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"



Friday, August 8, 2008

Received Free, Give Free!

I just love Beth Moore. She is spunky, she is southern, a woman of God, and she tells it like it is! A few weeks back, I sent out an email to some of my friends and family about some exciting things God was teaching me. It was actually through publicly sharing my quiet time with the Lord that I decided to start this blog. I couldn't have others possibly miss out on a really cool discovery in the Word of God! Sometimes we can read something and read right over an important message from the Lord. Well, I'm sure that I had seen the following verses before...but, prior to today, they were nothing more than words I skimed over with no known depth.

So, because I have been thinking a lot about "heart change" and giving, I thought I would post a summary of the email I sent (it's so good to have a refresher):

Read thsese few verses below and get ready to jump into some Greek study!
Matthew 10:8 "You have received free of charge; give free of charge."
John 15:25 "They hated me without reason."

The word "freely" and the phrase "for no reason" both come from the Greek word dorean. And Beth Moore states..."We have received freely from God in ways we can't begin to count, but has that unreasonable grace caused you to freely give of yourself to to others recently"?

Ouch!!! Doesn't that make your stomach turn! Wow, if only we freely give. And what is freely giving?

So this is what the Lord taught me that day and is reminding me TODAY -
I have received FREELY, FOR NO REASON, and UNDESERVED. Lord help me to give FREELY, FOR NO REASON at all, even when I think others DON'T DESERVE IT.
I just love digging deep and really grasping even a small understanding of scripture. Greek translations ROCK!!!



Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Practical Step

I have really been trying to take all practical steps towards making life more simple. It's not until I started throwing things out and giving things away that I was really seeing how much we have and don't need. As much as I think I could have more, there are so many less fortunate than me. It's sad that I have whined so much about things I thought were necessary to make life work. But once I have acquired some of those "necessary" things, it has only seemed to complicate life even more. There are more things to put away, clean, pay for upkeep, and simply stress me out!

A few weeks ago, Annalise and I decided to go through her playroom and decide what could be given to other kids who don't have much. Normally, I would fill bags and run them down to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Yes, those are great organizations, but this time I wanted it to not be so "easy" for me and harder for the less fortunate. It doesn't take much heart work for me to bag up items and drop them off in a container. I wanted a family to not have to pay for used items, even at a thrifty price. Through a friend of mine, I had known of single mom that had several kids with birthdays coming up this month. I got her number, called her, and asked if she would be interested in several bags of toys and baby clothes. She was so excited to take them off my hands and be able to supply a good birthday to her children.

Now let me say that this was NOT easy for me. It was COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone. For one, I would classify myself as a little shy at times. I don't typically call strangers. Also, this single mom and I carry much different lives. Usually, I tend to keep my distance from people who are "different" from me. But the Lord has taught me so much lately about loving others and having compassion. He has broken me and given me a great desire to help those in need. It was such a humbling experience as I walked to her door and saw her smiles as I brought each bag in. She was overwhelmed and said that she could now take care of birthdays and Christmas! It was a sweet moment.

Now my next challenge I feel being called to is building a relationship with this mom and loving her beyond material giving. Hold me Accountable!

And for those times when I think I have failed miserably as a mom, I think of these sweet words my daughter continually prays at night. It sounds a little like this "Dear Jesus, please help kids in other countries get money to buy food and toys. And help the kids that don't have mommys and daddys get one!" I love that!




What is a journal? Well, for me, my journal has been a personal collection of thoughts, prayers, and/or daily happenings.

Journaling rules - Ha! The great thing is that there are no rules to journaling. At least I don't have any! All I do is write like myself. I define the length, the form, the language, and the attitude. No one complains about my grammar (at least when it's a private journal and not a blog). A journal does not need to satisfy anyone other than yourself.

How often do I write? My goal is to write daily, but I can tell you plainly that I have never measured up to that goal yet. Writing regularly is not easy, especially with a busy schedule. But since I have decided to also journal on my blog, I hope this increases my chances at journaling more often. I do tend to type faster than I write. And I enjoy blogging and reading others blogs.

