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Giddy Praise and a Few Puzzle Pieces

Have y'all ever noticed that God always answers bigger than you ever *really* think He will? The Carlins began the week with $825 in their Reece's Rainbow account. It was as a result of that that I set the goal of $20,000 on my link to ChipIn; wasn't really sure that I had enough contacts to reach that goal, but wanted to stand in agreement with them as to their needs and let anyone viewing my blog know the full amount of what was needed. As of right now, their balance stands at $11,825. Seriously, God??? Eleven thousand dollars in a few days??? Thank you!!!! I don't know if all of those funds are tied to this link from my page (there are a few folks out here in blogland that have joined with the Carlins to get the word out and have posted links to Reece's Rainbow) but I am giddy that God has used whomever He has used and answered in such a big way so suddenly. The goal of $20,000 to bring Daniel home is better than half met! Can't wait to see what God does nex…

Wait.Now Go.

Red Light. Wait. Wait. Wait.

I really am not very good at that word. I don't like hearing it. I don't like doing it. I understand that it is necessary. I get it that rushing ahead with my own ideas, plans, energies is just not productive. I have personal experience with the destruction that my haste can bring and the beyond-anything-I-could-imagine things that can happen when I just stop and wait. It still makes me want to stomp my feet and throw a hissy fit.


Green Light. Go. No, really. Go. Now. RUN!!!


Until I'm in the middle of watching the things that God has hands to do when He isn't so busy having to use them untangling me from thornbushes and catching me in mid-fall from the cliffs I've hurried myself right into. (I know. His hands are never too small. But it's gotta at least make it *easier* on Him when I'm not pulling that kind of mess!) Now is one of those watching times. HE amazes me. The Good Shepherd who cares tenderly for each of His sheep. Who k…

Fear. Evil. Death.

It is approaching the end of October and once again, the old battle rages among those who call themselves Christian. To celebrate Halloween or to create an alternative; to speak out against any and all forms of celebration or to quietly close your doors and hide in the shadows until the evil day passes and you can once again carry on your daily life in the light.

Over the past several days, the topic has been running around in the back of my mind. Partly because a coworker's son is distressed at finding out that his family is Christian because that means, "I can't wear my Batman costume and get candy this year!" Partly because my own kids have been noticing and commenting on many of the decorations that are currently displayed, deeming some "nasty," others "stupid," and yet others "funny." The comments have afforded opportunities to talk about the difference between appropriate dress-up and glorifying evil; between demands/threats and acc…

Brief Revisitation...

***Okay, let's be honest. This is me. It's a not-so-brief revisitation.

Way back when, I was struggling with finding the good in life and seeing the beautiful that God has placed all around me. In an effort to overcome my depression and recover the joy that I had allowed to be stolen, I made a conscious effort to fix my eyes on the Author and Finisher of my faith and discover Him in whatever occurred. He does say that He is with me wherever I go, after all.

Oh, my, has He been faithful. He says that if we seek Him, we will find Him. He doesn't want to hide; He desires relationship with us so much that He makes Himself evident in everything His hand touches (which is, well, *everything* so He's kinda hard to miss...except to eyes fixed on their own host rather than their Creator.)

In recent days, I have become a bit wrapped up in school year planning, football practices, job stuff, keeping the household running... just the normal lifetime of a busy family. And I have negle…

Breathe In...Breathe Out...

Image
Aaaahhh...doesn't that feel better?

It's been one of those weeks. One of those months, really. Living life at break-neck speed and not necessarily handling the stress well. Most of the causes of the speed have been wonderful blessings: preparing for an awesome new job position for hubby, the return of football season for Mr. 14, purchasing a new scooter for job commuting, gutting storage areas, decluttering, rearranging furniture, getting organized for schooling, tons of research because we now have a direction with our 6-yr-old's autism diagnosis...lots of good stuff happening in our lives. Just stressful.
Some of the craziness has been not-so-good: family members and coworkers going through some tough times that weigh heavily on our hearts, me personally dealing with some wonderful shifts in my hormones that seem to be alerting me that my forties are fast approaching, some parenting challenges...not such fun but not dramatically horrible, either.
It has all reached a tippi…

Grace - Marvelous Grace

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Refrain

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Refrain

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can we do to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.

Refrain

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?


Words: Julia H. Johnston, in Hymns Tried and True (Chi­ca­go, Il­li­nois: The Bi­ble In­sti­tute Col­port­age As­so­ci­a­tion, 1911), num­ber 2.

Music: Daniel B. Towner, 1910


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I have no idea how many times I mouthed the words t…

Melodramatic

How I feel today just feels so melodramatic. I know my life is basically good. I know my family is blessed in a thousand ways. I know that I have personally grown so much and am so thankful for that. And yet...

Today began with bickering kids. Then, I noticed a message on my phone. From my employer. Wondering where I was today... Today? I'm off on Tuesdays. Except for last week when I specifically asked for my day off to be switched to accommodate a doctor's appointment. But that was an exception to the rule. Except that my manager wasn't sure of that and scheduled me identically this week and I failed to notice when the schedule was posted. And, so... the message on my phone that I didn't notice until my shift was almost over.

It is a small thing. A mistake and oversight anyone could have made. A miscommunication that is forgivable. I know this. In fact, my manager forgave me and put me on the schedule for tomorrow as normal. So why can't I let go of it? Why do I f…

Sabbath

A day of rest. A day to look at what God has made and reflect that it is, indeed, "very good."

