August 30, 2006
Between a hubby working swing shift, my full-time job, my part-time job, ministry obligations, and my daughter's extra-cirricular activities...well, we are the typical busy family! Back in the spring, I implemented Sunday night family meetings. It's a time for us to get together and look at what's coming up the next week...meetings, projects, permission slips, etc. We discuss our menu for the week & put that on our calendar on the fridge. It gives us a good start to the week, and eliminates last minute surprises (okay...cuts down on them!)
A few weeks ago, I saw another WFMW post about setting goals with your kids. It's inspired me to take the family meetings one step further (further or farther...maybe Shannon can help me!) I bought a 3-subject notebook. R, CJ & I all have a "subject". During our family meeting, we'll discuss our individual goals for the week and then write them down in our sections. That will give us a clear picture of what we each want to accomplish, and also help us to hold each other accountable.
Family meetings work for me. Head on over to Shannon's to get more WFMW ideas!
August 29, 2006
The results are in, and...drum roll, please.
|You Are an Espresso|
At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic
At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung
You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping
Your caffeine addiction level: high
Of course, if you add water (Living Water, that is!), the bold/harsh flavor will be diluted. AND, if I get some sugar (from my hubby, ahem...) and Vanilla Caramel Coffeemate...I'll be as sweet and smooth as can be!
So, what kind of coffee are you? Take the quiz & let me know!
Anyhoo...hope you find this Word as powerful as I do!
“Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” --Genesis 2:7
It had been a long day, and I was worn out. Just before going to bed, I felt a little strange. Attributing the sensation to exhaustion, I lay down and tried to sleep. A couple of minutes later, I was breaking out in a full-blown case of hives. Fortunately, my husband R quickly found an antihistamine for me. The itching began to subside as the medicine finally took effect. As I lay there in the darkness trying to go back to sleep, I began to realize that I had to tell myself to breathe. I listened intently to my breathing patterns and tried desperately not to panic. Still, I was petrified. If I fell asleep, would my body naturally breathe? I began to plead with God, “Please let me wake up in the morning, Lord. There’s so much you’ve called me to do that I haven’t finished yet. CJ’s so young. If you don’t mind, PLEASE, I need more time.” I kept repeating that prayer until my body gave in to the medicine and I fell asleep.
The next morning God reminded me of this Scripture, which He began laying on my heart several months earlier. This one simple verse has become so important to me. Can’t you just see God, the Almighty Creator, bending down & breathing life into Adam? The very thought slays me!
Beloved, there is NO life without Christ! Although I was telling myself to breathe that night, it was His voice that my body was obeying. Just as He was ordering my lungs to inhale, He is also calling us to breathe Him in – through Scripture, prayer, and worship. In order to get that cleansing breath we need, we must spend time with Jesus. We can’t function physically without taking air in, nor can we function spiritually without the Breath of Life. Yet breathing isn’t all about inhaling; a complete breath requires that you exhale. Try this exercise: take one deep breath and hold it for as long as you can. Before long, your body has to release the air. If we’re spending time with Christ, we should naturally exhale Him onto others.
Lying in bed that night, I wasn’t having a problem exhaling. My lungs instinctively knew to expel the air I had taken in. I had to keep reminding myself to inhale. Dear One, aren’t we like that spiritually? We teach, serve, and minister to others, exhaling without thought. We have to remind ourselves to inhale. Here’s another exercise: take a deep breath, then breathe out as many times as you can without inhaling. I don’t know about you, but it makes me dizzy! How effective are our efforts to breathe Christ onto others if we’re not getting fresh air ourselves?I awoke the next morning feeling much better. God had watched over me while I slept, making sure my lungs were functioning properly. Maybe He even knelt down and breathed life back into my nostrils … a little Heavenly C.P.R., Christ-Powered Resuscitation!
August 25, 2006
August 23, 2006
Barb tagged me for this one.
What was your favorite thing about being a kid?
Summer afternoons sprawled out on my bed, with the window fan blowing full force, reading a book. I also really looked forward to every-other weekend visits with my brother, and visiting my grandparents' farm.
What was your favorite subject in school?
In elementary school, English (I actually LIKED diagramming sentences!). In high school, Public Speaking. In college, Business Law.
