Tuesday, May 29, 2007

In "Other" Words

"Lower your expectations of earth. This isn't heaven, so don't expect it to be."~ Max Lucado ~

This quote reminds me of a section at the beginning of Linda Dillow's book, "Calm My Anxious Heart". The section is titled, "Contentment Begins With An Eternal Perspective." The word perspective according to Webster's suggests "looking through; seeing clearly; the capacity to view things in their true relation of relative importance." Living my life with an eternal perspective helps keep life on earth in its proper place.

In her book, Linda shares the story of a missionary who worked with the pygmies in Africa for fifty-two years. She goes on to say that "primitive doesn't begin to describe her living conditions in the scorching heat and humidity of the African bush." Her daughter discovered "...a treasure, a much more significant find than gold or silver. In an old diary of her mother's, she discovered her prescription for contentment."

Her words convict my heart every time I read them.

  • Never allow yourself to complain about anything - not even the weather

  • Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else

  • Never compare your lot with another's

  • Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise

  • Never dwell on tomorrow - remember that tomorrow is God's, not ours

The words of this missionary are powerful. In her book, Linda concludes this section with these words: "The secret is in her last statement. Her eyes were fixed on eternity. Her tomorrows belonged to God. She had given them to Him. And because all her tomorrows were nestled in God's strong arms, she was free to live today. One day at a time she could make the right choices and grow to possess the holy habit of contentment. Her focus was eternal, and her focus led to an internal contentment."

It is so easy to place value in "earthly" things rather than "eternal" things. I have learned to ask myself the question, "Does this (thing, event, place, etc.) have any eternal value?" A verse I have written on the inside cover of my bible as a reminder to keep an eternal perspective is 1 Timothy 6:15, God... is the blessed controller of all things, the king over all kings and the master of all masters.

For more In "Other" Words visit Iris at Sting My Heart

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

This morning I woke up safely in my own bed. I didn't have much to worry about or fear. Yet thousands of men and women including my youngest brother stand in the face of danger each and every day to serve our country and protect the freedoms we so easily enjoy.

Let me never forget what it has cost so many. As I drove past our local cemetery with the parade of American flags displayed so beautifully this week, I am moved by what those colors represent. I am thankful for the men and women who have gone before me to protect what I have and what my children will also have FREEDOM! Freedom to worship God!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

**updated to add: yes, I changed the template for my blog. I am waiting on a new design. But in the meantime I thought it was time for something new to look at.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

God never misses a single tear...

I write this with all reverence: God Himself cannot deliver a person who is not in trouble. Therefore, it is to some advantage to be in distress, because God can then deliver you. Even Jesus Christ, the Healer of me, cannot heal a person who is not sick. Therefore, sickness is not an adversity for us, but rather an advantageous opportunity for Christ to heal us. The point is, my reader, your adversity may prove your advantage by offering occasion for the display of divine grace.
Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon on Prayer and Spiritual Warfare
If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. Psalm 119:92 Teach me Your Word during this season of my life like I have never known it before, and make this verse my testimony when I emerge from this place. Beth Moore
God never misses a single tear of the oppressed. He sees our suffering and knows the depth of our need. He anguishes yet he waits...until the tears that have fallen on dry ground or upon the shoulders of others equally frail are poured instead before His throne. He waits - not until the oppressed cry out - but until we cry out to Him. Only then will we know the One and Only who redeems us. "Praying God's Word" Beth Moore
These words spoke to me so powerfully this morning as I sat quietly before the Lord asking for His word to refresh my soul and for my afflictions to be removed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Internet Cafe - Created to be a Helper!

No one wants to be called the "helper"! Yet, this is exactly what God called the woman when he created her, "...a helper fit for him." God in His word has clearly defined our role. Join me today over at CWO as I share a small slice of the journey God has used in my life to teach me what a woman's biblical role in marriage is to be.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Potty Training and Driver's Training

As a newly married twenty two year old young woman never did I imagine those two things happening at the same time in my life or better yet on the same day. Never! I planned to have four children two to two and half years apart not five children with a differing amount of years between each one. But we make a plan and God orders our steps. Proverbs 16:9 says, "The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps."

