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!