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Thursday, October 22, 2009

No Update What?!?

Hey friends! I cannot believe it's been a week since I was here. Time is flying quickly.

Andrew and I were able to get away to the Texas coast for a couple of days earlier this week. It was heavenly! Our theme this week has been that eighties' song that goes like this...don't ya know one thing leads to another...."

I did take some of your advice on treating last week's paprika stain. We decided to get new floors. Yaay!

But you know what that leads to...
painting and
purging and
decluttering and
organizing and
scrubbing and
rearranging and it will all culminate in...
One humongo garage sale.

We're the crazy ones, remember. Painting commences tomorrow. So you won't find me here regularly for awhile but I will keep you updated on our progress because I don't know when we'll say enough's enough!

For now, leave me your prayer requests. I'll be praying as I work.




Friday, October 16, 2009

Just for Today








Today was a better day. A good day. A day that I will think back on with smiles.

The boy who spilled paprika all over my carpet cleaned out his entire closet by himself complete with vacuuming. He organized the mountain of toys, finished obsessively and was insanely proud of his accomplishment. I was pretty darn proud myself.

So proud we celebrated and went for ice cream when we picked up the big kids from school.

Then we had an evening school performance. That same boy sat in his chair, clapped his hands and tapped his feet with the music for the whole performance. He was as proud as I was to be a part of this big, energetic, slightly crazy family.

It was a good day.

Here are their angelic, sweet, happy smiles. I hope they make you smile too.

Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him. Psalm 127:3

God's loyal love couldn't have run out,
his merciful love couldn't have dried up.
They're created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He's all I've got left. Lamentations 3:22-24



Thursday, October 15, 2009

Catering to the Masses



Yesterday was one of those days. There haven't been many days of this proportion.

Andrew was out of town. The house was a wreck. I had pre-decided that his absence would provide the perfect opportunity to get down and dirty scrubbing this old house. That was a colossal mistake. I should have known better than to think I'd have time to do anything on my own list.

Palmer was needy. So.very.needy. Andrew needed my help from afar. I spent a great portion of my day sitting, or rather standing, and staring at my computer screen attached to my cell phone.

As I was standing and staring.

Dump trucks filled with tiny toys and boy treasure lined my hallway. Shoeboxes filled with precious belongings collected from others' stashes stacked in his private corner. Every single chair in my house stood in a straight line and formed a huge bed for his stuffed animals' slumber party. He even dressed them all (and himself) for the occasion. Emptying his pajama drawer for the party a la bears. Cute.

Palmer was entertaining himself. Just a normal day's work for the little guy.

Until.

Palmer got bored.

Half a bottle of paprika on my playroom carpet. Gross. Stinky. Orange. Nasty.

Already feeling drained when the older children got home from school. I began to try to pick up some of said stuff but homework, dinner and bedtime routines called.

Some nights it just doesn't all get done. I sat down to spend some time in the Word. And he spoke.

"But Jesus said, "That isn't necessary--you feed them." (and) They all ate as much as they wanted...and the disciples picked up...leftovers. Matthew 14:16 & 20

Reading the feeding of the 5,000 always teaches me something. Always. Every.single.time.

Last night as I read I was aware that the disciples were tired. Even Jesus, I think, was a little tired here. After hearing of John's beheading he had withdrawn to a remote place. The disciples must have longed for some space to grieve. Quietly. Alone.

I bet the disciples were hurting and questioning. I'm almost sure they wanted Jesus to themselves. They needed his ministry. His perspective. His touch. Personally.

I wonder if they were a little miffed at Jesus' compassion. Even in his grief crowds followed him. They stormed his remote place begging him to heal their sick.

He had compassion on them.

Then. Finally. Dinnertime. The disciples suggested sending them away to eat. Jesus could rest. They could rest. The perfect escape from the crowd's insatiable requests.

Imagine their shock when Jesus suggests the disciples provide nourishment for the hungry crowd.

There wasn't enough.
They were tired.

After their protests, Jesus provides, miraculously, plenty from little for the crowd. There was even some left. Lots left.