So here I find myself some twenty years later with five kids ranging in age from two to fifteen teaching my oldest to drive and potty training my youngest all in the same day.

My two year old son has all of a sudden taken this huge interest in going to the bathroom on the potty. It's not much different than my fifteen year old asking if she can drive every time we get ready to leave the house. He pulls on his diaper and says something that I interpret as "potty", she grabs the keys and says, "can I drive?" (sorry LT) I am not ready for either one. Don't get me wrong I would love to get rid of diapers and I would also love to have a child who could drive herself places . But just as it will take patience for my little guy to learn how to use the bathroom on his own, I am patiently letting my daughter drive as often as possible in order to give her alot of experience before she receives a real "able to leave home and drive somewhere alone" driver's license.

But each day as one child is gaining more and more independence and I am wanting to reach out and pull her back I look down and see my youngest holding onto my leg. I have found myself reflective of how as moms we often want to pull back and hold on to our children who are slowly moving further away from needing us every day and yet often times in the weariness of carrying for our young children wishing for a moment of solitude and quiet. I find myself living in this place. My oldest will turn sixteen in the fall, my youngest just two and a half. She is reaching for more and more independence, he is still reaching for me. I don't want to wish away either one even if it means in one day I am chasing a two year old around the house and reading "brown bear brown bear" for the thousandth time and what seems like minutes later driving down the highway with my daughter as we talk about driving safely, her desire to serve God with her life and where she would like to go to college.

This makes me walk a little slower (not because I am older), but because I am fully aware of how quickly these days will go by.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Monday Menu Plan and a little more

We had a very nice weekend. It started Friday night after enjoying a meal outside on the deck, we dropped our oldest daughter off to play Frisbee golf with some of the youth from our church and than we headed over to a park along the river. The kids played and played. Afterwards we went home and sat out on the deck again and roasted marshmallows in the fire pit and made s'mores.

Saturday we continued to enjoy the beautiful weather in the low 80's by doing a little work in our yard, watched two of our boys play their last soccer game for the season and then headed to a graduation open house.

Sunday after church we had another graduation open house to attend which was alot of fun. In the evening, we sat outside again, played some Bocce ball in the yard and ended it with some more roasted marshmallows. The best part was while I was cleaning up in the kitchen, I was listening to my four older children sitting outside telling stories around the fire pit and the baby sitting in a chair with his brother giggling and trying to keep up with the conversation. What a treasured moment as I looked outside at all of my children enjoying each other. I said a quick prayer asking that their relationships continue to grow strong and their friendships would remain as they grow older.

My menu this week is going to be very light. (on the cooking side that is) We have a busy two weeks with lots of evening activities as we finish out the school year, baseball and softball season is in full swing and my oldest daughter will be doing her Lifeguard training four nights this week and will need to eat dinner at 4 pm before she goes for her training. This week alone we have four baseball/softball games. So, in order for us to get everyone where they need to be and still eat at home (eating out is too expensive), we will have easy quick meals that can be prepared and eaten anytime.
Monday: Grilled hamburgers (made early and kept warm) with potato salad (I made a large batch so we could eat it all week) green salad (already made just add the dressing)
Tuesday: Tacos (meat made in the crockpot, all the fixens put into Tupperware container in the frig, pre-made shells ready to go)
Wednesday: Chicken sandwiches (chicken has been pre-cooked) Just warm in the microwave. Potato salad and fruit (I am using canned fruit that has been put into a Tupperware container and chilled)
Thursday: Grilled teriyaki hamburgers (made early and kept warm), potato salad (if any left), chips, pineapple slices
Friday: Pizza (the frozen kind, easy and inexpensive)
Yes, we will eat hamburgers twice this week. They are easy to make and it is really no different than if we found ourselves at the McDonald's drive thru, but much healthier. They are something we rarely eat unless we can grill them. I can grill the patties at any time and than just keep them warm. All the fixins are kept so that we can quickly make our sandwiches. (On occasion I will use ground turkey instead of ground beef)
If you are looking for me after 3pm, I will probably be in route somewhere, sitting at the ballpark or taking a walk at the park. The weather is just too nice to not be outside.
For more great menu ideas go to I'm An Organizing Junkie

