Friday, February 20, 2015

God dwells within Me

You know who you can watch a movie and well, it was okay.  For example, the first time I watched Rat Race, I could barely get through it.  I thought it was terrible.  Now, with two teenage sons, I watched it with them and I hate to admit: it's funny.  I really laughed hard a few times.  That is what happened yesterday with Eat, Pray, Love.  Honestly, I still don't think it's one of my favorites or anything.  But it had a couple quotes that stuck with long after the movie.  So, I had to stick the movie in and fast forward to find the quotes I wanted. 

That is one of the quotes.  Isn't it true?  In the times in our lives, when we reach the bottom of the pit...When we are left with nothing...God can mold us, God can use us, He can transform us.  He can take our lives and show His glory!  He can turn our lives into what we were meant to be.  Ruin can be a beautiful thing.

But, this is my favorite quote from the movie.  The reason I put the movie back in and hit the forward button until I found it.    "God dwells within you.  As you......God dwells within me. As me."   Read it again and let that sink in.  I know, right?  Deep stuff!  In the Bible, it says that our body is the temple which the Holy Spirit resides.  (1 Corinthians 6:19)  And God created us in His own image.  (Genesis 1:27)  But did you really think about God created you with all your imperfections and the Creator of all things dwells within you -- as you.  Not as a perfect person.  Not because we act like we are supposed to.  God knows our hearts.  He knows when we judge others, whether we speak those judgements or not.  He knows when hold anger against another.  He knows it.  He sees it clearly.  Yet, God dwells within me..as me.  The imperfect woman I am.  I just never heard it put so simple.  And sometimes Simple is better.
My strengths... My weakness... My faults...My dreams...My imperfections...My passions...My everything.  God dwells within me...as me.  How wonderful is that?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Snow Day Contest!

What is it snow days that makes me so happy?

It's not just because it's a day off.  If I needed one that badly, I could just take one of my personal days. I think it is because it's different.  The world kind of stops for a moment.  I don't have to get up and head some where.  I  get a day AT HOME with my kids.  I love it!

It's 9 am and I am still in my pajamas.  Which doesn't happen any day of the week!  Saturdays and Sundays are too busy for that.  A pot of soup will soon be on my stove.  I sit under blanket with my laptop open with fur babies resting beside me.  Life is good.  And I just take a moment to say Thank You Lord for truly a day of rest.

Yes, I will finish my laundry up today.  And dishes will get dirty and washed.  A precious little girl's birthday present will get finished today.  But today will also include some home made spinach dip while we play board games.  A glass of hot chocolate in the afternoon.  If we have enough snow, it will even include some snow ice cream.  Just moments that don't happen everyday.  They seem to only happen with the snow keeping us inside.

It's no wonder why I love snow days so much.  It means family, together at home. And since I'm in such a good mood... how about a Snow Day Celebration?  It has been a long time since I've done any drawings.  How about a breakfast basket?  Scones, muffins, banana bread...that kinda thing.  :)  Just leave your name in the comments and you'll be entered to twin.  Must be able to meet me in NWA to pick up basket.  Good Luck everyone! 

Jen


Saturday, February 14, 2015

About Perspective...

It's all about perspective...

I'm learning that lately.  Your perspective can change your attitude for the better or worse.  It can make your day longer than it needs to be.  For example, I hate going grocery shopping.  Seriously, I've even waited until we even ate most of our canned good.  Fridge was empty besides condiments.  Yeah, it was bad!  Dinners were let me say... creative! :D  Yet, God can change my perspective.  After a tight week here and there, I leave the grocery store thanking God for the food He has provided. Amazing difference, isn't it? 

Even my home is still not finished after 2 years.  Yes, I'd love to get new floors or have my bathrooms completely finished.  (our home is a fixer upper!)  Yet, I thank God every night for the gift of a home for my family.  I know what it is like to be in between places to live.  I know what it is like to move your family and while moving in, they reality company tell you that you can't move in.  (and you already gave up your lease on the other place)  So, I honestly don't take my home for granted.  I thank God every night for a home to raise my children in.  It is all about perspective.

It gets harder when cancer is involved though.  I really hate that word.  Let me tell you this love story.  It is Valentine's Day after all.  Susie and Randy were high school sweethearts.  Their families even went to the same church.  His father was a pastor.  Then life happens...They both ended up married to others with kids.  But the story does not end there!  They found each other once again!  Both no longer married.  And true love which never died was still there.  Their love for each other was evident for everyone to see.  Cancer came and took Randy just a day ago.  My heart aches for Susie.  He was only 52.  Selfishly I do wish this story had another ending.  But, I know that the only way God could heal Randy was to take him Home.  Their faith is strong.  If your perspective was of the world, the pain would be too much to go on.  To finally have your love with you, just to lose him too soon.  Yet, with God in the picture, our perspective changes to one of celebration and hope.  He is healed and whole once again and I will join him again! Amazing what God can do, isn't it?

