Friday, November 14, 2008

Moving to a new location...

Ready for a new plunge toward simplicity???

I have exported all my posts and imported them into my other blog. For those of you who have previously subcribed to "Embracing Each Moment," you will continue to get all of your emails/google reader updates when I post. For the rest who have never visited or subscribed to my other blog...Take a moment to get aquainted to "Embracing Each Moment." This blog was originally created to update our family and friends with the happenings of the Largaespada Family. I wanted to keep my blogs seperate with a focused agenda of each. Well, that was making me crazy! So, on to A More Simple Life with ONE blog!!! Now, you will get a combined deal of my thoughts and family pictures and updates!!!

So, I will no longer be posting to this blog. Please re-direct yourselves to "Embracing Each Moment." And don't forget to subscribe :)



Unstable Times

(written by a friend of mine, Pastor Tom Welch)

Who is Your God?

Question: How do we maintain our personal stability in unstable times?
Answer: Turbulent times call for a transcendent God.

We live in uncertain times. Some say the myth of security has masked the fact that we always live in uncertain times! We see major change in the political realm, fluctuation in the financial world, insecurity in foreign fields. Change leads to stress, stress leads to fear, and fear erodes faith. We turn inward, gathering what we have around us and clinging for security to our own resources. The only solution is to lift our eyes and remind ourselves of just who our God is. Consider the vision of God that David, a great king of Israel, had:
10 “Therefore David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13 And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.”

What do we see here?
· God is Lord of all.
· God is owner of all.
· Everything thing we have comes from God and belongs to God.
· We are merely managers of all He give us.
· Our proper response is thanks and praise!

We trust not the government, the markets, or any other source for security. We trust a sovereign God! And we live lives of humble faith, doing the most with what He provides. And He will provide. Confidence in such a great God frees us from miserly fear to live lives of gracious generosity!
The only question remains is, “What are you doing with God’s stuff?”

The well wisher of your soul’s happiness,

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Turning Cartwheels of Joy!

(Since Sunday morning, when this scripture passage was read as part of a personal testimony, I've been wanting to share it with others. What a great reminder. Let's turn cartwheels together!)

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (New International Version)

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,

I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;

he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.
For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (The Message)

17-19 Though the cherry trees don't blossom
and the strawberries don't ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
and the cattle barns empty,
I'm singing joyful praise to God.
I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.
Counting on God's Rule to prevail,
I take heart and gain strength.I run like a deer.
I feel like I'm king of the mountain!



Thursday, November 6, 2008

More time with the Lord

Don't you wish you had more time with the Lord? I sure do! Sometimes I wish that I was called to full time ministry so that I could be more in the Word. At least I would be forced to do so. And so often I I hear of others who have an enormous amount of time to read, meditate, and pray. Now, I am also aware that many of those situations are people without children or their kids are grown up and out of the house. And I'm not saying that I want my kids to grow up and move out. I am saying that I would love to figure out how to have what "they" have and do it well with kids!

But, I have to remember that a big part of my ministry is my family.

So for now, I need to focus on using my time wisely. I so often moan and complain while folding laudry or wash dishes, instead of taking my thoughts to the Lord. I could be praying. And when the day is done and I have had a rough, busy day with the kids, I choose to plop (or collapse) on the couch and watch T.V. to relax. Instead, I could lay in bed and listen to soft worship music to heal my tiredness. And mornings? Lately, it has also been very tempting to sleep every last second until the kids wake up (or better yet, stay in bed while they get a good cartoon or two in their system). It should be easier now with the brighter mornings and birds chirping outisde, to get up praise the Lord for a beautiful new day. I know I need to get my heart ready for the day before I see my kids anyway :)

Lord, bring me back to you in every moment and thought of my day! Always!

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." - Ephesians 6:18



Sunday, November 2, 2008

Setting a New Pace

Yes, I am a small town girl...or better yet, "smaller town than Orlando" kinda girl. Because I live in a bigger city, there are LOTS of things to do. Because I go to a church with lots of other moms my age with kids, there are plenty of opportunities to hang out with friends, be invited to an event, and/or attend birthday parties. My sister just recently asked me (when I told her I auditioned for "Wheel of Fortune") about my life in the "fast lane" here in Orlando. She said, "how do you get to do all this stuff?" Well, my only answer is...I live in a big city with lots of opportunity. And remember how a friend just recently challenged me about my simple life? Yeah, it's not too simple is it? It really has been hard to keep it simple.

I do believe that "simple" is different for each person. To some, "simple" might mean only 1 theme park a week. Or to some it could be cutting back to only volunteering 30 hours a week at a local food bank. And to others it could be living life on a farm and growing their own vegetables (which I think would be AWESOME). But, for me, I am ready to change my pace quite a bit. I'm ready to try a little harder. I'm okay being different. I'm okay with living life at a slower pace. And I may be turning down an offer to take my kids to a play or a movie every now and then. I don't have to live up to the "fast life" mentality that this city has to offer. Yes, I would love that home in the country with my privacy fence. But, since I'm not living that dream yet (and may never), I'm going to make it a lot more simpler than it is now.

You may be tired of hearing me grumble and complain over this "simple life" than I can't seem to obtain. But, hey, it's a process and I never thought it would be instant! And I don't want to give up. I believe that the Lord has called our family to take a break from the busyness and rest in Him. I'm not sure exactly what it's going to look like. But, I don't want our life to be so caught up in this hectic pace that we don't have time to give God the time that He deserves. I want to allow God’s presence to slow us down so that we can worship Him and discover the purpose He has for our family.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10



Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blah mood...ever have those?

