Thursday, August 29, 2013

Nine things I learned in August


It’s the end of August.  The end of summer.  The end of kids staying in bed until they want to get up in the morning and the end of trips to the pool.  And as I look ahead at the rest of 2013  (which I’m a little excited and nervous to see what God knows and I don’t quite yet)  - I look back and see what I’ve learned in August.  Joining in with Emily Freeman and the community who’s also sharing what they’ve learned this past month.

#1  These days people throw Gender Reveal parties.  What?  I’ve never heard of such a thing until some friends at my scrapbook workshop informed me of this what-can-be elaborate event - and that means I’m getting old…or I need to find me some younger friends.   The soon-to-be parents go to the ultrasound, the M.D. sees the gender, and puts the answer whether the baby is a boy or girl in a sealed envelop.  Then the party planning beings!  Relative and friends create all sorts of activities to reveal the gender to the soon-to-be parents.  A cake is made with the color pink or blue inside of the cake being so when the cake is cut they find out the gender. You can put pink or blue balloons in a box and open it to see them flow out revealing a boy or girl and the list can go on with ways to reveal. Before the gender is revealed though they have games where people vote which they predict the baby will be.  So, maybe you didn’t know that and now you do like me.

#2 I learned if you’re 16 and older you have to have a fishing license but you can fish without a license if you’re younger than 16.   I, nor anyone in my family, have ever been fishers but when we went to the lake one weekend with friends who like to fish, I learned that fact.  I didn’t quite understand why age had anything to do with whether a license was needed to fish or not but my hubby said it’s like the restaurants who say: “If you’re 12 and under you get to eat free!”.   I like to see it that way as an encouragement for family time!  (There were lots of fish caught that weekend and tales told).


#3  It’s really possible to get 21 mosquito bites in just 3 minutes.  I went outside to cut some fresh flowers and was literally attacked by them.  I’ll spare you a picture of the huge whelps on my legs and arms.

#4  I’ve got to let my daughter make her own decisions when it comes to doing something “on her own”.   Even ideas of how a poster should be designed. (ouch)  She was making them for her bake sale to raise money to give to Feed the Hunger ministry who gave school supplies to students in desperate need.  I had a vision in my mind and I was trying to encourage her to do it the way I wanted it to look…but it was her idea to hold the bake sale so the poster should be her idea too!  It’s hard to “let go” of the thought that she’s not a young child anymore…she’s a preteen 10 year old turning into a beautiful young lady with a big heart.  (And she raised $105!)



#5   This is really a reminder instead of something learned but it hit home in a new way this month.  God has known *things* all along and prepares us for the right time and when it is, wants us to take that step of faith.  He has been whispering to me the past 2 months to lead a bible study to a group of women.  I ignored those whispers the past few months until this past month when His voice because more than a whisper – more like a loud cheer.  The cheer was a little pep rally where I heard  “You can do it - deep down inside - so bring it up, don’t let it hide!”   OK…that cheer may be a little cheesy but the words really are true.  It can also be said this way:  “Take that leap of faith and get out of your comfort zone -  you’ve been in it long enough.”   So I am and I’m excited.

#6  A friend told me about a must-read book I had never heard of.  She thought…or somehow just knew I needed to read it.  So, I got it and I’m only on page10 and the pages are more hot pink from the highlight marker than plain black ink on white paper.  The book is Anything by Jennie Allen.   Thanks Susan!


#7  There’s a ministry called Good Morning Girls.  It’s a pretty cool bible study and concept of how to guide women though the Word whether it’s with a group of people in your town or all through the world.  Check it out.

#8   I learned when you finally let out what’s been a battle and bottled up inside you for a long time, it’s a bittersweet release.  Bitter due to the fear of the unknown outcome but sweet knowing it was needed and the feeling of release brings hope. 

#9  I learned there’s a gathering in a barn I really want to go to in November and anxiously waiting for more details!


Thanks for stopping by and reading what I’ve learned this month.  What did you learn in August?  How about sharing it by making a comment below!

