Total Pageviews

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

An ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence

I love how God shows His hand in Bible study.  I am reading unrelated books, going to listen to sermons at church that are unrelated to what I'm reading and studying.  And yet, especially lately, the themes have all been tying together.  A little freaky!  :)  Love that evidence of God talking to me, and helping me work through my walk here on earth.

I have spent my adult life trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do, to serve God. Somehow, I had it in my mind, to truly serve Him, it needed to be in a big way.  And if I couldn't do it in a big way, I wasn't really serving.  And since I have never done any big serving, haven't been able to figure it all out (all on my own, of course...because why would I ask the one I'm supposed to serve?), I haven't done much in my life, at least in my opinion.  Which, in turn, makes me feel bad with a dash of guilt.

I also felt to serve right, I needed to have an outstanding talent, money to give or buy, or even have extra gas money to get to where I needed to best serve.  I have never figured out any talent I have, money has always been tight (and at times, almost non-existent), and gas has been a true luxury at many times.

I felt I need to figure out how to be brave enough to approach people begging on the street, to figure out how to help them, somehow.

Do you see how many times I said "I," here?'s not all about me, I realize.  It's not supposed to be.  It's supposed to be all about God.  But, I didn't know how to make the best choices, come up with the right resources, find my talent, to serve.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm reading "The Purpose Driven Life."  Slowly.  Taking a couple of chapters a week, and just letting them digest in my head.  And, to be honest, I've had many mornings, lately, when I haven't gotten up in time to have Bible study before I had to start school with Isabella.  And, then, days get busy and I forget I need to make the time later in the day.  I'm working hard to get THAT changed.
Anyway, the section I'm in, now, the final section, is on Missions.  Honestly, I felt the little dread creep up my spine, when I saw I was getting into that.  The guilt.  The "how do I drop everything, leave my family for times to do missions?  How do I afford travel, child care, how do I find it in me to go out and be in the bigger world?" overwhelmed me.

The first chapter in this final section is titled Made for a Mission.  "Fulfilling your mission in the world is God's fifth purpose for your life."  Gulp.  Yes, Lord, I know.  What am I supposed to do? How do I do it? What talent do I have to go out into the world?

Later in the chapter, "Once we are His, God uses us to reach others."  Wait.."God uses us."  Yes, I have known that, always.  But, I read these words differently, this time, in my fear and guilt.  God uses us.  It's not up to me. Duh. Hello.  I know this, but those words made me really KNOW it.  Okay, but  When?  With what?  back to the fear and guilt.

Then, Rick Warren writes "God holds you responsible for the unbelievers who live around you."  Umm..I'M responsible?  How?  When? With what?

"Nothing else you do will ever matter as much as helping people establish an eternal relationship with God."  Nothing?  No pressure...

"It is easy to get distracted and sidetracked from your mission because Satan would rather have you do anything besides sharing your faith.  He will let you do all kinds of good things as long as you don't take anyone to heaven with you."  Wow.  Wow.  Wow.

"To fulfill your mission will require that you abandon your agenda and accept God's agenda for your life.  You can't just 'tack it on' to all the other things you'd like to do with your life."  Gulp.

"...because nothing will make a greater difference for eternity.  If you want to be used by God, you must care about what God cares about; what he cares about most is the redemption of the people he made. He wants his lost children found!"  Okay, Lord, not my will but Yours be done.

How? When? With what?

Another part of my daily time with God is reading daily devotions in "My Utmost For His Highest," by Oswald Chambers.  As I'm wrestling with my questions, I get to October 21st's reading.  In it, Mr. Chambers' words say "Discipleship is built entirely on the supernatural grace of God."  "We do not need the grace of God to withstand crises - human nature and pride are sufficient for us to face the stress and strain magnificently.  But it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty four hours of every day as a saint , going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus.  It is ingrained in us  that we have to do exceptional things for God - but we do not.  We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things in life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people..."

Wham!  Hit home with me.  Maybe my calling to Missions isn't to go to another city or state or country to share the Gospel.  Maybe my calling isn't to stand on the streets of the city I live in, or even the street I live on, sharing in people's faces the Gospel.  I know that we aren't to remain comfortable.  But, we need to use our talents.  My talent isn't preaching.  My talent isn't singing.  My talent isn't much of anything.  But, I can do things that are ordinary in my ordinary, unnoticed life that maybe, just maybe, can bring Christ to other people.