I want to be real. I can't just post all that I've learned and what I am doing well. So, here's what I've been praying over for discontentment. Here's what I'm struggling with lately: I am a small town girl (it's actually more like medium town girl) living in a big city. Why am I discontent so much? Well, I want my small town life back. I've dealt with the fact that my home town may not be God's plan for our family (although, I still hope it might be one day). I've learned so much through the last several years as we have moved to one place to the next. I know that God's picture is a beautiful mystery waiting to be painted before me. And I want to please my Father and live according to His plans. But often times I choose to want things my way. I begin feeling this blah, yukky feeling when I begin longing for something else. That feeling doesn't come often because I pray that the Lord will give me joy in all circumstances. And He is so faithful to do His part. It's my part that struggles sometimes. I've even started negotiations with the Lord about working out some way that my family could have a bigger home with some land and a privacy fence in the backyard. It doesn't have to be in Georgia. It can be still be in Central Florida. I want my kids to be able to play outside...safely. And I would love to have friends and family over for dinner and have elbow room. Wow, I tell you, it's just been one of those weeks. I do trust that the Lord has the better plan. I just forget to live like I really believe it. The only way to fix it is to truly have His desires as my desires. Jesus pull me out of this emotional sinkhole and raise me to my feet to fix my eyes on you.

Psalms 37:4-5 "Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass".

Psalms 27:8 When You said, "Seek My face," My heart said to You, "Your face, LORD, I will seek."

Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails."

Mark 14:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Yet not my will but yours be done.”

Jesus, please make your Word Alive in my heart today! Let me accept it, live it, breathe it, and not forget it.



Monday, October 27, 2008

How to...

Looking for a good "how to" guide lately. It seems like I'm always looking for advice for parenting, being a good wife, teacher, homemaker, woman of God, etc. The Lord has been speaking to me this week about those questions of how to do life...

Colossians 3:17, 23-24
17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him...23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

And another favorite verse of mine that I've referenced before but just seems to pop in my mind quite often:

Phillipians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Lord, I praise you and thank you for your constant provision and guidance in my life! When I get to the "how to's," I pray that your Word would be written on my heart with your truths to the questions of life. I don't want to waste my time searching for answers when I could be using that time in prayer and praise to you!



Friday, October 24, 2008


My step-mom sent me this email forward a few weeks ago. And I have often thought back to it when I turn the news on and hear so much negativity about the upcoming elections. Absolutely, no matter what happens next month in the elections, a few things hold true...


1. The Bible will still have all the answers.
2. Prayer will still works.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him.


Monday, October 20, 2008

My Plan of Action

So, vacation is over and I have had my first day of normal life again without a Theme park involved. While we had a blast with family, fun, and lots of exercise, we are enjoying the comfort of our "home sweet home" this week!

Now that we are attempting to get back to our regular routine, I am asking the Lord to show me areas in our family schedule that need some tweaking. As I am listening and waiting, I believe these are some things that I should be doing.

1. Depending on the Lord, spending time in prayer, and resting in Him - I can't do this "life" thing alone. I need the Lord's grace and help everyday! I am so thankful that the Lord has forced me to depend upon Him like never before.

I want to keep my mind and heart set on the Lord as I go about my busy days. I want my home to be a place of worship and filled with His presence. Some of my ideas for making this happen is:

Dedicating my day to the Lord and reading some Scripture (still loving John 15, see post here and here).

Playing worship music throughout the day to point me to the Lord.

At times when I am feeling overwhelmed and defeated, stop right where I am at and sending up quick prayers to the Lord for comfort, strength and direction.

Writing encouraging Scriptures on little cards and place them around my home.

Having devotional books or Bibles in easy-to-reach places to pick up and read for a minute or two.

Praying with my husband and my girls daily!

3) Staying home more - Remember this post? I feel so over-committed at times and end of overwhelmed. I tend to dive in head first with ideas and forget to take it to the Lord before taking action.

4) Stop comparing myself to others - This is a hard one for me. The Lord has made me different, as he has made us all different. I should seek the Lord, honor my husband, love on my children, and be free from the guilt of the comparison.

5) Letting some things go - I can't do it all, and don't even want to try. I need to focus on what's most important, and trust God for the rest. I want to look to Him constantly for guidance and direction in taking care of my family. The time I have with my family is a gift and I pray to find joy in this wonderful season while I have it.

Father, help me be the woman that you have called me to be.



Friday, October 17, 2008


So, my research into "a more simple life" will have to begin on Sunday. I picked a bad day to type that last post because my dad would be arriving for his family vacation, here in Orlando, that very same weekend. What that means, is all weekI have been at theme parks, swimming pools, restaraunts and more! We have had a wonderful time together as a family and playing...A LOT! So, now, not only do I have to re-evaluate "simple," I have to de-program my child from believing that she is entitled to this type of treatment on a daily basis. Grandparents sure know how to spoil a child (and an adult...I didn't have to spend a dime...I like that part of simple!).

My dad's vacation is not the the only thing that has spoiled my child. I love to treat my child and shower her with gifts. And I do it often. I have great friends and family that do such a wonderful job of teaching their children about gratefulness (see Jessica's post here). This is an area where I need to work on with my child. And this is not just a problem with my children. I think most children constantly think they "deserve." They are always wanting more. And aren't we the same sometimes? Or a lot of times? I want to live a life a simplicity. And I want to teach my child by example, not just words. I want our family to have a heart for giving, not receiving. And in those times when we are on the recieving end, I want special treats to be appreciated and received humbly NOT to be expected and given upon greed.



