Saturday, July 23, 2011

Special Thanks....

Dan and I had been believing God for a couple of items. We didn't have the extra for them. Through the course of several events the money came forth. God is so faithful! We were able to get what we needed. I wanted to say a special thanks to the Best Buy crew, Jose and Dora who work at the store on Osceola Parkway. They hooked us up with some extra savings and good customer serivce.

Philippians 4:19(NIV)
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Warning Legos Ahead

In my opinion, Tim Hawkins is one of the funniest comedians out there. If you have never heard of him I highly recommend you go to you tube and stick his name in the search engine. About an hour later, you will still be setting there with aching sides in tears. He‘s so funny. He has got a bit that I have been thinking about the spiritual applications of it for today’s blog.

Here is the link for the sketch:

If you have young children, you know exactly the scenario in which he is talking. Those little toys inevitably find there way into the crevices of your carpet, and you do not realize it until it is one in the morning and you are up to go to the bathroom. How many of us have found ourselves at the mercy of a stupid McDonald’s toy or Lego at the break of dawn. It would be a great way to fight terrorism. :-)

There are things as we walk in life that are set up to trap us when we least expect it. The devil would like nothing more to wait until we are in a place of non suspecting and trip us up over something stupid. I am speaking now in a terms of going throughout your day. Maybe there is something that God has had it on your heart to deal with in your past, and you refuse to, so you brush it off to the side thinking you will not have to. The devil knows the buttons to push to get you in a place of defeat, and will set things up to do that. Maybe your lego may be something in your future that would just not look good, maybe an ambush is coming. God wants to show you those things so that you can be on your guard and avoid it all together.

While it may feel sometimes that, we are susceptible to whatever may be thrown our way, which is not true. God wants to show you what traps may be ahead.

The Bible says in Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

God’s word both: The Bible (first) and His prophetic word (second) want to illuminate your path. God’s word is a flashlight if you will. He wants to show you ahead of time what is in your way, so that one month, six months, or 10 years down the road you will not step on the “lego”, fall in the pit, or settle for the trap. So often we ignore the warnings, and keep barreling through life. That is when we can find ourselves in serious trouble.

Some people think that going through life is like being in that dark room. Let got turn the light on! It is so sad that people have seemingly lost their love of the word of God. Too few people really know what the Bible says. Keep the light on in your life, by spending time with God in the word and by hearing His voice. Do not just take what other people say the Bible says as fact. Go and look it up for yourself. Let God illuminate His truth, His plan, and your future.

God has awesome plans for your life. Let Him turn the flashlight onto your future. Go where He says to go, and avoid anything that is in your way. Get excited for what He is doing.

*I will be doing some traveling in the next few weeks. I might write a blog while I am traveling but am not sure yet. Therefore, for the next few weeks the blogs may not be consistent. However, as always I will be back. We are continuing to pray that God opens doors for our lives that no man can open and He closes the ones He wants closed. Be blessed.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Tribute To My Very Dear Friends: The Ferguson's

It’s been an emotionally charged weekend. Some very dear friends of mine were officially launched out from our church to pioneer a church in Minnesota. While this was a direction I knew would eventually happen, and had been bathed in prayer by many it was still hard to say goodbye. Knowing something is the will of God doesn’t always make it easy. I had thought I was going to be okay. I was so excited for them to be stepping into what is God’s will, but I started to get emotional on Saturday when their dining room table went into the moving van, and all I could think about is how much Natasha negotiated with the sales person when she bought it. I watched as we loaded the truck and saw the stool I made for one of their kids before he was born. It was if I was moving because I could see years of memories in that truck.

When Dan and I moved across the country to FL in 2000 God led us to Freedom Life Church. Dan and I had no family here and no friends. We were unknown. It was a difficult time in our lives. There was a core of people that were raised up and trained in the church about the same time. The Fergusons are part of that core. I have come to look over the years to them as my big brother and big sister in the Lord. I consider them as part of my family. On Easter one year Natasha knew we were bummed about missing our family in the North, so she wrote us a cheesy song and came over to sing it to us. Ever since that year we’ve spent Easter at their house. There was a time when we first moved here that I went through a very dark period. Few people know that I spent days at the Ferguson’s house. Where she talked to me, counseled me, and I always say she helped me become a better wife and mother. She helped me to truly learn that ministry comes after my husband and children. There were days were Dan struggled in some areas and Jeff became a sounding board for him. Since I don’t have family in the area they were the next in line to call if my kids had an issue in school and the school couldn’t reach us.

I wrote in a book once that it was as if people leave you pieces of fabric in your life and in turn you leave pieces with them. Its as if together all those pieces will make up a quilt of who you are as a person. Sometimes people leave a larger or smaller piece than what you think they should, but all in all it makes up you. Jeff and Natasha have left a very large piece of fabric in the quilt of my life.

Saying goodbye to them has been, as one woman put it, the very definition of bitter sweet. I am both excited to see what God is doing and sad to see them go.

