Daily life - Others
Christian living- Help is here!,

A good father cannot be praised enough. Moms are great, don't get me wrong, but a great dad is a game changer. In our society, men are often marginalized, and looked down upon as insignificant when it comes to child rearing. But the truth is, children need fathers. I can only speak from a daughters perspective since I am a woman. But me, daughters need their dads. They shape how we see ourselves. Our value as women is formed in our youth, and is directly related to our dads opinion of us. An abusive father is saying to his daughter, "You deserve this, this is what you are worth." By the same token, a loving father who is kind to his daughter is also saying to her, "You deserve this, this is what you are worth." A dad who provides support, emotionally, financially, spiritually, and physically shows a girl that she is priceless in his eyes. I have a dad like that. He is still my hero. Not perfect, but still better than I deserve. He is present, reliable, generous, and always concerned for my welfare.

We all want to see our prayers answered. We want to know God hears us, and responds to us. One of the ways to know God hears us is the practical response of answered prayer. When we ask, "God please move us where you want us" and the next day your realtor calls to let you know your house has sold. Or you pray, "God please heal my aching back," and later that afternoon, it dawns on you that you have been pain free since noon. Or you pray that there would be peace between an estranged friend or family member, and the phone rings...

Coincidence? How do you know? Is your first instinct to doubt that it was God answering your prayer? It's been said there are NO coincidences in the life of a true believer. I believe God answers prayers. Sometimes it just takes longer than we want. And honestly, sometimes the answer is No.
That's where trust comes in. If God doesn't want me to move, I may not be able to sell my house. Homes around me may be selling left and right, but if His will is for us to stay put, that home isn't going to sell.

We experienced this recently. Last fall, my husband was trying to transfer jobs from Indiana to Colorado. It took over a year to even get the interview. Nothing was working out for us to move. And that is GOOD. My mother-in-law was ill at the time. We thought she was getting a little better. Turns out, it was more of a last minute rally. She died end of August. It was a blessing that our prayers to move were NOT answered. God cares about people, not things. He cared so much for Sandy that he gave her the gift of time and family she needed at the end. And most importantly, because we were stuck in Indiana, I had the opportunity to stay and witness to her. She accepted Jesus as her LORD and savior the week before she passed away. That is not something that would have happened over the phone from Colorado.

We were able to be there for Don's dad, the funeral, and lend support for the next few months. Then God further blessed us by giving Don the job transfer and selling our home in 10 days. You can never out give God. He gives good gifts! I have story after story of how God answers prayer. Prayer does change things! What I've learned is that God knows better than me what I need, and when I need it. Trust Him!

As I read the bible, the book of Judges records a time when God's people, the Israelites are caught up in the culture around them, ignoring God's commands to love and obey Him, "Everyone did as he saw fit". This was a time before Kings, and God placed Judges over the people to guide them. It was a vicious cycle of People wandering from God, God allowing enemies to come in and plunder the Israelites, and then the people crying out to God for salvation. When God raised up Deborah, the nation of Israel was being threatened by the Canaanites who actually lived among Israel. They had regrouped inside Israel and were attempting to overthrow Israel from within.
Deborah, led the people with wisdom. She held court and settled disputes. She was a prophetess who led the Israelites into battle against the Canaanites and won.
I always have trouble reconciling what culture says about women, even what the church says about women in leadership. That we should have limited roles. If God believed that women are not capable of leadership then why Deborah? Was God wrong to appoint her as Judge over an entire nation? Over His people? Of course not.
When Deborah called for the captain of the Israeli army to come to her and receive God's plan, Barack came. He listened to Deborah, but refused to carry out God's plan unless she came with to the battle. As if God's word and His very Presence weren't enough to guarantee victory. A Woman led them.

This generation of men have lost their courage.

There's no easy way to say it, so I'll just say it. Many men are failing; integrity? Leadership? It sometimes seems sex and the Almighty dollar have replaced them. How many pastors have we lost to moral failure just in the past 24 months? My church of 1200 has lost 2.

I thank God we live in a free country that gives women a way out when things get too ugly at home. OUr work options are greater than just nurse and teacher. Lets face it. All women need to be able to provide for themselves nowadays. A strong marriage is very hard to find.

I believe God is concerned about His daughters. He does not condone divorce. He hates it (Malachi 3 )But by the same token He does not want us to submit to infidelity, or the controlling, demeaning behavior I see in so many marriages around me.