Saturday, October 11, 2008

Re-evaluation Time!

Well, you may have noticed (or at least I hope you've noticed) that I haven't blogged in a week! Why? I have been so busy with life! Is this happening to anyone else out there? I would love to have sufficient time to take care of my kids, feed myself and my family, grocery shop, teach gym classes, home school, cart Annalise to gymnastics, serve in ministry, spend quality time with my family, and then have left over time to relax and blog! It would be so nice!

I think it's time to re-evaluate my quest to a more simple life. A sweet friend of mine challenged me this weekend and asked me exactly what does my blog title, "a more simple life," mean to me. She said my life looked a little distant from "simple." At first, I was quick to justify. But as the weekend went on, I decided it was a good thing to be challenged. I should consistently evaluate where I am and where the Lord wants me to be. I think it is time to slow down and take a look.



Thursday, October 2, 2008

Restoration and Loving Well

Wow, what a weekend! Our women's retreat was so refreshing! We learned so much about "Loving Well." We cried a lot, laughed a whole lot, ate lots of food, and just had a some good quality time with the Lord! As I mentioned in the previous post, my sister-n-law were speaking at the retreat. I thought it would be easier than it was. I was crying before I even grabbed the microphone. But, it was so good to see, once again, how God restored our relationship! And I know our restoration spoke to so many women there. So, I thought I would post our "talk" right here for you to see. It wasn't read word for word. In fact, the talk was only supposed to be 5 mins. and it turned into 20mins! Oops! Don't you love it when God moves!

(This is my sister-n-law, Cassie and myself on her 30th birthday. We had a picture taken of us at the retreat. But, Cassie thought it was such a great picture and I didn't! Hmmm...I wonder who looked fantastic in that picture????)

Cassie -
Jaime and I have known each other for 11 years. It has been quite the ride. There have been ups and downs, and many bumps and bruises over the years. And we wanted to share our story with you.

Details – College thru March 2000
We went to school together. I got married to Cory in Summer of 98 (after he graduated). We bought a house in Atlanta and we were only a couple hours away from Cory’s family. In 1999, we had our first daughter and only 3 months later, Cory lost his job. He looked for 3 months before finding job right here in Orlando.
So, in March of 2000, we moved our family down. This was a very sad time for Cory’s family. Cory is the oldest in his family and the first to move away. We also had the first grandchild, great-grandchild in the family. Needless to say, it was difficult.

Details: March 2000 thru August 2004

When Cory and Cassie moved to Orlando, we definitely struggled. We didn't agree on the move. We didn't feel like it was fair. It was painful to be so far away from them. I didn’t want us to grow apart. And “blogging” wasn’t around back then to keep us connected! I had always thought we would live near each other. I fell in love with my first niece the moment I met her. And to have it ripped away, hurt. I let my sadness turn into anger. Then our communication began to get worse. We were 2 very different people with very different opinions. We then began to believe things about each other that were not true. We made accusations. And instead of asking “why” and questioning each others actions, we simply chose to believe what our emotions told us.

Details: March 2000 thru April 2005
As we continued to believe these lies about the other, we allowed bitterness, anger and resentment to fester. Often, we would neglect to get on our knees in prayer and confession over this situation. Instead, we would go to our small groups and friends with “prayer requests”. Sometimes, our hearts were genuine and looking for restoration, but many times, we were just looking for someone to complain to.
When we did see each other, at Holidays or Birthdays, we became very good at faking it. But after time, the faking wasn't working anymore. The bitterness continued to build inside and we were ready to blow up. And it did. There is a day in our past that I never want to remember. We said things we never should have said at a level louder than I ever would have imagined we would. And no true healing took place from that conversation. We did our best at the time and said we were sorry but we continued on without dealing with the pain. This took place for 4 VERY LONG years!!

By the end of those 4 years, I had 4 children 4 years old and younger. Because we started having children so young, we didn’t have many friends that could relate to us. I began to struggle with feeling unwanted and overwhelming to people.
I started praying fervently for a friend. My answer didn’t come right away and I had to depend completely on the Lord. There were people all around me that loved me, but I still felt alone.

Details: August 2004 – April 2005

At the same time, in late 2004, Jarrett and I had been relocated to St. Louis for a job opportunity. Since we had now moved across the country, we had no family, no friends, and no church. We were lonely! This was very hard on us. We now had an 18mo. Old, with no more babysitters, no more grandparents, no more help and hands on advice. I would say that this was the first time that we had no one to fall on but God. In the first few weeks, we found an incredible church. I became very involved with a godly group of women who had no prior information of my history and no bias. During this time, I grew A LOT! God began to change me and break down some barriers in my life. One of those barriers being the stained relationship with my sister-n-law. The one person who I ridiculed advice from was now the same person that I was now confiding in. And she was several hundred miles away! Distance didn’t seem to matter. As time went on, our financial state became quite scary and Jarrett had to make a career change. And guess where God took our family…Easter weekend 2005…within 2 weeks of knowing that we had to get another job…we were now living down the street from Cory and Cassie! And we were now given another chance to heal a relationship that had been severely broken.

Details: April 2005 – Present
God did a great work in both our lives and answered the longing of my heart. It was amazing how quickly we formed the bond that should’ve been there years ago.

Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean we have had a “happy-ever-after” ending since then. We still have our differences, we still disagree and we still can get on each other’s last nerve.
The difference now is, the restoration comes so much more quickly. We also have learned that we can be honest with each other and agree to disagree.

For instance…
Jaime deprives her children of the joy of running inside any enclosed building. They don’t get to have any fun!

