Sunday, January 30, 2011

Meet My Following Family

I'm always honored when someone lists my blog on their sidebar.
I'm equally thrilled when someone becomes a follower.

I know time is valuable, and I'm truly humbled people spend
their precious commodity reading my blog.

But, it's more than gaining readers - I have gained faithful and spiritual friends.

Many of you have prayed me through two bouts of thyroid cancer.
(I wasn't blogging during the first round)

You have laughed with me over my children, because if I don't laugh,
sometimes I just might hurt them.  Seriously.  Just kidding.  Seriously.
Most of you also blog.
You have given me recipes,
craft ideas,
prayers and hope.

You readers and fellow bloggers have made my life so full.
I have wept with those that have lost children,
have suffered cancer,
have lost hope in their trials.

I have rejoiced over your new babies,
and adored the cute things your kids say and do,
admired your handiwork
and rejoiced as you triumphed over trials.

I have been blessed to have been visited by
friends in places I would love to visit
New Zealand,
and the United Kingdom.

Today, I want to share the love.

If you are a follower of my blog,
fill in your spot on The Followers Family Tree by
leaving a comment below introducing yourself and your blog(s).
Then, take the time over the next few days,
to visit other bloggers and introduce yourself.
Just tell them Momma Mindy sent ya'.
This will be one  family reunion we all enjoy.

When you're done leaving a comment,
follow this link over to Nan's


MM Meditation - Look to the Sky!

My son called from outside a few nights ago,
"Mom, come out here now!
Look at the sky!"

Immediately I thought of the little ditty,

"Red at night, sailors' delight.
Red in morning, sailors take warning."

Even in Bible times, people knew this simple way to forecast weather.

In fact, the Lord Jesus used this little ditty
to chastise the unbelievers of the day.

Matthew 16:
1 Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came,
and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven.
2 He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say,
‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’;
3 and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today,
for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites!
You know how to discern the face of the sky,
but you cannot discern the signs of the times.
4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign,
and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.”
And He left them and departed.

They refused to believe the prophetic "signs" from John the Baptist.

They watched Old Testament prophecies fulfilled before their very eyes
 by the Messiah but still wouldn't believe.

The Lord still asks us only to believe.

Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please Him,
for he who comes to God must believe that He is,
and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

We look to the sky,
but not for signs
but for His soon return.

As we watch,
in faith.

Look to the sky...
Revelation 22:20
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!


Friday, January 28, 2011

Shades of Friendship and Family

“There is a road from the eye to heart
that does not go through the intellect.”

G. K. Chesterton

(My daughter, Grace, and friends in friend Melissa's face.)

A true friend can see the part 
inside of you others can't.

The best part of that internal vision?
They appreciate the intimate glimpse into your heart,
and will cherish and cultivate the treasures
and bind and heal the brokenness.

(My husband mirrored in my eyes.)

The longer you are married,
the more you are the mirrored reflection of the other person.
Your hearts, minds and souls combine in a beautiful unity
of companionship, purpose and love.

Make sure you marry someone
you want to end up
looking like,
talking like,
acting like,
and thinking like.

(Beka, the baby of the family, loves her Mommy and Daddy.)

Right now Beka is convinced she will live with us forever.
Being our daughter is the most important role
in her life right now.
She can't imagine being anything else.

She doesn't understand yet,
that we'll always be her parents,
even though other significant relationships will enter her heart.

We'll just move into her peripheral vision.

(Son, Jon, keeping his eyes on sisters and parents.)

I know he will grow up, go to college, get a job,
maybe have his own family,
even though he swears he will NEVER marry.

But, as he ventures out in the
ocean of uncertaintly and adventure,
we'll always be on the shore,
a small, bright beacon of light,
beckoning slowly and steadily,
in case he needs a course correction.

No matter where they go,
what they do,
or who they are with,
I will always have my eye on them....

reflected through through the lens of my camera.

Household6Diva FotoFriday

(reprinted from 3-2010)

Daddy's Way is Funner

 Yea, I know you fellow grammar geeks are hung up on the word FUNNER in my title,  as I would have been until I read a newspaper article a few months ago with this news flash -

Funner is now a word. 
It's even in the dictionary.

