July 30, 2008

Want to See What I'm Doing?

Click here.

Chances are, I've got one of them in my hand as you're reading this!

July 29, 2008

What's On Your Nightstand?

What's On Your Nightstand


After I agreed to be a part of the 5 Minutes for Books team, Jennifer sent me a wonderful package of books. She included one book in the Samantha McGregor series by Melody Carlson. I'm glad Jennifer thought I'd like it, because I really did. I devoured that book, and told her I'd like to read the entire series. Soon afterwards, I found the rest of the series on my doorstep!

I'm currently in the first book, Bad Connection (The Secret Life Samantha McGregor, Book 1). I was glad to get the first one, so I could get Samantha's story from the beginning. God gives Samantha visions to help her solve and prevent crimes. It's definitely a different genre for me, but I've been pleasantly surprised.

I won't say anything else. Stay tuned...I'll be reviewing this series soon.

You can click over to 5 Minutes for Books to see what others have on their nightstands.

July 26, 2008

Vacation, Time to Get Away

I'll be auto-posting while I'm gone. And of course, you can find me here.



In fact, I'm there today. Check out my latest review.

July 24, 2008

The C Word - Part II

What does it mean to be fully committed to God? I've been asking myself that question for the past few days. I don't have an answer yet on the ministry struggle I posted about last time (though I sense I'm getting closer). Still, Jesus keeps speaking to my heart.

"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
~John 17:24 (Emphasis mine)


In order to be fully committed to Him, first and foremost, I must be with Him. I cannot be fully committed and not be in relationship with Him. Those days I've been sleeping in lately, offering every plausible excuse I can think of, have spoken more of my relationship with God than any words I utter or actions I perform. If I am in a true relationship with Him, I will want to be with Him where He is. At first, I thought Jesus was asking God that all believers be with Him in Heaven; however, He didn't need to ask that, because it's a fait accompli. Those of us who have repented from our sin and confessed Him as Lord have the guaranty of Heaven.

Jesus asked God that we be with Him where He is...present tense. He wants us to come alongside Him in His work. We are to seek Him out and join Him. A fully committed heart will do just that, and He will, in turn, strengthen that heart to accomplish the work (see 2 Chronicles 16:9).

This truth came to life for me when I read John 18:1-8

When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it.Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him,went out and asked them, "Who is it you want?"

"Jesus of Nazareth," they replied.

"I am he," Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground.

Again he asked them, "Who is it you want?"

And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."

"I told you that I am he," Jesus answered.
~John 18:1-8 (Emphasis mine)


I had never noticed before that, although Judas and the soldiers came part of the way to look for Jesus, He actually went out to meet them. When He identified Himself, they fell back, afraid. He pressed them by asking again who they wanted. He didn't flee from God's will when He had the chance. On the contrary, He pursued it even when His enemies might have backed down and skulked away.

That is the picture of being fully committed. Dear friends, may it be so for us.

July 22, 2008

The C Word

I've been open about my recent struggle to believe God for the trip to Peru. What I haven't shared is another struggle I'm having regarding my place in ministry. I am facing a choice between two opportunities. I don't have a true sense of where He wants me. No deep desire to serve one place more than another. No revelations and no confirmations. I can certainly identify with this post of Sarah's. I am so there right now.

Both options are good. Both frightening. Both necessitate a change in the status quo. Both require more than I can give. I've realized I'm not strong enough for either.

I don't know why I'm still amazed when the Lord speaks to my need at just the right time. Look at the sweetness He spoke to my soul today!

For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
~2 Chronicles 16:9

I had convinced myself that I should just forget it because I'm not up for either choice. Truth is, I'm not...but I don't have to be if I'm fully committed to Him.

Melissa, I will give you strength. Don't run away because you are frightened. Trust Me. TRUST ME. Be fully committed to me.

Fully committed. No wonder I feel so weak.

Lord, I'm tired of feeling defeated and intimidated. I crave your strength. Please give me a heart that is fully committed to you.

July 21, 2008

Am I the Only One?

There's an interesting discussion going on at 5 Minutes for Parenting. Well, not a discussion so much. I think I'm in the minority on this one.

Click over & read it, and let me know what you think.

July 20, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

~The amusement park...hot & sticky. But, oh the fun!

~Working a BBQ fundraiser for a recently widowed woman & her 2 young children...hot & hectic. The reward...priceless.

~Watching one of my favorite movies ever, Pride & Prejudice on tv for the...well, I've honestly lost count. And who wants to count? It's never enough! CJ actually came in and watched the last 30 minutes or so. She fell in love with it, too & even begged me to bring the DVD to the beach next week so she can watch the entire movie. She wants to read the book, so I may look for a young readers' version for her. An Austen lover at 9? One can only hope...