Cassie deprives her children of another joy. She doesn’t even let them play with play-doh, dirt, and doesn't enjoy seeing an 18mo. old child eat spaghetti on their own!

Ending Remarks

So yes, we have made it through some pretty tough stuff. But God has brought restoration where I thought it was once impossible. We worked hard to make this relationship become what God intended it to be. True forgiveness had taken place. And I had to get to focus on myself to deal with my sin and quit blaming others. And now, whether I want to hear it or not, Cassie is always there to speak truth in my life. Her walk with the Lord is such a testimony to me. I am always looking to her for advice. And I'm glad I have her. We have become so close and I hate that we lost so much time together before. This girl beside me doesn’t feel like an “in-law.” And she’s more than a friend. She’s my sister. In fact, rarely a morning goes by that she isn’t woke up at 8:30 AM to hear me say…oops, were you still sleeping…”Whatcha doing today?”

I can’t imagine what a mess our families would be if God didn’t bring us back together.

Ending Remarks:

Like Jaime said earlier, the last person I would’ve called in crisis 5 years ago, is the first number on my speed dial today!
Jaime has to be one of the most honest people I know. Not only will she tell me if my jeans make my butt look fat, she has no problem calling me out on my pride and self-righteousness.
Jaime has become one of those friends I can just be myself around. I don’t have to pretend and I don’t have to clean up before she comes over.
In fact, my relationship with Jaime is what gives me hope in other broken relationships. Now, I can’t even imagine my life without her. I am so thankful that God gave me such a wonderful gift.

So, don’t do what we did. Don’t let 4 years, or even 20 years, be wasted and lose a friendship. God has something much better in store for you.

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God." 1 John 4:7



Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Women's Retreat

This weekend, the women of our church will be hanging together at the Hyatt in Jacksonville, FL for a women's retreat! This year, the theme is "Loving Well." For the retreat, my sister-n-law, Cassie, and I have been asked to share our "Loving Well" story. So, last night we got together for coffee to talk about the journey of our relationship (I just love a good coffee night)! Unfortunately, I can't really share much now because some of you women that read this will be at the retreat. But, I can say, it was so awesome to see and be reminded of the Lord's work in our family and friendship. I pray that as we share our story if it will minister to others. Other than the talk that we will be giving, we will be having lots of time to pray together, worship together, eat together, shop together, and more! Sadly, I was unable to attend the retreat last year. So, I have been really looking forward to spending some uninterrupted time with the Lord, to fellowship with friends, eat, and to enjoy some time away!

Our retreat committee leaders have asked for us to PRAY! The team is leaving tomorrow and could use our prayers! They ask for prayer for safe travel and an attitude of servant hood. Also, we should be in prayer for all the women that will be attending. Pray that we would all die to ourselves so we can see Jesus this weekend! Let's be open and willing to let the Lord do His work.

I’m excited about taking this “Loving Well” journey with close to 90 women! Who knows what God might show us this weekend!



Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Heaven: Through the imagination of a child.

This morning I thought I would give you a glimpse of Heaven through my child's imagination.
Here is her mansion in heaven! She loved this craft (with some glitter control help from mommy)! And she had true excitement about one day getting to be with Jesus in Heaven! I just love it!
My artistic niece also participated in this craft. I must say that I adore the fact that she has a "Jesus" sign posted at this mansion (it's Jesus' mansion)!
The idea for our craft came from our morning devotional. Each day before school starts, we take some time out to spend time in prayer and getting our hearts prepared for our day. Here comes my plug for a great Bible for kids...
My First Message
by Eugene H. Peterson
Each Bible story is written on a child's level of understanding. Also, a few questions are printed throughout the story. At the end of each section, there is a portion that leads you to Pray with your child and an idea to Live it out. This is where we were given the idea to draw what we thought Heaven might be like! Great Book!

Thought you might enjoy a light hearted post this morning! With our economy in such a critical place, and our nation under such stress, let's think of something today that brings us joy...why not start with HEAVEN!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Anxiety Update

It has been well over a week or so since I have had an "episode." Praise the Lord! Now, if you read my previous two posts, you might have an idea about the process I have been through. Since I posted about my sickness, I have ran through a gammot of emotions. Initially, I was going full force to try and diagnose myself. I prayed a lot! But, most of my praying and work was about me finding out what was causing the pain and then doing the work to fix it. My ultimate goal was to feel better. So, I can tell you that, even though I felt my relationship with the Lord was growing stronger each day, changes in my thought patterns were happening, but, my symptoms of pain also grew stronger and stronger. I didn't quite get it! I fell apart one night and wanted to know WHY I was having to go through such pain. I had worked so hard! Well, the Lord answered me. He said, I have chosen to have you go through this for now. I'm not taking it away at this time. I want you to praise me anyway. Stay close. Trust me. So, that is where I am right now...trusting and praising. Since I have made that choice, the Lord has actually given me several days with no major physical pain. But I will stay humble and willing to let the Lord take me to pain again if it is for His glory. I know that things can change any moment and the pain can come back. I pray that I will remain in Him no matter the cost.



