Friday, January 10, 2014

On the Verge

I don't have anything in particular to write about today...but I'm going to write anyway. Because I want to.  So there!
Because of weather issues, the kids started school one hour late today.  Oh my Goodness! They were so ready to get out of the house this morning.  The combination of the holiday break, weather too cold for being outside much, and an inclement weather day two days after returning from break has left my children with heaps of pent up energy.  I'm concerned for their teachers today...
I think I know how a little of how my children feel.  I've had a stirring in my spirit lately that I am on the verge of great things.  Big changes, for me personally and our family as a whole.  So much that I have been cleaning out the kids' rooms and organizing cabinets. What is up with that??
 I have also felt a longing to spend more time in the Word and in prayer.  I want to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and make sure it's His leading I'm following in new directions. New things sometimes involve moving out of our comfort zone a little bit.  I know that will be a part of it.  And I want the presence of Jesus to be with me more than ever.  More than anything I want to be a light for HIm, so He receives the glory, through whatever new things or changes He brings into my life.
What about you?  Are you feeling stirred to move toward or away from something?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 ~ A Great Year to be Intentional

It has been months since I have written anything...months.  Way. Too. Long.  I'd be lying if I said that didn't frustrate me. I had grand intentions of writing a couple times a week.  Um...Yeah...

Here we are on January 8, barely over a week into the new year. (Happy Birthday, Dad!  And Elvis...).
I've been spending a lot of time praying, reading, and seeking God for direction personally, and for our family, for this upcoming year.  I've read several things about all the New Year's Resolutions that get made...and broken by the end of January...or March at the latest. Not so much into those. It's almost like they're made to be broken.  I've also read several things about asking God to give you a word for the year.  I like this idea!  It's not some unattainable goal you set for yourself only to be disappointed before Valentine's Day because you failed.  Who needs that??  It's one word that you let sink into your spirit to help keep your focus throughout the year.  A reminder.  Not necessarily of a specific thing to accomplish, but the direction you want to be moving in.  So much more grace in this concept...and personally, I love me some grace!

My word...(drum roll, please) is...Intentional.

I get so busy and so bogged down with kids, laundry, ministry, dishes, just "life" stuff that days go by and I'm wondering what happened. I was going to do this, or have coffee with her, or write, or organize this space, memorize this scripture with the kids.  Not cool!  It's like running in a hamster wheel.  Busy...but getting nowhere. I'm over it.
I believe this year is going to involve some big changes for our family.  Good changes. God has great plans for our lives.  I don't want to miss out on anything he has planned for us.  My goal is to live with more intention.  I want to be more intentional in spending time with my kiddos.  They are growing up way too fast. There will always be can wait...not indefinitely...but long enough for me to read a story or play a game. :)  I want to be more intentional in my prayer life and Scripture reading.  I'm working with reading plans to help me stay on track.  I want to be more intentional about memorizing Scripture and teaching it to my children.  We are doing this plan. The Jesus Project. I'm really excited about it!  We are also taking The Joy Dare and counting gifts.  I want to write more.  I want to organize and write down recipes so my girls can learn to cook when I'm not around...or in the other room reading...:)

I know you probably think some of those sound a lot like resolutions...but I want to think of them more as goals to move toward...intentionally.  I will intentionally make choices and put plans in place and hit the snooze button a few less times to move in the direction of these goals. I know there will be times when I get off course and I'll need to give myself some grace, read this post, and refocus on my word and be intentional about moving in the right direction again.

Would you like to take this journey with me?  Ask God to give you a word for the year to help keep you focused in moving towards your goals and dreams.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Only Way To Make It

Sometimes it is hard to get out of bed in the morning.  Sometimes it is hard to face the day. The pressure of life bears down so much that it is difficult to even take a breath.  Life is hard.  People change. People fail us.  Circumstances change. Jobs go. Finances change. Children push back against rules.  Dishes are dirty.  Laundry piles up.  Some days it all just crushes down and I just. Can't. Breathe.

November.  The month of remembering to be thankful.  Posting our thanks on our Facebook. It's all good. However, when it's only in November, it becomes trite.  It's almost like, "Whatever...everyone is thankful this month."  This is not how it should be!  It's not how we make it. Not how we continue to breathe.

God gave us the formula.  It's not just being thankful in November.  It's the giving thanks is ALL things.  

Rejoice always,  pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

It's so simple, yet I forget.  And this giving of thanks is not just about the things as much as it is about Him. 

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 
1 Chronicles 16:34

Whatever challenge or circumstance I am in the middle of...He is always good. His love is forever.  I am wrapped up in it.  His grace is enough.  He is enough.  These things are sure!  My life will begin to change as much as I give thanks.  In His presence is "fullness of joy" (Psalm 16:11).  And how do we enter His presence?

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  Psalm 100:4

With thanks.  Why would I want to be anywhere but in His presence?  

So today...just this.  To keep breathing in grace, and breathing out thanks. With. Every. Breath.  This is the only way to make it.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Journey To Live

Oh my goodnes!  There's so much going on in my head and heart these days. I'm positive there is no way to get it all out in this blog post.  
But can I just say I love the way the Holy Spirit plants seeds and begins to stir up my spirit preparing my heart for beautiful things He wants to teach me. He is so faithful like that!  I love it!

