The Trees and Me and Something Free for You

April 11, 2011 § 4 Comments

Sycamore trees fascinate me. We have several small ones in our front yard. Until about a week ago they held tight to their brown dead leaves – leaves that were once bright and green. Early last fall they turned a beautiful orange color and then they turned brown and drab. Those stubborn trees held tight to their dead leaves through fall, all of winter, and into spring. Finally last week during some unusually high winds, these trees finally let go of their dead leaves. It was at that point – when they had given up what they were comfortable with – that their spring buds for new leaves could form.

Those trees and I have a lot in common. I get used to the way I do things or how I do things. I get used to sin in my life and I cling to it. Even though it is brown and dead and nasty. I like it. Maybe it started as something I was doing for God, but it turned into something about me. Oh, but I cling to it. I cling to it because I remember what it once was. It was once beautiful and it even turned a glorious orange color for a short time. But God has other plans. In order for me to grow and change and stay healthy I have to be willing to let go. I like my trees have to give up what I am comfortable with so that God can grow me and change me.

Is that true in your life? Do you hang onto things God is calling you to let go so that He can do a work in your life? Would you share with me?

Here is what I am letting go of for God to do a work in me…It is also what begins my list of things I am thankful for:

381. God is tearing apart my little dreams that aren’t His and replacing them with buds of new dreams that are God-sized dreams.
383. My kids running and hollering together.
384. God is changing my heart
385. My supportive husband
386. God’s word (my breath of life)
387. Encouraging friends
388. God is making my heart teachable
389. Rejection that reminds me God has other plans
390. Nerf dart tag
391. Sound of laughter
392. Speaking truth into the lives of kids (mine and others)
393. Health
394. Water
395. My husband’s heart
396. Sweet friends who testify to my husband’s heart
397. Encouragement from others walking similar roads
398. That God would use even me
399. Forgiveness from my kids
400. Three blessings with their arms wrapped around their daddy.
401. I have an exciting free resource for you…Go to Resource page from the list on the left hand column. I pray it blesses you.

What are you thankful for? Leave a comment! I can’t wait to hear from you!


Socially Inept to Socially Confident in 24 hours

April 4, 2011 § 6 Comments

It isn’t easy being me. I don’t mean my life is harder than average. I mean it is exhausting being me.

One Saturday night my husband and I had an event to attend. I only had slight acquaintances with the attendees and a bad attitude. I didn’t want to go, I was uncomfortable, scared, and insecure. I am an awkward teenager again. The one who doesn’t know what to say, to wear, or to who she is. Mostly the awkward teenager in me fears she won’t be accepted.

About 24-hours later, we had another event to attend. This time I knew more of the attendees, I was confident, and excited about going. I had no doubts about what to wear, or say or do. What caused this severe case of social whip-lash? The ugly truth?

Sometimes I fear people more than I fear God. I am self-conscious instead of  God-conscious. I want acceptance and I fear that I am not acceptable. So begins my list of things I am thankful for.

362. God’s forgiveness.
363. God refines me.
364. I enjoyed the event I dreaded.
365. Friends
366. Spring weather
367. Tears that cleanse
368. New doors opening
369. my husband
370. Nerf flag football
371. Nerf dart guns
372. the sound of my kids as they play together
373. laughter
374. friends who think, plan, and minister with
375. the girls I teach at church
376. Silence
377. God’s grace
378. worship music
379. worship living
380. time with my husband holding hands and dreaming dreams

What are you thankful for?

What a Break Does to Me

March 28, 2011 § 10 Comments

Last week was Spring Break. I loved it. I loved sleeping in (sort of you know kids don’t really ever sleep in), I enjoyed having friends over (tremendously), and I got to see my family (haven’t seen them since Thanksgiving). Oh, but my body prefers routine. I was unable or unwilling to get in bed when I needed and up when I needed. I did not use the work-out clothes I so dutifully packed nor did I monitor how much I was eating. (My mom and sisters can cook!)

