Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Word for 2010...

Every year on the Five In a Row boards, we pick a word that encompasses much of what we hope the coming year holds for us. I have been so unsure of what my word should be. I feel I have so many areas that require attention that I don't even know where to start. As I was praying and reading, I felt that I finally figured out the word that truly does encompass all the others and it is...

GRACE!

2 Cor. 12:9 (MsgB)
and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it's all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness.


Strong’s (#5485) defines grace as "the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life."

I need His divine influence on my heart that it may be reflected in my life! The Bible says grace is all I need! My very needy self has found the answer.

I recently taught on grace with my friend, Julie, and I am getting ready to teach on it again in a couple of weeks. I am reading a book on grace and now I feel my word is grace. Does anyone see a pattern here? I really am a slow-learner sometimes it would seem because He sure has needed to give me a lot of directional signs for me to finally catch on.

I get it now, though. I am at the station waiting for the doors to open so I can jump on the train to grace! Not sure what we'll see along the way, nor how long it will take to get there. I heard the Conductor is One to really be trusted, though, so I figure I am in good hands!

It's funny, too, that the above verse is the one He showed me because I am tired and feeling weak...physically, emotionally and even spiritually the last few weeks. How comforting to know that this is truly when His strength can well up within me.

Oh how I want His divine influence in my life so that I might reflect HIM! Have you ever seen this picture?



I love it! The created is looking in the mirror and drawing what he sees...the Creator! Oh how I desire to see His reflection staring back at me as I gaze into my own eyes! May it be so in 2010!!

Lord, as we close out this year of 2009 which has been so full of painful moments, joyous moments and reflective moments, would we pause and contemplate what we have learned through it all. And then, as we look forward to the fresh slate that 2010 presents us, would we contemplate what we desire to learn and hear from you in the days to come! May our deepest heart's desire to be to reflect you for the good of our relationship with You AND our relationship with others!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas!




Merry Christmas, with love, from our family to yours! May you experience joy as you reflect on the reason we celebrate...Happy Birthday, Jesus!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Quite Unexpected!

When you ponder the birth of our Savior, it's really no wonder why the Jews have yet to believe that He has, in fact, already visited the earth. One would expect the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to be received with a little more pomp and circumstance than was actually the case, don't you think?

When Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, I don't imagine there were any signs like this one announcing their destination...



I don't think there were any street signs pointing to where He would first lay His head...



I imagine a weary Mama and her betrothed, sensing the time was upon them, found the least offensive place they could given their impending circumstances. I don't think it is what they imagined when they considered their sweet firstborn, the One Whom the angel had enlightened them about, making His appearance into their family and ultimately into the hearts of all who believed.

Reality is, our Savior was born in the most unlikely circumstances in the most unlikely place ~ a manger! Our nostalgic little nativity scenes don't quite do the moment justice, though, do they? This is what a manger in those days most probably looked like...



Not exactly plush accommodations, right? Maybe there was some hay in there to soften His initial resting place, but any way you look at it...a manger is not quite what we would expect.

He was conceived through the unexpected, birthed in a place that was unexpected, lived a life that was unexpected and died an unexpected death in a most unexpected way for Someone Who could change history with a simple verbal command. He certainly, even by the standards of those in His inner circle, did the unexpected when He rose from the dead and He continues to do the unexpected in my life day after day.

Lord, You have never been One to do what was expected of You. You never caved to public opinion or human expectations of what your birth, death and resurrection should look like. You continue to show up in unexpected ways and at unexpected times in the the lives of those Who seek You! Please continue to show Yourself to me in the most unlikely of circumstances at the most unlikely times, that I may never think I have you all figured out!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mark Your Calendars!

If you have followed me at all, you know that we are homeschoolers. We have always homeschooled exclusively up until this year. This year our oldest 2 entered a Christian school, Rachel as a senior and Benji as a freshman. The younger 3 are still at home with me and homeschooling is just a part of who we are.

Early in the spring of this year, Amanda Bennett asked if Tim and I would be willing to speak at the Midwest Homeschool Convention In Cincinnati, April 8-10, 2010. That seemed like such a looonnnggg way away and not too intimidating so I asked Tim and we agreed to do it.

Do you know that there are exactly 117 days until April 8, 2010? I promise I didn't count them all up myself. I googled "How many days from December 12, 2009 until April 8, 2010" and up popped a countdown calculator! It always blows my mind all you can find on the internet and it sure was faster than pulling out a calendar and counting!

Anyway, I digress...117 days does not suddenly seem that far away and I must admit I get more than a few butterflies when I think about it. I was actually doing okay until my friend Kelly in AZ said she was coming and she started listing all our friends she was going to bring with her. And then Michael from Tim's Bible study said he and his whole family were coming and suddenly, I went from being okay because I was sure I wouldn't know anyone to, "Oh my goodness, what have I agreed to do?" LOL!!! Oh I forgot, Amanda also sent me a link to a news story that was talking about the thousands of people who would attend this homeschool convention. I told her if she was trying to scare me off she was doing a very good job!!

Okay, I'm not quite that bad yet, but I do still have 117 days to work myself into a tizzy if I am not careful to take my thoughts captive. I may have to handcuff these thoughts and triple lock them and then throw away the key in order to keep them captive for the necessary time to drive from Atlanta to Cincy. All that time to think is sure to push me over the edge.

The part of this whole story that is absolutely hilarious, though, is the fact that Tim has never even darkened the doors of a homeschool convention, much less been asked to speak. I have resisted the urge to school him in all things homeschool from wardrobe, to hairstyles to catch words like "courting" and "patriarchs"! Fortunately for him, the homeschool demographics have broadened and he may have an easier time blending in. Not that he has ever tried to blend in anywhere, but there was a time when he would have stuck out like a relaxed homeschooler at a Well-Trained Mind symposium!

So, if you have a hankering to see the first (and potentially last) time that Tim Cash ever experiences AND speaks at a homeschool convention, make sure to mark your calendars! It just may prove to be a very memorable weekend!!

http://www.cincinnatihomeschoolconvention.com/

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Love Me Some Christmas!

I love Christmas and all that comes with it! I have some favourite Christmas decorations and thought I'd share them with you! Ready...


These are a new acquisition that I got this year at a second-hand store. I just LOVE their little faces and they make me so happy!

The mantle that I really enjoy! My Granny cross-stiched each stocking for our kids and, since this is our first Christmas without her, it was especially poignant putting them up this year!

Our Christmas tree! It's not formal...it's just US!

My favourite nativity we have had since we got married!

The Book!


Rachel babysits for a member of the Atlanta Falcons. Friday night they were going out and so she went to care for their 2 sweet ones. She had not been there long when she called, obvious excitement in her voice.

"Mama, you're never going to guess what I am staring at right now!"

I quickly wracked my brain to try and come up with a reasonable explanation for her fervor, but I was left wondering. I guess I should digress at this point and let you know that Rachel is a rather unusual teenage girl. She is a sports junkie and nothing makes her come alive like a good baseball, football or basketball game! Given that knowledge, I figured it must be sports related, but the details of which escaped me! I told her I gave up...

"I am staring at the playbook for the game between the Falcons and the Eagles this Sunday. The real playbook. The key to everything that is going to take place on the field this week!"