I hope you have a long weekend filled with rest and joy. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Who do you want to be?

It’s Five Minute Friday again!  Joining in with others who are writing for five minutes today including the word “LAST”.


I caught myself saying the words I’m trying not to say these days… “I want to be like my…”, or “I want to be like that…”

I want to be like that person who can make people laugh.

I want to be like my neighbor who runs in marathons.

I want to be like Mother Theresa who has served the poor and has said some of the most poignant phrases that really make you think.

I want to be like my friend who’s bold enough to speak Truth when needed.

I want to be like that woman at the grocery store I saw last week whose cart is filled only with healthy food…and really thinks it tastes better than a bag or chips or mint chocolate chip ice cream.

I want to be like that those other Christian bloggers who have hundreds of followers who pour into their laps…or laptops.

I want to be a better wife and mom.


It’s not always bad to have people inspire you to make changes in your life – it can actually be a good thing and even needed.  But when “I want to be like”  becomes a comparison game -that’s not needed.


Why not say,

I want to be more like Jesus.

I want to be like Jesus who puts God first in all things.

I want to be like Jesus who prays and prays and prays.

I want to be like Jesus who lives to change the lives of people who are lost in this crazy world and who need a relationship with God.

I want to be like Jesus who selflessly puts others’ needs before his own.

I want to be like Jesus who doesn’t compare or judge people by their appearance.

I want to be like Jesus who loves to love.


I’d love for you fill in the blank “I want to be like Jesus who ________________” and share it in my comments. 



Have a relaxing, last summer month weekend!






Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My prayer today


God, You are present and I thank You.

Your Spirit allows us to be transparent and vulnerable.

Your right hand is in all things.

Your plan and purpose is always for the good, even when there’s fog and hard to see it.

You are righteous, holy…and intentional.

You give the gift of challenge and change so we can depend on You more.

You restore relationships, renew purpose, and reignite the flame of determination that can make a difference for good.

You give us grace; let us give the grace to others.

You give us wisdom through Your Word; may we study it, marinate it, be convicted by it, and live by it.

May we know how to balance grace and words of boldness.

May You speak Truth through love so we can do the same.

May the brokenhearted find rest in You.

May release bring healing only through You.

May I live wholly and completely for You.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Oh the possibilities for those kids!

A few weeks ago, when the big signs with pictures of pencils and books and the words “Back to School”, were hung from the ceilings with care at well-known stores, it made me laugh.  It reminded me of a commercial I saw a few years ago of a dad skipping with glee while pushing a shopping cart filled with school supplies to the classic Christmas song, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” as the kids hang their heads and drag along behind their dad. 

Oh, how much we take for granted the ability to ride a few minutes down the street and fill our cart with the items on the list of items needed for the first day of school.  There are so many children who literally would giggle with excitement if they had the money to go and buy some new school supplies like “everyone else”.  

It’s back to school season.  There are thousands of children who are lucky if their family gets enough money to feed them one meal a day and a place to sleep, much less have the funds to buy basic supplies for school. 

A graduate student in Arkansas, Katherine Russell, experienced first hand what it was like to be with children who lived in broken lives and poverty and were in need of basic school supplies.  Katherine went on a mission trip with Feed the Hunger, a ministry passionate about feeding the physical and spiritual hunger of children in underprivileged parts of the world, including the United States. 

Ever since then, she has been an advocate for raising funds for school supplies for children in need.   Here’s Katherine’s story:


In the Summer of 2011, I traveled to Kenya with Feed The Hunger. Since returning home, I still remember the beautiful trees, the talented women, and the hardworking men. But most vividly, I remember the contagious excitement children showed while they were at school.  Their smiles and energy could light up a room. Each of us have the opportunity to continue these precious smiles by participating in the Feed The Hunger school supplies drive! The school supplies donated are guaranteed to put a smile on the children's faces in US schools and schools overseas. More importantly, I feel that these school supplies will aid in children’s education to conquer their unending dreams! I feel that a box of crayons will give a child the chance to color a beaming sun, a pencil will give a child a chance to exceed in mathematics, and a rim of paper will give a child a chance to further his writing dream. The possibilities that can come from our giving of school supplies are endless.  


