Monday, February 28, 2011

Many Hats

Because we wear so many hats each day.

This weekend we decided to get away. 
Mommy and wife is the only hat I wore.

We had such fun playing, we wanted to stay.
We let down our hair and got a little wild.
Collected lots of beads and great big smiles.

And came home with a giant-sized little bitty surprise!

Meet Rocket "Rocky" Smith.

Rocket is a chiapom, half chiuaua and half pomeranian. Who wouldn't love such a cute little thing?
Rocky is the rockstar of the house right now. Except when he cries until 3:30 in the morning.
Any advice on making a puppy love his kennel would be muchly appreciated.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Personal Vision

The same week I began a Bible study called Backpacking Through Joshua, I started reading Steven Furtick’s book Sun Stand Still. I wanted to read the book when it was released months ago but God wanted me to pay attention to His message in Joshua so He preached it to me twice, once through Amber and once through Steven.

Furtick makes ‘audacious faith’, the ability to believe God for the impossible, totally contagious. He not only strives to make believers take hold of their faith, hold it up to the Light and inspect it, he propels his readers to activate it.

He spends a great deal of time in the book talking about a ‘Page 23’ vision or personal vision. I have a personal vision. I’ve been struggling with my personal vision for years. It seems so big; I have no idea where to start or what to do. For many years I wondered if it was really God’s idea at all or just my own imagination. So for a long time I did nothing. I even quit dreaming.

Furtick addresses this very thing in the book saying, “If the size of the vision for your life isn’t intimidating to you, chances are it’s insulting to God.”

Furtick goes on to say we need God to make our visions a reality and there is an end to our faith—but not to God’s faithfulness. We can count on that. “God didn’t encourage Joshua according to Joshua’s faith. He encouraged Joshua according to his own faithfulness.” In other words, God gave you the vision and He will give you what you need to see it through in such a way that it will be all about Him.

I am also encouraged to jump into my personal vision with both feet because Furtick says, “The opposite of Page 23 vision is survival mode.” The frustration and depression that settle over me when life gets so hard and frenzied that I am barely surviving is a state I loathe. I have been timid to jump into my personal vision for fear of living an unbalanced life. In essence I have been causing what I have been trying to avoid. All because I’ve been fearful that adding the responsibilities that come with pursuing my own vision will be too much added to my already hectic lifestyle. 

With colorful language, Furtick makes the reader really dig deep to find his own unique calling and uncover the ways God created him to specifically bring God fame. Furtick says this on how your own personal vision will come to life, “It will start with a seed of inspiration that takes root in your imagination. Over time, it will produce a harvest of obedience for the glory of God. And the whole process will take place deep in the soil of your faith. … Seizing his big purpose for your life … is about mining the depths of who you are in him. And out of that revelation, you will fulfill the purpose that he put you on the earth to fulfill.”

He inspires the reader to get to work cultivating the tiny seeds and glimmers of hope that God has buried deep within. He goes on to talk about praying ‘Sun Stand Still’ prayers—the prayers that supernaturally fuel our desires with the faith the march forward.

Experiencing miracles like the one Joshua experienced when the sun stood still, requires not only praying with what Furtick calls audacious faith, it also requires activating that faith by moving forward. He says hope is the desire to change the world for Jesus; faith is demonstrating it. He goes so far as to say, “If you are going to ask God to make the sun stand still, you better be prepared to march all night.”

Furtick not only lives his message and shares many everyday examples of audacious faith, he is bringing as many believers with him as possible. “There are concepts and contributions flowing inside you that need to be released for the world to hear. … Praying Sun Stand Still prayers … is about making your move, “ Furtick challenges. If you see God using you to change the world or even just a corner of it, this book will push you, encourage you and challenge you. If you desire to do something big for Christ, pick up this book. World-changers, this book is for you!

 ***I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review of it posted here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

War Zones

My mind is a battlefield. Tiredness always signals a coming conflict. Left with no sleep my mind rages against the truths of God tucked away in more lucid moments. When I choose to believe the emotional, tired and dull mind, death ravages the war zone and I am left on the field, counted among the wounded. Many times when the battle is done, the field is littered with bloodied casualties including those I love most.

Yesterday was hard. I had gone to bed around 12:30. My son started screaming with a nasty virus around 3:30 (and that wasn’t all coming out of his mouth, remember?). I had a speaking engagement I had to cancel as a result. I had only gotten about 3-4 hours sleep. I was disappointed. I was frustrated. I hate throw up.

