Monday, November 30, 2009

Waiting To Hear From God

Have you ever gotten frustrated just waiting to hear from God? I have. I’ve called out to Him saying “Here I am. Where are you? I’m waiting….” But am I really waiting? Or am I impatiently telling God that I need to hear His voice NOW.

I think a lot of our frustration in wanting to hear from God comes from the fact that we can be a little demanding. We want to hear from Him on our terms, in our timeframe, and on our turf.

I find it ironic that when I get frustrated enough, sometimes I will stop what I am doing. I’ll just sit, look out the window, look up, get on my knees, or close my eyes. I’ll stop. I’ll truly listen and I’ll be still. Usually calm will fill my heart, peace will saturate my soul, and suddenly everything that once was foggy will become clear. Amazing how that happens isn’t it? I focus on the Lord instead of my “issue” and priorities are quickly established. Usually those priorities (for me) entail letting go of my preconceived standards and expectations. And somehow – it works.

God is right there. All the time. Maybe we can’t hear Him because our own voice is a little too loud. Maybe we can’t hear Him because we’re too busy with distractions. Whatever the reason – He is there. He is just waiting for you to drop everything for but a minute…. And focus your entire being on Him – with Him – for Him.

You may not hear Him right away, but I guarantee you, you will feel Him.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

How Do You Write?

I recently had a parent-teacher conference. The teacher was praising my youngest daughter’s creative mind and her ability to write stories. As we were talking, she mentioned how she is teaching the kids to learn how to write, then re-write. To not expect perfection the first time around.

I was thinking to myself that it is so good to hone your craft of writing. I certainly don’t consider myself an expert on the subject but I don’t do re-writes. Not very often anyways. The best way for me to write – well – is to just spill it! My heart and my words just tumble out and flow along on the page. Those tend to be my most favorite pieces.

I’ve tried to write on “command.” And I can do it. But my articles and columns sometimes feel a little “rigid” or “stilted” to me when I write in this way. My point? My point is that everyone is gifted differently. And maybe the way one person writes (doing a rough draft, and then rewrite after rewrite) is not the best way that someone else can write. So why do we tamper with that? It’s like forcing someone who can play music by ear to learn to read notes! They were gifted from birth – let them rest in their gift instead of forcing them to adapt to the RIGHT way of playing music!

I don’t know the right or the wrong way to write. I only know what works for me. And that’s to simply let my heart do the talking. I kind of think that if someone tries to teach me how to do it in a more structured manner, I might lose some of my individuality and unique bent when I write. I might lose some of “me” coming out in my words.

Take instruction and teaching with discernment. Some of those voices are very wise and can truly arm you and guide and help you be better. But some of them are simply wrong choices for they will lead you out of your own creative box… one that was made and tailored just for you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Is It the Death of Blogging?

I’ve heard many blogging friends grow frustrated over the change in blogging within the past year. Facebook has exploded and with that explosion of interest, it seems that blogging has tapered off. In fact, I’ve noticed a huge decrease in my comments and so have some of my blogging friends.

Yes, it can be disappointing at times to not get any feedback. But I know there are readers out there reading what I write. They sometimes email me privately, or talk to me in person. Still other times I get a few comments on facebook or the rare comment or two actually left on the blog. And I have a “stat” meter where I can actually see that I’m getting visitors.

I heard someone say that many of her blogging friends had quit their blogs altogether because of facebook.

I guess if you don’t have a passion for doing it, then you should abandon it altogether. I know that when I started, I was curious about the blogging trend and thought it would be another great way to network. But then I fell in love with it and met many amazing women who I now call “friends.” I never would have met them otherwise. So blogging became a labor of love and a blessing in my life.

