Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What I love about Republic Wireless

We just updated our cell phone plans.  Said farewell to our old service from a big-name carrier and our old "dumb phones."  Now we have smartphones at a great price and unlimited talk, texting, and data for an even better price through Republic Wireless!  (And no, I'm not getting paid to write this!)

But what I think I love the most about Republic is—well, it's a tie—their simplicity and their friendly customer service.  Their website is super easy to navigate (and easy to understand), and everything about them oozes positivity and excitement.  It makes the big-name carriers seem stodgy and full of themselves.

And that's all I have to say about it for now! :)

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Kindness makes a person attractive.
If you would win the world,
melt it,
do not hammer it.

-Alexander MacLaren

I think the same can be said about parenting. :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Getting through the rough spots

Sometimes when I'm homeschooling, I get frustrated because I want to stick to "the list" and get the tasks done—and not have to deal with diversions (interruptions, attitudes, etc.).

Here's what Deborah Wuehler, senior editor of The Homeschool Minute, has to say...
"Instead of looking at everyday life issues and attitudes as obstacles to doing what we want to do, we need to look at the obstacles as part of the life God intended for us to live, and teach around those. It's how we live that life that brings glory to the One Who designed it."

What great insight!  The obstacles are part of the life God intends for us to live!  To break it down further... a "successful life" isn't getting through the "task list"—but how we live out life, obstacles and all!

Another old paradigm bites the dust. :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Victory in Christ!

I love modern worship songs.  They are so joy-filled!  If you had asked me yesterday whether I prefer hymns or modern worship music, I would have emphatically said the latter!  But this morning I have an old hymn ringing around in my head—A Mighty Fortress is Our God.   As the words started pouring into my mind, I started to cry!  I love the truths about the unseen battle going on around us and that GOD will PREVAIL!!  (This is one thing that modern worship songs are lacking!)

I just feel compelled to write out the words... they are so amazing!  Wait!  Don't tune out yet!  Please read them... they will encourage your soul!

A mighty fortress is our God,
A sword and shield victorious;
He breaks the cruel oppressor's rod
And wins salvation glorious.
The old satanic foe
Has sworn to work us woe!
With craft and dreadful might
He arms himself to fight.
On earth he has no equal.

No strength of ours can match his might!
We would be lost, rejected.
But now a Champion comes to fight,
Whom God Himself elected.
You ask who this may be?
The Lord of Hosts is He!
Christ Jesus, mighty Lord,
God's only Son, adored.
He holds the field victorious.

Through hordes of devils fill the land
All threatening to devour us,
We tremble not, unmoved we stand;
They cannot overpower us.
Let this world's tyrant rage;
In battle we'll engage!
His might is doomed to fail;
God's judgment must prevail!
One little word subdues him.

God's Word forever shall abide,
No thanks to foes, who fear it;
For God Himself fights by our side
With weapons of the Spirit.
Were they to take our house,
Goods, honor, child, or spouse,
Though life be wrenched away,
They cannot win the day.
The Kingdom's ours forever!

(text by Martin Luther)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The heart behind parenting

This quote from Jim and Lynne Jackson struck me as a pivotal concept in how we train and discipline our children:

"It is often said that consistency is an important key to effective parenting. We agree wholeheartedly.
"However, we believe consistency is not so much about the method we choose, but the heart behind the method. If our heart is consistently operating from an abundance of God’s grace and truth in our lives, we can effectively use any variety of methods for dealing with our children’s misbehavior. But if our heart is filled with frustration, fear, or anger, no method for dealing with misbehavior is likely to be effective."


"Faith does not eliminate questions.
But faith knows
where to take them."
-Linda Watkins

Saturday, October 18, 2014

He will show me the path of life

Oh my.  It's been a long time since I've blogged.  Can you tell school is in session again? :)  Not only have I been striving hard to stay motivated to home-educate my 9-year-old, but also to be disciplined with my health goals which include: daily exercise, eating whole foods, no processed food, no coffee, no joy, and drinking 72 oz. of water daily.  (This isn't just some optional "nice thing to do"—it is vital to my mental and emotional health!)

Those two focal points consume a ton of my energy (physically and mentally).  Add in maintaining the house (cooking, cleaning, laundry—the usual stuff) and I seem to have little energy left to connect heart-to-heart with my Lord... which leaves me feeling spiritually dull.