In essence, I got no sleep and had to trade something I love to do so much with something I hate to do. I traded sharing Jesus with other women for cleaning vomit off the rug and the couch and the floor. Don’t get me wrong there were parts to yesterday, like snuggling with my boy and enjoying ice cream with him at the end of the day, that were really nice. But on the whole, the day stunk. Literally.

The war in my mind was intense. It was like I had a little angel on one side whispering God’s truths and a little devil on the other whispering lies while stabbing my heart with his pitchfork.

God hasn’t really called you.
Nobody wants to hear what you have to say.
They were foolish to think you would ever come.
Your boy’s not that sick, it’s just an excuse.
You’re too afraid to go anyway.
You are so lazy; you’d rather sleep than let God use you.

I’m learning one of the biggest triggers in my life to making poor choices is lack of sleep. I am making a huge effort to go to bed by 11:00 each night and get a good night’s rest. This is mostly possibly but when it is not, my mind goes to crazy places.

Can anyone relate?

I’m learning the best things to do on days like today when I’ve gotten a good night’s sleep is to fill my mind with truth so that it’s there on days like yesterday. So I can wake up on days like today in a good place where I find myself in a messy house with things strewn here and there but no human casualties.

Today is a better day but looking back, yesterday held much more than survival. And you know what? That’s exactly what God wants for us.

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise. Romans 5:1-2 The Message

What are some of your favorite war strategies to find victory on tired days?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Pawn

Today started at 3:30 AM. My precious son woke up screaming because he was attacked by a virus. Let's just say screaming wasn't the only thing coming from his mouth.

I've scrubbed, washed, bleached, dried and repaired virus damage. I've showered, rocked, read, cuddled and fed sick son.

Right now it's 11:00 AM and I am supposed to be in the middle of talking to a MOPS group. My son is supposed to be at school and this day is not supposed to be going this way.

My brain struggled with these thoughts at 3:36 AM as I started the washing machine and again at 4:16 AM as I Lysol wiped the couch and again at 4:48 AM as I settled in to sleep a bit. Then a peace settled over me. I am supposed to be right here living my message.

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
   He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
   he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11

You see God knew.
God knew I would be here in my sleep deprived state clad in my animal print pajamas rocking my baby boy today instead of dressing cute and speaking to precious mommies He has a beautiful message for. He is God. He doesn't need me to spread His fame, although; I'm thankful He uses me.
When I realized what was happening at 3:30 this morning, my first reaction was panic. I hate throw up.  My baby was sick and I had a speaking engagement. Then I got mad. The enemy of our hearts used my son as a pawn in this battle to share the love of Christ with a dying world. The enemy will go to great lengths to keep God's love away from others.

And I am not okay with that.

I prayed over my son with every used Lysol wipe, every stroke of his sweaty forehead and every load of laundry. I prayed over those mommies and I prayed over their hearts. I prayed protection and I prayed the words God has for them would be heard. In their hearts. With God. Without me. As I prayed God reminded me of the great lengths He goes to in order to reach the hearts of His creation.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:38-39

As God's sweet promises settled over me. I knew I would mother my children in my quiet of my own home today. I knew my ministry would take place treading the path from the couch to the kitchen instead of burning the road from Lake Conroe to Aggieland. And I knew I would eventually make it a MOPS meeting when my children were well.

And I am okay with that.

Because God knew.
So I thanked Him for giving me this opportunity to mother.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do…Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,  making the most of every opportunity. 
Ephesians 2:10 & 5:15-16

Monday, February 21, 2011

Marching Orders

“You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days…On the seventh day you are to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns.  When you hear the priests give one long blast on the rams’ horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town.”

Since Friday’s phone conversation with Amber, I’ve been completely consumed with the fact the Israelites couldn’t see on the other side of the wall. When God gave them their marching orders, they could only see tall, guarded, locked, bricked walls.

Instructed to march in silence, they did not speak. I wonder what they thought. Did they march with confidence believing God would do what He said? Did they wonder what God was actually giving them; what was really on the other side of the big walls? Did they wonder if Joshua really had a line to God?

Or did they march to the cadence of stories their ancestors told them about obeying God and the consequences for not? Did they replay the cross of the Jordan or imagine manna falling at their feet?