Over the last year I have heard from several friends about their spouses behavior. Spoken with tears, they have shared how they have been controlled, manipulated, put down, and cheated on by their men. One has been repeatedly verbally abused by a man who blames his alcohol induced rages on her. The old "you make me drink", so it's your fault I called you a B****. One even called his wife the "C" word. (Oh, Yes he did!)
So what do you say to the ones who tell you, "submit"; "Wives must submit to their husbands." That's what the bible says right? So, if he wants intimacy after a day of yelling at you for spending money on the children's haircuts and shoes...Do you submit by taking off your clothes even though everything in you screams "NO! I don't want this!"?
If he calls you every name in the book, belittles you and goes on tirades about what a terrible housekeeper, mother and wife you are...Do you stuff your feelings and resolve to do a better job tomorrow?
If you find out the websites he's been visiting contain pornographic images...Do you tell your self, "well, as long as he's not actually out looking to cheat"...? Is that what submission looks like?
Or maybe you are totally alone in your marriage. Your husband has many interests outside the home, and none of them include you. Every weekend he makes plans to shoot hoops with the guys, or hang out at the local bar watching "the game". He's is in a fantasy football league, so life stops until the season is over. Then he's on to the next thing. You are angry, bitter, and left out. The grass is too long, weeds are taking over both your lawn and your love for him. The responsibility of caring for your children has fallen solely to you and he's not available or willing to give you a break.
Or how about the workaholics? They abandon their families for years at a time to pursue success. Or are they just running from something? Or running from fear of failure?
I could go on and on. Many are the vices competing for our minds. Satan comes to steal kill and destroy. But me must always remember, our battle is not against flesh and blood. Although we fight in the flesh, the real battle is taking place in the heavenly realms. We only win when we recognize who the real enemy is, and go to battle on our knees, and pray in the spirit, that no weapon formed against us will prosper. There will be weapons formed against all things that are from God. They are good things like marriage, family, church. All are continuously attacked from demonic forces. Our only hope is found in Jesus. He has given us authority and power to overcome the devil. But we must not use clever words or our fists. No,instead we use the weapons of prayer, praise, and scripture. The sword of the Spirit is our weapon.
So Pray! rejoice in the LORD and pray for your spouse, your marriage and your family. The truth is that God cares for you, He is rooting for you marriage, and he is waiting for you to invite Him in!
The Latest Edition
Adam Lee Book was born November 19, 2012. He is now 3 months old, and is such a happy baby. He wasn't always so happy though! At 4 weeks of age, Adam had a blockage in his stomach, called pyloric stenosis and required surgery to have it fixed. Babies with pyloric stenosis have to have surgery, or they will starve to death. you could feed them all day long, but they cannot keep it down, Adam was to the point where, nothing stayed down, he was losing weight, and boy was he looking thin! Very alarming for a new momma! At his weekly weigh-ins, his Dr kept giving me advice on how to feed him- my 6th baby! Lord help me if I don't know how to feed a baby by now! Turns out I wasn't doing anything wrong, Adam needed something more than thickened formula in a bottle. Something more than I could give him...He needed Surgery.
To be honest I was a little bit hesitant to name him Adam in the first place. I believe names have meanings, and I wasn't thrilled with the FIRST Adam. You know the one in the Bible who got it wrong? Great start, bad middle and bad ending Adam? It's kind of like not wanting to name your kid after people you hate, or who broke your heart. Plus, if you translate the name Adam, it means "Dirt". And I've had my share of filthy kids. But Don persisted and in the end the name prevailed, so we named him dirt, I mean Adam!
The first Adam was passive, he let a foolish woman tell him what to do, and now we all suffer. We are all foolish, we all go our own way. Then when things get out of control, and we are starving for help, finally we ask God, and He steps in to intervene.
I believe God intervened to save my baby, and that God Still intervenes to save us -Adam's babies.
On my own, I couldn't save Adam, my husband couldn't save Adam, others couldn't save him either. It took a Great physician to do the work. One with the POWER to SAVE.

The victim

April Fool's day. What a great excuse to torture your husband and have a blast while doing it. What is life without surprises? BORING that's what. This year I involved my children in the pranks, who then perpetrated pranks on their friends at school.

It started like this...

On the eve of April 1st, Don was tired so he went to bed early.
My oldest son Alec and I quietly crept outside, put Don's car in neutral, rolled it down the street, and parked it around the corner. We then proceeded to fill the entire front seat with monkeys and other stuffed animals. They were even hanging from the dash and rearview mirror.

Next, we went back to the house, duct taped the front door shut, went in through the garage and individually wrapped my husdband's wallet, shoes, keys, and brief case in aluminum foil- They looked so pretty! Also, we placed a present from the kitty in a baggie and slipped it in his shoe before wrapping it.

We left all those pretty packages by the taped shut front door.

Next I filled the bath tub (his first stop in the morning) with those small colorful balls to make the tub a ball pit, I just knew he'd love it!

Also, I unpacked his lunch box and replaced all the real food with kid's plastic groceries- a fake bologna sandwich, plastic fruit, ya know.

Lastly, the coup de grace- I duct taped his cell phone to the ceiling in the bathroom. I have to admit, that was THE BEST. Consequently, I was too excited to sleep!

Sleep came eventually though, and I woke up the next morning to "What the heck?"
(He'd found the balls in the tub). I feigned sleep and giggled! After clearing out the tub, he came back in the bedroom (he was searching for his phone). "Babe..." he gently shook me, "I can't find my phone. Will you help me?" It was so hard not to laugh! I said, "give me my phone and I'll call yours".

I called him 4 times, the phone ringing away on the ceiling with poor Don searching all over for it!!! Oh my goodness I am still laughing about it! He was starting to get mad, standing directly under it ringing and ringing when he finally looked up, "you gotta be kidding me!"
Well, I know he enjoyed the rest of the pranks as much as I did, he never really got mad either or even took revenge, I was half expecting the police to show up about the missing car, but by then he was on to me, plus he was able to see the tail end of the car around the block (darn it!). Oh, and he did like cleaning all the monkeys out of the car.

Later I found the kitty surprise in my candle burner, but it was still wrapped so no harm done. Anyhow-Happy April Fools day, I hope it was a good one. And if you liked any of my above ideas, why wait til next year?

