Thursday, December 24, 2009

Let's center.
It surprises me, how many people don't like Christmas...more love it, but how can you dislike Christmas?! I guess I'm just a bit spoiled. With a holiday being centered on the spending of money (of which most do not have in abundance), the spending of time with family (of which many do not get along with or even have, for one reason or another) and on the spending of time laboring vigorously (of which most do enough on regular days), it's really no wonder. I would likely not enjoy Christmas either if I were centered on those things...and it's EASY to get caught up in those things.
If we worship anything other than Him, we are headed for heartache. How many times do we hear "Christmas is all about being with family and friends" or "It's all about giving". I love those things too, but that is not what is at the heart of Christmas. Those things can easily disappoint...but Jesus never disappoints. For guaranteed, peace, joy, love and every other good thing under the sun, make your relationship with Him the center of this holiday. If we have nothing else to get excited about or to give, we have the hope of His grace and the present reality of His companionship. What more could truly satisfy? Oh, I love a few good shortbread cookies and some hooch (thanks Mom)...and they do stick with me for longer than I prefer, but they must be secondary...or thirdary (new word). To avoid the humbug virus this season, get inoculated!! Center on Him. Take a very quiet moment (or two) to be all alone...with the tree lights... and a festive drink... maybe a little carol playing...and have a birthday toast...just you and Him. That is what it is all about.

"Be still and know that I am God." -Jesus

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One of the most entertaining things to do is to sit with my afternoon coffee and attentively watch my little kids play. Listen carefully to what they are talking about and ask questions about it. Yesterday, they had a friend over to play...some spy, treasure hunting game which involved LOTS of paper with written clues on them, tape and homemade booby traps set everywhere around the house (the one at the bottom of the stairs almost killed me). Apparently, a top secret password was necessary to open my 8 year old science guy's treasure box. After several brilliant guesses on my part, I gave up and asked for the privileged information. With a Nobel Prize winning look on his face, he whispered in my ear "constipated". Not exactly a glamorous, James Bond choice, but it certainly gave me the joy of parenting that I needed to get through the cookie making session we were about to embark on. Take time to stop and smell the roses...or whatever scent your little ragamuffins provide you with :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I just LOVE to laugh. Last night, we were cozy on our bed watching "The Beverly Hillbillies" reruns with our oldest...the one that is taller than me...better looking than me...better with directions than me...SO many other 'better than Me's , he is :) Anyway, he LOVES the Hillbillies, Sanford & Son, and any other silly humor that I don't really find too amusing right off the bat. However, watching them with him is pretty amusing...except my eyes aren't usually on the TV, but on his captivated face with the crooked smile as every small muscle, slowly builds to a crescendo of loud laughter. An escaping hiss of breath here or there is quickly lassoed until the glorious punch line. I have video taped him watching comedy before. The change of expressions on his face are more entertaining than most anything else on the evening's program. Then there is the inevitable repeating of the line, only milliseconds after we have all heard it...who said kids are no good at narration?! Kids are cool. I think I'll look for a boxed set of Newhart, Carol Burnett or some other for him for Christmas...or maybe I'll buy it for me :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

If it weren't for Jesus, I would be SUCH a mess! Actually, some days, I'm a mess regardless...but without Him, I would have no hope of returning to the land of the living, the sane, the level-headed. Even in the deep, dark valley of overflowing, gut wrenching female emotions...He is there. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he restores my soul (I think David was in touch with his feminine side). I don't know where it came from, but a clear rainbow covered the white washed ceiling above my bed yesterday. How did He know I would laying there in the middle of the day, staring blankly at it? He keeps His promises. He knows what we feel and He feels it. Hope. What a Father! His rod and staff, they comfort me...His correction and guidance give me GREAT comfort. Have I mentioned lately how much I love Him? He is real...for real life...practical and powerful! Yes, I took my soy protein, got a good nights' sleep, I'm exercising and listening to music. Oh's going to be rainy today...better turn the music up a bit...make is Christmas :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Today is my Birthday. I'm 39 now...although I thought I was already 39 for most of this year before someone pointed out my error in the Spring. more year til the big 40. Many women go through a sort of mid life crisis thing at this age. Discontent with what they have done, or with what life has thrown at them for the first half of their visit to the planet. I must say, there are many thing I would like to have done by now, and still long to do, but that just gives me things to hope for, to look forward to.
I can't say that I have many regrets. I wish I had taken my High School years more seriously...studied harder, joined track and field, tried a harder to be in the musical and acted more mature (who doesn't). That may have provided a better foundation for the rest of my life. However, God had His hand in the whole thing. My plans are not usually His, and His are always better...even the bad parts. I can see His intervention in important decisions I have made and His loving correction when I have strayed. Like Abraham, I am learning to just get up and go where He leads, with more faith and fewer questions. Actually, It's more like staying where He has asked me to stay with greater faith. I'm naturally a "get up and go" kind of person. I like adventure and change. It takes more faith for me to do the stay the course...wait patiently for the mighty working of God. God is not impressed with my hasty, pleasure seeking, but He is with faithfulness, patience and my willingness to do what does not come naturally for His sake.
I am so thankful for my existence, my purpose, my history, the grace of my marriage and kids, but most of all, for my unbelievably wise, faithful, affectionate, patient forever Father in heaven. He gently walks with me, doing what is best for me and...praise His name...He has taught me to appreciate that.
"Jesus loves you just the way you are...but he doesn't want you to stay that way. He wants you to become just like Him." Max Lucado

