Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Taking the Challenge

With all the things I need to do as a mom, wife, ministry leader of not one but two ministries and eating, sleeping and the occassional shower, I too often lose the focus of my very existence. I feel quite lost in all of my endeavors because I am not staying as close to God through His Word and prayer. I try to find some time to read the Bible and pray in the mornings before kids get up- yeah, right, my early birds! But I often sit there trying to figure out where to start. I discovered this challenge at www.momstoolbox.com. I thought this would be a great way to start off the new year, refocusing my time with God with some structure and maybe some new bloggy friends to encourage me along the way. If you stumble across my ramblings, please feel free to join in.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Wonderful Song

What can I give my Lord and King?

Good Intentions Leading to a New Season

It seems that yet again I start something and can't quite follow thru the way I should. Other things like family activities, other responsiblilities and just sheer laziness or need for sleep steal away my good intentions. It isn't that I don't always finish somethings, but rather that I don't get to do them the way I envisioned. For example, my study and thoughts of Lysa's book, Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl. I have read it several times and spent time thinking and praying about the chapters I read. I just haven't had the chance to come to the blog and journal those thoughts or share them with anyone who might be passing by. (But I shall return to those entries when the time comes again.)
Plans are often made and then readjusted to accommodate the time and other contraints of my life. It is frustrating to no end, but I do give thanks that I have family and other opportunities that interefere with my own desires. I just sometimes wish, not so often though. That is where Simplicity comes in.

I have read Keri Wyatt Kents books about Sabbath keeping. It is so much more than just taking a day off from household chores, and other activities. It is more about making a set time to focus on God and His character. It may be done while watching kids play or while folding laundry with soft music as your company. However, it is done, it is done intentionally and with purpose. Everyone's Sabbath may look a bit different depending on the season of life they are in. A mom with babies and toddlers will have a different kind of Sabbath than a mom with older kids or an empty nester. My attempts at Sabbath Keeping have changed in the last few years as my kids have gotten older and more independent than babies and toddlers. However, I do need encouragement, more intentionality (is that a word?) in making my time with God, my spiritual disciplines more than something a Good Bible Study Girl settle for.

Now I do need to continue cutting back on some of the things I am responsible for and get involved in. My kids are getting older and will be adding to the schedule. They need to also learn that taking time to be with God is a good thing. Becoming more simplified in my spiritual disciplines is critical. So More than a Good Bible Study Girl meet Freedom of Simplicity by Richard Foster. I am going to lead this book discussion after the first of the year. I hope that by doing so I will gain a better understanding of how my Sabbath needs to look and to actually implement it on a more consistent basis.

And yes, I am giving up something. I am giving up a good deal of the MOPS operations to some other ladies. I have already laid the ground work for the meetings that remain this year. The ladies should be able to continue on with me serving as more of an advisor or mentor role. This will be my last year in MOPS. I pray leaders will emerge and be able to carry on for the remainder of the year and future years.

So my season of life is continuing to change. It is a bit sad to see those years with my babies go away. To know that my years staying home to raise them are coming to an end is hard. Despite how hard it has all been it has been glorious and a privilege to raise my little ones to this next stage- elementary school. Oh, this new season will be fun and glorious and challenging as well. So now with Good Intentions I am taking time to focus on preparing myself and my family for a more simplistic lifestyle with a intentional Sabbath time and more purposeful and real spiritual disciplines.I will follow thru with the help of God. I must for my own sake and that of my family's.

Friday, November 6, 2009

It Is You

A great song for worship! Turn down the blog's playlist.

Chapter Three-When I Feel Like I Don't Measure Up

Rewarding. That is what I thought motherhood, ministry, life in general was going to be. I would have it all and be all to all. That is where I get myself into trouble and find things less than rewarding often.
Like Lysa, I way too often do not get the Really Good Mommy Award or any other award other than the Biggest Joke of a (fill in the blank) award.
Like Lysa, though, I have these grand visions of how I am going to mother, keep house, manage things, scrapbook,and lead ministries.Because I, just like other moms, have a lot to juggle, I don't get everything done. But what frustrates me, is that I am an education major and all of these wonderful activities and experiences I wanted to do with me kids, all of the cute object lessons to teach them God's Word, all of the games we were going play just don't get done. Why? Did I mention that I lead two ministries that require my time and attention? A house, a husband, and every once in a while, I would love to take a bubble bath alone. After a while, I resent those ministries because they take me away from my kids, leave me grumpy and tired- no drained. I then resent or get frustrated more with the kids because their childishness interrupts my cleaning, my getting things done for ministries, my few stolen moments to chill. Yep, No Good Mommy Award, No Good Children's Ministry Leader Award,No Good Wife Award (I don't even want to start with that part of my life.) And in the end, the unmet expectations have piled on more and more guilt. These piles of quilt weigh me down and render me going through the motions or slugging half-heartedly through activities that are less than what I expected or wanted.
I love what Lysa says,"If Satan can use our everyday experiences, both big and small, to cripple our true identitiy, then he renders God's people totally ineffective for the kingdom of Christ."