Any-hoo, back to funner, especially as pertaining to Daddies.

My kids found out early in life that Dad's way is OK.  They also found out that Dad's way can be funner than Mom's way. I don't feed kids cake for breakfast. Another adult in the family did once, while left alone with small children on a Saturday morning, and he was a hero for a lifetime, I can attest to that.

I don't know about your home, but here the majority of the time Mom is the meal, Dad is the desert. Even if I'm the cake, Dad's the frosting. That's fine. I've learned to hang  onto my fork and enjoy the sweetness Daddy brings to life.

I'm home all day, it's reasonable that the majority of the training and discipline comes from me. I regulate chores and schoolwork.

Daddy enforces the rules when he comes home, (you don't want to disobey Daddy's wife!)  but then  gets to play games or go somewhere fun.  If I'm busy resenting that, I'm not busy enjoying it.  It isn't just relief for the kids, it's relief for me, as well.  He brings just as much joy to my life as to the kids' lives.

In our house, Dad is a "spur-of-the-moment, let's find an adventure kinda' guy."  I'm a "let's plan for a week, clean the car and buy snacks on sale kinda' gal."  How did our worlds peacefully collide?  I became an organized woman whose diaper bag and car were both stocked and ready for adventure at all times.  That way when Dad came up with one of his prize-winning ideas, I was quickly ready to throw together a few last minute things and pack the kids in the car.

We've had some incredible adventures together as a family.  Once we drove into the middle of a herd of elk. We grieved together over the Viet Nam War.  We've watched deer and raccoons up close, found secluded beaches, hiked mountains and napped by rivers.

Even when I do  fun and adventurous things with the kids, they react differently. I sleep outside in the tent with them.  I showed them how to use waxed paper on the 14 foot high slide in our backyard to whiz down faster.  I make the summer lists

It's not that I'm not fun, it's just that Dad is funner.

I remember the thrill in their stories after a trip to the dump with Daddy.  Seriously, the dump?  My week of homeschooling crafts and outdoor picnics were overshadowed by a trip to a smelly dump?

The Lord showed me, it's not a comparison.  It's not a competition.  It's two people who love each other giving their children differently flavored experiences.  The kids obviously miss Daddy so much when he is at work, suddenly anything he does with them is exciting.  Because they love their Daddy.  Not because they don't love Mom, not because Mom isn't fun and not because Mom isn't doing a great job.

It's because they love their Daddies.

This is a good thing.

What good is cake without frosting?

If Dad's are funner, then we can have our cake and eat it too.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What if Daddy Is Wrong?

Yesterday, we determined that Daddy's way is OK.  Daddy may use too many wipes, Daddy may put the sheets on the bed the wrong way, but as long as there is no harm, there is no foul.

Sometimes the problem isn't Mommy being too picky, too naggy or too much of a perfectionist,  and not allowing Daddy to function his way.  There are times when  Daddy is wrong in his decisions or actions.

Is it really wrong?
Are you using your standards or the Lord's?  If you're thinking about Daddy hanging the toilet paper the wrong way, please go back and read yesterday's post. Pray and meet me back here.

It's amazing. A young mother who thought she knew it all, I was soon humbled  by the realization that my husband was rarely wrong on issues that mattered.  He was in the Word, he prayed about his leadership in the family. Yes, he might be at work all day, but when he walked through that door, he could tell if I had been neglecting to instruct or discipline in areas such as whining or prompt obedience. He could also tell if I'd been nagging  the kids.  My initial responses were due to wounded pride and I wasn't open to encouragement to improve my parenting.  It wasn't Daddy that was wrong, it was me.

If you've determined he is wrong, don't point it out in front of the kids. Present a united front as a team, deal with issues behind closed doors  in a way that honors the Lord.  Like we tell our little ones, "God can hear you!"

If his parenting or housekeeping methods are causing you extra work, talk to him.  Just don't sound like his mother. Find a way to make it easier for him to follow protocol.

When approaching a  on a small issue, use the sandwich method. Like with a real meal, give thanks first, pray for your husband, pray about the issue, then discuss.

Be sincere in your praise and thankfulness, effort is as admirable as ability.  But, if he's throwing the laundry from the dryer into in the laundry basket  and causing you hours of ironing, it's necessary to work out a solution together.

