Wednesday, March 19, 2014


I'll just say none of us were having a good day.

But it turned out fine. Thank God for spring.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Looking Forward

I don't remember details about my childhood. A few, but not like some people. I know generalities. My mother must have talked a lot about heaven because I developed a sense of perseverance through whatever I went through, thinking that one day this will all be a memory.

I long for my child-like thoughts again.

With the help of the Holy Spirit, I think I am re-learning some of them. As I read history, especially the very best stories, I find that our comfort is not top priority to God. Victory is. That is what Jesus is all about- having what we need to push through the filth in order to obtain our destinies. Heaven bound.

When we really know this, it makes whatever we are going through a little better. A lot better.

I love the David Crowder song that says, "and all of a sudden, I am unaware of the afflictions eclipsed by glory, and I realize just how beautiful you are and how great your affections are for me.."

I had a great weekend.
Good food.
Answered prayer.
Loving on my children.

One more lyrical reminder: "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."

I have much to be thankful for in the present, but the future is what puts everything in perspective. It tells us who we are, where are rightful home is, and what the King is like. Until then, we can persevere through the sewers of life and grab on to all of the bits of heaven we can receive.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. -James 1:16-18

Ah, yes. As I write this I have a memory. I walked through the fattening barn, each cluster of pigs scattering as I go by their individual pen. At the end of the concrete slab, I lean over the railing and look down to the waterway full of manure. The sewage. Sometimes I would clean the barns by scraping the filth into this sewer- and finish my job quickly so that I could be the first to run into our one bathroom house, throw off my clothes, and draw a warm bath.

Sewage. Its not so bad when you know the bath is coming. Its not so bad when your heart is full.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Pop Quiz

Last night as I blogged, I was baking banana bread. Turns out, I was too tired to attempt such a thing.. the recipe was for two loaves and I put everything on one pan. It ran out of the pan on onto my already filthy oven floor.

My oven's self cleaning feature no longer works. Neither does "broil".

No banana bread, either.

Believe me, there is plenty to get depressed about in my house- can you relate? My washer washes with only hot water. There are clothes everywhere. The toilet paper rolls always seem to be empty. My shower has not been cleaned in months.

Maybe I can't rationally compare my life with the Israelites, who after wandering around in a desert their whole life, were getting ready to enter a land of enemy giants, but there are things that tempt me to throw a pity party. God prepared them by giving them a choice ahead of time- a pop quiz you might say.

 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live... (Deuteronomy 30:20)

He gave his people a quiz with an obvious answer, then he gave them the answer to they should choose while still making it a choice.

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death. (Proverbs 14:27)

We choose life by having the fear or reverence of the Lord (and His word). everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1Thessalonians 5:18)    

And the Lord says to give thanks.

Life is growth, life is purpose, in Deuteronomy, life is analogy for blessing.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning.. (Philippians 2:14)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. ( Ephesians 4:29)

Today was a day of just being. Good things happened, frustrating things happened. I had a choice: grumble or give thanks.

Life or death. Blessing or cursing. (choose life)

Today was good friends, good weather, and the park.
Lots of hugs, playing with the neighbor who only comes out occasionally.
Brooke helping me clean the oven with bubbling baking soda and vinegar, saying, "I never knew cleaning could be this much fun!"
Learning patterns with Legos.

Goodnight hugs, goodnight prayers, goodnight drinks of water...

And a super spiritual moment after prayers when I blessed Max:

"Max, God gave you a purpose and you are strong and brave..."
"Mom? While you were praying I was scratching my butt."



1 Samuel 30:3-8

New King James Version (NKJV)
So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David’s two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive. Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, “Please bring the ephod here to me.” And Abiathar brought the ephod to David. So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?”
And He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.”

God is good. There is always hope. So please, if you are in despair, strengthen yourself in the Lord, because I'm almost certain your problem isn't as bad as having your city burned with fire and your family taken from you and four hundred men planning to stone you out of sorrow.

Thanksgiving, guarding against fear and worry, and a whole lot of prayer strengthened me today.

Max looked at me last night and said, "Mom, we are now going to go to bed so we can get up, watch Buck Denver, and then go running in the park."

So that's what we did. How blessed am I? I could join the retired people that can go to the park mid-morning for a walk or run or fishing. To run side by side with my four children, Max in step with me. And when we walked back, he grabbed my hand and held it all the way to the car.

We stopped to examine a hollow log. "Maybe someone slept there last night." I imagined.

"A baby bear!" Summer joked.

Max said matter-of-factly, "no, a baby skunk."

"I don't smell skunk"

"Well, it's probably a nice baby skunk."

A nap.
Italian basil chicken and asparagus.
Art night.
Pippi Longstocking Plays Tag with the Police.
Banana bread with Brooke.
A peaceful heart.

Circumstances will change, and hope will pave the way.

Romans 5:5

New King James Version (NKJV)
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014


I'm forcing myself to do this. Here is what I'm thankful for:

1. Health insurance.
2. Income.
3. The park.
4. Mom to Mom's Group.
5. My Mom.
6. That I can choose to be thankful.
7. That this too shall pass.

I will not complain, just keeping it real... None the less, God is good.


