Friday, March 27, 2015

Pondering the "tions"...

I've been pondering the connection between what some people call opposition and what I think might be superstition because I think it's sanctification.

A lot of stuff has been happening around here.  Lots of things breaking...vehicles, appliances, sewer...  And, there is specific work stress, and Caleb's hospitalization...And, big changes in ministries...

When people hear about it, I'm told one of two things...

Let's start with the easy one...Superstition..."Things always happen in threes" (which incidentally stinks to hear if you're on number 5 or, who wants to start counting when cruddy, hard stuff is happening?...)  Now, don't get mad...I've said it myself.  And, sometimes it does seem like three major things happen close together.  But, if that's my answer to people all the time...well, it's rather hopeless isn't it.  It's like, "Well, quick count to three...stuff happens...move on!"

The other thing I hear is...Opposition..."Boy, you are totally under serious opposition.  I'll pray for you!"  One of my first questions is...opposition from whom?  God or Satan?  Then I get all wigged out because I'm not sure who...What if God doesn't want me to be moving in this new direction...or maybe it's Satan trying to tempt me to quit.  Ack!  And, truly in my pondering of that particular conundrum...I realized that you really can't always know the answer...Truly, it doesn't much matter...because...

I am living out God's progressive sanctification in my life.  As I grow in grace, I am gradually – but steadily – changing to be more like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). This occurs in a process of daily spiritual renewal (Colossians 3:10).  In Philippians, Paul talks about being sanctified even as he ministered to others. Paul claimed that he had not reached perfection, but that he “pressed on” to attain everything Christ desired for him (Philippians 3:12).  

I know that there are things in my life and heart that need to change in order for this to happen.  I pray often that God won't leave me the same and will make those changes.  

Trials, both big and small, change me.  God isn't opposing me or letting Satan mess with me, "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." 1 Cor. 10:13

God is answering my prayer and making me learn, change and grow.  My Heavenly Father knows me and parents me well.  "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."  Hebrews 12:11

I want to look back on difficult times like this and see God's faithfulness in huge bold print.  If I blow it off as a superstition or an undefined opposition then I might miss how He's sanctifying He's for me.

"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 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? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:31-39 (Emphasis mine)

Friday Funnies...

Oh, How I wish!!!!!
Hilarious! If I did decide to pick up violin now, I'm pretty sure it'd sound about the same!!
 Although, the ukulele I got for Christmas has been great fun. Hmmm...ya never know!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Coffee O Clock Hodgepodge

1. This coming weekend is Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week. Do you celebrate Easter in your home? What was your favorite Easter tradition as a child?
We usually read "Benjamin's Box" by Melody Carlson and open the plastic eggs that go with the story.  We also buy new outfits to wear to church on Resurrection Sunday.  I don't remember any specific traditions growing up...I remember dressing up, and usually an early morning "sunrise" service...sometimes a Friday night service.  I remember great music!  Art Thou the Christ and beautiful cantatas.
2. George Weinberg is quoted as saying, 'Hope never abandons you, you abandon it.' Agree or disagree? Share your own thoughts on the word hope.
Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen or a feeling of trust.  I think the biggest question is what are you basing your hope on or hoping for?
Romans 8:23-24..."We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.  We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it.  But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)"
Hebrews 11:1, "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see."
3. Weigh in with a yay or nay on the traditional Easter candies. A solid milk chocolate bunny? Cadbury Creme Eggs? Peeps? Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs? Jellybeans? Coconut Cream Eggs? Of the candies listed, which one would you most like to find in your Easter basket?
I usually savor one Cadbury Creme Egg each year.  I also LOVE malted milk eggs...I've been known to eat them until my tongue hurts!  I didn't buy them this year. 
4. When did you last feel 'like a kid in a candy store'?
I'm stumped.
5. What's something you know you do differently than most people? Does that bother you? Does it bother other people?
I'm noticing the structure of our lives is a bit different.  We are very involved with our church but that aside we don't have our kids in extracurriculars.  I've been accused of not caring that my children won't be "well rounded" but my kids have great imaginations and are not stressed out by their after school schedules like so many of their peers.  It is important to us that they have time to just be kids.  If they showed keen interest in something we'd be happy to let them try it...and we have (piano, taekwondo, etc.)...but for now, especially with Daddy's busy work and travel schedule, it is much more important to have family time together.  I'm okay with it and try to be patient with people who aren't.
6. Palm Springs CA, Palm Beach FL, or the PALMetto State...of the three mentioned, which sunny spot would you most like to visit right now? Which have you visited at one time or another?
Palm Beach's closest to family!
7. If you could change the length of a day would you lengthen it or shorten it? Tell us why.
Lengthen it, and in my vast powers I'd also give myself more energy so I could also accomplish more during that longer day...haha!
8.  Insert your own random thought here. 
Spring is springing...I'm so excited.  I'm always a bit surprised by how much it rains each year though.  I'd say April showers bring May flowers except it's March.  BUT...March does come in like a Lion and hopefully will go out like a Lamb!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Funnies...