Today was truly a Sabbath. I'm still a little shocked by it all. Does it ever amaze you when God's presence is almost tangible? When you focus on His Word and experience the power of it? It was one of those days today.

Yesterday was not. Yesterday was full of fighting. Whining. Anger. Frustration. Foiled plans. Yuk.I was NOT a happy mommy.

My wonderful husband sensed this. I think it may have had something to do with the multitude of texts he recieved from me during his workday. Or the mild meltdown he experienced over the phone. Or the twitching eyelid and pronounced, throbbing vein he encountered when I met him at the door upon his arrival home. Whatever subtle hint he picked up on, he decided that it would be wise to have some adult-only time last night. And so we did. The kids got pizza and big brother babysitting. The adults went out for a real meal and some conversation.

Teacher? Student?

Do you ever feel like God only gave you kids so that you could learn from them? They reflect us back to ourselves, say OUT LOUD the things we think so that we can really hear it, and sometimes - I am totally convinced - say the very words that God Himself puts in their mouths for us.

Recent things heard in our household:

"I don't want to say what I really think only to have my face slapped with it."Ouch. That bugs my kids as bad as it bugs me, huh? To be heard...patiently and truly heard...is a beautiful gift.

"AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH! Why do *I* have to get in trouble? He did it first!"Yep. I hear ya. Consequences rot. Especially when you were led into the behavior that earned them. However, you had a choice whether to follow. Learn to think critically and decide for yourself; casting blame is pointless. Yes, Mommy had to learn that the hard way, too.

"Why do I always do that?! I don't want to but I do!"Oh, darlin'. Lord, remind me to respond with c…

Resurrection: to make alive that which was dead

Interesting conversation with the hubby this morning. We were feeling strange - for the second year in a row - because Easter is here and we are doing...nothing special. Nothing religious. No Easter service, no eggs, no baskets, nothing. And we don't feel bad about it. Then Dan told me about a conversation he had with a coworker last night.

The coworker was angry. Really, righteously indignant-type angry. He is a Christian and had to work today. On Easter Sunday. He can't go to church. His take: "It just makes me so mad. As Christians, on Easter, we're supposed to just totally focus on Jesus. And here I have to work instead of being in church and focused on what I'm supposed to focus on."

Dan's response: "I was a minister in churches for 15 years. I worked EVERY Sunday - including EVERY Easter Sunday."

It stopped the coworker in his tracks. That had never occurred to him before. And it was a reminder again to us of how differently we view our walk …

Free Range vs. Fear Filled

Okay, so it's been forever since I've posted. And I have a ton of things to report: new part-time job, new friends at said job, beginning to see how that whole living-your-faith-outside-the-church-organization thing is becoming a reality, great stories about the kids and the hubby... and yet... And yet I'm breaking my long silence for a rant. I'll get back to that stuff, I promise. But I have just got to vent.

When did we become a society that insulated our children, giving them a false security in the belief that if they simply follow the rules no danger will ever befall them? When did we stop realizing that LIFE, if lived properly, involves risk? That such risks are not only worth taking but are VITAL to our growth and development? That through facing risks, we learn wisdom, restraint, acceptance of failure, responsibility, tenacity, resourcefulness...any number of character traits that make life the grand adventure that it should be? To steal a favorite descriptor fr…

In Pursuit of Perfection

WARNING: This is the hashing through of some things God's been working on with me. It is sometimes a bit disjointed. Welcome to the chaos that is my brain...

What is sin, really? How we define it determines how we address it in others - and how we view God's take on it and on us. All of my religious life I've been taught a basic rule: Obedience equals righteousness equals love; disobedience equals sin equals hate. Simple. So I can measure if I'm righteous (pleasing God, measuring up, really love Him) by if I'm being obedient. But I'm not always obedient. In fact, I'm disobedient quite a bit. Which means I'm not measuring up. Which means I'm backslidden. Which means I don't really love Him. Which means I'm guilty. Which means I am condemned. Just ask me; I can tell you that my heart is telling me I'm not good enough - ever. The condemnation is nearly a physical presence. And it's all a logical following from that view of sin based on t…

Torn

I'm feeling terribly torn right now. I want to know but I want no part of it. I'm hurting for my friends but I don't want to take up offenses of others.

What am I talking about, right?

Some background:
I recently spent a little over a week in Texas with a dear friend and her family as they celebrated the marriage of their firstborn. It was a whirlwind of a time full of the event itself, prep, cleanup, visiting and laughing in-between, getting to literally live their lives with them for a week (how fun to get a glimpse -- and whew! I thought we were busy!!). It was such a blessing to be there. To get to talk to them face-to-face after two years of absence. To play with their kids. To share some of the joys and hurts they're going through. Loved the time.

But...it also held a few surreal moments for me. You see, it also put me in a position to attend the church that we left when we decided to leave full-time vocational ministry. My eldest son basically grew up there and was …

It's a Personal Thing

The situation in Haiti has become of personal interest to Dan and I because of relationships with his co-workers. Some of you may not be aware, but Disney World is run with a large population of Haitian workers. It is so great a population that all employment documents are printed in 3 languages: English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole. The effect of this earthquake - it's devastation to entire families - is heart-wrenching. Disney has effectively offered amnesty to any Haitian nationals for days off of work; they are calling in daily and there are no reprimands at all as they try to spend their time tracking down family. Communications have been difficult at best.

One of Dan's coworkers has heard nothing about her family, but chooses to come in to work anyway rather than sit idly in her apartment worrying. Another has had her uncle call in for her every day since the tragedy because she is so distraught; her friend in Haiti was able to send her news that she has likely lost her *…