Thursday, September 25, 2008


Have you ever felt like you have worked so hard to only feel continually defeated? I have. And I've gotten down right mad about it. Just a little over a week ago I was DONE! I was tired of the work. I broke down, cried, and beat my pillow for a little while. But, it didn't last long. Jarrett was with me, he even did a great job of having sympathy for me. He was so sweet. He wanted me to feel better. But, even through the self pity, God shook me. He said, "that's enough!" I felt Him telling me that it's never time to give up. All the work I had been doing was not for ME. It was not to achieve the goal of feeling better. In fact, the Lord spoke to me and told me that I may always struggle with my physical pain. He may have me endure this pain forever. And guess what...I'm supposed to Praise the Lord for it! I didn't understand at first, but, the more I praise Him in the storm (good song by the way), the more I fall in love with Jesus! Yep! It's been quite the journey these last few weeks. I know that my goal is to serve the Lord always. I thank Him for His incredible power and ability to heal. But I also must thank him for his discernment in choosing to heal or NOT to heal. That's right. He knows more than me. And I want my ultimate goal be to love and praise the Lord for His Majesty no matter how I "feel!" It hasn't been easy. And Satan will take advantage when I am weak to fight and make me believe that I should just give up. But my strength is in the Lord. I'm asking the Lord daily to help me have the endurance and strength to make it through every storm.

So whatever your storm is, children, marriage, physical pain, sickness, etc....know that He has got a plan. The fire we walk through is only to strengthen us. He may choose to save us from the fire, stand in the fire, or even die in the fire. It is all for his Glory! I don't always like it. But today is a good day and I praise Him for it!



Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Thy will be done...

Prayer is an amazing, amazing, amazing privilege and experience! I love REAL conversations with the Father of Life. An intense personal relationship with Jesus can be founded and strengthened by prayer. Reading the Bible, serving others, and good deeds are all great things but not what I believe are the most essential elements to becoming closer to really KNOWING the Father. Prayer, for me, has created such an incredible bond between me and my savior.

My prayers have evolved quite a bit over the last few weeks. Without major reconstruction detail, I can tell you that my prayers are much more focused on His Will than mine. I am continuously urging the Father to teach me how to be at peace among the storms raging in my life. I know that my current "life happenings," rather good nor bad, have been moments that the Father has given to me to become who he has created me to be. I can say that I have often thought I would be happy if my requests were met. If I got my way, I would miss all of the incredible molding that the Potter needs me to undergo to be prepared for the future.

So, when I pray, remembering that the scripture tells us in John 15 (my favorite daily reading), that we must remain in Him and bear fruit. Then the Father will give us whatever we ask in His name. So, what does this mean? Well, for one, it means my requests change. We don't ask for things for selfish gain. All I should ask for is for His will to be done. And second, if we are walking with the Father, the desires of our heart automatically change. We don't even have to try and figure our what to ask for. It becomes natural to ask things only in His name.

My current prayer -

"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." Luke 22:42

And recently, this prayer has radically energized my life!



Saturday, September 20, 2008

Worshiping with the Nations!

Tonight I experienced something incredible...

Worshiping with hundreds of believers of many nationalities in the heart of New York City.

Heaven is going to be WONDERFUL!



Wednesday, September 17, 2008

John 15:18-27

I'll admit it, I don't like to be disliked. I can't stand it. I tend to be one of those "people pleasers." So, reading the second half of John 15 is hard for me. I've read the Bible and seen the many stories of hatred towards our Heavenly Father. It has always saddened me deeply that His creation would turn their back on their maker. But, Jesus didn't flinch. He didn't worry about if someone would like him or not. He did what His Father told him to do. He did what was right. The world hated for no reason.

I am once again challenged! If Jesus wasn't a "people pleaser," what on earth am I trying so hard to for. I am no greater than my master. Just as Christ was hated, I am hated. And I don't want to belong to the world. We have been chosen to be out of the world. I should consider it an honor to persecuted for Christ's sake. Stand firm! Testify!

18"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.' 26 "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

Father, the one I want to please is You! May I live my life apart from this world. I want to abide in You, remain in You!



Monday, September 15, 2008

John 15:1-17

What am I reading these days? Well, for now, it is John 15. I have been trying to read this every morning. I believe strongly that my life would look a lot different if I lived it out this way. A few weeks ago, I had touched on the subject "Abiding." The Lord has been teaching me so much about true worship and being a disciple. A great place to start with worship and discipleship is in John 15.

My morning didn't start off so well today. It's time for me to take a few minutes and read.

John 15
1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

I will be posting about the remaining verses of John 15 tomorrow.



Thursday, September 11, 2008

Let's NOT talk about Simple!

Why is it that life has become more difficult with all of these new technological inventions that are supposed to be making our life easier?

Thanks to cell phones, I now have allowed everyone easy access to me ALL day long.

Thanks to voicemail, I now have several messages that require call backs because I didn't have time to answer my cell phone while I was unloading children and groceries from my van.

Thanks to the Blackberry, I now have a husband who is ALWAYS at work.

Thanks to the internet, I can waste several precious hours trying to diagnose my current diseases and sicknesses.

Thanks to FACEBOOK, MYSPACE, and BLOGS that take up so much of my time by keeping me connected with others and reuniting old friendships.

Don't get me wrong, I love my camera phone, having the world at my fingertips, and maintaining friendships. But sometimes I wish they were never invented! Weren't all of these things created to simplify life?

"Home Sweet Home"

As the summer has just recently come to close, I look back and see what a fun filled, busy few months we had. Weekly, we went to Free Movies, the Library, Swimming, did Gymnastics, and more. My oldest daughter greatly enjoys getting out and DOING! She so often gets bored at home and is always asking when we are going somewhere.

Well, now that we are full force in our homeschooling routine, I hope to slow the pace down quite a bit. My husband, Jarrett, and I are constantly evaluating our schedules to make sure our family spends more time at home together. You would think that we would have a great amount of quality time together now that we spend the majority of the day home. Unfortunately, I find myself a little overwhelmed with the activities of the day! With cooking, cleaning, teaching, and cooking and cleaning some more, I feel like I've lost those memorable moments with my kids.

