Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's Almost Over!!!

The end of school is coming and we can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The week after our last day begins the summer music program for the boys. Shaggy is playing trumpet and Rocker is learning to play the string bass. That thing is huge!!! I guess I was planning on it being a Cello but nope it sure is humongous.

Anyway, things are winding down. I am finishing up traveling into Mechancisburg twice a day. We had a bad bus situation so I just resolved to this running back and forth for the sake of the kids. They are happier and I feel better knowing they are not being bullied and having to hear the "F" word 100 times a day.

Their last day is June 5th. We will head out that weekend for a 4 day camping trip up North. I am soooooo looking forward to it. Sleeping out in the woods, camp fires at night, hiking during the day it just doesn't get any better for me. Granted, one day I would like to make it to Disney World or go on a cruise but I sure do like camping. The best part is just being able to get away as a family. No cell phones, computers or modern conveniences. It works well with three boys. I love the peace about it and that as a family it brings us closer together.

So, I am looking forward to this summer. I have lots of art plans for the boys and I and some adventurous activities planned. I know some of you have already begun your summer fun but what's on everyones to do list this summer? Got any great ideas? Yay for summer break!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Our Favorite Past Time: Tubing

We love tubing on the Yellow Breeches. Each summer we load up our tubes, pack a lunch and launch ourselves down the creek. Our large stash of tubes comes from Uncle John's generous donation of tractor tire inner tubes each year. He is a partner in a huge dairy farm in up-state NY. The tractors are ginormous. So after a little patching (only on a few) we blow them up so they are ready when we feel the stream calling. This year he blessed us with 3 extra large (like you could fit an entire family in it tube) and 6 smaller ones that aren't really that small. :)

So if you ever look out on the local streams in Pennsylvania and see a family floating along in huge tractor tires having a blast it might just be us!! Now we are ready for summer!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Conditions for a Miracle are Impossibilities!

I highly recommend watching this movie. It can be a little slow at times but the testimony of this family is remarkable. I say testimony because it is based on a true story. A friend at my husbands work told us we needed to watch this and we put it off for a month or so. Finally last night we rented this, Robots and Expelled. Let me rabbit trail here to say I highly recommend Expelled too!

Our faith is being grown. We are standing in a place of impossibilities so a miracle must be around the corner. Watching this movie we began to see what happens when faith is put to work in your life. It can move mountains!! The Lord spoke to me one night about this housing situation we are in and told me it wasn't really about blessing us with a house. He choose the housing process to grow us and work in our hearts. This is more about us than it is about a house. Ahhhhhha! The light bulb went on. Our revelation of God needed an upgrade. Our picture of God needed to be stretched. Maybe we saw Him as an 8x10 but He wants us to see Him as a billboard. So how does this work?

Well, Sat we went to look at a house. It was in a 100% financing zone and it was in our price range. It wasn't everything the Lord had us write down that we needed in a house but it could work. Hint, hint we could make it work. After leaving that house, my Knight and I began to talk. We were heading right to church that evening so we had to talk fast. I heard the Realtor say "This is your only chance guys. It is basically what you wanted and there might not be another. You are asking for too much with what you can do and afford." That hit like a cement truck. During service I could not worship. The weight of this just left me incapacitated. I kept asking God to take it away so I could worship Him but I heard Him gently tell me "I would rather you sit down here and talk to me then sing an empty song to me." I worried about what others might think as I sat in prayer instead of praise but again I hear the voice of God speak softly "I don't care. Just sit."

As I sat there the Father and I conversed back and forth. Like an awesome Father He is it wasn't all about giving me the answer, He asked a lot of questions. The one question that really got me was "Could you make this work?" I replied "Yes Father." "Then do you want to make it work or do you want to see Me do a miracle? The choice is yours. You can make it work or you can watch Me do something impossible. I am using this to not only to stretch you and Scott but also your Realtor. He is a man of God but his faith needs an upgrade. He will be a blessing to many in the real-estate realm if he witnesses My hand. Imagine how he will approach other couples if he see how I blessed you."

