Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Reflections...

The past few weeks have been quite challenging and as we look for a new home and new jobs, my husband and I know that in drawing nearer to our Father, we will be positioned for the things He has in store for us.  My husband was called for a job interview this past week...from a company he had applied to almost TWO YEARS ago!  Now if you don't believe that is God, we can debate that elsewhere!  In this time of family drawing close, let us not forget the Creator of the family and the One who gave His ONLY Son to be born so humbly in a stable.  And let us also not forget, that our King was not a pauper but lived in a home growing up in Bethlehem first, then in Egypt and finally in  Nazareth.  He had a treasurer to keep track of the ministry's income!  The poor don't have treasurers, nor do they have need for them as they have no funds of which to keep track.  Jesus was a prominent man in His community and worked until he began to pursue His ministry.   

The past few days I have been listening to the Lord as He reveals some things to me about the celebration of the birth of His Son.  My blog today is a reflection of those things I believe He has been speaking to me...
Today, as we begin to celebrate the birth of the Messiah, my heart is heavy for His chosen people who don't acknowledge or realize that the Savior they have been waiting for has already come... 
No, he didn't come as a great King but as a baby; He didn't have riches or great wealth, but he never lacked (and even had a treasurer!); and wherever He went, large crowds followed to hear what He had to say...
Don't waste time waiting for the one thing that can save you from whatever you're going through! HE'S ALREADY COME! And He's waiting on YOU to invite Him into your heart and life as King over you...
In MATH we are taught to find X...not in CHRISTmas!! Keep X in math and Christ in Christmas!!!!! 
Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.
 Stay calm; mind your own business; do your own job. You've heard all this from us before, but a reminder never hurts.
This year, I didn't mail out Christmas cards or write a fancy Christmas letter recapping my family's events and accomplishments over the year.  Let's face it, if you're on Facebook, you already KNOW what our lives were like!  So this year, to all my Facebook friends and family, I simply want to wish you a VERY Merry Christmas.  I pray that you spend the rest of the year focusing on the birth of a King who would have been born only to die for just YOU if that was required of Him...I want you to realize how very valuable and loved you are by your family, your friends and most of all by the one who knit you together in your mother's womb.  None of us was an accident, none came as a surprise to the Father and EACH OF US was predestined to do something for the Kingdom of God...start the new year by asking God to reveal your calling to you. After all, if you've got to start somewhere why not here?  If you've got to start sometime, why not now?!

Monday, December 12, 2011

What is she THINKING?!

Yesterday in church, the announcement was made.  It is now official.  We only have to talk to my dad and let him know what nearly everyone else already knows:  In the next couple of weeks, we are moving our family back to Colorado.

When we made the decision over a year ago to pack up and move out to sunny Florida, we had planned to come and help my dad with his property and my step mother who suffers from Alzheimer's Disease, knowing we would return to our Rocky Mountains one day.  We accomplished a lot on the property, little in the mobile home we were trying to renovate for our family's use, and, due to the extent of the disease, we have not been able to help with caring for my step mother.  Even my niece was unable to assist them, the main reason she moved from Colorado following her college graduation. 
A little more than a week ago, my husband traveled back to Colorado and while sitting in church he believes the Lord was telling him, "It's time to come home!"  With that, we began discussing when we might move, whom we might stay with until we could get our own place to live and where my husband would work.  His former employer will hire him back and we know God's hand is in all of this.  Our move date?  Well, that is all God, too!  We are planning to move this Friday!  Homeschooling, packing up, moving across the country, doing my own school, cleaning out our travel trailer that has been our home for the past 10 are probably wondering, "What is she thinking?"  Until today, I was so completely overwhelmed with all that there is to do, that I could not shut my head down with thoughts of what needs to be done in order to be ready to leave on Friday.  I found rest and peace in the Lord as I brought my petitions of needing peace, comfort and calmness for this event.  His love swept over me and I didn't even realize I was no longer bothered until I sat to write this blog!
The Word says, "Cast your cares on Him because He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).  Matthew 6:26 reminds us of our worth the Master, "Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds."  And He further explains that worrying will do us no good...each day has enough worries of its own so focus on today.  Finally, He reassures us that we can rest in Him, "32 People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works.33 Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
34 "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." (Matthew 6:32-34 MSG).

I'm thinking about the rest I can find in the Lord when I feel overwhelmed; I'm thinking of the rest I'll find when we are finally on our way to Colorado; and I'm thinking of the rest of my life's story that is being revealed by the Spirit!!  
Have a very blessed Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

That's the plan...