So when I got my weary rear-end in bed last night I planned on getting up early and getting my blog post done and a few other things to make the first day back to school go smoothly…It didn’t happen that way. First I stayed up way to late…Then I must have turned my alarm off in my sleep. However God did graciously wake me up. There was no time for a blog post, and I had to decide between quiet time and shower. I chose quiet time thinking that I could just drop the girls off and quickly run home.

I woke my kids and they did GREAT getting ready this morning! I was so proud of them. We got downstairs and I realized I didn’t have milk. I had a few swallows for each kid, but that is it. So I knew I had to go to the store unshowered, but dressed, face washed, and teeth brushed (my hair was in a hat). No biggie…Most likely I won’t run into anyone I know.

I even had time to make two lunches this morning and to fry some eggs…Not for me, but I was going to get breakfast after that quick jaunt to the store…All was well, we got out the door in record time and headed to school. As I went to drop off E and L, I realized it was honor’s chapel for E. UGH!

Maybe she won’t want me to come, I thought as I turned to ask her if she wanted me there. Since I hadn’t showered, her answer was YES she needed me there. 😉 So here is a picture of what I looked like this morning for your enjoyment. I was thankful to see a few other mothers in hats and sweats, but I am afraid I took the grungy prize! 😉

And so I continue to count the things for which I am thankful for:

326. Spring weather

327. Outdoor play time

328. Friends that point me to Him

329. Clouds to keep the temperature comfortable

330. Children playing with friends

331. Growing children

332. Precious time on my knees

333. Sound of running water

334. Sound of my kids working together

335. Clouds parting in the early evening to let the sun through

336. Time with extended family

337. Baby Finely is home and doing well

338. Safe travels

339. My kids love their cousins

340. My J is all boy

341. My E still wants me around

342. My L loves babies

343. My husband loves to play with the kids

344. Audiobooks

345. God’s perfect direction

346. Snow up north as we drove south toward home

347. Friends

348. Learning to speak in grace

349. God woke me up this morning

350. We were on-time to school

351. I got to see E’s honor’s chapel

352. The Japanese Maple in the backyard is a beautiful red

353. Spring blooms

354. My washer and dryer

355. My new Jayhawk gear (yes I know they lost yesterday)

356. The built-in griddle on my stove

357. That I know how to use a stethoscope and I know what I am listening for

358. Cool coffee because I can never seem to drink it when I pour it

359. Clouds parting to show blue skies

360. The beautiful colors of sunrise

361. Other moms in hats and sweats at honors chapel

What are you thankful for? Does having a break make it difficult for you to stay on task? I can’t wait to hear what you think and what you are thankful for! Blessings to you all for this wonderful Monday!

Rejection and Then Again…

March 14, 2011 § 16 Comments

It came. The e-mail. The one I have been waiting over seven months for. The e-mail from the publisher.

You know the publisher who accepted my book proposal last July at the SheSpeaks (writing/speaking) conference. Yes that e-mail. The one in the first few weeks that I waited with bated breath to come. I would open my e-mail ten, twenty times a day praying for an answer. Then I began to relax a bit. I only looked for it about five times a day. Slowly I stopped really looking for it. I short of hoped it would come, but doubted it would. Seriously just this week I began to wonder if I accidentally deleted it.

But it did come, today. After writing and blogging about dreams and God’s direction and plan for them. After writing about wrestling with God. God prepared me for receiving that e-mail.

The editor who wrote said e-mail is a precious woman of God and I could not imagine a more gracious response. Bottom line, they are not looking for new authors. So no book deal.

Surprisingly I didn’t cry or tear up. I felt disappointed, but I felt peace. I remembered a quote (I have no idea who said this so sorry I can’t give credit), “Man’s rejection is God’s protection.” So begins my counting again.