When I got done laughing and inwardly rolling my eyes, I admonished her not to even open the cover!

"Oh, I wouldn't", she replied, "but it sure is one of the prettiest things I have ever seen!" (I told you she was rather unusual! :insertrollingeyeshere:)

After telling her I thought it would be okay to take a picture of the cover with her phone, I hung up and shook my head. What a nut!

Last night while laying in bed, though, I revisited our conversation (with a giggle, of course) and suddenly I was struck with a thought. How many people are facing the Playbook for the game of life, but never do more than stare at the cover? You with me? I am refering to the Bible, of course!!!

The Falcons playbook was designed specifically for the opponent they were going to be facing that particular Sunday. The Bible was given to us so we would be prepared to meet the opponent we will go up against every day from now to eternity...satan!!!

Why then do we fail to open our Playbook and read what the One Who has already been victorious shares with us is our best offensive tactics? Football players would rather focus on their offense and not have to rely too heavily on their defense. A good defense is necessary, but if the offense is on their game, the defense is not as taxed.

It's the same for us in life. The Lord has laid out in a very clear and concise way what our best offensive plan of attack is. He has also laid out a defensive plan, but if we employ the offensive tactics, the defensive ones are not as necessary.

The reality that we face an opponent who is alive and well and seeking to annihilate us at any moment is a given. Why enter the battle each day without having read the Playbook and seeing what patterns the Coach thinks we should run that day then? It's all there...everything we'll need to play effectively.

You know the only difference between a football playbook and the Bible?

If we follow the plan of attack laid out for us in the Bible, we are GUARANTEED a win. Unfortunately, as Sunday quickly revealed, the Falcons were not as fortunate. Their play book is, at best, providing hope that they will come out on top! Our Playbook ENSURES that we will be victorious and reign with Him for all eternity!

Don't let your Playbook gather dust! Read it, memorize it and employ the things you learn when you find yourself engaged in battle. It's the only Book that holds all the answers for a fool-proof offense!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Santa in the Manger!

We got a card the other day
A Christmas one, in fact,
But it really was the strangest thing
And showed such little tact.

For laying in the manger
Was Santa, big as life,
Surrounded by some little elves
And Rudolph and his wife.

There was so much excitement
That the shepherd’s saw the glow
Of Rudolph’s bright and shining nose
Reflected on the snow.

So in they rushed to see him
Followed by the wise men three,
Who came not bearing any gifts ~
Just some stockings and a tree.

They gathered round about him
To sing praises to his name;
A song about Saint Nicholas
And how he came to fame.

Then they handed him the lists they’d made
Of, oh, so many toys
That they were sure they would receive
For being such good boys.

And sure enough he chuckled,
While reaching in his bag,
And placed in all their outstretched hands
A gift that bore a tag.

And on that tag was printed
A simple verse that read,
“Even though it’s Jesus’ birthday,
Please take this gift instead.”

Then I realized they really did
Know Who this day was for
Though by every indication
They had just chosen to ignore.

And Jesus looked upon this scene,
His eyes so filled with pain ~
They said this year’d be different
But they’d forgotten Him again.

Barb Cash

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

An Empty Manger...


I wrote this post originally 2 Christmases ago, but I think it bears repeating. For what it's worth, I do have a Jesus in my manger, but it's really the mental concept of leaving Him there that I am driving at...

Okay, I am sure the title of this entry may not make any sense to you, but bear with me!

Have you ever wondered why so many people can accept the reality of Jesus being born, but never see their need for Him as their Saviour? I have been pondering this lately and the Lord, I believe, showed me one possible reason why...
Some people have never taken Jesus out of the manger!!!

Think with me for a minute...Even with the attempts of some to remove Jesus from Christmas all together, there is still ample opportunity to see a manger scene in stores, in front of churches and in many of our homes. We, ourselves, have one out front of the house and at least 5 or 6 displayed inside ~ some all year round. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it gives the illusion to some that Jesus was merely a baby who was born amidst much hoopla. End of the story!
The reality of his birth is not hard for them to grasp, but they stop short of acknowledging that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and favour with God and man. They can't accept the crucifixion and they certainly don't want to mentally entertain the thought of the resurrection. Why you may ask?

Well, as long as Jesus is tucked safely away in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger He is no threat to them and the "safe" little world they have created for themselves. To allow Him to grow up, suffer unimaginably and then raise Himself from the dead requires something from us! It requires us to search our hearts and come to some tough conclusions...either Jesus is Who He says He is or He made the whole thing up!

When our children have a birthday we have a lot of fun remembering their birth stories and laughing about how each one made their grand entrance into our world. We don't stop there, though. We also celebrate who each child has become and what they mean to each of us now! We don't just look at pictures of them as a newborn, sing them a song and then go on with our lives until the next year when we pull out the birth pictures again! To do that would be to deny the reality of who they have become to us and how our lives have been forever changed because of the privilege of sharing this journey with them.

So let me challenge you as you celebrate the birthday of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Enjoy those mangers and, by all means, remember how God came to earth wrapped in flesh, but once the 26th of December rolls around ~ put Baby Jesus away. Let others see an empty animal trough and ask you what happened to Jesus! It may just be the opportunity you've been looking for to share the hope we have in Christ! Share the rest of the story! Not only is that manger empty , but that tomb they placed His tortured body in is, too!

My life has forever been changed because of the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! If yours has, too, then join with me in letting others know that our mangers are empty and we serve a resurrected Lord!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Another Mama...


I wrote this poem in 1995 after the birth of our second child. We were driving home from a vacation and he was asleep in his car seat. As I gazed at him, these words bubbled to the surface...

I stared at you the other night
As so peacefully you slept,
With thoughts of another mama
And the tears she must have wept.

Her newborn babe she held so close
As she whispered in His ear,
"You are this promised Jesus,"
And she wiped away a tear.

She watched Him grow in wisdom,
Found Him teaching those that taught,
She heard He fed five thousand,
As He healed all those that sought.

And all the while she waited,
For she sensed with a mother's heart
That sooner than she'd ever want
He must fulfill His part.

So it came to pass that final day
That she watched, as pain engulfed her,
For there He hung, her little boy,
Who had now become her Saviour.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful...


It's that time of year when our hearts and our minds are turned toward all we have to be thankful for yet again. To say that my heart is overflowing with thankfulness is an understatement. I truly feel (most days anyway ;O) ) that I am living my ultimate dream.

I have a husband who, not only do I love, but I really like! Love is defined as a choice,but like is really something you either do or you don't. I DO!!! With so many marriages imploding around us, this is probably my most thankful thing. The fact that our children get to grow up with a mama and a daddy who truly enjoy each other is not something we take for granted.

My kids bring me so much joy that I can hardly stand it sometimes. To see the young men and women that they are becoming thrills my heart. To see the big ones growing in character because of their perseverence is a blessing to this Mama's heart. To see the younger ones learning to read and spell and excel in all things school related makes the daily grind worth every minute!

The friendships we have been blessed with are a treasure to my heart. I hear so many women say that they just don't have many friends and don't feel like they really click with too many people. I find myself sometimes wondering how I can maintain all the friends the Lord has blessed us with!