This has turned up the heat and raised the ante. It no longer is just about us but it will impact others. To confirm that word the Movie demonstrated this when Angus and his wife Jill heard God tell them to plant potatoes in a drought. Potatoes being one of the hardest crops to raise could not survive a drought. He obeyed at the mocking of many. Come time to harvest there had been no rain. In agricultural terms there should be no potatoes. That was an impossibility. When they dug into the ground they not only found potatoes but huge ones and it became a bumper crop. The whole town came out to witness it and were forever changed.

This is definitely stretching me. I would like to crawl in my self sufficient hole and not emerge until the fall but then I will not encounter God. I choose to be extreme for Him and step out when He tells me too because I want whatever He has got. Desire more!! Sacrifice all so you can go for the full bounty of the Lord. Let God set the table for miracles with impossibilities in your life. Don't pull back from impossibilities but embrace them and get ready for your miracle. We are!

Friday, May 15, 2009

When All Hell Breaks Out Against You, You Just Need The Angel of The Lord

Today my mind was swirling with negativity, sadness, heaviness and hopelessness. I was not sure of anything in my life. I felt abandoned and rejected. I took it personally questioning my own faith in God not realizing all Hell had been charged with orders to attack, kill and destroy.

While standing at my oven battling thought after thought something moved out of the corner of my left eye. It was something like a person. It was so real I thought my Knight had come home to help his crazy wife. Then it quickly walked behind me. I felt the floor move and I could feel a person brushing by my back. As I turned I was met with a Man in Armor in my Kitchen. I just stood still.

I asked the Lord why was he here. This is the conversation that ensued "All hell is coming against you and Scott. He is the 'Angel of the Lord'. He will be your rear guard." My mind immediately flashed to Joshua. The 'Angel of the Lord' came to him in a time of great struggle and battle. But wait! That was really Jesus! As I looked at Him I asked if that meant what I thought it meant. I heard the Lord concur. I was standing in the presence of Jesus seeing Him as a Warrior. Silence fell on me and I couldn't speak. Finally I felt prompted to go downstairs and put on praise and worship music and soak. Jesus disappeared. I could no longer see Him but as soon as I sat on our couch I felt someone sit next to me. Again I could no longer see but I felt Him. I felt a hand on my head.

I tried asking what to pray and what to do but all I heard was "be silent and rest." I sat their with my head in my hands and for the first time in my life I had not one thought. My mind was at perfect peace. I listened to the music and in the midst of the peace fell asleep. I awoke to my husband calling. We talked about what happened. I feel so refreshed right now. My mind is quiet and peaceful. I am ready to continue this journey. I believe this all came about because the love and prayers of my spiritual mom and dad. Apparently my dad prayed with my husband early this morning that the Lord would encounter me. Uhhh, can you say the prayers of a righteous man avails much!

Lord continue to encounter me and my family and my loved ones near and far!! We need you in the midst of these dark days. Come and reveal yourself to your Bride more and more. Let this be but the beginning!

I Just Wish I Knew What We Are Supposed To Do Next...

We have felt the Lord say to us go and buy a house this year. It isn't that we have been wanting a new house or frustrated with the one we are living in, we just heard Him say to go buy a house this year. In obedience we began the step by step process. First we had a financial counselor at our church go over are finances. It was kind of our fleece. If the financial counselor told us no this would not be a wise decision than we would stop moving forward. To our surprise he said he thought we were hearing from the Lord and we could keep moving forward.

This has been the most stressful and nauseating experience I have ever been through and we have been through some tough times. Our marriage has been dropped into a pressure cooker and it's not holding up to well. On top of that my Knight's job has just been horrific. Late nights, working weekends and little to no communication has just made for a perfect storm in our life. We feel it, the kids feel it and probably our neighbors see it.

We are stalled out in the process of buying a house and we just don't know what the next step is. Right now it is all God or nothing. I knew this would be a leap of faith for us but I didn't realize how much we would be tested on it. I didn't realize just us believing we heard the voice of God would be tested. I thought people got amazing revelations from God and bada bing bada bang things happen. That's not quite the case here. I haven't been in this process long and I am already done. I am quite satisfied to stay where we live now and quit looking for a house but I know that isn't what God has for us. So we now wait for the next step. I feel like I am totally missing the mark and not hearing and not understanding and ....well you know the deadly spiral this could turn into. If you think about us at all in the next several days or so please pray for us. We want to be obedient but the pressure of it all feels to overwhelming. We also need a big breakthrough. We have hit a wall and without God's complete intervention we can go no where. So please pray for us. Things are hotter than hades at our house and I imagine things are only going to get worse before they get better. You know the old saying "It gets darker before the dawn."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How Dinosaurs Really Got Extinct

Only a video a mom of three boys could love. Apparently they think the pig reminds them of me in the morning. :)

Happy Crappy Birthday!