Who was your best friend when you were 10?
I'm sitting here thinking on that one, and I honestly don't remember. I don't think I had one really great "tell all my secrets to" friend back then. It didn't help that I lived in a neighborhood with ALL BOYS.
If you could be any animal what would you be?
A polar bear. They never get hot. They get to wear beautiful fur (without worrying about PETA breathing down their necks). And no one minds if they're a little plump.
What would you change about your school, occupation, life right now?
Right this minute, I'd have a clean house. And I'd be thinner. Other than that, I'm blessed with a Godly husband, beautiful daughter, & a wonderful boss. So, no changes.
What's your favorite color?
Periwinkle. I don't own anything that color, but I think it's beautiful (was always my favorite crayon in the Crayola 64-pack...remember that, with the sharpener built in the back?) And don't you just have to smile when you say it?
What's your favorite type of crust and favorite topping on a pizza?
Hand-tossed. Mushrooms, onions & peppers.
Okay, I'm tagging Keri, Shalee, Gibee, and AggieJenn for this one...and anyone else who wants to participate. Just leave me a comment.
There's been a lot of discussion going on about prayer lately...specifically, whether we should pray in general for God's will to be done, or if we can be bold enough to ask Him for exactly what we want. I found another old writing of mine on this subject. I pray it will speak to you now as it spoke to me then (and still does).
We have a “rewards” box in our attic. When CJ’s done something wonderful, been on her best behavior for an extended period of time, or been more helpful than usual, she gets a treat from the box. There are also times that I give her something just because I love her to pieces. Whenever I see something I know she’ll like, my immediate impulse is to buy it for her. It’s a struggle to remember that she can’t have absolutely everything, no matter how much I want to give it to her.
I imagine God feels that way at times. He wants to give us everything we desire, but in His sovereignty He is able to see what we should not have – things that would ultimately harm us, either physically or spiritually. While we may not have every earthly thing we desire, Ephesians 1:3 assures us that God “has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ”. He has not withheld His blessings from us; in fact, we’re getting blessed in ways we can’t even conceive. All the good stuff He gives us while we are here is just a foreshadowing of things to come!
As much as I love to give CJ treats, there is one large gift that she doesn’t have yet because she hasn’t asked for it. I want to give it to her because all of her friends have one, but she has shown no interest in having it. God also longs to give us certain gifts, but we haven’t shown Him that we’re interested in having them. “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” (James 4:2). If we would believe God and have enough faith to ask Him, there’s no telling what He would rain down on us! Taken out of context, we might be tempted to think that James is telling us we’ll get everything we ask for. If we keep reading, we find clarification. “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (v. 3).
God has shown me that it doesn’t matter how much I want something or how much He wants me to have it; if I’m not going to use that gift for His purposes and glory, He will not give it to me. This applies not only to the material, but also to the spiritual. I may pray for a particular spiritual gift, but if that gift would cause me to be proud or self-righteous, God will graciously say no. Though I may not be happy with Him, I am thankful that He loves me enough to save me from myself. Isn’t that what being a good parent is all about?
August 22, 2006
Then she asked, "Has CJ had any chemistry yet?"
Now, I would like nothing better than to say she skipped over that subject & is now taking environmental physics or something equally foreign to me. But, I responded "No, Grandma. Not yet."
I wonder if I should ask the principal to incorporate CHEMISTRY into the THIRD GRADE curriculum? ;-)
On the way home one evening, CJ and I were noticing that the sky was clear and filled with sun on one side of the road, yet completely covered with black clouds on the other. “Mama, I bet we’re going to see a rainbow,” CJ declared. “You know, rainbows come when it’s sun-shining and raining at the same time.” Not wanting my little girl to be disappointed, I quickly sent up a prayer, “Lord, she would be so thrilled to see a rainbow. Is there any way you can make it happen?” Well, I had barely finished when Jesus had sent not one, but TWO, rainbows…much to CJ’s delight! “See, Mama, I TOLD YOU!” she squealed.
"See, My child, I TOLD YOU!”
“Yes, Lord, You did.” I humbly whispered, tears filling my eyes.