For the opportunities the Lord has given me to write and speak this year...I find myself forever grateful. The latter has been a slow progression, but the more I rely on Him and His ability to speak through me and less on my natural inclination to head for the hills, the more freed up I get in what I feel He really has called me to do!

For finances and daily provision...for health and joy! My heart is full and I am exceedingly thankful!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Surprised Myself!

You know those times you do something and you really surprise yourself? Pleasantly surprise yourself? I have had those times and they sure are fun. Unfortunately I had an experience last week that surprised me about myself, but it wasn't so great! *insert sheepish grin*

Have you ever seen one of these?



It's a roof rat and I woke up to one in the early morning hours last Thursday. Waking up to a roof rat in your bedroom that is so big it is scratching at the door to get out like a cat is not a way I recommend! Fortunately I had the presence of mind to turn on the light before I put my feet down on the floor and I saw it turn and run into the bathroom! I crept out of bed and over to the bathroom door which I quickly slammed shut and put a pillow in front of. I am not quite sure what I thought the pillow would do, but it made me feel better!

I then called Tim, who had already left for Bible study, and shrieked into the phone that there was a rat in the bathroom. We knew we had rats. We just thought they were contained in the basement. Silly us! Being quite a few miles from home, Tim called our friend, Dustin, who was meeting with our other friend, Ronnie. Not too many minutes later, Dustin and Ronnie showed up at the door at 6am, hockey sticks perched on their shoulders!

I'd like to say they came in, found the rat, killed it and left...all before my first cup of coffee! (A girl should not have to deal with stuff like this before a morning cup of coffee!) That was not how the story was to unfold, though. They did manage to get the rat out of my closet (*insert frantic face at the thought of a rat amongst my clothes*) and closed off the closet and toilet area. They put a trap in the bathroom and Dustin promised he'd be back later if the rat was still around.

Seeing my knights with shining hockey sticks leave was not a good feeling! I did what any smart-thinking girl who has a rat in her bathroom would do, though...I duct-taped the bottom of the bathroom door to eliminate any possibility of it slipping out. And thus began a very long day of listening to rat sounds on the other side of the wall!

Shortly after Tim got home, Dustin arrived with several shotguns slung around his neck! Just playing, of course, he declared he was really going to use his "fist" to kill the rat! Fist? Are you kidding me? Makes me shiver to think of it again!

So Dustin-the-Brave and Tim-the-not-so-Brave (he helped from the safety of the bathtub ;O) ) entered the bathroom with a mission on their mind. At various points it sounded like ultimate fighting was taking place in the bathroom. There was shouting and banging and the rattling of coat hangers designed to fish the rat out from its hiding place under the cabinet. Eventually it did, in deed, emerge from its hiding place and attempted to launch itself into the tub. (Wish I could have seen Tim's face then!) A chase ensued and the rat was pinned in the corner!

At long last there was a shout and a very vocal declaration of victory coupled with much jumping up and down! Dustin emerged from the bathroom to pronounce the rat had met an untimely demise at the bottom of his fist! Yes, true to his word, Dustin had punched the rat to death! I still am not exactly sure why he chose that means of eliminating the rat, but I must say it was rather effective. Wanna see?



Now the whole purpose of this post was really to talk about the dilemma I now find myself in! One of the guys at Bible study told Tim he was surprised I was freaking out so much because he thought I was tough! I must admit I have to agree with him. I surprised myself, too, with the depth of my panic and fear upon finding this rat in my room!

While I am thankful this rat and the 4 others we have trapped in the basement are gone, I feel like I may need therapy to get over this one! *insert face twisted in shame* I truly have been traumatized by this experience and have continued to feel the effects. As someone who has always walked around the house in the dark at night, I now find myself with a flashlight on my bedside table. I am accutely aware of every sound going on around me and I may never again, at least until the memory is not so firmly ingrained in my mind's eye, simply get out of bed without counting the potential cost.

So I am here to declare...I am not as tough as we all thought. I can birth a huge baby standing up in my bathroom, but I have a very real and somewhat irrational fear of rats!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Been a While...


It's been a while since I have posted and I am not sure why. Fatigue, stress, jumbled thoughts or writer's block...any and all of them could be the culprit.

I am not a person who struggles with stress as a general rule, but there have been a number of things that have been weighing on me lately. Rachel has had some major difficulties she has encountered at school in the form of bullying and it has been a burden to my Mama's heart.

I have a number of speaking engagements coming up the next few months and that has me a tad wound up. The biggie is the Midwest Homeschool Convention next April and I am wondering what in the world I was thinking when I said yes to that one. My formerly dear friend ;O) , Amanda, is the one who convinced me I should do it and that I was more than able and qualified! Hmph! Fortunately she'll be there to hold my hand when the time comes. I normally start dreading tax season around about Jan 1st, but this speaking engagement may make me welcome the mundaneness of doing the taxes this year! LOL!!

I share all this to let you know that I am here and I am learning, yet again, to rely on the Lord and encourage my thoughts to dwell on Him and not what I see going on around me!

Isaiah 55:8-9 (MsgB)
"I don't think the way you think.
The way you work isn't the way I work."
God's Decree.
"For as the sky soars high above earth,
so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
and the way I think is beyond the way you think.

Psalm 139:23 (NASB)
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;

Philip. 4:8-9 (MsgB)
Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.


Join me in meditating on these verses that remind us that He is the only One who can direct our thoughts, change our perspective and allow peace to wash over us!

Thank you, Papa, for your Word that gives perspective and insight into where we should allow our thoughts to wander and how we can choose the thoughts we allow our mind to dwell on. Please keep me from getting mired in my circumstances and what I can see and remind me that "there's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever." 2Cor 4:18

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Simple Things!

Simple things make me happy!

My bathroom had those ugly kinda metal blinds in them. I don't mean any offense if you have them and like them, I just can't stand them! ;O)

I have always liked some of the old windows I have seen that people painted. I like simple designs and usually ones more naturish in look. I went to an antique show with my friend yesterday and this was what I got...



Now, instead of leaving me feeling blah, my bathroom window makes me happy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Point of View!


(The view of the sun coming up from my back porch!)

I love this time of year when the leaves start to change and the temperatures get crisp! One of my favourite things to do is to sit on my back porch while I drink my coffee, enjoying the feel of the coolness around me.

The other day I had fixed a big breakfast, we had all eaten and Rachel and Benji had left for school. The little ones were momentarily occupied tidying up their rooms and I seized the opportunity to retreat. I took my coffee out to my favourite chair and sat down to watch the sun come up. The evidence of my breath mingled with the steam from my coffee and I sighed a most contented sigh...until I made the mistake of glancing in the kitchen window.

Crumbs scattered across the table among the dishes and utensils which were strewn about. Jars of homemade jam and apple butter dripping their contents down the side. Pots and pans with their remnants hardening before my eyes. My morning respite had been intruded upon by the realities of my life! I had a brief moment of disdain for what my immediate future held before the clouds of self-absorption parted and were replaced by a litany of holy thoughts.

I get to share life with 6 messy people who mean the world to me. The sight before my eyes was suddenly transformed from a big, huge mess shouting for my attention to a celebration of the rhythms of the life He has gifted me with!

