Monday, June 23, 2008

Freedom's Calling

Several things kept me from being super excited about reading this book. For one thing, I knew that this was the story of a horrible tragedy involving the death of a child and that it took place at Wallowa Lake in Eastern Oregon. Being how I could drive to this lake, pitch my tent and set up camp faster than I could read through this book, it made me just a little nervous to have this devastating fictional event tied in with one of my favorite vacation spots. Secondly, and an even greater reason, was that I was having a hard time dealing with the death of my own unborn child less than 8 months ago.

However, at the insistance of more than one loving friend, I decided to give it a go. As I read through (the father) Mack's questions for God and struggles with blame, shame and disappointment, I really found myself relating. When it came time for the healing, I wasn't sure I was ready. However, just like he did with Mack, God put me on super-speedy recovery mode and did a work in my heart that has turned around much of my thinking. I'll try not to leave too many spoilers here...but you've been warned!

One emotion that Mack displayed that I could really relate to was his confusion that he might be being punished by God for a past wrong. I have felt a feeling similar to this since losing the baby. I've often thought that it was just too good to be true that all of my children had been born healthy and fine...that it was just "my turn" to have a tragedy happen. I thought that maybe it was my punishment for not losing weight like I'd promised myself so many times I'd do. I kept repeating something that my not-so-well-meaning dad said to me shortly after losing the baby, "maybe this was God's way of telling you that he doesn't want you to have any more kids." What? Who sends these kids anyway?? But that's another topic... How thrilled I was when God spoke to my heart, "just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn't mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don't ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes," (The Shack, pg. 185). Praise God! I have found that I can forgive God now...and pray that he will forgive me for misunderstanding him and blaming him. Freedom's calling!

One thing that really spoke to me and made me recognize something about myself was when I began to understand that I imagine the worst possible scenarios and then do everything I can to try to avoid them. The problem with this is that I think I have control and really, I don't! I think that if I can plan out my life then I will be sure to make no wrong moves. But as Kent Hovind says, I know the things I know...but what about the things I don't know? This reminded me that before I even became pregnant with the child I lost, I was already planning on losing one. I had a name picked out and a strategy for dealing with the pain and all that. I thought that if I could plan for this then I wouldn't hurt so bad when and if it actually happened. However, since I'd never lost a child before, I couldn't begin to imagine the pain and ache that would follow. There was no way I could have prepared for this. I was putting my security in my plans and when my plans failed, I freaked. Thank God for God though, he really came through! He spoke to me the importance of vulnerability and trusting him. Freedom's calling!!

A question that I've always wondered about was answered for me through this book as well. On several encounters with God, Mack is reminded that God chooses to limit himself in order to have relationship with us. I've sometimes wondered why we need to say things out loud or speak words to God that he already knows...but sometimes he chooses to limit himself, chooses to need to hear us...for the sake of relationship.

I'd like to recommend this little book to anyone and everyone. I believe it is one of those "living books" that the Lord will use in a different and personal way for each person who reads it. Please visit: http://theshackbook.com/ for details.


Book Review: The Shack by William P. Young

Several things kept me from being super excited about reading this book. For one thing, I knew that this was the story of a horrible tragedy involving the death of a child and that it took place at Wallowa Lake in Eastern Oregon. Being how I could drive to this lake, pitch my tent and set up camp faster than I could read through this book, it made me just a little nervous to have this devastating fictional event tied in with one of my favorite vacation spots.

Secondly, and an even greater reason, was that I was having a hard time dealing with the death of my own unborn child less than 8 months ago.

However, at the insistance of more than one loving friend, I decided to give it a go. As I read through (the father) Mack's questions for God and struggles with blame, shame and disappointment, I really found myself relating. When it came time for the healing, I wasn't sure I was ready. However, just like he did with Mack, God put me on super-speedy recovery mode and did a work in my heart that has turned around much of my thinking. I'll try not to leave too many spoilers here...but you've been warned!

One emotion that Mack displayed that I could really relate to was his confusion that he might be being punished by God for a past wrong. I have felt a feeling similar to this since losing the baby. I've often thought that it was just too good to be true that all of my children had been born healthy and fine...that it was just "my turn" to have a tragedy happen. I thought that maybe it was my punishment for not losing weight like I'd promised myself so many times I'd do. I kept repeating something that my not-so-well-meaning dad said to me shortly after losing the baby, "maybe this was God's way of telling you that he doesn't want you to have any more kids." What? Who sends these kids anyway?? But that's another topic...

How thrilled I was when God spoke to my heart, "just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn't mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don't ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes," (The Shack, pg. 185). Praise God! I have found that I can forgive God now...and pray that he will forgive me for misunderstanding him and blaming him. Freedom's calling!