CJ never doubted that if she wanted something badly enough, her Jesus would give it to her, without thinking twice. Oh, I want to pray like that! No wonder Jesus tells us to come to Him as little children…as adults, we too often pray expecting to be disappointed. We ascribe human qualities to God…certain that He’ll somehow let us down like so many others have. Perhaps we keep our expectations low so that our pain won’t be as great. If we don’t anticipate big things, we won’t be hurt when we don’t get them.
More and more I’m learning that type of praying does not honor God. God wants us to come to Him as Jeremiah did, “Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jer. 21:17) When we believe that with our full hearts, we can start to pray like He’s going to answer. And then we get the joy of sitting back and watching Him work.
Are we waiting for an invitation? Jesus Himself gives us permission to pray big. “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:13-14). Perhaps your request seems miniscule, but if God will be glorified in the answer, you can bet Jesus will grant it. He will do whatever it takes to glorify God. Even if no one else saw or cared, Our Father was exalted in the heart of a 5-year old when He set two rainbows in the sky for her. He was exalted in the heart of her mother when I realized how very much He wants to grant our requests.
It’s time to stop praying small. Our God can handle so much more than we ask of Him. He longs to do that for us. He wants us to hear Him say, “I told you so, My child. I TOLD YOU SO!"
August 21, 2006
Jules over at Everyday Mommy posed this question today:
If money and time were no object, what would your ultimate dream vacation be?
I love snow. LOVE IT. Never get enough of it here in my part of the world. BUT I only like it when I can sit on my comfy sofa with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, watching the snow fall, with a fire blazing & the "Singers and Standards" station playing on my tv (IF WE EVER GET THE DARN CABLE FIXED, but I digress!).
So, a 2-week train ride through the Netherlands with stops at all the interesting villages along the way, would be just perfect! If there isn't such a train ride, I'd just hire someone to build the railroad and buy the train myself (since, after all, money is no object!)
Thanks, Jules, for starting this meme! It's fun to see what others would do. You can find out by heading over to Jules' place. The coffee's still hot!
August 18, 2006
When we were packing for vacation, R's truck wouldn't start. Four hours from home and too much luggage and beach paraphernalia to fit in my SUV...well, I was praying hard. CJ was wearing a t-shirt that day that read, "My Dad Rules". I needed that shirt, because after a phone call to MY dad, R can now hot-wire a truck (my dad is a mechanic, NOT a car thief). Dad was able to talk him through getting it started and not cutting it off til we got to a friend's house much closer to home. (We got it home, and he fixed it for $20...yea!)
Yesterday morning, I found water under the washing machine. I'll admit, I've been wanting a new washer/dryer combo for a while. You know, the pretty kind that will actually make me want to do laundry. Our dryer has been limping along for a few months, and I'm surprised the washer has lasted this long. Still, I was hoping to put them to rest when we wanted to, not when we had to. And certainly not right after vacation, right after buying school clothes and paying house & car insurance, for cryin' out loud!
Next, we had the cable fiasco. (Still not fixed. Just don't ask where I am while I'm blogging this!).
Then, R's truck wouldn't start when he was leaving for work last night.
To top it all off, my throat hurts & I'm starting to feel run down.
God must be planning something big, because Satan is certainly trying to discourage me! Or maybe he's just responding to the engraved invitation I gave him. Whatever the case, I'm nearly undone. You see, I can handle the BIG stuff. Illness, death, miscarriage. Those aren't so hard to deal with because I know there's no way to get through it except give it to God. But it's in the everyday hindrances, interruptions, and frustrations that I stumble. The things I think I should be able to control (okay, the things I want to control). These are the biggest obstacle in my walk with Jesus, in my daily living out my faith, in my witness to others.
Does anyone else feel this way?
Even though I felt my world was crashing down last night, God has been faithful. I was able to use my parents' computer to take care of my Southern Living business last night. R's truck started fine this morning. God has provided for us to get the washer and dryer (I would say it was unexpected...but we really should have expected Him to come through!). A friend who's moved away is coming to town & we're having lunch. The cable people are coming today. And it's Friday. Life is good.
In the words of that great psychiatrist, Frasier Crane, "Thanks for listening."
August 17, 2006
"What?" I ask, bracing myself against my desk.