I would really like to say my perspective is like this all the time.  But...it's not.  I'll still complain because the bathroom isn't done yet or kids won't help with the laundry without being told to do it NOW (not in a minute).  But, I have curved a few of my perspectives towards those of gratitude.  I am trying this year to keep my perspective toward Christ.  Thankfulness is a wonderful thing.


What perspectives need an adjustment in your life?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Odd Duckling

"This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through
My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from Heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore"

Remember that old hymn?  That song has been in the back of my mind the past few weeks.  I find it popping in my head at various times on different days. Someday are worse than others....but I just feel so out of place.

Yep, that's me in the middle of all the white swans. Everyone has their own paths with ups and downs.  Each road has its own struggles.  Yet, most of the time, I feel like the odd one out there.  In a world of  bi-weekly pedicures, shopping, and nice dinners out like it's nothing unusual. That is not me.  It's not where I'm at.  My toes get chipped, I think that I really need to paint my toes.  Sometimes it gets done -- but then days become weeks while just doing life and I look down at my toes at night and think....I really need to paint my toes. And the cycle continues until a week or two later, I finally get it done! :) 

Even my daughter is going through this right now.  She is now 12.  Her favorite day of the week is Wednesday because of small groups.  She loves to play soccer.  Her clothes everyday of the school year is either jeans or yoga pants with a t-shirt.  Usually with her hair pulled back in a ponytail.  While I very thankful that she doesn't spend 30 minutes to an hour getting ready every morning, I would like her hair down once in a while.  :/  Anyway, if you remember this age, the boy craziness is starting. Several of her friends are already there. Luckily we have by passed this so far.  I'll take the grace that God has given me!  :)  Having two older brothers that can be nasty and disgusting I'm sure helps by showing boys in a different light. haha!!  getting sidetracked.... But she is the odd one.  There are no boyfriend stories for her.  No trying to look nice to empress a boy.  Just Faith being Faith.  Which is all I could ask for.
The picture I like to take :)  Such a pretty girl
Then there is the true picture :D



But God created us to be different.  We are called to be like Christ. Ephesians 4:24  "and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."   That's a lot to live up to. Christ was not accepted and loved by all.  He did not just go with the crowd.  He was the odd duckling. The were multiple times in the Bible were Jesus talked to some one people thought he shouldn't.  He didn't do what others told Him was right.

It can be hard to be different.  We all are actively seeking acceptance, whether we realize it or not.  Have you ever thought about it like that?  You are seeking acceptance.  I am seeking it.  It just matters where you are looking for acceptance that matters.  Is it God?  Is it the world?  We are all born with a hole in our heart.  We look for things to fill it, when all along, we only needed God.  So being different, it's okay.  The acceptance of Christ is all you will ever need.


"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."  Colossians 4:5-6


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The secret to marriage?

Where does the time go?  Already, I am one semester away from having a senior in high school!!  Luke will be a junior and Faith will be in junior high!  There is also only one month between me turning 39.  (yes, I will turn 40 the same year Joey graduates!  It will be a rough year!)  I look at my babies and I wish time would just slow down!
But...it just keeps going.  Changing us as we go along.  Monday will be my 18th wedding anniversary.  Seriously am I even old enough to be married that long??  There have been ups and down through the years, like every married couple.  I honestly don't know how people do it without God.

Life changes us.  Each of us have experiences through our life that mold us.  Just because your married doesn't change that.  I am not the same person I was 18 years ago, and neither is my husband.  I've had three kids, one miscarriage, dealing with autism, and lost my father ...just to name a few.   Kent has had to deal with one medical issue on top of another:  asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack...I am sure I am missing something in that list!  He's told me, "I've had everything but cancer."   (I usually say something smart-alack like "are you asking for it?")

Anyway... my point is that everything on my list, he has had to deal with as well.  The way he has dealt with the miscarriage is different than the way I have. I know every heart wrenching detail.  Even the way we deal with autism is different.  While Luke was still a toddler, I read books just trying to figure something out.  My husband has never gone to an IEP meeting. Everything on my husband's list that effect him daily, effects me as well.  I don't know what it's like to have my heart hurt because it has a valve closed up.  Or to take close to 10 prescriptions a day just to make it. 

But everything he goes through effects me, just as what I go through effect him. I often wonder why.  (doesn't everybody?)  Why do some people's burdens seem so light compared to others?  Of course, most of the time the key word is "seem."  Their burdens just look good on the surface that they show to others.  Dig a little deeper, and they are not so pretty and might look similar to yours.

After 18 years of marriage, yeah, we have both changed.  I still have a few faults that drive him crazy.  (surprising huh? haha!)  God has seen us through all of the ups and downs.  He has blessed us with three kids that really are good kids.  They love God.  We have a beautiful home that is a work in progress.  We both have pretty stable jobs and a car to drive to work in.  The only thing I'd change through the years is that his health stay strong.  I pray for his healing.  I know that God is trying to teach both of us something through this.  He will use it for His glory.