When my husband and I moved our family from Colorado to Florida this past January, we had plans for returning for the remainder of our things, plans for coming back to Colorado to visit family and friends and plans for me to attend my sister's college graduation.  Things that WE plan, don't always go accordingly...
Feeling oh, so homesick today...missing my kids, missing my sis, incredibly disappointed that I'll be missing her graduation from college!!!  I want coffee, I want chocolate, but neither of those things will fill the empty place I have in my heart...Someone told me I'm the rock in my family, but today I feel more like a melting iceberg, slowly losing sight of what I used to be...
The only thing that can sustain me and bring me back is the never ending, never ceasing love of the Lord for me.  HIS plans for my life are far better than I could ever imagine, think or hope and HIS ways are better than my ways by far ANY day!  It's these times that we need to draw near not only to the Lord but to our brothers and sisters in Christ.  For they are our strength and support in our times of need.  God puts people in our lives for a reason, as season or a lifetime...He put them there for us to lean on when we lacked the strength ourselves and when He knew we would need them to make it through trying times.  Do not forsake the assembling of my people, He says.  We NEED fellowship and we NEED to be with other Christians to get through trials and tough times. 
Don't be afraid to reach out to those people God has put in your life...He knew you would need them one day and HE planned for it!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Today, our pastor asked the congregation what we were thankful for, and he was met with a variety of answers.  The interesting thing was that while everyone thought about family, friends, homes, food, God's provision and a few material things, nearly everyone asked failed to mention being thankful for Jesus!  I must admit, I was in that group who didn't give it a thought!!  I love the Lord with all my heart, I desire to do His will in my life and go where He leads me, but I caught myself taking for granted the sacrifice of Jesus' death on the cross, His love for me, His provision for me and most of all my own salvation in Him!
This week, as you sit around the table or stroll around the block for a family walk, search your heart and see what things you might unknowingly be taking for granted.  Then give thanks for those things...the Scriptures say:  Give THANKS with a grateful heart...give THANKS to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever...give THANKS in all circumstances for this is the will of God for you!
I am thankful for all my sisters and brothers in Jesus and for the ability to FREELY share the Word of God with others...I am thankful for the ability to speak and for the Lord giving me a spirit of power, of love and of sound mind to boldly tell others of the love of God for them!!
Have a BLESSED and THANKFUL holiday!!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Remember, it's all an illusion...

Before I begin this blog post, I must apologize for not posting for the past TEN DAYS!  (WOW!  How did that happen?) 

Simply put, I'm the super mom ILLUSION!  I'm not better than another mom; I can't produce things with any greater ease than another mom; I don't remember everything all the time (contrary to what my family believes!) and sometimes, life gets in the way of MY plans.  It is all an illusion that I can pull off so many things: work, homeschooling, my own schooling, running my household, keeping my children in line, etc.  There are many workers and assistants in my day such as my husband and my older children, who help make my job easier.  Just as a church is not run solely by the pastor or a corporation is run by just the president, so my household is not run by this mom alone!  Because I work at night, it has been a great blessing to see my husband and oldest son and daughter making the meals for the family.  Some may argue that as the mother and wife this is my job.  But I would pose this question:  Isn't the end result teaching my kids to serve others, possibly even beginning at home?  If they serve their siblings, how much more will they know how to serve others in the world?  And how much more willing to be a servant of the Lord?  This is preparing them for servitude and is a great character trait to possess.

Second Timothy 2:24 says, "And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful."  As a homeschooling mom, this is just one more lesson my children are being taught and it is a practical life-lesson that will shape who they are in the Lord.  So while I am not the "Super Mom" many think I am because of the number of children my husband and I have or that we homeschool, I always keep straight the fact that this is not a solo act and there are MANY performers helping to pull off the production of our family!!               Be blessed!!!  

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pushing kids out the door or holding on tight to keep them home?

A friend recently commented on Facebook that he is packing up one of his kids, getting ready for that son to go out into the world.  He's both excited and nervous and this is my comment back to him:

As the mother of 8 kids, three of which ARE out in the world, I can reassure you, IT NEVER GETS EASY!  I know, you're thinking, "Great!  Way to encourage a dad!" But the thing is, if it were easy, there would be a question of our love for our kids...I mean, that's a piece of you leaving for the first time!  There will be a sort of grieving that occurs and that's okay! 
When my oldest son went to Boot Camp in the Navy, we couldn't call or talk to him for almost 5 weeks! It was the most difficult time for our large family since we had been so close.  What we didn't know was that two years later, when our son went to Iraq, we went several weeks without hearing from him, not knowing if he was out on a mission, had been attacked or if he was in trouble!  But the Lord is our reassurance that when we send our kids out into the world, even if WE can't watch out for our kids, God still sees their EVERY move!!

Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is older, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
 Don't you see that children are God's best gift? (Psalm 127:3 MSG)

Monday, October 24, 2011

What comes first?