This wasn't just a plain old miracle, it was a gigantic miracle that went the extra mile. It was a miracle birthed at a time when Jesus deserved a little rest. Some time to settle his emotions. Some chill time.

This was a miracle of giving that Jesus, already knowing he would do it, invited the disciples to perform.

This is an example. An invitation to me. In my house of energy. At my weakest point. Tired and all.

I want to learn the lesson. Pull from the Strength I possess. Give what lies dormant inside of me to the needy ones who follow me...even when I'm tired.

Because I have Jesus.
I have his promise.

"I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father." John 14:12

Anyone know how to remove paprika stains?



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Crowd

Tonight I'm pondering the feeding of my crowd...
This is a flashback. Tomorrow I'll post the fresh word piggybacked onto this.
Jesus is the Bread of Life.



He fed the 5,000 in order to demonstrate who he is.

"When the people saw this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, "Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!" John 6:14



There are so many truths to be learned from this one miracle.



Have you ever felt like there were masses of people around you all needing something, all needing too many things for you to supply at one time, things you couldn't give?



I feel this way all too often. My husband, my children and those in my sphere of influence who make up each close relationship in my life all need things from me. Sometimes just five hungry people overwhelm me. I can't imagine five thousand!



This must have been how the disciples felt when Jesus told them to feed five thousand hungry people who had come to hear Jesus teach. They must have been thinking, "No way!" Actually, they almost said it. "Philip replied, 'It would take a small fortune to feed them!'" John 6:7



So many times we figure the task God is asking us to do is impossible so we proclaim to God how hard it is and we stop. We do nothing.



When Jesus asked Philip how to feed all those people, He already knew what He was going to do. He was only asking to test Philip. Wow! He didn't really expect an answer or an argument. Jesus expected an agreement.

"Jesus soon saw a great crowd of people climbing the hill, looking for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, "Philip, where can we buy bread to feed all these people?" He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. John 6:5-6



We should answer God more like Andrew did, "Here's a little, it's all that's around." Andrew gave the Lord all he could scrounge up.



It was a little boy's lunch of five small barley loaves and two small fish.



I believe it was amazing this boy shared at all. My boys certainly don't willingly give up food, especially when they're hungry!



But, this young boy gave all he had and God multiplied it so much that all 5,000 were fed and twelve whole baskets were leftover!



Jesus commanded the disciples to gather up the leftovers so that none would be wasted. He not only multiplied it to meet the current needs, He multiplied enough to meet needs that weren't even present at that time.


Feeding the 5000 is about taking a little bit, a small amount that is hard to give, and letting Jesus multiply it in our lives. This is my time, my energy, my knowledge, my affection, anything that others are asking me to give. In order to multiply it, I must sacrifice by giving to others.
Jesus gives me a little and requires me to give that little bit sacrificially to my multitude and somewhere in this process multiplies it around to everyone and none of us go away needy.




After performing this miracle, Jesus knowing he was being pursued withdrew to be alone.



I am struck, again, how Jesus always knew when he needed to withdraw and be alone. He certainly never got so overloaded and drained that he had to lay on the couch and watch TV for an hour to recover. He certainly wasn't prone to sleeping all day after exerting his power by performing miracles. He always withdrew from the crowd to refuel and re energize himself by being alone with God the Father. He always knew when it was time to withdraw. He withdrew that same day as he performed the miracle. He was certainly excited. He was certainly pursued by those who wanted to know more about him. Still he chose to withdraw before he was too emotionally drained and mentally exhausted to hear from the Father. He never wasted time being stressed.



I pray I would know when to withdraw. I'm talking about the times we need to seek him for refilling after a particularly exhausting event. Even the exciting, good events drain us. We have a tendency to ride it out. Talk about it with everyone for a long time and become completely dry before we turn to God for special times of refilling.



May we fill those depending on us and always have excess by knowing when to withdraw...



Only in Jesus!







Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Recovering













I've been trying to figure out why I'm so tired...

There are many reasons. Four huge ones :)

I love those reasons. So instead of entertaining you tonight with my words, tonight I'll leave with some images.