~Staying up late with a good book,Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind. If you haven't met Miss Julia, you should. She's hysterical. I can't wait to raid the library shelves for more.

~And today...worship, reading, napping, dinner on the china, followed by a trip to town for ice cream.

All in all, a wonderful weekend filled with the stuff life's made of. Thank you, Lord. I am blessed indeed.

July 18, 2008

It's Just Not Fair

CJ's week:

Monday - home with Daddy, working on garage vinyl siding & napping (NOT at the same time)
Tuesday - amusement park with Daddy, Grandma, aunt, uncle & cousins
Wednesday - library craft day & swimming at a friends' house
Thursday - with friend & her teenagers...cheeseburgers at the drug store lunch counter & making jewelry
Friday - morning with Nanny & Poppy, then back to the amusement park with Mommy & BFF

My week:

Monday - work
Tuesday - work
Wednesday - work
Thursday - work
Friday - work in the morning, then try to keep up with 2 tweens at the amusement park

Sometimes, I really miss being a kid.

Houston, We Have a Winner - or 3!

Announcing the winners of the Fatal Deduction giveaway...

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

5
8
Which means Lauren @Baseballs & Bows,
and Kate @ Just Another Day in Paradise are the winners.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And for Love as a Way of Life...drumroll, please

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

4

Michelle @ Michele - Only One L.

Congrats to all of you.


July 17, 2008

Around the House - July Edition

Enjoying:

~the "No Other Gods" study, along with the Siestas

~having my girl back from camp

~a new housecleaning find

~a new lip balm

~a clean, organized dresser...more things taken to consignment


Praying:

~for an obedient heart

Looking forward to:

~vacation at the end of the month

July 16, 2008

Believing God: Receiving His Power

When I think about what God's asking me to do and everything that I need to do to prepare, I get a little overwhelmed. Well...a lot overwhelmed. True, we won't be leaving for Peru until late June 2009. Still, my control-freak likes-to-plan nature tells me I need to start focusing on this now, and I've been zeroing in on what I can't do.

~I can't save $1,000+ for this trip
~I can't speak Spanish
~I can't leave CJ bouncing among houses while I'm gone and R's at work
~I can't share the gospel with hundreds of complete strangers
~I can't leave the comfort of my home for 2 weeks to stay in an orphanage

(I'm sure there are many more can'ts I haven't even thought of yet.)

The simple truth of the matter is that I can't. Not in my own power.

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength,which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms
~Ephesians 1:18-20 (NIV)

Something amazing happens when we believe God. We are injected with supernatural power. Not just any old power...but the same power that raised Jesus from the dead! I don't know about you, but I can't think of a problem that's bigger than the power to resurrect a corpse.

For another day, friends, I choose to believe. Not only is it my calling. Not only does it please God. Believing Him gives me the strength to say Oh, yes, I can!

Looking for a Good Read?

Check this out.

July 15, 2008

Believing God: Pleasing God

I'm a people-pleaser by nature. I've spent countless hours and energy trying to keep everyone happy, often to my own detriment. It's just part of my personality...I can't stand the thought of anyone being upset with me or thinking negatively of me.

Oh, that I would care that much what God thinks of me!

And without faith it is impossible to please God...
~Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)


If I want to please Him, I've got to start believing Him. Not just say I believe Him and then act otherwise, but really, truly believe Him. No matter how contrary the circumstances are to what He's spoken. No matter how scared I may be. No matter what others think of me. And not just because it's my calling.

Today, I'm struggling with belief. I know in my heart that I can trust Him, but my human eyes are looking at all the obstacles. Still, I am choosing to believe. I pray He is pleased.

If the Lord is pleased with us, He will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us.
~Numbers 14:8(NIV)

Lord, I don't want my unbelief to keep me from the Promised Land You have for me. I want to believe. Help my unbelief!

July 14, 2008

A Blog with a Mission?



Angela at Becoming Me had a wonderful idea...a blog tour where we share the missions of our blogs. Without a clear-cut vision of what I want my blog to be, I find myself wavering back and forth...trying to imitate others and not finding my own voice. Like Sarah, I struggled with coming up with a concise mission statement.

I went back to look at my profile, which pretty much sums it up. I want my blog to be

a chronicle of my journey toward becoming the Godly wife, mother, homemaker, friend and woman He wants me to be.


Some days I'll be sharing a deeply, profound truth that Jesus used to rock my world or a simple truth that hits home.

