Friday, January 9, 2015

My Pleasure

If you've been to Chick-fil-A, you've heard it..."My pleasure." After hearing it so much, it kind of loses the polite factor and may edge on annoying. However, I talked with my daughter about bringing "My pleasure" home. You won't hear us say it (at least not often), but in attitude, we agreed to treat the members of our family like it's our pleasure to help, serve, love them. Some days it's not that we want to help, serve or love, but because we love Jesus who loved us first, we choose to do care about these people. It's not usually because of their goodness, but because of God's that we love Him by showing compassion, grace, or forgiveness to them. With His help, we can love even our closest neighbors as ourselves. (Mark 12:31).

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Plan or No Plan, Life Happens

It's a new year! What are your plans? Don't have any? No will plan them for you. But, if you're like me, I look back and life has just happened to me because I didn't plan what I wanted to fill my days. My goal this year is to be the minder of my calendar, planning my days so they don't plan me. I'd like to put in the to-do's and the fun stuff so life isn't such a random mess.  How to do that? 

  1. We have been fairly consistent with family meetings on Sunday nights which helps plan the week. 
  2. I've found that I sleep better and accomplish more if I write down what needs to be done the next day as I'm ending my day (usually a notepad on my nightstand). 
Those are my thoughts so far.  Any suggestions from all of you planner types? 

Happy 2015!! It's going to be a great year!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Lean on Me vs. Lean on Jesus...I Choose Jesus

Lean on Me vs. Lean on Jesus...I Choose Jesus

 For conversations you might never have
with people you might never talk to
go catch a plane.

I had an interesting conversation with a man on a plane last week. Sadly, his mother had died and he was headed across the country for her funeral and to be with his 12 siblings. He shared with me that he was speaking at a conference at a church when he received the news. I thought we probably had much the same story. But, our philosophies, though tiny similarities showed up at times, were not the same at all.

Still we had a great discussion. I learned more about his view of meditation and yoga, and I shared why I can’t possibly be good enough, no matter how deep I go into myself. I am a sinner. His perspective was that through grace (which I totally believe God has given us grace through Jesus Christ, Eph. 2:8-10) and working for a state of consciousness (I totally disagree…Jesus paid it all. I don’t have anything to add that could save me more than what Jesus has already done, Galatians 2:20-21) that one can find the “christ” in you.

In Texas we say, “You are the spitting image of your momma!” I’m not sure why it’s spitting, but it just means, you look like your mom. Though I might look like my mom, everyone would agree I am not her. It’s the same with God; though we are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26), it doesn’t mean we are God. We have similar qualities: ability to love, forgive, mourn, show anger, but that doesn’t make us “God.”

About Jesus my new friend said, “He was a good man, but there have been lots of good men. We don’t feel that God requires a sacrifice to make us right with Him.”  I wanted to cry.

The gentleman (whose meditation name I can’t remember…I wish I had asked what his mother named him) was very nice. Neither one of us changed the other’s mind. But in my heart, I was grieving for him, not just the loss of his mother, but for the years meditating inwardly rather than meditating on his Maker. In his type of meditation, one loses all faculties to open the mind – which I believe opens the mind up to deception (see link below)
            “…for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” 2 Cor. 11:14.
What might seem to be enlightenment is, according to the bible, a path to darkness. Isn’t that the same lie Satan has presented from the beginning saying “God isn’t enough…here’s more”?

I woke up this morning with Philippians 4:13 on my mind. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” It occurred to me that we often stop with “I can do all things…” That’s what mystical religions teach. And, it’s what I often attempt on a daily basis even though I have the strength of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit available to me. But, I CAN’T do anything on my own; beat my own heart, make myself breathe. Those are things God sets and keeps in motion. So, why do I try to run through my day without Him?  Or we could ask, “How do I walk with Him through the day letting Him be my strength?”

