Thursday, May 31, 2012

What is Your Kryptonite?

What is your kryptonite? I mean, what is it that drives you nuts and makes you grumpy or rude? I have a thing that drives me nuts and I try to work on it, but sometimes, I am not sure at all what to do with it. That thing is whiny, self-indulgent behavior. Complainers. It's not any complainers either. It's people who know better. It's like when Paul says that he better do what he has been preaching lest he be disqualified. We who tell people about the amazing grace of God should be the last to complain.

I can usually make it to complaint or adult temper tantrum number 50 and then I snap. Ugliness isn't going to be tolerated any longer. I just haven't figured out how to deal with that completely. I mean how many times do you have to ask a friend or family member to stop being ugly? I just get to the point of deciding not to engage the negativity anymore. Then, I feel bad. What's a girl to do? I mean, if the world was as cute about it as Eeyore, it would be easier to deal with. Send help.

Wallowing in grace.

Here are some pictures from The Wild 
(where we are serving this summer).
The waterpark.
The lake outside my window.
Inside the "Beastro."
A sassy bass player, drummer, and electric guitarist respectfully.
The inside of the ark.
This is the outside of the cabins. There are fire poles and slides in them.
The train.
Here is a picture of one side of the life size ark that is being built. Inside is where worship and fun will games will happen.
Here is my latest creation. I sell my artwork to fund Gomer's House.
See it on Etsy.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Talk to me, Abba.

Does your thankfulness ruminate from your circumstances? Are you worshipping what is going on in your life rather than being grateful for our relationship? The indulgent throw tantrums like small children even though they are grown. They do this as if they did not know Me. When is the last time you came to Me seeking Me? Tell Me how you feel. Don't talk to others about how you feel about Me. Tell Me. If you are weak, weary, or burdened, come to me. You will find rest no other way.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28

 For more on this segment, see this post.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus by Lois Tverberg

A few year's ago a friend lent me the book Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus written by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg. I think I underlined 80 percent of that book. When I saw this book was coming out, I added it to my Amazon wish list and someone gave it to me for my birthday.

I have really enjoyed reading it. It continues to fascinate me to read about how the words Jesus spoke would have been perceived by His Jewish audience. I had always wondered about the depth of the meaning in Matthew 6 and Luke 11 where Jesus talks about a good eye and a bad eye. In the Jewish culture, the good eye was symbolic of a generous man and the bad eye of a greedy one. To the Jewish audience, the body would be full of light when the heart was generous.

One other story I thought was so interesting was when the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus by asking him if they should pay taxes. Jesus then asks one of them for a denarii. To the Jews, denarii were forbidden to be used and carried because they bore the graven image of a man who demanded that they worship him. The rabbi that pulled the denarii from his pocket would be humiliated when he realized what he had done because it showed how insincere he was about worshipping God. Jesus tells them the famous lines to give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's. This would have conjured up specific imagery for them because there was always great discussion about them being in the image of God. Jesus was telling them that God desired people to be brought to him.

There is page after page of amazing insight in this book. I wish I could share them all. The only thing that I missed was Ann Spangler's depth of writing that made the first book so powerful to the reader. That being said, this is a fascinating read that will help you see the God of the Old Testament and Christ synonymously. It brings the clear directive to the Old Testament listeners that God craves compassion from us for others. Cover to cover He is a God of love.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What Day Is It?

It has been a crazy last six weeks. My husband was constantly on the road, then he was seriously ill, and then it was time to pack up our family for 9 weeks on the road. Now, here we are, in the middle of a crazy camp atmosphere with hundreds of screaming staff members around everywhere. What day is it? Have you seen my sanity? We are settling in to serve here and trying to navigate going to the doctor for the baby and trying to piece together a bit of normal here and there. 

Things are really excited and moving full force around here. The camp we are at is finishing up it's third camp on this property. "The Wild" is a huge waterpark for little kids. There is a water park designed by Disney World, a life-size ark, and many other amazing things for little kids to do. Next week, I will try to get you some pictures. 