276. God’s plans are better than mine.
277. Daffodils blooming in my yard.
278. My husband’s beautiful heart.
279. My little man’s laugh.
280. Chubby hands doing it “myself.”
281. Lots of windows in my kitchen when I broil steak and send plums of smoke into the house.
282. The steak was not burned.
283. My girls packed their own lunches for school tonight.
284. Sweet offerings of wild flowers from my girls when I was feeling under the weather today.
285. My little man brought me a blanket when I wasn’t feeling well.
286. God’s word easily accessible.
287. Scotch tape solves lots of issues for my kids.
289. Spring breezes through open windows.
290. March Madness…Rock Chalk Jayhawk KU! I LOVE basketball!
291. Cheese.
292. Three little voices raised in excitement.
293. My husband’s deep voice that reassures me, my kids, and his patients.
294. Hearing my husband being praised.
295. God is there in Japan, He is comforting, loving, and working in that country.
296. Friends who understand I do not have the organizing gene and don’t try to change me.
297. All you who read my blogs. You all bless me!
298. Learning to enjoy the process.
299. The smell of my washer after I use that washer cleaner in it.
300. Long distance friends…The kind that no matter how long it has been it seems like just yesterday.

What are you thankful for?


February 28, 2011 § 6 Comments

Ding-Dong! DIIINNNNGGGG-DOOONNNNGGGG! Rap-rap-rap-rap.

Inwardly I sigh. My mind begins to roll. Didn’t I just send them outside to play? Isn’t their dad outside with them? I am just trying to get dinner started! UGH!!! I am being interrupted.

Reluctantly I turn the water off and slowly with mind still churning and frustration mounting I plod to the door. Secretly I hope she will be gone by the time I open the door. But she isn’t.

There standing with crooked glasses, face beaming, and smile wide is my precious L. “Here mommy,” she practically jumps the words. She lifts up her four-year-old hands full of the first flowers (weeds) of the year. Her offering of love to me.

My frustration disappears, tears well and I choke out a weak thank-you for my little precious girl’s thoughtfulness.

I return to the task of cooking and a song from this morning at church starts playing in my head...”I bring an offering of worship to my King. No one on Earth deserves the praises that I sing. Jesus, may You receive the honor that Your due. Oh Lord I bring an offering to you.” Then it hits me. Do I truly wholeheartedly bring an offering to my King? Do I like my precious L run to the Lord with my treasure of sincere gratitude and love. Or do I reluctantly mumble thanks as I pass through my days?

So I continue to count the things for which I am grateful!

251. Mouths sticky with peanut butter
252. nearing done with sewing project #1 for my girls
253. seedlings poking up in pots on my kitchen table
254. Seedlings leaning toward the sun…that I would lean toward the Son!
255. First flowers of 2011
256. Purity talk to fifth and sixth graders was fun! No one passed out! 😉
257. birds singing their songs
258. overcast days that remind me of the sun
259. youngest one in underwear!
260. smell of yeast in bread
261. smell of bacon
262. home-made dinner ruined only to find a new wonderful restaurant
263. the sound the pages of my Bible make as I turn them
264. My three blessings working together to help each other
265. My L standing up for her little brother
266. the hats my girls wore to church today
267. school project completed and working on it together
268. laughter
269. wisdom that comes from my husband
270. smell of coffee in the morning
271. Gift of prayer that I may approach the throne of Glory!
272. Honor of praying for friends
273. Butternut Squash soup
274. The smell of outside in my kiddos’ hair
275. E can ride her bike without training wheels now!

Are you bringing an offering of praise to God? Share what you are grateful for…Leave a comment! I can’t wait to hear from you!

Amazed by God

February 21, 2011 § 4 Comments

Don’t ask me why, but I am still amazed at God. I guess that is good, but it seems I should expect Him to do something unexpected. Yet I am forever amazed. What has so amazed me this time?

That He would use me.

Don’t get me wrong. I think I am pretty smart, I accepted Christ at a young age, I have gifts…I mean I can cook a great meal (not so great at the clean-up part), I can sing tolerably well, I LOVE to teach others stuff God has taught me, I adore writing. Here is where it gets sticky…I often get in the way

Yes I have gifts, but who gave them to me? GOD! Yes I can use my skills (in the kitchen, choir, microphone, or pen) to bring God glory. Oh, but I try to steal that glory. If I am not careful it becomes all about me, when deep down because God’s Spirit lives in me, I really what it to be for HIM!