Friday, May 18, 2007

Prayer for Cyndi @ One Day More

Our wonderful friend and fellow blogger Cyndi leaves tomorrow May 19th for a missions trip to China. Please check her blog for updates from her husband and keep her and her teenage daughter in your prayers as they travel and share the gospel in this country.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

One of my favorite quotes!

for most of life, I think we fight God. we keep trying to show Him what we were made for. we keep giving him better ideas. we keep working for something bigger & greater than anything he seems to have in mind. for many of us, by the time we are in mid-life, we feel we somehow have missed out on some of the great things we were born for. we fight God over this. i come to you, however, knowing God made me not to impress you and not to be perfect. God made me to be uncomplicated in my faith. to watch children & kites & sunsets & rainbows & enjoy them. to take your hand regardless of who you are or how you look. to listen to you. to accept you right where you are. to love you unconditionally.
ann kiemel anderson

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More on "trust"

This morning we concluded our time together at ladies bible study looking at the very familiar passage, Proverbs 3:5.

To trust in the Lord means I lean upon Him; I rely upon Him: I commit the whole weight of all I am and all I need to His care. 1 Peter 5:7 says, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (ESV) Trust should not be based on anything but God, His word, His character, His integrity, His divine attributes.
To trust in the Lord means we trust in His purposes for our lives. God is at work in your life fulfilling His good purpose. What is that purpose? To conform you to the image of His Son, to make you and me like Jesus. He is always working.
To trust in the Lord means we trust in His plan for us. Psalm 37:23 says, The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; (ESV) and Eph. 2:10 says, For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (ESV)

The next part of Proverbs 3:5 says, ... and do not lean on your own understanding. The command to trust in the Lord is reinforced by the command to not trust in our own understanding. Isaiah 55:8 says, For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. (ESV)

This afternoon as I reflected on our time together this morning I was reminded of Jeremiah 17:5-8:
5Thus says the LORD:"Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. 6He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come.He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. 7"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. 8He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream,and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green,and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit." (ESV)
What a beautiful promise we have here to those who "trusts in the LORD"
These verses present us with a contrast between a man who trusts in himself and another who not only trusts in the Lord but also makes the Lord his total trust. Linda Dillow
Trusting in myself is making my flesh my strength. yuck! When I use control, intelligence, manipulation, strategies, I am trusting in myself. Often times "trust" forces us to "wait". Waiting can be hard and painful, so we help God out. What is the result? Look back up at Jeremiah 17:6, He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come.He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. (ESV)
Linda Dillow in her book "Calm my Anxious Heart" states, "Our hearts become a desert, and we do not enjoy the prosperity of the heart in communion with God. Our focus is on what we can do to get what we want rather than on how we can trust."
Yet when I make the Lord my trust what am I promised? verse 8 says, "He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream,and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green,and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit."
Notice that heat will come. But when my eyes are so focused on my Sovereign Lord that even when a year of drought (or continued problems) comes, I will stay green and continue to bear fruit. What a glorious picture!
As I have put these thoughts together tonight, I couldn't help but think of Heather at Especially Heather. Her post today speaks of seeing God at work in the midst of it all. I have gone to her blog purposely at the end of each day as a reminder to continually pray for her healing.