One thing that really spoke to me and made me recognize something about myself was when I began to understand that I imagine the worst possible scenarios and then do everything I can to try to avoid them. The problem with this is that I think I have control and really, I don't! I think that if I can plan out my life then I will be sure to make no wrong moves. But as Kent Hovind says, I know the things I know...but what about the things I don't know? This reminded me that before I even became pregnant with the child I lost, I was already planning on losing one. I had a name picked out and a strategy for dealing with the pain and all that. I thought that if I could plan for this then I wouldn't hurt so bad when and if it actually happened. However, since I'd never lost a child before, I couldn't begin to imagine the pain and ache that would follow. There was no way I could have prepared for this. I was putting my security in my plans and when my plans failed, I freaked. Thank God for God though, he really came through! He spoke to me the importance of vulnerability and trusting him. Freedom's calling!!

A question that I've always wondered about was answered for me through this book as well. On several encounters with God, Mack is reminded that God chooses to limit himself in order to have relationship with us. I've sometimes wondered why we need to say things out loud or speak words to God that he already knows...but sometimes he chooses to limit himself, chooses to need to hear us...for the sake of relationship.

I'd like to recommend this little book to anyone and everyone. I believe it is one of those "living books" that the Lord will use in a different and personal way for each person who reads it. Please visit: http://theshackbook.com/ for details.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

To Know, Know, Know Him...

So, tell me: When you read 1 Corinthians 13; you know, "Love is patient, love is kind...", how do you apply it to your own life? Do you immediately get struck with a sense of guilt right there at the beginning? Patient? Yeah, right...not with these kids... Or what about the next phrase, Love is kind...like as in how we should treat our spouses? Other drivers?

When I read through verses, 4-8 of that particular chapter, I always think of how I need to apply these verses to my interactions with my family and others around me.

But tonight, I saw it differently. Tonight, I inserted the name of Jesus...right there in all those places where it says "love". Just change it to Jesus and see what you come up with. More than that, end those phrases with your own name. Like this:

Jesus is patient with Sarah.
Jesus is kind to Sarah.
Jesus does not envy nor does he want Sarah to envy.
Jesus does not boast (although he does dance over Sarah).
Jesus is not proud (though he does take joy in his Creation, Sarah)
Jesus is not rude nor does he want Sarah to be rude.
Jesus is not self-seeking and he wants Sarah to be self-less too.
Jesus is not easily-angered nor does he want Sarah to be easily angered.
Jesus keeps no record of wrongs...even Sarah's wrongs.
Jesus does not delight in evil...nor should Sarah delight in evil.
Jesus rejoices with the truth...he wants Sarah to rejoice with the truth!
Jesus always protects Sarah.
Jesus always trusts God's Word and Promises for Sarah.
Jesus always hopes for Sarah.
Jesus always has and always will persevere for Sarah.
....and, best of all, Jesus will never fail Sarah.

Here's the part I always miss from that passage: verse 10: "but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears." I never get to that part because I stop half way through the litany of love's characteristics. I stop because I am so overcome with my own inadequacy that it shames me and I know I can't ever be all those things that love is.

But wait a minute...when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears! When Jesus covers me and works through me I think I just might be able to be some of those things after all! By God's grace, we all have the ability to posses a clean slate any time we want to! We can make that imperfection disappear by asking Jesus to come with his perfection!

Can it really be that easy? Yes, it can. Because Jesus did the most difficult thing of all. He became sin for us so we could become the righteousness of God. He did the hard stuff so it could really be that easy for us. Let's not take that for granted!







The Invitation

 

(This is an old post from 2008.  I wrote it shortly after my miscarriage.  I hope it blesses you today.  Please feel free to share with someone else who may be blessed too!)

Today I received an invitation from the Lord.  Lately, I've really been struggling with the loss of our baby 7 months ago. I've been desperately running after many different distractions as I've been trying to find a way to bury this pain and disappointment. Today, as I visited with God's angel in the form of a special friend, I came to realize that I've been running from the very thing that would heal me. The grace of Jesus.

I have so many questions for God. I want him to explain this to me. I want to know why he would give us a baby if he knew he was going to take it away. For years I've believed that he was the giver of good things. So, if he is the author of life, it would seem that this miscarriage was completely under God's control. It would seem that he knew about it before it ever happened. You'd think maybe he'd know how much it would hurt me and how much I'd grieve and how it would turn my entire world upside down.

For years I've believed that God loved me. That he wanted the very best for me. That he only wanted good for me. And now this...