Occasionally the kids ask something and Scott and I will answer at the same time, but disagree. 

If I have no serious opinion, I will laugh and remind the kids - Daddy has veto power.

If I have opinion, I respectfully give it.  If we have disagreed publicly, it's fine to work it out gracefully in public. My husband married me because he loves and respects me.  He wants my opinions and doesn't want me silently nodding and following any and every decision.  At this point, he still has veto power.

For serious disagreements that require more conversation, Scott and I take it offline.  I'm not trying to show the kids  I can snake my way through daddy's heart and get my own way, I'm trying to show them Daddy is approachable and will admit when he's wrong or when there's a better idea. I'm also showing  my willingness to lovingly submit when I don't agree, because he still has veto power.

The goal in resolving a disagreement is not to always get my way, or to let my husband always have his way, but to move the family in the Lord's way.

When there is serious spiritual concern about the spiritual leadership of your home, it can't be solved with a candid conversation between a husband and a wife or with a casual approach.

1.  PrayTell the Lord instead of a friend.
2.  Pray some more. Remove your reactive sin before you approach his active sin.
3.  Pray until you pray. When you are grieved and understand your husband sins against a holy God and not against you, you might be ready to say something.
4.  Seek verses in the Scripture about the issue to make sure you have the mind of the Lord.
5.  Wait for the leading of the Holy Spirit if and when to bring up the conversation. Sometimes at this point I still pray, because I would rather have my husband changed by the Holy Spirit and not by my directive.
A conversation begun with these steps will have fruit, can bind your hearts closer together and impact your family.

Even when we're right about their behavior, if we pound on our husbands with self-righteous pride or give them ultimatums, we're wrong. Many times these steps  silence me before the Lord because I no longer see my husband's supposed error, I see mine. Other times, the Lord gives me patience to wait and watch Him work in my husband's life.  He's the One who began the good work, I can let Him finish.

A truly changed man is changed by the words of the Lord  and the faith of a praying wife, not the drips of a nagging wife. 

When I was young, we always bought shoes just a tish too big for "growing room."  It's not just kids' feet that need growing room, it's husbands. 

If you learn to wisely and correctly encourage your  husband when he's wrong, he'll not only increase in   praise and love for the Lord, he'll increase in  praise and love for you.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dad! That's Not the Way You Do That!

While I was making the bed one morning, I noticed the bottom sheet was inside out, the seam sneering me, waving a serged thread tail  triumphantly in the air.

I recalled hearing an 8 year old voice a day before, "Dad, that's not how you do it!"

It wasn't the first time Dad heard those years in 24 years of parenting.

My husband hated changing diapers.  It wasn't that he was lazy or didn't want to participate in parenting, it just made him queasy.

Yea, the man who could gut a deer and throw the guts over his left shoulder, the man who could swiftly clean a fish and throw the entrails over the side of the boat,  was the man that could barely hold down his lunch when faced with a little pile of mustard squirts.

My hubby sent me to the craft store one  blissful Saturday morning.  All. by. myself.  No kids.  Totally alone.

When I returned home a few hours later, my oldest daughter, Jana, 4 years old,  met me at the door with a disapproving look on her face.  An equally worried Daniel, 2, stood behind her.

"Mommy," she said.  "Daddy used wotsa, wotsa  your wipes."

Looking down next to the couch I saw the mountain of mustard-streaked wipes piled high on top of a squishy diaper.  Sheepish that he'd been tattled on by a toddler, he said, "I used a lot of wipes, because there was a lot of poop."

"Mommy," Jana continued, "I twied to tell him.  You use the diaper first to wipe off the poopy.  I also twied to give him kweenex.  He didn't even wip the wipe in half.  He used a whole one each time!"

I think she was wondering if Daddy was in enough trouble to be spanked.  She looked worried. Daddy hadn't used any of the tricks I used to try to save money on a Christian school teacher's salary, and she knew them all.   I had to reassure her that Daddy's way was fine. 

It was her first of many examples that Daddy's way wasn't Mommy's way, but Daddy's way was fine. 

It was my first  of many examples that Daddy's way wasn't Mommy's way, but Daddy's way was fine.

