Saturday, June 28, 2008

Humble Pie

I've heard that to confront your own sin, you have to name it. Call it by what it is. Since I am considered a bit of a control freak by some, I think I would call that PRIDE. I like things my way, because in a lot of instances, especially related to my older kids, I think I know best. Somehow being a restaurant manager in the past leaves me feeling the need to manage things in all areas of my life, including friendships. Also, I was a big fish in a very small pond for awhile. Slowly, though, I am learning that people can relate to one another without it needing to directly involve me. Did you know that with one very small exception the entire world's population is made up of other people? People who really don't care what I'm thinking about them or even that I exist in the first place? Who knew? Anyway, all these things boil down to one sin: PRIDE. I am good at putting myself low on the food chain-I am a mom after all. I just like to be recognized for my self-sacrificing nature. I would love to be humble...but what if no one notices?

Friday, June 27, 2008

A State of Equilibrium

I finished the book I was reading, about finding God in the clutter of life. Wow! What an awesome read. Fluffy enough to be fun, filled with anecdotes from the author's life, but deep enough to have me scrambling to find a pen to underline stuff. (No, I'm not making any commission should anyone try to find the book.) Most of you who know me know that I am a do-er, not a be-er. Always looking for what God needs me to do. Always waiting for that next door to open, like there is actually a tier system of service, instead of one Body and many parts. Anyway, the author, Elizabeth Cody Newenhuyse, said what if no doors are opening or closing because we are already in the room. Not feeling any particular prompting or call towards something because I am already where I'm supposed to be. Living in such an achievement-oriented society makes this kind of thinking (for me anyway) sort of revolutionary and out of the box. Not that I think God wants me to stagnate where I'm at for the rest of my life. But to recognize that in this time, in this place, with these people, is where I belong. How cool is that?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

All-Sufficient Grace

"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not stray from it." Proverbs 22:6 These are words of comfort to someone who has known the Lord since before they became a parent. What about the rest of us who set an ungodly, selfish example of how to be a grown-up and that is bearing its own thorny fruit? When my older kids were in elementary and middle school, I was very busy making sure that life was making me happy. I was working more than full time and had very little left to go around. Since I got married at 18 and was feeling like I missed out on the "fun" stuff, I was making up for lost time. Anyway, suffice it to say that I didn't instill the values and choices in my kids that I plan to with the little guys. The proverb about how to raise your children was filling me with a lot of guilt and trepidation, which I do know are not of God. Godly repentance when faced with my sin is what He wants, not a constant rehashing of everything I did wrong, but I could not find a way to stop.

So, I prayed. I asked God to forgive me for not teaching the kids about Him, and for being more concerned with my own happiness than what they needed at the time, which was security and to be a priority in my life. I told Him that I was worried about the far-reaching consequences of my actions. The Lord answered my prayer with a verse that reminds me of His mercy towards a sinner like me: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Without making a big deal of it or psyching myself out, I have been getting up early to walk, like for exercise. (If I say it outloud, the desire might disappear!) Anyway, this morning I had an encounter with the devil, sort of. As I was walking past a house, I wanted to change the song on my phone MP3 player, so I slowed down. I looked up and saw a big German Shepherd sitting next to the front step. I looked again for a second too long. Realizing my mistake, I started walking again, but not before the dog got up with a throaty growl and started loping towards me. I turned and said "NO!" and stood my ground. He put his head down and went back to the porch. Now, in his mind, he may not have left his driveway. But in my mind, he was not going to stop and it would be worse if I ran. I started thinking how if we look sin, and the devil, square in the face and yell "NO!", he will go off in search of an easier lunch. "Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, stand steadfast in your faith." 1 Peter 5:8-9

Monday, June 23, 2008

Again, Be Here Now

During my weekend of bargain hunting I picked up a book called "God, I Know You're Here Somewhere, Finding God in the Clutter of Life." At present I am trying to lay in the sun on a cloudy day so my birthday dress (not b'day suit!) looks pretty at dinner tonight. Anyway, I just came across a line that was too good not to share: My real life isn't in the way. It points the way. Wow! So many times I have wondered what God wants from me and how am I supposed to accomplish it in my present situation. This author reminds me that I have to first look for Him here, and He will take me to places yet undreamed of. I do need to be bonked in the head repeatedly with the same information before it sinks in. I think we're getting closer!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Another Year Older...

Tomorrow is my birthday, but we celebrated with all the kids today. Tacos, ice cream cake, presents, and tons of laughter. It doesn't get any better than this. Except it actually does. Yesterday morning I opened my door to go walking at 6:30 and found fresh muffins on a pretty tray from a friend. Then I got a foosball table at a yard sale for $15. Totally unrelated to my birthday but cool nonetheless. The cutest part of the weekend was the new dress the kids gave me. Connor (5) asked Jessi (21) if they could buy me a pretty dress so Rob could take me out to dinner on my birthday. I did not even put him up to this. How sweet is that?! So they did, and we are. Not sure where, because I am so full of tacos and DQ cake that I can't even imagine being hungry again. Any ideas? Let me know by 4 pm Monday!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

God@the Circus

Now that it is warm out and it stays lighter so much later, my days are fuller than ever. Every day has had its own little fun surprises. The weather on Father's Day turned out to be beautiful, so we had a really nice day outside. As an added bonus, my son Mitchell brought over a real-live cotton candy machine that he got from work so we had cotton candy on the patio. I've always felt like I'm living in a circus, so this just sealed the deal. And my daughter Jessi can always be a carny if she needs something to fall back on. She makes a mean cotton candy cone. Sometimes finding God in the day is as easy as looking around at the faces looking back at you.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Every Day...

