Monday, September 29, 2008

Are You As Spiritually In Tune As A Third Grader?

Rocker posed a question to my Knight and I that just blew us away with it's depth and thoughtfulness. He asked "Does God love satan?" Taken back by this we asked why do you ask? He answered with "God says to love your enemies and those who hurt you. Satan is hurting God and His people so does He still love him even though he is doing bad things like our enemies?"

Wow!!! We had a few thoughts but nothing that closed the book on that question. It brought up such a great conversation about God's word and His promises and commands

I love kids and the way they stretch and grow you as parents. It was an amazing question with depth and honesty that you can't even find in most christian adults. So what do you think or have you even ever thought about that?

Taking A Big Step


I took a huge step this weekend that I thought I would never take. I stepped down from Children's Ministry completely for at least a year. I know that might not sound big to some but for me it is huge. For the last 10 years I have been in some way volunteering in Children's Ministry at our church. It has been difficult at times but also very rewarding.

My decision came after a month or so of wrestling with the Lord. I heard Him tell me to lay it all down for a season and so I have been dragging my feet. I laid a few things down here and there but in the end He wanted it all. He has called me to relearn who I am in Him this year. I was wrestling so much with Him on this issue because I have allowed my identity to be found in my position as a mom, wife and church worker and so on. Now I know the church is always encouraging us to get connected to a ministry and get involved and this probably sounds like the worst time to be pulling out of ministry but I need to obey right now.

Last fall during my first year at our School Of Ministry I was sitting in one of Pastor Thom's teachings and he was  talking about getting in the presence of God and listening to the Fathers heart. Pastor Thom took the opportunity to quiet the class while he read scripture and then allowed us time to listen for the Father. There I heard the Lord say to me "If you do nothing else in your life but sit in My presence then you will have accomplished everything I have called you to do. Everything else in this world; ministries, positions in church, words of knowledge, healings, missions and so forth are just extras. My one desire is for you to be in my presence and all these other things will flow from your overflow."

It was a hard hitting word for me. I once heard a Pastor say "I don't want to get to heaven and have God play a video of everything He wanted me to accomplish that I didn't get to." That statement thrust me into a works mentality. So now the Lord is taking me on a whole new journey. One where I don't do much but sit in His presence. This will be one very interesting year for me but like a dear friend told me last night I am not going to just sit and wait for this year to pass watching the hours slip by. I will find God in the midst of my quiet days and I will seek His glory. It is time to be led by the still waters.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Marriage As God Sees IT


"In marriage, I have learned there are those who admit they have been through times when they wondered if their marriage would make it, and then there are liars. Relationships are hard, and the closer they are, the harder they can be. I tell everyone that I give premarital counseling to that the Lord has ordained their marriage in order to kill both of them! That is true. It is also worth it! The greatest gift He gave to man was marriage and family. However, to have a marriage that is good, both will have to die to themselves. If either one does not make the commitment to lay down their life for their mate and their family, then what was meant to be heaven can be hell." -Rick Joyner

This quote is so powerful and healing to me. For one thing it releases me from the condemnation that because my Knight and I struggle at times that that doesn't mean something is wrong with us or that we are messed up. Gary Thomas wrote a book titled Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage To Make Us Holy More Than To Make Us Happy? I highly recommend this book. My Knight and I have found over the years the one main theme the Lord reveals to us time and time again through our pain is His faithfulness  to remove things in our lives that are keeping us from intimacy with Him. This includes marriage. 

Our selfish ambitions and desires come to the surface quickly when you share your life with your spouse. I have lived in Hell for a period of time with our marriage and it was all because we were not willing to lay down our flesh and stubbornness and selfish desires for one another. Again like I said about the things I have gone through in my past even if they bring me to the point of death, if it brings me closer to God and to a greater intimacy with Him then they were all worth it. The pain of marriage is worth it all when we come closer to God and one another. Do I like it? No! Would I do it all over again? Yes! If someone gave me the chance to go back through my past and remove all the bad things in my life I would decline. Those things have brought me to the feet of Jesus. My tears have become His. My marriage and family life is still yet another area where God is bringing me closer to Him through the pain.

Let's stop fantasizing about Make-believe marriages where they lived happily ever after. Let's walk in marriages that live through it all no matter how much the storm throws at us. Let's die to live!

So what does this quote invoke in you about your marriage?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I've Got A Lunch Date


Both Shaggy and Rocker asked me to lunch this week. I was shocked! I thought cool 3rd & 4th graders didn't want their dorky mom hanging out with them at school. I was corrected by both of them as they told me "...other parents are dorky but you are still cool mom."