I don’t know how many blogs will survive the “facebook” trend. I think blogs can go a little deeper than twitter or facebook can and I would hope that many of them do hang in there despite how many comments you get. When you write a magazine article, you don’t get the satisfaction of immediate comments from the readers. Yet people continue to write them knowing that there ARE readers reading what they write. I intend to do the same with my blog. For although feedback is welcomed and encouraging (most of the time), it is not needed. I write because I love to pour my heart out in the hopes that someone else will take one stronger step in her faith, one gentler touch with her kids, and one more informed approach in the world as a Godly woman. I hope that my words can help strengthen, inspire, and invoke positive change.

Comments sometimes, are just applauses. And who am I to say that I need constant applause when the focus should go on God and not on me?

I love facebook. I love twitter. Yet I love blogging too. Each has their own niche to fill and I think each one compliments the other quite well.

I fully intend to continue blogging as long as I feel that God is blessing this endeavor. Comments or no comments.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Black Friday Frenzy

Black Friday. It can bring out the worst in people. In years past there have been stampedes, fights, and people injured and killed. All for a good buy. A sale.

I enjoy Black Friday. I like to go out shopping for some good deals and the electric feeling in the air is exciting for me. But I’m not rabid about it. I don’t take walkie talkies and I don’t push people to get what I’m looking for. I have manners.

I think people can get so grumpy and irritable on Black Friday in part – because other people are just plain rude. Have we forgotten to teach our children about respect and courtesy? You wonder sometimes when you see how people act out there!

No sale is worth someone losing his or her life over it. No free item is worth risking your reputation and good name over. To me, anyways.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Do You Feel Beautiful?

Do you feel beautiful? Why or why not?

Do you know that God sees you as being beautiful?

What is it in life or who was it that took away our beauty?

Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

If God finds us beautiful and sees beauty in us – who are we to question that? If He has made EVERYTHING beautiful – that certainly includes you and I! Why do we let the world and those in it cause us to feel anything “less than” what the Lord Almighty has said of us?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Lesson On Thankfulness

I was recently cleaning out and organizing a room in our house when I came across my youngest daughter’s journal from second grade. Around Thanksgiving she wrote this touching entry and I wanted to share it with you today.

I love the heart of a child. More of us could learn from the honesty and transparency of children.

“Dear God, Thank you for my family and for my cat and friends. Thank you for letting the pilgrims go safly to Amarica. Thank you for church. Thank you for my toys, my teacher, and for my life. Thank you for giving me a school and for every thing that you have given me. Thank you for my relatives. I love you very much. I hope I have kids when I grow up cause I like who I am I would not change if I could I would not change not one bit no way. Thank you for giving me life. Thank you for my house. I thank you that I am not poor. Thank you that we are spoiled and that we can learn about you. I love you very much. Please make me grow up safly. Thank you for the plants that give us air. And thank you that I am me. You are you. Thank you for making me like animals and want to work at the zoo I really love you very very very very very much.”

When was the last time you thanked God for what He’s given you and how He’s made you? And when was the last time you told Him you loved Him?

I’m thankful that I stumbled across this old journal of my daughter’s this Thanksgiving so that I could be reminded that love and thankfulness don’t have to complicated. They just have to be.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Investing Into Others

Our time. Time is so valuable. You can’t get it back once it’s gone and you certainly can’t request more. You’re given what you’re given and God knows just how much time we will have.

So what do you do with your time? How do you spend it?

I heard my Pastor say once that if you look at someone’s checkbook you should be able to tell where their heart is by where they spend the bulk of their money. I think the same is true of our time. You should be able to see who and what is important to someone by how they spend their time.

Are you investing in the life of someone else with your time?

You know, God did not put us here to let us keep to ourselves, go about our business quietly, and remain uninvolved. I think He wants us to be very involved in the lives of others. Not in a busybody kind of way, but in an encouraging kind of way. A way that blesses others.

If someone looked at your life – would they be able to see that you are investing into the life of someone else? If not, is there something you can do to change that? Everyone needs someone and everyone has something to give. It’s up to us to see what niche we can fill and how we can show God’s love to someone else.