That’s why I am joining with Feed the Hunger by raising funds and providing supplies so that children in the many different programs can get a better education.  Will you join me?

Will you?

After showing our daughter this need, she decided to have a bake sale this week and every penny collected she wants to donate to Feed the Hunger (FTH), who are leaving at the end of this week to deliver supplies that were purchased with the donations given for this Back to School drive.  The drive ends THIS WEEK, but you still have the opportunity today through Wednesday at 5pm (EST) to contribute.  The school supplies will be delivered by volunteers and staff from FTH to children in Kentucky and then Jamaica.

Would you family consider doing so?  To find out more, click below.


While most of us have already bought school supplies for the start of school, or have it on the to-do list this week, there’s still a dire need for many other children to get theirs’ too but don’t have the funds to get them.  Will you help bring a smile to a child and even more - an education that can one day help that child to make a Kingdom difference in this world?

Friday, August 16, 2013

You life is My prayer

Today is Five Minute Friday where join in with others who volunteer to vulnerably write the first words that come to might right after reading the word SMALL for just five minutes. 


The Word says, “My life is God’s prayer.” 

God says to you, “Your life is My prayer.”

God is praying for me?  Does God need to pray?  No, He doesn’t need to pray…He longs to.  God didn’t design prayer to be where I’m the only one talking, who just pours out all my problems like pouring wasted water down the sink.  He wants more than just a quick request in the morning as I run out the door asking for Him to be with me and that be the only time that day when I think of Him. 

There’s got to be more. There got to be communication.  God wants to have a conversation with you all day long.  Even if our prayer seems small or is asking what seems an enormous request, God wants us to tell Him.  Prayer is a conversation.  God wants to be in conversation all day with us…and every day of our lives.

When we are in communication with the Holy God, we are praying together.   He longs to tell us the plans he has for us that plants dreams inside our hearts.  He wants to tell us the stories of days gone by where He’s done miracles and has power to conquer battles inside and out.   He wants to talk to us about his Writing, which is Truth, and the wisdom and protection we can gain from it.  He wants to tell us we are beautiful, worthy, and blessed…and that He loves us more than words can describe.



Monday, August 12, 2013

We Need our Space


The first duty of love is to listen.”  (Paul Tillich)

I heard those words spoken during the message at church yesterday and they haven’t gone away. 


What does that show about my love?

Has there been time to listen lately?  It doesn’t seem like it. There’s only two weeks left until school begins.  Even though I enjoy summer and more free time without an agenda, the end of the break can drag on.  I think most of that is because I’m more disciplined when it comes to not only a routine, but also for my quite time during the school year…and I need it. 

Confession: In the summer I struggle with being disciplined to wake up early enough to really pray and listen.  I try to pray while I walk the dog in the morning but my mind drifts off to so many different random thoughts and it frustrates me. 

Many thoughts rush through the crowded mind filled with random thoughts.  Worries and busyness smother the ideas, the dream, the calling.

But it’s still my responsibility to make space in my day to spend time with God.   Be disciplined to make space.

We need our space(I almost bought this hat at Kennedy Space Center when we were there in January and I wish I had now!)


We need to make space in our daily lives to listen to our hearts and to God. 

The first duty of love is to listen.” 

To listen to our children tell us stories, even though they are detailed information about the game just played.  To listen to how your spouse’s day was.  Make the time to listen to a friend who needs to “spill it all out”…the struggles being faced and not just chitchat about the great bargains found at the store or your calendar for the rest of the year.  Most essential is to listen to God because if we didn’t do that first, all those other things would be harder to do.

Lately I’ve been hearing the same words but I then brush them off.  I don’t stop to simply listen.  I haven’t taken the words and made them into a question back to God.  OK, so here it goes….Why do those thoughts keep coming to my mind?  Is this something You’re wanting me to do?  How will I have the time? 