All this crazy weather has me thinking of the last days talked about in the Bible. I don't claim to be a Bible scholar, and my knowledge of weather patterns comes from the Vince Condella School of Meteorology. There is just a lot going on lately. The kids just seem to take it in stride. Justin was looking at the TV when the collapse of Lake Delton was on. He pointed at a house floating away and said, "Boat, Mama." My prayers are with those who have lost homes, electricity, and most importantly, lives. I pray that none of these touched, or tackled more appropriately, will lose hope in a loving God who is always in control. I was moved by an interview with a Boy Scout following the tragedy in Iowa, who said that God obviously wants him here for a reason and he plans to live his life to never forget that. It's humbling to realize that every day I wake up breathing, God is saying the same thing to me. Once again, this is a day the Lord has made. Let me rejoice and be glad in it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Two Peas in Different Pods

Like many mothers and daughters, my mom and I have a quirky relationship. We are alike in so many ways. For example, we both can only buy something if it's on sale. We both love to eat. We both think I'm funny. (She's smart, too.) We both like things to be our way, which isn't always the same way. My mom can make beautiful jewelry and baskets because she likes everything to be very precise. For this same reason, she can't make cards with me because sometimes things don't line up perfectly and she finds this frustrating. She blames this on being a Virgo. Yes, I know astrology isn't biblical, but my mom is a Buddhist. She marches to a different drum than I do on a lot of topics.
I went to her house tonight to cut her grass because she is having some back problems. As I was cutting lines that weren't exactly straight, I wondered what she was thinking. When I got done, I apologized to her Virgo nature and explained that my Cancer nature came over to nurture her yard and love on her grass and that I couldn't worry about how straight or perfect it was. We laughed. Then she had me recut a few sections that were extra crooked. I know she loves me and she knows I love her. Even though we see almost everything differently, she's my mom.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Calm in the Storm

Everyone has a story to tell after the wild weather this weekend, and this is mine. Rob's plane was delayed Friday for about six hours, so instead of being home in time for dinner, it was after bedtime. The storm had pushed out over the lake by the time I could head to the airport. I was rewarded for the long day with the most spectacular view of the storm clouds over Lake Michigan. As the sun was setting in the west, the towering thunderheads were changing color from hot pink to cotton candy blue. It was so amazing. I was grateful for the delay in the baggage claim area so I had 20 extra minutes to stare out my car window, listening to worship music and seeing God's handiwork at the same time.
During Saturday's afternoon adventure I was driving to pick up my 16 year old son from work around 4 pm. The tornado sirens started blowing on the way to the hardware store he works at and I could see lightening dancing in the distance. After I dropped him off at his house, the sky darkened and the wind picked up. I was getting a little nervous at this point. I began to pray aloud and was so glad for the words God has written on my heart. Even though I was afraid, I kept repeating Jeremiah 29:11, "Lord, I know the plans You have for me. Plans to give me hope and a future, to prosper me, not to harm me." How wonderful to know that even if I would have gotten sucked up and landed in Oz, or possibly South Milwaukee, it would be part of God's perfect plan for me. So glad I can trust in Him.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Home Sweet Home

So it's Friday of a week I have been dreading for awhile. Rob has been in Minneapolis since Sunday and I was not looking forward to a week on my own with the kids. Surprisingly, it has been a week filled with joy. Each day, of course, has had it's frustrating moments, but overall it has been really nice and really simple. Which begs the question, "Why don't I feel like this when daddy is home? What is really different?" I didn't cook fancy dinners while Rob was gone, but he doesn't really want me to anyway. I did the laundry, cleaned the house, played with the kids, hung out with friends, and helped my daughter set up her new apartment. I also refinished an armoire, gutted and cleaned my craft room, and did some gardening. I brought a meal to a friend, took Connor to the doctor, went to a book club, and babysat a few days. None of these are things I can't or don't do when Rob is home, so why did it feel so different this week? Not sure what the answer is, but I am sure that it lies within me and not anybody else. The only thing I know for sure is that each morning I prayed for God's peace and guidance. I tried to remember to ACCESS the power of God every day. He has been laying a scripture on my heart all week, about having an outer form of godliness but denying its power. I'm pretty sure I spend a lot of useless energy trying to pull the wagon myself, instead of asking God to show me everyday where He wants me. With Rob out of town, I stayed home more instead of finding reasons to escape. I focused on my home and my kids for a change and realized how blessed I am.

Monday, June 2, 2008


As I have been reading back over some of my recent posts, I can see that I am feeling a definite loss of control over my life. That is a tough thing to deal with for a self-confessed control freak. I feel like I don't have time for the stuff I want to do and don't feel like doing the stuff I am doing. Make sense? In the last month, I have fallen into the black hole of E-Bay more than once.
I read a little book this morning called Pressure Proofing your Marriage by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. It has some really practical steps to follow as a couple to make sure your union with God and your spouse is actually taking priority in your life and not whatever you have leftover to give it.
Biggest takeaway today: "To say that you don't have time for something is not a statement of fact, but a statement of value." Let that sink in for a minute.