Thursday, September 12, 2013


SLOW. STILL. DO WITH GOD.As the last school year ended, I recognized that I need to stay active with my kiddos' schools and stay involved in the parent volunteer groups. That is me- a mom, a teacher at heart, and a servant to the teachers, kids and other parents in my family's life. More importantly, I recognized that my first and most ministry is right within my four walls, behind my front door- my husband and two sweet priority blessings. I confess all that because last year, I was scrambling to keep up with laundry and other house hold chores plus meal planning and cooking. It often all got behind and I resorted to fast food or expensive deli food all to often. Too often it was a "Hurry Up or Else" atmosphere and I well know that hurry hurts those hearts I cherish. Mom was sporting some major Mama Drama and it wasn't very pretty at times. With all of the stuff I was scheduling for me and it was good stuff to help my kids and their school, I lost track of what I should be focused on most of my time- my family and home's upkeep and edification, keeping myself in good condition physically, spiritually and creatively, plus have that time of service and involvement. I think that when I can get a good rhythm of all of this, I can handle the surprise attacks by Satan when they come with more strength and wisdom, clearer thinking and focus on God's provision and power. I have access to lots of blogs, Pintrests and resources that tell me how to be a good mom, wife, meal plan, exercise, spend time daily with God in scripture. I have the knowledge and encouragement in my inbox. What I need is the resolution to SLOW. Be STILL and then DO WITH GOD. I need to slow down, be still and ask God if this is what I should be doing. If so, then do it with His help for His Glory. So my first step has been to be very careful in saying "Yes" to anything. I resisted the urge to sign up for more than two parties/activities for each kiddo's class during Open House. I have taken on a leadership role in one of the school's PTO board but have not jumped in to chair any events. Although I know that I will be very active on at least two of the events toward the end of the year, but those events are a multi-school events and lots of the planning and implementation is shared- work but not too bad. I feel good about what I have committed my energies, brain power and time to so far. I have reached out to the three teachers my kids have and offered my time to help them. I think this is very important since they spend so much time, energy and work with my kids. I need to use my teacher and mommy talents to help these ladies be successful and to directly help the kids, especially mine. This time will be sporadic but is the most important volunteer time I can give. The next step is spending time daily in reading scripture, memorization and lots of prayer. One day a week, I have planned to do a Beth Moore study of Paul with a group of ladies at another local church. I look forward to the time with other Jesus girls, Beth's southern accent (miss hearing that) and the challenge she gives me in her studies. I have become a student of prayer- specifically praying scripture in the last year. Praying is something I find that I do throughout my day. Little thoughts and prayers of thankfulness and petitions as I unload the dishwasher, fold laundry, drive to the grocery, wake up in the middle of the night, as the last bus pulls away... Just small prayers in the day. I am not always great about getting up early to set my day right before the rest rise, I am working on that part of my day. But I am consciously and intently ensuring that I have time to STOP. STILL and DO WITH GOD. Next step is the home front. Getting the chores and meals in control...Organizing my menus and making delicious and nutritious meals is important. I have SO.Many.Recipes. all good but narrowing it down to the doable and to what my family will eat- (one doesn't do tomatoes or a lot of meat). Again, well-equipped with information. Chores and schedules are also a challenge. We are getting there now that school is getting fully underway and routines of homework and soccer practice, violin and piano practice are coming together along with my limited commitments in the day. I have figured out that the earlier I get my chores accomplished the better. Going back to a daily chore list and working on eliminating clutter in small increments is my challenge for each week. Finally, scheduling time for me to do the things that focus on what I need physically and getting my creative juices flowing again. It is all about the scheduling. I must intentionally carve out a chunk of time each day to allow myself to take care of my body. I need to make certain that as I get settled into middle age that I move more. My body needs good food and good movement. I know that my sleepy and sluggish moods will get better. I will feel more energized to get the chores done, get food prepared, stay awake and more alert during my time with God reading and praying, I will sleep better at night, wake earlier and more rested and ready for what the day brings, happier, less Mama Drama, more relaxed and slower, intentional, present with my kiddos and husband. I need to exercise. I need to take time to take care of this one body I have been given. I need to take a little time each day to care for it so it doesn't wear out before time and age take its natural toll. I also have committed to working on a true hobby, scrapbooking. Yep, I am one of those girls. I even still want to complete albums the old-fashioned way, by hand with stickers, die cuts, and paper cutting. My kids have great adventures to remember and I NEED to do this for them and for me. So while I take time to commit in writing my plans for this school year, I am actively pursuing and implementing plans to accomplish this SLOW, STILL and DO WITH GOD plan. One thing I am going to participate in is the PEAK 313 FITNESS "LIVING and ACTIVE CHALLENGE". When I moved to Ohio, God provided me with a new group of bloggy mommas to encourage me- All from Ohio! Yep, keeping my Southern Girls in the inbox, but it is nice to know that just 30 minutes to 3 hours away are some mommas of like-mind to encourage me, give me great recipes, and often a reminder to "put on my big girl panties" and just get over it. Okay, the last saying is from my Southern Jesus girls, but the Ohio girls can say it in other words. I love that God has provided encouragement and help. Clare is my daughter's hero, because she know Candace Cameron-Bure! Oh, yes!! Full House fans here! But I think Clare is amazing because she seems to have a healthy balance in exercising, eating right, and family time all wrapped up in God's guidance and wisdom. I would love to join her Pilates classes sometime. I miss Pilates! But for now, I am going to schedule in at least 25 minutes a day - aiming for 5 days a week, but the challenge is for 4- to exercise, get moving! Her devotional thoughts are an added bonus! So "putting on my big girl panties", and strapping on the tennis shoes. Going to enjoy the cooler temperatures here in Northeast Ohio, spend some time moving with a friend two days a week and the other days moving with God as my walking partner- we have lots to talk about. Other days and times I would like to add in a Pilates video, although it is not the same as a group class. SIGH- would love to join Clare sometime.... and then her fitness challenges and routines are a definite must try. A great plan- now with God's help as I SLOW and STILL, I will be able to DO WITH GOD and might I add FOR HIM.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mountains Shaken and Hills Removed