Then God says “When and how will you make the time?”

And that’s where I need to listen to my heart.  And the heart is where love is stored.  It’s the part of yourself that keeps you living, gives you momentum, gives you the desire to dream, gives you opportunities to listen, gives you ample amounts of ways to offer that love back to God and gives you the hands and the feet to give that love to others. 

Through love, we weren’t designed to just hear. God wants us to listen and then follow.

Make that space.  Make that space.  And listen as an offering to God.


Joys counted last week

#1603  buying a dozen of Paul’s Donuts for some teenage staff at drama camp

#1604  daughter’s bravery to be in a play


#1605  bright pink crepe myrtle right outside our window



#1606  spontaneous lunch date

#1607  air condition

#1608  cold bottled water on a hot day…and in a hot theater.

#1609  Frosties with family

#1610  “The first duty of love is to listen”  Paul Tillich

#1611  We don’t have to settle for just chitchat with God

#1612  God gives us friends so we can “spill it all out”.

#1613  “God’s in charge, not you – the less you speak, the better.”  Ecclesiastes 5:3 (MSG)

#1614  son hitting some golf balls with pretty good form!



#1615  son teaching his friend golf techniques his grandfather taught him

Friday, August 9, 2013

What a Higher Love and 80’s music have in common

It’s Friday and that means it’s Five Minute Friday where Lisa-Jo gives a word and write about it for 5 minutes…whatever the first thoughts come to mind after reading that word.  Today’s word is “LONELY”


I’m given the word “lonely” and what’s the first thought that comes to mind? 

Just a small town girl, Living in a lonely world…”  what 80’s song or band is that line from?

It makes me think of the songs I grew up listening to - and making up dance routines with my friends to…the 80’s pop music on the radio or cassette tapes I heard from my boom box.  For those who know me, I’m a 70s and early 80s Michael Jackson songs fan (I must confess) and my husband even threw a surprise 80's birthday party for me last year – with MJ songs to dance to, of course.


But one of my all time favorite 80’s songs is Higher Love by Steve Winwood.

Worlds are turning and we're just hanging on
Facing our fear and standing out there alone
A yearning, and it's real to me
There must be someone who's feeling for me
Things look so bad everywhere
In this whole world, what is fair?
We walk blind and we try to see
Falling behind in what could be
Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Where's that higher love I keep thinking of?

…Let me feel that love come over me”

And back then I was a teenager. There was a longing in my heart for that Higher Love, but I either didn’t realize that’s what I was longing for or I kept ignoring the gift of that true love that was in my lap.  I wouldn’t open it.  I just danced to the music and sang the songs like the rest of the world but there was a feeling of something more.  A feeling of a hole that needed to be filled.  But I was choosing to fill it with other things. There was something so close yet with my stubbornness, immaturity and conformity (or peer pressure), I chose not to pursue the true Love until I was in my 20s in the 90s.

Yes, we are still living in a lonely world where majority of the people do not know Jesus or if they hear about Him choose not to believe.  Choose to conform with today’s culture.  Choose to live life for self gain.  Choose not to receive and open the gift of joy and peace that only God can give.

Even in the midst of those 80’s pop songs written with a worldly view, there were still some that made the top charts with words expressing a longing for something better, something deeper, something to fill a void in the restless hearts. 

There have been what has felt like lonely days in my life, but oh how grateful I am that God has never left me alone.  I might not have felt it at the time but He never left my side, holding out His hand to give me that ‘Higher Love’...Himself.  The One Love that lifts you high above loneliness, guilt, and pain.  



OK…for fun!  Do you have a favorite 80’s song or band?  I’d love for you to share (or admit to it) in my comments! 



Monday, August 5, 2013

A calling to share

As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’ve been reading more of Oswald Chamber.  This is one of his writings I read today and just feel like sharing this in my little corner.  This becomes my prayer today for those who want questions answered, for those who just want to slow down and for those who want to understand God more. 