Yesterday was my Knights 32nd birthday and yes it was unfortunately very crappy. We love celebrating birthdays here at our house or at least I do but for reasons beyond my control there was nothing I could do to redeem this day for him. We celebrated a little on Sat. with our spiritual "mom" & "dad" but I really wanted to do something for him from us.

Well, we knew a head of time yesterday was going to be a bad day, we just didn't realize how bad. My Knight had a terrible day a work. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. On top of that he discovered that our air condition in the van is not working. Something about the pump or thingy is broken. We have been waiting to get another wheel baring fixed on the van so this is now becoming an exhaustive list of fixes. Then we had to meet with a Realtor to start our house hunting process. My Knight no more than stepped in the door and then was whipped back out to the Realtors office. This has been a huge leap of faith for us. We knew the meeting was going to be difficult but it turned out to be very discouraging.

On the way home we got into a huge argument and we just needed some time a part, so I headed to a woman's event a church. By the time I got back we still weren't seeing eye to eye. We went to bed angry at each other. Yuck!!!

At 2am I woke up and I mean I was wide awake. I laid there for at least half an hour trying to fall back to sleep. Then the Lord said to me get up and go pray. So I did. I prayed until 4 something this morning. I am exhausted but I have a better prospective on things. One thing I do want to do is redeem my Knights birthday today. So tonight I am going to try and sneak a balloon and cupcakes into our class just to surprise him. I know we don't have the extra to do this but I am going to make it happen because he is just that important to us as a family. I am also going to go buy him his favorite movie What About Bob. We are going to turn this "crappy" birthday into a Happy Birthday if it kills me!!! If you see him tonight or sometime this week give him a hug and wish him a happy birthday please. He needs some extra lovin' right now!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I Was Inspired, Encouraged & Compelled

I was inspired by a post over at The Pioneer Woman Photography. One of the authors gave a compelling story of why we should shoot pictures with ourselves in them with our kids. It really got to me. I always avoided the camera, but this time I set out trying to get some shots with me and the boys. They even took some of the photos themselves. I want them to have memories of me. So don't worry about what you look like, whether you have crooked teeth like me or your hair is not doing it's thing. Your kids adore you no matter what you look like because you are their mama and they will love the pictures later on in life. Go read the post over at TPWP you'll understand why. :)

The rest of the pics are of my favorite little men!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

I'm Not A Goat and Neither Are You

Have you ever heard of a fainting goat before? No, well there are such animals called fainting goats. Growing up on our sheep farm we knew of them and saw them at various farms. They literally faint. The technical term for this conditions is myotonia. The picture above is a young goat that has collapsed because of being startled. If a fainting goat is startled or frightened it's muscles stiffen and it collapses for a short period of time.

It was funny growing up watching these animals. Sounds of cars honking or tractor trailers bumping by would literally knock them over. We would laugh and laugh as kids witnessing this phenomenon but I am actually not laughing about it any more today. Last night our teacher at our School of Ministry taught and the prayed over the class about being bold for the Lord. I humbly asked for prayer last night because I struggle with fear of rejection. I don't step out many times for the Lord because fear grips my heart and makes me feel paralyzed. At the end of class Pastor D. prayed for me. I felt a release and peace and lightness I have not felt before. I renounced the power fear had in my life and declared to my spirit and soul I would no longer serve the spirit of fear.

Today I had to go to the store before dropping the boys off for school to grab last minute field trip lunches. I totally forgot until this morning that they had field trips and we were out of bread. Walking to the register I heard the Lord say use the line with a cashier. That is not my style. I am a "avoid all humans" kind of person. I "B" line it right to the self check out without batting an eye. It was funny the boys were heading to the self check out ahead of me because they know I am such a creature of habit and sad to say they are probably picking up my habit. So I listened to the Lord and walked to the only line open. An older gentleman was manning the register. I felt the Lord say engage in conversation with him so I did. Nothing profound came from the experience but as I walked away I heard the Lord say "Now was that so hard?" (He smiled) "Oh, my, no that wasn't hard at all but Lord I didn't pray for him or have a profound word to give him. Did I screw up again?"

