Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Going Amish

During our trip to my Ohio homeland, the girls, my mom, dad, grandfather and myself went to visit a small Amish store about a half and hour from my parents house. This is always a really nice change of pace for me. In this small store you can buy homemade pies, baked goods, Amish cheese, candies, and some knitted items I believe. It’s really a small building on the edge of a working Amish farm. My favorite story of visiting once happened several years ago. My husband and I asked the woman if they had a loaf of bread we could buy, and she opened up the wood burning stove and took out a freshly baked loaf with her bare hands. I had to giggle when she put it on the counter in front of us.

I had a picture I took outside their barn but it would upload right on the blogger post so I grabbed another similar online. I really wanted to grab a shot of a little boy who was my youngest daughters age because the he was adorable and really caught her eye, however due to my knowledge of their beliefs against pictures of themselves I didn’t want to disrespect that.

While I personally believe the Amish faith is really religious, I do think there are a lot of things they do right if you study their core beliefs. The whole concept is a desire to get back to the more simple things in life. The concept is not living in the world. Their desire is that God comes first and then family and everything else is just a distraction. In that sense I can really respect them.

I am not suggesting we all return to the farm and wear Amish gear. I have long sense come to the conclusion that I would have been a horrible Amish woman and farmer’s wife. However what I am suggesting is that we all take some moments in the chaos of life and return to the core of living our lives for God. We return to the simplicity of who God is, and what Jesus did for us on the cross. I am suggesting for a few moments we shut off the TV, close down the internet, and ignore the texting. I am suggesting we take a deep breath and return to our first love. We return to the focus of Jesus Christ.

Perhaps John 3:16 is the most well known scripture, but it always needs repeating.

John 3:16 (NIV)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Life doesn’t always have to be so complicated. We make it so. Return to the simplicity of who we are in Him. Take some moments today; schedule it in if you have to, to talk to God. Leave the stress at the door, and take comfort in Him. I for one am typing this blog enjoying my favorite Canadian green tea just thinking about the goodness of God. We always need a moment in life to return mentally and spiritually to the simplicity of who God is, and He is greatly to be praised. God has awesome plans for your life, so get excited.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Making Grass Angels

When we were in the North my kids got excited when the grass tickled there feet around their sandals, and I’ll confess so did I. Having grown up in the North grass to me is soft, lush and green. It’s not filled with fire ants, and it’s something that if I wanted to run out barefoot I could. My girls got so excited they began rolling in the grass making grass angels and giggling. They were joking that instead of snow angels they were making grass angels. It was a wonderful few moments of childhood where I’ll confess while I didn’t join them rolling in the grass I did take off my shoes just to feel what grass, in my mind, is supposed to feel like. The sweet refrain of innocence and childhood left it’s melodious fragrance in the air and we all enjoyed it.

It’s not been comfortable for us to live so far away of what we grew up with and what we feel is comfortable. What’s comfortable to me in the last (almost 11 now) years has been replace with the difficult uncomfortable trials. I don’t want to say that it’s always been hard, or woe is me. However it’s not been easy. Sadly many people misunderstand the will of God. They think just because a door opens up and something will be comfortable for them, then it must be God. I have news for you, comfort cannot be a determining factor on what the will of God is or is not. You have to use discernment. You have to see God’s will on the matter, and go with what He’s saying despite your level of comfort. Many times, things God calls us to do aren’t always easy.

If you want to go forward and be all and do all God called you to be and do, there will be times it won’t be easy. This is where many people simply give up. There will be times where you feel your under pressure, the heat has been turned up, and you feel pulled in every direction. However without the pressure diamonds are not formed, without the heat gold cannot be purified, and without the pulling taffy would just be a pile of goo. You have to go through the process to get to where God wants you to go. Following the will of God isn’t always hard, but it isn’t always easy either.