But, the truth I've realized tonight is that losing that baby was not the defining moment in my relationship with God. It was not a punishment from him...he did not intentionally allow my baby to die so he could speak something to me. However, he is intentionally using this heartbreaking situation to speak to me.

There's a song that goes, "sometimes he calms the storm and other times he calms his child". Just because God allowed my baby to die doesn't mean he willed it to die. He is taking a devastating circumstance and using it for the good in my life. Or, at least, he's trying to.

So, here comes my choice. I have the opportunity here to be vulnerable, to give myself wholy to the Holy One. I can surrender this hurt and confusion and disappointment and desperateness and allow God to make something strong and beautiful and workable with it. Is it worth the risk?

What would happen if I said no? What if I decided it wasn't worth the risk...that I wanted to make sure I was never hurt again? I could take control over this situation, couldn't I? If I just harden my heart and stuff the pain back down, won't it eventually go away? That's what I've been thinking for 7 months now...it's still not working.

After I got off the phone with my sweet sister today, I drove in to town to pick up my husband. On the way I turned on the CD he already had out. It was Steven Curtis Chapman's Speechless. How ironic, I thought. Chapman's family recently lost their young child in a horrible accident. I began to wonder how his faith had been shaken over this terrible death. I thought that surely he must have all kinds of questions for the God that he'd devoted his life, family and career to. Then, his song, Great Expectations came on and I knew the answer.

He's grieving, just like me. He's broken and confused and disappointed and feeling like his entire world has been turned upside down. Just like me. He has all kinds of questions for this holy God who holds us in his hands. I bet he wonders now and then if God might be punishing him for something...

But he and I have something else in common. We both serve and love and are devoted to a God who turns ashes into beauty. A God who gives strength to the weary and grace to the humble (read: vulnerable). And deep down, we both know that God allowed this but he did not will it.

Me and Chapman, we've received an invitation. We've been invited to believe the unbelievable...to receive the inconceivable...to see beyond our wildest imaginations.

So, to Chapman, and all the rest of you out there who are grieving and confused and heartbroken: let's lift our eyes up...let's turn our faces to the Lord. Let's allow his grace and love and mercy and peace to wash over us. He will restore our soul and heal our brokeness.

Come Lord Jesus, we invite you....I invite you, once again, to be the lover of my soul.



Great Expectations by Steven Curtis Chapman

The morning finds me here at heaven's door
A place I've been so many times before
Familiar thoughts and phrases start to flow
And carry me to places that I know so well
But dare I go where I don't understand
And do I dare remember where I am
I stand before the great eternal throne
The one that God Himself is seated on
And I, I've been invited as a son
Oh I, I've been invited to come and ...
Believe the unbelievable
Receive the inconceivable
And see beyond my wildest imagination
Lord, I come with great expectations
So wake the hope that slumbers in my soul
Stir the fire inside and make it glow
I'm trusting in a love that has no end
The Savior of this world has called me friend
And I, I've been invited with the Son
Oh I, I've been invited to come and ...
We've been invited with the Son
And we've been invited to come and ...
Believe the unbelievable
Receive the inconceivable
And see beyond our wildest imagination
Lord, we come with great expectations

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Revenge on the Raccoon



Wanna hear about my scary dream last night? Ok, but first let me fill you in on some back story from real life.


A couple of days ago, I was standing at the sink looking out the window, when I spotted an odd-looking cat climbing up the neighbors tree---about 12 feet from my window. As I studied the strange cat, I realized it was not a feline at all, but a raccoon (though my daughter tells me that a raccoon is actually part of the cat family...don't know about that one...). So, inquisitive one that I'm usually not, I grabbed the camera and headed outside to try and snap a shot of this creature. He alluded me, of course, by hiding in the uppermost branches of the tree. Still, I was able to watch him for awhile before the strain on my neck became to much and I retired inside.


I mentioned to my husband that day that I thought I knew what our cat had recently gotten into a fight with (he--the cat--is still healing from an encounter that ripped off the left side of his bottom lip). I told him about the raccoon and we both had a laugh.


Last night I told him--my husband--that I was too afraid to go check on the cat (who resides in our laundry room) because I was scared that the raccoon might be in there. My husband, being 2 hours away at the time and unable to come to my rescue, said 'don't worry about it--the cat--' and that was the end of the conversation.