Earlier this week I read this bit of inspiration in a weekly e-newsletter called The Homeschool Minute.  It was sort of one of those "V8 moments" (if you remember those old commercials!). Senior editor Deborah Wuehler writes about being strengthened by "eating Godly bread" throughout the day, and gives this example about how to meditate on a Bible verse:

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalms 16:11  
  1. You will show me the path of life: Nothing and no one is able show me the path for my life or for the lives of those around me except God. I can read books or blogs, talk to friends, purchase the right curriculum, but ultimately it is God alone who will show us His path, the reason we are here, and how to live. If I am lacking direction, I have probably begun to walk in my own understanding instead of seeking His.
  2. In Your presence is fullness of joy: Nothing else and no one else can bring me joy. I can look for joy in many things, but will only find it in one thing: the presence of the Lord. I can look for joy in material wealth, or physical healing or close relationships. I may hope for joy in dreams fulfilled or just in the lack of chaos. But I will never find fullness until I am in His presence. It's not about the things in this life that have to come to me in order to bring joy. It's not about the things in this life that have to leave me in order to have joy. It's all about me in the presence of God and the presence of God in me!
  3. At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore: I tend to seek pleasure away from closeness with God. I am prone to wander and look for pleasure in earthly things or people. I think I will find it in time to myself and by myself. Pleasure is found at the right hand of God. Stay close to Him. A wandering heart will only find pain and loneliness and confusion. Wander right back to Him. We can sit in the heavenly places with Christ even if we are on this earth as we fix our hearts, souls and minds on Him; He is our pleasure.  
I just really, really needed to read that TRUTH about where my joy—fullness of joy—comes from: His presence!  Seems like a woman who has been walking with the Lord for 18 years shouldn't need to be reminded... but I know I need to schedule-in that precious time with Jesus!  Nothing I pursue on earth can replace the joy of His presence and the peace that only He can give!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

We're a work in progress

This is my new mantra:  We're a work in progress.

It is SO much easier to handle the day-to-day stresses involved in child-rearing when you realize and accept that you cannot control the outcome, but you can trust God to work all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28)!

I am reminded of Philippians 1:6... The One who has begun His good work in you will go on developing it until the day of Jesus Christ.  (Phillips)  We all make mistakes. Sometimes intentionally.  [Gasp!]  But we are a "work in progress" which God is developing... molding... shaping... continually refining... until Jesus returns!  We won't "arrive" at perfection here on this earth.  Perfection is really not the focus—growth is.

I also think of Philippians 2:13... For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. (NLT)  Have you ever felt disappointed in your behavior?  Guess what?  It is GOD who has given you the desire to please Him!  He also doesn't give us an impossible task—He will give us the power to do what pleases Him too.

Ahhh.  Proper perspective makes such a difference!

Monday, August 18, 2014


If I got a chance to do it again—buying a house, that is—I would choose a house where the bedrooms are upstairs and the kitchen, dining room, and living room (which would be on the main level, of course) are open and flow together without walls between them.  Here's why.

My children are early risers.  I am too.  However, I would like to rise before they do.  But, living in a rambler—where the main living area and bedrooms are on the same floor—if I'm making any noise in the kitchen, they hear me and get up.  What's the point of getting up at 5:30 if the chil'uns are up then too?

Regarding having what I believe they refer to as a "great room" these days—having the kitchen, dining room, and living room one open space without dividing walls—would be beneficial for parental supervision purposes.  Presently, I can be working in the kitchen and all kinds of shenanigans and tom foolery are going on at the dining room table, of which origin I cannot discern because I do not have x-ray vision!

Anyway... just thinking.  Truthfully, I am happy with my humble abode, all in all.  We have a warm, cozy home in a safe neighborhood with kind neighbors.  What more could we ask for?  (Well... er... see above... hee hee)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Understanding the world of boys

One of my favorite blogs/ministries is Raising Real Men.  These folks—Hal and Melanie Young—have a window into my world.  They have six sons and two daughters! 