Daddy's Way is OK.

My husband coined this phrase as we talked about the issue of women trying to drive the husband's actions from her side of the road. Because we moms are with the kids the majority of the time while Daddy is at work, sometimes it's easy to think our way is the best or only way.

Women fuss at their husbands about how they hold the baby, how they change the diapers, how they play with them, how they feed them. They don't like the clothes they pick out, the way they fold the laundry, the way they pour the milk.  The reality is, the more you criticize Daddy's way, the less Daddy will have a way. Sometimes, daddies will just give up trying.

If your husband isn't participating actively in the parenting give yourself an honest evaluation of how you have handled his "contributions" to the family. 

If you find yourself criticizing your husband's methods, ask yourself these questions - is he bringing any physical, spiritual or moral harm to the children?  Does the process matter?  Is the outcome affected?  Ten years from now will it still be a big deal to you? Do you have Biblical reasons for your stand? Is he causing more work for you with his help?

The biggest question to ask yourself is this -
do you want your children to constantly be questioning Daddy's ways? 

If Mom questions Dad's decisions, the kids will. Doubt for your husband's leadership can creep in and destroy trust as the decisions and actions you take as a family take on bigger dimensions and more serious consequences  each year.

How many wipes used for a diaper change didn't matter.  Teenage issues mattered.  I needed my kids behind Dad 100% when we entered those years. Little nags can turn into big nags.  Little doubts can turn into big doubts.

Men and women are not the same.  Our life's goal is not to have our husbands become the second wife in command, but to become the husband as the spiritual head of the home. By giving them the assurance they can husband and parent in the way that's suitable to their experience, ideas, gifts and abilities, we give them the ability to serve in a way where respect isn't commanded and demanded, it's willingly given.

And you know what?  That husband who was really, really horrible at wiping little baby bottoms?  He was extremely wonderful and incredibly wise at wiping up teenage messes, without leaving a trail of destruction in the wake.


What do you do when Daddy really is wrong

I'll tell ya' tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SH!!! Mom's on the PHONE!

Why is it that by the time I figure out the rules of parenting,
it's too late to apply them?

Too late schmart,
I will share my late-bloomed wisdom with you.

Arencha' lucky?

For years I maintained the rule,
"You come when I call.
I will only call once."

Sometimes, my kids were hard of hearing,
other times they were hard of obeying.
It took diligence and discipline to train them to come when I called



The rule saves yelling.
It saves getting annoyed.
It saves time.
It teaches prompt and pleasant obedience.
(It teaches Mommy to be pleasant, too.)

If you can train a dog to heal,
shouldn't you be able to train a child to come?

The other day I was on the phone.

It was an important call.
It was another adult with a writing opportunity.
It was the kind of call that mandates silence in the background.

The kind where you want the kids on another planet.

It never happens that way, does it?

The importance of the call only escalates the noise level 
and the proximity of the kerfuffle to your phone.

They're just suddenly there and loud
and there in your face
and there under your face
and there breathing unbrushed-teeth breath in your face.

Then, they become blind.

They can't see your pointing fingers,
your eyes boring holes in their scalps,
your eyebrows creating one angry-unibrow,
your lips over-exaggerating threats you'll never carry out.

They know they have you captive.
You have to be nice,
you're talking to another grown-up.

So, my inspired genius occurred while I was hearing
thumping and wacking up and down the hallway outside my bedroom.
I know the sound of sibling smacking sibling,
I know the sound of fake cries to get the sibling in trouble,
I know the sounds of hushed, forced apologies,
as the tale-bearing, heel-thumping, self-righteous indignation
pounds closer and closer to my door.
I know the sounds of whispered yells,
"SH!  Mom's on the PHONE!"
projected at greater decibals than the original infraction.
This is when I realized my utter failure.
 I instructed and disciplined,
training them to come when I called the first time.

What I should have done,
is picked up the phone instead of calling them,
holding it in my never-manicured hand,
knowing they would come running
and breathe their unbrushed-teeth breath in my face.

Next, I should have whistled
and made them stand at attention like those Von Trapp kids.

only then
should I have made my phone call.

Oh,  I'm too late schmart.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Running on Empty?