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on You. Isaiah 54:10 I have never experienced an earthquake before. I don't think I would care for it at all. I have heard stories of things falling off the walls and shelves, cracks in walls, bricks crumbling, and beds moving while one slumbers before jolted awake by the unnatural movement of just a few minutes. I have seen hills removed- removed by huge bulldozers to make way for a new road or a new subdivision or shopping mall. It seems so sad that something that was naturally there, is pushed away by such a powerful machine in just a short time. All of these events seem very dramatic and tragic. They both require great force and all can happen in such a short time. The landscape or structures can be radically changed or even taken away. Both leave people with a sense of change and insecurity and maybe with the hope of something new and better? I think that life is a lot like those shaken mountains and disappearing hills. I am rolling along, quite comfortable and confident in myself, Happy and fairly content with my life. Sure there are things that I need to change and improve. I may even be trying to do those improvements and changes when out of nowhere my mountain is shaking violently. Things and people that I treasure are threatened to be crushed, shattered, destroyed. Cracks in my foundation are exposed and growing, the very bricks of my reputation, influence and relationships are at risk of crumbling. My bed from which I slumbered is moving and I have no control. I am terrified! The hills of my peaceful, untroubled life are being shoved violently and forcefully way to just a wash of dirt. Oh, the dirt is exposed and not formed up in some nice pretty hill to gaze upon. Again, I am terrified! You see, while I haven't anything to really complain about in life- I have been sooooo blessed! I don't like it when my life is threatened. It exposes the sin of my life that I keep buried. The things that I put on a shelf or covered over with sheet rock and paint. My sins of pride, self-sufficiency, disobedience and not submitting are exposed and laid out. These sins threaten my loved ones as well. It is times like these that I am pushed to my knees in terror and panic, pleading with God for His rescue and help. All the past attempts to do better and make improvements seem pitiful. It doesn't matter how good my intentions were or how diligent I was in pursuing them, they seem too little, too late. I am thrown to the floor, prostrate and humbled before God, pleading for His mercy and compassion. He promises unfailing love and peace for those that seek Him and call upon Him. I know that with all tragedy and difficulties, there can be good that comes from it. That is hope. I have hope that as these mountains shake, rattle and roll and as the hills are moved in my life that I can draw closer to God. That I make the changes that should have been already made a permanent change in my life. I just pray that the damage is limited to just me and not to those I hold dearest in this world. I am encouraged with hope, fortifying with prayer and total humbleness, but still terrified. Find rest, O my soul, in God alone: my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:5-6