The Facts of Psalm 139

As we conclude our Tuesday morning ladies bible study at church on God's Steadfast Love, much of the teaching has been centered around Psalm 139. Debbie Alsdorf concludes the study guide with these facts about Psalm 139:

1. God knows me, I am not a stranger to Him.
2. He understands me as an individual.
3. He is intimately acquainted with me.
4. He knows me well enough to know what I'll say next.
5. He is covering me, I am protected.
6. He is always with me.
7. I cannot separate myself from the love of God.
8. He leads me.
9. He holds my hand.
10. My life is not in darkness, but basks in His light.
11. He made me, putting all the pieces together
12. I am a wonderful work of God's hand.
13. My life is a miracle.
14. My days have been ordained by God.
15. His thoughts are tender toward me.
16. He is always thinking of me.
17. God preserves me from day to day.
18. When I wake to start a new day, He is still with me.
19. I am alive by His design and plan.

Even in my sinful state, God knows me, loves me and is intimately involved in every part of my life. This leads to our study today on "Trust".
Why then do we struggle to truly "trust" in the Lord with all our heart?(Proverbs 3:5-6)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

We had a nice weekend and beautiful Mother's Day Sunday. I am so thankful for my husband. He and the kids cooked for me and cleaned up afterwards. I so appreciated this because I know how tired he is Sunday afternoons. He gets up very very early Sunday mornings to pray ( I usually hear him praying before his feet hit the floor.) My husband asked me last night if I enjoyed my day. (I think he was concerned that he hadn't taken me out for lunch on Mother's Day) I told him that if he wanted to repeat the day tomorrow he could. (smile) Nothing too exciting happening in my menu plans this week. Baseball games are beginning, so it is the start of using up the meals that I have prepared and frozen. I wasn't able to try the garlic chicken last week, so I will try it tomorrow. I will let you know what we think.
Monday: Grilled Sirloin Steak with potatoes and veggies
(I did not make this last week - our plans changed)
Wednesday: Lasagna (already made and frozen), salad & garlic bread
Thursday: Tacos, rice & beans
Friday: Grilled Hamburgers, salad & chips
For more great menu ideas visit Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Enjoy these eight, not very profound, but surely funny tips for moms of young children.

  1. Buy stock in companies that produce bandaids.
  2. For girls, never buy a dress without first considering the "twirl factor"
  3. For boys, don't worry if the only word he knows is vroom. Before you know it, his vocabulary will expand from engine sounds to include body noises.
  4. Keep your sense of humor. What upsets you now will be good joke (or blog) material in five years.
  5. When your child wants to wear the same outfit two months in a row; let him. Eventually it will rot and fall off.
  6. In all situations, apply the "Thousand Year Test." Ask yourself, "In a thousand years will anyone care?"
  7. Don't be too hard on yourself. You will fail. Forgive yourself and move on.
  8. Above all, love "because love covers a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)

Thank you Lord for allowing me to be a Mom to the five gifts you have entrusted me with. They are all each unique and fearfully and wonderfully made. I stand in awe that I am called Mom. It is a wonderful gift!

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Internet Cafe - Our Shelter

I am over at CWO today. Jesus never promised us a life free from storms, but He has promised to be with us in the midst of them and to provide shelter.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

NOTHING will separate you from God's love...

28And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:28-39 (ESV)
In preparing for our Tuesday Morning Bible Study, I have been meditating on these verses. This is taken from our study guide on "Steadfast Love" by Debbie Alsdorf
I find two thoughts incredibly encouraging:
  • all things work together for my good;
  • nothing can separate me from the love of God