We are all healthy. We have a beautiful house with a table big enough for all of us to sit around it. We have bellies full of yummy food. We have love and laughter and a lifetime of memories! This scene was one to rejoice in...mess and all!

I felt my pulse slow and my breathing again deepen. I inhaled the aroma of the fresh brewed coffee and gently closed my eyes to the rising sun!

Thank You, Papa, for allowing my point of view to be witnessed through holy eyes instead of those of a tired Mama! Thank You for a husband who is such evidence of answered prayer and 5 children who fill my heart to overflowing. Thank You for entrusting me with their care and for allowing the most basic routines of life to be an offering of praise to You! I love You!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Led By a Child!

1 Tim. 4:12 (MsgB)
And don't let anyone put you down because you're young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity.


Seems like we could learn a lot from little Hannah!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What Kind of Girl Am I?


Well, upon seeing this title, you may have some answers that instantly pop into your head...loving wife, devoted mom, Jesus-follower, good cook, gardener and you could even throw a stunningly beautiful in there if you felt so inclined! (Quit snickering...I'm just kidding. :insertrollingeyes: )

I love to write on my blog. It helps me make sense of the thoughts that are always careening around in my head, vying for some of my mental energy. Once I write these thoughts down, it frees me up to move onto another thought and down a different mental trail. I have loved the outlet my blog has provided.

I am part of an online community and I take my ministry there very seriously. I head up the prayer ministry on a homeschool board and it has been an amazing way to encourage women to seek Him in all they do! I am also on FB and have a number of blogs that I follow, so the computer really has become an invaluable friend to me. I type out a lot of messages on it, personal and public, and I appreciate having it at my disposal.

I have begun to do a good bit more speaking and I am currently working on a number of messages. This is what I am getting at, though (in case you're trying to figure out what the heck my title and the body of this message have to do with each other). When it comes right down to it and I need to prepare and truly capture my thoughts...

I am a paper and pen kinda girl!

Really...I love them! In fact, office supplies stores are my favourite stores (outside of a really good antique store, of course). I love the smell of paper and almost every pen you'll see me writing with is purple. I am not sure when the purple pen obsession hit, but I once had a woman with whom I had had a number of written correspondences meet me and say, "Ah, the lady with the purple pen!" Pretty pathetic, huh? I guess if you have to be known for something, it could be a lot worse than a purple pen, though.

I really do love everything about the process of actually writing. In our day and age of computerized everything, writing truly is a dying art. Tim just had a bunch of young guys fill out a questionaire and he said he was shocked by their handwriting. It used to be that even men had a lovely, flowing handwriting because a pen and paper was all they had to work with. Nowadays, there is rarely a reason to hand-write something unless you are a homeschool child whose Mama insists you become proficient at it! :insertslightlyevillaugh:

Maybe you think I'm weird and you are thankful beyond words for this age of computers and phones with texting capabilities. While I make ample use of them, I just don't think they come close to comparing to words inscribed on paper.

Well, you'll have to excuse me now because I have a message brewing in my mind and a pretty purple notebook and pen waiting for me!

That's just the kind of girl I am! :O)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Weather and Other Such Craziness!


The weather in Georgia has been bizarre the last couple of months. After a few years of drought, we have more rain than we know what to do with. While I am thankful for the rain we so desperately needed at one time, I am sad for so many people who have lost everything in unprecedented flooding. Many did not have flood insurance because they don't live in flood plains! So sad.

We have also had quite cool temps part of the time with warm days scattered throughout. I realized just how unpredictable the weather has been when I got in the car the other day and looked over at my forsythia bush that is by the driveway. It is so confused that it's leaves are changing colour and falling off AND it is blooming!

BLOOMING!

Craziest thing I have ever seen! It has never bloomed any time but during the spring and it is at about 50-60% capacity bloom-wise right now! I considered having a talk with it and letting it know its timing was a little off, but I decided to appreciate its effort and just enjoy the yellow blossoms.

I must admit I keep checking the Eastern sky to see if there any imminent signs because the weather indicates something is up! Between the current state of affairs in our government coupled with the weather, surely it can't be too long off!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Celebrating Her!


Yesterday we got to celebrate our girl, Rachel! She turned 17!

Rachel is an amazingingly beautiful, sweet, fun, smart and loving girl! She has brought us much joy and she was the one Papa used to fulfill my dream of being a Mama so many years ago. \O/

I can't believe she is a senior! Doesn't seem possible that enough time has passed for us to already be reaching this milestone. I look forward to seeing what Papa is going to allow Rach to accomplish in the days to come! Whatever it is, I pray she always desires to walk with the Lord and keep her ways pleasing to Him.

Happy Birthday, baby girl! We love you more than you'll ever comprehend...at least until you have babies of your own! XOXO

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Blah!


A few of us are under the weather. Nothing terrible, just slight fevers, sore throats and...blah! Don't get me wrong, I am thankful to not be really sick, but sometimes the in-between sick is tough, too...especially when you're the Mama!! You're not really sick enough to lay around all day and get away with it, but you don't feel like doing much of anything either.

I compromised today...I did a little school, fixed a big pot of chicken soup, worked on some birthday stuff for Rachel and then laid down and watched a movie this afternoon. We had breakfast for dinner because it was easy...and comforting...and I am picturing an early bedtime in my future!

I did order some black elderberry yesterday and it should be here tomorrow. My friend had posted about it and I did some reading last night. It is supposed to be a powerful immune builder and I figured I would add it to our arsenal of natural ways to fight bugs of the infectious kind! I'll let you know if we deem it a winner!

Here's hoping you all have a healthy rest of the week! At least we can have the doors and windows open and so I am hopeful we are blowing the germs right on out! One can hope, right?! ;O)

Friday, October 2, 2009

She's Seven!


Hannah Joy rocked our world 7 years ago today! We had planned to have a homebirth with our dear midwife Gay, but Hannah decided she was tired of waiting and made an early appearance with only Tim to catch her and help me welcome her arrival. We should have known then that Papa was letting us know we needed to buckle our seatbelts and get ready for a ride! ;O)

Hannah is a joy to our hearts and brings so much fun to our days! She is sweet, bossy, fun, demanding, cute, girlie, decisive and...my constant sidekick! She likes to cook, clean, do school and wants 5 babies (only she wants 3 girls and 2 boys because she wants the girls to win in her house)! She wants her first car to be a mini-van and was relieved to find out you don't have to go to college because she just wants to be a Mama! Aaahhhh, a girl after my own heart!

Happy Birthday, sweet Hannah-girl! Your Mama and Daddy, Rachel, Benji, Jesse and Caleb love you so much...but Jesus loves you most of all!! XOXO

Thursday, October 1, 2009

HOPE!

Our daughter has been struggling with some things lately and she has become very discouraged. She has shed many uncharacteristic tears and we have seen her retreating within herself. As a Mama, it has pierced my heart to witness her pain and my tears have mixed with hers.

The one thing I have prayed fervently for her the last few weeks is that Papa would give her tangible evidence that her HOPE has not died. I have encouraged her to not give up HOPE, but to cling to it. I bought her a bracelet that says HOPE all over it and she found a keychain someone had given her last year that says HOPE! It has become a theme for this current season in her life as our whispered prayers have gone forth!

