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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Graphic Idea


In Denbigh's sermon on Sunday, he inserted a verse to add to a point he was making. That verse was from Isaiah 64:6. Specifically, the portion that says our righteous acts are like filthy rags. He was politely trying to share what the "dirty rags" were in the original language, but he didn't come right out and say it. You may know that this word is referring to menstrual rags. I have always thought this was quite an intense idea. I could totally see where God was saying how dirty our acts were apart from Him and compared to Him. I had another thought on Sunday though. I wondered if the analogy went deeper than that. I really thought about the blood for a second. What if He was trying to tell us that our righteous acts are worthless blood. Our old blood can do nothing but contaminate. Compare that to the blood of Christ which has the power to restore and make fully clean. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Talk to me, Abba

Be gracious in your speech. My purpose for you life is not to exalt other's idea of you. I want you to exalt their idea of Me. Let the words that flow out of you be rich with direction and blessing. Many people will try to harm you while acting like they have your best interests at heart. You must truly desire the best of others. You must put them before yourself. Crucify flesh. Lay your own rights down. Turn the other cheek so that people can grasp my grace. When they fall, help them up. By this they may know Me.

"He who loves purity of heart and whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend."
Proverbs 22:11
For more on this segment, see this post.

Monday, February 27, 2012

As Silver Refined by Kay Arthur

"Life’s disappointments can send you on a dangerous downward spiral into discouragement, depression, or even despair.  But in this eye-opening book, Kay Arthur guides you to biblical truths that will help you break that cycle and instead embrace disappointment as the cleansing fire God uses to make you—as silver refined—a reflection of His goodness."

There is something to be said for Kay Arthur. She is all about Jesus. I don't ever feel myself caught up in her personality or visionary agenda. As I read her books, I am always amazed by her depth and clarity. Kay speaks truth and lets truth do it's work. Honestly, sometimes I just wanted to lay my head on the pages because I loved hearing what Christ had to say to us reiterated so effectively. It was a gift to hear the words of Jesus over and over. There is no glossy sugar coating. God uses pain and disappointment to mold us to be like Christ. We should stop medicating and running from it. When we do, we are really running from Christ. This book made me yearn for more of Christ in a way few things do. I also came away with a glorious nugget of wisdom to live by. "The meek act rather than react." I am left praying for humility and the ability to not be controlled by emotions, but to act as Christ instead of reacting to others. This has been my favorite read of the year thus far.

This book has been graciously provided by Waterbrook Multnomah for review.
 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Baked Taco Puff

Here is something easy to add a little zest to any meal. All you do is pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Put in a cookie sheet of tortillas stacked individually. Each one will puff in about 10 minutes. Once they have puffed, flip them and let them crisp for five minutes on the other side. Pop a hole in the top and fill with whatever you are in the mood for. Taco meat, slim zucchinni sticks sauteéd in olive oil, spinach, sharp cheddar. Whatever suits your fancy. It is a fun and easy way to make a taco salad. Here is the recipe for the world famous Cherry taco meat:http://www.stephaniecherry.com/2011/03/world-famous-cherry-family-tacos.html Buon appetito.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gomer's Been Graced.

 We had a joyous workday on Saturday. Many beautiful people showed up at Gomer's House to strip paint, hang drywall, frame walls, insulate, and paint. It was a great day of fellowship and work. We are blessed with an amazing crew of friends who came and helped out. We are very grateful to the Lord for them.  On Monday, some of them came back and kept working . We are getting very close to being completely ready for the cabinets to be installed. This is such a beautiful loaves and fishes story. God has multiplied what we had beyond our belief.
 Pauly removing paint from the 100 year old pocket windows in the kitchen. These windows slide up into the wall when you open them.
 Mike measuring for the beautiful drywall that will inhabit Gomer's kitchen.
 I just love Ron Tom.
 Tina repainted all the tables and rockers on the porch.
 Jason and David hanging drywall in the dining room. Soon to be glamorous.
 Look at that beautiful white wall. It makes me tear up. How long we have eaten in a dark cave.
 We love meticulous people. Jason precisely mudding the wall.
 Look at all of that white.
 Repainted rocker.
 Oh my stars. What beauty.
The Berry family framed up and insulated the laundry room/mud room.
Two of my favorite people.
 I have a secret. I hug the drywall when no one is looking.
 Tina came back Monday to finish her job.
 The Berry family came back Monday to keep insulating.
 We had the honor of hosting a group of Methodist missionaries for lunch today. The NOMADS are retired persons that travel around in their rvs working on churches, run down houses,and community needs. They are here for three weeks. They will be fixing rotted floors in homes,dilapidated porches, & leaky pipes for the poor in the area. This group has done mission work in 49 states.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Grief, Balloons, Whitney Houston, & the LORD

 Losing two of my brothers to addiction has been one of the hardest things to deal with in my life. Instead of dwelling on loss, we decided to do something each year that reminds us all to let go and thank God that they are with Jesus. We have a balloon release on my brother's birthday. We took 30 colorful balloons and let them go. My daughter assumes that they will reach Heaven and God will hand them to Mike for his birthday. What a joyous thought. Perhaps He will.