I can be just like this. Some days all I have to do seems possible, inspiring and wonderful. All I have to do is remember God’s promises toward me. If I focus on His good plans and loving thoughts toward me, my day is always successful

But when I choose to forget how He has rescued me time and time again, I wobble. I complain and I get tired. When I disregard His promises, I lose hope. And I need hope to make it through my days!

Marching around a fortified town six times and then seven more in a row was probably tiring. I imagine the people telling themselves, “This is nothing compared to wandering I the desert!” But I also imagine they felt more like they’d run a marathon than prepared for battle when they were done marching.

I wonder if they gave in to the enemy and thought there was no way they’d have any energy to take the town after all that silent marching. But they did. God renewed them after each day’s marching orders were complete.

They simply believed and obeyed.

And God came through.

As they took the land.

“But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
   They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don't get tired,
   they walk and don't lag behind.” Isaiah 40:31 The Message

I'm speaking at First Baptist Church Bryan's MOPS meeting tomorrow. If you are in the area, I'd love to see you! It starts at 9:30 and I'll be speaking at 10:30. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

He turned five

… and my life is filled with new realities, new realms, new possibilities, new horizons, new needs. One of them is his starting school allows me to look for a job.

Yeah. Scary, I know. I’ve spent my adult life bouncing from career to career until selling real estate with Andrew and even there I bounced from place to place within the industry trying to find something that fit. Administration, leasing, sales, buyers, sellers, staging. I like a good comfortable, practical and fashion forward fit. Thankyouverymuch.

I’ve been a teacher, manager, salesman and administrator. None of it got me excited about getting out of bed in the mornings. I liked sales but I hated its hours.

I like to be with my family.

Conflicted, I went to the Lord desperate for an answer, a wave of His hand or a divine intervention to rescue me. I spent yesterday morning weighing pros and cons, contemplating my net worth and seeking God. He showed up in my messy, stale chicken nugget smelling Suburban on Highway 105.

When Andrew and I married, one of our premarital counseling sessions had to do with our greatest needs. I expressed my deepest longing in marriage to have someone really listen to me and understand how my feelings.

Psalm 22 says, “You God—don’t put off my rescue! Hurry and help me! …If you don’t show up soon, I’m done for… [But] He has never let you down, never looked the other way when you were being kicked around. He has never wandered off to do his own thing; he has been right there, listening. Here in this great gathering for worship I have discovered this praise-life. And I’ll do what I promised right here in front of the God-worshipers… As the word is passed along… that God does what he says.”

Yesterday just knowing God was right there listening brought me great comfort. When my soul settled in that comfortable place, I suddenly knew the most practical and fashion forward fit God has for me.

With my heart pounding and my palms sweating, I told God, “Yes!” all over again. This time I was able to say it with authority to the stale chicken nuggets on the floor of my backseat rather than nervously whisper it into the still night air.

As I once again reaffirmed to the Lord my willingness to use the gifts He’s given me to bring Him fame, my anxiety ceased, my procrastination melted and I thanked Him for being a God who is right here.

Oh, look! God's right here helping!
God's on my side
Psalm 54:4

So let God work his will in you… Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out… Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet.
James 4:7-10

Then I called my friend Amber and we had this amazing conversation about spiritual gifts. I’ll tell you the rest of the story next week.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Dregs

Backpacking Through Joshua with Amber and friends today.

Dregs: The most worthless part or parts of something. The remnants.

Jolted awake by the alarm clock, my heart races as I jump out of bed and try to find Jesus then feed, dress, shuttle four children, dress myself and head to Bible study.

The study I lead. The study I committed to being at every week. The study where others gather at my initiation. To find God. Early in the morning. Far from home.

As soon as I’m by myself in the car, I pray. The same prayer each time. The cry of my life lately.

God, I really shouldn’t be attempting this. I have so little time. I feel totally unprepared. Totally ill-equipped. Lord, I told you I’d give you all I have. You know all I want is to share the words You give but Lord, I want to do it well. I’m spread so thin. I have so little time. All the time I can find isn’t much. I don’t ever have enough but I do give you the little I have. My offering is so small. It’s pitiful really. God, I need you today. More than ever before I need You.

This scenario is repeated two days each week. This scenario will be repeated again next week when I head out of town for the morning to speak to a group of women.

This scenario is my life.





The dregs. The dregs of my time. The leftovers. I offer it daily, weekly. It’s not much but it’s all I have. And He’s in that. Miraculously, He’s always in that. In my dregs.

And this place where my lack and His grace intersect is where the greatest ministry takes place. Because where I’m not, He is.