Welcome 2011

Wow, it's a new year already. I was just getting used to 2010, and now, it's over. I don't know about you, but I love New Year's resolutions. January 1st feels like a fresh start to me. Kind of like a sunny day after a night of storms, or starting a new journey in a good book. With the coming of a new year we get a second chance to do things right.

So this year I'm going to live life to the fullest! I'm going to work out more, study more, pray more, lose weight, stop smoking, make more money, be a better person, a better friend, a better everything. I want to take a class, learn a new skill, take up painting, start sewing, finish the bathroom, organize the closets, and I'm going to start January 1st!........ and be dead by February.

I can't help but get motivated by the new year. And I need more time because of all my plans. I lament the fact that there is only 24 hours in a day, and 8 hours of that is wasted by sleeping! Imagine all the laundry I could get done if I didn't have to sleep. The vacuuming, dusting, and organizing would all be effortless because all the mess makers that live here, would be asleep and consequently not making messes. Honestly, though if my only resolution was to be a better housekeeper, I would be bored to tears! And I would probably use the above knife on anyone who dared to wear their shoes on my new carpet. (What??? that isn't justifiable homicide? We paid a lot for our Home Depot carpet!)

So I actually made a resolution to do less housework this year (and yes I hope my husband, "Mr. Tidy" isn't reading this). It just takes up too much of my time. I'd rather be blogging or working out anyway.
Much more productive don't you think? Also I am going to revise my running program from a 4 day/week to a 3 day/week program, more efficient and less time consuming. I needed to make some room in the schedule to teach a Financial Peace class and attend Toastmaster's. Plus, I think my kids got the New Year's bug too because lately I have been hearing things like..."When are you going to sign me up for ballet?" And from my 11 year old, "I want to be in girlscouts again." And our oldest son just told me he'd like to join the local swim team. Boy they sure do interfere with all my plans don't they? The nerve!

Well, after reading all this you are probably making a resolution to NOT make any resolutions, and hey that's because you are smart! I am not so smart, but I bet I get more done than you this year! Ha ha.

Hurray for Christmas!!!

I love Christmas. I Always like the presents of course, but now I focus more on the spirit of Christmas. It is truly the most Wonderful time of the year.

Have you noticed the smiles? Can you feel the spirit? Have you caught a whiff of pine as you walk by the fresh cut trees outside all the stores? How about all the decorations?

Downtown, every light post has bells or chrysanthemum shaped tinsel wrapped around it. The banks have christmas trees and sleighs. And how about the houses? They are lit up so festive and bright! I swear the neighbors seem to be competeing for best display! One in our neighborhood has lights coordinated with music. They blink on and off to the beat of christmas music.

And the best news of all...It's all for Jesus! Yes I know many people don't actually acknowledge the birth of our Savior on this Holy day, BUT, if it weren't for His birth, unbeliever's wouldn't be putting on the wonderful displays and celebrating like this at all. So I say ENJOY! Let the lights and music be a blessing to you no matter what. Put the Christ back in Christmas by fully experiencing Peace on Earth, and Goodwill toward men.

Now is the time to heal those broken relationships. Now at Christmas time, is the time to let your light shine before men! Now is the time to seek peace and pursue it. Do it in honor of the One who forgave you. The One who gave His life for you! The One who heals you. The One who gave up a heavenly dwelling to dwell in the darkness with mankind.

Enjoy the lights, meditate on Mathew 1 + 2, and Luke 2. Pray for peace. Bake some cookies for the neighbors. Smell, no, Deeply Inhale the smells of pine. Practice forgiveness and random acts of kindness, and above all else- Wish Jesus "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!"

What Jesus means to me

If someone were to ask me, "Why did you become a Christian?" My response would be, "I became a Christian 8 years ago because I had a strong desire to know God." From my earliest days of conversion that's all I wanted; was to know God.

I'ts not like I wasn't going to church, I attended the local church for years. It just wasn't meeting that intense need, the hunger, I experienced day after day. I wanted to KNOW Him and that church wasn't fitting the bill so to speak. On any given Sunday, people were asleep (literally) in the pews. Even after attending for years, I was a complete stranger to everyone. No one fellowshipped after service, and 1/2 the crowd left before the end of service, just after communion. On one sad occasion, a woman sitting in the aisle across from me fell over from a mini-stroke during the sermon. I rushed over with my baby daughter on my hip to help her. The sermon went on like nothing happened, no one else helped except one man, a doctor who called 911. Distrubing isn't it?

What I didn't know then that I DO know now (part A);
1. It is a sin to make our God look boring. He is exciting, super creative, totally smart, and VERY WILD!
2. He expects His church to bring people closer to Him AND each other. The church is His Body. We should not be strangers to one another.

To me that church is dead. It needs a 911 call as badly as the woman I helped that day, and I pray that someday it will experience a great rivival, but only God can do that.

I believe the desire to know Him, was actually initiated by Him, not me. Yes I was unhappy at my current church, attending more out of habit then anything else, but I truly do believe He called me out by giving me that hunger. I believe it was "my time" so to speak to enter into a relationship with Him; He picked up the phone and called my soul. So I began looking for another church. I remember flipping through the yellow pages trying to decide, "Hmm.. Baptist? Pentacostal?... where do I find some strong preaching and people excited about their faith?" Fortuantely for me, I wasn't searching on my own.