Today I happened upon this terrific advice.  (It comes out of the middle of a blog post entitled It Seems I'm Always Yelling.)
Don’t be put off by comments from parents in different circumstances. A wise man once wrote, “Once I had no children but six theories about raising them. I now have six children and no theories.”  We had a friend with several daughters who was blessed with a boy at the end; after a couple of years, she went to all her friends with sons and apologized. “I thought you must be poor parents, with all that noise and energy and dirt going on,” she said. “Now I know.”  Often times we really don’t know the challenges our friends are facing, and we should give them the same grace we want for ourselves. Smile, thank them for their concern, and follow what the Scripture and experience tell you!

I love that quote from the guy who had many theories about parenting before having children!  (I walked in those shoes, too!)  Ultimately, we don't know the challenges other parents are facing... and we should never judge.  Give them grace—and give yourself the same grace!  Seek God earnestly for direction in parenting your children... in your set of circumstances! 

...And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus... 
[Hebrews 12:1-2]

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chores and developing character

I don't think I needed to be convinced that chores are good for children.  But this little snippit written by Marilyn Rockett really sums it up:

The lessons our children need to master are greater than how to make a bed, vacuum a floor, clean a toilet, or consistently feed a pet.  They need to develop perseverance, stewardship of possessions, cheerful service to others, teamwork, selflessness, completing a  job they start, and working with excellence as unto the Lord. †

To rephrase it, by doing chores our children aren't just learning housekeeping skills.  They're gaining valuable character lessons in:
  • perseverance
  • stewardship of possessions
  • cheerful service to others
  • teamwork
  • selflessness
  • completing a job they start
  • working with excellence as unto the Lord

I'll admit, I'm often tempted to just do the household chores myself—not necessarily because I just love doing them, but because I can do them more efficiently, and with a whole lot less complaining! (hah!)  But when I see the benefits of children doing chores "spelled out" in these terms, it helps me make the effort to keep my boys on track with their daily tasks. 

† From "PACE Yourself: Plan, Assign, Change, Execute" by Marilyn Rockett, which appeared in The Paper MACHE magazine, August/September 2014 issue

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

You can do it, Mom!

I read this li'l bit of encouragement this morning, written by a homeschooling mom regarding teaching handwriting:

"Keep persevering. He (or she) will need those skills. Sometimes the best weapons in a homeschool mom’s arsenal are a thick skin and a persistent attitude!"
-Gretchen Roe

Yes!  I needed to remember that!!! :)  This golden nugget can be applied to any area of homeschooling or parenting!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Friday, June 20, 2014

My son, the animal lover

"Mom! Look!  I found a slug!" he says as he ascends the stairs from the basement.

Great, I think to myself.  What kind of disgusting creature did he find down there now?

I start to reach for a paper towel, when he proudly shows me his prized slug—and it really is a slug—which he is holding in his hands.  Which he found. In. Our. Basement.  Gross.

So I made him suggested that he put it into a container... and then wash his hands.

He adores the darn thing!  "I'm going to call him Slimy!" he says.  Yuck.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

User error

I learned something important about sunblock today.  When it says on the back of the bottle that you should reapply it every 2 hours, they aren't just being over-precautious. 

I think they really meant it.  Looks like Mom won't be hanging out at the pool for a few days. :(

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Look who lost a tooth!

Ta-da!  Finally Ryan lost his first tooth.  (Note that the permanent tooth is already right there behind it!)  It has been wiggly for so long, I finally convinced him to let me pull it out for him.  (I had to use a scrap of paper towel to grasp the slippery little thing!)  He is quite pleased with this new milestone. :)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mothers Day

I thought this was really appropriate!
(From the Home School Legal Defense Association)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Daily connection!

When a believer does not depend on God to meet his daily needs, his love for God grows cold.  This is why we should read our Bibles and connect with God every day!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday: Jesus' sacrifice

"No one takes my life away from me.  I give it up of my own free will."  (John 10:18)

"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many."  (Matthew 20:28)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

God redeems the "messy" life

Last weekend I got to thinking about the Parable of the Prodigal Son (found in Luke 15:11-32).  I don't know about you, but I guess I've always thought the moral to the story was: Don't walk away from God—but if you do, and then you make the decision to come back to Him, He will welcome you with open arms and rejoicing.

But there's more to the story than the brother who walked away.  There's also the brother who didn't walk away—the brother who stayed with his father and "did the right thing."  He did do the right thing, didn't he? 