Sometimes I wonder what God is thinking calling this disorganized mother of four and her traveling band of chaos to go. He keeps reminding me over and over it’s my disorganization and my traveling band of chaos that help others relate to me. However, most days it seems they serve only to keep others laughing!

In Joshua 6, God stations His presence [the ark of the covenant, remember?] behind the priests and sandwiched armed guards around them. Sometimes I feel just like the priests. As I go about my day announcing God’s presence and coming victory, He’s right is there behind me. Encouraging me, protecting me and even cleaning up my messes.

I can’t believe He would single out such an unlikely candidate to announce His coming, His nearness, His victory. But He has. This disorganized mother of four will stand barefoot on holy ground even amidst a traveling band of chaos.

And as surely as my weakness meets His abundance ministry will happen.

He will be made famous.

So the LORD was with Joshua Lisa, and His fame spread throughout the land. Joshua 6:27

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In Search of Space

Heart racing
List growing
Deadlines approaching

People needing
House messing
Dog barking

Phone buzzing
Internet slowing
Traffic building

Emotions unraveling
Mouths yelling
Guilt settling

Time fading
Defeat threatening
God calling

Come away with Me. You will get all that I have for you to do done today. Seek me today while you still have a chance. All you need for today is here, waiting. I AM here. For you.

Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn't pleased at being ignored. (Romans 8:5-8 The Msg emphasis mine)

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Lion King

I'm Backpacking Through Joshua today with Amber and friends.

A sick, exhausted toddler and a bursting-with-child, weary momma lay in a lumpy twin bed covered with a worn thin teddybear blanket. I rocked, lullaby-ed, prayed and willed my baby to just sleep. Just two hours. Just the two more hours until the sun comes out, I begged God.

With another new baby’s imminent arrival, we were playing fruit basket turnover in our small house. Again. Shuffling rooms, purging closets and painting was hard work, especially with sick children. But I was almost ready. I had a plan and just finding time to finish the nest was the hardest part.

I had worked diligently and tirelessly for months to get control of the house we moved into shortly after we were married. I knew things had to change before I brought our fourth child home. And since we weren’t moving into a newer, larger house with more closets, I just did things the old-fashioned way. Hard work.

My sweet mother-in-law brought me rugs, curtains and other safari themed d├ęcor to make my home a place I loved. It felt so good to replace the toddler chairs with a new sofa. I was having a ball searching for artwork and creating curtains. I was tired but the end was in sight. Oh, the feeling!

In the wee hours of the morning as I lay in that lumpy, little bed huddled snuggled under a worn thin teddybear blanket with my whiny sweet cherub cheeked toddler, my mind was blank. I was bleary from the hard labor and lack of sleep. I couldn’t find the perfect piece for a large wall in the living room due to a constraining budget. And, so I prayed.

Lord, this is exciting and tiring and oh, my babies. Help me, Lord.

And in the wee hours of early morning while lying in a lumpy, little bed under a worn thin teddybear blanket, God spoke.

Why are you so worried about your walls and your safari theme? When will you ask me to be the King of your jungle?

And the tears came. I had been so busy with my plan to take control of all the blessings God had given me I had neglected to stop and ask Him to fight the battles in my home of baby sickness, hormonal craziness and impending change.

God so gently reminded me that we are in a battle. And I must not forget.

Maybe that’s what God was trying to tell Joshua when the Israelites entered the banks of the Promised Land and the manna (God’s daily miraculous provision, remember fourth grade Sunday School?) quit coming. The people were no longer dependent on manna from heaven, they could feast off the land flowing with milk and honey.

Of course, God provided the land and gave the people the strength to work it but I think maybe, just maybe they got so caught up in all they could now do, they forgot they were living on a battlefield. They got busy doing and they quit being. They forgot whose they were.

“And then this, while Joshua was there near Jericho: He looked up and saw right in front of him a man standing, holding his drawn sword … [the]
commander of God's army.” Joshua 5:13a 714a

Joshua reverently asked what orders the commander had for him, what did God want him to do, the commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place you are standing is holy.” (verse 15) And Joshua did.

God sent the commander of His army to tell Joshua to worship, to once again remember to “stand still” in order to win the battle. (Exodus 14:14)

I think the commander was significant because he is a vivid reminder of who Joshua was and whose he was. He was a soldier. In God's army. 

Like us.

