Friday, April 30, 2010

I Did It! (Friendly Friday)

I did it!  But before I explain, there are two things you should know that I'm frightened of.  Sewing and permanent decorating.

I'll explain the fear of permanency in decorating first.  I love paint.  You can change it once a week if you'd really like to.  I once painted a bathroom three different ways in two days until I got it just the way I wanted it.  It started out as stripes (think Victoria Secret in subtle yellow).  When it didn't work out because of lighting (it just looked like a bad paint job), I changed it to darker stripes.  Then it looked like a circus tent.  It's now a solid lavender.  But it was a relatively easy change.

That is why wallpaper worries me, along with any major change such as flooring or cabinetry, and sends me in a tizzy.  It's much more difficult to change if you mess up.  You should have seen me when we were building a house . . . Or maybe not.

Anyway, I don't like sticking things, like wallpaper or border, to the walls because it might BE WRONG.  (That's where the real fear is, I guess.  Not in permanency, but in wrong permanency.)

But I did it anyway.  I took an expensive, huge sticker (that if I messed up would be a total flop and a waste of money), and I put it on the wall.  With only minimal help from my boys -- and a level.

I'm feeling a little proud.

Now, to explain sewing.  My mom sews beautifully.  How she managed to raise two daughters who don't is puzzling, but she did.  It's completely not her fault.  It's all my fault that my seams on everything are sloppy and crooked.  It's all my fault that the only knots that I can make to stick are the ones in my stomach when I'm behind a needle.  It's all my fault that everything I made turned out looking the same -- like a feed sack.  And it's all my fault that when a button or cub scout patch needs sewn on a shirt, my boys lay the items on the table and say, "This needs to go to Grandma's."  (I'm sorry, Mom.)

With that understanding, you can be proud with me of my latest accomplishment with needle and thread.  I can show it to you because you can't see the gigantic knots or the uneven stitches underneath.  Just admire with me for a moment the adorable daisy on my daughter's head.  I just attached a big flower to a stretchy headband that we already had, and voila! Instant Cuteness!

Now, my next accomplishment will be getting her to actually wear it for more than three minutes.

It's Friendly Friday.  I ask; you answer.
What have you done lately that you're just a smidgen proud of?  

Don't be shy now.  I really want to know!

*Meet me back here tomorrow for something I'm really proud of -- and a giveaway!*

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Amy in Peru, A New Friend

I am excited to introduce you today to my guest, Amy.  An American dwelling in Peru with her husband and family, she is living out the call to shine Christ's light thereEnjoy her story.

"Peru was nice for a visit, but I would HATE to live there!" Micah confided to me on the flight home from a 3 week mission trip in 1996. Be careful what challenges you whisper when you think the Lord isn't listening. :) Micah and I were 18 and 20 years old, one year raw out of high school and very much longing to be married. Obviously, we did not anticipate a return to Peru. ever.

We had more urgent things on our minds. The day after we got back to Portland, Oregon, Micah asked my dad for permission to marry me. Four months later, we eagerly began our new life as properly wedded folks. Young marrieds. Literally.

Recently, Micah had been seriously growing up in the LORD. He had started reading his Bible like nobody's business, memorizing whole books and even became known as 'the Bible boat' on the job site where he was an electrician. In those early years we frequented a certain Mexican restaurant and became friends with a handful of Mexicans who worked there. Ever eager to start our own evangelistic Bible study, it suddenly occurred to us one evening to ask 'Miguel' if he'd be interested... everything sort of snowballed from there. He invited friends, we bought bi-lingual Bibles, several of them trusted Christ, we stumbled along in broken Spanish. 2 years passed. We continued on. We bore 2 children. We bought a house. Life was exciting, but about to take exhilarating to a whole new level.

Reflective one evening, Micah stood on the deck of our newly purchased home, "I can't stand the idea that all I'm working so hard to build [wiring multi-million dollar homes] is one day just going to burn up. I want to build something that will last for eternity."

Those were the words that changed everything.

After a year of waiting, wondering, deliberating, in 2001 supported by our local church elders, we moved to Peru for a year. We were supported by our own savings and a handful of individuals who had faith that somehow God would use two youngsters who were shockingly ill-prepared for ministry. We were young and full of hope that in fact God would use us.