Knowing that I try to steal God’s glory, being aware of my sinful, depraved nature, makes me amazed. Amazed that He would use me. Each door He has opened has driven me to my knees, face to the floor, in AWE of HIM! I don’t deserve it, but He does it anyway. Pretty amazing stuff!

So with that in mind, I begin my list of things I am thanking God for…

226. (in)courage featured me as a daily guest!
227. warm showers
228. God is bigger than all the issues I wrestle Him over
229. the blessing I receive when I wrestle with God
230. my life forever changed by the wrestling
231. strength comes as I wait for the Lord…just wish I was better at the waiting
232. the sound of the washer and dryer
233. honest critiques that sharpen me
234. red and white tulips (my hubby brought me flowers again)
235. siblings showing love
236. new jeans
237. birthday gifts that come in the mail after my birthday (extending the celebration)
238. encouragement given from unexpected people
239. support of my sweet man
240. watching my husband play with the kids
241. patches of sunlight through skylights that move as the earth rotates
242. our amazing bodies, how the ward of sickness, fight disease, our Creator is amazing!
243. the quiet right before the sun rises you can almost feel it
244. at dusk when the world seems to glow golden
245. the privilege to speak to 5th and 6th graders about purity (pray for me Wed night)
246. discussing ideas with my sister on the phone
247. the stillness after my blessings go to bed
248. the crazy sounds of morning as we all get ready for the day
249. the sound of my kids singing worship songs
250. the sound of my husband’s laugh

Please share with me the amazing things God is doing for you. What are you thankful for? Often amazing things are things that we are thankful for! I can’t wait to hear what you have to share!

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1,000 Gifts continued

February 7, 2011 § 6 Comments

“It’s my dun mommy,” his voice louder than necessary as he points to a plastic cap on his coat. “I shoot bad duys [guys].”

“Shhh, it is OK to pretend to shoot bad guys, but we need to use our indoor voice,” I encourage and quietly pray no one heard him.

He persists in describing his gun and shooting bad guys as most two-year-old boys are apt to do. The problem? We were at the DMV getting my license renewed. At least we weren’t at the airport. I am praying he is out of that stage before we go on our next plane ride. I somehow doubt it, but we made it through the DMV without having to speak to anyone packing real heat. And so begins my list of things I am thankful for…

176. Little boys and their imaginations!
177. No one called the cops when J was talking about guns and shooting at the DMV.
178. No one was hurt when they slid into our fence and knocked over the gas thing.
179. We never lost gas at our house during that time.
180. For the reminder of the bread and the cup. Reminders that I can touch and taste of what God did for my spirit.
181. Singing songs in the car with my kids on the way to school. My van turns into a rolling worship service.
182. Listening to God’s word on with my kids. They understand more than I realize.
183. My little L’s probing questions.
184. An article that a magazine is considering publishing. It is opening opportunities for my kids to see God working and learning patience with me.
185. That God chose that our joy in Him is our strength.
186. My 6th grade girls are growing and changing to be more like Jesus.
187. The mercy and grace my kids and husband give me.
188. The opportunity to work with Bronson Ma to design my logo, business card, etc.
189. Learning lots of new things
190. The book fair at my girls’ school…We got several new inexpensive books. We LOVE books!
191. My husband’s gentle reminders to make things right.
192. Coffee with friends
193. Dinner with a family, our kids play so well together.
194. Watching a friend’s child to lighten her load
195. New friendships
196. 17 hours of snowing here in Arkansas! NOTE: Only an inch or two accumulated as it melted while it was falling, but it was BEAUTIFUL
197. Superbowl Sunday…I LOVE football and we didn’t do anything special…Just watched with the family and it was WONDERFUL!
198. E telling her Sunday School class mommy’s birthday is this Wednesday and exactly how old I will be! 😉
199. That Jesus would die for a wretch like me.
200. God confirming His perfect plan for me each step of the way.

What are you grateful for? Leave a comment. Then consider signing up to get my blog in your RSS reader or your e-mail. Just sign up in the right hand column. Remember you will get a confirmation e-mail if you sign-up for e-mail…So check your trash if it doesn’t show up. Thanks for stopping by!

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