Time. We only have so much. Don’t spend yours on frivolous things that don’t matter in the long run. Invest into people.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Dream House

My dream house. (Sigh). It feels like I’ll never get there. I desire a house that is picked up, dusted, and beautiful. And I guess mine is beautiful. I know I’m certainly blessed to live in the house I do. But I just can’t seem to get past some things. Like the worn out couch that I’m saving to replace. Or the hand-me-down furniture that we still have here and there throughout. The walls that I still desire to paint. The windows that need blinds or drapes.

I do have a beautiful home. Don’t get me wrong. I’m so thankful for my house. Yet I still have so many dreams for it. It’s a project in-the-works.

How do you feel about your home? Do you have items you long to replace? Things you want to upgrade?

I am slowly replacing the cheap $3 picture frames with ones that I truly find beautiful. I am patiently getting project by project organized and slowly getting rid of some “excess” as I find the time. And I’m step-by-step finding my style and working towards making my home the kind that I personally find beautiful. It’s becoming more “me” each year. It just takes time and money.
But I’ve discovered that in the process, I’m learning more about who I am and what I like. I’m learning to appreciate what I have and not to be solely focused on material things. And I’m truly enjoying the rich reward of hard work when I can fix, upgrade, or replace something.

God tells us to be content in all things. So just the fact that I have a roof over my head, a nice warm bed to sleep in and my own home are things that remind me that the journey to dreams can be fun – but it should also be a process to enjoy; knowing that I can be content with what I have each step of the way.

Friday, November 13, 2009


I’ve realized something recently. I’ve realized that every time I get discouraged, “blue,”, depressed, down-trodden, or insecure, it is a result of comparing myself or looking at what someone else has in life. I see where I’d like to be and where they are. I see what they have and what I don’t. I see their strengths and my weaknesses. And it causes me to become discontented with not only where I am at in life, but with myself.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we even compare ourselves to someone else or look at where God has placed them in life?

When this revelation dawned on me, I realized how contented, confident, happy, secure, and motivated I normally feel when I don’t look at someone else’s life. When I don’t compare myself to them.

Of course it is hard to not compare. But it’s just like a television commercial telling us we “need” something or we “deserve” something. That commercial produces a need in us that we didn’t otherwise know we had! It almost “suggests” to us that we should need.

So what can we do when we feel these kinds of things?

First of all, I think we need to realize where the thoughts come from in the first place. God loves us as we are. He finds us enjoyable, worthy, and beautiful. So it is not HE who is producing unworthy or discontented feelings in our hearts. No – it’s Satan. Once we realize this, I think Satan loses a great deal of the power and ground he gained on us in the first place.

Secondly, for me, I turn to what strengthens me. Which is usually God’s word, time with Him in prayer, and Christian songs that are very personal to me. I’m sure you have some very “personal” songs as well that minister to your heart. Use them. Let them fuel you and remind you that you are right where you are supposed to be and that there is joy to be found in that place.

I am determined to fight Satan on this issue of him trying to pull me down by making me doubt who I am in life. I am determined to try and embrace all that God has brought my way (because it is so much!) And I am determined to focus on the good, the positive, and the God-ordained in my life instead of dwelling on what I don’t have, what I could have, or what I wish I could get. That only brings disillusionment.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Where's The Fire?

Do you remember when you first believed in God? Do you recall when you made that step of faith and chose to give your life over to Him? I bet your heart was ignited and your faith vibrant. You probably felt extra passion, purpose, and fervor in your life as you came across loved ones who did not know or feel the same way.

Do you still have that passion? Do you still feel like a spark ignited – or merely glowing embers that get warm once in awhile? Furthermore – has your fire gone completely out and you just go through the motions out of habit or tradition?

If you’re anything like me, it seems that many of my family and friends have gone through extra challenges, hardships, struggles, trials, and tests recently. Life just seems HARD.