So...my dream. Last night I dreamed that I was driving alone in my Suburban up a steep hill that I recognized as being in Granite, Oregon. All at once, a raccoon leaped on to the car and began scrambling around to find a way inside. At first, I was just mildly irritated at this annoying little critter but when it insisted on bashing it's furry little fist into my windshield, I became furious.
I figured my only course of action was to try to destroy this overgrown rodent. I slammed on the brakes and began backing down the hill at a super-speedy pace. When I stopped at the bottom of the hill, the raccoon was nowhere to be found. I figured he must have fallen off and since I couldn't see him anywhere, he was surely under the car. I backed around to the right a little ways, put it in drive, closed my eyes and gunned it.
I didn't feel a thing as I raced right over this troublesome faux-feline but when I stopped the car and looked behind me, there he lay, still and serene.
I got out of the car and went over to assess the damage. But when I looked down at the ferocious beast, I realized that he was only a cork-filled knick-knack whose plastic was now cracked all over from my careless racing around this former Oregon boom town.



Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Prophecy: Mystery or Matter of Fact?

So, would you agree that we are living in the end times? How do you know? Did your pastor say that one Sunday? Did you read about it on the cover of the Weekly World News? Did you see this book on the shelf at some book store and say, "well, we must be 'cause this book thinks we might be!"

I am currently reading LaHaye & Jenkins' book, Are We Living in the End Times?. Apparently, this book is going to educate me on the many prophecies that have been fulfilled regarding Christ's Second Coming. I'm excited. (About the book and the Rapture... :) Why is prophecy so well-clothed in mystery and mysticism? Why do so many Christians shy away from or negate the legitimacy of prophecy? The authors of this book seem to think that it is a fear that has grown out of ignorance. This makes sense to me. We humans are afraid of what we don't understand. Many of us do not understand prophecy. However, prophecy makes up roughly a third of the text of the Bible. We oughta be more afraid of the fact that we are choosing to ignore that huge of a portion of God's Word---for want of understanding.

We have a responsibility to understand prophecy. Why did God allow these things to be written? What do you think? I think it's because he wants to make it so totally clear that he is real and out there and coming for us...he wants us to be ready---and to make sure everyone else is ready as well. Is prophecy mysterious? Should it be examined with care? Well, I think that depends. If you are a Christian, you know that the Word of God is infallible. There is not one error in the Bible. So, can we faithfully trust the prophecy in the Bible? Yes. There is nothing mystical or mysterious about it. The prophecies of the Bible are simply God telling us what he is going to do before he does it. What's so weird about that?

What about prophecies that we read about online or in the magazine aisle? What about prophecies that come from someone in the church or a guest at a religious function? This is where we need to use our discernment and take them before the Lord. Does the person giving the prophecy have a good track record? Does this prophecy line up with what God has already spoken in his word and in my life? Does the prophecy come to pass? If we ask the Lord, he will tell us clearly what to hold on to and what to dismiss.

Here's a challenge: find out what the good book has to say about future events. Take some responsibility for understanding the times and how they line up with what God has spoken in his word. Personally, I'm really excited to begin this study.

Planting Imperfections: Cultivating Imperfectionism


This morning I realized why in the 10 years that I've been married I've never had a garden. Each spring, I look out into the spot where my imaginary garden grows and consider the weeds. Then I reconsider the gardening idea.

I've had several potted flowers and plants sitting in my driveway for a couple weeks now. I have a big bowl of various seed packets sitting in my laundry room. This morning, I did something completely out of character.

I looked out onto my weedy yard. I surveyed the garden spot that my husband cleared for me last week; still there, muddy and bare. Then, instead of reconsidering, I grabbed my seed bowl and headed outside.

I planted seeds all over that muddy garden spot; marking their new homes with colored popsicle sticks. I went out to that weed-filled corner of the yard and stuck raspberry bushes in the ground, right amongst the weeds.

The way I figure, if I'm trying to change this habit of perfectionism that always leads me to procrastination, I'm going to have to do things differently. In the case of today, backwards.

I can weed and level and beautify some other day. Today was about cultivating imperfectionism!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What Does BLOG mean?


This afternoon I am allowing my mind to come up with meanings for the word BLOG. What is a blog? Why do I feel so unladylike when I say it? Today BLOG stands for: Boy,I Love Olive Garden.

God's Will: Thinking about Jen Hatmaker's "Tune In"



Tonight, while going through this book for our Bible study tomorrow, Tune In by Jen Hatmaker, I began to ponder the phrase, "God's Will". I started to wonder if Bible women ever just begged and pleaded with the Lord to show them His will? Although I'm sure it's possible, it's just hard for me to imagine Esther or Mary or Miriam as being unsure of the Lord's will for their life. It seems to me that they just kinda took it one day at a time and continued to do the last thing God told them to do until they heard differently.