And just as it was with Joshua and his army, so it is for us. A battle is coming.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God…so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-11a &13b)

Even though there were fields to plow, food to harvest and blessings to enjoy, God wanted Joshua to spend time with Him on holy ground because he knew Joshua would soon need the strength. A battle was coming.

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. (Romans 12:1-2a The Message)

Monday, February 07, 2011

My Gilgal

I am Backpacking Through Joshua with Amber and campers this week.

The ‘Big God experiences’ of my life make up the stones that are the altar of my heart. The youth group where God met me in my brokenhearted state. The youth camp where God first called me to tell my story. The church where God taught me He still speaks. The weekend He set me free from depression and fear. The day my oncologist told me I didn’t need chemo after all because I was a miracle cancer case. The weekend I spent with other women who long to tell their stories just like me. 

All these experiences are stones that sit in my heart making a beautiful place to worship and sacrifice to my God. These experiences with a God who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow make up the me—who longs to tell the world of His goodness. 

Telling stories is the easiest way to pass down our faith heritage, I tell my children stories just as my parents and grandparents told me stories: About my birth, about how my grandparents met, about the church I was born in, about traveling to different parts of the world. About mission trips and times spent in prayer and lessons learned in everyday life.

I tell my children stories about their names’ meanings, about the ways I pray for them and why. I tell my children about how God has big plans for their lives just like He had big plans for people like Joshua, David, Esther and their dad and me.

“It was there at Gilgal that Joshua piled up the twelve stones taken from the Jordan River. Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over. “ (Joshua 4:20-23 emphasis mine)

When I read about the place Gilgal in Joshua 4. I began to wonder where my Gilgal is. I know I have stones piled in my heart but that is not a place often tread by others' soles. 

Gilgal comes from the Hebrew word meaning wheel or roll.

Is there a place in my life others cross and are filled with wonder? I want a part of my life to take Jesus to my family and beyond.

God tells me to start sharing my stories in writing and I start this blog. I write here so my children will have a record of my faith but this blog quickly becomes more than a place to remember; it is a vehicle that takes His goodness and faithfulness into the world. Because of it, I receive invitations to tell my story other places.

This blog is built with the stones that make the altar of my heart. This blog is my Gilgal.

“…So all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.” Joshua 4:24b

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Everyday Miracles

Listen, Israel! The LORD our God is the only true God! So love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and strength. Memorize his laws and tell them to your children over and over again. Talk about them all the time, whether you're at home or walking along the road or going to bed at night, or getting up in the morning.
Deuteronomy 6:4-7

Does anybody else get overwhelmed at teaching your children to love God wholeheartedly? How many of you wonder if you’re doing a good job passing your faith down to your children? I struggle with wondering if I’m talking about God enough. Over and over again seems like a lot. Sometimes I get tired of hearing myself talk. Know what I mean?

I’ve gone through many seasons as a parent. When I had multiple preschoolers, it was easy for me to do a craft with them, teach them a short verse with hand motions or sing a Bible tune. Because we were always home, we had time to read through a different children’s Bible each year. My favorite is the Jesus Storybook Bible.

Last year cancer happened. I shooed my children off for awhile so I could talk heavy, hard conversations with the insurance company. I hugged my kids a little more sitting in silence with them. I prayed over them like crazy hoping my prayers would undo the damage cancer did to their fragile little hearts.

We moved. Life happened. As much as I have tried to make family dinners a priority, they mostly occur around 8:30 or 9:00 at night these days. Unfortunately there’s hasn’t been much lat e-night Bible-reading taking place. We began to breakfast together. I’ve never been a morning person so while there’s been good eating and lively chatting, there hasn’t been much Bible teaching.

Or has there?

Did you see what I wrote back there? Life happened. In the midst of life, I’ve found I can do a really good job of showing my kids how to recognize God’s movement in our lives. When cancer happened, I did a really good job of directing my kids to God. I encouraged them every day to look for God’s greater purpose. Did they know any other kids whose mom had cancer?

Last week, ironically the same day I had all my tests at the cancer hospital, my son had a project to do. He interviewed my mother-in-law and wrote out the answers to two pages worth of questions. A whole lot for a second grade boy!

Later that week, he brought home another copy of the questions. He had to re-do it with neater handwriting. He painstakingly copied it and turned it in the next day.

Monday he brought a third copy of the two-paged questions. He said the teacher lost it.

Now I’m a retired teacher. When the student says the teacher lost it, ninety-nine percent of the time, the student has it. I asked Hunter if he’d cleaned out his desk, his folder and his backpack. He swore he turned it in to the teacher.