As the youth pastor at our church, I make it a point to put my youth group kids first.  Many of them haven't experienced that sort of feeling in their own families so it's new to them to be offered snacks first or for me to pour their soda or for one of my kids to offer their seat to a new student.  I have driven to a hospital to visit one of my youth kids even though the hospital was nearly 50 miles from my house and I enjoy the freedom to go and pray or visit with my youth kids at a moments notice.
Recently, I felt inclined to apply for a job outside the home.  My current position at church is volunteer, and many things we do are at a cost to the students or myself.  As I contemplate my first day at work, I am conflicted though.  I know that the Lord has plans to prosper me and to give me a hope and a future.  So why am I so compelled to work somewhere that doesn't fit with my position at the church?  I've been praying about this all weekend, and the Lord brought a word from a wonderful 17-year-old girl right to me.  She is in music ministry with her parents and has been literally since she was born.  She is also an national championship shooter.  I asked her how she managed the shooting tourneys with being on the road.  Her reply rings in my head even now:  "Oh, my ministry comes first!  Anything else I want to do, I do when we happen to be home or when we have down time from being on the road."  MY MINISTRY COMES FIRST!  Those words are echoing inside and stirring up the things of the Lord.  Am I truly putting my ministry first?  Am I truly putting these kids first?  I think the message is one I will meditate on and seek the Lord's Will through and through. 
If you're in a similar situation, I can't tell you what to do.   But I can point you to the Word and to what God says about performing your ministry, your calling and let His words guide you.  I believe for each of us, He works all things for good and I also believe He knows the desires of our hearts and will set everything up to achieve His overall purpose in our lives.
May you seek, and find the answers to the questioning of your place in this world!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Who's working it out? God? or YOU?!

This week has been so exciting for me!  I got a job doing things I really enjoy: meeting new people; talking about a cell phone company I am particularly fond of; and getting to help (my husband in particular!) support our family.  When my husband and I began talking about me possibly getting a job, we discussed many aspects of what would have to come together to make that a real possibility.  The hours could not interfere with my homeschooling our children, the travel distance would have to be relatively close (A feat in itself since we live at least 20 miles from ANYTHING!), and the pay would have to be more than enough to cover my new gas bill and my husband's gas requirement to make it that much more effective.
Those following me on Facebook know that I had a job interview last week, and yesterday I signed all my paperwork.  Today, I received notice of my hours for the next several weeks and the times are literally perfect for us!  Plus, a preplanned vacation is already scheduled to be taken off as we enter the holiday selling season.  As I went into the interview last week, I knew the things my husband and I had been discussing would have to come together if I were to accept the position.  In God's perfect plan and timing, everything has worked out BETTER than I could have imagined! 
I am feeling so overwhelmingly blessed tonight, and I give God all the praise and glory for working all this out to our specific requirements and requests to Him!  Thinking back, I have to realize that none of this occurred because of things that I did to make it all work out for me.  The Word says Jesus is the vine and we are the branches.  With Him we will produce much fruit, but apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).  I think when I try to plan everything out myself and workout payment arrangements, for example, that the favor of the Lord goes before me.  I believe that because in these crazy economic times, it has to be God working it out through the people I talk to; everyone wants their money owed to them yesterday!  Remember just who it is that is working all things to your good and His glory next time you think YOU worked that out well!!
"I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him."--Romans 12:3 (The Message)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Revealing the Illusion

This week I reveal just a little more about who I am; or rather, where I was and how I got to where I am to become who I am today!  I am not a super woman by any means, but I did not let adversity trap me and keep me from being an overcomer and a conqueror in life.  I invite you today to read my essay "More Than Conquerors" and be strengthened and encouraged that you CAN make it through whatever you are facing today!

Be blessed!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I love My Children

I love my children.  I think sometimes I want so badly to see them succeed and becoming great young adults that I often interject my own ideas of what their perfect little lives should look like.  I love them so bad that it literally hurts in my heart.  I watch each making choices that are close to 180 degrees from what I thought they should do or would do, and I cannot see anything else past this major detour some of them have taken.  I homeschooled my oldest three children through high school, and it seemed as though shortly after graduation, they became rebellious and lacked the very morals we instilled in them during our schooling years.  One of my adult children had a girlfriend and a wife at the same time; one put us in such a position with rebellion that we called the police after he had run away from home one night; and the last one seems to have found she likes the game of lying, deceiving or withholding information from her father and I.
As a parent, I feel as though I failed these three somehow.  I feel as though I did not give them the adequate tools they needed to maintain and stand firm in their faith.  I feel as though they are surely testing their new found wings as young adults.  I feel as though I need to fix what is broken in their lives.  I realize I can’t go back and fix things.  The one opportunity I had to give them the tools and reasoning they needed for life is gone.  It is one of the worst things to have my kids hate me so deeply.  What I do know about life, I want to share with them so that they can avoid mistakes, heartache and loss that I faced.  I want good…I want the BEST for them.  I realize their ideas of “best” differ from mine.  I don’t know how or when those ideas seemed to part ways, though. 
I love my children and I want what is best for them.  For now, that is to not have me interfering in their lives.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Seeing failure, seeking victory