It is fun to come here. There is so much to do and the girls love it. It can be taxing because the activity and interaction is non-stop. The blessing is getting to serve and counsel the people that work here as well as leading worship. The spiritual battle is intense, as you can imagine. Can you imagine the battle that goes on where thousands of people have come to know Christ? If you get a chance, please say a little prayer for us. Say a little prayer for the hundreds of people here pouring themselves out to minister to the broken of this world. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Talk to me, Abba.

Release your need to do and be seen doing. You do not need to be seen as hyper spiritual in order to please Me. I care deeply about your heart. When I said to not to be consumed with outward adornments, I meant the way you are perceived from the outside. It is not just that you focus on what you wear or how your hair is, but you worry so much about your position in the body of Christ. Today, lay it all down. Love. Love in secret. Love in quiet. I see you and will reward you with Myself.

" but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God." 1 Peter 3:4

For more on this segment, see this post.

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Big Bottom Blessing by Teasi Cannon

I laughed when I received the invitation to review this book. At first, I may have balked because it looked a bit cheesy to me. I thought it was just another book about a woman obsessed with getting what she wanted from God. I decided to review the book anyway. It might be a fun, easy read.

It came in the mail and I found myself hiding it in my purse when I would go out or laying it upside down on the table so no one would see the title. I realized that I was trying to hide it like I would a big bottom!

First, let me tell you that this book is not what you would think it to be at all. Teasi pulled out all the stops. She brought words to pain and abuse that happens to most of us in life. I was locked in at Chapter One. I think she has brought forth real, raw emotions that many of us are too "Christian" to put words to. We act like we need to have it all together because we are in Christ and quite frankly, we give each other performance anxiety. Teasi stepped up out of that and laid out all the nasty details of what she has felt and the nasty memories she dealt with since being in Christ.

One thing I really appreciated and stirred my thoughts was the portion on how we still have orphan tendencies even though we are adopted. A list is laid out for us to see where we are not trusting God and still shoving extra rolls in our pockets instead of trusting our loving Father to provide for us.

Beloved, beautiful women of Christ, read this book and embrace the freedom Christ offers you in it's wisdom.

This book was graciously provided for review by Worthy Publishing.

Monday, May 14, 2012

MOMumental by Jennifer Grant

In honor of Mother's Day, I thought Momumental would be a good book to review. I don't normally read books like this, but something light hearted and fun appealed to me. MOMumental is really a book of stories about motherhood. Since most of us learn best from stories, this is a great way to share ideas about things without being critical or judgmental. I laughed and I identified through much of the book. I even found myself a little convicted. We mothers are so harsh with one another, aren't we? We all think we know the best way. The truth is, as Jennifer points out, that we each need to support one another in kindness and never demand perfection. We definitely never need to demand perfection of ourselves. If you find yourself taking your motherhood so seriously that you are about to cry at every turn or you simply need a break for laughter in your day, Pick this book up.

Here is a guest blog from our author, Jennifer Grant:

"The Funny, Broken, Love of Parenting
I click open a Facebook message. A friend has sent me a word search and tells me to let my eyes fall onto the image and take note of the first three words that I see. These are the words that best describe me, she promises.
I shrug, take a sip of coffee, and glance at it. “Funny,” “broken,” and “love” are my words. 

When I close the message, I’m tempted for a moment to try again. What other words are hidden in that tangle of letters? Maybe on my second try, my eyes will land on a combination such as “smart,” “attractive,” and “successful.” (That would be nice.) 

I don’t give it another try, though. The words I read the first time are just right considering how I’ve been spending my days for the past several months, thinking and writing about the family in which I am the wife and the mother and about my family of origin, where my story began.
Funny, broken, love - sounds like family.

MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family is about my own missteps and small victories as a mother. Over the years, after beginning my parenting journey – as so many of us do – staggering under the weight of the expectations I had for myself, I’ve loosened up. I’ve come to learn that none of us is perfect. We all fail, misunderstand our kids sometimes, and mess up in countless ways. In MOMumental, I share stories of some of my “epic fails” as a mom. 