I was conversing via email with a new friend (I can sense a kindredness ;O) ) and she mentioned that HOPE is an anchor for our soul. I knew that was found in scripture and so I looked it up tonight. I read the passage and then I looked it up in The Message. I loved how Eugene Peterson worded it and it ministered to my heart so deeply ~

Hebrews 6:18-20 (MsgB)
God can't break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable. We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised HOPE with both hands and never let go. It's an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us.


Isn't that just exactly what HOPE is? It's our spiritual lifeline to the One Who has God's ear...the One Who intercedes for us and is our greatest cheerleader and soul comforter!

So thank you, Dee, for pointing me once again to the the Anchor of my soul and allowing me to use the encouragement I have received to encourage my precious girl!

And you know what? Today I saw the clouds part in my daughter's heart and the Son began to shine in her again and...I have HOPE that tommorrow is a new day!

Thank you Papa for always knowing just what we need and who we need to hear it from. Please continue to encourage my girl and remind her that...

tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, HOPE; and HOPE does not disappoint.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Heightened Senses!


If you know me or have followed my blog at all, you know I am Canadian by birth and southern by marriage! While I love living in the south, my thermostat remains Canadian through and through! That's why I am so happy today!

We have a very lovely, fully-equipped home gym in our basement, but on days like today I simply cannot stand the thought of exercising in the confines of those 4 stuffy walls. Because of that I eagerly donned my workout clothes...shorts and a UPI t-shirt...and set out on my trek. The cold front has pushed through and the rain is gone,taking with it the humidity! Today has emerged cool and crisp...maybe a tad cold by some people's standards. I found myself instantly exhilarated as I set off, my exposed limbs experiencing the cold from without as they warmed from within. Aaahhhhh...I was loving it!

While my sense of touch was heightened by the cool sensation on my skin, my lack of glasses had a couple of other senses heightened as well. You see without my glasses, details are blurry and anything not in my immediate realm of vision remains hidden in the shadows. I can see, but all is not clearly defined and so a shift takes place.

I find myself hearing things I may otherwise miss...the hoot of an owl or the call of bird to its mate. I hear the siren at the local fire station just around the corner that signals a change of guard. I hear dogs barking and roosters beckoning the day! Acorns hit and roll out of sight and crabapples thud as they drop. It all blends together in symphony-form and I smile at its sound.

My ears, however, are not the only thing on high alert and I walk with head raised, sniffing out my surroundings. There is jasmine in the air, tucked out of sight but making its presence known in its uniquely fragrant way. As I pass the neighbor's house, I detect the slightly musty smell of the fallen leaves that have formed a haphazard carpet beneath their former home. Those for whom garbage day has come contribute to the aroma, too, but I hasten my steps to try and leave THAT unwelcome smell behind. Fall is in the air and I can smell it as surely as I feel it its touch.

As I neared the end of my walk I was reminded of this verse ~

Psalm 19:1 (MsgB)
God's glory is on tour in the skies,
God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.


I found myself so thankful for everything I was taking in. I found myself thanking Him for allowing me to sense His presence with more than just what my sight could take in. I found myself overwhelmed with all He has created!

Thank you, Papa, for the amazing sounds and smells you allowed me to experience today! Thank you for allowing Your glory to be made evident in such a powerful way! May I be found faithful in declaring You and all that Your handiwork has created!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Forgotten?


John 3:16 (NASB-U)
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.


Jesse and Hannah are attending Awanas this year and are having fun memorizing their verses. Although Caleb is not an official Spark, he has been working on memorizing Hannah's verses, too.

One of the first verses she had was John 3:16. She worked diligently and got it down and Caleb came to me proudly after the others had left for church and told me he knew his verse, too! He proceeded to recite John 3:16 from memory. He had it down almost perfectly except for one word...one word that vastly changed the verse!

Caleb's version said that God gave His only "forgotten" Son! Begotten is not a familiar word in our vocabulary these days and his mind had unconsciously searched his word bank and come up with the word that sounded like it should fit.

While it made me laugh out loud initially because it sounded so cute, I found myself pondering the implication of his wording and how sadly true it was. For a country that truly was founded on the principles of God by men who really did desire for His will to be done in their lives and their decisions, we have largely forgotten Him. Decisions that affect our lives and our futures are made every day without any thought being given to Him and what He would desire to see done. Seeking Him before making a decision that will affect the multitudes is largely a foreign or looked-down-upon concept.

Prayer is no longer accepted in too many public places. Nativities are being removed at an alarming rate so as not to offend and be exclusive. The day-to-day walking-it-out of other religions is being ushered in while He is being ushered out. He is being forgotten!

Funny how grown adults cannot see what is going on right in front of them on a daily basis while a 5yo can stumble upon it without even meaning to!

Deut. 4:9 (MsgB)
Just make sure you stay alert. Keep close watch over yourselves. Don't forget anything of what you've seen. Don't let your heart wander off. Stay vigilant as long as you live. Teach what you've seen and heard to your children and grandchildren.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Perspective...


Note: This is one of the pictures Mike took of his home away from home!

You've heard the saying, "Perspective is a beautiful thing." I was reminded yesterday just how important perspective can be in our daily lives.

We have had copious amounts of rain for the last week...like multiple inches of rain for days...enough rain to make Noah sit up and take notice. Whenever we have weeks like this, I am reminded just how much I love the sunshine. Now don't get me wrong, after a couple of years of very serious drought, this rain is a very welcome sight. It has just dragged on for so long, with another week of it in the forecast, that I found myself grumbling and complaining in my mind about how sick and tired I was of rain, clouds and humidity! Really complaining!

As I was driving yesterday, attempting to see through the swipe of windshield wipers which were doing little to make conditions better, I heard that Voice! The still small One that can bring you to your heart's knee in the blink of an eye!

You see, we have a friend who has been serving in Afghanistan for the last 6 months. He is home on furlough for 2 weeks to visit his wife and 4 precious daughters and then he has to head back. I have seen pictures of where he is stationed...hot, brown, dry, sandy, dirty...as far as the eye can see! Land that has obviously not seen much, if any, precipitation and is parched as it can be.

I realized that this rain, and the lush green that it is producing, is probably a most welcome sight to this one who has endured these harshest of conditions! To Mike Brown, rain on his face probably feels glorious! Seeing the long, green grass and humidity hanging in the air is probably something he is thanking the Father for while I am grumbling away about it! How wrong of me!

I promptly asked the Lord to forgive my grumbling and told Him it could rain as much as He saw fit and I wouldn't say another negative thing about it. I would rejoice in the fact that Mike, and others like him, were able to experience this rain! I thanked Him for setting me straight and reminding me that life is about so much more than what I can see or what matters to me! I am but a small piece of His very big puzzle and He is quite capable of controlling the elements without my help!

Philip. 2:14 (NASB-U)
Do all things without grumbling or disputing;


Thank you, Mike, for all the sacrifices you make on a daily basis to help continue to provide for our freedom and safety! I pray this rain has been a tangible reminder of how much Papa desires to minister to your needs and wants and I pray His blessings on you as you prepare to return to that dry and dusty land! Thank you, Mike, and thank You, Papa! You have both blessed my heart this week!