As you look at the story more closely, you see that the "other" brother was bitter... resentful that he had chosen to "do the right thing" and yet his father was celebrating the return of his irresponsible brother (from his perspective).  Hmm.  Is that really, um, right? 

It would appear that perhaps God is more pleased with one who walks away but then makes the right choice to come back to Him, than the one who never strays outwardly but is resentful and judgmental on the inside!

So that brings me to thinking about parenting.  Is it my primary goal to keep my child from being the prodigal?  Certainly, no one wants their child to walk away from the Lord.  (And I don't want to downplay the dangers there.)  But am I more concerned about the stigma of a prodigal child—because you know some people will wonder what you did wrong in your parenting journey—than I am about having a judgmental, prideful child whose confidence is in his "right" behavior?

Like, there might be a trap there of worrying about the stigma of having a prodigal (a child walk away from the Lord)—and just wanting a child who does the right things and looks good outwardly, reflecting my excellent parenting skills?  It can be a fear of man thing driving our parenting goals.  And that fear can lead to anger, despair, and other emotions that influence how we respond to our children...  Though, I think it can be intermingled with a legitimate concern and desire for our children to love the Lord more than anything else in the world and to live for Him!  (It's complicated!)

It's just interesting to think about.  God is *so* about redemption!  It's all about what JESUS DID, not the "good deeds" I do—because I can't earn right-standing with Him!   Yes, I still strive to be perfect (it's the curse of many first-borns)—but consider that perhaps it's the "messy" life God redeems that is more precious and beautiful to Him!  That means there's hope for imperfect people like me. :)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

"Right" with Him because of what HE did

I've been exchanging comments on someone else's blog, and it's got me thinking more deeply about my "performance" as a Christ-follower and God's grace.  One blogger wrote:

>> Legalism robs us of joy, but it does give us a sense of security; it is scary when that security is pulled out from under us…but it forces us out of our comfort zone and to find that security in Christ alone.<<

So I started thinking... Legalism does give a sort of warped sense of security—we think if we just follow this list of rules, we're good to go!  But once we start trying to follow a list of "rules" we realize it's unachievable (that's what happened to me)—which robs your joy—and is not God's plan!

Perhaps that's why things go the way they do in life... why X plus Y often doesn't equal Z.  Because God wants us to rely on HIM in everything, not a [predictable?] list of rules.  I think God is happier when we rely on Him—for direction AND for His grace to cover our messes!—than when we strive to do everything "perfectly" or "the right way" (whatever we perceive that to be!).

That's where the freedom is: knowing we are SECURE IN CHRIST right in the midst of our messes—because He chose to lay down His life to pay the penalty for our sins—not secure with Him because of our "good deeds."

That's my big thing right now: trying to grasp that my "rightness" with God is because of what HE did, not because of anything I have done!  (The moment I start thinking I'm a "good Christian" I am already counting on my good deeds!)

I'm so thankful for God's patience and His grace!!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Engage the world!

"The Kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies—not with the bad people but the devout people.  O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ!  If Christ had done what you're doing, who would ever have been spared?"
~Martin Luther (1483-1546)

If you've read the Bible, you know that this is what Jesus preached—and it's what He lived out.  We must stop judging others!  And stop hiding from those who are unbelievers!  Jesus calls us to imitate Him—and He lived with love and patience amongst "notorious sinners."  (And aren't we all?!)

Love triumphs.  Love brings about change.  Hate and anger and violence will never bring about change-for-the-better.

"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."  ~Jesus (Matthew 5:44)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Comfort... my arch nemesis...

Comfort.  I value comfort more than I often realize.  (I'll bet most of us do.)  Do I value living for Jesus more than comfort?  Am I willing to make sacrifices of my precious time, my money, my preferences, or even my rights... for His glory?  Am I willing to step out where He's leading?  Would I be to set aside the things I love which bring me comfort (think: coffee, computer time, or whatever) for His greater purposes??  Not saying those things are bad... just interesting to examine whether I'd even be willing to set them aside if He asked me to.

Here's a little snippit from the  Focus on the Family broadcast on 4/3/14.

Jim Daly: People tend to, in my observation, we lean toward comfort. That's the human nature. Even in a Christian context. We want life to be comfortable. We pray for life to be comfortable!  Is that right or wrong?