It gets really hard to go through struggles and challenges when you’ve lost your zeal for the Lord. I mean, they are hard enough to go through in the first place, but if you’ve lost your hope and your belief in God Almighty – what do you have to cling to? What can put peace in your heart amidst the turmoil around you?

Some days it seems like I can just hear the trees cry out for God. I can feel the earth moan and I can almost envision the animals calling out to Him. The world is getting messed up and time is drawing closer and closer to when God will return. And He WILL return. Will you be ready? What will you be doing when He decides it’s “time?” Will you be in prayer on your knees, helping a loved one in need? Will you be doing something worthwhile with your time or will you feel humbled and ashamed at how frivolous you spent it?

We need to stay disciplined in our walk with God. We need to soak Him up daily. It’s the only way we will be able to fight off the temptations and lies of the world. We need to stay sharp. It’s far too easy to give an inch here, an inch there and look back and see that somehow your life became a roadmap of compromises.

I’m right there with you. I’m right there trying to funnel out the “unnecessaries” and the “unhealthy” things in my life and replace them with the “healthy”, “motivating,” and “God-honoring” ones. God so wants to use us. He so wants to bless us. But we have to feel the fire in our bellies and get passionate about a few things! We have to be on the ball – discerning – wise – knowledgeable – loveable – and forgiving. We have to know when darkness comes masquerading as the light.

I don’t ever want to grow apathetic, numb, or casual about living a life for my God. I want Him to know that I am sold out for Him. That I am honored to be used by Him and that I adore Him.I want to stay sharp and I want to be kept warm everyday by the fire that only grows because of His power in my life.

Monday, November 9, 2009

What Are Your Child's Dreams?

What are your child’s dreams? What do they want to be and do with their life? Do you encourage them in their dreams (albeit not giving false hopes?) Do you encourage them in their strengths?

Do you talk to them?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Let Yourself Be Helped

Are you the kind of person who loves to help others but has a hard time letting them help you? Are you the first one to offer your hand or to step in and give aid to someone, but you just can’t seem to allow others to come alongside of you and help you when you need it?

I have found that people who have great servant’s hearts are the very people who also have a really hard time letting themselves be the recipients of help. I’m not sure why that is, but I’ve found it to be true. Maybe they don’t want to be a burden, or want to be deemed as capable.

We need to let ourselves be helped. It’s how other people show us their love and it’s how they want to bless us at times. We deprive ourselves of richer relationships when we fail to see that. Everyone knows that it’s better to give than receive but it’s also better to say “thank you” than “no – thank you” at times. Sometimes there is no better way to feel loved than to let someone do something for you out of the goodness of their heart.

So if you find that you often refuse help when it’s offered to you, maybe it’s time to re-think that answer. Let someone come alongside you and help you and see how both of you can be blessed from their efforts.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Picking My Battles

Have you ever had those times as a parent when you wonder if you should speak up and say something or simply bite your tongue and disagree in private? I’ve been having one of those times the past month or so with my daughter’s school.

It all started when my daughter came home complaining that they had to have assigned seats at lunchtime. I was incredulous. “What?” I asked. She explained that they were told the lunchroom was too noisy so they were being told where to sit.

As time went on, the situation seemed to improve and then worsen again. She said they couldn’t talk or had to whisper.

I was simply astonished.

Isn’t lunch time at school a BREAK for kids? If they can’t talk and be noisy (within reason) at lunchtime, and they can’t be noisy during class, and they can’t talk in line or while walking the hallways – are you telling me that they have to hold it in until recess time? To me, that’s unreasonable to expect of a child.

When I was a kid (Oh yes – I hear that “parenting” voice in my head) we didn’t have such rules. In fact, I think we’ve gotten out of control with “rules.” For example, last year my girls’ whole school was told they could not bring umbrellas to school. At all! It started with a couple of kids misusing them. Again – I was incredulous. What about the kids who had to walk to school? Were they forced to walk in the pouring rain without an umbrella? And besides – why should a whole school be punished for the act of a few kids? Simply ban those “said” kids from umbrellas for the year!!