So, I am wondering, when I ask God to show me his will, am I using the right phraseology? When I really think about it, it seems that what I mean to say is, God, do I really have a purpose? Do I want validation from the Lord? What would I do/think/say if he told me, "Sarah, I want you to get up in the morning and do the exact same thing you've been doing for the last 10 years. That's it." Would I be satisfied with this?

No, I want God to answer with something big. I want him to validate me---to whisper sweet nothings and give me a GRAND PLAN!! I want to be big...(yes, I'm on a diet...you know what I mean...). I want to do something amazing, profound, notable, worth remembering...I want accolades and applause and back pats and praise. 

Wait. Isn't that what the Lord is supposed to be receiving?

What if my daily grind is actually blessing the Lord? Maybe the every day in and outs of my life are exactly His plan for me. Could it be that His will for my life is that I get up and do the exact same thing I've been doing for the last 10 years? That doesn't sound big and amazing and notable. But it needs to be done. And God has put me here at this time to do it. And...if it weren't me doing it, who would I choose to fill that place?

A Call For Intercession: Bad Girls of the Bible

I just finished reading Liz Curtis Higgs', Bad Girls of the Bible, and while I always find her work to be funny and fascinating, a particular idea really stood up and spoke to me during this particular adventure. While making the case for the 'badness' of Lot's wife, Higgs brings up two points about God's grace. The first, she says, is that it stretches further than we can imagine. The second is that God is withholding fire and brimstone even now, for the sake of us here on earth. This gives us an opportunity, she says, to let others know about the judgment that awaits them, as well as the grace.

This got me thinking: 'Lord, do you mean that just like Abraham, who begged for mercy for the people of Sodom, I can also plead with you to withhold your judgment so that more and more of your people can escape it?' This is intercession! As much as we Christians may want to be in Heaven with the Lord---no more sin, no more death, no more carmel pecan clusters to mess with our diets---we can only get there one of two ways. Either the Lord comes back to get us or we die and find ourselves in a new just-the-right-size body bowing at His feet. In either case, there is now at least one less person on Earth to share the good news.

Some Christians have sort of sequestered themselves away from THE (big bad)WORLD in order to fulfill what they believe the Bible is teaching when it warns us to be in the world but not of it. Do we really just want to buckle up and sit back for a long, boring ride to Heaven? Couldn't we take a lesson from Abraham here and plead with God for just one more day? A day to spend praying for my lost and lied-to brother. For a friend's mother who can't seem to find her way. A day to spend on the phone with a sick father-in-law who has been too stubborn to yield to God. Maybe God is waiting to allow that last 50 or 45 or 30 or 20 or even 10 souls to become his.

God is not the big-bad-boogey-man up in Heaven cackling and stirring his tribulation pot. He's a just and holy and loving God, drying the grieving tears of his son Jesus as the Lord mourns for those who've already made their devastating choice. Jesus is interceding for us even now---urging us to be of good courage, to finish the fight and to finish strong. Let's all take up the challenge to intercede on behalf of those we know and those we don't know who need the Lord to save them.

Looks Like I'm Goona Look Into It

This post was moved over from another blog. I've included the comments below.


I 'spose this picture doesn't really have much to do with the subject....but I just found it and it's cute so hey...

Anyway, after a not-as-lengthy-as-I-thought-it-would-be discussion with Jamie, we've decided that it is important for me to go ahead and go back to school part time.

One thing that I didn't really make clear in my last post is that this will be via Distance Ed so I will be doing all of my work online. That will give me lots of flexibility as to when I actually do my homework. I think this will be good.

And...I agree that one doesn't need to be in school to learn. In fact, I think an organized and systematic education can actually be a detriment to the joy of learning in some cases. However, that little piece of paper that says, "I know this", is usually a necessity if one wants to be employed. Especially if one is to be employed at home and if one has been a stay-at-home mom most of her adult life so far!! :)

Jules said...
Good for you! I think you will enjoy the challenge and it seems like a degree is important to you so enjoy it! When do you think you will start? Also what are you going to be taking?I wish Bob had a degree area that he could do online classes, but if he wants to go back to get his bach. degree we have to move to any of the following cities: Bozeman, MT or Pullman, WA or Corvallis, OR or Klamath Falls, OR. Those are all a little further away than I'd like to move.:( boo hoo So we wait to figure out what to do. He is in Civil Engineering and that is a hands on degree evidently.;)
March 6, 2008 7:39 AM


Charlyn said...

Good for you! Go for it!
March 6, 2008 2:11 PM


1lilbookworm said...
never give upas a published writer (poet) , all I can say is believe in your dreams and go for it !


I Think I Wanna Go Back To School

This post has been moved over from another blog. I've included the comments below.