The secret to marriage?  God.  There will be times when you want to kill your spouse.  Year 7 or 8, I don't remember which... it was rough for some reason.  There's wasn't an itch about it.  It's not like I thought grass was greener somewhere else.  No, just moments when I wanted to kill him.  I know he thought the same thing!  You just turn it over to God.  Cry through it.  Yell through it.  Call your best friend and eat some ice cream through it.  But just because it might be rough, doesn't mean your in the wrong spot.  Marriage is hard.  Life is hard.  God will be there through it all.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A little less talk please

Okay, I just gotta say that, well, this is MY blog and some times a person just has to gripe.  This would be one of those times.  So, if you would like, please feel free to skip to the next blog on your list.  It's okay.  Promise I'll never know and if I do find out, I won't hold it against ya! ;)

I am tired of a lot of talk and so little action.  That is what it all boils down to.  I could stop there and be done because the rest of my paragraphs will just reiterate that sentence.  But, my mouth won't let me!  I am not perfect my any means.  I get mad.  I yell when I shouldn't.  A bad word will escape my mouth once in a while.  I like to stick my head in the sand and pretend things are peachy.  BUT, I have taught my kids some good things.  My kids know what it's like not to have it all, but they also know that there are others who would gladly trade them places.  I am a big believer in volunteering.  It is a big part of my heart.  My kids have helped a free lunch program.  They have helped animal shelters.  They have cleaned an elderly person's home on the wrong side of town.  We have gone to nursing homes.  My kids have big hearts for service.  But, it is not because I've talked about it.  It is because as a family I have scheduled it and made them live up to our promise.   It is not because we are not busy and don't have things to do.  It because I made it a priority in our life and other things will have to wait.  I am proud of that.

I get tired of everyone talking about it.  When I offer to schedule a day to serve, I don't even get a reply back.  Or when I do schedule something and I only have a couple workers.  We are all busy and there will always be others things to do.  It is just the matter of saying, I am committed to this and it will come first. (so yes, soccer falls to the wayside at our house)  It is easy to gripe about the young people today because they just don't understand because things are handed to them so easy.  It is not the young people's fault.  It's the parents.  Yep, it's our fault.  Not because you give your kids everything, or most things, they want.  It is because you have not given them a servants heart.  It is more than just talking about it at church.  Or washing someone's feet that went and got a manicure on Saturday just for the service.  It is getting them out of their comfort zone and into some one else's shoes.

I hear people talk about forming "loving relationships," but I don't see any work being done besides meetings at church.  Relationships take work.  It means making time for some one else. Maybe something is happening and I am just not a part of it so I don't see it.  I don't know.  When I think of loving relationships,  I think of the kids in my Wednesday night group.  We spend time together outside of church walls.  They will text me or I'll text them during the week.  They know they can talk to me about anything.  That is a loving relationship.  Or the Hens and Chicks ladies group at church.  I love those ladies.  We spend time together.  We eat and laugh while we are working.  It has nothing to do with our ages and things in common.  Most of them are old enough to be my mother and can do wonderful things I am just learning.  It is time together with a common goal.  If I want to cultivate a loving relationship with others, it might mean having a pot luck at your home with some people that you don't know very well just for the chance to get to know them better.  I've done it before...it works.  Relationships are messy and they take time.  But the first thing you have to do, is to take the first step and reach out. 

Sorry, I will step off of my soap box.  Please let's just stop talking about service or relationships and let's DO.  Remember you are the example for your children.  If  you don't make the time to help others or to reach out.... that is what your teaching you kids.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Loosing Our Way...


"Enter by the narrow gate.  For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads
to destruction, and those who enter it are many.  For the gate is narrow 
and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." 
 Matthew 7:13-14

As we go on our Christian walk, there are times when we are not as close to God as others.  It's not God fault.  I hear people complain that God just is so distant.  He left me through this situation.  I am going through this alone.  But, God doesn't leave us or forsake us.  The Creator of this universe is waiting patiently for you and me.  We're just human.  Sometimes easy is well... easy.  Too easy to resist.  How many times do we walk away from Him??

God doesn't say the narrow way will be easy.  The Bible says it's the hard way.  It's forgiving others, even when undeserved or unasked.  It is letting go of anger.  It is making time for Him in ways like prayer and church.  It's teaching your kids about God.  It's reaching out to others with the love of God.  It's a relationship with God.  It's putting God in the center of your life...then putting the things you want in.  God first. 

"But FIRST seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness..."   Matthew 6:33

"For those that live according to the flesh set their minds on the things
 of the flesh, but those that live according to the Spirit set their mind 
on things of the Spirit.."   Romans 8:5

If you are reading this and you feel a distance between you and God.  Know deep inside your heart that God loves you.  As messed up as you can get.  He loves you.  He loves the way you look first thing in the morning.  You know why?  Because you are His child.  HIS!  And know something else too.  Just know that we have all been there.  We all go through periods in our Christian walk that we wonder off a bit.

 The main thing is getting back on that narrow path. Nurture your relationship with God.  How? The same way you nurture your relationships here on this earth.  You spend time with Him.  He is waiting with open arms just for you.