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Great Movie!

We saw a great movie tonight! It is called The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry and is very open with its Gospel message! It was so refreshing to be able to go to the theater to see a movie like this and I highly recommend it!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Is It Fall Yet?


I am sure that in many parts of the US, it does not come anywhere near to feeling like fall yet. I must admit, it is my favourite time of year, though, and so I hasten it's arrival whether the temperatures concur with me or not. In fact, I am a firm believer that fall is a state of the mind and kitchen!!

For that reason, I have decorated for it and started baking for it in an attempt to beckon its arrival!! One recipe that is sure to put us in a fall kind of mood is this one ~

Barb's Apple Chip Cake

1 1/4 c. oil (I use olive oil)
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chopped nuts
3 c. peeled, chopped apples

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In mixing bowl combine oil, sugar and eggs. Beat until smooth. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon and beat into the wet ingredients to form a stiff batter. Add vanilla, chopped nuts and chopped apples and stir to blend. Spoon the batter into a greased 9x13 pan and bake 1 hour.


To say that it is yummy goes without saying and to say that it makes your home smell delectable is an understatement!

I have a friend who lives in another part of the world who made this recipe this weekend. Where she lives the temps indicate that fall is a long way off. She made it anyway and said that it transported her back to her childhood and a recipe her mom had often made from recollection, not from any pass-downable recipe. (Not sure if pass-downable can be found in the English language, but it seemed to fit! ;O) ) She said it brought back sweet memories and made her feel close to her mom for an evening.

That's why I love cooking and love having foods that are a family tradition. There is nothing better than taking a whiff of something, only to be transported back to another time and another place where all the cares of the world were far off and the comforts of home were wrapped securely around us!

Are you creating traditions that are special for your family? Do you have foods that represent comfort and tradition for your kids?

Why don't you light some fall candles, sprinkle some brightly coloured leaves around and get to baking? It just may be something your kids will never forget!!

ETA: Think food doesn't trigger memories? Read this note I got today from a friend who had made this cake today for someone she knew...

The cake was so good..thank you for sharing! I love to have something yummy for the patients who come over on Tuesdays...one patient tasted the cake and started to cry...she said her sister (who passed away recently from cancer) used to make her apple cake every year for her birthday...she hasn't had it since.
It's amazing how food brings out memories and feelings of special people and things... thank you for sharing the recipe and allowing that wonderful cake to touch Carol's heart.

Friday, September 11, 2009

We Remember...

8 years ago today, life as we knew it took a tragic blow when the enemy of America terrorized us like never before! The day started like this...




and ended like this...



Unimaginable...inexplicable...tragic!

To try and find a reason for how this horror could occur is futile. To say that it is rooted in a spirtual battle is to come to the only logical conclusion!

Ephes. 6:12 (NASB-U)
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.


So many lives were instantly changed in a moment on this fateful day. Mamas and Daddys, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, friends and co-workers...all gone in an instant! Those left behind with nothing but their grief to wrap themselves in and, for those who believe, the assurance that their loved ones who had embraced Him were at peace. Comfort that would be sadly overshadowed by their grief initially, but comfort none-the-less!

None of us knows what the future holds. None of us knows what evil may be lurking right around the corner. I've read the final chapter, though, and guess what? Ultimately...He wins!

Rev. 17:14 (MsgB)
They will go to war against the Lamb but the Lamb will defeat them, proof that he is Lord over all lords, King over all kings, and those with him will be the called, chosen, and faithful."


This doesn't mean we'll never be touched by tragedy or mourn again as a nation, but we may take comfort in the fact that the One we call Faithful does have the final say! So until then...




WE REMEMBER!

Thursday, September 10, 2009



Psalm 18:2 (MsgB)
God is bedrock under my feet,
the castle in which I live,
my rescuing knight.
My God—the high crag
where I run for dear life,
hiding behind the boulders,
safe in the granite hideout.


I know quite a few people dealing with some heavy stuff these days and this is my prayer for them...that they would run toward the "rescuing knight"...for He alone can save them!

Note: This is a picture my friend, Jori, took while she was in Scotland! Beautiful!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

So Funny...



Hannah, pictured above, loves for me to give her words to spell! She will sit for a verrryyyyy looonnnngggggg time writing word after word, forming long lists of (usually) correctly spelled words. Today as I was fixing lunch she asked for me to play this game (so funny she doesn't even know she is REALLY doing school ;O) )!

I decided to give her the word "horse" to see what she could do with it. She sounded it out and spelled it correctly, down to the silent "e" at the end. I asked her how she kew it had an "e" at the end to which she replied...

"Sometimes you can just feel it in your brain!"

Ah, I certainly wasn't ready for that one, but I loved it! We've all had that feeling, too. You can't necessarily tell anyone how you know something to be true...sometimes you just feel it in your brain!

Kids! :O)

She Would Love It!

Before my Granny died, she gave me 2 sets of sheets. After she died I knew I wanted to do something with them that was special! I think she'd love it...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Billy: The Early Years

I have been listening to the soundtrack from Billy: The Early Years and I just love this song ~

Glory!


If you know me at all, it is no secret that FALL is, by far, my favourite time of year! I usually try to wait til September to pull out my Yankee candles ~ Harvest ~ and my fall decorations, but this year I fudged a little.

I did wait til the final weekend of August, but the anticipation was killing me so I changed out the white curtains for the green damask and the flowered lampshades for the neutral ones. My Harvest candle is smelling delightful on the counter and I am enjoying the site of my pumpkin and scarecrow stuff that I set out!

Did I jump the gun a little? Probably! Do I care? Not at all...I am happy as can be in my own little fall-created world. :O)

I was contemplating my actions this morning as I walked and I was struck with the reason why I could, with assurance, get out my fall decorations. It wasn't because the temperature had changed that drastically...it's still warm and humid. It wasn't because the calendar had changed and it was a month that most consider a fall month. It's not because the trees are full of their colorful foliage. It was for no other reason than the fact that, in all my 45 falls on this earth, I have witnessed the seasons change and have experienced fall in all its glory!

I was struck with something else as I walked, though...I have, in similar fashion, been able to wait expectantly for the Lord in situations that didn't look that promising because I have witnessed His provision and His care in the past. Do you see it?

My experiences with the Lord's care of me and provision for me have given me hope that He will continue to provide and continue to show Himself faithful in my future. The climate and what I see may not always look that promising, but He has never let me down yet! His answers may not always come when I want them to or in the way I expect, but I can prepare for them with hopeful anticipation!

As I was winding up my walk, I passed by a maple tree. Being Canadian, maple trees are part of who I am! This maple had barely begun to show hints of fall and there were a few leaves scattered at the base of it on the ground. As I surveyed the ground, I zeroed in on one particularly beautiful red leaf lying on its own off to the side. As I locked in on it I heard that still small voice that said...


That leaf is your promise! That leaf represents the hope you have in Me that I AM coming and I WILL show forth my glory! \O/


Psalm 97:6 (MsgB)
The heavens announce that he'll set everything right,
And everyone will see it happen—glorious!


Psalm 19:1 (MsgB)
God's glory is on tour in the skies,
God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.