The dire messages that flash on the computer or television screen that warn what a mother absolutely must or must not do no longer hold me tightly in their grasp. I now look at myself – and at other mothers – with less judgment, knowing that we all work it out, there is no manual for motherhood, and that the most important thing in raising kids is to be authentically connected with them.
(And a person can do that whether she serves microwaved macaroni and cheese to her kids for lunch every day or gives them homemade bread and a sampling of organic greens from her vegetable garden. Whether or not she homeschools them, uses “the family bed,” or exposes them to Mozart by the time they are six days old.)

I hope in sharing my own personal – and often quite cringe-worthy – story in MOMumental, other parents will show themselves, and other parents, more grace as we raise our children.

To me, those three words – funny, broken, and love – are great ones to reflect on when I think about the gift of family. To be able to enjoy our kids, repair our relationships with them when needed, and most of to love our children like crazy covers a multitude of parental crimes and misdemeanors.

Wishing you all the best in your own messy family-making adventures!"
This book was graciously given by Worthy Publishing for review.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gomer is Feverish

Well, friends of Gomer, it's been one of those weeks. Denbigh was gone for the last part of the week and then he came home with a raging fever. It spiked at 103.5 before it went down. Hopefully we are on the tail end of this thing. The only thing I was able to accomplish was some cleaning and I painted the top of the picnic table. It's Blue Ocean Water or something to that effect. What do you think? Anyone want to come help me finish painting this? That's my rip roaring update for the week. Say a little prayer for us as we gear up to head out to lead worship for the summer. Much love to you all.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Talk to me, Abba.

Rest in Me, sweet baby. Lay aside your hurts and your cares for the day and come to Me. Release everything into My caring arms and trust Me while your body and spirit rest. Trust Me. 

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28

For more information on this segment, see this post.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Bringing Up Girls by Dr. James Dobson

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book. I have been working my way through Strong Willed Child for a while now and having a hard time connecting. I was pleasantly surprised by it, however. From the very beginning, I was touched by the tender display of teaching our daughters the most important things about Christ.

Dr. Dobson is a thorough and brilliant researcher of the human mind. I was grateful to see idiodic cultural myths debunked by fact. His research and study of the research of others was undeniably helpful in raising a daughter in this culture. I was thankful for his insight about our society and what is permissable in our day in age. I often have been curious if I was being to rigid about things and his thoughtful insight made me realize that I was being logical in my conclusions. I am thankful for his work here.

Bringing Up Girls is immensely helpful in tackling peer pressure, sexual issues, eating disorders, and the like. There is a beautiful picture of how a father contributes to his daughter's wel--being and helps usher her into womanhood. Girls who eat at home with their parents, have close knit relationships with them, and have limited television and media are much more likely to successfully navigate the tumultuous, hormonal path to womanhood without having early sexual encounters or abuse drugs and alcohol. That's enough reason to dive in to this approach for me. Forty percent of girls in a recent study are reporting having had sex at age 11. I don't know about you, but I would do anything I could to try to help my girls to make wise decisions and not have to live with that the rest of their lives.

This is a great book. I highly recommend it. It is full of helpful advice.

This book was graciouslt provided by Tyndale House Publishers for review.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Clean Your Sink Naturally

So, you have a funky drain or rings around your fixtures. Are people always telling you to buy Lime Away, Ammonia, or Draino? I don't know about you, but the idea of having needless toxic chemicals around the house does not appeal to me. I don't ever want my children to come into contact with them in any form. Here's the skinny on cleaning out your drain.

*Pour half of a cup of salt in your drain. (This breaks up fats)
*Pour a half to a cup of baking soda down your drain.
To feel like you are getting to do a grown up science experiment volcano, *add a cup or two of vinegar.
Wait thirty minutes.
*Add a kettle full of boiling water to rinse the drain. 
Do this in your bathrooms and kitchen about once a month.