That year was hard. Culture. Language. Two small children... Need I say more?! But it was GREAT. It was absolutely delicious to trust God so extravagantly. It was life. God taught us so much about trusting Him with everything from finances to extreme traveling (36 hours on 6+ buses between two South American countries with little/no Spanish and two boys in diapers... yeah. never again.) We were hooked. We couldn't think of how we'd fit in our previous life after that stretching adventure. We went back to get things settled to move back indefinitely.

Over the past 9 years, we've worked with already established churches, doing TONS of evangelism, Bible studies, and leading/supporting new church plants. This last year we are taking risks again with our good God in the jungle! We're planting a church from the ground up! And oh, are we learning painfully precious truths even as I write!

It is such a strong passion of ours that people draw near to the Living God. We'd love to share our adventures with you! If you'd like to know more please read our blogs or e-mail us! We love making new friends! We love giving glory to God for what He is doing!

amy in peru - ministry website/blog - my personal blog

Isn't it a great story . . . a family simply willing to follow Jesus wherever He is going and enjoying the adventure!

I'm thankful Amy was willing to take the time to share here, and I asked her how we could help her family.  I encourage you to take a look and see what YOU can do!  Come alongside and shine Christ's light too!  Support others where you cannot go.

Go bless!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Shining Ever Brighter (Word-Filled Wednesday)

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
                                                                                                            Proverbs 4:18

I don't normally add anything extra to God's thoughts on Wednesdays, because, well, He says it so much better!  But I've become caught up in a vision of raising and supporting light-bearers.  So, I invite you back tomorrow to meet Amy, who shines her light in Peru, and will be sharing her experiences as a missionary.   

I invite you back Saturday as well when I will be sharing the book that inspired me in this supporting and raising light-bearing world-changers.  Want a sneak peak?  A Noteworthy Idea will clue you into the vision. (I'll also be offering a give-away.  It supports orphans and widows.  Doesn't that just make you glow all over?)   

So, fill up with God's Word today,
     and SHINE ever brighter!

*For more Word-Filled inspiration, visit Forever His.*


Monday, April 26, 2010

One More Time

Do you ever feel like giving up?

Do you ever feel like you can't possibly do this one more time?
     Get up in the middle of the night one more time.
     Clean up that mess one more time.
     Face that frustrating person one more time.
     Forgive one more time.
     Prepare one more time.
     Support one more time.
     Listen one more time.

So maybe, if you're like me,
     You cry one more time,
     Pray one more time,
     Read that Bible one more time,
     And try. One. More. Time.

Because you believe that God
     Continues to give all of the time,
     And gave it ALL one time . . .
              For all time.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

His Child Fully Known

Her tiny hand tugs on my mine as I am working and pulls me into the family room.  She walks over to the chair with all three of her special blankets and beckons me to sit.   We settle into the recliner, my feet on the footstool, hers on the backrest.  We smile into each other's eyes.  She giggles through "This Little Piggy" and "Where is Baby's Belly Button?"  We swap kisses.  We enjoy the silence just looking at each other.  We memorize faces.  We know each other.

She doesn't doubt that I love her. 
She doesn't wonder if I should be working instead of spending time with her. 
She doesn't worry about the correction she received earlier for climbing up on the table . . . again. 

She just soaks up the love as we sit together.  She's as sure as can be that I am hers and that she was created for me.

"Change and become like little children . . . "  Matthew 18:3

"Now I know in part; then I shall know fully even as I am fully known." 
1 Corinthians 13:12

Today and each day, may you sit with God, Abba Father, with the awareness that you are fully known and fully loved by Him. 

Know and be known.


Friday, April 23, 2010

What Life Lessons Have You Learned Lately? (Friendly Friday)

There was growling and howling.  There was fussing and fighting and wrestling.  It felt like home.  But really, it was a trip to the zoo.  It was time to introduce The Princess to the wacky, wonderful creatures that roam this earth -- other than her brothers.  Besides we learned some life lessons.  Here are some of my favorites: 

Eye contact is a powerful weapon of intimidation.  Use it wisely.

This is how not to win friends and influence people.

Never turn your back on the camera. 

Shutting your eyes does not make everything (or everyone) go away.

If someone is going to take your picture, smile.  You'll be glad you did.

It's Friendly Friday.  I ask; you answer.

What are some life lessons you've learned lately? 
And if that's too hard (because, hey, it's Friendly Friday), what's your favorite zoo animal?


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Good Stored Up (WORD-Filled Wednesday)

"What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,'
 but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean." 
Matthew 15:11

"For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him,
 and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him."
Matthew 12:35

Fill up with good things today.  Fill up with His Word.