My How? When? With what? isn't crystal clear to me, even still.  But my focus of those questions is brought back to my ordinary life, dealing with ordinary things, on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people.

I trust God to open the doors.  I trust Him to push me through those doors or open the windows wide when I'm blind to what to do.  But, now I feel like I'm definitely where I'm supposed to be, doing what I need to be doing, looking for ways for God to use me, right here, right now.  And not wait for the big opportunities that may not even be in the plan for my life.

While I figure out my how, when, with what answers, I'll care for my husband, my daughter, my friends.  Look for opportunities to help neighbors, smile at cashiers, hold open doors gladly, strike up conversations with strangers in lines.  My ordinary life's things.

                                                           Viking boat Isabella and I made
                                                               from her history curriculum

Monday, September 15, 2014

1 Peter 2

Good morning, and Happy Monday!  I decided to pull the "we homeschool and set our own schedule" card, and am giving us an extra day off.  We have a crazy week, ahead, but I think we can still slide our homeschool work a day, and stay on schedule.  Worse comes to worse, we do a little extra, next week, to catch up.  I want to surprise Isabella once in a while, in this type of way.  She is still so negative about school, and I'm trying to find ways to make some things more fun.  I try to concentrate a lot of time on things she enjoys.  But, her mind is set, so it'll be a long, slow process, I think.

So, she's off watching some You-Tube videos about a computer game she desperately wants us to buy for her.  And I'm taking advantage of this morning with laundry washing, blog time, and hopefully some sewing (or at the least, organizing my sewing table and school things in such a way, I can easily move what needs to be moved to set up for either sewing or school in just a few moments).  We have piano lesson and library run this afternoon, but it'll be nice to have a stress-free morning!

So, I just had to share from today's Bible study time. This morning's New Testament reading was 1 Peter 2.  Wow, did that ever speak to my previous blog post!  I have read it several times out of the New King James Version, my normal Bible reading Bible (I use the older version NIV for study with books by other authors).  So I decided to read it in the Message version, this morning, on my Bible phone app, just for fun.  And wow....

1 Peter 2: 12 (Msg):  Live an exemplary life among the natives (unbelievers, who are of this world, as we believers are NOT of this world - these words, mine) so that your actions will refute their prejudices.  Then they'll be won over to God's side and be there to join in the celebration when He arrives.

1 Peter 2:15 (Msg):  It is God's will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you're a danger to society.

the NKJV says, in verse 15: For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men

I like both versions of that verse, but the Message speaks to me, in how Christians seem to be perceived and judged by fellow but non-believing Americans, these days.  That we are a danger to society. WHAT??  If we are true Christians, if we are following what Christ laid out for us in how to live our lives here on earth, we are the exact opposite of danger to society.
BUT -  we are a danger to critizing what society wants the accepted to be.

It speaks to me that Peter's words tell us to do good, to put the "foolish men" to silence.  That, instead of lecturing people who are not going to understand the words we're trying to express, we speak to them by our actions without lectures.  We serve with no verbal witnessing agenda - our own agenda.  If God is ready for us to use words, He'll show us a way to do that in a way that doesn't turn the listener's ears off.  HE has to be the one to soften their hearts, open their ears, ready their souls.  We are here to serve Him by serving those around us, in whatever way He leads us.  Now that's not saying we don't witness, we don't share words from God's Word.  But, it is saying use discernment. Pick your time carefully. Don't turn the unbeliever off or convince them they are completely correct in their opinion of how awful or ignorant or just plain stupid Christians are.  Pray, pray, and I can never stress this enough, PRAY!  Let God use you as His instrument.

The last verses that speak volumes to me are 1 Peter 2:16-17 (Msg):
Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules.  Treat everyone you meet with dignity (doesn't say just fellow believers - my words). Love your spiritual family (there are the words regarding the fellow believers - my words).  Respect the government. (Gulp...okay, I may not agree with what is happening in our government. I may need to work to help ensure some changes are made however I can. I may even want a different president in office in 2 years. BUT, I am still to respect our government. That is from God! - my words).


Okay, I pray you have a blessed day, today!

'Til later!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thoughts of my heart

A couple of days ago - the 9th to be precise - I read my daily reading in Proverbs.  And  I had to camp on 3 verses I have thought about a lot the last few years.

