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Horrid Henry I’d like you to meet Beautiful Betty

This week’s tip:  cooking bacon. We are a fan of the bacon. We could easily fix a pound for Saturday breakfast. I am very particular about my bacon.  Crispy and lacking the little fat hump that seems to be present in a lot of pieces.  To prevent the humping of the fat (oh dear…that came…
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A Sense of Urgency

Scrolling through Facebook I am overwhelmed with all the videos people publish. It has truly turned into a mini YouTube. I am not on Facebook much anymore because of that reason but the other day I came across a video that literally made my arm hair stand on end. Oh. It was so good. It is short, so I’ll post it here for ya…
Wow. What a powerful word.
This morning, which is several days later from when I saw this message, I read these scriptures from 2 Timothy 4.
“You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.”

How can we ignore these warnings from the Lord?  How can we stop being consumed with the gnats of life; people pulling out in front of you in traffic, children who bicker, people at work who annoy us, not having the newest, fastest, shiniest thing and instead focus on how things are affecting eternity?

I am so guilty at allowing the monster of comparison to eat away at me which does nothing but breed distraction away from what God wants to be my focus: Him.  Eternity.  Me fulfilling the Great Commission.

I urge you.
I urge myself.
God is wanting us to share Him.
And He is wanting us to stamp this as “Urgent.”

I’m a book-shelving, former tap dancer, wanna be writer, singer,
and banjo player, mother of 4, wife of 1, follower of Christ,
walking in the shadow of the Proverbs 31 woman
and redeemed by the grace and love of an Almighty God…
just living the dream.

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The Cost

I have recently discovered a band that seems to have the most precious spirit of worship and service.  While I don’t know much about The Rend Collective Experiment, what I get from their lyrics is that they have a pure love of Jesus.  Each one of their songs has lyrics that are so pure and real.  My favorite is “The Cost.”  Here’s how it starts out…

I’m saying yes to You
And no to my desires
I’ll leave myself behind
And follow You

I’ve counted up the cost
Oh I’ve counted up the cost
Yes I’ve counted up the cost
And You are worth it
(lyrics from http://www.newreleasetuesday.com/lyricsdetail.php?lyrics_id=73467)

I recently finished Kisses from Katie, a book about a young missionary in Uganda, who is doing amazing things for the children in that country.  All the way through, I felt her story rocking my world.  But it wasn’t until the end of the book that something struck a deep nerve with me, especially in light of this song that’s been on repeat in my mind.

Then, NO JOKE, several weeks later, I start an online bible study through Proverbs 31 Ministries called “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa Terkheurst.  So I’m starting to see a theme here Lord….So what exactly is God trying to tell me?  Apparently that He wants all of me.  That He wants me to say “Yes” to Him.  That He wants me to trust Him with all that I have and all that He has for me.  But that it’ll cost me something.  But that it’ll be worth it.  Because He is worth it.

I’m a book-shelving, former tap dancer, wanna be writer, singer,
and banjo player, mother of 4, wife of 1, follower of Christ,
walking in the shadow of the Proverbs 31 woman
and redeemed by the grace and love of an Almighty God…
just living the dream.

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Have Bait…Will Travel.

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Reflection on Jonah 1 and 2

So I’m thinking that this wasn’t the “three hour tour” that Jonah was banking on when he high tailed it to Tarshish.  Hearing God’s voice and request to preach to this town that so desperately needed Him, Jonah busted outta there like Alcatraz.  I never realized what that journey looked like for him until I saw the actual map.
Wow.  He couldn’t have gotten any farther away from Ninevah!

What was in Ninevah that he was so afraid of?  Why did he run so fast and far upon hearing this assignment?  I’m not sure.  But it only took about 4 verses for God to come up on the scene and get all up in Jonah’s business.

What Jonah didn’t realize is that 1) you can’t outrun God and 2) he had his own little Ninevah on the boat.  The sailors prayed to every god they could think of to get out of this mess.  It wasn’t until they prayed to the God Jonah was running from that things changed.  I can imagine their faces in verse 15 and 16, where it says, “They took Jonah and threw him overboard.  Immediately the sea was quieted down.  The sailors were impressed, no longer terrified at the sea, but in awe of God.”  I can imagine them tossing him over, the sea becoming still like a pane of glass and them smugly strutting and brushing their hands together and saying, “Well.  That was easy!”

Enter stage left…giant fish.  This shows me that God will go to ANY measure to get your attention.

Well played Lord.  Well played.  Note to self: next time order the chicken…
Anyway, Jonah’s prayer is so genuine and heartfelt.  An entire chapter is dedicated to his heart’s cry.  But truly, what else would there be to do in the gut of a fish?   I mean, if you can’t find God in this situation…yikes.

Two things happened in Jonah’s prayer:
1) he confessed of his current situation.
2) he gave thanks and praise to God.

Exit stage right…Jonah.
Man I’d hate to be fishing on that shore.
No big.  Just a man coming out of a fish’s belly.  Hey, what’d you do today?

So, all in all this is a great image of God’s grace, mercy and pit bull determination to a) get His people preached to, b) go to any means possible.  Even though you’d think we’d learn by now, we still disobey, we still run, we still hide.
God loves us!
God is for us!
God is with us.

Why would we want to run from that?

I’m a book-shelving, former tap dancer, wanna be writer, singer,
and banjo player, mother of 4, wife of 1, follower of Christ,
walking in the shadow of the Proverbs 31 woman
and redeemed by the grace and love of an Almighty God…
just living the dream.