Friday, July 24, 2009

Moral relativism...big words with big power. I've been watching clips of my "good friend" John MacArthur on Larry King Live debating issues with people from every corner of the spiritual world. I like hearing how He addresses the issues in a non emotional, pointed, relevant way. Always showing respect and love for the one opposite him. The one thing that jumped out at me was the way that he always points to the authority of scripture to form his conclusions. Everyone else says "I think..." or "In my opinion..." or "From my experience...". John says, "Jesus said..." or "The scriptures are clear..." . He asks people, "By what authority have you made that assumption?" Personal offences or disagreements are never shown on his face. His concern for the other person's understanding and joy are evident. It's refreshing!

So many people are turning to the world view of all inclusiveness and errancy of the Bible for the sake of peace and unity. I admit, life and the Christian walk would be much easier if I could do that, but that wouldn't be Jesus' way. Why on Earth would Jesus ask us to live or die for Him if His directives were not clear???? The martyrs would have died for nothing!! If everything is in the "grey" area, then we don't have to stand for anything. There would be nothing to be passionate about, no truth to live for. No wonder the color grey is so depressing. Nothing rots my socks more than Christians watering down the Word of God in the name of love. Sure, Jesus came to bring grace, to defeat legalism and to show the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law, but the Church has thrown the spirit of the law out with the bathwater. It saddens me to see people taking His name in vain this way, but at the same time it brings me great hope and joy to see others, like MacArthur, Piper, Driscoll (and many more) braving the front lines, with humility, boldness and preparedness for their love of Jesus and humanity.

"I will build my Church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it."
Matthew 16:18

To hear a great debate on the existence of Satan, go to "Nightline Face-Off- Does Satan Exist?" on YouTube. This gives you an idea of where the Church and society are headed.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I've been reading John Piper's "Don't waste your life". It is making me think hard about what really matters. Most people would probably say that love is what life is all about...and they would be right. The problem however, is what does love mean? There are countless definitions of love and the only one that matters is the one God means. Piper says it so much better than I...

"For most people, love is to be made much of. Almost everything in our Western culture serves this distortion of love. We are taught in a thousand ways that love means increasing someone's self esteem. Love is helping someone feel good about themselves. Love is giving someone a mirror and helping him see what he is. This is not what the Bible says love is. Love is doing what is best for someone. We are made to see and savor God. To make them feel good about themselves when they are made to feel good about seeing God is like taking someone to the Alps and locking them in a room full of mirrors... God loves us by liberating us from the bondage of self so we can enjoy knowing Him and admiring Him forever."

I so wish that love would be understood this way...especially by Christians. I so wish that I would love this way...especially Christians. Again...the world ignores God.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Have you ever been taking off on a plane, in the fog? You rise until you break through the clouds into this beautiful, clear, sunny paradise...feeling a bit sorry for those on the ground having to live life in the fog. I woke up this morning to a very dreary, gray day. The fog is thick, like a curtain over the bright, warming sun. I sat, talking to God about how I sometimes feel like He is somewhere behind that curtain. I know He is there. Sometimes He lets me know He is there and other times...I just trust that He is there. I know He is always good, always working and always doing what is best for those who love Him. He has made my waiting room comfortable and sheltered...grace. I've often wondered why the "Prodigal Son" Bible story never reveals how long the father had to wait for his son to come home. He doesn't want us to know. No, my oldest hasn't run away...but there are plenty of other situations waiting for the touch of the Master's hand.

Isaiah 40:30-31 "Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

It's a "Be still and know that I am God" kind of day :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Openmindedness. If it is even a word, it's a loaded one. The only thing that is intolerable today, is intolerance. Does it mean that to be open minded you have to accept any new idea, or just that you have to be willing to listen to it? And if I have to be willing to listen to it, do I then still have freedom to think and say that I disagree or that it is (forgive my political incorrectness) WRONG? Oh wait...I forgot, there is no such thing as right and wrong nowadays. Everyone has their own truth, their own value system and we are ALL RIGHT. Not only that, but we can live together in harmony with these different worldviews. Is this Earth or Neverland? God is being replaced...even by "Christians". The will and desire of man is quickly becoming the priority and God's beautiful, fair, and healthy precepts are pushed aside in the name of "freedom". "I AM THAT I AM" God said to Moses and He says to us. No matter how hard we try to change the truths of God...change what is right and wrong, He is the same today, yesterday and forever. I have found freedom in THAT, not in being the master of my own destiny.