Some days, I'll share tell you about a product or idea that makes my life easier and allows me to better serve my family.

Some days, I'll fill you in on a book I've read. I've been convicted about what I read and watch. I enjoy telling others about good, wholesome books when I get a chance.

With every post, I'll be sharing who I am.

A blasphemer, forgiven. A woman, loved.

Visit Angela to read other mission statements.

Love As a Way of Life



Many years ago, my husband and I went to a marriage retreat sponsored by our church. We studied "The Five Love Languages' by Gary Chapman. I learned a lot about how to relate to R, whose love languages are not the same as mine. I've also employed Dr. Chapman's techniques in relating to my daughter, who also has a different love language than I.

I was excited about the opportunity to read Dr. Chapman's latest release,Love as a Way of Life, which teaches what a love-driven life looks like. Dr. Chapman identifies 7 characteristics that define the life of someone who loves others: kindness, patience, forgiveness, courtesy, humility, generosity, and honesty. Each chapter as a self-test, so that the reader can see how loving he/she really is.

Dr. Chapman is a wise man:

Although corporate kindness is extremely important, especially in times of disaster, the more important need is for individual acts of kindness that are expressed as a way of life. Almost anyone can respond to a crisis situation because the need is so glaring. It takes a truly caring person to identify opportunities of kindness in the flow of daily life.


A hurried attitude, even when you're alone, affects your relationships...If you have a spirit of impatience about you all day, you will have trouble slowing down when you interact with the person at the grocery store that evening or greet your family at the door. When we love intentionally, we become conscious of the ways we are hurrying unnecessarily and we slow down -- with all our relationships in mind.

Dr. Chapman also offers practical tips for making love a way of life, and gives wonderful examples that prove a life of love is a life worth living.

This has been a great read, and I'm happy to share it with you. I've got one copy to give away. Leave me a comment if you'd like to be entered. I'll be drawing on Friday, July 18th.

For another review, click over to 5 Minutes for Books and read Jennifer's take.

July 12, 2008

Believing God: Our Calling

Numbers 11 is a spiritual marker in my life. The Lord used that chapter to bring changes that are still taking place. I thought I had a pretty good grasp on this chapter, but this morning I noticed something I hadn't picked up on before.

The LORD answered Moses, "Is the LORD's arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you."
~Numbers 11:23 (NIV)


Is there any doubt He wants me to believe Him? I...you...can believe Him. I want to believe Him because it's our calling as, well, believers.

Jesus replied, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger].
~John 6:29 (AMP)

We wear ourselves out doing things for God, assuming that is our work. But Jesus clearly states that our job is to believe. Why is it work? Have you ever believed God for something that you knew couldn't happen in the natural realm? I'm sure you would testify that it can be laborious. Still, it's what we are called to do.

In John 17:4, Jesus prays, I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. (NIV)

May it be so for us.

Look, a Giveaway!



My second review for 5 Minutes for Books is up. I've got 2 copies to give away, so read the review to see if you're interested. If you are, come back here & leave me a comment.

I'll draw the winners on Friday July 18th.

July 10, 2008

On Books & Belief

You know, one thing I've talked about a lot in the last few months is my book fast. I'm more than halfway through, and haven't suffered in the least. In fact, as I teased here, God has blessed my socks off.

A couple of months ago, my sheer desperation at the lack of current Christian fiction my local library offers drove me to contact my friend, Lisa, and ask her about the book reviews she was writing. She put me in touch with several publicists so that I could start blog tours. Thus, the flow of books began...and it was good.

A bit later, I was surprised to get an email from Jennifer, asking if I would be part of a new sister website to 5 Minutes for Mom called 5 Minutes for Books. (Lisa had shared my love of books with Jennifer.) When I found out that I would be joining Lisa, Bev, Lauren and Jo-Lynne, I was ecstatic. I hadn't "met" our other team member, Carrie, but she looked like a fun gal. The flow quickly turned into overflow...and it was very good.




God has outdone Himself. Really, He has. When I willingly but anxiously placed my hobby/habit/obsession (depending on how you look at it) in His hands, I only thought of it as a sacrifice He demanded. I thought it was something to give up. Never, in my wildest imagination, did I suppose He would provide for my hobby/habit/obsession (again, how you look at it). Not only has He provided books...He's poured out an abundant blessing on me. I know, without any doubt, that if I can trust Him with a mere hobby, I can trust Him with the big things. Particularly this big thing.

I believe God because He is faithful. Next time, I'll talk about why I want to believe God.