**For more Word-Filled blessings, visit Critty Joy.**
Pictures are of The Princess tasting of the garden soil -- clean soil, I hope.


Monday, April 19, 2010

My Favorite Follower

I have a little gadget on the side of my page that shows my followers.  Some of them are friends that I've known a long time.  Some of them are people I've "met" very recently.  I like meeting new people (and if you're new, I'm glad you're here).  It's fun -- and a little flattering -- to find in the morning when I come to my page that someone else wants to read these l'il ole thoughts of mine.  But I have to admit, I have a favorite follower.  And her picture doesn't appear in the sidebar.  And she isn't a fan on Facebook.

It's Baby Girl.  She's my favorite.  (I didn't think you'd mind.)  She's not nearly as flattering as all of you.  She doesn't leave kind comments or encouraging words.  She's very vocal about her thoughts, and they aren't always kind.  She's even picked up some of my habits and flaunts them in my face.

She follows me into the bathroom and dumps out my makeup while I try to get ready.  She follows me into the kitchen and pulls out the Tupperware as I cook.  She follows me into the family room and spills out the books so we can read together.  She follows me into the living room and climbs on my lap, with a pen in her mouth, as I type.  If I stay too long, she pulls at my hands and voices her displeasure at my lack of focus --on her.  She is an attention hog and is unabashed about showing it.  Her love for me is fierce and jealous.  How can she not be my favorite?

And this is what scares me and humbles me:  she follows me . . . and imitates me.  Father, have mercy on me and help me.  Because this I know right now:

    "In my daughter's eyes, I am a hero.
     I am strong and wise,
     And I know no fear.
     But the truth is plain to see:
     She was sent to rescue me,
     I see who I want to be, in my daughter's eyes.

     And when she wraps her hand around my finger,
     Oh, it puts a smile in my heart.
     Everything becomes a little clearer.
     I realize what life is all about.
     It's hanging on when your heart has had enough;
     It's giving more when you feel like giving up.
     I've seen the light: it's in my daughter's eyes. . .

     In my daughter's eyes, I can see the future.
     A reflection of who I am,
     And what will be.
     And though she'll grow and, some day, leave:
     Maybe raise a family,
     When I'm gone, I hope you'll see,
     How happy she made me,
     For I'll be there, in my daughter's eyes."
                                                   --from Martina McBride's "In My Daughter's Eyes"

I always hope that what I write encourages my followers and inspires them (you) to either laugh or love or live more deeply.  While I write for myself, it is my followers that inspire me to write better and more often.

And while I live for God, it is my favorite follower who inspires me to live better.  For it's in her beautiful eyes that I see myself -- and the reflection I want to see more and more is Christ, the One I follow.


Get Closer Up

The Thinker is growing up.  It's difficult to believe we're wrapping up his fourth grade year.  He recently finished a devotional book, Starting Strong, and we were discussing it.  I asked him if he enjoyed it and if he saw any benefits of a written response to the Bible. 

"Yeah, Mom.  It got me closer up, you know?" 

"How's that?" I asked.

"Well, I thought I knew everything about Naaman, see?  And then I discovered that God used a servant girl to help him, and that was surprising.  God uses different things.  It's good because it made me really look at the Bible and see new things.  I got closer to it."

My prayer for him, for you, for me today, is that we sidle up to the Word, look a little more intently, respond a little more thoughtfully and make one more connection to God than we've done before.  Get closer to His Word.  Get closer to Him. 

Get closer up.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

If I Could Ask God Anything

I live with questioners.  From the time they wake in the morning to the time they are finally making it back up the stairs to their rooms, they are challenging my wisdom . . . in a good way.  My brain is overworked.  Kathryn Slattery's If I Could Ask God Anything is a book waiting to come to the rescue when I just can't answer another question. 

Answering almost 200 inquiries that kids might ask about God, this book is a good resource.  She covers some theological questions such as "Who is God?" and "What is the second coming of Christ?" and some "kid-normal" ones, such as "Does God ever sleep?" and "Is it okay to pray for help on a test?"  She touches on topics like baptism and communion in appropriate ways without making denominational preferences so that you can have that discussion with your child.