That is me! I am totally feeling ineffective all the way around. I am just going through the motions of life. Living it day by day, week by week.On Sundays, I finish a day of children's worship and Bible study and managing the children's department that has take me virtually all week of thinking and preparing for, along with my children needing mommy with tears and whines and go home to be with family and face the unfinished laundry, meals that are needed, husband wanting my time and attention. Then on Monday morning, I realize I get to do it all over again. No wonder I hate Mondays! I have lost the joy of it all- mothering, children's ministry, my women's ministry, housekeeping, even scrapbooking. It all has become a chore, a source of guilt. I am ineffective for Christ in all things. Satan is totally loving me and my feelings of inadequacy! My question hasn't been,"Why doesn't Jesus work for me?" but "Where is Jesus in all of this mess?" Well, I know He is right there beside me. He has been present and working in spite of myself. I just need to trust that He can work through any of the situations. My circumstances and my identity seem so tightly wrapped up in each other. I have 2 kids/I am a mommy. I have a husband/I am a wife. I am a SAHM/I am home manager. I am ministry leader/I have or had a passion for the ministry. I am trying to figure out where my priorities are and how to best live this life. Jesus is my only ture measure of my worth. My shortcomings do not mean I have failed, it just means I need to step back and realign my priorities and allow Jesus and God to fill in the gaps where I don't measure up.
I mess up so many times in so many ways. I keep thinking that I should know better by now. I can do so much better, but yet again, I fall short. Lysa is right when she says,"The reason failure hurts is because we are trying so stinkin' hard to measure up." For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity. Proverbs 24:16 So I guess the lesson here is what my parents used to tell, "When you don't first succeed, try, try again." I am still mom, wife, ministry leader, scrapbooker, Christian, girly girl, but I am going to not measure up when I use my own measuring stick or the measuring stick of another mom, wife, ministry leader, etc. I need to use Christ as my measuring stick. "God never intended for us to rely on others for our sense of well-being. Only He is equipped to provide that." As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love. If you obey My commands, you will remain im My love, just as I have obeyed My Father's commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. John 15:9-11
So now I am reminded to abide in Christ- to remain in Him- Stay close to Him-Trust Him-Obey Him-Stay faithful to His commands. It is when I keep close to Him that I find joy- that I find myself measuring up in life. I will still never be enough for everyone else just as they will never be enough for me. But with Christ's help, I can find more opportunities to recognize the rewards of my many roles in life.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Let the Words

I enjoy the company of several wonderful writers via their blogs and books. Jennifer Rothschild is one of the wonderful and wise ladies that encourage me each week. She is releasing an album, Remember, soon and this is one of the songs on the album.

Remember to mute the playlist before listening to this video.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Joy Challenge

The joy for today is being home with my two sweet little ones and enjoying their companionship and love. Snuggles and the cutest and sweetest love notes with pictures from my babies is so precious. I take it all for granted and don't enjoy the moment enough. Thank you, God, for their love and this time in life. May I always store these days in my heart to ponder when I grow old and they grow up and move on to their own independent lives and families. What a priceless gift I have in my babies. May I be the mommy they deserve and You designed me to be. With your help and guidance, may they come to know. love and seek You hard each day.