Ok, what do you think about this??? (Nevermind that I don't know who "you" are...this is kinda like "Dear Diary"....)

I've been back and forth to school several times since leaving college when I was 20. I have this desperate hunger to learn---I feel like I'm bored and wasting a decent brain if I'm not learning regularly. So, am I just destined to be like Lindsey's friend, The Lifetime Student??

I mean, what will happen when I finally do graduate with a degree of some sort? Will my thirst for knowledge then be satisfied? I've got a good 20 years here at home...and that's assuming that I won't have anymore kids to extend that 20 year time span...(which I'm sure will not be the case).

Is it possible to have your own life running concurrently with that of your kids? Do I really have to wait until they're all grown and out of the house before I pursue some of my dreams?? OR--is there room for me to be going after my dreams while still keeping up on my responsibilities??

Now I'm making it sound like I don't have any "family dreams" and that's not true at all...realistically, I want it all to run concurrently. But is that possible?? What do you think? (Yes, this is the part I want comments on!!! :)

One thing that I keep telling myself is that there are other states (and countries) where a parent must possess a degree to be allowed to homeschool their kids without government interference. While that's not the case yet here in Oregon, it could someday be...or who's to say we'll stay in Oregon forever? I still have dreams of living in Canada someday!!

So, I guess I need to listen to my husband's answer that he gives everytime I talk to him about this. I need to make a decision and stick to it either way. So, help me out here diary (and real people), give me some feedback!

Lindsey said...
I think as moms we make a ton of sacrafices for our families. A lot of times we take great joy in doing that, but we still have to have a piece of ourselves. And that means following our dreams. As long as our dreams don't overtake the family priorities then I think it is awesome to pursue them. It keeps us feeling alive.And as for being a lifetime student, I think if you go into it knowing you love to learn then great. My friend has a phobia of "real life". She simply goes to school because it is comfortable and if she graduates she has to get a job and face growing up. BIG difference between you and her, lol.
March 1, 2008 1:05 PM


Char said...
It's the balancing act we all struggle with, isn't it? Especially homeschooling Moms. Do I have to give up "me" in order to do this?(That's one of those rhetorical questions we all have to answer our own way.)Personally, I love to learn too. I feed my brain by reading things on the internet and in books. I get mini-obsessions and learn all I can about the subject (although I don't go as far as some of us ;-)). I don't feel the need to be in school to learn. But, that said, if a degree is important to you- that piece of paper that says "You Did IT!" then go for it but realize it may take awhile so enjoy the journey.
March 1, 2008 8:16 PM

Jules said...
I am with Char because I also love to learn and I obsess about things until I figure it out and then move on, I LOVE to learn as well but I did not like the resricted part of school and the workloads. I still have NO idea what I would go back to school for (except maybe cosmatology/hair etc)I think life is one big learning experience so I am not feeling at this point I need to go back to school. Although a degree might be nice.I love how my dreams get to change, I can be anything I want to, I can change my roles with the seasons and happenings in our families. Isn't it funny how we really have a lot of freedom to persue anything we want to really and we end up finding excuses like $, kids, husbands etc, whereas if we really really wanted to do something we'd find a way,:) HAHA
March 2, 2008 4:42 PM

Audra Marie said...
I think God gives us dreams, but sometimes they aren't for now. There are seasons and maybe your hearts desire is for another season or maybe not even for this side of heaven (if all our dreams came true here, why would we long for 'home')? It's important to pray and seek His will always.That being said. In the natural side, we should write down what our dreams for our families, and for ourselves. As long as we keep our priorities in line with God's will and our desire for our family, I think we can fit in pursuing our goals, too.I'm taking a writing course this month because it fits with my dreams, I'm able to do it in this season of my life, and it feeds my need to learn. :) That's just one example.I couldn't go to college outside of my home, but I can certainly take courses via the internet and still do what is a priority for my family - educate them, train them, love ON them, etc. :)There will come a time too soon where my kids don't need me and I'll have a lot of time to go after my dreams more. For now, I do it in snippets as I can.Just my thoughts. :)
March 5, 2008 5:34 PM

What I Want To Be When I Grow Up


This post has been moved from another blog. I've included the comments below.

What do you want to be when you grow up? What are your dreams?

The earliest answer to this question that I remember is from the fourth grade: I wanted to be a teacher. This answer remained constant until late high school when I added some specifics: I wanted to be a high school English teacher. In fact, my plan was to wait until I was about 27 to get married...and IF I had kids, it would be after 30. After I got to college and discovered that it was cool to respect your instructors, I did a little revising: I wanted to be a college English instructor.