Psalm 26:8 (MsgB)
God, I love living with you;
your house glows with your glory.


Psalm 26:8 (MsgB)
God, I love living with you;
your house glows with your glory.


Psalm 63:2 (MsgB)
So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open,
drinking in your strength and glory.


Psalm 63:2 (MsgB)
So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open,
drinking in your strength and glory.


Psalm 72:19 (MsgB)
Blessed always his blazing glory!
All earth brims with his glory.


Psalm 89:17 (MsgB)
Your vibrant beauty has gotten inside us—
you've been so good to us! We're walking on air!


Psalm 96:3 (MsgB)
Take the news of his glory to the lost,
News of his wonders to one and all!


Psalm 108:5 (MsgB)
Soar high in the skies, O God!
Cover the whole earth with your glory
!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dear John...


Have you ever felt like you are not even sure that your prayers are heard, much less answered by the Lord? I know I have had more of those times than I care to count!

I think one of the things that can squelch our ability to commune with the Lord more than anything else is knowing we have sin in our lives and not doing anything about it! Scripture says it does...

Psalm 66:18 (MsgB)
If I had been cozy with evil,
the Lord would never have listened.


Another version talks about cherishing sin in our heart. When I cherish something, I spend a lot of time focusing on it, nurturing it, feeding it, etc. Think about what it is you cherish.

For me, I cherish my family...Tim and my children. I cherish the home we have been given and certain things that have sentimental value in it! I cherish my friendships and, of course, above all else I cherish my relationship with the Lord. Scripture is clear, though, that if we are not careful sin can become an object of our affection.

Our friend, Joel, was praying a few weeks ago and he said in his prayer that we need to quit "cuddling" with sin! I loved it because that is a great portrait of what it looks like when we allow ourselves to cherish sin. Today he was sharing during worship about how we can often times treat sin as a relationship, an unhealthy one at best, and that we need to get to the point where we "break up with sin"! I got so excited I almost had to shout!

We should each do some personal inventory in our hearts and ask Papa if there are any areas of sin that we need to hand a "Dear John" letter to! I think it would read something like this...

Dear (insert sin of choice),

I am sorry to have to tell you this, because I know what a close and special relationship we have shared, but...I have met Someone else. His name is Jesus and He seems to be a very jealous Person in my life. He said it's either you or Him because He cannot keep wooing me as long as I have you on the side. I really think what he has to offer long-term far exceeds the momentary fun we have been experiencing. For this reason, I am going to have to ask you to pack your bags and hit the road. I am sure I'll miss you in the beginning, but am confident this is the right thing to do!

Signed,

Free at Last


Of course, this is obviously a somewhat tongue-in-cheek attempt to get us to view how unhealthy our relationship with sin can be, but I don't think it is too far off from how it really looks in our lives! I know I do not want to have any areas of my heart in which there is anything I cherish more than Him!

Psalm 139:23-24 (MsgB)
Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I'm about;
[24] See for yourself whether I've done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Truth vs. Imagination


I had a very unpleasant encounter this morning...with a HUGE spider! I really do mean...HUGE! I had gone out to the back porch to fix the covers on the bed and when I flipped the quilt...there it was! Of course, it was probably as equally shocked to see me as I was it because it quickly sought to regain a secure hiding spot.

To say that I jumped would be an understatement! I ran in to get something to try and spray it with and a fly swatter to have something longer than my arm in order to search for it with! I did manage to spy it again twice, but I am sad to say that it is currently winning in our little competition to annihilate it from this life!

The bed is stripped and taken apart, the sheets are being washed...and the spider is nowhere to be found! Ugh! There was a hole in the boxspring we discovered when we tilted it so we have sprayed bug spray in there and taped it up!

I share all this not for the sole purpose of letting you know how I got my adrenaline rush this morning, but rather to let you know how God can use even spiders to speak His truth to our hearts. I would personally like it if He chose another means of communication, but it has been effective, I'll give Him that!

You see, my encounter has left me feeling creepy, skin-crawling, jumpy at the littlest thing and imagining a potential spider threat around every corner! I was making my bed...very cautiously...when I heard this...

2 Cor. 10:5 (MsgB)
We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.


Another version calls them vain imaginations! That verse sucker-punched me because I realized how wildly I had let my imagination run! The spider was outside...somewhere...on the other side of a closed door, but I had imagined all its family members lurking behind every fold of a sheet and stack of pillows!

And it hit me, I do that with SO many things. I know what the truth says, but I had already forgotten my study in Me, Myself and Lies this morning and had allowed my mind to run, unfettered, until I had worked myself into a tizzy.

So I am choosing to reign my mind in, dwell on the truth...and hope that spider is tucked safely away behind the tape, inhaling poison fumes! ;O)

Lord, this is my prayer ~

Psalm 119:97 (MsgB)
Oh, how I love all you've revealed;
I reverently ponder it all the day long.


May I choose to ponder Your TRUTH as I go about my day and not allow my mind to get caught up in vain imaginings that lead to nothing but fear!

P.S. Would you also be so kind, Lord, as to show us a dead spider before the day is done! ;O)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What's Youth Got to Do With It?

1 Tim. 4:12 (MsgB)
And don't let anyone put you down because you're young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity.


This has always been one of my favourite verses from early on in my walk with the Lord! I think young people have been convinced that they can't make a difference and they have become so apathetic in their approach to life. Sad, but true!

I have a friend named Jordan who visited Africa when she was 14. Jordan saw a need and she determined that she would not allow her youth to hinder her and she would make a difference. She has...



So proud of you, girl, for not allowing complacency to take over once you were back to the comforts of home. Thanks for challenging ME to be even more aware of what I can do to make a difference in the lives of others! You rock! XOXO

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Random Grief!


I know I have posted this already this year, but I really am blown away by how random grief is and how totally unexpectedly it can sneak up on you!

I was looking at some things online this morning and I saw some bed sheets ~ they were songbird bed sheets ~ which seems rather innocuous in and of itself. I had this thought, though...

Granny LOVES songbirds! I bet she'd love a set of those for her birthday!

And then it hit me and here I sit...crying lots...and wishing she was still here so I could buy her a set of sheets!

It's been 7 months, Granny, but you are never far from my thoughts! Miss you...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I'm not crazy!



My family has been thinking the last few days that I am crazy! While it is still 90 degrees here, it feels different to me. I have been telling them that it is a 90 that feels like a summer going into fall 90, rather than a spring going into summer 90! I can't explain it exactly, but there is an undercurrent that feels different...honest!

Of course, they just roll their eyes at me and continue to wipe the sweat from their faces! But then my dear friend, Jane, wrote this...

Even yesterday, I came outside and I could feel that fall thing in the air...it's a warmness that has a cool undertone. In the spring I feel the coolness with the warm undertone and know that summer is on the way...this is the opposite. I could feel fall in the air.

Yay! I'm not alone! Someone else feels it, too! Ah, it's good to have friends that understand! So, hey...

Happy almost fall to you!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Motives?


As I find myself with a few speaking engagements and contemplating how to spruce up my blog so it looks more professional, I am reminded of this scripture...