I want more time sitting beside them and playing with them. I want more cuddle time with them to read books. I want to get back to spending time with Annalise in the kitchen as she helps me cook. Ultimately, I would love my home to be a place where memories and traditions are continually being made and built. I know that most kids really enjoy being at others' homes, but I want my child to love spending time at home.

In these next few days, I am going to be focused hard on setting aside more ways to spend good quality time with my family.

I want to embrace each moment! (Hint* If you click on that link, you might just see the sweet family I'm talking about)



Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Time to Declutter!

I do this often. I take a trash bag and go hog wild on our home. I start with the obvious: paper, eggs on the floor (scrambled, that is), old magazines, things that look smelly, etc. Then it's time to move on to the unnecessary things that clutter my home. I take a basket to load for the salvation army and start by tossing in old clothes, things that we no longer use, and stuff that's just a waste of space in our home. We don't have a very big place but, somehow, we have accumulated more junk that we just don't have room for.

It's so refreshing to walk through my decluttered home (even though it may be temporary)! Off to work I go!!!

...if only I would work on decluttering my heart and life more often...think of how refreshing that would be!



Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Problem with the Picture

In my teenage years I created the perfect picture of what my life would be like when I was "older." I made it a goal. It was going to be just as I planned. I would work hard to paint this picture. Along the way, there were things that would spill on my painting. But, sometimes it was okay. I would paint over it. Yep, I would fix it. Then I would get right back to painting my piece of art. Well, I've done that a whole darn lot! And frankly, I'm tired of fixing spill after spill after spill only to get me nowhere. How can I fix this and stop the spills?

Well, here is something that was absolutely ground breaking for me...I can't stop the spills, but I can ask the Lord to change my picture! I've been painting my own picture instead of asking the Lord what HIS picture is! "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21

This truth seems so simple to follow. I've heard it over and over again. But, I'll be quick to admit that I have rarely found myself joyful in the midst of failure. What I have to remember is that the Lord is in control. To fail could be a blessing in disguise. I can't imagine what a mess my life would be if I made the plans! "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

I want to live for the purpose that will prevail! What a difference it would make in my life if I would change my focus onto the Masterpiece that my Heavenly Father has painted for me.

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14



Friday, September 5, 2008

It Goes Deeper

After my previous post, I spent some more time in the Word and praying to my Father about the "root" of my disease. As I begin to do the hard work of letting the Lord show me how to get to the bottom of this, He has given me another focus of where to do some major reconstruction. It' s time to work...Hard Work. Yes, I struggle with perfectionism and control. But Why? The temporary and non-lasting solution would be to just look at the symptoms. I'm so tired of replacing the band-aid over and over again, I have to find the bug that created it.

The Lord has shown me at least one major lie that has been planted directly in my life by the enemy. And it has to go! I wish it was a one time thing...that I could just say, "Here Jesus, it's yours and not mine." I believe it is going to be a long process. It's going to take ACTION that I must do daily...better yet, each time one of Satan's lies enter my thoughts.

It's amazing the things we can begin to believe about ourselves...Lies that we have placed as truth. You can be raised in a Christian home. You can know all the right answers. But if Satan can find a weakness, he's going to use it. I can do my best to convince myself of the truth. But, I can't do it on my own efforts. That's why I have a Savior. And I'm glad He reminded me of that this week. The Word must be hidden in my heart. And I must be equipped for battle. The enemy lurks. And he seeks to destroy.

Jesus, I am ready to dig deep and reveal even more lies that must be destroyed. I don't know what it is going to look like, but I'm willing to take a peek. Give me strength through the tough times. I know it won't always be pretty. Equip and train me Father to be ready for whatever comes my way. My hope is in You!



Pray for me.

I suffer from Anxiety/Stress attacks. For the past few weeks, they have increased. It's not debilitating but I suffer greatly from them. For the most part, my body takes a toll on the inside. I feel a rapid, hard heartbeat...can't seem to take a deep breath...and I have a dull pain in my chest. It can last all day. Fortunately, I can hide it from most people. I like to pretend that everything is okay. When I'm not trying to hide it, I'm trying to control it. The control part normally doesn't work. I decided that I HATE it and I want it gone!!!

I have taken this to the Father on so many occasions. But, this time, instead of just asking for healing, I have decided to give it to Jesus for Him to take control. I want Jesus to take control of my life. I believe my attacks are brought on by my desire to control. When I lose that control, my health reacts. So many times I have prayed for Him to "Order my Steps, take control, etc." But, I honestly feel that looking back...I never gave it to Him. My priorities are not in the right place. Please pray that I will release FULL control to the FATHER. That these will not just be words, but my life.

Also, I have self-diagnosed for long enough. In the next few days, I will be seeking professional counsel, along with taking up my cross daily and following Him. Please pray. I hurt.



Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Abide in Me

For awhile now, I have been in pursuit of successfully obtaining the Fruits of the Spirit. I'm so stupid! If you know me, I'm sure you are quite aware that my goal has not been reached. What I have been coming to the realization of over the past few days is that these fruits aren't something we try to copy, mimic, or achieve. But, rather, these fruits flow abundantly from our lives if we abide in him.

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. " - John 15:1-5

So, I think it's time to start focusing on abiding, not bearing fruit. It we abide, the second part comes naturally.



Thursday, August 28, 2008

Our Nation Needs Prayer

The Lord has moved me to pray today for our Nation. And I believe we are ALWAYS called to PRAY.

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."

Ephesians 6:18

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Please join me today in praying for our country, it's leaders, it's future leaders, the youth, our children, and our hearts.



Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rearrange my Surroundings

"They Brought to Him a deaf man who also had a speech dificulty, and begged Jesus to lay His hand on him. So He took him away from the crowd privately." Mark 7:32-33

"The Lord was calling me out of my element, growing in me the spiritual gift of love for the body of Christ. But to do that, He needed me in a new set of surroundings, out where He could show me that even if we speak with the tongues of angles, if we don't have love, we may as well be clanging brass.
Until He has us out of our element-and into His-we will never see His glory. We will always be deaf to what He was trying to say."

- Beth Moore

On the brink of me trying to figure out how to minister to a single mom (see posts here and here), the Lord did some work in me...yet again. I Love Him! I have been so busy these last few weeks with my first year of teaching home school, that my time with the Lord has been zilcho! So, tonight, when I curled up on my bed to spend some time with the Lord, I played eeny-meeny-miney-mo on books to open. This time, it I picked up "Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only by Beth Moore. And it just so happened that the chapter I was on was titled, "Out of Your Element." Don't you love those days when life has been hard...and you know that you and the Father need time don't really know where to start...and when you finally give Him the time...oh, how He makes it so perfect (even when you play eeny-meeny-miney mo)! And it's at those times that you realize how important it is to spend more moments with our sweet Savior!

Father, take me out of my element. Lead me, mold me, protect me. Teach me how to love...a love like yours. I want to see glimpses of your Glory!

"For if I live at the eastern horizon or settle at the western limits, even there Your hand will lead me" Your right hand will hold on to me." Psalm 139:9-10



A Forgotten Challenge

A few weeks ago, when posting about A Practical Step, I challenged myself to step out of my comfort zone and minister to a single mom beyond material giving. I had forgotten my challenge. I had asked for accountability. Apparently I needed it.

In reflection of our message at church yesterday, my pastor spoke on his desire to become more compassionate to a couple of his friends. The two friends he was speaking of are homeless. My Pastor had mentioned that he wanted to build a relationship with these 2 men...go out of his comfort zone, even though they are very different from him. He said that he had no problem giving them food, money, or monetary things. But, to invite them to an event, or dinner, or a movie, would be stretching him.

As I heard him speaking about this, the Lord so obviously began speaking to know, through the hard pounding heart beat and lump in my throat. I remember when I was being called to minister to this single mom, months ago! I had forgotten. How quickly we can lose passion if we are not in constant prayer and repetition. That is why I believe it is so important to keep a journal and refer back to it. We can get so busy that we lose sight.

I want to re-post my challenge to find a way to reach out to this mom. I pray that the Lord will ignite that passion within me once again, to pop out of the tight bubble I have put myself in and walk without judgement into the life of someone who needs the Lord. I will also be praying for my pastor, for his heart of compassion as he allows the Lord to stretch him.

I hope to fill you in on the Lord's work very soon!



Thursday, August 21, 2008

Oh how He loves us!

Yesterday, as I was describing my daughter's first time in Gymnastics class to my husband, I realized on a more intimate level how much our Heavenly Father loves his children! I also started to understand some of His pride in his creation!

I let my child go...on her walk with a complete stranger...across to the opposite side of the gym from me. She was nervous. She is shy. She has tried other classes before and cried for the majority of the time or glued herself to my leg and refused to go. This time, she was wanting to join so badly that she decided to rise above her anxieties and try it. I was so PROUD!

I walked to a second level observation deck that divided us by a wall and window. She couldn't see me very well unless she walked closer and looked hard. But, I could see her. She practiced with all her might to get the stretches and warm-up exercises just right! She was adorable! She wasn't as flexible as the other kids, but that didn't lesson my pride.

Next, she was doing handstands, cartwheels, back bends and more! She had been working on these and was excited to show others what she knew. This was completely out of her character. And the instructor gave her a high-5! She smiled. Her confidence was growing. Oh, I am so proud!!!

Then were the bars. She had never been on the bars. But, she did the floor skills well and those bars were stopping her. She was jumping up and down in line and couldn't wait to tackle this new adventure. She started with the instructor and was being helped along the way. She was unable to conquer this task but tried over and over and over again! I just LOVE her!!!

Annalise is excited to go on Friday night for an open night at the gym for additional practice. She said, "mommy I want to get better on the bars!"

Wow, I just love that picture. I was looking down from above at all Annalise was doing and couldn't love her anymore or be any prouder than I was right then! She was afraid but rose above her fears. She wasn't the best, but tried her hardest. She was excited to share what she knew with others. And when she couldn't complete the task, she continued to press on! I can now start to understand, even at the smallest level, how much the Lord is in love with us and how proud he must be!

Thank you for that picture! It was heaven sent!



Monday, August 18, 2008


Lord, thank you for...

my sweet and caring husband,

my 5 year old that still snuggles with me every morning,

my 1 year old that almost never stops smiling,

an incredibly smooth, peaceful, and awesome first day of school,

a toddler successfully taking 2 long naps today,

great neighbors that watch out and protect each other,


recycling bins,

free trial gymnastic classes (especially when the student fails to participate in 75% of the activities),

Chinese fast food,




a Daddy that still checks on his kids at night before he heads off to bed,

for the ability to fall asleep fast,

a great day,


Thursday, August 14, 2008


I am a little anxious tonight. I have been preparing for most of the day to embark on a new journey in our home. I begin homeschooling my Kindergartner tomorrow. I am so very blessed to be able to stay at home with my girls. Homeschooling is what we believe the Lord has called us to do this year for our daughter. Over the last few years, I have done some light schooling with her on preschool work. But, wow, this seems to be a much bigger task. That perfectionism kicks in pretty hard. Stinky thing!