There is also a handy plastic tool you can buy to clean your drain. Zip-It Clean.

If you still have a clog or foul smell, unscrew the P-Trap under the sink and clean it out. It is quite simple.

How to Clean a P-Trap -- powered by ehow

You can use vinegar to clean you faucets of hard water deposits. Soak your shower head in vinegar to unclog it. There are a myriad of uses, naturally speaking.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Gomer Gets A Lift.

Stephen left home at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning to drive to Gomer and work all day. He then turned around and drove four hours home. That's eight hours on the road and seven hours working at out house. His sacrifice and care was, and always is a huge encouragement to us as we slowly work along.

Today is bead board on the ceiling day. They have to start in the middle of the ceiling with the first sheet and work their way out. This maintains the symmetry in the room since beams will go across the seams. 
If the bead board could talk, friends. It would have some hilarious stories to tell.

Here a hole is cut for the light fixture.
Perhaps you are unaware of this, but men love power tools. My husband could easily have a bad day turn good with the use of a nail gun or a power saw. I think we should charge men to come use the power tools and bill them as therapy sessions.

You would have loved to have heard the banter between these three guys as the day went on. They applauded themselves and looked truly astonished when anything they tried to do worked. I'm not sure how I should feel about this, but they got the job done beautifully.
The broom steadies the board so it can be nailed in.
This is over the sink. The entire ceiling will be this lovely blue (Stillness). They painted this small section so the chandelier could be hung.
Here it is.

My dear friend Shelley showed up to help clean and put away things in the new cabinets. We also primed the top half of the picnic table. Who wants to come help prime the bottom half? We have three painting projects if anyone is interested. Bring a group. Bring a friend. 
Stephen says he was trying to show Yasha how to smile for this picture. I don't know if I believe him, but I love his face. I don't think Yaya buys it either.
Here they are looking a bit more normal.
Can you believe how far we have come in the kitchen? We have seen the ugly side of life, for sure. I must say, it is such a joy to cook for and serve others from this kitchen and it isn't even done yet. Just a bit more to do. I am about halfway there in raising the money for the floor. Only $400 more to go. Then, it's on to glass, crown moulding, and appliances. I love watching it come together. Only God could have done this.

You know, I go back and forth between feeling completely fulfilled and a little bit lonely. I have come to realize that being here is the greatest thing that could have happened to me. Being wounded in church and losing my identity there has truly given me a new idea of what it is to find my identity in Christ. We solely find our provision in Christ. It is a tearing away, however. Flesh is torn away. Old needs and desires are torn down. People abandon us, but Christ never does. I am thankful to be on this journey of life, real life. I am learning how to love and not just do things in a group with a program. Raw emotion and care for others can be such a painful and life-altering thing. I am glad to not be the same.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Wallowing in Grace.

I asked my husband what he thought I should blog about and he suggested two topics. One was how he recently was elected to our town's water board and the other was how he won his fantasy basketball league this year. I didn't think either one of those ideas sounded interesting to write about what so ever. 

I decided to talk about something else. Today was a day that I just wanted to wallow in grace. I don't know about you, but some days you just need to hide out in it. Today was one of those days for me. Who is with me? Let's find a big pool of Jesus and dunk our heads in it. Who is coming with me?

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Talk to me, Abba.

Speaking the truth in love is not something to hide behind. We should not use harsh speech and say we do it in love. Be gracious in your speech. Remember, the tongue is full of every kind of evil and set on fire by hell. Do not be deluded thinking you are speaking in love when you are perpetuating judgement and driving others far from Me. Be on the lookout for how to genuinely communicate love to others. This will be painful for you. It involves death of flesh and the critical spirit. If you want others to see Christ, you must control your own tongue.

"Let your speech always be gracious, as though seasoned with salt, so you will know how you should respond to each person."
Colossians 4:6
For more on this segment, see this post.

Miscarriage | Infertility | Hope

I encountered Jesus as a young child in a church pew in the balcony of an old country church. Through a lifetime of trial, I knew he was the...