I especially appreciated the answers to questions about the apostles and the discussion of various holidays.  I found those most useful.  My favorite explanation was in answer to "What will happen to me when I die?"  Slattery compares death to being an unborn baby, happy with his warm, safe home in the womb and not understanding that the world he will be entering is full of wonderful things like rainbows and laughter and ice cream.  She says, "He might even have the mistaken idea that what was about to happen to him wasn't birth but death."  What a beautiful, understandable explanation.

If I Could Ask God Anything is a friendly resource to have nearby for parents and kids to read as they grow and have questions.  While it may not be any better than other question/answer type books, it's not any worse, and it's organized quite well.  I intend to keep it in our personal library.

*A complimentary copy of this book was given to me by Thomas Nelson Publishing through BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review.*

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Marvin K. Mooney and "The Talk"

"The time has come, the time is now." 
And if I were Marvin K. Mooney, you'd better know
I would go. Go. Go! And I wouldn't care how. 

But I'm not Marvin K.  I'm the mom, and the time had come to begin The Talk.  Yep, that one.  (Note to my dad:  If you're reading this, it's okay to stop now).

The Thinker has always been my challenge.  He's a questioner of all things.  From the time he was tiny, he stumped me with difficult thoughts -- often in public places, and particularly in the grocery store.  I think it was because there he knew he had my attention.  It was just he and I, face-to-face, as his stumpy legs dangled from the cart seat, and he sucked his Tootsie Roll pop.  I still remember being in the shampoo aisle with a couple of witnesses when he asked me, "How did Jesus die on the cross if you can't kill God?"  The Thinker was three at the time.  Where to begin with that?

So, I wasn't too surprised really when he started asking about babies and where they come from.  The Princess was born over a year ago, and we had answered a few questions through that process as vaguely but honestly as possible.  But vague wasn't cutting it anymore.  A friend of his had a sister who was unmarried and pregnant, and he just couldn't make sense of it anymore.  He kept asking questions, such as, "Did they just get too close, Mom?"  Hmmm. 

I flash back to asking my dad what a virgin was when I was about six.  Thanks to Madonna and "Like a Virgin," the word was all over the place.

His response, "You better go ask Mom."  Bless his Marvin K. Mooney heart.  (I love you Dad, and I warned you to stop reading.)  It just wasn't something we discussed much at our house. 

I remember always being embarrassed when the topic came up.  Heavens, I still am depending on the company.  But we want open dialogue, and we want our kids to talk to us, so I took the plunge.  I asked a few questions to make sure The Thinker and I both knew what he really knew already.

You know men and women are different, right?
It takes an egg from the woman, and a seed from the man?
And God created a special way for married couples to create a baby?

Yes, but HOW?

We got out the books from the series God's Design for Sex as a sort of guideline (for me to know what to tell).  We didn't read them word-for-word . . . just talked as we looked. 

His response when it was over and we'd clarified a few things was, "Well, that's weird."


He and the hubby talked about it again another night.  It was just some more affirmation about God's purpose and design for physical love.  Questions answered about how Mary was a virgin and had Jesus.  More dialogue.  And for a few days, I watched for changes in him.  Holding my breath  . . . afraid somehow that we'd spoken too soon, and all of a sudden he would be no longer innocent boy, but a stranger with too much knowledge.  But he's not.  He sees it as it is -- or he's forgotten about it for now (which is kinda what I'm hoping). 

I sigh with a little bit of relief, because it's done.  Until I realize that, actually, it's really just begun.  There will be more questions and more dialogue.  If he doesn't start it, we will need to.  We'll have to talk about STDs, premarital sex, pornography, homosexuality, etc.  . . . Yikes.  It's a long list.  But I'm putting on wisdom and courage and stepping outside of the comforts of ignoring and avoiding --

  -- because the time has come to go. Go. Go! and Parent with Purpose.


Friday, April 16, 2010

My Favorite SPRING Things (Friendly Friday)

Autumn is my absolute favorite season, but spring has the honor of being a very close second.  I've really enjoyed the warmer weather we've been experiencing and am thankful for all those other favorite things, such as

the smell of rain

baby ducks

baby chickens

baby sheep

(yep, all spring babies)





colorful handbags


long walks

blossoming trees

short sleeves

fresh breezes

cut grass

cute flats

pretty kites

fun jewelry

clear glass jars

It's Friendly Friday.  I ask; you answer.
What are your favorite spring things?


Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Difference Between Sugars and Tails

The Thinker and The Stinker are ten and seven. 
We're still training them to use napkins instead of shirt sleeves,
forks instead of fingers.