     "He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,
      And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.
      Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you.
      Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
      Give instructions to a wise man, and he will be still wiser.
      Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning."
               Proverbs 9:7-9 (NKJV)

I mentioned before some frustrations with Facebook. One big one is that  I get so offended and hurt and, honestly, so sad when I read unbelievers' comments on Christian public posts. I don't purposely seek out to read comments.  But, at times, thinking I'd only read fellow believers' comments on a strong Christian post, I'd find such hatred spewed (best word for a lot of the comments). My heart hurts at their unbelief, their hatred (from so many), the loss of their souls.  And the fact if they read my words, they would think of me as a backward ignorant for my strong beliefs.

I want to defend myself.  But I harken back to words I've read in scripture, about how my words will fall on deaf ears. Only gibberish will be heard.  So sad.

Another is with fellow Christians' posts on Facebook, feeling it is their duty to speak the Truth, no matter what.
Yes, we should always stand by the Word of the LORD.  Always speak the Truth.  Always let people know about the love and sacrifice of Christ.  But, I struggle...So many unbelievers don't hear the Truth. They hear judgment and hatred.  As Christians, we aren't to hate! We are to love our neighbors.  That doesn't mean we aren't to love our fellow Christians. Of course, we ARE to love our fellow Christians (even when it's tough).  They are part of the BODY of Christ.  The arms, the legs, the feet, the fingertips, the cells, the organs, etc.  We need all the parts fully functioning! So to speak.

(Decided this photo of all these wonderful Lego creations done by kiddos at our local library's Lego Club was a good visual of all parts  - or members, more accurately - of the church fitting together to form something creative and beautiful)

But, when I hear the Truth being said to unbelievers, especially in a public forum such as Facebook, such a one (or is it two?) dimensional way, where you can't make eye contact, touch, hear voices, have a dialogue, except through comments that are often filled with scoffing and hatred, I keep being reminded of the above passage from Proverbs.

It isn't up to us, as Christians, to judge the unbelievers around us and condemn them for the sin we believe they are committing.  It is up to God to judge them and bring them to Him if they will.  It is up to us to keep our fellow believers in line, to correct (gently!!) when necessary one on one, bring them before a group of other Christians to talk it out (gently!!) if they won't listen to the one on one conversation, and ask them to leave the church if they refuse to turn from their sin.  That may seem harder than telling unbelievers they are sinning.  But, if the unbelievers don't believe they are sinning, why should they read our posts?

I truly believe we are called strictly to love the people around us, and pray for them.  If there is an unbeliever you are wanting so strongly to save from his or her sin, sin according to what God has taught us is sin, pray!  Be a friend. Lead by example. SERVE!  If conversation brings up the topic on your heart, Pray!!  Trust what God lays on your heart, and that He will use the words He wants the person to hear, if that person is ready to listen.
I realize I am not educated in theology.  All I know is from scripture and from very wise Christian writers.  People I WISH I could be like, but will never even be close to holding that wisdom.  So, that is my disclaimer.  All I can share is what I study, read, pray about, feel lead to share.  So many of you are so much wiser than I and I acknowledge that.  Be kind, if you feel you have to say anything!  (See above paragraph.)

I will end this post with the verse I am working to memorize (not my strong suit, but I know, now, I should've been memorizing verses my entire life. But better late than never, right?):

"So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God."  James 1:19-20 (NIV)

Heavy with so much meat, right?

Leaving you with a picture of our newest family member - Stripz (because he makes the girl think of bacon strips).

God bless you.
'Til next time!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Homeschooling 2nd grade

As I looked over what my past posts were, I saw that last I referenced school, I was homeschooling Pre-K, with the intention of continuing with homeschooling.

 But, in the late fall of 2011, we heard about a University Model School, for the first time.  So, we went to a meeting to learn about it, became intrigued, and decided that was for us.  2 days a week in a classical Christian college prep education and 3 days a week at home with me teaching her (from the provided lessons) seemed like the absolute perfect schooling for our girl.
In the fall of 2012, Isabella started kindergarten!

 And it was great.  Her teacher was the perfect fit for her personality.  And she absolutely thrived.  AND I still had lots of time with her, teaching her, having fun doing that.

We weren't sure we could make it work, financially, for her to go into 1st grade at the school.  But, at the last possible time to re-enroll, we were able to.  Whew!  Because I was not mentally prepared to homeschool her full time!  We needed those few hours a week away from each other. ha!