Running on empty? 
Pushing yourself through another Monday of another week?
Does your  To Do List
dwarf the strength you have  to do the To Do?

Mark 12 gives the perfect description of a disheveled soul.
A vineyard owner sent a servant to collect the fruit due him. 
Those taking care of the vineyard didn't deal kindly with the servant.

Mark 12:3
And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty.

We have all felt this way, beaten and empty,
facing another day only because we have to.

If the gas tank was leaking,
it would be foolish to keep adding gas.
We must give our souls the same concern as our cars.

When we are empty we must figure out why.

What have we been filling our tanks with?

Personal strength and abilities, worldly wisdom, caffeine and sugar, pride...
Not all sources of stamina are good,
especially apart from the Word of God.

This is our spiritual gas.

Ephesians 3:17,19
"... to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge;
that you may be filled with all
the fullness of God."

What are we wasting our gas on?

Remember when we first got our driver's license and our parents
nagged incessantly about not cruising Main and wasting their gas?
They were right.
Putting out energy just for the sake of putting out energy is a waste.

Our life is no different than our car.

Are we cruising to be Super Mom?
Are gifts and talents wasted on activities not led by the Lord?
Are we seeking after too much entertainment and fleshly enjoyment?

Why are we forgetting to refuel?

Sometimes, we're driving in the right direction, but don't check the gas gauge.

Are spiritual activities keeping us from filling up on the Word of God?
Have trials or physical sufferings kept us from refueling?

Check your gas tank.
Fill up the right octane.

Colossians 1:9
" not cease to pray for you,
and to ask that you may be
filled with the knowledge of His will
in all wisdom and spiritual understanding."

Philippians 1:11
Filled with the fruits of righteousness,
which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

2 Corinthians 7:4
 I am filled with comfort.
 I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.

How much gas should we put in?

We love the perfect pump. 
Not $20.05, it has to be $20.00.   
We cringe especially at the $30.01,
begrudging that little penny, longing for nice round 00's to fill out the final columns.

The Lord isn't satisfied to just fill us up, He longs for us to be overflowing.

The first time he fed the multitudes there were leftovers. 
Matthew 14:20, "And they did all eat, and were filled:
...the fragments that remained twelve baskets full."

The second time he fed the mutlitudes there were leftovers. 
Matthew 15:37, "And they did all eat, and were filled...
the broken meat that was left seven baskets full."

Fill up on Him,
and He'll tell you where to drive.


"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith..."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

MM Meditation - Be Thou Exalted

We love to sing, pray and proclaim the Lord to be exalted in our lives.

We also know the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak.  Sometimes, our bodies have a hard time living up to  what the lips are saying.

With convicting accuracy, A.W. Tozer mentions a few areas of our lives to evaluate, so we can turn  lip service into life service.

Be Thou Exalted

The Lord lives! Blessed by my Rock! Let God be exalted, the Rock of my salvation!
2 Samuel 22:47

O God, be Thou exalted over my possessions. Nothing of earth's treasures shall seem dear unto me if only Thou art glorified in my life.

Be Thou exalted over my friendships. I am determined that Thou shalt be above all, though I must stand deserted and alone in the midst of the earth.

Be Thou exalted above my comforts. Though it mean the loss of bodily comforts and the carrying of heavy crosses, I shall keep my vow made this day before Thee.

Be Thou exalted over my reputation. Make me ambitious to please Thee even if as a result I must sink into obscurity and my name be forgotten as a dream.

Rise, O Lord, into Thy proper place of honor, above my ambitions, above my likes and dislikes, above my family, my health and even my life itself. Let me decrease that Thou mayest increase; let me sink that Thou mayest rise above.

Ride forth upon me as Thou didst ride into Jerusalem mounted upon the humble little beast, a colt, the foal of an ass, and let me hear the children cry to Thee, "Hosanna in the highest."

A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, p. 101-102.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chewing On the Last Bite

I've loved sharing the bite-sized nuggets of wisdom
from our godly, older friend, John.

We began our little feast by tasting,

We moved on to the tasty morsel called,

Tonight, the finale in the spiritual feast of simple wisdom is
"this too shall pass."