I've felt this way a few times this week...
Haha...never thought about it before but yup...pretty accurate.
I'm trying to find an Easter outfit and I sooo feel this way!
The hospital made me think of this one...cuz you sanitize going out and coming into every room...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

I love you more...

God is so faithful and true.  He loves well.  He always loves me more.

I find this a humbling and crushing truth.   When a fearful possiblity breaches my horizon of awareness...I do not trust Him.  At least not immediately.  Even on top of just seeing His faithfulness...and knowing His presence and peace in hard things.

Instead, I listen to Satan's awful whispers...It will hurt.  All God does is take take take.  Haven't you had enough to deal with?  Doesn't He love you enough to preserve you from more pain?

But, God does know me.  He is a perfect parent.  He knows where my faith needs to grow...and where I am resistant.  I must learn that He is enough for me...that He is faithful and true.  Struggle and opposition are promised...not a maybe.  And until I learn that He ALONE is enough...and give over everything in full surrender...I will continue to be crushed by fear and slow in obedience.  

I think Jon Elliot knew this when he said..."He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.'  I have no rights...God has heart completely.

"Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."
  Matthew 10:37

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Green Hodgepodge!!

1. Share a favorite song, book, or movie title containing the word green?
Green eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess.  I love songs by Keith Green...especially this one I shared yesterday! 
2. Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, 'Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.' Would you agree? Are you a believer in luck?
I'm more a believer in Providence.
3. Spring water, Hot Springs, handspring, spring fling, spring break, spring fever, offspring...which 'spring' word best applies to something in your day, week, or life right now?
Spring break and offspring.  With my littlest offspring being hospitalized last week (read about it here) I sort of lost track of time and now find that Spring break is fast approaching.  I think we will just make a few trips to see grandparents...low key and relaxing. 
4. What's something you do to make yourself look or feel more confident?
Wear good makes me feel put together and ready to face the outside world.  I know there's a whole opinion regarding makeup being a "putting on of a mask between you and the world" but I think I'm pretty "real."  It just makes me feel pretty, confident and prepared for working and caring for others.
5.  It's National Celery Month...are you a fan? If so, what's a snack or dish you enjoy that calls for celery?
I cook with celery...mostly in soups and I put celery seed/salt on roasts.  The kids take celery and carrots plain in their lunchboxes.  It has to be fresh...if it gets old it can be awfully bitter.  Ew.
6. What's one thing you wish you'd learned sooner?
I couldn't pick one...
"Be nice to yourself.  It's hard to be happy when someone's mean to you all the time." 
"Be selective in your battles for sometimes peace is better than being right."
"The example we set for our kids--How to act when things don't go our way--is much, much more important than the rules we set for them."  ~Leo Babauta
7. Would you like to own a second home? If so where would you want that home to be?
From everything I've heard about what a nightmare it is in old age and just watching my grandparents dealing with it now...I think I'll say no!  Locations for extended vacations...someplace with a private beach.
8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Thank you for praying for Caleb.  He went back to school...very pale, skinny and very excited.  I'm a bit nervous and thinking he won't quite make it through a full school day.  I know some of you were wondering...he had gastroparesis with emesis.  Basically, a terrible virus he had in February stunned his bowel...pretty much stopping it.  And so he couldn't get anything through and it upset his stomach so he'd throw up.  This went on and off for three weeks until he had PAIN and couldn't keep water down.  We spent four days at the children's hospital...and now he's home with meds to take care of nausea, pain, acid and motility.  Loverbrains made me a spreadsheet so I can keep track of dosages.'s a bit stressful. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tune Tuesday: Mopping Music!

Singing this song while I mop makes me a happy chica...
so, I thought I'd share the love and motivation...grab your mop and hit play!  I love how we can worship while we clean or do anything.  I also love how worship points us directly to God!!