Awwww, thanks guys. I needed that this week. So today I meet with Rocker and tomorrow I meet with Shaggy. I know a lot of other parents have done this before but this is my first time since I have no one at home to tend too. Not looking forward to "Stuffed Shells" Elementary Cafeteria style but our school does not allow parents to bring in their lunch you have to buy. Oh well its for a very good cause. My Knight just told me to not to forget to pray over my meal.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Life As A Secret Agent


SHHHH! Don't blow my cover!!!

I Think I am Over My Head When It Comes To Pre-Teen Boys


Today we were awakened by a screaming child and not our alarm clock. At 5:55 am this morning Shaggy decided to release his pre-teen angst on his brother Rocker, literally. He punched Rocker in the eye. There's a lot of love here today, not the best way to start your day.

My husband rolled out of bed to asses the situation and I tried rolling over in bed until my Knight came back in and kicked me out so he could talk and disciple Shaggy. UHHHGGG!!!! Come to find out Rocker irritated Shaggy by mocking him while he was setting the table for breakfast. He was trying to surprise us. I know exactly what he's talking about because I have seen Rocker do this before. So now we have two boys to deal with and it isn't 6:30am yet. Shaggy is going through this very difficult stage right now and I feel so unprepared. We have a young man who now is trying to break free from his childhood cocoon and fly into manhood. It's not an easy process. He told us he let his anger get to him and just reacted. He said he wanted to take care of the situation instead of having mom or dad do it. You know the whole "I am an adult now" kind of thinking even though he isn't yet.

He is a wonderful young man. Very loving and caring but he is still a boy going through life trying to be transformed into a man. My Knight also made the comment that Shaggy maybe starting to go through some hormonal switches too. Apparently my Knight was shaving by 12 years old and he thinks he is seeing the signs of testosterone eruptions. UHHHHGGG!!!

All this and I hadn't had my coffee yet. Just too much for me to absorb before 7am in the morning. Now I head off to sit in the Lords lap and ask for help. I may not know what I am doing but at least the Father does. I need some pre-teen downloads right now and I need to war on behalf of my son. I believe we can come through this stronger but I want to hedge Shaggy in so that the enemy cannot steal any of his destiny or purpose through this transition.

I will have to share about Rocker later too. He is going through some kind of funk also. Having 2 boys 15 months a part is wonderful it's just you now have 2 going through similar transitions at the same time. Please pray for me. At least I am still smiling as I desperately clutch my coffee mug slurping down as much caffeine as humanly possible!!!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Child's Heart

A child's heart yearns for words.
Words to bring forth life,
words that birth wings,
words that set them to flight.
Words that allow one so young to
sore on waves of hope.

A child's heart seeks for eyes.
Eyes filled with love,
eyes that are deep pools of mercy,
eyes that cast glances of assurance.
Eyes that hide nothing  but dance with
joy.

A child's heart longs for an embrace.
An embrace during the storm, 
an embrace of healing,
an embrace of refuge and acceptance.

A child's heart lives for the Father,
for His words,
for His eyes,
for His embrace.

Life was given by His Word,
the universe is found in His eyes, 
a tower of refuge is His embrace.

Run, run little one into the Father,
there you will find your hearts desire.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Frozen Bugs & Refrigerated Worms


Yes that's right. I have frozen bugs in my freezer for some project Shaggy has to do, although I am still not convinced they need to be there. I also have left over fishing worms in a container in the bottom of my refrigerator. Last year a bunch escaped and slowly crawled around the bottom of the fridge so I made sure the lid is on tight this time.

Not a fan cold or frozen critters but fighting four men and their ideas in this house is really impossible. My Knight just laughs and says "They're boys."

I will draw the line at deer pee though. Whether hunting season comes or goes deer pee will not enter this Refrigerator!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

How I Bake Cookies


I wanted to treat the boys to cookies today after the drama of the morning. So this is how I bake cookies....

Step 1. Make dough from recipe
Step 2. Place one dough ball on cookie sheet
Step 3. Place one dough ball in mouth
Step 4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 until batter is gone

My recipe was supposed to make 3 dozen cookies and I think I have about 1 1/2 dozen chocolate chip cookies. Next time I will just have to double the recipe.

So how do you bake cookies?

Back-to-School Excitement Has Worn Off

Today we had to drag DK out of bed and down the stairs. He is not a morning person and resembles mommy in the morning a little too much. After his two older brothers dressed him (FYI...I did not encourage or make them apparently they enjoyed the wrestling match that erupted from trying to dress him) he sat on the steps with his lip jutting out. He then told me "I don't want to go to school any more".

I just patted him on the back and said "I know honey but you have too." He replied with "I know you miss me and that makes me sad. I will stay home with you and help you cook."