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


The first of every new year, people make lots of resolutions. Resolutions to lose weight, spend less, save more, take more time to enjoy the family, read the classics or complete some other goal. I definitely could benefit from all of those things! However, the last couple of years, I have tried to focus on a heart issue that underlies each of the specific goals of my upcoming year. It isn't until I address the heart behind each goal that I can make a change. Also, I know that just like meeting any of the specific action goals, I need to be consistent and persistent in my heart work. I love Lysa Terkeurst's phrase, "imperfect progress". I can make strides toward improvement, but because I am not perfect, I will make slip ups. I just need to keep on trying. So this year, my year's word is "Resolved". I know resolutions is a derivitive of resolved. But I chose resolved from one of my favorite stories in the Bible. In 2 Chronicles, when Jehoshaphat was warned about several enemies joining forces and coming to make war on him and the people of Judah, Jehoshaphat was alarmed but resolved to inquire of the Lord (vs. 3) I love that! This was a good bit more than just a minor inconvenience or problem. This was a big deal! This was real trouble coming and intent on doing him great harm. Jehoshaphat was more than just concerned. He was alarmed! I imagine the he felt the way I have felt when my children are in harm's way, real or perceived. I am unsettled, not able to rest, totally undone. But instead of being frantic or panicking, what did Jehoshaphat do? Why he RESOLVED to inquire of the Lord! He was intentional in in his action and that action involved not solving this huge ginormous problem his own way but God's way. Other versions of the Bible say he "turned his attention to seek God" (NASB), he "decided to ask the Lord for advice" (NIRV), he "set himself to seek..."(ASV,NRSV, NKJV, he "set himself determinedly, as his vital need to seek" (AMP), he "begged the Lord for guidance" (NLT), he "decided to seek..." (CEB, NET), he "decided to ask..." (NCV), he "asked the Lord what to do" (EXB), he "decided to call..." (NLV). All of these translations show that Jehoshaphat made an intentional decision to seriously seek, beg, ask, depend on God for what he should do. How many times do I have some area of my life that I want to improve or change and not set myself to seek- determinedly seek, ask, beg God for what I need to do or not do in the specific area? I will often say I need to ask God to be my help, my portion, to make me strong where I am weak. But do I ask Him, beg him, set myself, my attention on God's advice, His wisdom and instruction. I want this year to be the year that I resolve to seek God's advice on big and small things. I want to turn my attention and beg God to help me, guide me in all aspects of my life. It is a big deal that Satan is constantly sending enemies to attack and destroy me. Some of those enemies are from the outside and some are from the inside. I know who or what some of these enemies look like. I have been battling them for so long, but there are others that are ready to ambush me. I should be alarmed knowing that each day could bring some attack that pulls me away from God's safety, but I should be resolved that each day, I will seek God's guidance to fight off the enemy. Lord, You are a great and mighty God! You knew me before while I was in my mother's womb. You know my every thought, my every motive, my every action before I ever do them. You know my heart. I praise You for Your wisdom, grace and love. It is my prayer this year that I will be resolved to seek You in all things. Before I make decisions regarding commitments of time, money issues, responses in parenting and marriage relationships, and health decisions that I ask for Your guidance, Your will be made known to me. I know that I need to intentionally make time every morning to sit quietly with You in prayer and reading. I know that before I trade shouts with the world, I need, so need to trade whispers with You. I don't want to become alarmed and frantic in some unexpected life situation. You don't intend for me to be hopeless in this life, but look to You for hope. I know that I will make imperfect progress in this year. I will often try to go it alone, with my own wisdom and self-sufficient little self. But I want to be seeking You. You are a good and great God. And this Jesus Girl says, Amen.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Grace Given