Here are some thoughts – ways to lean on Jesus for strength as you live your day:
1.     Before you get out of bed, even if a baby is already crying, sigh a prayer to Him, “I need You, Lord. I surrender the day to You.”
2.     Place scripture in front of you…dry erase on your mirror, a notecard in the car, a screen shot on your phone. (I’ll include some of my favorite verses below.) Say the verse aloud and you’ll memorize it (and maybe your kids will, too.)
3.     P.R.A.Y. (this is biblical, conscious meditation or talking between you and God. Phil. 4:8)
A.     Praise Him for things He has done (all the things He created, loving me enough to send Jesus to die for me…)
B.     Repent: I ask God to bring to mind anything that I’ve done that would hinder my relationship with Him (i.e. Sins…how I’ve spoken to my husband, jealous thoughts toward a friend who “has it all,” etc.)
C.     Ask specifically for the needs in my life (“Please provide a friend for my daughter”, “Help me know how to manage my day”, or even “I want to make something creative for dinner…help me see what that would be.” Your details don’t wear Him out.) 
D.    Yield to Him: meaning you believe Him to be trustworthy so you trust Him with the outcome of the day. He sees, knows, and uses everything. He is too good to waste anything, especially the hard things we’ve been through.  (“Lord, I trust you with all that I’ve asked, to do as you see best.”)
4.     Tune into music that turns your heart toward Him.
5.     One Place (an app) offers radio programs from people and organizations like Chip Ingram, FamilyLife Today, Focus on the Family, etc. I LOVE having this as I drive.

Hebrews 12:1-3 sums this up best. “…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer (author) and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Leaning on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, I won’t grow weary, but will have strength for all things.


For more on this:
“This only have I found; God created mankind upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes.” Ecc. 7:29

Some favorite chapters and verses:
Jeremiah 17:7-8, Proverbs 3:5-6, Ps. 139, James 1

Ps. 146, I Peter 5:7, Ps. 34:4-5

Friday, February 21, 2014

Can a Mom Forget?

Can a mom forget? Ha! Yes, she can and usually it's a part of everyday! I forget my phone, appointments, the time, and oh wait…I forgot to pick up one of the kids! Well as funny (but not) as that is, I'm not talking just about forgetting.

"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!" Isaiah 49:15

When we are nursing, our body kicks in and reminds us every three to four hours that we have a baby. Or they cry and remind us they need something. But, as our kids get older, those cries don't come so often. They need us less and less.  And when they hit teen years, their "cries" (also known as whines, complaints and mumblings) can be annoying - more easily ignored than answered.

I caught myself in that annoyed state this morning, not listening, but frustrated with all the requests and just general disgruntlement. The verse I mentioned earlier came to my mind and I realized how thankful I am that God is helping parent this child, too. I think we could read this verse: "Can a mother forget to listen to the teen by her side in the car and have no compassion on this kid she bore? (implied "YES.") Though she is annoyed, I will not give up on her children." He never forgets. He never gives up. He is always faithful.

What good news for our kids. I pray my kids embrace this constant care of God…it is ground that won't shake in a world that is unstable-a place that even mom can get fed up.

And, what great news for us as moms…as humans. When we feel alone, "forgotten," we can cry out to Him, knowing He isn’t annoyed. He never forgets you. He never gives up. He is always faithful.

"The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Ps. 121:8

Lord, Thank you for your ability to care – always. Thank you for never giving up; for listening every time we call out to You. Amazing – that’s what You are. In Jesus Name we come to You…Amen.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Making A Home: Biblical Hospitality vs. Entertaining

Making A Home: Biblical Hospitality vs. Entertaining

I loved this post. It's easy to make "having company" about us and what we have, how we decorate, what we serve; when really, it's about the people. Less of me and more of others always works better! Enjoy and Thanks Amber for a great post and beautiful blog.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Device Distractions

Our great grandparents would never have believed that one device could be used as a...
  • phone
  • mailbox
  • map
  • flashlight
  • compass
  • messenger
  • calendar
  • game room
  • camera
  • movie theater
  • bank
  • library...
Amazing! But is having so much at our fingertips really such a benefit?

In 1965, The Byrds put King Solomon's words from Ecclesiastes to music. If Solomon were writing those words today, he might include a disclaimer about smart phones/devices.*

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sow; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
A time for phones, and a time to put them down*

*Disclaimer: There will be a time for all of the afore mentioned things unless you choose not to set the device aside. Device distraction hinders having the "know how" and time to plant, reap, kill, heal, break down, build up, weep, laugh, mourn, dance, embrace, show restraint, get up, win, lose, keep, sow, speak, love what you need to love, hate what should be hated, go to war with things/people to be battled, find peace in the everyday things...