I wrote in an earlier post about beautiful things and beauty drawing our hearts to God, the Creator of all things beautiful.  Since then, I've started reading Emily Freeman's book a million little ways.   So. So. Good.  I'm only a few chapters in and trying to pace myself since I'm participating in the Bloom book club over at  I really would love to just shut myself in my house with a pot of coffee and read the whole thing without stopping. However, not exactly an option since you know, the 5 kids, and husband, job, etc. :) Anyway...where was i?

The book!  Emily does an amazing job putting into words feelings and stirring I've had in my soul for years.  I encourage you to check out her book and her blog at  It is challenging me to step into who God has lovingly and purposefully created me to be.  And not just step into me, but be willing to freely share myself, fully alive, with the world around me in such a way that God is glorified.  

I think we all get so hung up on comparing ourselves to others or to ideas we have in our heads about what we "should be" doing or how things are "supposed to" look.  I know I struggle with different areas...depending on the day.  I am over it!  Tired of it.  That's not the way God intends for me to live.  Jesus came to give us life, fully.

I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it [a]overflows). John 10:10 AMP

I am on a journey to have this life.  To be fully alive.  To live art as His creation.  To bring Him glory.  This can look like so many things.  It's not about perfection.  It's about authenticity.  This is who God made me.  This is what He put the desire in me to do.  I will discover these gifts and share them with you.  Because He is glorified in the sharing...whatever that looks like.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV

Will you join me on this journey?  It's not so much about what we do, as it is how we do it.  Let's encourage one another to uncover the art God has placed inside us and share it with the world for His glory.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Everyday Miracles

It's been awhile since I've made time to write.  I've had way too much to get done and not enough hours in the day.  Chaos, clutter, and crankiness seem to rule the house.  Every morning when the alarm goes off and I smack the snooze button my mind begins to race with the pressures of the day. 

 Who needs to be where at what time for an appointment, practice, or game.  The errands that need to be run to the pharmacy or grocery store.  What do I have in the freezer that I can cook for dinner? Do I know the songs on the set list for Sunday?  Can I wait till tomorrow to do laundry? Remember, it's trash day. It's Ian's snack day. Sean has been asking for waffles.  Don't forget to drop that bill off? And on and on...

I'm exhausted before I ever get up!  

Our family has been going through some stuff lately and we've been earnestly seeking God for a miracle.  And I expect God to show up. But I need to remember that He does things in His time, His way...and He doesn't always adhere to the specific requests I've prayed with the details I've given Him on how best to fix my situation.  He sees the big picture and is concerned with my growth in Him, not just my comfort or an easy fix.  I'm convinced much of our inner struggle comes from our perspective.  

What do we choose to focus on? Am I only thinking about how difficult things are and begging God for a miracle without noticing and being grateful for the miracles He does in my life everyday.  For some reason, we, as humans, find it much easier to focus on the negative and what we don't have. It's like our default setting.  I need to change my perspective and be intentional about it.  

I believe there are certain things we can do that help position ourselves for God's blessings and miracles.  Being obedient to His word and listening to His voice.  I also believe God wants to bless us and loves to move on our behalf.  God is all about showing off in ways that give us no other option but to give Him the glory.  

My challenge to you, and myself, is this: instead of waiting and begging God for whatever "big" miracle we are in need of, let's start thanking Him for the "small" miracles He does for us everyday.  You know the ones I'm talking about. The close parking place at Walmart. The short line at the pharmacy. When you find your lost keys. Hitting all the green lights when you're running late. Evenings with no homework and nowhere to go.  A morning where the kids get along and no one spills anything at breakfast.   Let's intentionally start thanking Him and giving Him praise for these things. He loves when we have relationship with Him for more than just pleading our requests . I don't know about you, but I enjoy giving my children special things...but I always want to do more for them when they are grateful for the things I do for them everyday.  Let's start praising Him in the "everyday" and wait expectantly for Him to move on our behalf in the "big" things! 

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32 NIV)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Make It Beautiful

I have no idea what this post will be about.  So...I'm just going to get started and we'll see where we end up.  Doesn't that sound like fun??

Last night I found myself excited at the prospect that  today I would probably be able to make time to write.  I am discovering that I really love this writing thing.  Does that make me a writer? Speaking of being a writer, how do you answer the question, "What do you do?"  I've been thinking about that lately.  

I'm in customer service.
I'm a teacher.
I work at a bank.
I'm a pastor. 
I'm just a stay-at-home mom. (I'm saving the "just a stay-at-home mom" thing for another post.)

All of these would be considered acceptable answers to the question.  Our society tends to label everything.  But, really??  Do those responses sum up all of what we do or are? And if we are one of those things...does that make us not another?  Or if we feel we are one, can we not become another instead of...or also?

When God created man, He created us in His image.  God is amazingly diverse and creative. So wouldn't it stand to reason that we would be, too.  Can you label God in one word that defines all of who He is?  Hardly.  We shouldn't attempt to limit our "labels" either.  