In the meantime, head over to 5 Minutes for Books. Jennifer's there to welcome you, Bev and Lisa are sharing about what they've read lately, and I'm reviewing Kit Kittredge: An American Girl.

July 7, 2008

The Mission

A few months ago, I told you how I feel about progress and what changed my mind. I hear there's one on practically every corner in Peru. That's all the confirmation I need.

When our church group went to Peru last month, I didn't feel compelled to go. I guess the yearning started when I wrote this post, and got stronger with this one. I had no idea that our church would return, but from the minute it was announced (while the team was still away)...I knew. After they returned and I got to hear a little of what happened, I knew.

I've been praying for confirmation because this is not something I can do without God. The finances, the childcare while R works swing shift, not to mention leaving my family for 2 weeks and going to a country that requires communication skills far beyond No Habla EspaƱol...not that comforting. I gotta' tell you that the Lord has a big task in front of Him. Good thing He can handle it.

My Sunday School lesson this week was about believing God. Do I truly believe Him for this? As I prepared the lesson, I knew He was asking me if I do. The answer is yes. I believe God because He is trustworthy & faithful (Hebrews 11). He has proven Himself over and over to me, especially during the past year.

I want to believe God, and not just in this, because
  • It's my calling (John 6:29)
  • It pleases God (Hebrews 11:6)
  • I will be empowered (Ephesians 1:18-20)
  • I will see His glory (John 11:40)
  • I will be a witness for Him (Isaiah 43:10)
Friends (and after all the loving comments on my "Confessional" post a few days ago, I feel even stronger that we are friends), I am asking for your prayers. I have a little less than a year...which seems like a long time, but not that much when I look at all that needs to be done. I'll be soon be sharing what I feel I've got to do to prepare, and updating you on the progress. I can't help but feel the trip itself is going to be the culmination of more changes in my life. I'm both excited and terrified. But God is good.

Oh, lest you take me seriously, the Starbucks wasn't really a confirmation. My hubby telling me that he also knows I'm supposed to go took care of that, but isn't it cool how God poured some icing on the cake?

July 4, 2008

Freedom Isn't Free


Last night during prayer time, CJ thanked the Lord for America's upcoming birthday. Afterwards, I kept pondering 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 - You are not your own; you were bought at a price. In context, Paul is speaking of treating our body as the temple of the Lord. But I was reminded that many people have paid a price for me. People like her husband, hers, and hers. And my wonderful brother-in-law, who is nearing the end of his tour overseas (Hallelujah!) There is nothing we can say to thank these families enough for the sacrifice they're making, but gratitude pours from my heart.

Today, I sit here thinking about freedom. The freedom we Americans tend to take for granted. We're entitled to it. We boast about it. We celebrate it. We misunderstand it.

We think we're free because we can choose:

~our jobs
~our children's education
~our homes
~our leaders
~our allegiances
~our words
~where we want to go
~what we want to do
~where and how we worship
~who we worship

Choices don't make us free.

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has annointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.
-- Luke 14:18-19

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
--John 8:32

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
--John 8:36

I am free. Not because I was blessed enough to be born in America, but because over 2000 years ago, Jesus bought my freedom.

Tonight, when I'm watching fireworks with my family and celebrating Uncle Sam's birthday with a piece of brownie cheesecake, I'm also going to thank God for the Red, White & Blue.

His Blood
His Righteousness
His Deity



*originally posted 7/4/2007

July 2, 2008

Confessional

I've been thinking lately about why I blog. I'm not the only one. My friend Lisa at Lisa Writes (and does she ever) had great thoughts on the subject here. Go read it...now. Based on the comments alone, The Holy Spirit was all over this post. Who knew there are so many wonderful women out there who are as insecure as I am about blogging?!

I've been blogging on and off for two years. Like Lisa (and many others), I don't know how to categorize my blog. Sometimes, I write what the Lord has revealed to me; sometimes it's fluff; and sometimes it just rambles. And that's pretty much who I am...just an ordinary girl serving an extraordinary God.

I have to admit, I wish I were more.

If I were more, maybe I'd have a large readership and astronomical numbers of comments. People would care what I think.

If I were more, maybe I'd get invited to events and meet people. I'd be important.

If I were more, maybe I'd have a BIG. MINISTRY. FOR. GOD. I'd be irreplaceable.

I confess, I've been envious of others. Disappointed and hurt that my blog hasn't "taken off". Frustrated that my ministry seems minuscule and of little impact for God. I wanted to be so much more.

If I were more, maybe He would be less.

The truth is, others may be able to handle being more. I can't. So, I'm just me...and really, that's okay.