Friday, October 31, 2008

Like My Father

I don't know how many times I have heard people say to me, "You look just like your mama!"  And how many times I have said about Ashlyn, "She is the spitting image of her daddy".  In fact, when Ashlyn was only about two years old, I was in the checkout lane at Wal-Mart when a lady I had never seen before looked at her and said, "She must look just like her daddy 'cause she doesn't look at thing like you!"  Even though that was a risky statement on her part (since she didn't know anything about me OR her daddy), it didn't offend me, because I know that it's true!  

This morning I was reading a passage, and it reminded me of how much I want to be recognized as God's child.  I do things every day that do not look like my Father.  Sometimes I spout off at the mouth.  Sometimes I am stubborn.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed by fear or anger.  But I have a deep desire to put aside those things to be more like Him.  I praise God for His patience with me!!!  John 13:34-35 says,

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

We are recognized as God's children when we love the way He loves, which means letting go of bitterness and unforgiveness, even if it seems "deserved".  We somehow think that we have a right to hold unrighteous deeds over others' heads, when all the while God has chosen to show great mercy upon us.  We forget how undeserving we are of His love.  So, it seems to me that in order to look like my Father, I simply love as He loves, because when I do that, many other transgressions are "fixed" by default.  Not that it makes me perfect, but as Proverbs 10:12 says, "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions."  When we choose to follow His way of love, we will be recognized as children of our Heavenly Father.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Prayer Guide

If you follow my blog at all, then you know that I feel a very urgent need to be in prayer for our nation, particularly for the election next week.  A friend and I have come up with a few points and verses to be used as a guide.  I wanted to share that today and encourage you to fast and pray as you feel led.  Many others will be praying with you!

God is sovereign and knows ALL.
Daniel 2:20-22 says, "Praise the name of God forever and ever, for He alone has all wisdom and power.  He determines the course of world events; He removes kings and sets others on the throne.  He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.  He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hiden in darkness though He himself is surrounded by light."

God promises that He will hear when we pray and seek Him.
2 Chronicles 7:14, "Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land."

Pray for God's will to be done, that no matter which candidate we support, we will have less of us and more of Him.
Ephesians 1:19-23, "I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of His power for us who believe Him.  This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God's right hand in the heavenly realms.  Now He is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else in this world or in the world to come."

Pray for evil deeds to be exposed.
Hebrews4:12-13, "For the Word of God is full of living power.  It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires.  It exposes us for what we really are.  Nothing in all creation can hide from Him.  Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes.  This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done."

Pray for those who are easily swayed by the enemy.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4, "If the Good News we preach is veiled from anyone, it is a sign that they are perishing.  Satan, the god of this evil world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe, so they are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News that is shining upon them.  They don't understand the message we preach about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God."

Pray for national unity.
Romans 15:5-6, "May God, who gives patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other--each with the attitude of Christ Jesus toward the other.  Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

This is not a time to be lukewarm, in fact, it is dangerous to be so.  Pray for God to show mercy on our nation.  Confess your sin before Him and ask Him to bless us with leaders who will uphold the Biblical truths that have held us together for so many years.  And remember that we are in a spiritual battle, and that we must daily put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).  

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall Family Fun

My favorite time of year has not been a disappointment.  We have had so much fun this fall!!!  

Last weekend, we went to the pumpkin patch with Josh, Ashley and little Owen.  We walked through the corn maze, fed the animals, walked a small nature trail and rode a wagon out to the patch.  We got a few small pumpkins, just big enough to bring home and carve.  So that night, we carved pumpkins with Josh and Ashley, roasted pumpkin seeds, drank cider and ate lots of Mocha Pie.  To make things even more exciting, our dear friends Mack and Kristy joined us that night, only to go home and realize that it was time for their baby to come into the world!!!  Baby Brice was delivered safe and sound the next day.  I told Kristy that it must have been the Mocha Pie!!  :)

Now, Laura, Will and boys are home for a visit from the big city of Austin, and we ha
ve had an awesome time with them already.  We went on the Trick or Treat for Tots train ride in Stearns, which was a great time!!  We have also enjoyed a hay ride and marshmallow/weiner roast at Josh's.  I love this time of year, and it is being made even more special by the fact that all of our family is together right now.  I thank God so much for the blessing of family, and sometimes I wonder why I am so blessed.  

Josh, Ashley and Owen

Dad and the grandkids
Jake, Adam, Emily, Ashlyn, Reid, Thomas

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Must See

I encourage you to share this video by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this post, which will allow you to e-mail directly from my blog, or by going to and sharing directly from there.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pray Pray Pray!