Proverbs 18:24 (MSG)
“Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.”

The beauty of all of this is knowing that there is a bunch of people in MN that are going to be so blessed to get such awesome pastors. This is God’s will and He’s bringing it to pass. I know we’ll see each other again. I am excited for what God is doing. It’s kind of like this core group of people are all starting to graduate from school, if you will, and stepping into the places God has ordained for them. It’s exciting to watch.

So I close you with the thought if you’re ever in Alexandria, Minnesota and you need to find a good church in the area, look up Spirit Life Church with senior pastors Jeff and Natasha Ferguson. I promise you that you’ll be glad you did.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Saying Goodbye To The Futon

When Dan and I first met, he did not have a bed to sleep on. Long story short he had plans to get one once he was settled but that took some extra time doing and an extra move. Eventually he purchased a queen-sized futon. It is weird sometimes the things one can become sentimentally attached to in life. That futon was our first couch after we were married. When we moved across country, we rolled the mattress up in the back seat and slept on it until the rest of it made the journey. It was my oldest daughter’s first bed after she had outgrown the crib and she did not like her bed. It spent some time in my youngest daughter’s nursery. I can easily think of half a dozen memories. That futon had been good to us.

We knew it was time to let it go. We have gotten a bit more furniture over the years, and we just did not have the space for it. Therefore, despite the small paint smudges on the armrests from Dan when he was in art school, we sold it on Craiglist. It went to someone who had really wanted a futon. It was right. I know it sounds so silly how emotionally attached I was to this piece of furniture. I kind of felt I had been through a war the last 12 years and the futon had been through all of it with us in the midst of it.

Recently I read a prophetic word that someone had received and I believe it was accurate. It was talking about transition and how it was the old way that was going to try to buck the new. It was speaking of how it was important to do what God is telling you and not to fight against what He is doing. It is funny as I read that I had to laugh at myself. Dan and I have gone through some things in the last few years on a personal level that is so much in this same learning to embrace the new. It is kind of like my love of the futon. I had to let it go in order to make room for the new thing that is supposed to go in its place.

Letting go of what is old and comfortable is never easy. It can stretch you and make you cry. However, I have been thinking a lot about this. I think the root of holding onto the old is fear. The new thing coming is probably better, especially if God is telling you it is. So you have to trust him that you can let go of the old and it will be okay.

2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Are you going to choose to hold onto the old just because it is comfortable? Or are you going to choose to grab hold of the new and trust God. Are you going to trust God beyond what is comfortable and easy?

A dear friend of mine reminded me that I will always have the memories with the futon, but I cannot hold onto it for memories because the memories on in my mind. As God leads you, let go of the old mindsets, mental patterns, stuff in your life that will hold you back from moving forward in Him. Let go of those things that will keep you down, and grab tightly to what He is doing. You cannot put new wine in old wineskins! (Luke 5:37) God has awesome plans for your life, so get excited.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bent Nails and Frustration

On Saturday we took the girls to the Lowe’s kids build and grow workshop. Their fun and free and those two f words are speaking my language. We’ve taken the girls to ones before and it’s always been a nice outing. In this one we were building wooden tow trucks. Really the kits aren’t too hard. Dan took one of the girls to help her, and I had the other. When I was in college I worked in a set studio and build sets for theatre. I know my way around a hammer and nails…at least I think I do, surely I could assist my youngest daughter in building a little toy tow truck.

However I began to get very frustrated. The nails kept bending as I tried to attach the crank onto the toy. The sound of crying children and little hammers banging rang in my ears, and I love my daughter, but I had been hit a dozen too many times with a hammer as she tried to build this tow truck. My daughter was growing impatient and at that moment I bent yet another nail.

“That’s it Dan you need to help.” I used my words as sweet as I could, but I was about to flesh out in a frustrated downward spiral and I knew I needed a minute. Dan graciously came over to finish the younger daughters tow truck as I assisted the oldest in hers.

Bent nails, children whining, loud noises repeatedly, and demanding people can really mess with the moment if you let it. I could have screamed, acted like a crazy woman and waited for Lowe’s to send in a straight jacket OR, I could admit that I was about to burst, and quietly take a moment to calm down and return to sanity. I choose the later and I’m glad I did. Dan was very gracious that day. He not only helped me, but another mother next to me who was in about the same place I was emotionally.

When things get to you, you have to learn how to control yourself. I can’t say I’m perfect at this, but I like to think I’m getting better. Practicing love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, and self-control isn’t easy. (Galatians 5:22-23) It’s a constant decision. The memory my children made making a tow truck with mom and dad is a better memory than them remembering they went to make a tow truck and mom threw the truck at a mother who wouldn’t discipline her child when he threw a temper tantrum. Really the first option has a better result.

Remember as you go through life, bent nails happen. But you choose what the result will be in the end. If you can’t just walk away for a moment, start praying for peace. It’s your choice. Make a wise one.

**Which I will add I still love these workshops....I was just having a moment!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Is Your Shoe Buried In The Sand?