Chapter Two- Flitting To and Fro

Oh, to be school teacher! Oh, to be married to wonderful, godly hunk from Georgia Tech! Oh, to be a mommy! Oh, to be part of a successful children's ministry! Oh, to be caught up on all my scrapbooks! Oh, to.... I understand what Lysa describes as the emptiness that makes one "feel desperate, needy, complicated full of unrealistic expectations." All the things I thought would make me feel happy and fulfilled lead to disillusionment and disappointment. Then comes the guilt and the bad attitude which manifests itself in my impatience, grumpiness, lack of joy,etc. with my family and with my circumstances. I understand what she is talking about when she talks about things that "quicky went from blessings to burdens." Although knowing it is God that should be the sole source of filling me, I,too,seek out fulfillment from imperfect people like my darling and amazing husband and sweet children. When I no longer feel satisfied or fulfilled, have I ever looked for something else to make me feel significant? Who me? OH, NO! NOT ME! Yeah, my nose is about the length of the football field at Bobby Dodd Stadium! I tend to pour 150% of myself into any endeavor I chose to do such as MOPS, children's ministry and thus neglect the very ones I love the most. What happens then? Why these things are imperfect and involve imperfect people, and my life circumstances change and then I am disillusioned and left feeling as though I have failed everyone, I mean everyone, because my heart is no longer in it- I have lost my sense of purpose and focus. Then I begin searching for something else to make me feel significant. "Who (am) I to be working in a Christian ministry? Especially one that (teaches) women to love their husbands, nurture their children, and follow after God everyday?" Who am I to be working in a ministry that focuses on leading children to Christ? Lysa describes some of her adventures in trying to find her niche. I am laughing and crying at the same time! She is a good friend to give you a great tummy aching laugh! But she ends up expressing my feelings exactly.- How does she do that?! "I was a hollow woman, not a holy woman. I had said yes to Jesus being my Savior, but didn't have a clue how He could be the answer to my emptiness." There is no way that my husband, my kids, my position in ministry or my profession or my home and possessions can ever fill me. They will never be able to replace my feelings of insecurity or insignificance or my guilt. "No person, possession, profession or postion ever fills the cup of a wounded, empty heart" Anything, but God, is a poor substitute - a false god. I have always loved the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. Lysa points out verse 29, "But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention." What a word picture is created concerning the false gods I have depended on to fill me. Those gods do not give me the response, answer and attention I need to fill me and make me feel complete. It is only God, my Heavenly Father that responds to me. He answers me. He is attention to me!
Have you ever said something to the effect, "If I only had .....,then I would be happy and satisfied." These "If only" statements trick us into putting our attention on obtaining those things instead of following hard after God. My "If only" statements have included, having a husband, having kids, getting into shape, getting my house in order, you get the idea. Getting these things still leaves me with a huge "hollow gap in (my) soul". Lysa suggests that instead of filling these statements with a person, possession, profession or postion, that we chose to fill the statements with something that would pull our hearts closer to God. "Since we cannot be pulled away from God and draw near to Him at the same time, speaking truth rights our perspectives and puts our focus where it should be."
It doesn't matter what the hollow gap is in my life, God is the perfect, the only thing that can fill that emptiness. When I replace my false gods with scripture truths, I will not feel that gap in my life. God's Word is the filter through which we should look at all of the day's events, our responses to situations, etc. God's Word causes changes in my attitudes, motives, desires, actions, words, and priorities. It rearranges my very existence. "As long as I daily make the choice to be guided by His truth, He replaces my hollowness with a wholeness of love that has no gaps." It is a choice, an intentional choice. It is a choice that must be made daily and often several times a day. Taking time each day to recognize my blessings and to appreciate and feel thankful for the people most important to me, is something I don't do often enough. The years are speeding by and I am too busy with my "If onlys" to enjoy what I have been blessed with- family, kids, husband, opportunities, salvation, life....Lysa describes it much better. "Maybe this is the true secret to being fulfilled and content. Living in the moment with God, defined by His truth, and with no unrealistic expectations for others or things to fill me up. Not reaching back for what was lost in my yesterdays. And not reaching for what I hope will be in my tomorrow. But living fully with what is right in front of me. And truly seeing the gift of this moment." Intentionally living now with all the circumstances and imperfect people I have been blessed with. Striving everyday to see God, hear God, know God and follow hard after Him. Then my hollowness will be replaced with a desire for holiness, too.