Benefits of journaling - I will speak for myself on this one. I typically journal a prayer to Jesus. My prayers are conversations to the Father as if he were sitting right in front of me listening. Journaling is an avenue where I believe the Lord speaks to me. There have been so many times when I would write my frustrations and questions to God. And while my pencil is still in process of completing my feelings, the truth from His Word comes to life and teaches me. I think by writing my thoughts instead of always talking them out, has helped me slow down and process what the Lord might be whispering to me. And then writing the truth down has been such a powerful thing in my life. When I'm struggling, I can refer back to what the Lord has taught me and then speak it out loud and claim it yet again!

So, one day Annalise and I were spending some time together reading books when I decided I would share a journal entry with her. Because this particular entry was about the news of having another baby, I thought it would be fun to share. My joyous emotions were told. Her name was mentioned. And I even documented her excitement!

Annalise decided that she now wanted to keep a journal. What a wonderful habit to start at 5 years old! We went off to the store and picked out a special journal and let the memories begin! How fun this will be for her to read in years to come!

So, I highly recommend picking up a pen and documenting life! You will cherish it for life.



Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Simplifying - Part 2

Another area in my life that needs "simplifying" is in my perfectionism. I don't have to "do-it-all." I am not perfect and I was never created to be perfect. There is only one that has ever and will ever achieve that goal. So I am constantly asking myself, "why do I keep trying so hard to be perfect?" It is an impossible task!

My perfectionism has lead me to fear, doubt, anxiety, insecurity and even physical pain. The Lord has been tugging at my heart for a very long time to slow down and focus more on what He has purposed for me. I know I need to listen and fully surrender, but control feels so right. And guess what? Can you believe that my way is not... sometimes... wrong, but ALWAYS a complete disaster!!!

Shouldn't this be easy? I have taken many steps towards simplifying my life. And they are good things (I'll be sharing those in a future post). The Lord doesn't want us to sit on our hands. We do have a part in this. But, am I allowing God to be the Pilot? Is he even involved?

Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." Luke 9:23

The Lord wants me to have this kind of life. God stir up in me the courage to truly deny myself. I am not my own authority. Help me let go. Take control. I want this to be more than words but a soul changing event! Order my steps in Your Word.

"Knowing your purpose simplifies your life. It defines what you do and what you don't do. Your purpose becomes the standard you use to evaluate which activities are essential and which aren't."--Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life

"Live life one surrendered day at a time. Eyes to the East. Hands to the cross. Feet to the path." --Beth Moore (speaking of Luke's message of denying self)

"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. "
--Hoffman, Hans

I have been blessed! My passion is to learn to not make life so complicated but to simplify it and savor it.



Monday, August 4, 2008

Simplifying - Part 1

In the past several months, I have been felt called to "simplify." Many areas in my everyday life need simplicity. In a recent series called "Mystuff," taught by my pastor, I was reminded of how much we, as a society today, want more. I seem to struggle with satisfaction. Why is it that complaining has been at the forefront of my mind lately?

My house could be bigger. I want a more modern kitchen. I would like to stop eating Spaghetti 3 times a week. I wouldn't mind a new wardrobe. As a matter of fact, I need a bigger closet to fit the clothes I currently own. Florida water tastes bad to me. A big fenced in yard would be great. And obviously this list could go on.

And have I been keeping this ungrateful attitude to myself? Of course not, I make it quite clear to my little girls how much life could be grander. Well, to be honest, I thought that I have done a great job at teaching them to be grateful for what they have. The problem is that their mommy, the example and teacher, is not practicing what she preaches. Some of these "I want" statements are kept from my kids and are just strong desires inside. But I must say, it's pretty difficult for me to hide the attitude of my heart.

"For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." - Luke 6:45

It's time for change! I have failed time and time again. I have tried to tell myself that I am now going to choose to give to others and put me last. But, as I was reminded once again yesterday, I can't change myself. I can't just call myself "generous" and "thankful." I must have the desire from deep within the depths of my soul. I must ask God to change my heart. My actions will only be "good fruit" if God has produced it within me.

"Oh, God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
and behold your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you."

-Psalm 63:1-5

I pray that this blog will be an avenue for me to share my journey of what I have learned on this road to a more simple life.