Matthew 7:13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it."

I guess we'll be called narrowminded because we are following Christ throught the narrow gate. I can live with that. My heart breaks for people who call themselves Christians but have found the broad, openminded lifestyle more satisfying than walking with Jesus. This doesn't mean we don't listen to other points of view, it just means that when all is said and done, Jesus opinion is the one that we embrace, promote and live. Pray and speak the truth in love. Continue the narrow journey with joy, and never stop praying for the Broadroaders.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Impressionism...the best form of painting ever, in my opinion. I really think I could become a famous impressionist painter :) All I have to do is make pretty blobs all over my canvas, in millions of different colors, shapes and sizes...stand back and...voila!! For someone who is no good with detail, it's perfect! My life is somewhat an impressionist painting in the making. I have an idea as to what I want the thing to look like in the end, I know what colors I like and it's fun making blobs of experiences here and there. Every once in awhile, I step back to take a look and decide where things need adjusted. How's it looking?? Anything like what I planned?? Never. Life is what happens when you are busy making plans. When I let God have control, the canvas is a true work of art. When I take over, it's just a bunch of one is impressed.

The kids and I paint quite a bit. I hardly ever do anything but impressionism, because I'm so curious as to what it's going to look like in the end. I never worry about what I'm doing too much, I just enjoy the colors and place them in the spaces I think they should go. The kids think I'm good at it. They love the surprise at the end. The application of the idea to my life needs a little work, but God is full of surprises:

Philippians 1:6 "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."

I really don't want my life to hang in a gallery for others to ponder upon and decide if they are impressed or not. I just want it to turn out the way He planned it to be...a beautiful impression to hang in His home, that brings a smile to His face whenever He looks at it.
A Monet for Jesus.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Slow down. Two little words with so much wisdom packed inside. I am truly a time urgent person. Go, go , go...get as much done in as little time as possible and rush while you do it. You might get lucky and have 10 extra minutes to do something else. I can't just sit and eat a snack...I have to read or something at the same time to occupy my mind. It goes 100 miles per hour and a break in thinking might cause a traffic jam or something. Slow moving people just about send me over the edge. Don't they realize what has to be done??!!

I crash at about 8:30 or 9:00 pm... mind, body and soul. I can't think or move well and everything seems 100 times worse than they really are. I have learned to just go to sleep and stop thinking. Mom was right again, things ALWAYS look better in the morning...and that starts at about 6:00am, for me.

I have to make a very direct effort to SLOW DOWN...everything from my walking pace, to cleaning the kitchen counter to breathing. I make sure not to overbook our weekly schedule, make myself spend time outside everyday (preferably not yard cleaning) and hiding in my room for a few words of thankful prayer to God in the middle of 'rush hour'. Country living is good for slowing me down too. Just the scenery and the peace helps. Living 30 minutes away from town helps keep me home more and that is a GOOD THING. No running here and there all day long. I wish more moms could be home more. She makes home a blessed place to be, and there is no greater reward than providing that for children and a hard working man.

Stop and smell the roses...and the fresh baked bread. Sit and watch your kids playing 'make believe'. Turn on your favorite song...loud...and dance. Breathe deeply and while you exhale...say "Thank you Jesus".

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday...bitter sweet day. I just finished reading the first chapter of Beth Moore's book Breaking Free. It struck me that when God called Gideon to work for Him, Gideon was afraid. He did what God said, but did it at night so no one would see. His heart was doubtful and uncomfortable. God STILL called him "Mighty Warrior", before he acted mighty. Jesus was desperately grieved in the garden as He asked His Father if there was any other way to appease His wrath. Once God confirmed what had to be done, there were no more appeals, doubts or re considerations. Jesus did what had to be done, because He loved His Father so much.

Sacrifice is Love.