Disappointed because it's too simple?

Remember, they aren't pat answers,
they're promised victories.

When I was given this advice,  I have to admit,
it didn't make me very happy.

I thought it didn't exude enough sympathy.
It didn't acknowledge the depth of my agony.
I wanted something I hadn't heard before.

Nodding in agreement?

You know what I learned?
It's  true, very true.

The trial you're going through?
"This too shall pass."

Agonizing over potty training?
Guess what?  I'm not.  That stage passed.

When  agonizing with another mother of teenagers she cried out,
"And we used to think potty training was hard!"

Speaking of teenagers?
Agonies that caused me more tears than my cancer have passed.

A friend heard over a year and a half later of a certain trial we experienced.
 She wrote, relaying her love, prayers and sympathy.

The trial was so resolved,
the Lord had restored what the locusts had eaten,
and I could hardly remember the agony she spoke about.
It had passed.

Time passes without help,
but trials only pass with prayer and faith.
 Ignoring struggles doesn't make them go away,
cling to the Lord and His Holy Word.

Some trials  may never pass on earth.
 I've been told my papillary thyroid carcinoma 
will never be in remission or be healed.

But, the trials will still pass.
Whether our faith in Christ brings us to heaven through physical death
or through the Rapture, we have a great eternal promise.

Revelation 21:4

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;
and there shall be no more death,
neither sorrow, nor crying,
neither shall there be any more pain:
for the former things are passed away.

Since there's a promised end to the trials,
on earth or in heaven,

To gain that peace we must
"take it from the Lord"
"leave it with the Lord"
and then by the grace of God,
"this too shall pass."

our focus shouldn't be on the trial,
but on our testimony and obedience while enduring the trial.

When it passes, we don't want to look back with regret.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Second Bite-sized Nuggets

Yesterday, I introduced the concept of Bite-Sized Bible Nuggets,
breaking down the wisdom of a godly, older man into three of his
 basic bite-sized pieces of  Biblical advice.

I began with

Today, we need to take another bite-sized nugget and chew on
"leave it with the Lord."

As Christians, we know we should pray, and we do.

Sometimes, we give Him burdens in prayer,
and take them back with worry.

We pray about burdens,
but we're telling Him how He should answer.

We might be willing to accept His answer,
but in our timetable, which is usually 
now or yesterday

Even when we're wronged in this world,
we may expect Him to vindicate us according to our plans.

Our dear friend John not only gave this advice,
he lived by it.

He had worked his way to Vice President of a local bank
and was going to retire with a nice pension after 35 years of service.
The younger executives decided to change the retirement plan
to a more current 401k plan just a few years before his retirement.

He lost a sizeable chunk of his retirement,
his faithful savings and provision evaporated.
We were angry and thought something should be done.

John did something about it.

He left it with the Lord.

Twenty years later, he still lives frugally, but not bitterly.
He has trusted the Lord to provide.

When we were mistreated by believers he told us,
"leave it with the Lord."

When we were grieving over souls he told us,
"leave it with the Lord."

When past painful memories ripped at our hearts he told us,
"leave it with the Lord."

When we were falsely accused he told us,
"leave it with the Lord."

When Christians took advantage of us financially he told us,
"leave it with the Lord." 

It wasn't a pat answer, it was a promised victory.

The Lord Jesus laid down His life,
so we can lay down our burdens.
We bring them with tears and agony,
then,  trust and wait for

His way,
His reasons,
His timing
to work out all things for good.

As John has urged me for decades,
I urge you with love and prayers for your burden,
"leave it with the Lord."

Please join us for the final bite - "this too shall pass."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bite-sized Bible Nuggets

Instructions need to be broken down into simple bites we can easily digest. 

When my husband purchased a new sewing machine for me, the instruction manual was SO complicated, I couldn't use it.  I have been sewing for 40 years,  but the words were unintelligible.  I had to drive to the place of purchase with my machine and ask for help. 

I like little words in little sentences.  Like most moms, I don't get a lot of sleep and daily lose brain cells.  They seem to fall out of my brain like change out of a  pants pocket with a hole.

Complicated rules are not only hard to understand, they're hard to follow.