So, tonight as I sat with our small group family, we gathered our children around and prayed over them and their schooling this year. We prayed for the parents. We prayed for their teachers. It all became very real to me. I have known many moms who go through anxiety when their little ones are sent away to school. Well, I am now one of those moms and my child will in the comfort of her own home!

Will she like it? Will I be able to provide her the education she needs?

But, the Lord is SO good. We just need to let the truth in!!! Tonight, I was reminded of several key verses that help put me at peace.

Phil 4:6 - "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

Matthew 6:25 - "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?

1 Peter 5:7 - "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

Lord, I believe that you will bless that which you have called me to do. Father, bring me to full surrender to you. Increase my faith. I will trust in YOU! Thank you for the precious gifts that you have loan to me in the life of my children.



Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Comment worth Posting...

I love when I get good ideas on simplifying life! My sweet Grandma Ellee sent me an email in response to my first post on simplifying. With her permission to share, I have posted it below:

"Now, to comment about your desire to simplify. This is a good, God given desire. Grandpa and I are also working on this. Here are some of the things we are doing. I have promised myself that I will not buy a single piece of new clothing until I have sorted out my whole closet and all my drawers and gotten everything into 4 piles; (1) throw out; (2) keep for working in the garden and cleaning out the cellar/garage. etc. - total grub clothes; (3) give away - anything that does not fit, is not a good color for me, or that I don't like anymore but is in decent condition; (4) things I don't need anymore, such as fancy cocktail dresses I needed to go to Air Force receptions, etc. - I will keep one for each season in case I need a fancy outfit. I will still most likely have plenty of clothes!

Also, Grandpa and I have a big house. It is beautiful but much more than we need. We want to downsize but the housing market is such a disaster right now that we could not sell our home for anywhere near what it is worth. So, we are trying to economize any way we can until the market gets better. We have NO debt (God does not want us to have debt). We are slowly filling boxes of things to give away (we gave 13 boxes full of books to our church fair).

We are also trying to eat with more sensitivity to the world. There are many many people in the world who don't get anywhere enough to eat on any day. I am co-director of the Waldoboro Food Pantry and I see this whenever we are open - more and more people come because the economy is so bad that people have to choose between filling their cars with gas so they can get to work and buying groceries for their families. I am sure that Orlando has many people in the same situation. There is a wonderful cookbook series by the Mennonite Missionaries, which I am sure your Pastor could find. There are 3 cookbooks - Extending the Table, More with Less, and Simply in Season. I am trying to cook from them as much as I can and change our eating habits to be healthier and not waste resources. We also recycle as much as we can (newspapers, mixed paper, bottles and cans, etc).

Last winter in Maine was very cold with record amounts of snow. Grandpa and I closed off our third floor, set all the thermostats at 60 degrees, put fleece blankets on our chairs, and burnt wood (which is much cheaper in Maine than oil) in our two woodstoves. It was a lot of work lugging the wood upstairs from the basement and keeping the woodstoves going, but we saved mega bucks and were still plenty warm. The US as a whole needs to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, which you may not feel so much in Florida as we do in Maine, but it must be an issue with air conditioning.

The Lord gives us many messages about caring for His creation and they do not involve the excesses that our American (and generally Western) cultures have led us to believe are needs.

I love you and support everything you and Jarrett are doing to simplify your lives. - Grandma Ellee"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Go to Your Room

So, Jarrett and I went on a little vacation this weekend. It was so nice to spend time with each other and have no interruptions. The beach was calm and we did a lot of talking about our family and our desires for our girls. All of it seemed so wonderful and perfect.

Then we came home...

Yesterday was my first full day back as mommy. Those great ideas that Jarrett and I talked about seemed millions of miles away when my morning started. As I have mentioned before, I struggle so much with perfectionism. Don't you just wish that when the Lord shows us the Truth, we could listen and apply it ALL the time? Well, let's just say that when trials or difficulties hit, it is very easy for me to forget how to "be still and let GOD"!

Every morning Annalise and I have morning devotions and spend some time together talking while Allison takes a nap. Although, yesterday morning I was quick to send Annalise to her room when she was in a bad mood and didn't want interact in conversation with me. I tried to talk to her and just got frustrated. So many times I not only want my life to be perfect. I also tend to expect the same out of my 5 year old. I had lunch with a sweet friend yesterday and she reminded me that I am not always in a good mood and sometimes don't feel like talking. And I expect others to understand me when I'm feeling that way. Oh no! I never thought I was going to be "that" parent. You know, the one who expects more out of my kid than I do myself. Help!!!

So, I was reading this morning in an incredibly fun and inspiring book called, "God's Blogs - Insights from His Site" by Lanny Donoho. And the chapter I read was titled "Go To Your Room." What is fun about this book is that the author writes as if he is God speaking in blog form. Let me give you an example that I was touched by in this chapter -

"You worry and stress because you aren't sure how to parent. Your nerves are shot because you can't handle the schedule you have put yourselves on. You think things are supposed to be better than they are, and you put a lot of pressure on yourselves that doesn't have to be there. You forget to follow My directions, and you forget that I love you and want to take a lot off your shoulders. You become like your kids (in a bit of a different way), and you need something that will calm you down.
The thing you do that I'd like to do too is send My kids to their room. That is you!
I want to send you to your room. And you ought to stay there until I tell you to come out.
And you might stop and take a breath and relax and grab hold of some truth that would set you free."

Need I say more?

Psalm 46:10 - "Be still, and know that I am God"