We have more room to move and breathe, creating more patience with eachother.
- We have more light in our home now that the wall is down . The windows from our kitchen illuminating the living room as well.

Here are some things Gods remodel can do in our hearts...

-He can take down those walls of bitterness and unforgivenss, so we can fellowship with one another, taking away hostility.
-He can create more space in our lives for the fruits of his spirit, love , joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control.
- He can continue to shine His light in the dark areas of our lives, Showing us our error and His solutions. Walking in the light as He is.

 Have a beautiful day !

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In Real Life - God Can Use Even a Bird to Remind You to Ask

           This summer my husband and I went to a marriage retreat. While the whole weekend was refreshing and the teaching great, there was one simple thing that touched my heart the most in such an unexpected way. My husband and I sat outside that Saturday morning for breakfast. To our surprise quite the little character of a bird hopped on top of our table out of nowhere. He was brown, white chested and had almost dark rings around his eyes. He reminded me of a little bandit. He sat there in confidence in front of my husbands plate, cocked his head to the right and gave a tweet. 
          I looked at my husband surprised , the tone of his tweet was asking. It wasn't reserved but it wasn't demanding. It's like he was simply saying, " here I am , please !" My husband kindly tore off a bit of potato and put his hand out to the little bird. He took it in his beak confidently and flew off. Not but two minutes later he was there again perched in front of my husband, cocking his head to the side and giving his one confident tweet of request. He was like no other bird I have ever seen. I sat back in my bistro chair chuckling with my husband over our sweet little visitor at breakfast that morning.Something about him stood out above the rest.
          I looked around our table. There were other birds there too. Most of them were hopping on the ground picking up fallen pieces of other people's breakfast leftovers from the morning. A few sat in the trees not even bothering to try. And of course there was a bigger bird squawking at the others and chasing them off, rudely cutting in front to get the best for himself. But our little bird simply asked. 
         Walking back to our room I was really touched by such a simple but memorable example to ask. Our sweet little bird was reminding me of a scripture I have known for many years Hebrews 4:16  " Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need." I can still see his little bandit mask, his head cocking and hear his sweet, but expectant tweet. He somehow knew that my husband would not deny his request. How much more will our God hear when we ask. Not shyly, but not demanding just assured that he hears us, that he will answer us in His perfect way 1 John 5:15  " If we know that He hears us in whatever we ask we know that we have the request that we have asked of Him"
           Our little bird had a need that morning and he asked my husband to meet it, unlike all the other birds ,he asked. Mat 7:7 " Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you"    I looked for our little bird the next day at breakfast, but he was nowhere to be found. He was only a demonstration and a reminder to me about bringing my needs before a loving God.
           Do you need a reminder to approach Gods throne with confidence and trust. I know I did that morning. You know God is so faithful to us. What a loving God that he would beckon us to ask. I can take a lesson from that little bird,I don't need to scurry on the ground begging for something, anything dropped down, leftovers.Or not to be lazy and perch up in a tree pretending my needs don't exist. Also to not be a bully and push others out of the way that I might get the first and best, caring for only my needs and belittling others. The lesson he gave me was to remember Jesus said ask. Plain, simple, to the point. If you happen to be eating breakfast outdoors one morning and a little bird perches on your table, cocks his head to the right and tweets one simple tweet. Do me a favor, thank him and give him a potato from me.