Half way into my first year of college, my boyfriend convinced me that I should marry him---so that summer I was married and my first child came a year and a half later.

I continued to attend college while writing for a local newspaper for another year and a half. During this time, my dream was once again revised. I decided I wanted to homeschool my kids so I figured I could be a work-at-home journalist.

In the past 10 years, I have taught both preschool and kindergarten at a private school, worked as a journalist for a community newspaper and served as editor of a city newspaper. I am now a full-time homeschooling mom.

So, now that I've fulfilled all my goals, what next? I have two new goals: I would like to write professionally and I would like to speak at Christian women's functions. I wonder how these will come about?


Audra Marie said...
I can't wait to see how your two new goals come about. I have similar goals. :)
March 5, 2008 5:19 PM

When I Lose MY Weight

This post has been moved from another blog. I've included the comments below.

Yikes! Do I really want to post this picture??

Yes, I do. Because one day soon we'll be able to put it next to a recent one and be amazed at all the weight I've lost.

I'm going to do this, you know.

For those of us who are overweight: Have you ever thought about how we use the term, "my", when talking about our excess weight? "When I lost MY weight last year"..."I need to lose MY weight...". I have mixed feelings about using this term of ownership.

I suppose using the word MY means that we are taking responsibility for the weight gain...we are owning up to the fact that it is there and is real. But on the other hand, isn't it also a term implying that we are comfortable in this state? If something is MINE, (especially to one who lacks self-control or hoards), then I want to make sure I keep what is mine. I wallow in it and enjoy it and make it my life.

I recently read, Passing for Thin by Frances Kuffel, where Kuffel replays her weight loss journey to half her original size. This was such a well-written book---it was REAL. In it, Kuffel uses the terminology, "this body", when referring to her new self. She has a hard time claiming it...believing that it is hers and real and is going to stay.
I wonder if that is a roadblock for me---facing reality and not being in denial anymore about the fact that I really am overweight. Ok, let's be honest, the fact that I am SERIOUSLY overweight.
My life won't suddenly become drastically different when I lose the weight. It is not the magical cure-all catalyst to a better attitude, more organization, happiness, great sex, cute clothes---all the things I'm dreaming of. Those things will come during a separate, yet concurrent, journey that I have to choose to make daily.


Char said...
The hard part? You are still the same person inside, thin or overweight. Where ever you go- there you are. But I think the person inside is pretty neat.
February 29, 2008 6:15 PM

Why Don't I Have A Blog Yet?

This post has been moved from another blog. I've included the comments below.

So, why don't I have a blog yet? I've been asked this question on several occasions lately.

Well, I guess I just never realized how rewarding a bloggy life could be. Never have I taken the time to imagine how my life would change after the blog-shaped hole in my heart was filled.

I tell myself that it's because I don't have the time for blogging. I have so many other important things to do during my day. After all, I am a young mother of 5; desperately trying to keep a house running, a homeschool functioning, a husband happily satisfied.

Do you want to know the truth? Dare I admit it? My real honest-to-goodness reason for avoiding blogging is that it might cut into some really precious quality time. You see, I have an addiction. It's not a substance. It's not an action.

About two years ago, I was introduced to the wonders of science fiction via my brother-in-law's Stargate SG-1 DVDs. My husband was itching for a movie night one evening and went over to Jason's to borrow a couple of DVDs. He came home with Season 1 of SG-1 and begged me to just give it a shot. I thought the whole thing was ridiculously below me but indulged him for the evening.

I now admit that I am shamelessly addicted. If I don't have my nightly dose of two or three episodes, I tend to become quite shakey. Sweats and breakouts are likely to follow. The occasional seizure or blackout is possible.

When we first moved 2 hours away from Jason's house, I was comforted by the brand new copy of Season 10 that I had bought online for an incredible amount of money. Now that I understand that the series can be purchased from other outlets besides cheating, scamming ebayers, we have increased our collection to include Seasons 1, 2, 3, 4, and 9. We just watch these over and over and over again--and fill in the missing years from our imaginations. We can't give it up and therefore have not much of an interesting existence other than that which exists within the SGC. We have not had cable television since we were married 10 years ago and so our view of the outside world is much distorted by the laws of wormhole physics and the possibility of an infinite number of alternate realities.

However, since all my friends are doing it, then I guess I should join in. So, here's my blog. It may not be updated much. It may not be interesting. It may make you not like me anymore. But it's me---in all my glory.