The Lord continued to speak to my heart as I dropped off the boys at school. He told me He was easing me into this but that He was happy I obeyed him in the little task of engaging in a conversation with this man. I then remembered how I used to refer to myself as a fainting goat. I remarked to the Lord (like He didn't already hear my thoughts) "Lord I am just a fainting goat. Sometimes I get spooked and fall over." Well, the Lord didn't find it as amusing as I did because I heard a stern voice speak quickly after my comment. He said "No you are not! You are not even a goat but a sheep. Do you remember what Pastor D. said last night. Those who do not hear My voice and obey are the goats but I have called you My sheep. Stop it!" "OK Lord I totally get it." He continued "No you don't. You have been around goats for so long you believe you are one of them. You are My sheep you and you know My voice so stop fainting at the enemy's call."

Wow. I went home and goggled fainting goats. I wanted to know some more information on them because I felt the Lord stirring in my spirit to understand all the truth He had for me regarding this. Here is what I found in the Encyclopedia about fainting goats...

A fainting goat is a breed of domestic goat whose muscles freeze for roughly 10 seconds when the goat is startled. Though painless, this generally results in the animal collapsing on its side. The characteristic is caused by a hereditary genetic disorder calledmyotonia congenita. When startled, younger goats will stiffen and fall over. Older goats learn to spread their legs or lean against something when startled, and often they continue to run about in an awkward, stiff-legged shuffle...It is theorized that fainting goats were used by their handlers during travel for protecting other livestock (such as sheep) from predators by involuntarily "sacrificing themselves" due to their condition. This allowed the handlers and livestock to escape.
Oh my goodness I don't ever want to refer to myself as a fainting goat. How many times did the "false shepherd" in my life trick me into believing I needed to faint? How many times did I needlessly become a sacrifice for the enemy. The Good Shepherd defends His flock. In the middle east the shepherd's watch constantly over their flocks for predators. They take turns sleeping and watching always having at least one shepherd on duty at all times. Only western shepherds leave their sheep to graze unprotected. We may build fences up to keep them safe but doesn't that sound to you like a false sense of security. What would you rather have a fence or a watchful shepherd ready at any moment to kill anything that tired to harm you.

So I declare now that I am no longer a goat but a sheep in the Good Shepherds flock and I declare over you that you are no longer a goat but a sheep. So let's all stop fainting and stand knowing our Shepherd cares for us!! I AM NO GOAT!!!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

We Are Not Living In A TIme of Judgement

I know I shared a couple posts ago that I was digesting all the power downloads God spoke to me during the Voice of the Prophets Conference. It has been amazing to see so many seeds planted during those 4 days. Just as in the physical realm as Pa is being drenched in rain and plants and grass are sprouting all over the place I feel as though spiritually the Father is pouring out His rain on me. Seeds in my heart our now sprouting and taking root about His truth.

One word given that week that has forever change my view of life was a word given by Graham Cooke. He began by telling us we are not living in a time of judgment. Hmmm... at first it was a Wow, but now the light bulb has been flicked on in my spirit Aha! How long had I been walking under this false belief that we still lived under judgment? See, there are two times humanity will face judgment. The first was when Jesus died on the cross. He took our place in judgment. He died for everything we deserved to be punished for. He stepped into the Fathers hand of judgment when he gave His life for us. We no longer had to make atonement for ourselves.

The second time humanity will face judgment will be the final day of this world. Kingdoms and people of this world will be judged but those whose names are found in the Lambs book of Life will enter into an eternity of rest in His presence. Those are the two times of judgment.

I have lived under false judgment this whole time. I kept waiting for the lightening to strike or the fire from heaven to fall. I also lived under the false lie that I could judge. That's what we do, right? We as Christians judge between right and wrong. We determine who needs God and who is righteous, right? WRONG!!!!!