To celebrate our 4th of July we were out at a lakefront close to where we live. There were booths set up in fair style and the booth for our church that we were helping at was right next to the beach area of the lakefront.

My girls were playing in the sand and Dan and I kept an eye on them. All seemed well. They were happy playing and we could do what we had to do.

Until I looked over and saw the girls were frantically searching for something. My youngest daughter had buried someone else’s shoe in the sand and forgot where she buried it. Fortunately the owner of the shoe wasn’t a random stranger but the shoe was missing no where to be seen.

“What?” I started to panic as I glance on to the rolls of beach before me. “What do you mean you forgot where it is? You can’t just loose peoples shoes in the beach!”

I stopped what I was doing and began searching. A perfect stranger who was setting on the ledge started to search with me. I could only guess that she was a mother and understood what was going through my mind at the moment. Her support of my cause surprised me. She didn’t know who we were but was willing to dig around wherever my kids had been playing to look for the missing shoe. The shoe had really been buried it took us both several minutes to find. Alas we pulled the green flip flop out of several inches of sand.

The woman’s generosity to help surprised me. She didn’t know us, but she cared enough to help. What she did was just the nice thing to do, but sadly it seems to be something that is dripping out of our culture like a leaking water balloon.

Matthew 7:12 (MSG)
12"Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God's Law and Prophets and this is what you get.

Jesus put a lot of stock into doing for others what you would want others to do to you. He said it was the ‘summation of all the commandments’ (that’s in my own words). He said first to love people and then to do to them what you would want them to do to you. He also says several times in the word that you will reap what you sow.

So why is politeness, common courtesy and genuine love for people so lacking in our world? I don’t have all the answers. I do think that we get so caught up in our own drama that we forget to see the world around us. What that woman did for us by helping us find the missing shoe was so simple, but yet she was fulfilling the very words of Jesus. She was being nice to the world around her. It could have been easy for her to just watch us look for the shoe. I probably would have found it anyway eventually, but she cared enough to lend a hand.

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that can mean all the difference to the world around you. Are you treating people the way you want to be treated or are you walking by them with vague indifference?

God does have awesome plans for you, but he has awesome plans for the world around you too. What can you do to make a difference?

*BTW that is grammatically accurate because only one shoe was buried in the sand. We knew where the other one was. :-)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Back To The Turkey Leg

The story of a prop my husband made in college has become infamous in my lore of my family.

Dan had a class in school in which they were required to make a prop my using a mold. My husband opted for molding a real turkey leg. I remember when he did this because I was in his apartment when he opened that mold. Somehow, I had this notion that he had molded a fake one, and when the mold opened and it looked so real, it took me a bit to realize what he’d done.

The turkey leg became a part of all our moves. As we moved across country, it slowly worked its way into a funny topic of conversation in our living room. It did look like a real turkey leg. Finally, Dan decided to put it on his desk at work.

A few years ago, a film crew came to Dan’s work to film a documentary. Really, Dan had not thought much of it. Having film crews where he works showing up is not too uncommon. One of the of the documentary saw the turkey leg on his desk. Evidently, he had been looking for one.
“I’m in a one man show and we need a turkey leg for a prop.” This actor started to explain.
“Oh, well I made that in school.”
“Would you be interested in selling that?”
“No. You can have it.”
“Thank you! Do you like the Back To The Future Movies?”
“Uhh Yeah”

So the conversation went somewhat to that effect. Dan really did not think much of the conversation. He just thought it was funny and somewhat coincidental that someone was going to use the turkey leg. He was glad it was going to a good home.

The day went on; Dan realized he had a present on his desk. It turned out the actor that Dan had talked to was Jeffrey Weissman who had played George McFly in Back To the Future 2 and 3. We never realized there was a different actor for 2 and 3, than in the first one. As a result, We now have several picts from the show signed. Mr. Weissman was nice enough to leave Dan a gift of picts on his desk one signed, ‘Thanks for the turkey leg’ or something to that effect. We really should hang them and put them up in the house. The whole turkey leg meets George McFly is really a funny story.

I am not about to say this whole thing was some divine connection or encounter. It just kind of all happened. But sometimes these kind of things happen and they really are divine inspired. I’m of the school of thought that I really don’t believe in coincidences. I think a lot of things in life are divinely ordered.

I do always say that often times the things of God can just be ‘I meant to do that moments’. Often when you are living your life for the Lord, you can make decision that you do not understand why you are just led to go that direction, and then later find out why. One thing leads to another and you realize it has been God all along. You have to learn living your life for the Lord to be lead by what God is doing. Sometimes you will know for sure God is calling you to do something and sometimes things can appear random, but you have to learn to ‘go with it’!

Romans 8:14 (NIV)
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)
21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Trust in God as He leads you on the course of your life. You never know what is going to happen, but God is faithful to you and it will be well. He has awesome plans for your life, so get excited!

*This is a picture of the infamous turkey leg, and a small chicken that he did once too.