1 Cor. 1:17 (MsgB)
God didn't send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what he has done, collecting a following for him. And he didn't send me to do it with a lot of fancy rhetoric of my own, lest the powerful action at the center—Christ on the Cross—be trivialized into mere words.


There is such a fine line between pursuing what God has set before us to do in a strategic manner and getting caught up in the facade of doing it all for Him while actually building a following for ourselves.

There are many, many truths in His Word that Papa, in His infinite kindness, has revealed to me. There are also stories and situations He has allowed me to experience so that I can personalize these scriptural truths. I remember Tim's mom telling him when he began to speak a lot, just tell stories...people want to see that you are real and that they can relate to you! What amazing advice!

Lord, may my purpose for opening my mouth always be to share the Truth of your Word, in love, with whomever you set before me ~ be it 1 or 1,000! Would I continue to catch everyday glimpses of You, the most extraordinary God, and be able to share how these glimpses make the Word come alive in our lives. Bottom line, may the motives of my heart always be found pure in your eyes! I love You!!!

Gossip or Flattery...



I heard the best quote yesterday, although I am not sure where it originated so I cannot give credit where credit is due. It's too good not to share, though! Okay, hold onto your hat...here goes...

Gossip is something you say behind someone's back that you would never say to their face. Flattery is something you say to someone's face that you would never say behind their back.

Zing! Isn't it so true! Sadly, that about sums up the major issue women have in 2 sentences! We're either trying to put someone down to make ourselves feel better or we're buttering someone up so we can gain something from the relationship! Not saying it always happens, but our words are enough of a hindrance that He had a lot to say about the matter! Here are just a few of my favourites...

Proverbs 15:26 (MsgB)
God can't stand evil scheming,
but he puts words of grace and beauty on display.


Proverbs 18:7 (MsgB)
Fools are undone by their big mouths;
their souls are crushed by their words.


Proverbs 18:21 (MsgB)
Words kill, words give life;
they're either poison or fruit—you choose.


Proverbs 21:23 (MsgB)
Watch your words and hold your tongue;
you'll save yourself a lot of grief.


Now, I have to admit I have even been guilty of flattery because I was trying to make someone feel better! Someone is feeling down about how they look or what they did and I jump in with encouragement that's not based on much besides my good intentions to pull them from their pit!

At any rate, I am going to remember this quote and ask the Lord to help me speak words of truth in love...or hold my tongue!

Proverbs 25:11 (NASB-U)
Like apples of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken in right circumstances.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Celebrating...


Today we get to celebrate the gift of Jesse Thomas Cash. 10 years ago today, "Chubby", made his appearance at 12:25pm. He weighed 10lbs 14oz and was 23 1/2" and took everything I had for me to get his big self out!

Jesse has brought our family much joy and many laughs. He has a great sense of humour and is very diligent when he sets his mind to something. He is very determined and I am looking forward with great expectancy to what Papa is going to do in and through him!

Happy birthday, Chubs!! You are very loved!

Mama XOXO

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Content...

In my last post I was sharing about the dream of speaking and the process the Lord has been taking me through! While it is exciting, fun and scary all at the same time, I realize it does not define me nor make my life any better than it already is!!

Last night it was just me and the 2 little ones home. Tim and Jesse are out of town and R&B were at a friend's house. I had gotten the littles in bed and was preparing to go myself just as a storm blew in. I went out and laid on the bed on the back porch and watched the lightning and listened to the thunder. I pondered my day ~ shopping for school stuff and working in our school room, talking to Rachel about life, playing Trouble with the litte ones, catching up with Tim on what he and Jesse had been doing ~ and I realized that if THIS is all that life involves for me now then I will die a very contented old lady!

I LOVE my life! I can't think of anything that would make it better than it already is! Sure speaking, if the Lord continues to allow it, will be fun...but I get to share life with the 6 most amazing people I know and Papa loves me! Wow!!! I can't imagine it getting any better than this! \O/

Monday, August 3, 2009

Birthing a Dream...

When I was growing up, all I ever wanted to be was a wife and a Mama. The dream began to be fulfilled when Tim and I married and I became pregnant with Rachel. Then each time I found out I was pregnant I felt I was birthing that dream all over again!

While there was much excitement and anticipation associated with the pregnancies, there was also some restlessness and anxiety that caused some sleepless nights...a lot of sleepless nights, actually, because every night was multiplied by 5!! Restlessness because the dream was stretching me (literally ;O) ) and making me uncomfortable. Anxiety because I always wondered if I was equal to the task of taking on another huge responsibility even though I was thrilled to be expecting.

Well, I find myself in the birthing process again. Now before the rumours start, we are not expecting a baby, but rather the Lord has placed a dream in my heart and I find myself in the midst of the birthing process. As you can see by the time I am writing (almost midnight for this girl who normally turns into a pumpkin after 10pm), the stretching process is creating some restlessness, but it is an anticipation much the same as expecting...knowing that Papa is going to bless me beyond my wildest expectations once the dream has come to fruition.

While I was at She Speaks this weekend, it was amazing to learn some of the necessary tools to be as effective as possible in what I feel I am being led to do. Just the simple nuts and bolts of crafting a message makes the end result seem so attainable now...that end result being the effective communication of the depth of His love for us in a succinct and powerful way!!

I arrived at She Speaks knowing I was going to experience one of 2 responses while there. I was either going to go to all the seminars and listen to all the speakers and watch how they communicated and come to the conclusion I could never do that effectively myself...or I was going to take it all in and feel exhilarated at the possibility that this really was the direction He was leading!

I am sure you can probably guess the emotion that won out! While I know I shall never be equal to the task without His constant presence and direction in the process, I am excited that this restlessness is because I am embracing, nurturing and stewarding the dream He is growing inside me.

So I am going to nourish myself with His Word and wait for the labour pains to begin...

I also met a kindred spirit while I was there...Lucy from Memphis! What a special lady and what fun we had meeting! Here we are together.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Joy in the Simple...

Proverbs 13:7 (MsgB)
A pretentious, showy life is an empty life;
a plain and simple life is a full life.


Caleb and I had a rare date today. Nothing extravagant...just a trip to the chiro, the library and the post office. Simple errands for sure, but looked at through the eyes of a 5yo they became a source of joy!

You see, Caleb had actually never been inside the post office before. I am sure that's hard to believe, but I usually have all the kids with me and they wait in the car while I run in. Couple that with the fact that it's a place I generally try to avoid like the plague, and his chances of ever having stepped foot inside were destined to be slim. He was mesmerized while taking it all in and asked a million questions.

He grinned like a mule eating briars at the mail clerk as she helped us...partly because she was putting postage on a letter to his friend, Gracie. Gracie is the one he says he is going to marry and they have become pen pals of sorts. So we posted his letter, bought a book of stamps and I let him dump the stack of bills in the mailbox on our way out.

As we exited the post office he sighed and said, "This is the best day ever! That was so fun and I can't wait to come here with you again!"

Proof that a simple life IS a full life when looked at through a thankful lens!

Thank you, Papa, for the simple joy of going to the post office today. Thanks for using a 5yo first-time experience to stop me in my tracks and help me re-align my perspective from the drudgery of the mundane to a cup that's overflowing!


Caleb Mac and the object of his affection ~ Gracie!