If God is not judging us, then how can we judge others. I have felt such a freedom lately with this new revelation of God's love. He is not judging me. He is not keeping score. He loves me no matter what. WOW!! Granted this has not given me the freedom to do what I want. Honestly it has helped me accept Him when he corrects me. That isn't judgment it is love. Do we not gently guide our kids with correction not because we would ever want them to face our wrath but because we want them to be filled with blessing. That's the Father's heart. He quickens my spirit when I may be walking in something that is only going to bring me pain and curses but he does not make another tally mark on my file in heaven. "Oh, there she goes again. Mark it down boys she screwed up again. Pour out another one of those bowls of judgment. Hopefully one day she will get this right." No, that's not the Father.

The enemy would love for us to believe we live in a time of judgment. He loves to condemn the world. For goodness sake he tried his best to condemn Jesus when Jesus took our place but he has nothing on us. Just lies. He judges us. He's keeping a record, but we are not held by his record.

This revelation has also quickened me to how much I judged others. Well, if we walk under the false lie of judgment then we too will judge. It's the old lie siblings get stuck in when they compare themselves with their brothers or sisters. "If I am going to get punished then he/she needs to too. They did something even worse then I did." I hear that a lot with the boys. If I accepted the lie I am being judged then I will judge.

It has lifted a heavy burden off my life to know I am not being judged, I am not being scrutinized, I am actually being loved. I now don't judge and I don't scrutinize. What a freedom. You don't realize how big of a task that is to judge the world and I wasn't even doing a good job of it. Phew, glad to hand that off. So walk in freedom knowing this is a time of great Mercy, forgiveness and love. The Father will guide us and direct us but He is not on the throne in heaven with a gavel. We are not living in a time of judgment!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Warning!!! Girly Post!

I completed the most dreaded shopping trip of the season, I went to get a new swim suit. After pulling out our summer things I happily piled my old suit on the bed. To my dismay my Knight abruptly asked "Aren't you getting a new one?" Gasp!!!! My mind was going wild with the various inferences that could be taken from that statement.

Being very put out I asked Him why. He said it was because of the top. It was a tankinee and the bra was getting all wonky. Every time I put it on I had to straighten out the top so I didn't look like I had 4 boobies. It was a favorite of mine and so after a couple years it was looking a little worn.

Reluctantly I went out to shop thinking if I headed out early enough in the season I could find something I really liked and not just what was left over. I don't know how many suits I tried on but it was at least 4 trips to the changing room with piles of suits. I took in the maximum amount allowed in there. Each time I walked a little slower and my head hung a little lower. The big thing is they don't make cute bathing suits any more for women. The teeny boppers have these cute looking suits but are as skimpy as all get out. I don't like it all hanging out and there are some parts of me that others really don't want hanging out any more either. I wanted cute and pretty but not slinky and skimpy.

Finally I found a pair of shorts that were actually bathing suit bottoms and a long top. It's cute, it's fun and it's concealing enough in the areas that need to be. The top also supports my boobies enough that it doesn't make them look like just another roll on my body. The picture is my actual suit. The funniest thing of it all is I showed my boys the suit when they got home. When they saw it they all sighed this huge sigh of relief. I inquired about their reaction. Shaggy told me "I like it, I am just glad it's shorts. Your other suit made you look like you were wearing your underwear." I then gasped! My underwear?! I explained that girls suits are different then guys but they still insisted it just looks like underwear. Oh well. Part of me can't believe that's what they thought and part of me is glad they are a little more conservative.

Now I take a big sigh of relief knowing I am done with that, although after all that time in the changing rooms I am ready to seriously get to exercising. That was a big wake up call for me! I hate shopping, especially swim suit shopping! YUCK!!!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Having Faith When All I Want To Do Is Run

My Knight and I are stepping out in faith in a BIG way right now. I can't go into many details about it but lets just say with the economy in the state it is we are going against the flow. The Lord has asked us to step out in faith and trust Him completely for our financial needs. Wow!

It's one thing to stand for your daily needs, we have been doing that and we have see His faithfulness time and time again but this is bigger. So right now He continues to help us take baby steps. My husband loves telling me that since his favorite movie is based off a character who writes a book called Baby Steps (What About Bob). This is where rubber meets the road. I love hearing about amazing testimonies of others when God came through and just blew them away with His power or faithfulness but I guess I never thought to ask what it was like before the breakthrough. I now want to ask that because we are standing in this "gap". It is the "gap" between the Word given and the time it is received. Testimonies are always filled with the promise and the result but many don't speak of the time in between.