I have debated on whether or not blog about the upcoming election, but I finally decided that if I do not get some of these thoughts out in writing, I might burst.

Today Ashlyn asked me, "Does Obama know Jesus?"  I wasn't really surprised at her question, considering that the election is talked about freely in our home.  Both of the girls recognize each candidate, and one of their bedtime prayer requests is "Please help John McCain to catch up and please let Obama lose."  Ashlyn knows that McCain is behind in the polls, but for all I know, as my mom pointed out, she could be imagining the two candidates racing up actual poles (you know how literal a child's mind is!!)  

Ashlyn and Emily have both asked me why we want John McCain to win over Obama, and my answer to them is that McCain stands for things that we believe in more so than Obama, which has led me to have to gently introduce topics such as abortion.  That alone has prompted them to be on the McCain side I believe.  And to be honest, even if I agreed with Obama on everything else (which I DO NOT), I could not vote for him because of his views on "choice".

Have you heard of the Freedom of Choice Act?  It is one of the first things that Obama himself has declared he will sign if he is elected--and there is nothing "free" about it.  In fact, it allows babies to be murdered without any kind of consequence or restriction, according to the law.  At the very least, Christians should be outraged by this!  This is what Obama said earlier this year while talking about sex education and abortion, 

"I've got two daughters, 9 years old and 6 years old.  I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals.  But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby."

I cannot tell you what that does to me to hear or read that kind of "rhetoric".  It exposes one as a glorified murderer, and to me it is no different than barbarians who engaged in infant sacrifice.  It saddens me deeply that so many are deceived by smooth talk and empty promises.  I know that McCain isn't perfect, but I certainly believe that he will do a much better job of upholding what moral standards remain in this country.

I also understand that some people are not interested in politics, and may be apathetic to the circumstances, thinking that what's going to happen is going to happen.  While I agree that it's true to some extent, I cannot just idly sit by and watch as our nation falls apart.  Of course I absolutely believe that God is in control and has a plan for His creation, yet at the same time I feel a responsibility and a privilege to pray for His blessing and mercy, as well as do all that I can as a citizen of my temporary home to preserve the freedoms with which we have been blessed.

In answer to Ashlyn's question today, I told her that only Jesus knows, but that we should pray for both candidates.  That is my challenge to you as well.  Don't neglect the privilege that we have to pray for God to be glorified and for lives to be eternally saved, and don't neglect a tremendous opportunity to stand up for what is right.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Shine Like Stars!

Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life...
Philippians 2:14-16a
First things first.  I need help.
Does anyone have any suggestions of how to stop excessive whining in children?  One of my precious little darlings, who happens to be three, has lately been hung up on whining to get her way.  What I usually do is send her to another room until she is calm, then deal with it.  Sometimes I think I'm on the right track, then it suddenly takes a turn for the worse.  I'm looking for some creative, loving, effective discipline.  Anybody??

Well, I knew I was going to post this request, so I wanted to also post the above passage from Philippians, since, well, aren't we all a bit whiny at times?  The passage relates to me because sometimes my whining comes in the form of complaining and grumbling.  I am REALLY good at pointing this character flaw out in others, but many times I fail to recognize it in myself.  I guess I just don't think it's as bad when I complain and grumble.  But oh, how it must irritate those around me, and especially my Father!  

You know, we can say a big "amen" to the part about living in a "crooked and perverse generation", and it is true.  But can we say that we are appearing as "lights in the world"?  That is my desire!!  I want to stand out in that way, along with every other Christian that I know!  What a difference we could make for Christ if we would truly heed this passage and prove ourselves to be "blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach" in this world.  Take this as a challenge for you and for myself.  And as much as my Emily loves all things sparkling, maybe the "appearing as lights" part will encourage her as well!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Today Emily got a pet cricket.  That's right, a pet cricket.  She named it Abigail (apparently she has moved on from naming everything Sparkles).  Abigail is currently hanging out in an old peanut butter jar, on a nice bed of grass, drinking water from a saturated cotton ball and eating...ground up cat food!!  Ah yes, a great source of protein for the little guy.  

Abigail came to live at our home as a result of a nature study during co-op today.  Emily has been so excited, that she even gave the jar a hug and kiss tonight before bedtime.  You should hear her talking about this cricket--it is hilarious!  But as she went to bed tonight she became deeply concerned that Abigail might die soon.  After all, she knows that the life span of an insect is usually not that great.  I gently told her that everything dies, and that God would comfort her if something happens to Abigail.  I then proceeded to tell her that in Heaven nothing would die, and that we could look forward to that!  She got so excited, hoping to see her dear Abigail again.  I decided to just leave it at that for now.