Chapter One- Trying to Be Good Enough

In her book, Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl,Lysa TerKeurst talks about the labels she tried on growing up to find her identity. I, too, have had many labels that shaped and continue to shape my identity. Daughter, quiet girl, "goody-two shoes", bookworm, honor student, responsible, in demand babysitter, organized, wife, teacher, supermom, volunteer extraordinaire,etc. All of these labels came with expectations for my actions, attitudes, responses that I felt like I had to live up to. Not much room was left for feeling or worse revealing that I had so many shortcomings, weaknesses, failings, imperfections. Yes, I admit that I am absolutely and have absolutely never, ever been the perfect child, wife, mom, Christian or human being. Often feelings of loneliness, not fitting in or being unworthy to participate overcome me. With the perceptions and labels I wear, who really is interested in listening to my weaknesses and failures. No one expects me to be struggling with anything- I have everything altogether. If they only knew how many times I drop my basket in the course of the day!
I love the verse from Jeremiah that Lysa shares. I have this verse written out on index cards for a reminder that someone knows that I am imperfect and how many times my basket is dropped. He cares immensely for me despite every last little flaw and He alone makes me perfect. Jeremiah 29:12-13 "Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
I grew up going to church, Christian schools, marrying a good Christian man, serving in ministries, attending all the Bible studies and women's events like a good Bible study girl should do, yet, I still feel unfulfilled. Seeking with all your heart requires more than just the routine Christian good girl checklist. Okay, so there Lysa just Moonwalked on my toes. Lysa goes on to talk about fulfillment. Fulfillment is to be completely satisfied, filled up, not discontented. I, too, want a more fulfilling relationship with Christ. I want to be assured that despite my failures and shortcomings, I have the security of knowing that He is there with me in all circumstances in life.
Lysa asks "How might (my) life look if (I) am so filled with God's truths (I) could let go of the pain of (my) past, not get tripped up by the troubles of today, or consumed by worries of tomorrow?" Going through the motions of the good Bible study girl checklist is not enough. I need to have the mindset that God will meet me where I am when I cry out to Him with heart that if so filled with the desire to go into a much deeper, authentic, life changing relationship with Him.
What has typically made me feel fulfilled? Academic successes, career as a teacher, mommyhood, being a wife, ministry leader, etc. But none of these things were ever the source of true fulfillment. Too quickly, I become disillusioned and feel like a failure as I deal with imperfect people, encountering someone I deem superior or more successful than myself. Oh, how pride takes hold of my heart. I will never be "enough" in my ideals of fulfillment. I will never be enough of a good wife, mother, ministry leader, teacher, daughter, sister, good Bible study girl to find true fulfillment- I will forever fall short! I love and appreciate Lysa's heartfelt and genuine desire to help women become closer to Christ. This is my prayer for myself and others "God, will You help me to have a deeper connection with You and find truer fulfillment as You transform every area of my life.That is the cry and the desire of my heart." and "God, I want to see You. God, I want to hear You. God, I want to know You. So that I can follow hard after You everyday." I love those last four statements she wrote. In her book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God she shared this prayer. I copied this also on my index cards to read and pray. So simple and so much what I desire to do each day. She finishes the chapter with Colossians 3:1-2 "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." Lysa concludes by saying,"Setting our hearts and our minds on God and letting His truths change us, rearrange us, and redirect us will help us not just to know the message of Christ - but to live it out!" Change me, rearrange me, redirect me to know and live Christ each day. Please, Lord!

All scripture and quotes from the book are in italics. Any of my changes are in parentheses or boldface.

A Two Word Prayer

I heart Lysa TerKeurst! She is so authentic and imperfect that it gives me hope that I, too, can be authentic and imperfect as a mom, wife and daughter of God. She is so incredibly encouraging! She is funny but also not afraid to step on my toes a bit. I had to share this.

Lysa TerKeurst | The Most Important Two Word Prayer from Southbrook Church on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More than a Good Bible Study Girl

One of my absolute favorite bloggy girlfriends is Lysa Terkeurst! Although we have never met, I feel like I have known her forever. She is an amazingly authentic, down-to-earth girl who loves the Lord like no one else's business and wants to help others love Him the same way. I have had the privelege of reading several of her books, like What Happens When a Woman Says Yes to God and Help! My Bathtub is Overflowing!, so when I heard that her newest book was going to be released in the summer, I pre-ordered it and nearly danced down the driveway when it arrived. The book is wonderful!! I am in the midst of rereading it and now beginning an online study of the book. I hope to get the accompanying CD after the first of the year and perhaps even lead my own study of the book. Why do I love the book so much? I am glad you asked! You see, I too, have a way of playing at religion or more accurately playing games with my relationship with Jesus. I love me some check lists and to do lists and my past history has proven I can mark off the right religious activities with the best of them and still feel so alone and fake in my walk with God.
Although I have never faced the exact life situations - actually my childhood and early adult life was quite opposite of Lysa's but still many of the feelings and thoughts have been exactly as Lysa describes. I do relate in feeling far away from God, unlovable to Him or anyone else, seeking love and acceptance in all the wrong places and then the consequences.Oh my, consequences that come with guilt and shame, secrets and darkness.
So I am anxious to share many of my thoughts in this online journal- but as you know, sometimes with little ones and life crowding in, the actual composing comes slow. I wish there was a way to type my thoughts as I read and ponder all that she and God say about becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl. If you are seeking to go deeper in an authentic relationship with God or looking to start out walking with God, this book is great!
By the way, did I mention she is a girl from the 80s? Oh, yeah, Lysa and I could really have some serious discussions about all things 80s and we could show these kids today how to really roller skate, especially to Rick Springfield's Jesse's Girl or Debbie Gibson.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Joy Challenge