"I just cut the cable line."
No cable? That means I can't access my business (which I really need!) It also means NO BLOGGING. NO EMAIL. NO INTERNET. NO TELEVISION (and tonight is "Throwdown with Bobby Flay"!). Who knows when our cable company will get to us (since this happened at 3:30 in the afternoon).
That man better be glad I posted by Thursday 13 BEFORE this happened ;-)
On the positive side, maybe I'll actually get some cleaning done, and work on my Sunday School lesson. Maybe we can go for a walk or play a game, or hang out on the back porch. Maybe I'll even get to bed early for a change. I can do this for one night. Lord, PLEASE let it be only one night!
1. He's my best friend.
2. He's a fun person to hang around with. He's been with me to gaze at the Paris skyline from the Eiffel Tower. Held my hand as we walked the streets of NYC shortly after 9/11. And sat beside me on a Duck Tour in Boston. Whether we're spending 18 hours together in a car (in one weekend), flying across the "big pond", getting lost on our honeymoon, or turning the search for a Christmas tree into a weekend affair...our adventures have always been fun.
3. He watches "Iron Chef America" & "Throwdown with Bobby Flay", and actually enjoys it.
4. He nursed me through 5 surgeries in 4 years. He took care of everything for me. Heck, the man even shaved my legs! Now THAT's true love!
5. He's patient. Not one of my virtues. Not even close to being one of my virtues. But he's got it in spades. I guess the Holy Spirit gave Randy my portion of that particular fruit of the spirit.
6. He's got great legs, and I'm not the only one who thinks so. Years ago, some friends watching him play softball dubbed him "Legs". (Once at a softball game, our pastor's toddler got confused on the nickname & yelled out, "Go, Foot!")
7. He's devoted, faithful and loyal to those he loves.
8. He calls me and CJ "his girls". He loves to take care of us ~ from backscratches to foot rubs, to killing spiders and snakes. The man can do it all and, believe, me, he's had to.
9. He introduced me to Jesus. There's no way I can thank him enough for that. At least I can spend eternity trying, though!
10. He goes to spin class with me & is encouraging me as I try to lose weight.
11. He cherishes me. He may not bring me flowers, write poetry, serenade me, or wine & dine me, but I know, without a doubt, that he loves me. That I'm an important part of his life. That he doesn't want to live without me. Knowing that makes my heart melt. (correction: I meant to say he may not ALWAYS do these things. He hardly ever brings me flowers, NEVER writes me poetry or serenades me, but he occasionally wines & dines me...as much as our schedules & wallets allow!)
12. He's great with kids. (I think it's because he's a big one himself!) CJ's friends & cousins all love him to pieces, and he's always willing to play with them.
13. He supports me in whatever I do. Whether it's giving me time to prepare my Sunday School lesson, lead a Bible study, work on my Southern Living at Home business, exercise, or minister to a friend...he's usually willing to do what it takes to help me do it.
I am one very, very, very blessed woman!
August 16, 2006
I shared these recipes with Bev (that's right...we email in real life, aren't you jealous?! ;-). I don't think she believes me, but here they are...two desserts that only call for 2 ingredients!
Pineapple Angel Food Cake - Mix together one box of angel food cake mix & one 20-oz. can of crushed pineapple. Don't drain the pineapple. DON'T add eggs, oil, or whatever else the mix calls for. Use just the mix & the pineapple. Bake per cake mix directions. Easy & yummo (sorry for copying Rachael Ray, but it's appropriate here, trust me!). Very refreshing & better with light cool whip on top. Even better, it's fat-free!
Pumpkin Spice Cake (or muffins) - Mix together one box of spice cake mix & one can of pumpkin. Again, don't add anything else. Bake per cake mix directions. Another dessert that's not bad on calories, and it will remind you that fall's coming soon! (I'm doing my happy dance just thinking about it!)
2-ingredient desserts work for me! Go on over to Shannon's place to find more great ideas!
August 15, 2006
~ Albert Einstein ~
"I'm sorry, but there's no heartbeat. We'll have to do a D&C. You and your husband can try again in a few months."
"I'm sorry, but your wife's appendix ruptured. There's nothing we can do for the baby, except wait and see."