I found it hard to believe
Someone like you cared for me
You put this love in my heart

I tried but could not refuse
You gave me no time to choose
You put this love in my heart

I want to know where the bad feelings go
When I'm depressed and I get down so low
And then I see you coming to me and it's alright

I want to tell you right now
I'm not afraid to say how
You put this love in my heart

There are sometimes when I doubt
But you always find me out
You put this love in my heart

Cause when I see all that you've done for me
It's hard to doubt, I just have to believe
Cause you followed and proved it all of your life

Well I know
the loneliness I had before
Is gone now
I'll never feel it anymore

Cause your love has released me
From all that's in my past
And I know I can believe you
When you say I'll never be forsaken
Your love is gonna last

There's so much more I should say
If I could just find a way
You put this love in my heart

Is all this real or a dream
I feel so good I could scream
You put this love in my heart

I want to know where the bad feelings go
When I'm depressed and I get down so low
And then I see you coming to me and it's alright

You put this love in my heart

You put this love in my heart

You put this love in my heart

Monday, March 16, 2015

God's Hand!

NOTE: This is a loonngg've been forewarned!  So grab some coffee and a cookie first...

My son was in the hospital last week...and I've so seen God's hand in the whole experience that I just MUST tell and sing His praises!  I'd just had a discussion with my Dad about how we shouldn't just Pollyanna situations...seeking to see the good and be thankful just for what we can squeeze out.  I asked, "How do we thank Him in the hard things?  What does it sound like?  Will I be able to do it?"  My Dad told me it would be hard...but basically I'd find my answers in proclaiming what I knew to be true about God's Sovereign character.  He was right...God is good...all the time.

Calubby had a virus in was pretty bad and I nursed him through it per usual.  The BRAT (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) diet, rest, plenty of liquids.  It'd been going around.  I wasn't too worried but then it got strange.  He'd be better for a few days and then vomiting again.  I was puzzled and, I'll be honest, a little annoyed because it had lasted so long and my schedule looked like chop suey.  Those of you who know me, know I like my schedule orderly.  I was struggling with myself, struggling about being a Mommy first...first before any ministry or school or church commitments.  I see this as God's hand...maybe a good loving smack from that make me fully committed and content with His plans for me. 

I'd been thinking of just sending him to school the next time he threw up cuz he seemed to be fine after, no fever and I was MISSING STUFF...sigh.  I'm so glad God again showed His hand of Sovereignty and worked changes in my heart so that I kept him home...again.  I was met with lots of love from the co leader and staff I felt I was "letting down"....they pointed me to Truth.  I was going to need that love and pointing in the days ahead. 

I am grateful that when his pain increased we were at an already scheduled Dr's appt.  God's hand.  We had the best nurse we have ever had draw blood from Caleb.  This was a big deal cuz he's had some pretty traumatic blood draws with his allergies over the years.  Not only was she a fabulous vampire...but when he threw up near the end of the draw, she calmly finished the draw and was sweet and wonderful to us!  God's hand.  When we went over to radiology to get an upper GI...we had 2-3 wonderful nurses working with us...who spent 2 hours trying to get him to keep barium down and move it to the right areas to light up what we desperately needed to see.  They were patient and kind.  God's hand.  

We were sent to Riley Children's Hospital.  God's hand was all over we live very close to this wonderful facility!  When we were sent to Riley my neighbor, who isn't always home, was home!  She stayed with sweet Emma late into the night.  A huge blessing.  God's hand.  It was rainy and rush hour but God kept us safe and allowed me to chat with the GI Dr. anticipating our arrival.  She rarely, if ever, calls patients before meeting them but due to God's hand she knew our pediatrician and called and got us all set up so when we arrived we only waited in the ER for 5 minutes.  Totally God's hand!  Oh, He is so good.  

We had great nurses...all the way to admitting time and throughout our stay.  I had opportunities to share Christ...His goodness and how I was seeing His plan...why I had such Peace.  People don't really understand peace.  They think you're super human....which is super not the case...God just gives peace like a river....amazing...and beyond understanding.  When I was most scared or tired...He brought Scripture vividly to my mind usually via songs flooding my heart.  God is so good.  

A few songs were...
In Christ alone my hope is found.  He is my light, my strength, my song; this Cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.  What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!  My Comforter, my All in All, here in the love of Christ I stand.  
My God is so Big, so Strong and So Mighty there's nothing my God cannot do...  the mountains are His the valleys are His the stars are His handiwork too...My God is so Big, so Strong and So Mighty there's nothing my God cannot do.
He hideth my life in the cleft of the Rock That shadows a dry, thirsty land;  He hideth my life in the depths of His love And covers me there with His hand, And covers me there with His hand.

I see God's hand in making Darren's work flexible and understanding.  He had a doozy of a week scheduled and yet his boss was great about letting him be with us and with Emma as needed.  He's paying for it a bit this week so please pray for him.  He's tired.  And also...just a sidenote right here...ya'll know how I usually hate on social media, etc.  BUT...I'm super grateful for it.  The whole time I was in the hospital and going through this journey with Caleb, I was able to request prayer and get support via technology.  Without it there wouldn't have been much of any outside encouragement because the hospital had a no visitors policy. God is good.