First grade was good, but not nearly as wonderful a year as kindergarten, for a few reasons I'll keep to myself.

Emotionally, it made Isabella fall back a bit.  Academically, except for math, she did just fine.  But I started feeling strongly that I should homeschool 2nd grade.  I prayed about it, and I just felt this was what needed to happen.  I think her teacher, when she learned of our decision, felt it was a good idea, which spoke volumes.

So after Isabella and I went on a nice vacation to Seattle for my niece's wedding (and to see so many people, over 2-1/2 weeks), I set to work getting a lesson plan pulled together.  I am sticking very closely to the curriculum her school is using, with the idea she'll go back there for 3rd grade.  It took me pretty much most of July, but when I finished, I had 40 weeks of lessons written up, library books we need and when listed out, art supplies for 4 months purchased, and we were good to go!

While I miss the time I had alone and seeing fellow moms from school while we waited in pickup line, I feel strongly, still, this was the right decision for our family, this year.  Not every day is sunshine and roses.  But, watching Isabella start to catch on to some concepts, and just having that time together (even when it's a really bad day) means the world to me!

Off to be with the family.
'Til next time!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hello to another attempt at blogging.

Well, hello there, my dear old blog.  Long time (almost 2 years) no see!  What a lot has happened, and yet how much has stayed the same.
Over the last year (or so), I realized just how much I used Facebook to express every little thought and emotion I had. (Well, maybe not as much as I picture - I typed but never posted MANY things in the heat of the moment. Had that foresight to not post.)  So many little things on Facebook, from people's political views to unnecessary drama, have been getting on my nerves.  But I find I'm still staring at my phone, looking to see if there is something new on Facebook, WAY too often.  Haven't cut the Facebook tie.  And likely won't, as I do enjoy keeping in touch with friends far away through the convenience of it.  But, it may be time to take the app off the front of my Windows phone, so it's not as convenient.
I have been thinking of dusting off this blog, and try to use it, again, as my own little electronic journal.  Not as many people will read my ventings, but I can still get it out of my brain. (Lost any of my few followers, yet? haha!!)

So, this has been on my mind for a couple of weeks.  Then, this morning, while I was reading in The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren

 (yes, I know....reading it a dozen years behind the rest of the world!), in the chapter I am on, Pastor Warren wrote (on researching or studying the Bible): "You haven't really studied the Bible unless you've written your thoughts down on paper or computer."  Light bulb moment...hello!  Was being nagged by the thought of coming back to the blog, but didn't have a set purpose.  Now I am purpose driven.  Haha. Sorry...couldn't stop myself.  If you read that, it made the final edit, bad as it was.

So, this chapter I read this morning was Chapter 24, Transformed by Truth.  This entire book is speaking volumes to me.  But this chapter, this morning, had me re-thinking how I need to take what I'm reading in the Bible each morning (I read a chapter in a New Testament book that is not a Gospel, read a chapter in a Gospel, and a chapter in an Old Testament book (reading each book in order) and then a chapter in Proverbs (31 chapters = 1 chapter a day/month and start over) and camp on a question or thought from what I've read (ie: meditate on it), a verse or two. And I need to write about it.  And I must apply its principle.

I know I have grown in my relationship with Christ so much, but I see all the room for more growth.  All of life should be a continual growth, to become as Christ.  I think I'm a nice person and would help anyone I can. I outwardly nice to everyone?  Do I help anyone?  How is that help to be given?  I have no extra money.  I have time.  I have ears.  I have....I'm sure many things I can give/do/be.....Striving daily to become like Jesus.

So I am going to try to use this blog to think out my thoughts, plan out my plans, vent out my vents, and share what I need to share that may be too much to share on Facebook.  :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Baking Frenzy