So, besides that being a cute story that I just wanted to share, it actually has to do with what I've been reading in scripture for the last couple of days.  Why does the grass turn brown in dry weather?  Why do we have to water trees after transplanting them?  Why do many plants die in the winter?  Why do WE die?  Here is a wonderful passage explaining this:  

Romans 8:19-23
For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

Our world is a beautiful place, is it not?  Sunsets, flowers, animals, mountains and plains.  But according to the Scripture, the earth is in a cursed state because of sin.  We know that from the story of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden as well.  It just blows my mind to think that if our world is so beautiful in a cursed state, can you imagine what an "un"cursed world will be like?  There are descriptions in the Bible of our eternal home, but I have a feeling that our futile minds cannot even begin to conceive it.  All of creation is longing for that day, including all humans, although sadly, many do not realize or admit it.  God created us for His glory, and one day, those who have received Christ will reach the culmination of that glory.  

Once again God has amazed me with His Word, and I am thrilled beyond words to see what awaits!!! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Peas and Carrots

So there we were at the dinner table, all five of us.  Everyone liked at least one thing that was on their plate (which is actually quite a feat these days it seems), but as always, we required all of the kids to eat at least two bites of their vegetables.  Tonight's choice was peas and carrots.  

Ashlyn ate hers before everyone else even had food.  

Emily cried at first, until we sent her to her room.  When she settled down we let her back at the table, but she still refused the peas.  Well, that is until we smothered them in barbeque sauce, and then she ate them with no problem.

Then there was Jake.  He had downed his macaroni and cheese already, so we knew that it was not going to be an easy task.  I gave up pretty quickly, but Jason was not going to let him off the hook that easily.  You see, Jason is absolutely amazing.  I honestly don't think there is anything that he can't get the kids to eat.  So first, he defaulted to the good ole' airplane routine.  That wasn't going to get the job done tonight.  He waited a few minutes and then tried the old "don't you eat Daddy's peas" as he held the fork between their mouths.  That wasn't any good either.  But then it happened.  Jason lined all of the peas up on the table and started sucking them up with his mouth.  You should have seen Jake's face--he didn't know what to think!  But as he watched Jason, he started trying to imitate him, and very slowly, he bent down and sucked up a pea.  After that, it was all over.  He ate every single pea that was left at the table, and some carrots too.  We all got a good laugh out of Jason's creativity, and it made for a very entertaining supper!!  

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Good Weekend

I have had a really good weekend, but really busy at the same time.  That seems to be the norm lately!!  I had the opportunity to go on a women's (WMU) retreat this weekend at one of my favorite places...Cedarmore!  I feel so refreshed, as it was just a really great time to get away for a night and be encouraged spiritually.  One of my favorite parts was listening to a girl named Gabi who had spent two years as a missionary in South Africa.  It is just really inspiring to me to hear about so many different types of ministries going on around the world.  It encourages me to be even more diligent in my own mission family!!  

I really believe that for "such a time as this", God has given me the responsibility and mission to make sure that my children are grounded in the truth of His Word.  I often wonder about what kinds of things they will face as Christians one day.  I have such a strong desire and I feel a great urgency to make sure that they see God's Word as the final authority and to never turn away from Him or deny Him--no matter what.  

I was reminded this weekend of the absolute necessity of prayer every morning.  Not just a sentence here and there, but true, on-my-knees, focused-on-God-alone prayer.  I MUST be diligent.  Even when I want to hit snooze.  Even when I don't "feel" like it.  And it's not because I will feel guilty if I don't do it.  It's because I know that prayer is extremely vital to my role as a mother, wife and Christian, as well as for my children and husband.  I so desire to be the woman that God wants me to be, and I am so thankful for times when I am able to step away for a few hours, evaluate where I am, understand where I need to go, and be encouraged to remain diligent.  I desperately need God's leadership every day, and I cannot thank Him enough that He is more than willing to do just that.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Tantrum

Yesterday my precious Emily threw the mother of all tantrums.

There we were at Pat's Garden Center, trying to load a tree and two plants into the van, and the breakdown began.  Let's see-what exactly WAS the reason?  Oh yeah, now I remember.  I was carrying her small page of stickers for her in my pocket, and when she asked for them back, much to her disappointment, they had been folded in half.  Disappointment turned into anger, and anger turned into a humiliating scene right in the middle of the parking lot.  Ever been there?