After church today, we came home, and I was looking after our oldest dog, Jazz.  She is an 11-year-old miniature dachshund and she had been fighting with our 2-year-old doxie-min pin mix  (Belle) a few days ago.  Jazz sustained what I thought was a small laceration and I cleansed the wound and put antibacterial ointment on it.  Today, I felt the Holy Spirit guiding me to investigate the injury more closely, and I discovered the wound was much worse than I thought which made me feel horrible!  I questioned whether we should take her to the vet to get checked out, thought maybe she might need sutures to close the wound and wondered what I could have done to discover this issue sooner.  I felt as though I had failed my old dog.  The trouble was that Jazz wouldn’t let me look at the wound, so I could only see a part of the injury.  But I cared for her as though it were worse than I could see.  After reading a Website about wound care for dogs, I learned that dog bite wounds in animals are rarely, if ever, sutured closed because of the high incidence of infection.  What I read was that normal and usual treatment is to cleanse the wound daily, apply antibiotic ointment and possibly administer oral antibiotics.  I had 11 days worth of an antibiotic left over from Jazz’s recent dental surgery and I began giving her those pills.  Now, I feel like I am doing something to facilitate her further healing. 
Often, as with my dog, we as parents we don’t quite know what to do about or how to handle a certain situation with our children.  We begin by doing something that we think seems right and make adjustments from there.  This is absolutely what we should be doing!  Sometimes we only see failure as we try to grasp that one thing that has the answers to the issues we face with our kids.  We need to start doing something to correct, solve, answer or change the situation rather than sitting by and waiting for the right solution to manifest itself.  Prayer is the first step in this process.  It leads us to the Lord and the solution for what we need to do.  I felt as though the Holy Spirit was guiding me with the treatment I should give my dog, but had I not even begun that treatment, how would I have ever read and realized that what I was doing was right?!  With my children, I desire to correct and esteem them quickly so that they can learn from what they were doing right or what was a wrong behavior, attitude, decision, etc.  Once we begin treating the wrong, we can start building on what they are doing right.  This will lead us to victory over those strongholds of rebellion, selfishness, desires of the flesh and many others.  Through GOD we can be victorious in these areas because we walk by faith and not by sight and through faith we have victory.  So, next time there is a disagreement, a time when you feel you have failed your child, when all you see is failure, remember to seek the victory over the situation through prayer and faith!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Finding the new in the old and liking it

Finding the new in the midst of the old is often difficult.  At least I thought it was. 
As the mother of eight kids, I found out quickly that when it came to menus, I needed to find things that everyone, or almost everyone, would eat.  Get 10 people in a room and I’m betting they won’t all like the same things for any given meal, and this was the case of my family.  We have used the same staple dinners for more than 15 years now, but I was the one wanting something different!  I tried a recipe that called for, of all things, Beefaroni as an ingredient in the meal.  Tonight, we had chili-roni and it was great!  Just one missing item, that I didn’t even realize could be an ingredient, made our same old meal that much better.  I scored some points with my kids for dinner and my husband, who rarely eats anything like macaroni and cheese, actually liked what I made!!
Last Thursday, we ventured to the beach to celebrate my oldest niece’s birthday.  It was a wonderful day and adding some schooling when the kids didn’t even notice made it educational as well.  We played in the tide pools where we found little puffer-like fish, then we found some clams/mussels nearby.  Next, we happened on a crab claw and a purple starfish.  We splashed and played and laughed and soon our day was ending.  As we walked down the beach back to the car, we were blessed to find a small hammerhead shark that was lying on the beach.  It seems it was caught by a fisherman and left to dry out in the sun.  These small editions enhanced my children’s learning more than they could have ever received if we had merely looked at the pictures on the Internet.  They actually liked what we did for school that day!
I began thinking about my life as a Christian.  What would it be like if I added one ingredient like reading an inspiring book (“Mere Christianity” was my choice!) to my daily devotions and prayer time?  Today, I began to read Book One of C.S. Lewis’ famed inspirational work. The rules of what is right and what is wrong and our expectations of others with regard to our idea of right and wrong are quite interesting to me.  And I actually like what he has to say about the Law of Human Nature.
What I am finding is adding one simple thing to a meal, to my homeschooling day, to my Christian walk just makes it much better than each area was before.