It has been quite a while since I have spent time here, chatting and rambling about my thoughts and life. So much has happened in the almost two years I have been absent from here. But I needed to give myself some grace and allow my soul and spirit, my heart and mind to simply rest. I needed some time to renew myself, to rediscover myself in my new home and my new life. So much has happened in the two years I left the familiar and comfortable life I lived. So much has resulted in tears and heart ache over the last few years. But how much more in sweet and wonderful reminders that God is in control and wants only good for me and my family! I wish I could recount here the so many more days when I just smile and my heart just wants to burst in thankfulness and joy that God is so incredibly good!! I needed to give myself some grace to rest and allow a healing to begin so I can begin again. Thankful for resting times. Thankful for new beginnings. Thankful for grace, sweet healing grace. Thankful that I gave myself grace to stop and just be still. As this new year is beginning, I look forward to coming back and rambling more about my thoughts and life. I have determined that "Resolved" is my word for this year. I have been thinking about this word and the my New Year's prayer a lot. As my little family returns to a more normal routine, I am anxious to come back to my old writing haunt and spend some time chatting and rambling with God and with whomever may stumble upon this humble little blog. It is good to be back.....basking in the grace of a good and great God!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

My Gratitudetuesays have now become my One Thousand Gifts. My count is being mostly recorded in a special journal now simply because I have been not well for almost two months. It has been easier to just record with pen and paper as they happen. I am not going back to count the times I recorded manna moments in Gratitude Tuesdays (although not always on a Tuesday). I am starting fresh at one. God is a good provider. He provides in mysterious and wonderful ways for me and for my family. My manna moments are mine. They may not resemble anything anyone else discovers. My manna moments may not be poetic or seemingly important in the scheme of things, but they are exactly what God provided for me in that moment to bring me grace, thanksgiving and joy. Living a life of Eucharisteo is important, especially important to me right now. It is the thing that helps keep me God focused and not self-focused. This part of my journey may seem hard but it may be the easier part of the journey. I don't know what is ahead of me. Each day brings along some challenge or struggle, but finding and naming the gifts-Eucharisteo-is a balm to my often restless, impatient and yes, ungrateful spirit. Eucharisteo in both the "easy" and in the "hard" times is important. Giving thanks then receiving the gift and living the joy even in the hard times is so critical. I am not sure how anyone can endure real suffering without returning thanks to God for it all. Faith that He has it all in control and will use this hard time for my good! It has to be with Eucharisteo! Just as Jesus gave thanks before using the little boy's lunch to feed thousands and then the gift, the miracle and the joy that follows and more thanksgiving. Just as Jesus gave thanks before breaking bread in the Last Supper leading to His death. How hard of a spot to be in, but the miracle that followed and the joy that I can have in knowing that life with Him- His grace, love, forgiveness- He alone is the reason that I can give thanks in all things here and in all things that are to come. I have the hope of communing with Him for all eternity. Until then there is the joy and the expectation of finding Him daily in the little gifts of life and communing with Him daily with thanksgiving and love. My one thousand gifts list will continue on paper but also as time allows I will record some of them here as well starting with the next journal number.

111. God's gift of a Savior
112. Hope of life with Him
113. Rainy days
114. Green grass
115. Puddles to splash in
116. Folded laundry
117. Starch
118. Ironed collars and creased sleeves
119. A happy first grader
120. School girl friendship struggles
121. Phone chats with friends dating to B.C. - what a huge blessing!
122. Jello with no fruit
123. Heading a pillow soceer ball into the sink of dirty dishes
124. Cars and PBS Kids Go!
125. Healing of all- body, mind and spirit

My Wilderness Confession

4-5Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you're on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