“God called Jesus Christ to what seemed absolute disaster.  And Jesus Christ called His disciples to see Him put to death, leading every one of them to the place where their hearts were broken.  His life was an absolute failure from every standpoint except God’s.  But what seemed to be failure from man’s standpoint was to triumph from God’s standpoint, because God’s purpose is never the same as man’s purpose.

Our real test is in truly believing that God knows what He desires. The things that happen do not happen by chance – they happen entirely by the decree of God.  God is sovereignly working out His own purposes.

If we are in fellowship and oneness with God and recognize that He is taking us into His purpose, then we will no longer strive to find out what His purposes are.  As we grow in the Christian life, it becomes simpler to us, because we are less included to say, ‘I wonder why God allowed this or that?’  And we begin to see that the compelling purpose of God lies behind everything in life, and that God is divinely shaping us into oneness with that purpose.  A Christian is someone who trusts in the knowledge of the wisdom of God not in his own abilities.  If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys that simplicity and the calm, relaxed pace which should be characteristic of the children of God.”

Wow.  Am I destroying the simplicity of God’s pace, trying to do things in my own often-too-quick-pace, as He’s trying to form me into His image?  

Lord, I simply want to trust Your sovereignty.  I simply what to trust Your compelling purpose.  Make it clear to me how you can use me to bring you glory.  Make it simpler for me to grasp, in this complex world that won’t slow down, the rest we can have in You.


Joys counted last week


#1583  me and the kids picking blueberries with our friend, Mitchie



#1584  blueberry crunch

#1585  a basket full of ripe blueberries right off the bush


#1586  ripe bunches that fall in your hand




#1587  celebrating 16 years with my husband

#1588  friend who offered to take the kids when we go on a date

#1589  coconut shrimp

#1590  key lime pie

#1591 a new book

#1592  took first e-course class

#1593  daughter enjoying theater camp

#1594  old school buildings

#1595  watching “Great and Powerful Oz” at family movie night

#1596  gift at 10am  eating a late breakfast, because we all slept in late, of fresh blueberry pancakes my husband made


#1597  gift at 1pm – clean sheets, clothes put away, dusted and vacuumed bedroom

#1598  gift at 10pm-  conversation about rap with son and how we’re to have a mushy heart for God to form

#1599  opportunity to teach about God wanting his children to keep trying and not give up that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

#1600  a comment from a friend

#1601  Jarm’s message in reference to Romans 10:8-11 in The Message (emphasis added)

“…Say the welcoming word to God—“Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!”

11 Scripture reassures us, “No one who trusts God like this—heart and soul—will ever regret it.”

#1602  Our family talking on Skyp with friend in Italy


multitudesonmondaysbutton2-1_thumbJoining with Ann Voskamp counting thanks to God

Friday, August 2, 2013

Love and Security

Today’s our 16th wedding anniversary!


My husband has been the solid rock in our family and our marriage.  He’s never left my side, my hand…or my heart. 

He never quits, never gives up, and tells me every night before we go to sleep that he loves me.

Every day, the past 16-plus years of our lives together though, hasn’t been like a romantic love story seen in the movies or read in a book.  How often does that happen?

The past 16 years, more times than not, there’s nothing about me that’s romantic.  But through the years, underneath stretch marks, some extra bulge, quirks and bad habits is his love that doesn’t fail.

He puts up with my stubbornness, laziness, quietness (and some days silence would be a better description), doubts, fears and insecurities

Yet I know we’re secure.  We are secure with each other and know we are secure in God. 

Love is secure even in the midst of daily struggles.  Love grows stronger when challenges are overcome. “God does not give us overcoming life – he gives us life as we overcome.”  (Oswald Chambers) 

There’s been days when our kids want to test their boundaries, when it’s been a hard day at work, when we take our frustrations of other things out on each other.  But when we remember the covenant we promised each other, there’s always that security net in our marriage for each other that will catch us when we feel like we’re failing and falling.

And then we realize we’re really just falling in love with each other more.

I. am. so. thankful.



Also joining in today with Five Minute Friday and today’s word is “story”.