Through the years, my husband and I  have been blessed to study the Bible with a godly older man, John.  Scott began studying with him when he was an 18 year old college student, I joined later when we began hosting weekly Bible studies in our home with John taking us through Genesis, Ephesians, John, I John, I Corinthians, and many other books.

John has the ability to bring out the beautiful deep truths of the Scriptures, the typologies of Christ, but break them down into little bite-sized Bible nuggets  His wise, simple thoughts have stayed with me through the years.

Through conversations with him I gleaned these simple rules.  I can still hear his warm voice nurturing my bruised soul with

rule #1

"take it from the Lord."

See, I toldja' it was simple.

Whatever is going on in your life right now, take it from the Lord.  Understand and believe that all things are caused or allowed by Him,  this is not out of His control. 

He is not surprised by your struggles, nor does He rejoice to see your suffer.  He loves you.  He wants to uphold you with His victorious right arm.  He has plans that are not your plans, and ways that are not your ways.

Traumas happen, trials happen, life is hard. We can react wrongly to our circumstances, thinking if only God understood, if only He really knew, He wouldn't have allowed this to come to pass.  He might change His mind if He only understood yours.

Why did my husband lose his job?
Why am I so sick?
Why did I  lose a child?

These are very real  agonies and deserve sympathy, prayers and tears. But,  we cannot face these things with unbelief, we need to trust Him. 

We do not know what the future holds, and we do not know the fruit this trial may produce.  If God told you ahead of time souls would be saved if He could test you for a season, what would you say? 

The Lord causes and allows all things in our lives.

What happens to us is because God planned it for our good, or He allowed it for our testing, which is also for our good. When we accept this, we will stop swimming upstream and allow the healing waters to pull us downstream to a place of maturity.

"take it from the Lord."

It's the only place to start.

(We'll continue tomorrow with rule "leave it with the Lord.")

I'm linking this series with  Spiritual Sundays.  Click your way over for some spiritual encouragement from other faith bloggers.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Love Being A Grown-up!

When I was a kid, I thought grown-ups had it made.

Those rare occasions when Mom and Dad went out,
I would watch mom get dressed in her beautiful clothes,
rat her hair and coat it with enough aerosol hairspray
to be responsible for the hole in the ozone,
carefully apply her makeup and accessorize with jewelry,
and I'd long to be a grown-up.
Now, I'm weary of having to do my hair and make-up every day,
and would love to wear the same thing for a whole week in a row.
I might try that sometime, you just watch.

I would hear them talking after we went to bed,
and I'd wish I could stay up past 9pm.
Now, I wish I could go to bed at 9pm!

Sometimes, the smell of popcorn would waft under my bedroom door
and I would protest to myself, "No fair!"
Now I have to hear my children complain about the snacks
 we consume after they get sent to bed.
It seems fair now!

In my mind, adults had a wonderful life
and I could hardly wait to grow up and experience everything.

Too soon, I realized adult life is more full of responsibility
than spontaneous and never-ending fun, as I once imagined.


Sure you can eat ice-cream any time you want,
but you have to pay for it, then wear it forever.

You can stay up as late as you want,
but you still have to get up early in the morning for work or children.

I find myself looking at my children's lives with a bit of envy,
longing for their lack of duties,
all their free time,
and their carefree minds unburdened by responsibilities.

But, the other day I was a consoled by a huge benefit of being a grown-up.

That big heart-shaped box of chocolates is now MINE,
all MINE,
(thanks, honey!)

and I can eat it any way I want.

I discovered something new about myself this year.

I AM one of those people,
who takes one little bite out of each chocolate.

Just because I can.

Just because,
 I'm a grown-up.

What do YOU do
just because you're a grown-up?
Do share your secrets!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Desire Performs the Marriage of Discipline and Grace

At the beginning of the year, most of us are pretty obsessed with discipline.

We want to discipline our bodies in the area of exercise and food intake.
We want to discipline our minds with books and educational activities.
We want to discipline our souls with prayer and time in the Word.

But, we fail. 
Every time we set a goal, we break it.

January 1st we're bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with goals.
By January 9th our eyes are bright with tears
and our tails are between our legs.

When we get discouraged for breaking a goal,
it's harder to persevere.
Then, frustration and despair can cause us to just give up.