What I didn't know then that I DO know now (part B);
1. God already had a church in mind. The week I began searching, my new friend Lynette handed me a postcard invitation to come to her church.
2. He speaks to us through other believers. He does use other means too, ie the BIBLE, but since I wasn't reading it, He couldn't speak to me through His word.

So I accepted the invitation to Deer Creek Christian Church, and was baptized that summer, but this time not just with water, I was baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Now I read the bible, pray, and study. I submerge myself in Christian culture and most of my friends are Christians, many of them new to the faith. All of my life is centered on Christ, and I am constantly blown away by His good works, how he helps us, and blesses us how He empowers those who call on Him, how He so completely comforts those who are anxious or mourning, that they often report a prevailing sense of peace despite their sad circumstances.

I hear new believer's say things like, "I just can't get enough of my bible." and I cry tears of JOY! I am so glad I became a Christian so I could witness this. I want to bring the whole world with me. It is such a joy to know God.

I answered the call from God, but I think some people don't. They are too busy, too angry, or even too weighed down by their own sin to pick up the phone. If that sounds like you, Beware! The phone does not keep ringing forever, the caller eventually gives up. "So today if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart."
Amen and Amen!


Today when I woke up, I just knew it was going to be "one of those days". All I wanted to do was to go back to sleep.

This feeling of depression often hits me after a period of spiritual growth, a success in my ministry, or I perform an act of kindness. I guess it's just the low after the high. But I don't want to be sad, I don't want the enemy to rob me of my JOY.

I expect to live life Joyfully because honestly, I have so many reasons to be HAPPY; an awesome husband, a large family, the best job in the world (HOUSEWIFE) oh sure you laugh, but it really is living in the "Sweet Spot" of life. So many moms have to go to work and leave their beautiful babies in other people's care, I get to enjoy my babies and hug and kiss them and play Candy-Land all day if I want! I love that game.

Anyhow, back to my depression this morning. It started like this, earlier in the week, I did a good deed for a close friend . I won't say what it was only that, God prompted the deed and the enemy of my soul saw it and got angry. Since, he wants to steal the joy of serving God from me, he does all he can to bring me down. That's why I was feeling discouraged when I woke up, and you want to hear something sad? Sometimes, I cooperate with the enemie's plan. Can anyone relate? I cooperate by feeling sorry for myself, indulging depressing thoughts, or I get irritated with others, and my glass starts to look half empty.

I have a theory about all this; I call it The Empire Strikes Back. Remember the movie STAR WARS? Classic good against evil plot. You could even draw parallels between the movie and the Bible. I do. Anyway, at the end of STAR WARS, the good guys beat the bad guys right? And it feels like a great victory, until the sequel comes out, and the bad guys Strike Back.

I believe this is how the Christian life is too. I do a good deed, and the Empire Strikes back. I make a positive change in my life, and the Empire Strikes back. I encourage others, lead a bible study, witness to an unbeliever, and, you got it, the Empire Strikes back! His weapons are many. He uses the sword of discouragement, the spear of anxiety, and the club of doubt. He brandishes old strongholds, and past temptations to get me to sin, and if he can't get me to sin, he will pour out hot tar of guilt on me. I can hear him now, "Oh sure you may not have actually sinned, but you WANTED TO didn't you?"

I'm sick of him. Fortunately, I can beat him. Unfortunately, he keeps coming back. Sometimes he wins, sometimes I win. Ultimately, I win. According to the Bible the war is won (check out Revelation), but for now the battle keeps raging.

So today I did what I always do when The Empire Strikes Back. I read the Bible, prayed, and then went for a run. These are my weapons; Bible reading to gain perspective and gather God's promises, prayer to gain the muscle of God, and running to change my brain chemistry, and release those "feel good" endorphins. Spiritual?-check. Physical?-check. emotional?-check. Halellujah-I feel better already!


One of my most favorite things about the christian life is the ability of a christian to surrender her whole life to Christ. And one of my least favorite things about the christian life is the NEED to surrender everything to Christ.

A call to surrender whether it is a big decision, or just a small uncertainty, can feel equally difficult depending on how prideful we are. I grew up with the motto "God helps those who help themselves". I have yet to find that verse in the bible. What I read in the bible says the exact opposite. "Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest." and, "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you." and my personal favorite because I am a mom, "He gently leads those that have young." (Is 40:11) Instead of expecting us to succeed on our own, God promises that He will come along side us and shoulder the work with us. He doesn't want us to carry our burdens alone, He wants us to lean on Him with our burdens, and He carries them with us, and sometimes for us.

When life's burdens are too heavy to carry, a christian has an invitation to drop them off at the cross. Our pride and need to control things is what keeps them on our backs instead. We chant, "I can do it myself," and, "God helps those who help themselves," Meanwhile, Christ is standing there shaking His head, "Didn't you hear me promise to help you? Let me help you, I want to help you. I want to show you how strong I am.
You need rest; come to me." Because He is truly a gentleman, Christ will wait to be invited. He waits so patiently for the invitation to help. He will not go where He is not wanted. He waits for us to come to Him.

So I have learned...

When I am weary of a sinful world, "Come to me"
When I'm tired, and just want to sleep, eat or shop, "Come to me"
When I can't give anymore of myself to the kids, and I think I'm going to snap, "Come to me"

The victory is so sweet when I surrender...