Today represents the greatest act of love imaginable, and God asks me (us) to follow Him, to love as He loved. Not in a gushy, easy, feel-good kind of way...that's no sacrifice...but in an often hard, against my own understanding and socially acceptable kind of way. Jesus' own family thought He was crazy and encouraged Him to stop what He was doing...out of love I'm sure, but love for their own comfort (they didn't want to loose Him). It takes great faith to love like that. In a world bent on living comfortable lives filled with pleasureable experiences, we miss out on the greatest experience of divine comfort and real, supernatural, life changing events only God can provide. May this Good Friday inspire us to live like that. Trade our old philosophy of love for His and see why this day is so "good" for the first time.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Clock from Mom & Dad, candles from Jill and wreath made by Tracy

Kids' maple syrup (pretty Crown Royal jar...hehe)

Jelly cupboard Dad made for me

plate rack Dad made for me

I LOVE simple things! I've never been good with details. Too much information at one time sends me into "shut down" mode, both visual and auditory. Christmas trees with too many decorations or multiple conversations at one time stress me out. That's partly why I love living in the country. The peace and quiet and the beauty, still my soul, mind and body. I also love doing simple things like making maple syrup! We've tapped only two trees in our backyard and are working on filling one jar. We are almost there. The kids find it fascinating and I find it tastey. My family knows that maple products are my favorite candy. We over-cooked one batch and made maple toffee...great mistake. So...I thought I would post a couple of "simple" things I enjoy.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

More...what a dangerous word. We have MORE than most people in the world and we WANT more than most people in the world. How could we (I) be so discontent? Paul was too..."Oh wretched man that I am..." Romans 7. Things and experiences never seem to be least for very long. Our tank of pleasures is never full and the variety of things to fill it are innumerable. Like little monsters running around with "half empty" cups looking for the tap of happiness. The first question in the "Shorter Westminster Catechism" is: What is the chief end of man? Answer: to glorify God and ENJOY Him forever. So...part of God's purpose for me is to ENJOY HIM. That is what I should be seeking after. The enjoyment of everything Godly, anything he created that is good. My relationship with Him should be fun and pleasureable, so aught the things He has made for me. MORE of Him...less of me and the things of this world.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The little things are so precious...the last rays of sunshine at the end of the day, a dog's faithfulness, and a sturdy feed bucket. I needed some fresh air and sun at the end of a long hard day. Dreams of spring and having that comfy patio table and chair set from Sears, were making me a bit...dissatisfied. With mounds of hard snow everywhere and nothing to sit on, I was determined to catch those last warm rays before dark. I found a private spot behind the garage facing my mountain. With my long, warm hockey coat and tea in hand, I searched for a chair. Nothing but a good ole' feed bucket was found. That'll have to do...sun's almost gone. For the next 15 minutes or so, I drank in my peaceful view, the sun's warmth, the freshest of air and my hot green tea...on an upside down feed bucket. What an awesome few moments. They were interrupted only by the comedy of my dog and son #2. Gabe was trying to play hockey while Shadey continued to steal his pucks and bring them to me for safe keeping. Gabe's laughter added to my pleasure. Tea was gone and I was ready to get back into the race...with an atittude of thankfulness.

Friday, March 6, 2009

"I have learned the secret to contentment...I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."-Phil 4:12-13
I so admire faithful people who don't need much to keep them going. My desire for fun and change is a curse on those days when "hum drum" is on the menu. Oh, to be faithful and content in all things. The big SECRET is that Christ makes me able...He fills my heart with joy when there is nothing to be joyful about (or nothing that I can see). I just finished praying for all of my friend who are on March Break vacation to Florida, Sugarloaf and a Carribean cruise. Then, I asked for forgiveness over my coveting! Time to adjust my vision...My kids are healthy, My house is nice and warm, we had an awesome roast beef dinner last night and I painted Gabe's room this week...those are all things that I enjoyed and lots of people don't have. I have so much to be thankful for. God made me passionate and energetic...He will give me outlets for those things in His time and in His way. May I be faithful while I wait. Maybe I'll paint another room today?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I like pretty things. Being home all day, every day with 4 kids, a dog and a cat doesn't lend itself to pretty things. My eyes cry for simplicity and beauty. There are very few spots in my house that are nice to look at. If I had opportunity I would buy an old farmhouse out in a field somewhere to renovate and decorate...that would be a dream come true! For now, these dim eyes need to focus on and appreciate the smiles on my kids faces, the mountain view from my kitchen window and the beautiful words in the books I read. If Fanny Crosby saw many beautiful things, then why can't I?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I grew up on the shore of the Saint John river. The river was the backdrop for everything that happened in my life. It was the place I used to go to when I needed to think, pray and cry. I made clay pots there, slept by a fire there, nursed babies there, brought special people there...I think I even broke up with a boy there. Peaceful and open, it made it easier for me to commune with God. What a great place for a kid to be. When I grew up and moved away, I missed the beach. Now, I have been brought back to the same river to live with my family. Again, I have run to the river in order to get myself together and "take a time out" with God. Nature has a way of visually calming me and blocking out the world in order to focus on who really matters. Oh, if that river could talk! I'm glad it can't...too much has been said. If it could talk, maybe it could tell me where that silver ring is that I dropped in it when I was 9.