We had a busy day. Life happened. It got late. While I tucked a frustrated him in bed, a frustrated me prayed with him that his teacher would find it.

He came home from school the next day. I was eagerly waiting for God’s miraculous answer to my prayer. (And the relief of not having to supervise the paper yet another time.)

No paper.

We decided we’d work on it together in one hour. He needed to run off some frustration outside first.

A few minutes after he left and just as I was picking up the phone to call my mother-in-law to ask her the questions again, someone knocked on our door. It was Hunter’s teacher, our neighbor.

God’s miracle came in the form of a knock on the door.

Even though life happened.

Aren't two sparrows sold for only a penny? But your Father knows when any one of them falls to the ground. Even the hairs on your head  [and all your homework papers] are counted. So don't be afraid! You are worth much more than many [pennies] sparrows.
Matthew 10:29-31 The Message

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


If people can't see what God is doing,
   they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals,
   they are most blessed.
Proverbs 29:18 The Message

Imagine how excited I was when I found this yesterday. I was downright giddy as I read the words. Of course, I thought about you and how excited you'd be too.

I’d like to explore this idea further. If we can just learn to recognize God’s movement, we can join Him instead of searching for our own way all the time. There are some deep truths that we can unpack from God’s Word and tuck in our hearts to guide us daily.

I’m ready to sense and attend to more of God’s revelation with you, my bloggy friends.

And now for the winner of the necklace drawing… Drumroll please.
The winner is Nana!!! Congrats sweet sister. Email me your addy and Ashley will get it to you.

For those of you wanting to order your own, go to Ashley’s place to see the super sweet deal she’s running. I mean it. She’s way too good to me. You should all get a friend like Ashley.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Crazy Morning, Chili Day

This morning was a little crazy. It might have something to do with the fact that my seven-year-old son, Hunter had his first baseball practice last night. On the same night Julia has soccer and Alyssa has swimming. Every child having an activity at once is a common occurrence around here. One of said activities ended at 9:00 last night. Ahem. I won't say which one. I'll just tell you it's the one where men, not moms, run the league.

So yesterday we left the house a little before 5:00 yesterday afternoon and returned home dirty and hungry at 9:30 last night. The kids showered while I warmed dinner.

I tried a new chili recipe. My bff, Ashley's recipe. She took two, married them and they had a glorious baby. The best chili you ever tasted. Of course, my family had some helpful hints on how I could make their second child even more perfect. Which they shared with me while smacking their lips, cleaning their bowls and helping themselves to seconds. Even though it was 10:00 PM and 70 degrees outside we thoroughly enjoyed our chili.

Then we had a morning.

A storm blew the electricity out at 6:03 AM. I dragged myself out of a warm dark bed close to 7:00 to find my girls getting ready in the dark. With their book lights wrapped around their necks so they could see. It made my day. What could have been hectic and ended in foul play or a foul mood was welcomed with some ingenuity and a little laughter. We all even made it to school on time. Just after that same storm took our nice 70 degree weather down into the thirties. 

I'm excited that we might get snow. And I still have chili.

I'm not announcing the giveaway winner just yet. I know. I know. How long can one really drag out the suspense? But the wait will be worth it when my other chica, the jewelry Ashley announces the special she's running in conjunction with the winner. So stay tuned and go enter.

And to keep you satisfied, I'm sharing the chili recipe. It's cold. Go make some.

two lbs. ground beef or turkey (I'll use three or four next time... my kids are carnivores)
three cans kidney beans (My family sadly asked me to use no beans next time. What is chili without beans? Maybe I'll still use a can)
one onion, one bell pepper and four stalks of celery (I used three cups of the frozen chopped mixture that comes in a bag)
one can of sliced mushrooms (I used fresh and sauteed them first)
one habenero pepper
two heaping tablespoons chili powder and garlic (I use the garlic in a jar)
salt and pepper to taste
four cans tomato sauce
And a can of beer. Don't forget the beer.
(If my children were not eating this, I would've sauteed a couple of fresh jalepenos and added them too)

brown and drain meat
saute mushrooms and habenero pepper and chopped onions, bell pepper and celery
In a large pan heat to boiling the tomato sauce, beans, seasoning and beer.
Add vegetables and meat.
Continue to cook on low heat for one hour.
If chili becomes too thick, add water.

Pour over Fritos and garnish with cheddar cheese and sour cream. Yum!