Surrender is not about giving up, it's about getting help. Help from a father who is wiser, and stronger than I am.
Surrender is not about giving in, it's about getting out. Getting out from under whatever is weighing me down.
Surrender is the most peaceful place I know.

What do you need to surrender to God?


Today I am amazed at how God answers prayers. For one thing, it is so hard to believe He wants to be involved with my mundane life. Another thing, I really don't feel worthy to have His "ear". Anyhow,
this morning I was suffering from soul deprivation. I haven't been spending enough time with God, and just like slacking off on exercise weakens my muscles, slacking off on reading the bible and praying weakens my spirit. I was experiencing that sense of being overwhelmed and irritable and it was only 8:30!

Fortunately, I am involved with a ladies bible study that meets every other Saturday, and I had some homework to strengthen me. This group keeps me in the Word. We are studying the book of Nehemiah (he's my fave!), and have 5 whole days -about 300 pages- of homework to do each week. (Just kidding!)

In chapter 6 of Nehemiah, we see the opposition the prophet faced while trying to rebuild a wall around the city of Jerusalem. All of the Jews were on board with this building project. They were working night and day to get it fixed; unfortunately they faced some tough opposition. A couple of guys in particular kept threatening them and trying to intimidate them. All throughout the chapter Nehemiah stands firm though. He will not be distracted or intimidated by his enemies. He has a job to do and he does it. He stays focused. Courageously, Nehemiah continues to work on the wall. Every time he hears that his enemies are going to attack, or they spread lies about him, or even try to trick him, Nehemiah's response is the same. Stand Firm and Pray. He was not afraid. He was strong in the Lord. You've really got to admire this guy's ability to stay focused.

I on the other hand have ADD in HD, and am totally distracted. I believe this chapter of Nehemiah was a reminder for me to get focused, and PRAY. So I wrote out my laundry list of concerns. Normally I feel guilty praying for myself, yes I know that is dumb-right? But since I am very important around here I made an exception, just this once.

I did what Nehemiah did; I prayed and then turned the list over to God trusting he will provide and protect.

One of the items on that list was my 5-year-old Abby. It is required at her school that all Kindergardeners know how to tie their shoes. We worked on this last week to no avail, and now the pressure is on because THEY ARE GOING TO TEST HER ON IT NEXT FRIDAY!! Everyday this week I asked her to go get her shoes so we could practice and she kept wanting to put it off. Honestly, I thought of just letting her fail from lack of motivation, but as a mom I chose instead to nag her to death. I warned her that she would fail her test if she did not practice tying her shoes. So we practiced a few times and she kind of got it, but not quite. So I told her not to worry about it she still has a week. Well when we got in the car she refused to let me tie them for her, but, in a hurry, I insisted on tying one. Guess who got the other one tied perfectly and double-knotted? I'll give you a hint- her picture as at the top of the page.
To me this was the hand of God. Unbelievable. You may not be that impressed, but you would be if had seen the spectacular failure and frustration we had last week with it.

Let today be the day that YOU trust God to answer your prayers. Maybe it will be a little thing, like tying shoes, or maybe you need something big, that's ok. Just remember your father is watcing over you. He is delighted to spend time with you, and He delights in blessing his children. Amen and Amen!
Me and God and a Cough drop

Last weekend, I ran a half marathon. I did pretty good for me. I am not a super fast runner because I don't have the best heart-lung function. I once failed a fitness test AT THE PEAK OF MY MARATHON TRAINING !!! My heart rate went too high and the stationary bicycle I was riding shut off. How could I be so out of shape if I was running 30 miles a week? Poor heart lung function. But it's all relative, I am better off than I would be if I didn't run. So I persevere.
Speaking of perseverance, I was doing great until mile 10. For the whole race, I was averaging 8 min 30 second miles ( a record for me ), and all I could do was think about how I couldn't think about my speed and continue to hold that speed. No thinking allowed. But how do you not think about what you're trying so hard not to think about? What a conundrum! Anyhow, like I said, I was thinking about how I couldn't think about how fast I was running, and for 10 miles it worked great. But then my body began to fail where my mind did not. After nearly 10 miles, my body was begining to shut down. Runner's call this "bonking". It happens sometimes during long runs. The body has used up all the reserves it has, and like a car, has run out of fuel. My legs felt superheavy, I was begining to get lightheaded. Bonking is not a pleasant experience. On and off during the race, I had been praying, but now I began to cry out- "God help me, I need sugar!"
I was hoping the next water stop would have gatorade- No such luck. Mile 10's water stop had, well, water! UGH! That was the last thing I wanted, the lone woman working the water stop took a look at me, and asked, "Hey, are you ok?" OOPS! I guess I forgot to put on my lipstick, and curl my hair before the race- Just kidding!

An experienced runner herself, the water lady could see I was in trouble. Maybe my eyes rolling around in my head tipped her off, or my Parkinson's shuffle. Not sure. Anyhow I answered her truthfully, "I'm fine, How are you?" OK, I didn't say that. I was desperate, so I told her I needed some sugar as I shuffled by.
"Hey I have a cough drop if you want it." I nearly gagged.
Great! A cough drop! I was hoping to puke, and a cough drop should facilitate that quicker than mere dehydration alone. I declined, and tried not to think about the taste of menthylatom as I shuffled on. 15 feet past the water stop, she persisted, "It's a Ricola!"