While on this journey to learn about "soul integrity," I have been learning and reading a lot about what it means to be creative.  To make art.  Whatever that looks like.  Those are the "labels" I want us to challenge in ourselves.  You would have to be dead to not see that our God is an amazing artist. Everywhere we look we see the beauty He has created. Again, we're made in His image.  We're artists, too.

James 1:17 says, Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father...

Beauty is a gift given to us to enjoy.  I believe because beauty is such a part of who God is that beauty (in whatever form) draws our hearts to Him.  Beauty is a landscape.  Beauty is Handel's Messiah.  Beauty is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  Beauty is your child's face. Beauty is a home-cooked meal.  Beauty is words on a page.  Beauty is friendship.  Beauty is a well executed double play or "Hail Mary" pass caught in the end zone.  As beautiful creations of our amazing God we were made to create beauty as well, in whatever form we enjoy. Because whatever is beautiful points to Him, the Giver of all things beautiful.  He delights in our creations, our art, whatever that looks like.
So let's throw off the "labels" we think we have and explore our God-given creativity to make art. Feed your soul.  Write.  Paint.  Draw.  Cook.  Bake.  Play music.  Landscape.  Garden.  Fix up that classic car.  Play that sport.  Make that Pinterest craft.  Don't be afraid to step out of your box and try because you think it may not turn out. Whatever is beauty to you...create it.   Admire and encourage the art of each other. Let the beauty of what you and others create draw your heart to the Creator of all things beautiful. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Time Is On My Side

So much for writing twice a week.  Last week flew by in a whirlwind of parent teacher conferences, occupational therapy, laundry, football, and cheer. Oh, well.  New week. Fresh start. 

Oh, happy day!!  Sunday officially ushered in Autumn. My favoritest of favorite time of year!! Cooler weather. Beautiful colors. Pumpkin everything!  Love everything about it!! Except for my fall allergies.  I could totally do without those.  Excuse me while I go take a Claritin...

This last week has been a time of processing priorities for our family.  Time is such an important commodity and I want to budget it well.  The  Word talks about redeeming the time(Ephesians 5:16 KJV).  

The dictionary defines redeem as this:  
to make better or more acceptable; 
to exchange for money, award, etc; 
to buy back; to free from what distresses or harms.

I don't want to just spend my time.  I want to redeem it.  The applications of this concept are many.  Notice Paul uses the present participle form of the word redeem.  Adding the
 -ing means it is not just a one time action...but an ongoing one.  Oh, Snap!  You didn't know you were going to get an English lesson today, did ya? 

Christ redeemed us when He died on the cross. One time. Action finished.  We don't have to do anything else.  Praise God!!  But we are charged to redeem our time.  The NIV translates it as making the most of every opportunity.  Our mortal selves are so tied to time.  We can't function without it.  How many times have we said, "I have no idea where today went!"  

As women we can get so caught up in taking care of things and people around us that we don't stop to think about how we are using our time.  We are just thinking about what needs to be accomplished and how little time we have to get everything done.  I know, I live there!  
I want to be more intentional in redeeming my time.  I'm a very practical person.  What would it look like to redeem my time??  Let's take the definition and get practical!

to make better or more acceptable:
I want to use my time to make something better. This includes myself.  Spiritually, the only way to do this is to let God work in me.  I must make time to spend in the Word and prayer.  Only He can change me into a "better" person.  And on the completely frivolous side of things.  It's okay to feed your soul by taking time to do something you enjoy.  I mean, really, don't you always feel better after getting your hair done or a pedicure??  Even the mundane tasks we do like laundry and dishes...they make our homes better.  If I look at the household chores as makes it seem not quite as yucky.  I'm redeeming the time to make things better for my family.  The applications for this can be carried into most things we do.  Be intentional about thinking of things in this way and see if it doesn't help your perspective.

to exchange for money, award, etc:
I am not advocating selling your time.  However, I guess, technically, when you work at your job, you are exchanging your time for your paycheck.  I would like you to think about it in the intangible, though.  I want to redeem my time with the eternal dividends in mind.  We can exchange our time by investing in others for  heavenly treasures.  Every time we share the love of Jesus with those around us, we are trading in our  time.  Whether it's serving others through an organization, ministry at church, or just our friendships, how great is it to know that our time can have an eternal value and impact.

to buy back; to free from what distresses or harms:
This last one is exciting!  This is what Jesus did for us!  He bought us with His precious blood and freed us from everything that distresses and harms us.  Somebody should be shouting about that!!  We can carry this freedom to the world around us.  There are so many people around us hurting and in bondage and we have the freedom and deliverance they so desperately need.  May what we say and do bring this freedom to those we see every day.  Don't get overwhelmed by the idea of this.  Sometimes this may mean sharing Christ with a lost soul. Other times it may just be by encouraging a friend by prayer and a Scripture, sending a card, taking a meal to someone, or watching a young mom's littles so she can run an errand.

My challenge for all of us today is to consciously think about our time.  Are we redeeming it? Let's be encouraged that we can redeem our time for things of eternal value.