Even with the lip and sadness I still did not fall victim to his drama. I plopped him at the table and we ate breakfast. He is on the bus as we speak with his lip still hanging out but he'll do fine. I told my Knight at least we got almost 3 good weeks of excitement for school. Poor Shaggy fought us tooth and nail for the entire 1st year. Don't worry we will get over it and move on with life quite well.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Gas Prices Are Rising But Modesty Is Falling


This is bit of a rant or tirade. I experienced an uncomfortable moment at church the other day with my Knight that just appalled me and I am realizing that it is happening more and more. The modesty level in our society is almost non-existent. Now don't get me wrong I like to look good. I like to feel sexy and attractive but I have learned the hard lesson over time that there is a very fine line you can cross where your attractiveness has now become immodest. As a young girl I dressed to get the attention of young men. My Knight taught me that I didn't need to do this any more. He really showed me that my flaunting causes young and older men a like to stumble in their thoughts.

Well the other day we were in service and this very young teen and her friend sat next to us. Why they call those pants low-rise I have no idea because they were definitely not rising but falling. As she sat down her pants literally fell lower on her. My Knight turned away from the Pastor who was speaking and sat almost facing the right side of the sanctuary so he would not have her in his line of view. I felt so bad for him because I could tell how uncomfortable it was making him. There she sat with her crack exposed and a nice whale tail popping up(for those of you who don't know that's a thong).

It only got worse this young lady then got up in the middle of service to go out. She never hiked her jeans back up. She was about in the middle of the row so she mooned everyone she passed and probably the entire back row. I was not mad at her at all. I actually felt so embarrassed for her and wanted to follow her to the bathroom and explain what just happened and how she should protect and respect her own body but I didn't. Honestly, not being in service much I wasn't sure how the church would address something like that so I just prayed. She finally came back with her pants hiked up as far as they could go which wasn't that far, but as soon as she sat down it was the same scenario all over again.

I would love to address our youth someday about modesty and how to be attractive without lowering ourselves to the worlds standards. I know its hard. Every time I go shopping I
literally have to try stuff on to make sure I am not exposing myself to others in any way and I know there have been times I have mistakenly worn the wrong thing. Thankfully I have a loving husband that watches out for me in that area but we need to really help our young women. So that's just my rant. Having a husband and raising three boys I am keenly aware of what young women wear and think about how that will affect their thought lives. That's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, September 4, 2008



Your result for The Best Thing About You Test...

Courage

Courage is your greatest virtue.


Courage, also known as bravery, will and fortitude, is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk, danger, and all that. "Physical courage" is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, or threat of death, while "moral courage" is the courage to act awesome in the face of opposition, shame, or discouragement. And you? You are remarkable. You demonstrate courage on all fronts. All 7 virtues are a part of you, but your courage runs deepest.


Courageous famous people: Genghis Khan, The Last Starfighter, Martin Luther King, Jr.


Your raw relative scores follow. 0% is low, and 100% is perfect, nearly impossible. Note that I pitted the virtues against each other, so in some way these are relative scores. It's impossible to score high on all of them, and a low score on one is just relatively low compared to the other virtues.


YOUR VIRTUES


60% Compassion


0% Intelligence


50% Humility


56% Honesty


38% Discipline


71% Courage


50% Passion

Take The Best Thing About You Test at HelloQuizzy


Thanks Trish for this cool test. I have to laugh though because I scored 0% on Intelligence. I guess if they are comparing me to Genghis Khan or Rambo I might have to agree with intelligence level but I think I am a little more intelligent than 0%. I actually look just like Rambo in this picture early in the morning before coffee. Watch out kids don't get in mama's way to the coffee pot. Had fun with this one. So is it me?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Love Looks Like Something Part 2

One way in which the Father began to reveal His unconditional love to me was through my husband. Time after time I would hold his love at arms length literally rejecting him again and again. I believed I needed to throw the first punch. If I could hurt him first it would save me from taking another blow. This is a survivors mentality. Children and adults who have gone through really bad things will either end up as a victim or a survivor. That was what I was, a survivor.

With each time I slung my rejection at my husband he never flinched, he never budged. He stood there reassuring me he loved me and was not leaving me. I pushed and pushed harder because deep in my heart I could not believe he would not leave me. But no matter how hard I pushed the more resolved he became and the closer he began to pull me into his arms. My husband had every right to leave me. He had every right to call it quits and at the time I don't think there would have been many around him who would have discouraged it. But he wouldn't let go. He began to show me what true unconditional love meant. He gave me love when I didn't even deserve it. The Father continued to speak to me about this. I began to see God as a loving Father and not a dictator.