1 Peter 4:12 (MSG)
Glory Just Around the Corner
12-13Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.

Be encouraged if things are difficult God is refining you and you are going to see the breakthrough that He wants for you. It may be slow in coming forth, but God is faithful. He’s maturing you and bringing you through the process. Even if it’s a little difficult, and you know this is what God called you to do, stick with it! Keep on standing even if the grass your standing in is uncomfortable! Keep standing! You will see breakthrough! God has awesome plans for your life, so get excited!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


While we were up in Canada visiting family, we helped to decorate for a preschooler’s birthday party. We jumped into filling the balloons and decorating with gusto. There was a helium tank available, so we used it up thinking we’d done a good thing. Until we realized that a couple of metallic helium balloons had been purchased specifically for the helium tank, and we were now completely out of helium. Given the chaotic environment it would have been a really convenient time to start freaking out about a problem so minor. However my husband and I didn’t let it get to us. The balloons were quickly filled with a bicycle pump, and then I taped them on the banister. No one would have ever realized the mistake. We kept our task before us and kept plowing through any issues that seemed to arise. For the most part the family birthday party turned out very well. Though I’ve been joking that I have sense discovered the Canadian equivalent to water boarding torture. . .it’s hours on end of listening to Barney-esk songs with screaming preschoolers. Let’s face it, after a few hours of that I would have told anyone anything they wanted to hear. (LOL, it’s a joke…you can laugh now.)

So many times people get so frustrated and bent out of shape when things aren’t going the way they had envisioned. One minor detail like the lack of helium can spin them into a whirlwind of chaos and confusion. This is usually when parents start snapping at kids and spouses turn on the ugly button. Really it’s not the other person, one is mad at, it’s just the situation. These small scenarios’ can quickly turn into huge catastrophe’s if one let’s the situation run wild.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)
5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Which means in my own words, stop the drama! It’s not the end of the world if something doesn’t go the way you planned. It’s not worth the drama to continue to react. It’s not worth an argument. You have to pursue peace with each other. Even if you feel you are demolishing arguments more than the other person. We’ve all been in those kinds of situations. But the choice is yours. Will you keep moving forward and pursue peace or will you let your emotions run wild.

Psalm 34:14 (NIV)
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

So there are my thoughts for the day. Pursue peace even when it’s not easy. The balloons on the banister looked like we meant to do it. You have to keep going forward in life. Forget what you thought you wanted, or the way you meant it to look. Make the best out of what you have in front of you. The life you have and the family around you is a gift. Ultimately do you want them to remember a healthy loving time, or one that is filled with a crazy roller coaster of emotions? The drama just isn’t worth it. Pursue peace!

Monday, August 22, 2011

My Emotional Week

It has been a difficult week for me and I thought I would share. It is always hard on me leaving the North after I have been there for an extended period. It is mixed with emotions and difficulties of readjusting our mindsets that we are continuing to commit to be where God wants us. Then this morning both my daughters started school. That is right. I said both. My baby started kindergarten and my oldest 5th grade.

Over 10 years ago when Dan and I felt that I needed to stay at home with the girls for that season of time, it was not an easy choice. I tried to come up with all the excuses why it was unrealistic, but really, we knew it was what we felt God wanted us to do. I struggled for several years with that choice. Sometimes it can feel like seasons last a lifetime and it continued to be an on again off again struggle. Sure sending my oldest to school for the first time was difficult, but this time it was harder because my youngest is my baby.

This morning as I drove to the school with tears pooling in my eyes, I realized as challenge filled staying home with the girls had been, God had given me a gift. I had gotten the opportunity to be there with them as their primary educator, doctor, dietitian trainer, comedian, play dough sculptor and tent maker for the first five years of their lives. I realized had I made the choice to be working a fulltime job in all those years I would not have gotten that gift. I am not going to start saying women cannot work. You have to do what you feel God wants you to do. However, in my case I realized how much of a gift it had been for our family.

Therefore, while I set here and cry at the emptiness and silence of our house, I can truly set back and say God knew what He was doing all along.

Romans 8:28 (NIV)
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

I know I have to keep trusting Him. He knows what is next in the season of our lives. I have to keep doing my part, but He has it all worked out. It will be nice to get to spend some time with God without being interrupted every two seconds.

Today I think I will go for a jog, it will be a change to run without Cat In The Hat playing in the background, and then clean out my closet that has needed to be done for months.