6-7Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

8-9Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:4-9 The Messsage

The Lord has been dealing with me concerning my obedience and lack of dependence on Him in all things for a long time. Unfortunately, I am much like the Israelites, hard-headed, blind, too self-focused which lead to more rebellion and self-delusion that I am alright. Like the Israelites, God has taken me from my Egypt where I was quite comfortable although a slave to the activities and expectations (put there by me mostly) that kept me from enjoying being God's precious treasure. (Exodus 19:5) Now that I am in the wilderness, away from the things that gave me seemingly purpose and value, away from the comfortable climate, attitudes, values, accent, food... everything Southern! I am not comfortable. It is just stinkin' hard at times. The wilderness is hard and uncomfortable because it is exposing all those weaknesses, self-sufficiency, lack of trust, etc. that I always pushed aside to deal with later. God started me on this wilderness journey while I was back in the South, so this is not a totally Northern journey. He has just moved my physical location and I believe, has moved me away from some of the activities I was so passionate about so I could refocus on Him, His will for me and His provision alone. Like the Israelites, I can do really well for a while, reading, praying, memorizing, keeping my mind parked on things that are right, true, praiseworthy, etc. I feel at bit more at peace. But then something is said or done that brings back worry, anxiety, whispers of failure, loneliness, inadequacy, and it spirals back to my grumbling and whining to myself. Just like the Israelites in Exodus 14 among other places, I rebel. I purposefully avoid going to scripture, trying to memorize, my prayers or thoughts are more on the order of "Poor pitiful me! I don't have any value or purpose other than to clean toliets, make food, wash and iron, referee squabbles, etc. I have no friends. No one calls me to check on me- People here are so different- How will I ever find friends?! I have failed and lost out as a mommy - Why can't I find motivation to follow thru with anything- I am so lazy!". On and on the laments go, whining and complaining. I know it is wrong, but I get stuck in the tirade against myself and my situation. I might as well say that God has brought me to the North, away from children's ministry and all that I hold dear and comfortable to just waste away in boredom and self-pity. Maybe I should pray for Dana to get another job back South? That is when I fall down like Aaron and Moses and speak some sense. Stop being so self-focused and become all God-focused, Girl!!! Focusing on me and my weaknesses, my abilities, my feelings, being self-focused, I begin to rebel. I am not focusing on Truth, on God, but on the lies and me.Here is the Truth: My family and I have been led through a land that is full of milk and honey- God has provided a good job for Dana- He answered prayers fervantly prayed. How can I throw that back at God? He is good and our Provider! He knows the very path we will travel and for travel for good reason. (Proverbs 3:5-9, Jeremiah 29:11-13) I realize that I am merely afraid. Again afraid indicates I am focusing on me and my abilties or rather inabilities. 29 Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. 30 The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, 31 and in the wilderness. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” Deuteronomy 1:29-31 NIV Being afraid is relying on myself, not on God to lead me and provide for me. Unlike the Israelites, I want to trust God in this journey. I want to be thankful for the manna that He provides daily. God is good! God is going to fight for me and with Me. He will fill in all my gaps as a mom and wife. He will give me strength to face each day anew and fresh. God is all I need for today, tomorrow, for all of my needs.

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.
Habukkuk 3:17-19 NIV

So my wilderness lesson right now is to be thankful in all things- Jesus is Near!! When worry comes into my mind, replace it with prayer and finding Eucharisteo! Record the manna moments. God is near. He is providing for me and my family. He will deliver us to a place that is best for us! Don't park my mind on me- so much of that is going to be used by Satan to discourage me- it is not true or praiseworthy to just name a few of the issues with those thought processes. Focusing on that God has it all in control and is working behind the scenes for the good of me and my family. It just may not be the easiest of journeys.
Satan will use the feelings loneliness, discouragement, disappointment and doubt to derail me. If I don't dwell on these feelings(the lies) but on the truth that God has something bigger and better in store for me and my family if I simply wait, trust and am obedient to Him then He will reveal a far greater mission for my life and for my famliy's. Our promiseland is at the end of this journey.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 NIV

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Surrendering, Stronger, Joyful

What if I could be courageous enough to act and react like a complete person - a Jesus girl who has His joy in her, sustaining her, and directing her?

I am full aware that much of what I am going through is nothing compared to what many endure in this life. I have it so good. I still deal with many fears. Many of my expectations are not met in this life and that causes me great stress- Did I ever mention that I like to have things planned out, controlled and no inconveniences? Some of my expectations are not met because of my own failings, my own sin, my own willfulness. I am learning to extend myself some grace and let go- to surrender- lift my hands to God to pull me out of the danger and threatening situations. He is in total control. He has orchestrated my life and the the life of my family to be in these circumstances and environment. He does work all things for His good and for my good. His ways are higher than mine - He does infinitely more than I could ever imagine. I could go on and on with all of the truths I know about God being in control and for my need to rest and trust in Him alone. Give myself some grace and just surrender to Him. Rest in Him. Stay close to Him. All that I have encountered in my life and in the recent years has been for a reason. I am where I am for a reason. I know that I need to focus on being mom and wife and to wait and trust Him for direction in other endeavors. He is in control, He will direct my steps each day-each hour, minute and second. But I must surrender it all to Him and allow Him to use me for His glory and purposes. In return I get to see God in action, my kids and others get to see and experience His love, grace and provision as well. I am changed - hopefully, even ruined for good. I will be made stronger, better, more complete in Him. I will be that Jesus girl I so want to be- acting and reacting full of joy, sustained and guided by my LORD.