Working with people who have not experience real, true love in their lives can be very difficult. They will push you and test you to see if you are really there for the long hall. They bite you every time you extend your hand in love but you must continue to pursue them. I now see what "Love" truly is. Love looks like something but not what we would expect it to look like. Love is not this Hollywood, make believe reality. Love is raw. It is filled with pain and joy, life and death. In it's most purest state Love looked ugly and marred. It was bruised and rejected. It hung on a cross. Love is a little girl kneeling at a Bible wiping the spit off and gently kissing it, only to be killed for her love. Love is a mother and father sitting in a cold, lifeless prison cell, extending forgivness to a young man in prison for the thoughtless, brutal murder of their innocent child. Love is a mother taking in young boys and girls who others said were too far gone but she looks on them with eyes of compassion and hope. Love sees a heroin addict and calls forth the Princess she really is. Love binds soldiers to such a strong brotherhood that they would lay down their own life for one another.

Love, true love cannot be put in a box. It cannot be manipulated or controlled. Love is not selfish or judgmental. Love dose not fit neatly into mans ideals because love is not from this earth. It was cut from the essence of the Father Himself and given freely to us, His own creation. We cannot always wrap our minds around true love because it is a supernatural thing. Until we come into the alignment of heaven love will be allusive. The most amazing thing about love is it is just sitting there waiting for us to grab a hold of. Jesus waits for us. He loves us even before we loved Him. I am so thankful that I now know love and I have a Savior who became love in it's purest form so that we could all be saved.

Love Looks Like Something

Interestingly I have been dealing with the word love lately. What does it mean and what the heck does it look like. The Webster's definition of love is : a strong attraction for another arising out of kinship or personal ties, enthusiasm, attachment to an object or devotion.

That doesn't give me much to go on. We flippantly say all the time "I love that movie, I love that restaurant." Or even tell others we love them. So how can this one word that has such power be used when referring to inanimate objects and people alike. I also see a problem with this definition because it speaks only to people you know or have relationships with. What about God who tells us to love our enemies or what ever you do for the least of these you to do Him?

See love was allusive growing up. It had many conditions and rules. To acquire it you must be worthy to receive it. Love meant you had to work for it and even at that if you did something wrong, made a mistake it was snatched from you and you were left empty again searching for something. Growing up I began to hear young men say they "loved" me. They said it to my face and promised me true love but this too came at a price. I had to be willing to give myself up to them physically to receive their "love". By the time my Knight came along I was so confused with what love looked like I threw myself at him the moment he told me he loved me. That's all I knew. Unfortunately because neither of us were  walking with the Lord my Knight gave in to my pursuit and we lived together for a short period of time before we got married.

Then I thought maybe now I found my answer, marriage. That's true love right? In the movies it looks so beautiful, so refined and elegant, but as the days turned into months and the months turned into years love still forsook me. As I painfully concluded love to be this allusive mysterious treasure I would never find I began an even more destructive path of rejection. I rejected those who told me they loved me. For me I believed a lie that to protect myself from the pain of rejection I would need to keep everyone at arms length. What a lie the devil spun in my heart. It only made me feel the sting of more rejection. The Father told me countless times again and again the He loved me. It didn't make sense to me. I screwed up, I was a bad girl. There was no way the God off all creation could love someone like me. If I couldn't do the right things to get people to love me how could God just love me like this? So the Father took me on a journey to reveal His love and believe me, His love looks nothing like the worlds......... to be continued.

Yes It Was A Rattle Snake

The snake itself was 4 feet long and about 3 inches
in diameter. He was one big snake.
***If you click on the pictures you can see it up close and personal.
It wasn't a Eastern Diamondback Rattler, thankfully, but a Timber Rattler. Timber Rattlers are less aggressive and very docile. It seemed to be about 8 years old making it mature and deadly. You can count the number of buttons on the rattle to determine the age. 1 button for every year. Technically they are only poisonous 60% of the time. 30% of the time they will have dry strikes, where they bite without releasing any poison. 

Shaggy found it first only 3 feet in front of us on the trail. It shook it's rattle to let us know it was there but never even turned towards us. After we all gathered around it, it slowly made it's way across the path and through the little creek on our left. There it found a large rock to sun itself. It was quite awesome to see this creature in it's natural habitat. 4 other Rattlers were sighted on the trail. This is a very active season for them until the end of Sept. So there you have it. Put me in the ocean and I am terrified of sharks but give me a poisonous snake any day. We finished climbing the mountain and made it home safe and sound. I know what the boys are going to tell their classmates today about.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Sunday Hike With A Deadly Encounter


video
So are there any Herpetologists out there who can ID our infamous guest. You will find him in the slide show. We came across him hiking in a local State Park. We have always kept our eyes out for them but this was the first time we came face-to-face only 3 feet away. It was a very beautiful creature but I will let you have a look. I will post more on our encounter tomorrow but for now leave a comment if you think you know what this creature is and your reaction if you came across it hiking with your family.
*** The slide show is sort of grainy because of the transfer from iPhoto to Quick Time. Sorry about that. I hope you can still get a good glimpse of our friend.