I know it will be well. But that does not mean I did not cry. As I have said before, “Not embracing change is like standing in the middle of a busy highway wondering why you get hit in the traffic. You just have to go with it.” Today with tears in my eyes, I am going with it. Remember to go with what God is doing in your life. Don’t set back and get hit in the highway. He’s got awesome plans for you, so get excited!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Me and My Minty Fresh Feet

Yesterday my family and I returned from a long stay in the North. I have to confess that while God has moved me out of the North for this season in my life, deep down I’m a Northerner. I always love a chance to spend time with my family, run through the soft grass without fire ants, watching the rows of corn on the side of the road, and eating fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden. I totally get snowbirds, and while I don’t miss winter I could really move closer to the North.

There was a problem though. This spring was very wet and the bugs were out in droves. Every time we were out in the perfect, almost zero humidity, 80 degree weather the bugs felt it was feeding time. We were constantly finding big bites we didn’t even know about.

While we were in Canada a realitive suggested toothpaste was good for bites. Really it wasn’t even a conversation I was in, and I only half heard what she’d said. I didn’t want to be rude. I thought that was one of the silliest things I’d every heard. Rubbing toothpaste on bug bites? Really? I figured it was probably some old wives solution that would have no merit.

However the next morning I woke up desperate. My feet must of tasted good to some bugs because I was itching and desperate. So I tried the toothpaste. As a result you can see the picture of my minty fresh feet.

Does toothpaste make for a good relief of bug bites? Yup. It absolutely does. I was the one who was wrong. While I thought the solution would be antiquated and have no use. It’s actually a really good idea.

Sadly many people look at the words and wisdom in the Bible as the same way I looked at the toothpaste. They think that the word of God is a bunch of old wives tales and legends. They think it’s got no use for today’s society. Just like I was wrong in my thinking, so is that kind of thinking wrong.

The Bible isn’t antiquated and it isn’t a bunch of silly fairy tales. It’s alive. It is truth!

Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart

It may seem foolish and backwards but it’s truth!

1 Corinthians 1:27 (KJV)
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty

Realize that there are a lot of things that you may not know in life. Look to the Bible to find it! The solutions might seem a little old fashioned to you, but the word of God works! Be encouraged today, He is faithful to you!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Do You Feel Like Semi's Have You Trapped?

I had some time and felt to write a blog. Though I’m still taking a break and will not be consistent for a few more weeks I felt to write this. I hope it helps some out there.

Last week I drove/rode across country overnight. I am not a big fan of driving for long distances especially when it‘s overnight and everyone is tired. In fact I’ve been joking with Dan we need to start believing God for a jet for the ministry. I just don’t do well in a car for long lengths. I start feeling as if I’m in a box, and I get restless.

While it was my turn to drive it was as if the semi’s were playing ping pong ball with the truck I was in. That is personally a big fear moment for me when I’m between a median and a semi. I don’t know why it’s always freaked me out. I’m stuck between the two with really no where to go in case of an emergency. What is worse is when there is one behind you and one in front of you. It seems no matter where you go your stuck there driving at the speed that they all feel you need to. You have to just keep going.

A lot of times in life in can feel as if your stuck in a place like that. I have been doing a lot of soul searching recently and on a joking level have decided I’m normal-phobic. Fear of being normal. Whenever I feel normalcy start to creep up on me it’s like I just cringe and hate having to deal with it. Situations like that can make me feel as if I’m trapped for a time.

However just like when your tapped in with the semi’s you have to keep going. You have to stick with where you are or you could cause a big accident to those around you. Going at that pace may make you nervous, but you have to just keep going.

My sister found this quote. I don’t know who said it but I love it.

"So humble yourself: stay where you are, say yes when you want to say no, do what God wants, listen to the criticism, endure the injustice, embrace the unfairness, take up the cross, suffer the shame-and enter into resurrection. This alone is what will make you the leader God created you to be."
2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Philippians 3:14 (NIV)
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus

There is no reason to get afraid when you feel like your trapped around semi’s. There is no reason to be afraid when God calls you to do something. Eventually those semi’s will break loose. Eventually the time will come for you to be able to zip around them. But for the moment you have to keep going for your safety, and those around you.

Stay on track. Stick with the road. Keep your eyes on Jesus, and press forward. The journey will be worth it. God has awesome plans for your life, so get excited!