We face a challenge as parents today, not just raising our children, but raising them while holding a device in their hands.
  • Some parents have chosen not to supply their children with a phone or device
  • Some have trusted their children with them, but place restrictions on the use
  • Others moms and dads have given the phones with no limits or boundaries.

Our family has fallen in the middle. We have provided phones for two or our children for several reasons:

1. Convenience of getting in touch with them. (no more wondering if you have track practice and if so, where/when should I pick you up - texting can be a great tool for families)

2. When in history have we been able to look up what we need/want to know without visiting the library? Phones can be a huge help and educational resource when used in that way.

3. Our kids will soon be living in this world as young adults without our guidance. Because of that, we felt it was necessary to teach and train them about restricting themselves before they are on their own.

Those sound nice and neat, and I'm just telling you now, not much is black and white. Life is messy and so is this phone/device issue. Here are some of our guidelines:

1. The phone is ours...We paid for it so I can pick it up and read the texts, instagram, etc. to get a feel for where you are as a person and who you are "hanging out with." I know you won't like it, but it's my job to protect you right now so it just has to be. 

2. After school, the phone is turned in to me or dad to give them time to get their school work done/rooms picked up, clothes washed, help with dinner, outside to play basketball, creativity, etc. They get it back after dinner if their "stuff" is done. If they say they need their phone to do homework, I will give them mine or they can use a computer/ipad that doesn't light up or buzz when they have a message. (Notifications can be turned off. A good idea) For all the great things about smart phones, one of the worst is the distraction and time sucker that they can be.

3. Phones come to our room at bedtime (9:30 for younger, 10:00 for older). There is a time to sleep and a time to be awake. With the phone vibrating, it's hard to get the sleep they need. There are about a million excuses to this rule, (believe me, I've heard most of them) but we stand firm on it for their sake. We sometimes look through the texts. It usually depends on how that child is doing with relationships, school, etc. Seems like moms have a God given sense about when something is being hidden and when kids are being sincere and honest.

We also try to know the passwords to most of the apps they frequently use, but there are new apps everyday. So, developing a trusting relationship with your child is still the best way to know what's going on in their lives. How do you do that? Having them put their devices aside will frustrate them at first, but it's usually a great way to spend some time with them and get on the same page.

Our kids are not the enemy in this and neither are you (though your child may make you feel that way). God has a plan for each of our children - we are all here for this time in history when over 600 million smart phones/devices have been sold. As the parents, it's part of our responsibility to see that they aren't hindered from knowing who God is, who their family is and what His purpose is for them because of the electronics in their possession. Not an easy task, but definitely worth the effort.  Empower them to use their phone, not be consumed by it. There is a time for everything and now is the time to be wide awake as a parent, to sow what is sometimes difficult; to reap what only God can accomplish. Now is the time...

Check out this article for some helpful tips on determining if you or your children are addicted to the social side of what our devices offer. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
Are You OverDosing on Social Media?

Friday, February 22, 2013

In Need of Sick Days

 "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, 

for those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Our family had been going 20 different directions: work, games, practices, lessons, homework, and taking care of our house/animals in quick trips home. I really don't like living like that. Some seasons of the year are busier. But, there is a tool capable of stopping everything and even receives a compassionate nod from school and work to take it easy for a while. We all try to avoid this tool, but at times, it's inevitable. In this hectic season of our lives, sickness came and stopped our world.

I didn't get the flu so that made everything better. But everybody else had at least a touch of it. Our normally out-of-the-house family was a wanna-be-home group. There's something about home and momma that make being sick easier. I don't wish for my kids to get sick, but when they are, I treasure the time with them. As they get older, sick days bring a closeness with my kids - a chance to talk, to sit a little while and watch a tv show, to brush their hair or rub their backs.

My normally run and gun lifestyle came to a halt, too. During my days at home, I remembered that I like this place. I cleaned and organized, even made some burlap curtains with one of my kids, and cooked a lot.

After our week of passing germs around, one trip to the emergency room, hours of extra sleep, watching lots of TV and catching up on missed homework,  we finally ventured back to school and work. But, I almost didn't want to go. I liked being together, and so did my family. God used that week of sickness to tighten us up and remind us of the gift we have in each other.

Sometimes things look like a drag...I mean who really gets excited about being sick?! But, I was amazed to see God bring us closer to Him and to each other. He promised to bring good out of everything we face each day - even the flu. Only God could be so good.