Uturn! I love those guys! They are delicious-just like a yummy lemon drop. Not medicinal or mentholaytom-y at all.
I could of kissed her, because guess what? That cough drop carried me another 2 miles with a steady stream of sugar infusion. It stayed tucked in my left cheek, slowly melting through mile 12. I was so happy about it that I was able to really "Turn it on" for my last mile, mile 13. I crossed the finish line in an amazing 2hrs and 1 minute.

My whole point in sharing this experience is to remind us all that when we ask God for something, He may meet that need in an unexpected way. I did not want that cough drop. I thought it would make me sick. But I had just been praying when I came across her. I almost refused the blessing that not just "got me through", but took me home strong!
I almost missed the blessing because it wasn't what I expected. I did not recognize it as the blessing God had in store for me. Sometimes it's not til later that we realize God gives us just what we need.

So be ready to receive what God has in store for you. Maybe it's not sugar, He may give you a cough drop instead, But cough drops are sweet too!


Today is my husband's Birthday, and we are going out to celebrate! His parents are watching our little ones tonight so we can have some alone time YIPEE! We have 5 kids and as parents we are in HIGH DEMAND.
Just for tonight, he is mine and I am his.

Another kind of birthday is the (re)birth of the Spirit. All of us are born with a body and spirit, but only some of us are spiritually reborn, or as Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3, "born again".

"Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit (of God) gives birth to Spirit."

Although all are born with a body and soul, most will not experience the rebirth of their spirit. Why? Because most of us refuse God. We Refuse to accept His guidance, His love, His involvement in our lives, and worst of all we refuse His son.

8 years ago I invited Jesus into my life. My spiritual birthday is June 8, 2002. Before then I lived for myself. My own desires, my own selfish ways, Me, Me, Me, It's all about ME! I was miserable.

Since that day- a little over 8 years ago, I no longer live for myself, I live for Christ. My Goals, my dreams, my daily mundane tasks all include God. I experience Him while I'm running, doing laundry, cooking, writing, driving- you name it- He is in it. This is because He gave me a gift on my spiritual birthday- The Totally Awesome gift of the Holy Spirit. Every where I go He is with me. Guiding me, encouraging me, revealing God to me.

Now that the Spirit lives in me; I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, I can ask and it will be given to me, seek and I will find, knock and the door will be opened to me. I am the salt of the earth and a light to the world (not me but the Spirit of God shining in me)I have the power of God to overcome fear, sorrow, unwanted thoughts, bad relationships- You name it, Because if God is for us who can be against us?
We are more than conquerers through Christ.

When the Spirit of God is born in you, there is no telling where you will go. God may call you to become a missionary, adopt orphaned children from Russia, begin an after-school program for inner-city kids, teach Sunday school or even become a Pastor.

The Spirit will lead you to a place you never imagined for yourself. Being Born of the Spirit myself, I understand what an adventure it can be. The below picture of me on the beach was taken this year in Africa! A few years ago I never would have predicted that my daughter and I would travel there to run a VBS and teach on church leadership! Unbelievable!

We know that the birth of the body ends in death. We are all fated to live once and then we are no more; But the Spirit never dies! Once the Spirit of God is born in you, You get to live forever with Christ and have quite the adventure along the way.

Today we celebrate the birth of my husband. My hope and prayer is that YOU celebrate the birth of the Holy Spirit in your life. God Bless!

Be Prepared!

September 2010

I am one of those people who loves to set goals. For running, I follow a 16 week training program, and at the end of the 16th week I am prepared to run a marathon.

I love schedules too, they keep my crazy life a little more sane.

I didn't used to be such a planner, but God has changed me in many ways over the years. I'm a little more organized a little less of a free-spirit than I used to be!

One thing I have NOT adequately prepared for is the return of Christ. Many times I've prayed for Him to return, but usually its when I'm faced with a hardship I don't want to go through, and I pray, "Oh Lord if you'd just rapture me now, I wouldn't have to ...." (fill in the blank!).

Honestly, I've just been too caught up in day to day living to give it much thought. Jesus warns specifically against this in Mathew 24, Luke 21, and Mark 14. He warns, us to "Be on gaurd," "Be alert!", and "Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come."
He will return like a "thief in the night". No one will expect Him. He will just come.

So how do we Prepare for His return?

"I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came and visited me." (Math. 25:35-36).

Jesus is saying that when we look after others, serving them, visiting them, meeting their deepest needs, we are in fact, serving... Jesus!
How RADICAL is that? Our kindness to others is kindness to Christ. Service is our preparation for His return.

I totally want to do that, and not just to hear Him say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant!" But I want to serve because, it makes me feel so GOOD.

Like the running schedule, serving can be tough. It is time consuming, I am often uncomfortable, and it goes against my selfish nature that wants to sit back and relax. BUT just like the running keeps my muscles strong, serving keeps my spirit strong.

Healthy body, Healthy soul, Healthy relationship with Jesus.

So I challenge you today; Prepare for Christ's return! Feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, clothe the naked, comfort the sick, visit the prisoners, and invite the strangers in!

When waiting for God... Send out a Dove!!!

Today I studied the life of Noah, and took note of how he sent out birds to see if the land was dry enough to leave the Arc. 40 days after the Arc settled into the mountains of Ararat Noah, his family and all the animals were STILL in the boat. The waters were still high and Noah didn't know if it was safe to get out.