You can enjoy. I'm off to receive some much needed rest and to recover life. Lately I've been sludging through the days. I like to skip through the days. Tonight I decided I needed to recover. Tonight my recovery comes in the form of peace, quiet and a little bit of time to enjoy these reasons of tiredness and this life that I love.

Again today I love how The Message says it best. When I'm too tired to think, I need The Message!

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
Matthew 11:28-30



Monday, October 12, 2009

Thank You

Thank you for your prayers, Bloggyland. I love the idea that prayers from cyberspace go up to heaven and God hears. And he answers.

Tracy got a good report today. The oncologist says he "wouldn't even begin to imagine that the spot on the blood vessel is anything." But he will test some lymph nodes to be sure. She will have her hysterectomy over the Thanksgiving holiday to give her some extra days off work to recover. The surgery will be the less invasive kind and will require about three weeks recovery.

We are praising God tonight for this report and we continue to stand guard against the enemy faithfully lifting up our praises and our petitions before the Lord. We won't stop fighting and I think praise is the best kind of weapon!

This is the verse I got as I praised.
Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack. 1 Peter 5:8

But I really like how The Message says it.
Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You're not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It's the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does. 1 Peter 5:8-11





Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cancer, Be Gone!

Tonight I am calling on the power of prayer. I know my bloggy friends call on a mighty God for real life miracles.

This past week my family had an up close and personal conversation with cancer. The "cancer, get lost!" kind of talk to be specific.

My sister-in-law, Tracy, has been diagnosed with stage 1 cervical cancer. Although, the doctor is 99% sure all of the cancer was removed with surgery last week, there remains a slight chance the cancer remains. A blood vessel has a spot on it.

Tomorrow morning Tracy is meeting with her oncologist for the first time to determine her treatment. Most likely, a hysterectomy will be involved. Please pray for the easiest surgery possible for her. Please pray that the cancer has not spread into the lymphatic system. Please pray that God would completely heal and restore her body.

Also lift up my brother, Trey and their four children. Their friends have done an amazing job ministering to them by bringing meals, groceries, volunteering to drive children around and even pooling their sick days as Tracy doesn't have any left. She and my brother are both middle school administrators.

As I pray for them I feel that God is giving them a tipping point.

Webster's defines the tipping point as the culmination of a build-up of small changes that effects a big change

I'm praying that this would be a point that things would turn. Struggles would cease, health would improve, waiting would breed answers and faith would breed hope. I'm also praying that the bowl of prayers in heaven would fill so full it will tip and all the prayers prayed for their family would be answered.

Will you join me in praying healing, provision, peace and showers of blessing to the Meadors?

Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Revelation 5:8

Tonight I am remembering my bloggy friends who need a real life miracle too. Keep praying for Andrew and Denise's sis-in-law.






Thursday, October 08, 2009

Deeper Water

"great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God." Luke 5:1

Isn't this what we do? Press into Jesus to hear the word of God. I've often said, "Lord, let me press into you. Let me hear you. Reveal your word to me."

As the disciples pressed into Jesus to hear him speak, Jesus gave them a command. "Go out where it is deeper," he said. (Luke 5:4)

Although Simon Peter, James and John had been out fishing all night and catching nothing, they obeyed Jesus. They exercised obedience not because they thought they would catch something but because Jesus said so. Simon Peter even says, "I am willing to try again because you say so." Now, I don't feel so bad telling my children to do something simply "because I said so!"

Simon Peter then caught so many fish his nets began to tear and he had to call to shore for James and John to come help him. There was blessing in his obedience. Jesus was trying to build his faith and dispel his disbelief. He blessed him not for believing but for obeying.

I've seen Jesus do that for me. Call me deeper with him to a place that seems fruitless only to produce more fruit than I could ever imagine. He builds something out of nothing so that there is no question whose power it is at work.

The Bible says his immediate response when he realized what happened was to fall down and worship Jesus.

This was the selling out point for Simon Peter, James and John. Immediately after this they left their nets and followed Jesus.