Dr. Arnie Cole:  I'm not saying whether it's right or wrong, I'm saying yes, you're reading a trend very clearly. To me, as a Christ follower, I look for people who want to "win the day" spiritually, if you will. ...  A lot of people define comfort as winning the day spiritually. But I'm looking at what makes a difference in your spiritual life. And oftentimes comfort is problematic for people.

Something to think about!!

The pressure's off: Jesus paid it all!

From our weekly e-Green church newsletter...


Simply Flourish
Pastor Spencer Bernard

It's easy to over-complicate the Christian life. There are endless debates and words written over the nuances of our faith. Sometimes it's helpful to simplify and remind ourselves of some of the basics. The Apostle Paul helps us out:

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT

Ok, based on this verses here are some essentials to our faith..

You are a receiver, not an earner. As the hymn says, Jesus paid it all. Understanding and believing this chips away many negative things in us. For example, there's pride. How can we be prideful when we haven't earned what we have in Jesus? Or anxiousness. Why be anxious when Christ's work on the cross is perfect and complete? It also plants in us positive things such as thankfulness, humility and a foundation of joy. Breathe in and out deeply a few times and remind yourself. The pressure's off, Jesus paid it all. The Christian life begins at the finish line, not the starting line. You already have victory, now run the race!

You are dearly loved and valued. Imagine Van Gogh or Picasso looking at one of their paintings and thinking "Ah, yes..this is absolutely perfect." Imagine Bach or Beethoven hearing one of their compositions and knowing not a single note needs to be changed, or even could be changed without ruining the composition. That's how God sees you, because of Christ.

Yes, you!

Remind yourself. Say a couple times out loud  "because of Christ, I am God's masterpiece." Does it make you feel uncomfortable to call yourself a masterpiece? Than keep saying it. It's the truth!

Your purpose is good deeds. More than just your purpose, your abilities, desires and opportunities are not random. God planned these for you long ago. Stop and reflect on that for a moment.

God planned specific things for you to do!

It's by doing good deeds that we reflect God's glory back to him. It's also how we reflect his glory to others. Wondering what to do? Ask The Lord "Father, how can I serve you today?" I think he'll answer you if you really ask. But wait..

It gets even better..

Jesus once said we find true life by giving our lives away. In Proverbs it says those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. In other words, the way way we enjoy a rich a satisfying life is to contribute to others. God designed us for this, so we flourish when we do it.

So go flourish!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

He *wants* to help us!

"I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart; I have overcome the world."

~Jesus (quoted in John 16:33)

He loves us!  He wants to help us!  He's trying to tell us things... so we need to read His Word (the Bible)!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Baking soda, my hero

Yes, strange as it may sound, baking soda has become my hero!  I am convinced it can clean up virtually anything sticky or greazy.  (Yes, I spelled that with a Z on purpose.)

It all started a few months ago when my in-laws were visiting.  I was lamenting to my mother-in-law how diligently I 'd been trying to keep my new stove top free of cooked-on stains, but I despaired that I had lost the battle.  She inquired, "Have you tried baking soda?"

Seriously.  I have tried everything under the sun—everything short of a hammer and chisel.  Soaking the spot with boiling water.  Lots of dishsoap.  Vinegar.  Goo-gone.  Even the harshest chemical cleaners won't budge those cooked-on spots!

So there she went and dumped a small amount of baking soda next to the burner, and with a wet washcloth she dabbed at the baking soda and began to gently rub it in circles on the stain.  Voila!  With minimal effort, the cooked-on spots disappeared!  I was astounded!  (I may have even danced a little jig, but my memory doesn't serve me very well these days...)

Now baking soda is my "go-to" cleaner.  I have used it on sticky countertops, pans with baked-on cooking spray, and even the bathtub!  Better yet, it's not harsh on your hands (or your nostrils).  And it's cheap!

Go ahead and try it!  Once you pick your jaw up off the floor, you'll be grinning from ear to ear.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

It's a ...

"Ohhh ... a guinea pig...."

That was the kind cashier's smiling response to Ryan's declaration at Barnes & Noble today.  We visited the retailer because the boys had each earned a "prize" by reading 25 books—a little incentive program I set up.

The prize is the book of their choosing, under $10.  Ryan's "guinea pig" was a delight that he chose to spend his own money on.  He has a tender spot for animals... at least of the stuffed variety.  "Aww, it's so cute!" he had cooed when he spotted the roly-poly rabbit... er, guinea pig.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What HE has done!