Noah was most likely anxious to get the heck out of the Arc. He had been in there a year already, I can only imagine how loud it was in there, not to mention the upkeep of taking care of so many animals- feeding and watering them, cleaning up the waste. I wonder how many of the animals were pregnant or had given birth, necessitating more space in an already cramped environment?

I know how difficult it is to wait on God, and wonder if I could wait as patiently as Noah. Especially once the boat had settled onto land, I would be chomping at the bit to get out of there! Take note of what Noah did.
Eventhough Noah was waiting on God, he wasn't idle. He didn't do nothing, he sought hope in the waiting. He was Proactive.

So what did he do? He sent out birds. The first -a Raven flew around kind of aimlessly because the water was still too high. Poor bird he flew back and forth til the water dried up enough for him to land. Must of been exhausted! Bird #2 a dove couldn't keep up all the flying with nowhere to land. Noah had to reach out and save the poor exhausted thing! Another week of waiting... Third try- hope restrored as the dove brought back an olive branch, but Noah still waited one last week and then-Success! He sent the dove out again, and this time it never returned!

Almost one month later God told Noah it was FINALLY time to come out-Freedom at last! Imagine how relieved they were to get out of the Arc, and set the animals free. It was time to repopulate the world- A fresh squeaky-clean world.

So, if you are waiting to get pregnant and the stick hasn't turned blue- send out a dove by picking out baby names, or planning the nursery.
If you are waiting for a job-send out a dove by doing some volunteer work, helping a friend, or checking on applications.
If you are waiting for God to introduce you to Mr. Right-send out a dove by checking out an internet dating site, getting together with friends, or giving a first date a second chance.

While you are waiting for God to do something big in your life, Remember to send out a few doves. Don't quit 5 minutes before the miracle happens. Seek out HOPE, Hang in there and send out a dove!

SIN... It's a bad word.
Who wants to hear it? I don't. I don't like to think of myself as doing wrong or being wrong. I want to be right. Right with myself, right with God and right with others.
I certainly don't want to deal with sin. Too ugly, too messy and too often- PAINFUL.

The sin that feels so good at the time, leaves us crying with shame and regret when it is fully exposed to the light of the truth.

Recently I witnessed a close friend admit the truth of what she'd been doing behind close doors, and she wept openly, fully exposed and vulnerable. Naked like Eve in the garden. Suffering a painful self-awareness that cut like a knife. Shamed and exposed, wanting badly to hide, but she was busted with nowhere to run.

Reflecting on SIN has led me to some conclusions that I want to share today.
If life is a journey, that means we are on a Path. To reach our final destination, we have to stay on the right Path.

SIN is a dead end detour.

Until my friend repents, she is heading in the wrong direction and will eventually end up totally lost if she doesn't get back on the Right Path.

The most direct route back to the Path is the Way of Repentance
On this path you
1. agree with God that you have sinned
2. admit it was your fault
3. experience regret so you remember the PAIN involved with the sin
4. apologize to God
5. make reperations/make it right with others

In Repentance, you recognize that the detour was tempting, you had the option to stay on the right path, and didn't take it- in other words you, "knew better".

After Repentance, you are now headed in the right direction. You're not actually on the Path, just heading toward it.

In my friend's case, she has some work to do before she is back on the Path. She already acknowledged the sin, and asked God to forgive her. Now she must do the hard work of breaking the unholy bonds forged between her and another. This probably means seperation and then no further contact. This will be very difficult. Her heart is involved, it will feel like DEATH. But she must continue on the Path of Repentance by remaining abstinent.

The Path of Abstinence feels lonely, it's hard not to look back at the "Good old days" of sin. You tend to forget the pain and regret it caused. But Abstinence is the only way back to the Right Path. She will have to stay focused or else another detour will take her away!

Here is the Good News! It gets easier! Everyday of continued abstinence is progress made, and continuing on Abstinence leads to FREEDOM!
In Freedom there is no more shame, or regret. Freedom from sin is a Victory.

Clear concious, clear mind.


My friend can make it there, and so can you!

Life is Journey, remember-Sin is a dead end detour. Refuse the temptation. Stay on the Right Path. You will conquer sin by doing the right thing-By living God's way, and staying on THE RIGHT PATH.
God Bless!

Home organization

Up until a few years ago, I found it very difficult to invite people over to my home. I wondered, "What does my foyer look like?" "Are the dishes stacked up to the ceiling?" "When was the last time I vacuumed?" and the worst of all- CLUTTER! Piles of newspapers, library books and bills. Toys, coloring books, games and crayons, stacked in piles, and thrown in corners. Brushes and combs left out in the living room, school papers, dirty socks, overflowing closets, laundry piles, unmaid beds. Chaos. Looking for something? It could be in any one of 13 "crap piles". A term my husband coined after endlessly searching for a late bill one day. "I can't find anything!" Well I couldn't either.

So one afternoon, I took the advice of author Karen Ehman and began the process of decluttering my home. I took the 3 boxes approach- #1 box- donate, #2- trash, #3- move to another room. I started in the kitchen. It was worth every minute of the 2 hours it took. My kitchen looked so BIG, so clean, so CLUTTER FREE! I gaurded it with my life! And "you betcha" I got busy creating similar clutter free zones all over my "new" home. I call it new because that's what it felt like- a new home. I didn't realize how spacious it was. SIMPLE. FREE. YIPEE!!!