Faced with a day, yesterday, of nothing really to do, after we finished schoolwork, I decided to make some crunchy granola bars. Making granola bars is a new adventure for me. :) Wednesday, I made some chewy peanut butter chocolate chip ones. Isabella loved them (happy mommy!). The crunchy ones taste good, too ( though the girl hasn't tried them, yet). I consider those part success and part fail, though. I obviously didn't grease the pan well enough. Half came out as bars. Half came out as crumbled granola bits. That's okay, though. Incan put those on yogurt!
After I baked the granola bars, I tried homemade Ritz crackers. I cut them too thick (the recipe said THIN, and it meant it!!). But they were still yummy - especially with peanut butter on them (thanks to hubby for suggestion). After that, after hubby pouted I hadn't made a dessert type baked good, I then made pumpkin cinnamon rolls. As much as I love baking, and have never feared trying new things, I have lived in fear of yeast. But I opened a new jar and took the plunge! They turned out beautiful. Hubby's suggestion, this time, should not have been taken. He asked i double the glaze. That made the rolls way too sweet. But, under all that glaze, the rolls were delightful!! After that was all done and cleaned up, I had to make and assemble and bake enchiladas. Needless to say, I was so done with the kitchen , last night!
Going to try my hand at sewing a pillowcase, today...
'Til next time!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Why I Will Not Boycott Chick-Fil-A

Wow, again, it's been a very long time since I posted anything on my blog. Life with a 5 year old takes up more free time than life with a baby or toddler. I would've never thought it would be that way, but I won't trade a second of it (well, maybe some of the tantrum moments, but we don't need to discuss that).

I had planned to start blogging, again, in about a week, when I attempt to replace a zipper on a Lands End Jumper. They did a beautiful job. I know I won't. But, it's for Isabella's school uniform, so no matter what, I will make sure it's functional.

But, tonight, I am chewing through thoughts in my head that need to be spit out - hubby's gone for the evening (and when he reads this, he'll be thankful, so he didn't have to listen to my jibber jabber).  So, lucky blog readers, if you decide to read - I will spit them out by typing....

Okay - so the thing going around on Facebook is the Chick-Fil-A "controversy." I don't understand how anyone is shocked that the owners/founders/whatever you call them have this opinion. It's an openly Christian run company. They don't jam their religion down our throats. They serve decent fast food. Just happen to be open about being Christians, and they aren't open on Sundays. Bummer, as that's when I tend to crave their food. When we lived in Washington, our absolute favorite teriyaki restaurant was closed on Sundays, and that's when I wanted THEIR teriyaki. (By the way, what's with Texas NOT having a teriyaki restaurant in every strip mall?) Okay, I'm digressing.

This is the thing that has been chewing around in my head. I am not even going to touch on the topic that has put everyone up in arms. This has been a hot-bed topic for a long time, and will continue to be so. The thing that is bothering me, though, is the OUTRAGE that people are feeling towards the owners for Chick-Fil-A for their public statement.

Isn't this a country that people came to, to be able to live freely? To worship the way they believe? To be able to express their opinions without persecution? Oh, wait - without GOVERNMENT persecution. Did I miss the memo that says individuals can go ahead and hate on people whose opinion is different from theirs? Who believe different from the way they do?

Here is a thought - what if I walked into Chick-Fil-A, said I am a supporter of gay marriage - just said that, nothing more - and then placed my order. What if, after I did that, they refused to serve me because they didn't agree with my opinion. What if, then, I called the media and complained they wouldn't serve me because my opinion was different. Wouldn't there be an outrage over how badly they treated me? Because we had a difference of opinion?

What I always explain to my daughter is that we're all different. That some people have different color hair, eyes, skin. Some people are in wheelchairs or don't have an arm.  That, just as she came to our family in a way different from the way most of her friends came to theirs, families are all made up in different ways. That some people are Christian, as we are. That other people believe things differently. But that God made each of us. Whether a person believes in God or not - that is that person's choice. But, that I strongly believe God made us each individuals, with free will, and free thought, and FREE opinions.
I like that not all my friends and family agree with everything I think. I have strong opinions on things, and a very strong belief in God and His Son. And I don't appreciate someone treating me like I'm stupid because they feel the opposite. We all see the world through our own individual eyes, and through the way God places things on our hearts.  If I boycotted every place that was run by someone who has strongly differing opinions from mine (even when I am clearly in the right!), I would never buy anything, be able to eat, or leave my house. Even people in my family have vastly different opinions from mine.

It is my job, as a Christian, to show Christ's love to EVERYONE. That is what is important to me. Even loving people whose opinions differ. Even loving people who think I'm stupid for my differing opinion.

So, no matter how I feel about the statement, positive or negative, made by "Chick-Fil-A," I will not boycott them. They did not say they will check my opinion before they will serve me, did they? I will honor the freedom we have in this country to publicly express our opinions, if we so choose.  What is boycotting them supposed to do? Force them to change their opinion? Do you want YOURS forced to change?