I was journaling on a chunk of verses from Romans chapter 4.  Here's the part that really struck me:

...God will also count us as righteous if we believe in Him—the One who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.  He was handed over to die because of our sins, and He was raised to life to make us right with God. (Romans 4:24-25)

As I began to apply this to my own life, I started writing,

"God will also count me as righteous if I believe in Him" (verse 24).  The word righteous has gotten me hung up in the past  "Me? Righteous? Hasn't He seen what I've done?!"

And right there He spoke to my heart, "Of course I have—but haven't you seen what my Son has done?!!!"

That was such a sweet interchange—God showing me that what Jesus did (dying on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins) is far greater than my sin could ever be!  This is part of why I am loving the SOAP journaling—because it is a tool for God to affect you deeply... to speak to you in a very personal way... it brings God's Word to life in the depths of your heart and soul!  I urge you to try it (see my blog entry here: http://www.onelife2liv.blogspot.com/2013/12/have-you-heard-of-soaping.html).  I believe it will change your life!

(To get more of the context of this Scripture passage, read Romans 4:21-25.  Or for that matter, read the whole chapter... or the whole book of Romans!  Especially in the New Living Translation (NLT)—I find it to be the most understandable and profound!)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My husband the soup maker

My husband has always been a pretty good cook.  When we first got married (nearly 13 years) he did all the cooking!  But when we started having babies... and I was at home all day with our newborn son... Jon posed the question.  THE question.  Wouldn't it make more sense for me to cook supper, since I'm home all day?  Hmph.

Well, I did end up taking over the helm in the kitchen—albeit reluctantly at first—and I must say I've learned a lot in the 8 years that I've been "head chef"—and my cooking skills have become "not too shabby" in my book!  I even kind of like it!

Now that Jon is home all the time (due to a layoff) he occasionally assists me with meal prep.  And this man makes some amazing soup! 

Just look at that!  Chicken and rice soup—waaaay better than the stuff from a can!  He even made his own chicken stock from the leftover bones of a rotisserie chicken!  Just had to brag on my man. :)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Is humanism creeping into your worldview?

I was recently reading a post from a very inspiring, convicting blog when I came across this thought:
Humanism is the belief that all things exist for man’s good and betterment, and therefore man determines right and wrong; Christianity is the belief that man exists for God, and as such, He knows what is best for us...  The two [sets of beliefs] are antagonistic in nature.  But there is a MAJOR problem…many Christians have unknowingly begun to follow the doctrine of humanism, wounding the body of Christ, rendering themselves impotent—and even worse—accomplice to man’s destruction.
I have been thinking about this off and on for several weeks.  What is our purpose for life on this earth?  What are we really living for?  I would guess that the majority of us (myself included) would indicate that we want—and perhaps even expect—a life that is "good" (according to our own standards) and nice and fun, and definitely without significant hardship.  And when hardship, suffering, illness, or just plain old unpleasantness touch or begin to permeate our lives, we (in our human condition) often feel shocked, dismayed, or even angry.  And we start thinking things like,
- why is God doing this to me?
- what did I do to deserve this?

And that is the very spot where we need to take a few steps back and think about our expectations for life.  Who are we living for?  As stated above, Christianity is the belief that man exists for God and that He knows what is best for us.  Do we trust Him??  Do we trust {a} that He is good and {b} that He loves us and {c} that He has the best plans for our lives?

All three of those points are the unwavering Truth!  If we, as believers and disciples of Jesus, are having trouble taking that in, we need to dig into God's Word to find the truth for ourselves and embrace it!  (See the verse references below to get you started.) 

That concept—that we exist for God, not for our own good and betterment—has huge implications for how we think (the filter we use as we process life's happenings) and the decisions we make.  In order to survive and thrive, we absolutely must understand that God is good, all the time, and that the way He deals with us is always through the filter of His love.  (If you want to discuss this further, please get in touch via the comments! I would love to connect with you!)