I made a commitment to touch the mail once. ONCE. Bring it in, and stand over the shredder and recycle bin. Bills in the file folder marked "Current Bills". Voila. It's amazing how much more I recycle now.

For the kids' school papers; Brain in a Binder (another Ehman idea). Each kid has a folder with holes punched in it. Each folder is secured in the 3 ring binder called, well, "my brain". Party invites, school info., current activities, all kept in the binder and stored away in a drawer- NOT on the fridge, or in a pile with the bills and newspaper either. Love it!

I got radical and went out and bought some cute baskets. 2 large ones for the toys I wanted to keep in the living room, and a million small ones to organize toiletries in the bathroom. Hair clips and ponytails go with hairbrushes and combs in a basket. Extra shampoo and hairspray go in another basket, you get the point. All is organized, easy to find.

Another thing I did was bought extra cleaning supplies. Why have everything you need under the kitchen sink? I went to the dollar store and bought extra glass cleaner, wood polish, paper towels and wipes. Now each bathroom has everything it needs IN THE BATHROOM. I'm less tempted to put off cleaning it if all cleaning products are already there.

I went through all the kids toys and clothes (amazing how this snowballs- isn't it?) and sold what I could, donated what I couldn't, and put the earnings into a college savings account for our oldest.

Now with the bulk of the work done, house decluttered, systems in place, I find the only remaining problem is upkeep. The brain in a binder and my policy in handling mail have greatly helped prevent clutter, but the McDonald happy meal toys do stack up. Then there are birthdays and holidays that contribute greatly to the toy clutter. Easter in particular drives me nuts because we get so many tiny toys and eggs. Each of our 5 kids brings home a garbage bag full of crap, I mean Easter treats from the grandparents. Honestly, I'd like to just put the whole thing right in the trash (oops! was that negative?) But I do manage to get through it all eventually (like when they're not looking!).

Dr James Dobson recommends ten toys for each kid. I am not that radical-yet. I mean, what about legos? They come in sets of 150 pieces. I don't care if we have a 1000 legos as long as they are in a nice shallow storage bin. Once my kids quit playing with them though, they will be sold or given away for sure. I am holding a grudge against them for breaking 2 of my vacuums and piercing my bare feet on numerous occasions.

The best thing about having a clutter free home is the PEACE that it brings. Peace to know that people can drop by anytime without me being embarassed. Peace to live in the sweet spot of cleanliness and orderliness. Peace to know that I am in control of my stuff, and not the other way around. Peace that only simplicity brings.

Recently, my husband and I threw a surprise birthday party for his parents. The above picture is my father-in-law, Art. Boy was he surprised!
What fun we had that day, watching my in-laws experience sheer joy! All afternoon they laughed and celebrated. They were so thankful, and we were so blessed by being a blessing!

And that reminds me of the importance of Celebration. Did you know that Celebration is actually a spiritual discipline? WHAT??? who needs to discipline themselves to celebrate? Well...I DO!!! I am often times too busy to have fun. Too hurried to relax. Too task-oriented to stop and smell the roses.

So today I want to focus on Celebration. And here's the good news... God actually commands us to celebrate. He knows our propensity to rumminate, to obsess over our troubles, sucking all the joy out of life. Check out Nehemiah chapters 8+9. Here the bible records how the Israelites cried at the reading of The Law by the prophet Ezra.
They were so upset because all their neighbors hated them and they had to fight off their enemies while trying to restore their broken homes, and rebuild Jerusalem. But it was not just the city in ruins, they were spiritually in ruins! Because when Ezra read the word of God to the Israelites, they realized how far from God they had strayed. They had broken many of His laws simply because of their ignorance.

So they wept, they asked for forgiveness, and because God is so loving and compassionate, He forgave them (as He does us) and told them to prepare a feast! He had his people back! They wanted Him again, they wanted to be right with God, and live life His way. It was TIME TO CELEBRATE!

God does not want His people depressed. He has given us so much to celebrate. Think about all He has given you to enjoy. All the beauty of creation, the innocence and beauty of our babies, FAMILY, friends, ice cream, delicious Thanksgiving dinners, The Epidural!!! (ladies can I get an Amen?)

I have made a deliberate choice to celebrate something everyday- Big or little. It doesn't matter. This helps me keep things in perspective and maintain an attitude of gratitude.
It's always harder to do if it's raining outside or my hormones are raging, and it's especially hard to do when I'm running ragged, or overtired. BUT God commands us to celebrate- so, I notice how beautiful and sweet my 5 year old Abby looks when she is sleeping at night. I admire the way our black and white kitten only wants to curl up with her and no one else. I praise God multiple times throughout the day for a considerate and funny husband who is ALL mine. I wonder at how my 19 year-old daughter who has suffered all her life with learning problems, is now a Sophmore in COLLEGE (see moms all that worry for NOTHING!!)

Aren't the little problems getting smaller when my focus is on these great things? You Betcha! Now take some time today to stop and smell the roses, buy a cake, send a card or text of encouragement, hug your babies, and remeber to CELEBRATE the good people and things God has given you- That is what they're there for afterall!

Christian living- Help is here!, (Daily life - Others)    -    Author : Christina - USA

2109 visitors since 2010-08-20
Last update : 2017-09-18

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