Jules said...
Congrats on starting a blog!! It is so much fun I wish I had started one much sooner. I hope you have a great time with it. You are such a great writer it will be fun to read I am sure!Welcome to bloggy world!
February 29, 2008 3:36 PM


Char said...
I am drawn to the Giant Time Sucking Monster of TV myself. I like Sci-fi too! We don't have cable- only antennas up in the air. I am afraid too much time would be spent watching it if we had more. I am addicted to the internet, myself. The information, the communication. It draws me in and before I know it- time has evaporated.Welcome to the Good Ship Blogger- glad to have you aboard!
February 29, 2008 6:22 PM


Audra Marie said...
I happen to know I'll love it and it will be interesting. :) And no chance of me not liking you.As for Stargate, you might be able to get the missing years on netflix lol. Along with many OTHER educational dvds. :)
March 1, 2008 8:41 AM

Red and Yellow Black and White, We Are Precious In His Sight


This is a post that has been moved from a previous blog. I have included the comments below.


A few weeks ago, our church invited an evangelist to come and speak for a few nights on the subject of encouragement. He really blessed our church: great message, powerful prayer time at the altar; this man had a genuine heart for God.


Those of you who have been in church for awhile can relate to the attitude that I'm about to admit to. You've all had it. Yes, you have. Even though we all know that we are not to judge one another, we still find ourselves meddling in others affairs---if only in our minds---by assigning each person a level of "spiritualness". We say to ourselves, "yeah, I'll never be as good as her...but at least I'm better than her." It humbles me to write this...but I'm going somewhere with this so stop judging me and read on.


I serve on the worship team at our church and as I was up there on the platform that morning and as we began the first song, God prompted me (as he sometimes does) to just look out over the group assembled there.


As I looked out at the approximately 350 people there, I began to see them differently than I usually did. Instead of the sweeping, 'who's here' gaze, I began to see each individual. I saw husbands and wives---some of them new to the church and leaning just a little in toward each other for unspoken assurance. I saw teenagers; some with their hands lifted high, others with their hands in their pockets. I really saw these people and God began to speak something to me. But I didn't yet understand it.


That evening when we all came back for the second service, that same thought pattern came back to me as we opened in worship. This time, God began to clarify what he wanted me to hear.


You see, we "seasoned Christians" come to church with our notions of who each other really is and what each one of us is thinking and our "discernment" of one another's "real reason" for being there. We have our preconceived ideas of how it's goona go and how it should go and how it'd better go; and many times we completely miss the point. Thank God that he has been showing me the point so clearly lately.


When I looked out over those people and into the faces of those couples, I saw what the Lord sees: people who are hungry for him. Just like me, each one of those in attendance could have been anywhere else that night. We chose to come to church---for whatever reason and motivations that got us there---the main theme here was hunger. Some of us thought, 'this is my night! The evangelist is here! Surely he will move God's hand in my favor.' Some of us thought, 'yes, this man is a mighty man of God. But he is no more able to pray for me successfully than I am for myself'.


Again, this past Sunday, God made clear to me the vulnerability of his people. I watched a young couple who is new to the church and newly free of a sinful life as they worshipped together. In the particular song we were doing, the men sing a line and the ladies echo and it goes back and forth. It was so neat to watch this man really trying to get his part right and then his wife would chime in and then he'd be right there, singing with all his might...entering in and being a part of the body. Soon, he was raising his hands in worship. I saw that couple as God sees them: children. Vulnerable and needy and desperately seeking his love, approval, acceptance; and his mighty hand to sustain them.


God is very much working in me to turn around this critical spirit. He is showing me that just as I so desperately want to see him move in my life---each one of my brothers and sisters in Christ wants the same thing. We all have our fig leaves that we put on to hide our vulnerability---but in some way or another---we are all truly seekers.


I need God to work in me to help me give grace to others. My critical spirit and judgemental attitude will only keep me locked up inside myself: unapproachable, unwelcoming and ultimately useless.



Comments:


Jules said...
You and me both! I even struggle with the meet and greet times at church....I struggle with being friendly and open even though I want to be I hold back but I know how we felt so welcomed by everyone when we first came so I want others to feel that same way too. I am so worried about things that don't matter! I really struggle with the critical spirit issues as well and judgmental attitude. It is really nice to hear someone else be honest about it as well!I am glad you shared!
March 28, 2008 12:54 PM



Charlyn said...
"but I'm going somewhere with this so stop judging me and read on."Excuse me, but did you just tell me to shut up? You are much more diplomatic than me, I just say it out right.I think it's difficult to judge where people are spirituality because so often people are operating behind a facade. As Christians we think we have to have it all together and don't let other people see our vulnerable areas. Which is sad because we are there to support and encourage each other, not to tear down.New Christians often have that infectious joy about them. Where does that go? And when does the critical spirit creep in?
March 28, 2008 8:51 PM