When was your sell out point? The day you left everything to follow him? I'll save mine for another day but I'd love to hear yours!




Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Preparation

Prepare the way for freedom, life and salvation. That's what I got as I read about John the Baptist's message last week. Prepare the way...

John the Baptist was called to prepare the way for Jesus. He was a forerunner of the gospel. He foretold of God's promises coming to earth.

I've been contemplating how John sets an example for me. Does my life tell of God's promises that have come and are coming to earth? Am I calling out in this dry land that I have the answer? I know where the water is that won't leave anyone thirsty ever again even in this dry, dry place!

The scriptures say John the Baptist was a voice in the wilderness. When I close my eyes and see the desert, I can hear him shouting.

Often times I feel as if I'm shouting in the wilderness to deaf ears. My voice gets lost in the wind whether it be the climate here in my home or outside my house.

I know where relief from chasing the "American Dream" can be found. I'm amazed on a daily basis the messages that even our young children get to chase after the elusive hard and fast. John's message was different. It was hard to hear. So is mine. But to those that are searching it is as refreshing as a cold bottle of water after a long trek through the hot, sandy desert.

Even a rough mess can be made smooth and neat if we humble ourselves before the One who created the desert.

I love John's message. I've adopted it as my own.
“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!
Clear the road for him!
The valleys will be filled,
and the mountains and hills made level.
The curves will be straightened,
and the rough places made smooth.
And then all people will see
the salvation sent from God.’”

Luke 3:4-6



Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Remembering

I haven't felt like turning my computer on much this week. Maybe it's because my twentieth high school reunion was this past weekend. I'm worn out both physically and emotionally.

Remembering was hard.
Remembering was fun.
Remembering was well, to be truthful, a little weird.
But oh so worth it!

I feel drained in a good sort of way. Thinking about so much that happened so long ago just left my brain hurting but more importantly it left my heart full.

It's something I said I'd never do. Go back.

I was the snobby eighties girl who mentally graduated mid junior year and quickly skipped forward to all things college, ready to experience new things and tossed juvenile high school things aside.

But back I went to relive all the turbulence and tolerance that were indicative of my teen years.

Turbulent family life. Moving to a new place. Trying to fit in with a new group instead of the comfort of the crowd I'd known most of my short life.

High school was like wearing a pair of jeans that are a size too small and have had to be zipped up using a coat hanger. I never relaxed. I never quite fit. I kinda held my breath for a few years.
Tolerance of tiny compromises so I could fit into a world where I never felt quite at home.

All this squeezing gave me a few really, really close friends that pulled me along for a really great ride, now that I'm able to objectively examine it. Seeing some of these sweet girls all grown up was wonderful and warming and just plain fun. Squealing with delight to see the people who really impacted me with their kindness and selflessness at a time I desperately needed it and telling them that was really rewarding.

Strangely enough most people remember things somewhat differently than the way they actually were. At least it seemed that way to me. In a good way.

Reuniting was amazing, freeing and exciting. I won't lose touch with some of these people again and that makes me smile.

Remembering was difficult but not painful. All those memories just didn't come back like I always thought they would.

My only regret is that I didn't notice until about 11:30 that there was no photographer there to take pictures. I got two that I'll post later. I've got many more good memories stored in my heart that will make remembering much easier.




Thursday, October 01, 2009

Happy Day Miss J!



Can I believe I have a baby in double digits?

No way Jose!

But I do.

And she is...

So mature.
So smart.
So beautiful.
So confident.
So determined.
So competitive.
So gregarious.
So passionate.
So playful.
So influential.

How I love this precious girl. I love her more today than I did ten years ago. I loved her more ten years ago than I did ten years nine months and one week ago. Don't ask me how it's possible to love your children more than you already loved them totally completely and unconditionally yesterday.

It just is.

Loving her more was something I never expected to happen or ever thought possible. Yet here I am feeling all filled to overflowing with love and pride for her all the while knowing tomorrow I will be overflowing just a bit more with love for her.

Simply because.

She is.

Mine.

"I've never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!" Jeremiah 31:3 The Message