All of this has got me to thinking about Whitney Houston. You are wondering what on earth my brother and Whitney had in common. They both came to know the Lord at a young age. They both were intensely creative people. They both struggled with severe addiction in their adult life. You know, I read many a super nasty Facebook post about her. Some of them I could never repeat to another soul.  I thought about my brothers. I had this picture of people standing up at their funerals and yelling "crack head, worthless", or other obscenities. Of course, no one did this. People grieved with us. So, why do we do it to celebrities? What does this say about our opinion of the grace we have been given? Have we forgotten all of the things we have willingly done to insult Christ ourselves? This is why the world thinks we are jerks. God put a Christ exalting funeral on a major television network for millions of lost people to see and we are the ones balking.

I didn't watch the funeral, but I saw some snippets of Kevin Costner and Tyler Perry speaking about Whitney. Tyler's words hit a strong note with me. He said that he was having lunch with Whitney some time back and she was speaking about something with great sadness, then she looked up at him and said, "but the LORD." 

It made me think of a glorious section of verses in Romans Chapter 8. You know it. It says that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ Jesus. Not condescension, judgement, or a lifelong struggle. Nothing can keep us from the grace-filled arms of our Jesus. 

but the LORD.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Talk to me, Abba.

Be encouraged. You are doing a good work and I am teaching you as you go forward. Have grace with yourself and move forward at My word. Carry on. Do not allow emotion or fear to trap you in a motionless state. Press on.

"Press on toward the prize..."
-Philippians 3:14

For more on the segment, see this post.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gomer: Working for the Weekend

This past weekend we were thankful to lead worship for a Disciple Now at First Baptist Church in Georgetown, Texas. The inside of this church is gorgeous. I first saw it a few years ago when we went to see Donald Miller there. I remember asking God to bring Denbigh to lead worship there. He did. The staff is all great and the speaker was from the Village Church. It was a great weekend and we were blessed to be a part of it.

This week at home, Denbigh is working on a theme song for a camp. I am painting (on canvas), reviewing a book, and schooling some little people. We are gearing up for what appears to be a great work day this weekend. There are about 25 people coming to help us prepare our laundry room, kitchen and dining room for the new cabinets. We are really excited about what God is doing here this month and how He is constantly reminding us that He sees us and hears us. 
This Saturday will be our rip roaring work day for any of you who might like to join us. We will provide you with some lunch and general witty banter. You get to see first hand the lengths God goes to gently restore us. Come and join us. 10-4.
Sunday would be my brother Mike's birthday. We started a few traditions here to remember him in a happy way. We eat cookies for breakfast and steak for lunch. Then, we release a huge bouquet of balloons to heaven. My daughter thinks he needs them to have a nice party up there. I concur.

What will you be doing this weekend?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Teaching to Read

People are always asking me how I taught Laomai to read so well so early. Truth is, I am not completely sure. Let me just tell you that I found this idea completely daunting. How was I ever going to teach another human being to read? Truthfully, I asked God to teach her because I had no idea what I was doing. I taught her the letters of the alphabet when she was one and a half. From there, we started working on phonics. She was reading small words by two and a half. We would look at hundreds of flash cards together and read book after book each day. We went through Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons.

One of the things we did with learning the phonics properly was to do them with sidewalk chalk. Three days a week, we would spend an hour just playing and talking about the sounds letters and letter grouping made. We would write simple words and draw pictures. The secret here was to make it fun and never exasperate or bore her. She also did the phonics program on starfall.com at age 3. It's really good and fun. Outside of this, we just read and read together. We never read books that were dumbed down, but ones that were challenging. We read the Bible each day and talk about everything we read. I try to make it the most fun thing we do.

One thing I learned was to always praise the effort and never show disappointment or disapproval. When we react in a negative way, so will our children. When they feel rejected, they act out.