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The stranglehold of addictions

I have so many devotionals and Bible Studies going on right now it’s sometimes overwhelming.  But I’m in (finally) a season where I want SO much of God that I can’t think of anything else.  I’ve longed for this for a long time…The common theme that seems to be running through all of them is “wanting more of God” and “a new start.”  I felt God putting the word “peace” into my heart from the very beginning of the year and that ties in well too.  I want peace with myself, in raising my children, in our home as a whole.  Peace from fear of failure.
So I was asked the question “What am I doing that is making this time different?”  Well, for me I needed a plan that would be cheap and easy.  I knew Weight Watchers had worked very well for me, but I didn’t have the left over money each week or month to pay for meetings or subscriptions.  My family and I don’t like to put unnecessary medicines into our bodies, so I knew for that reason (and money) that diet pills were out.  I also knew I needed something that made sense, gave me accountability, and changed the heart of the problem which my addiction to sugar.  So I took the food journaling of Weight Watchers and the advice of my doctor and simply cut out sugar, moved more and ate less.  I got myself a FitBit for Christmas which tracks my calories out, synced it with MyFitnessPal to track my calories in and made sure that each day I had a deficit.  I have completely cut out sugar.  My love affair with sugar was over.  It is no longer the “strong tower I ran to” instead I gave that job to God.  🙂 Sugar and I have been bedfellows for too long and it had hurt me for the last time.  I finally had gotten to the point in my life, by reaching my lowest (by reaching my highest weight), that I was so sick of lying to myself, hiding food, being so full of deceit and being completely controlled by sugar.  It had to exit stage left and never come back.  In in the past, I’d allowed myself “Cheat days.”  Clearly, that doesn’t work for me.
So long cheat days!
I’ve been doing this since Christmas Day and I’ve had lots of success.  I truly went through a period of mourning.  Mourning the loss of the comfort sugar brought me.  Mourning for all the desserts of the future that I’ll never have. No more birthday cake, pecan pies at Thanksgiving, cupcakes at our local bakery before I pick my boys up at the bus stop and literally shove into my mouth without even tasting it, no more donuts at faculty meetings.  I KNEW that if I ever allowed myself “just one bite” it would send me back into a downward spiral of destruction.  The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy me and that “just one bite won’t hurt” is a lie straight from his mouth.  I would listen to it no longer.  Cookies will no longer have a death grip on me.
God and ultimate freedom is SO much sweeter than any dessert.

I’m a book-shelving, former tap dancer, wanna be writer, singer,
and banjo player, mother of 4, wife of 1, follower of Christ,
walking in the shadow of the Proverbs 31 woman
and redeemed by the grace and love of an Almighty God…
just living the dream.

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My “get up and go” got up and went…

So I got up this morning.  Well, E got me up this morning crying and wanted fed.  I’m mean really?!  How dare she!  Who does she think she is anyway?!  A 4 month old nursing baby or something?!  The nerve…
By the time I finished feeding her it was close to 6:00 and the biggest part of me was super excited that I’d have time to lay back down before my alarm went off at 7:00.  M has a camp from 8:30-12 today, so I wasn’t going to get to sleep in.  A super small part of me was trying to convince myself that I needed to go walk.  “But you didn’t lay out your clothes for the walk.” and “You’ll wake everyone up when you deactivate the security system and raise the garage door.” and “You’ll smell bad, it’s gonna be HOT today.”  Excuses.  I’ve lived a long time with many excuses.  And “how’s that working out for ya?” you may ask.  Yeah.  Not so well.  Anyway, eventually my sports bra won.  I set out with my iPhone in my arm band, on my forearm since my bicep is too big for it to fit comfortably, sunglasses on, attitude and head up!  So what it took me almost an hour to do 3.7 miles.  I did it.  With God’s help I’ll continue to do it.  And not so I can look like the hot moms at M’s school.  But so I can live to enjoy summers with my babies.  

I sadly realized the other day that my adult life has consisted of segments of personal failures and missed opportunities.  Here are some examples:
…after I have the baby and while I’m on maternity leave I’ll…
…well, during the summer I’ll change before school starts and I’ll…
…my 20 year high school reunion is in 2 years…I’ll do it by then…
*sigh*

While I was on my walk this morning I came up on the biggest worm I’d ever seen both in length and in girth.  It was dead, hard and crusty from being baked in the sun and being without moisture.  Now I don’t know where the worm came from, but what the worm may not have known was that he died at the grass line, just steps from the creek that often times floods the area it surrounds.  It was SO close to it’s worm destiny and a nirvana for worms everywhere.  It could have been so happy in such a marshy heaven.  But it gave up.  It died.  I don’t want to be that worm.  I don’t want to be literally steps from the destiny that God has given me and give up.  God has so much more for us if we just don’t quit.  
Don’t.  Ever.  Quit
J preached a Wednesday night service recently and did such a great job.  One of our elders got up to take up the offering and gave a word of encouragement to J and I.  It was so refreshing.  He said he was thankful for youth pastors who were hungry after God and specifically to me that God’s doing a work in me, that God hears my cry and He sees my heart.  That He knows that contrite spirit that He’s going to take me places, that I’m asking for things, but that He’s got things for me that I can’t even imagine.  Places, that I couldn’t even imagine.  Wow!  How exciting to hear that.  Funny, on the way to church that evening, I was thinking about how when we have special guest ministers in the past, it seemed they always had words for other people.  Not me.  I’m so thankful for the Lord.
I’m not perfect, but I’m going to let God make it perfect.

I’m a book-shelving, former tap dancer, wanna be writer, singer,
and banjo player, mother of 4, wife of 1, follower of Christ,
walking in the shadow of the Proverbs 31 woman
and redeemed by the grace and love of an Almighty God…
just living the dream.