I realize a lot of kids are unruly and out of control today. It’s from lack of parenting. BUT – there has got to be a better way than going on “overload” with rules.

My daughter has been a trouper. She whispers at lunch and then goes about her day. But the point is – she shouldn’t’ have to.

And for now… I’m biting my tongue at home about it. Except for venting on my blog, that is.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Simplifying Thanksgiving

How does your family celebrate Thanksgiving?For most people – Thanksgiving signifies a big meal and lots of family around the table. I have such fond memories along those lines.

In recent years, sometimes Thanksgiving has taken a different shape for our family though. We don’t live near our relatives and are only able to “occasionally” celebrate the Holiday with them. For awhile, I continued to try and make a Thanksgiving dinner for just our family unit but it became clear to me about 2 years ago that this was futile. For one, it’s a lot of work! I love how when you celebrate with extended family, there are multiple women in the kitchen divvying up the meal and sharing the task of creating a beautiful meal. But when you don’t have that, it’s a lot of work for one woman alone. Add to that the fact that my girls’ don’t appreciate all the food that typically comes with Thanksgiving. They’d much prefer spaghetti or pizza! HA HA

So why go to all that work – all by myself – when half of my family doesn’t even want to eat it?

Two years ago we bagged it all together and went to a buffet. GREAT idea at the time for us. My husband and I still got to appreciate turkey and mashed potatoes while the girls got to eat more basic fare. Last year, we celebrated with family back in Oregon which I will always treasure as it ended up being the last Thanksgiving I will ever spend in my grandparents’ home.

That brings us to this year. This year, we are again on our own. And I’m trying to ponder how we can keep Thanksgiving simplified without it feeling like just another day.

My husband actually suggested just having sub sandwiches. That’s an interesting idea – but it might take me a while to wrap my mind around no Thanksgiving turkey.

How about you? Does your family simplify Thanksgiving? Have you come up with a great way to keep it simple yet make it special? I’d love to hear your ideas and how what you’ve come up with has become a special day and tradition for your family…..

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Under Pressure

Sometimes it seems as if we will never crawl out from under the busyness or stressful cycle that seems to have entered our lives. We can so easily get overwhelmed and become snappy, irritable, rushed moms.

We’ve all heard how we need to set priorities in our lives and learn to let some things go. But from the looks of society, it seems like some of us are having a hard time actually applying those principles! Not only that – there is so much that weighs on our shoulders that comes from sources that we have no control over.

For example – business functions that relate to your job. School conferences or performances. Unexpected illnesses and sometimes deaths. Things breaking in or around your home or cars so that you have to handle unscheduled repairs for (which never seem to get fixed easily or quickly.)

Whatever it is that seems to have put undue pressure on your life – know this. It probably won’t last forever and there must be some reason that God has put that pressure into your life – maybe to mold and shape you – or maybe to mold and shape someone else who is watching you as you deal with it all.

I’m constantly amazed at how people think life should go smoothly. Life just doesn’t work that way! And we seem so surprised when things go wrong or fall apart.

Life is life. The good, the bad, the ups, the downs, the hassles, and the blessings. It’s all a part of our life and we can learn, grow, and become better people through all of it. I hate downturns and frustrations like the next person but I try to dig deep and find what it is that God wants me to learn through them so that I won’t have to go through a “repeat” episode. (I hate those – don’t you?)

Yes, we need to prioritize our lives. We need to say “no” to more things. But there are still those things that the wind blows our way that we have no control over. And when that happens, it’s time to look in the direction of that wind and see where it came from and if that isn’t something that God wants us to spend a little time analyzing or pondering.

I don’t want my life to be one emotional or physical cycle of mess after another. So I guess I had better learn some things when the stress comes. Let’s learn together – shall we?


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