I have gone through many things, and when I see that no "thing" can separate me from the love of God and that every "thing" will work together for my eventual good and growth, I am released from the need to worry or fear. But I must remind myself of these truths, and that cannot be accomplished in a one-shot glance at Scripture that makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I must have firmly planted within me the truth that I have no need to fear because God

is my shepherd;

is for me;

is with me;

works in my circumstances for good;

cannot be separated from me;

gives His angels command to protect me;

delivers me from evil.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Here is my Menu Plan for this week. I am hoping to use up some of the roasts we have in our freezer over the next couple of weeks. We attended several graduation Open Houses this weekend, so I didn't do any cooking. I think it may be this way for the next month. (smile)
Monday: Spaghetti with salad and garlic bread
Tuesday: Shredded Beef Tacos with rice and beans (This recipe uses my husband's favorite sauce El Pato. It has a wonderful flavor and we make a dip using cream cheese softened mixed with either a can or half of can (depending on how hot you like it) of El Pato and served with tortilla chips.
Wednesday: Beef Dip Sandwiches with fruit
Thursday: 40 Clove Chicken served with noodles and salad this recipe is from Susanne. Laura also tried it and I quote, "it was absolutely delicious", so I have a cut up whole chicken in my freezer and I have been wanting to try this recipe.
Friday: Kid's Night Out!
For more great recipes visit Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Friday, May 04, 2007

I wonder... does anyone invite two year olds over to play?

It's so hard being two sometimes. On most days my sisters and brothers come home from school and they take time to play with me. But not today. I watched as each one whisked in and hurried off. My six year old brother who is usually good for some play time left for a birthday party with a boy who is in his class. My oldest sister is usually ready to take me in her arms when she comes through the door and let me tag along with her as she puts her things away or fixes a snack. But she had to change clothes quickly and head right back out the door for a choir concert. My twelve year old sister comes home every day and takes me for a walk. She packs the two of us a light snack, fills our water bottles and we head out the door for the sidewalks of our neighborhood. But she was invited to a friend's house from church and needed to get her homework done and chores finished before she could go. And finally my big brother is always there for me, but not tonight. Dad had his bike fixed and picked it up today, so he was off to ride into the wind immediately after school. So here I am with no one to play with but these two big people who I have been hanging out with all day. It's a quiet Friday evening and I think Mom wants to finish a book and Dad would like to put his feet up and rest after having me tag along with him today while we worked in the yard. I wonder... does anyone invite two year olds to come over and play?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

It isn't enough...

It isn't enough to say in our hearts
That we like a man for his ways,
It isn't enough that we fill our minds
With paeans of silent praise;
Nor is it enough that we honor a man
As our confidence upward mounts,
It's going right up to the man himself,
And telling him so that counts!
If a man does a work you really admire,
Don't leave a kind word unsaid,
In fear that to do so might make him vain
And cause him to "lose his head."
But reach out your hand tell him,
"Well done," and see how his gratitude swells;
It isn't the flowers we strew on the grave,
It's the word to the living that tells.
~author unknown~

Why do we withhold words of encouragement to others? Often times those words can bring healing and hope to a weary heart. (I know I have been the recipient of them) Yet how many of us have walked away from a situation downhearted because no one spoke (especially those we love and hold dear) an encouraging word. In our own selfishness, we stop ourselves from encouraging others in fear that they may look better than we do. Hebrews 3:13 says, But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. Good words are worth much, and cost little.

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

In Other Words

"By perseverance the snail reached the ark."
How many times do we want to give up? Quit? It is just too hard. I am a snail trying to reach the ark in time, but I know I can only go so fast (or do so much). If I look to the right or the left I will easily be distracted by what may look like an easier road, smooth sidewalks or a cool place in the dirt. It is tempting to stop, not go down this path because it is long and difficult at times but off in the distance I see the ark. I keep my eyes set on that which is before me and I persevere.
In our ladies bible study this morning we looked at "hope". One of the scriptures that was shared was Hebrews 12:1-2, Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
In order to make it to the ark the snail had to throw off (or ignore) everything that would hinder or entangle him from reaching his destination. He persevered (persisted in spite of opposition or discouragement) the path that was set before him. The snail's eyes were fixed on the ark.
The ark represented life to the snail. Without it there was no future. Jesus is my ark. Without Him there is no life or hope for my future. As I run (or crawl) through this race set before me (life) my eyes will be fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith.
For more In "Other" Words visit Sting My Heart.