As I have thought about this, a verse in James 4 came to my mind.  He writes, "What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you?"  This was written with the church in mind, and according to James, the source of conflict is when we are too focused on our own selfish ambition and worldly pleasures, such as pride (verses 1-3).  How many times do we kind of inwardly throw tantrums because we do not get our way, whether it be within our families or the church?  

Pride and selfishness is innate for children (and all humans), thus Emily's outrageous behavior yesterday.  As her parent, I believe that God has given me the responsibility to teach her about self-control, as well as the sin that comes from living selfishly.  God has done the same with us.  He has warned us in His Word of the trouble that comes from giving in to pride and selfishness.  We can see examples all throughout scripture of the consequences and humiliation that stems from living a life that is pleasing to only ourselves.

I've said this often, but when I look at my children, I am able to better understand God's love for me.  Yesterday Emily was upset because she was only concerned about her own interest, and it was ridiculous to me.  When I disciplined her, I took the opportunity to talk to her about why she shouldn't act out like that no matter what.  I understand that she may not get it right away.  But sometimes neither do I, and I realize that the things that I get worked up about sometimes are simply out of selfishness.  I want to be patient in teaching my children, just as my Father is so patient with me.  
Galatians 5:16
"But I say, walk by the Spirit,
and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Fog

I am very tired tonight, but I have been so busy (not just physically but also mentally) that I have not had time to post for the past couple of days.  So, tonight I want to share with you something that I have been pondering all week.

Last Sunday, I was driving to Lexington early in the morning, and about halfway there I saw this very thick fog ahead of me.  My first thought was I don't want to drive through that.  But, of course I kept on driving, and once I entered the fog, as with all the other fogs I've driven through, I could see just enough to keep going.

Immediately, I guess you could say my second thought, was how the fog I was facing relates to the steps of faith that we are called to take in obedience to God.  Sometimes we know that God is calling us to do something, but when we look at it, it just looks like a thick fog--we can't see exactly what's ahead.  But God, in His goodness, is so faithful to lead us.  When we agree to enter "the fog" (step out in faith), He allows us to see just ahead of us--enough to keep us going--so that we have to trust Him completely.  

This has been true in my life lately.  I believe without a doubt that through that minute or two of driving, God was teaching me a truth that directly applies to a situation our family has been facing.  I am so amazed at my God!!!  He is so good!!  He is so faithful!!!  He is so trustworthy.  And though sometimes doubts try to creep in, I will stand firm on His promise to be with me always and to lead me without fail.  There is no reason to fear when you know you are obeying God, because even when you can't see exactly what's going on, you know that when He is leading, you couldn't be any more safe.

Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous!
Do not tremble or be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you
wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


You should have been there to hear the conversation between my two girls.  Emily, 3, was asking me what "jail" was like (we were on our way to the courthouse to pay auto registration).  Ashlyn, 7, confidently interjected that jail is a dark place with "lots of bones and mice around."  Laughing to myself, I let it go at first, interested to see where this was going.  Emily continued, "Do they give them dollies to play with?"  I told her no, that people who are in jail probably wouldn't really be interested in dollies.  In what seemed like disbelief, she cried, "Dollies is fun to play with in jail!"

After answering numerous questions and explaining to them the difference between a modern jail cell and the dungeons they see in cartoons, I realized that both Emily and Ashlyn were speaking from their own perspectives and were having a bit of difficulty seeing from another point of view.  Unfortunately, that is something that is not easy to outgrow.  Isn't it true that we have a hard time understanding things when they are not exactly matched with our thoughts and ideas?  God has created all of us uniquely, with different thoughts and gifts and personalities, and sometimes we just have a hard time "understanding" each other.  It some cases it can cause divisions and strife.  I love what Paul writes in Romans 12:16-18, "Be of the same mind toward one another, do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly.  Do not be wise in your own estimation.  Never pay back evil for evil to anyone.  Respect what is right in the sight of all men.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men."  

Emily loves dollies.  She just could not understand why someone who is locked up would not want a dolly to play with.  As cute and silly as that is, we can't deny that we are the same way at times.  And like Ashlyn, it's not always intentional.  Sometimes it's just hard to get past our initial perspectives.  Music preferences.  Dress preferences.  Sermon preferences.  We need to grow beyond the thinking that our way is the only way and our opinion is the only right one.  As long as we have the same primary goals in mind--glorifying God with our lives and leading others to Christ with a Kingdom mindset--we can let our opinions be secondary.