This is where the enemy would like to kick the ever living snot out of me. He would love to fill my head with doubt and unbelief. He would love to bring anxiety and fear because he knows if he can get me discouraged enough we will let go of our promise and then never see the fulfillment of that promise. The "gap" is a hard place to be. People look at you and scoff at you here. Again they can't see end result. Just another tactic of the enemy.

So we are standing right now. Once in a while my knees shake a bit when the storm clouds roll by or when the rain pelts us a little harder but I want to stand. I want to keep my eyes fixed upwards to the heavens and see the Father. Lately that means cleaning, laundry, cooking and walking with my son's ipod jammed in my ears listening to nothing but praise music. It means taking each thought captive and only allowing truth to reside in my heart. It means getting a daily dose of God's voice every day. It means a battle.

Our Pastor's son said once at church while sharing some testimonies "You have to go through a "test" to get the "monies". We just don't get awesome testimonies of God's goodness by being placid or passive. We must move out with Him and stand in the storms. Even though at times I may want to run I am going to stand and believe and hope and have the faith that God is good and He keeps His promises. If you are out there standing in the "gap" between a promise and it's fulfillment don't feel alone. Don't feel overwhelmed. Don't run. Stand. Keep your eyes fixed upon our provider, Jehovah Jireh. If you would like to even leave me a comment about your time of standing in the "gap" so we can stand together. Believe me I will be praying for you too!

Friday, May 1, 2009

You Can Tell I Have Come A Long Way...

I have been sitting at our computer for 2 weeks now pouring over scripture and seeking the Lord about how to teach an upcoming class at our church. My Knight and I are teaching together for our church's Wed. Night Adult Education program. Years ago I would have been chomping at the bit to speak in front of people (many, many years ago). I would have vainly loved to show people how much I knew and how great I am. Not the case any more. I am humbled by this offer to teach.

I realize the gravity of what it means to teach God's Word and to represent Him to others. It is a weightiness. I keep going back and asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to my Knight and I what is the truth you want to release through us? What are the words you want us to speak? This isn't about me any more. I once loved going to Public Speaking Contests and getting up in front of people just so they could see me. Boy, that isn't the case anymore.

I also think about how others will perceive us later. I understand in the smallest sense the feeling pastors feel when they and their families are scrutinized on a daily basis for the words they preach to their congregation. We are teaching on helping parents to help their kids hear God's voice. So how will people see us afterwards? Will they judge me when my kid is asked to pray and he doesn't want to? "Well that Livin', I thought she told us her kids hear the voice of God and he doesn't even want to pray."

I know that sounds silly but it is all running through my brain right now. The biggest weight is how I represent the King of Kings to others, how I use His mighty Word. I don't want to use it out of context or manipulated in any way. Does this make any sense? The Bible talks about the responsibility that comes to those who teach God's Word. Believe me, I feel that very strongly right now. I am not rushing head long into this thing believing for my glory. If anything I would like to run the other way. We are also teaching the same month that 2 amazingly gifted and anointed teachers of our church our teaching. In the room right next to ours. What could we even have to offer compared to these guys?

So bit by bit I type and continue with our outline. I keep sitting back in my chair covering my face with my hands and just asking "Does this make any sense God? Are we getting even close to what it is Your trying to say?" I think my eye brows may fall completely out by the end of May with as many times as I rub my brow in frustration with myself.

I also worry about my speech. One of my learning disorders is I say things wrong. I say phrases backwards. Sometimes I feel like my brain has a log jam and I can't get my thoughts out properly. I am sooooo glad Moses had issues and I have even heard it say that Paul may have stuttered. I am definitely in good company.

How's my Knight in all this you ask? Well he has done this twice now and is a little more at ease with this process then I am. Also he speaks more eloquently then I do with all his business meetings and conferences. Me, I talk to kids all day and even with pre-teens I still don't get full sentences out on a daily basis so my brain gets stuck in Mommy talk.

Basically I just needed to get that off my chest. I feel better just sharing that and hopefully you all can pray for us this Month. At least when May's done we can sit back and relax and not have to do this again. :)