On the other hand, Baby Girl is only 17 months old. 
Being the true princess that she is,
she's using her fork regularly.

And that's just one of the many differences between Sugars and Tails.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Season of Singing (Word-Filled Wednesday)

Rising Godward to enjoy the season of singing.

"Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.
See!  The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves is heard in our land."
Song of Songs 2:10-12

Fill up with His beautiful Word. 

*To be blessed by more like-minded Word-Filled thoughts, visit Lori at All You Have to Give.*

Monday, April 12, 2010

When Blessings Are Burdens

When protection feels like loss,
When the mess in your heart is worse than the mess in the kitchen,
When love feels like sacrifice,
When blessings have become burdens,

It's time to put your hand to the plow.

Till that hard heart soil.
Tear up those ugly weeds.
Air out the old grievances for good.

Breathe in the fresh clay.
Plant some new thoughts,
     some things useful, true and noble.

Begin again.  And don't look back.

* photos of my parents working hard preparing our shared garden*

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I hold my breath as I write, for in here is confession.  In here is a need from my heart  pressing through to my fingers to pour out what is inside.  Fear is with me, for I feel vulnerable, but the confession grows stronger.  It needs release.

I am hungry.

I am hungry and searching.  Searching to figure out why I am hungry . . . but even as I write, the knowing comes.  If I admit it, the hunger is for the same things I have always craved.  Approval.  Admiration.  Appreciation.  Acceptance.   

And I am Esau.  I come hungry to the bowl.  The compliments smell good to me.  And I ask Jacob for some with my pen . . . with pretty clothes . . . with my perfectionism . . .with my service.  I fill myself with the praise of others, and it tastes good at the time. 

But eventually, I empty.  The feeling in the pit of my stomach is no longer hunger, but conviction.  I make excuses and accuse, "But I don't feel Your approval!  I don't hear Your admiration!  I don't experience Your delight in me!"

And then, the Whisper, "You did not sit still with Me long enough to hear.  You achieved acceptance at your Birth, but to know it, you must be still.  Be with Me."

And the tears fall from my eyes and the confession from my lips.  "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?  Or am I trying to please men?"  (Galatians 1:10)

And I know the answer. 

"Satisfy (me) in the morning with Your unfailing love, that (I) may sing for joy and be glad all (my) days."  (Psalm 90:14)

You satisfy me. 
You satisfy me. 
You. Satisfy. Me. 


Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Reminder of Grace

I stepped on something sharp going down the stairs as I was helping Baby Girl maneuver the steps.  It hurt, and I looked down at the offending object so that I could target the person with a few choice words once I found him.  It was my husband's measuring tape. 

As quickly as my anger rose, it deflated.  The tape was there because of grace. 

I glanced up, remembering.

free unmerited love and favor
good will
reconciliation to God
Christ's righteousness applied to me
Webster's 1828 Dictionary

Grace.  I wanted this hanging in my home to remind me.  Remind me of what I've received.  Remind me of what I need to give.  And need to give more.  And more.

With grace, my husband picked up his tired body and measured and leveled and drilled.
I remember grace, pick up the measuring tape and tuck it away.
With grace, my husband secured a reminder on the wall for me. 
I remember grace and secure my tongue in my mouth.

"What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings
Because Grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things."
U2 Song

A wounded foot becomes a reminder of beautiful grace.
A pierced side proves it.

With grace, God leads.
For grace, we follow.  


Friday, April 9, 2010

How Do You Step Closer? (Friendly Friday)

One of our favorite things to do as a family is to
head to a state park and hit the trails. 
We love the being-together in the big outdoors. 

We pack a picnic and spend the day
 enjoying the beauty and the fun of nature. 

Of course, these days, it's more of a leisurely stroll than a vigorous hike
since The Princess does not like her (very pricey) pack. 

But it's okay.  It forces us to slow down and enjoy the details that
the Creator has hidden quietly amid the trees.

And as we step away from the rush and step into the quiet of the trees,
we step nearer to each other's hearts. 

It's Friendly Friday.  I ask; you answer.
How do you step closer to your family? 

Please share.  I really want to know.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

He Delights in You (WORD-Filled Wednesdays)

Leaning Godward today.  Delighting in God's love for us.

"The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with his love,
He will rejoice over you with singing."
Zephaniah 3:17

Delight in His Word!

**Word-Filled Wednesday's hostess this week is PennyRaine.**

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