"I'm sorry, but the cancer's too advanced. There's nothing more we can do. Enjoy the time you have left with your father."
Still, there was opportunity. A chance to really put our faith in God. A time to totally lean on Him when we could no longer stand. A gift of watching Him take care of all of it, and of feeling His tender love constantly raining down on us.
There were also opportunities to witness, to both saved and unsaved friends and family. To profess that our strength was only found in God. That peace was coming only from Him. That He was the only truth we could depend on when medical science wasn't on our side.
As Bev said in this post, Jesus told us there would be trials. God reminded me of that a few weeks ago. Large or small...difficulties come. Thankfully,
He's bigger than Godzilla or the monsters on TV.
Oh, God is bigger than the Boogie Man
And He's watching over you & me!**
**the only Veggie Tales song I remember!
August 14, 2006
I'm still cleaning out cobwebs from my brain...as I didn't tax my brain beyond reading "The Secret Life of Becky Miller" (GREAT, FUNNY book that hit too close to home!) and playing Yahtzee. But, I found this old writing of mine...and wanted to share.
It's good to be back in blogging world.
“So he [Zacchaeus] ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.” --Luke 19:4
I never was much of a tree-climber. While other kids in my neighborhood would scoot up the branches without care, I rarely went higher than the first branch. I didn’t trust the limbs to hold me. I liked having my feet on the ground. And I didn’t need to climb a tree to see what was going on around me.
Zacchaeus was short. So short, he couldn’t see over the crowds gathering by the roadside to watch as Jesus walked by. He was curious to see what Jesus looked like. In fact, he was so curious that he climbed up a tree to get a bird’s-eye view. Imagine, a grown man shimmying up a tree just to see someone walking by! But this was no ordinary someone. Undoubtedly, Zacchaeus had heard much about this man who was performing miracles and turning the Pharisees’ world of religious law upside down. He had to get a closer look. He didn’t want to rely on what other people would tell him about Jesus. He wanted to see Jesus for himself.
Zacchaeus didn’t climb the tree so Jesus would see him. He didn’t want to be noticed. He just wanted a better view. But in his eagerness to see Jesus, Zacchaeus put himself in a position for Jesus to see and acknowledge him. He put himself in the path of God’s will. Jesus said “I must stay at your house today” (v, 5, emphasis mine). The original Greek translates “must” as “a necessity in reference to what is required to attain some end; a necessity of law and command, of duty”. God had already planned for Jesus to go to Zacchaeus’ home that day. How effective would it have been if Jesus simply yelled out over the crowd? Because Zacchaeus had climbed the tree, Jesus was able to look up, into the eyes of Zacchaeus, and issue a personal invitation to him.
Zacchaeus didn’t hesitate to obey Jesus’ command. He came down quickly. No longer a spectator, he was about to enjoy fellowship with the Living God! Jesus calls us to an active faith. We’re not supposed to just stand around and look at Him. He invites us to bring Him into our hearts and homes, and to serve Him. In return, we are blessed with His sweet fellowship.
The crowd was appalled that Jesus would choose to “be the guest of a ‘sinner’ “ (v. 7). Notice that Jesus didn’t wait for Zacchaeus to repent before calling him down from the tree. Still, He knew when he summoned Zacchaeus that the tax collector would have a change of heart. Zacchaeus repented of his sin. Maybe he realized he couldn’t have true fellowship with Jesus until he had done so. Maybe he promised to return the money because he wanted so much to please Jesus. Whatever the reason, this encounter with Jesus was life-changing.
Dear One, are you afraid to climb a tree to get a better look at Jesus? Are you far too dignified to put yourself in a position that others may find silly? Are you satisfied listening to how others describe Him, rather than seeing Him for yourself? Perhaps you’re afraid He will notice you and call on you in front of everyone … that He will look straight into your eyes and ask too much of you. Or has He invited you, but you’re too scared to climb down and join Him? Are you reluctant to give up your past so that you can enjoy true fellowship with the Lord of lords? Are you ready to have a life-changing experience with the Almighty God?
Jesus desires to come to your house – and mine – and fellowship with us, but He will not come if He is not wanted. Zacchaeus welcomed Him with open arms and an open heart. Will you?