{a} Psalm 119:68, Psalm 107:1
{b} John 3:16, Romans 5:8
{c} Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 32:8, Romans 8:28-29

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

100th Day of School

Yesterday was Ryan's 100th day of school.  (My husband was like, "What? What's that for? We never needed anything like that when I was a kid. I walked 2 miles to school, up-hill both ways..."  OK, I made up that last part....)  ANYWAY, Ryan's kindergarten class celebrated with popcorn and movie day, as well as coloring cool 100th day crowns!  Here, he's wearing his at the breakfast table this morning...  Cutest boy!

The faith of a child

Here's the note my oldest son wrote this morning...

Jesus please help my cold go away

Now that's pointing your hope in the right direction!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Be a Noticer – notice the good!

Lysa TerKeurst is one of my favorite authors. A couple of my faves:
  * What Happens When Women Say Yes To God (formerly entitled "Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed")
  * Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions
  * Am I Messing Up My Kids?

Lysa offers so much encouragement and godly wisdom for the [struggling?] woman who wants to be victorious and honor God with her life!  Here is an excerpt from a recent blog post:

I Want To #BEaNOTICER# With My Words

Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

We live in a day and time where our rights sometimes take precedence over our pursuit of righteousness.

I can be quick to offer a complaint when things don’t go right. I can be forgetful with my “thank yous” when things go well.

And I am challenged by this. ...

My rights – make me feel accepted, good, and treated fairly.

My righteousness – my choice to make right choices that honor God daily.

So here’s the challenge I’ve issued myself – find the good.

In every situation, in every interaction, in every day – be a noticer of the good.
In every situation, in every interaction… be a noticed of the good.

Even when the good has nothing to do with the circumstances and everything to do with how God will teach me through them – find the good.

And be a woman who is lavishly expressive of that good… who rarely, rarely, rarely utters the complaint. ...

Check out Lysa's blog for more inspiration at www.lysaterkeurst.com !

Monday, February 17, 2014

It's snow fun! :)

OK. That was my lame attempt at wit. Well anyway... the boys had fun this weekend with a special friend named Miss Mary, who loves to watch our boys.  She brought her new dog, Little Bear—isn't he cute?

They all had a great time!


Monday, February 10, 2014

It's c-c-cold, Minnesota!

M-M-Minnesota has been experiencing s-s-some bitterly c-c-cold d-d-days this winter.  (My husband has no sympathy for all the complainers. He grunts, "This is Minnesota, people!")  Schools have been closed five times in January due to sub-zero wind chills... like near -40... and apparently your exposed skin can start to freeze after just 5-10 minutes of exposure.

But in spite of the teeth-chattering cold, we have had some of the most gorgeous, sunshiny days!  My grandma used to say she'd take the sunshine any day, regardless of the cold.

And I agree with her. That sunny sunshine helps to warm my soul! :) 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My "feel good" prescription

Several weeks ago, just before the start of the New Year, I was feeling... yucky.  I don't know how to explain it.  Lethargy.  Brain fog.  Emotionally flat.  Hard to motivate.  It was difficult to even work up the gumption to prepare supper.

I don't like feeling this way!  That's no way to live!  So I started mulling over some options.  I considered seeking out the services of a psychiatrist—maybe they could just prescribe a pill to make me feel better?  Then I thought about contacting my naturopath... but I knew what she'd say: "Are you following the protocol I designed for you?"  (That includes exercising 5 days a week and eating 5 vegetable servings per day.)  And the answer would be "No."

As I pondered it some more, I started really thinking about the exercise option.  I've always considered exercise solely as a means to lose weight, nothing further.  But exercise holds more benefits than that.  Hadn't I heard about the "feel good" hormones and anti-stress effects?  That would surely be helpful.  I figured I could start walking every day... and that wouldn't even cost any money—unlike drugs or supplements—and it's completely natural.

So I did.  I've been walking 4 to 5 days per week, for 30 to 45 minutes.... and lo and behold, after just under 2 weeks I noticed a change.  I wasn't tired at suppertime.  In fact, I was alert!  I was ON it!  And it felt great!

So, I am here to confirm that what the experts and fitness news articles say is true: you really do gain more energy from moderate exercise!  And I'll tell you what—it makes me feel that much more motivated to get on the treadmill as often as possible!

If you need more energy too, I encourage you to go for it!  Start small.  Try walking for 15 minutes per day.  Work your way up until you're comfortable with 30–45 minutes.  Try not to skip a day if you can help it.  You won't regret it!!