Ephesians 1:15-21

New King James Version (NKJV)

Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom

15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding[a] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Counting the Joy. All of it.

Yeah, this is predictable. I publically announce the elimination of fear and worry and crisis strikes.

There they were, fear crouched behind the chair and worry lurking in the corners of the kitchen, reminding me that I'm not out of the woods yet. They were aware it would be difficult to overtake me but they annoyingly made their presence known.

I found myself grumpy at times. I was irritable. No, this just won't do. No matter what happens to my bank account, it is no excuse for a grumpy mama. It is no excuse for ruining an otherwise lovely day.

James says, "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." (James 1:2-4)

So what I had to be most thankful for today was each day before that I got up and faced this same trial, lasting over a year now, that was used to get a little closer to perfecting patience. Because today, I must say that I handled this crisis. I put on that armor and fought like mad, which I could only do because of the perfecting of patience, and every single verse I have clung to this past year.

This was a test. I knew that. I also knew that if I had not experienced progress in perfecting, all my tears this past year would have been in vain. I'm a little smarter than I was a year ago- a little braver, a little more confident- because I know my God a little better.

I used to grab my Bible and flip through it like mad to get some comfort, but now, though it is still fun to read, I have the knowledge inside of me. Perfecting patience. The sword of the spirit. The shield of faith.

I began to get excited, wondering how God would remedy this crisis. Would it turn out to be no big thing or would it be a miraculous intervention? I'll know tomorrow. But today, I know that my Redeemer lives.

In the past, a crisis caused such a struggle that I was lucky to get the basics done. Now I have perfecting patience, a fast from fear and worry, and an assignment to give thanks always.

The kids got more fresh air, excitement for spring is building. Max keeps asking, "Is it spring yet? I think it is. There is no more cold. Maybe it can be winter with no more cold." I love the way he processes his thoughts in words.

Even though we are reading Pippi Longstocking at night, I have my own Pippi, who was helping in the kitchen this evening:

"Mom, I sucked on that bone so long I think I ate the whole thing."

She's my puppy, so I respond, "Honey, you know you're not a real dog."

"Yeah, well, I like bones. Except for the ones that taste like strawberries."

"Strawberries?" I question her.

"You wouldn't know. You've never ate a bone before like me."

It was the kind of conversation that you know is mostly fiction, but she says it so darn seriously- until you call her a goofball. Then the giggles roll out. Joy, pure joy.

I loved how seriously they took the job of washing the sliding door. Back and forth, inside and out, they examined each smudge and attacked it. They diligently worked for a good 20-30 minutes. Then Max moved on to another window until I told him that he had to stop.

Each of my children have a night to stay up a little later than everyone else. Tuesday is Summer's night. They won't let you forget either... "What should we do tonight?" someone asks.

"I don't know what you are doing, but I'm staying up."

We did some math together (part of our routine). She giggled the entire time. She said it was the sugar she ate, but I knew it was the fact that it was Tuesday, and on Tuesday she stays up. This typically serene child was a goofy mess. We looked at animals on Pinterest and came up with captions.

None of this joy would have happened without the perfecting of patience, the various trials of the past year. I would have otherwise been consumed with fear and worry. I count that as joy.

Monday, March 10, 2014

This Day.

So, I'm told that if you say you are fasting something for lent, it is inappropriate to share that because fasting should be done in secret.

Therefore, I may or may not be fasting fear and worry and replacing it with thanksgiving for lent. Either way, blogging about it keeps me somewhat accountable. It may or may not continue after Easter.

I used to carry my camera around my neck like an accessory, but not so much now. I hope to regain that- maybe with the help of thanksgiving. Anyway, here we go:

If you know much about me, you'll know that our family has come through some hard financial times lately, and I've been privileged enough to experience what it is like not really sure how we will  eat. I'm not being sarcastic. I do count it as a privilege because now I can relate a little more to those in need. I'm also thankful to know that there is always hope for something better.

Today, it was the most beautiful day I remember this year. We skipped most of our school to celebrate until nightfall. There is just something spring does to a weary soul. I am thankful for warm weather.

I went grocery shopping for the first time in a while without mentally deducting each item from the bank account as I walked through the isles of the store. This is partly because I was able to do some extra work lately, so we have a little more padding in the budget, but also because I'm not allowed to fear.

Except for one short time when I was unloading the groceries on this gorgeous day. I started counting up upcoming bills vs. upcoming paychecks. I started to worry. But then, I remembered that I wasn't supposed to do that. I'm so thankful that fear and worry are off limits.

I have a fridge full of much healthier food than I've had in a while. That brings me joy. Provision adds so much life into our daily routine-- or is it that worry sucks so much life out?

My children begged to play outside, they asked me to read to them, we laughed together, and we made lemonade. Max insisted on squeezing the lemons after Savannah deserted her post at the table to run outside a few more minutes before the sun set. He did pretty good. I thank God for these little people a hundred times a day.

My Bible study, which tugged at my heart once again. My husband, who came home and teased the kids. My house, which apparently God doesn't want me to leave. He knows I've tried.

This is going to be an amazing week.

Here's an old photo: to the hope that the flowers will soon bloom, and fear and worry become a distant memory this lent  spring.