So many people tell me that they are not built to teach their kids and they could never do it. I disagree with this statement. I'll tell you why. I am not the kind of person who loves kids or loves teaching kids. I'm not sure I was ever a child myself. Kids make me feel crazy. As I knew I wanted my children to have a solid education, I had to make a choice. Would I do something that I did not feel equipped to do and wasn't sure I wanted to do or would I send them off to someone else? I chose to try. Like most aspects of parenting that people don't often choose, it involved a serious death to the flesh. I had to lay aside my hangups, irritation, lack of patience, and anything else that got in the way of me being Christ to my children so that I could teach and disciple them at home. Death to flesh sounds like a fun time, I know. It's a choice we need to make though in every parenting decision we make. If you need prayers for your attitude or lack of patience, let me know. I would love to pray with you to overcome and be the parent you desire to be. God's providence to you. Happy reading!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Talk to me, Abba.

Your disappointments are an appointment with Me. Release your expectations to Me and ask Me what I am doing in your situation. If you are looking with open eyes, you will see that the pain and disappointments of the past are what I used as the greatest catalyst for change in your life. Instead of fighting the circumstance, ask Me what I am wanting you to do in it. Perhaps, the thing you constantly run from is the answer you have been looking for. Turn your eyes from what is and focus on Who is. I won't leave you alone. 

"You alone are God." -Psalm 86:10

For more on this segment, see this post.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Root Cellar Cafe

So, I don't usually write about things I don't like. I "file thirteen" them. That means I throw them in the trash. I have never been one to complain. Recently, however, I had a different experience. I looked up the 10 best places to eat in San Marcos, Texas. I opted to take my adopted daughter to The Root Cellar Cafe. I thought it looked really quant. It was under ground somewhat and had an ecclectic vibe. The food was decent. The problem for me had to do with their darkside brewery. On one half of this cute little eatery were pentagrams, big pentagrams. I don't know about you, but I've never been one to casually enjoy dining with the devil. It bothered me so badly that I don't remember if the food was good and I had a hard time chatting with my company. Before you go, I say be warned. If the glorification of the devil doesn't bother you, go on in. If it does, head around to Palmer's or Cafe on the Square. Both are great. Go over to The Coffee Pot Bistro and get an Iced Sugar Daddy. Go to Cool Mint Cafe. Go anywhere else. 

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Gomer Blows It Up

 Do you remember when AOL came out? There were all these chat rooms you could talk to people in. Well, despite my hard childhood, I was really naive about some things. I came across a chat room called "Friends of Bill." I thought it was a fun name for a group and so I hung out in there chatting with some people. Some of you may know who Bill is. Perhaps you are laughing at me. You would think I would know with so many alcoholics in my family. Alas, I did not know that "Friends of Bill" was the chat room for Alcoholics Anonymous. It was so embarrassing. Every week when I write this blurb about our house on my blog and start it "Friends of Gomer," I laugh at myself a little. Now you know my story.

Friends of Gomer, if you have been following us on our facebook page, you will have knowledge of the fact that some very manly men came to our house and ripped apart my kitchen. Then, these manly men set the cabinets ablaze. It was a truly liberating experience. It might have been one of the happiest moments of the last few years (besides giving birth). Yes, manly men are fabulous. I highly recommend having them come to your house. 

So, you are wanting to glean some spiritual fruit from my observances. As I was looking at old pictures of when we bought the house and the work to the kitchen over the years, I realized that things just got uglier and uglier. When renovation is forthcoming, things get intense degrees of ugly before they come into their beauty. In the case of the kitchen, we found all kinds of funky stuff. There were bugs and mice to eradicate in the beginning. We ripped up an ugly floor to reveal a really ugly floor. Doors were removed to showcase extreme rot. Trapped between the bottom of the cabinet and the subfloor was a 20 year old petrified squirrel. We have no idea how it made it's way in there. Do you see what I am saying? Our journey to lovely was littered with some nasty revelation. This is what happens when God is overhauling our flesh. Don't be surprised. Don't get sidetracked staring at it or thinking that you will never be able to get beyond your petrified squirrel. There's a new subfloor coming. The foundation is laid. 
Press on to beauty.
 Here, you can see that they were ripping up the hideous vinyl floor .
 Then, they cut holes and run boodles of wiring.
 More wiring.
 This crew has saved us thousands upon thousands of dollars in labor. Don't they look like Charlie's Angels meets Tim "the tool man" Taylor.
 The cabinets ablaze. Glory!
 Remember, this wall was home to some hideous cabinetry. Do you love the new subfloor?
 Our neighbor Eddie came to help.
 more wiring.
 Denbigh was so excited to use Stephen's new drill tool. I've never seen two grown men so happy.
 Wiring the new light over the stove.
 The sink housing fell apart so they threw together another one.
 The first sheet of drywall.
Yasha helping Daddy unwrap the new chandelier that arrived.