We forget about grace.
If we aim for 100% compliance to our goals, we will fail.
I started going to a naturalpathic doctor about a year ago,
to supplement the health care I am receiving from my traditional doctors.

Of course, there are a lot of supplements to take,
foods I shouldn't eat, things I should eat.

It could become a burden quickly.

With a chirpy attitude, my doctor told me she's shooting for about 80%.
She understands a woman's life  and removed
the burden of perfection women think they have to carry.

When I fail, I don't let myself go into a tailspin,
beating myself up for my failures.

We need to let discipline and grace walk side by side,
understanding by our nature, we will fail,
and by His nature, He will pick us up.

We set our goals for graceful discipline.
If you want to exercise three times a week,
and one week you only exercise two,
let yourself react with grace.
You'll get back on the horse sooner.

If you set your goals to eat healthier,
and you have eaten half of a bag of chips,
give yourself grace,
throw out the other half, and get back on the horse.

If you set your goals to read your Bible daily,
and miss a day,
give yourself grace,
and get back on the horse.
Self-condemnation and guilt will add to the loss.
If you react with grace, reminding yourself that you want to,
you will be more likely to find time later in the day,
and return to your faithful schedule the next morning.

With all important areas of discipline,
if we set rigid expections, it can become a have to.
We should be doing them because we want to.
Light the fire with desire.

If you desire to be disciplined,
and exercise grace when you fail,
it will increase your desire to be disciplined.

Desire  performs the marriage of discipline and grace.


MM Meditation - Set Apart

Romans 1: 1-3
  "Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle,
separated to the gospel of God
which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,
concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord."

As Christians, we know we are to be separate from the world.
We are in to be in the world, but not of the world.

Separation has a two-fold definition and application.

The first part is easy for understand,  but sometimes hard to practice. 
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

The first part of separation is to be separate from the
practices, beliefs, sins and thoughts of the world.

We are separate in our walk.
We walk not in the counsel of the ungodly.
We walk by faith, not by sight.

We are separate in our talk.
We talk so our words are  acceptable in His sight.
We talk with the law of kindness on our tongues.

We are separate in our thoughts.
We make each thought captive to Christ.
We are transformed by the renewing our minds.

The second part of the definition can be overlooked
while we try to accomplish the first part.

We forget the purpose of separation.
We are set apart for a specific purpose
given in Romans 1, "the Gospel of God."

We are to be in the world,
but not of the world,
so that the world might be saved through Him.

To be saved, they need to hear the Gospel.
How can they hear, unless we preach?

So our two-fold purpose in life
is to be separate from the world,
so that we can preach the Gospel
to the world.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I Have Two Heads and Other Laughs

When Rebekah was five years old, her daddy was packing for a business trip. 
To soothe her anxieties about his absence, he put her in charge of taking care of me.

When he left in the morning, he gave Rebekah careful care instructions. 
Each morning she was supposed to remind Mommy to take her pill and bring her coffee in bed.

Before going to bed that night, Rebekah, fearful she wouldn't remember her Daddy's instructions, 
told her sister Grace,  “remember me to forget Mommy’s pill in the morning.”


 While reading the last paragraph of a news story online,
I was tying my shoes so I could go for a walk with Rebekah.

She came in and stood watching me. 
"Wow, you can tie your shoes without looking?"

I guess I didn't know how talented I am. Her admiration was immeasurable.

"Mom, you're just amazing."

She continued by commenting on another talent she obviously admired. 
"You can tie your shoes without looking and you can type without looking.
You're too cool mom, it's like you have two heads."

I guess one if for doing and one for thinking, but one is invisible. 
That still makes me amazing.

(pic of two heads not available)

Rebekah was asking her Daddy a deep theological question a few years back.

“How do you get to Heaven?” she asked.
“What do you think?” prodded her Dad,
wondering if anything we had taught was beginning to sink in.

Her answer showed she was getting her Bible lessons and her kids books mixed up.

“Do you just use a balloon and float up to Heaven?”
she asked, picturing a scene from Winnie the Pooh.

“No, you believe in Jesus,” corrected Dad.

“Oh, then do you float up with a balloon?”


friday funnies

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