In the days that followed God showed His hand continually...He made my friend Cathy completely willing and able to help me by taking Emma off the bus and pottying the dog.  I see how He even bonded Emma with Cathy's grandson at a time where caring for and playing with a toddler was just what Emma needed as a comfort.  God's hand.

I am blessed with a great husband...who was Mr. Laundry...and very patient with his ridiculously tired wife.  Things like this are good marriage strengtheners...and I see God's hand in all of that too.  I'm sure there are other things I'll think of after I post this...but you get the idea and this is already super long.

God is in control.  His ways are perfect...Great is His faithfulness.  God is good all the time.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hodgepodge Hopes for Spring!

1. What's the first image that comes to mind when you hear the word 'spring'? Which phrase best describes the season of spring where you live right now (today)-sprung! almost there, or still waiting?
Daffodils!  Due to late Fall sewer work, mine will probably be coming up in some strange places this Spring.  Spring might be coming...maybe.  It's raining and the snow is melting.  The birds are chirping and I saw a robin yesterday.  I'm trying not to get too excited.

2. Bed, couch, stapler, garage door, computer mouse, recliner, flashlight, door knob...which household item containing springs most needs replacing in your home? Speaking of springs...did you ever own a Slinky?
Garage Doors!  It's a plan in the works.  Right now the one is held together with duct tape.  I might have backed into it...slightlyAhem.  They are ancient wooden doors...and they sadly didn't need my added help on their way to destruction.  Garage doors are pricey...wooeee!
3. March is Women's History Month. Share a favorite quote by a woman.
I read this the other day...
"How can this person who so annoys or offends me be God's messenger?  Is God so unkind as to send that sort across my path?  Insofar as his treatment of me requires more kindness than I can find in my own heart, demands love of a quality I do not possess, asks of me patience that only the Spirit of God can produce in me, he is God's messenger.  God sends him in order that he may send me running to God for help."  ~Elisabeth Elliot

4. What's a question that looms large in your mind right now?
How do I glorify God in the hard things?  Lots of mini trials...lots of expensive things breaking and stomach bugs and colds.  I'm tired...but I want to glorify God in ALL things.
5. Are you a sugar freak? By that I mean how much do you love sugar? With all the bad press sugar gets these days, have you made any efforts to reduce the amount of sugar you consume?
I am a sugar freak.  I am actively working to cut it out of my diet.  I'm only allowing myself one complex carb a day.  If I stick to whole grains in place of carbs (that turn to sugar right away) I feel a lot better.  I also only allow myself a small dessert on weekends.
6. Would you rather have less work to do or more work you enjoy doing?
Sort of a double edged sword isn't it?  If you have less work, I suppose you might have more time for play but chances are you won't.  Isn't there a saying about idle hands being the devil's playground or something?  If you have more work you enjoy, you'll still burn out eventually....unless it's what God's planned for you to be doing.  I guess, I'd tend towards being busier...probably why God's giving me the big 'ole SLOW DOWN and making me stay home with sick kiddos and wait for repair men...BE STILL AND KNOW I AM GOD.
7. Ever been to Texas? Of the top ten Texas tourist attractions which would you most like to see-The Alamo, The San Antonio River Walk, The State Capital, Dallas World Aquarium, Padre Island National Seashore, Houston Space Center, Schlitterbahn Waterpark in New Braunfels, Six Flags Fiesta Texas,  Moody Gardens, or Galveston Island?
I have never been to TX.  If Loverbrains ever took a job with another company we'd probably live in Houston though.  Their good weather is very appealing to me.  Their bad, not so much.  My husband just came back from a conference/training there and he said I'd LOVE the food.  He's probably right.
8.  Insert your own random thought here.
My little guy just can't seem to kick whatever this stomach bug is...He'll be better for several days and then horribly sick again.  I'm praying the Dr. will provide some words of wisdom today...and that it's nothing more than a weird virus and not something more serious.  I am learning to be more patient and content with last minute forced flexibility.  God is good all the time.  He has a plan and He knows all things.  His ways are perfect!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

HIM Sunday!

When I survey the wondrous cross 
on which the Prince of Glory died; 
my richest gain I count but loss, 
and pour contempt on all my pride. 

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, 
save in the death of Christ, my God; 
all the vain things that charm me most, 
I sacrifice them to his blood. 
See, from his head, his hands, his feet, 
sorrow and love flow mingled down. 
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, 
or thorns compose so rich a crown. 
Were the whole realm of nature mine, 
that were an offering far too small;  
love so amazing, so divine, 
demands my soul, my life, my all. 
 Text: Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

Music: Lowell Mason, 1792-1872