Joy today is being able to stay home and to have a poop breakthrough with my little man. For almost a month, we have been struggling with some potty issues. Several weekend and late night calls to the on call nurses, several trips to the doctor, pharmacy and a natural foods and herbalist, calling on a friend from church to help administer an enema (she has lots of experience) and finally, today maybe, just maybe, we may have moved a step closer to some regularity and getting rid of his pain. Yes, it did cost me the area rug in my living room, but if that is what it takes to get things moving good, that is fine. So today in my joy challenge, I find joy in being home and cleaning poop off my floors and celebrating the fact there is poop!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Finding Joy

"I've got the Joy, Joy, Joy, down in my heart! Where?! Down in my heart!" A song from long ago that I sung so many times in Sunday school and at home as a little girl. Yet now as a grown woman, that joy is just not down in my heart. It is the thing I have been trying to rediscover. I have come to the realization that a lot of why I don't have joy is because of sin. That is the simplest explanation. It wasn't done on purpose. It just happened. I was not intentional or disciplined in making God a priority in my choices. I didn't maintain the relationship. All the wonderful ministry I do just doesn't build or strengthen a relationship with God. He doesn't want my emails, my flyers, my plans or my organization. He wants me and my heart. My desire to seek Him and follow hard after Him in obedience. So lost in the years of going it all on my own is the joy I have lost out of my heart.
I was challenged by an amazingly wise lady, Holley Gerth, to look for joy in the next 40 days. I have become more intentional and aware of the things that bring me joy. What I realize is that the joy I cherish and long for comes from the relationships with my family and with my Savior. When those relationships are neglected or considered to be secondary to my own agenda and to do lists, that is when the joy leaves my heart. There is nothing that squashes joy like sin. Sin and putting relationships second, third, fourth or sixteenth on the list are often synoymnous. So as I search for the joy each day, I focus more on maintaining relationships with the people I have been blessed with and with the Savior and Creator of my life. With this daily intentional search I know that the joy will be "down in my heart to stay!"

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Waiting Some More

The past few months have been filled with me doing a lot of thinking and searching. I will admit that I haven't searched hard enough or intentionally enough - Why? Because I am too preoccupied with committments I can't drop, kids, house, my own plans and fear. Fear that what I may discover will lead to some changes or hard decisions about a lot of stuff. I have read and studied about finding and following God's Will - His Lead in my life. I have sought counsel from some other women who found themselves in similiar places. I have discussed this with my wise and wonderful hubby. I have tried to go slower and be more intentional about my plans, choices, activities. But alas, I have still met frustration and feelings of failure and incompetancy head on each day.
Over and over this summer, I have read or heard about waiting on God. Be still, abide with Him, seek Him, wait on Him, wait, be still, seek, abide, wait.... So, I will tell you that when I read with Beth Moore the scripture basis for her simulcast, I caught my breath. (Yes, I did not read beforehand as the afore mentioned committments took priority). The scripture was from Psalm 37:1-9.
In these verses, David tells me to "trust", "dwell", "delight", "commit", "trust" again, "rest" , "wait patiently" and "wait" again.
The primary verse was verse 4 - This is where I was totally blown away- "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." This verse appeared in book by Lisa Whelchel for moms wanting to study the Bible more. I pick up this book about once a year and this past week, read this verse and spent some time thinking about it - word by word. It was a wonderful and peaceful, joy-giving time with one little verse out on my deck in the quiet and cool of a late August morning. Then a few days later, I am honored to sit and listen to a great speaker share her thoughts and study on that verse and how it all relates to the waiting, trusting, resting, abiding, being still and finding joy. For so long, I have desired joy in my life again. Why don't I have joy anymore? Holley Gerth from Dayspring is in the middle of a 40 day challenge to find joy each day. I have taken the challenge and look for the joy moments. So again when this was the scripture of the Friday night and Saturday morning sessions with Beth Moore, I was thrilled, amazed and scared because I know that God has something for me to know from this. But then the ride home, I continued reading a book by Lysa TerKeurst, Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl, It just was released this week to stores. But it came in the mail right before we left. Anyway, I heart Lysa and her writing and read on the return trip about David waiting following being annointed by Samuel. Yes, waiting again. Lysa gave me further thought on this subject. Did I mention that one night last week before we left, I spent about an hour in the floor of Little Man's room, reading by the light of his night light about the Greek and Hebrew words for waiting.? Yes, I did! Spurred by the reading of someone else's comment somewhere in cyberspace about the meaning of the word. I just needed more information and to see it for myself. Wait - Wait - Wait- something most of us can't stand to do or to do for very long. Personally, I am curious about what I am waiting for and why- Does it have to do with my desires or the heart of my desires? There is more to be thought about and prayed about - ah, there may be my answer or the way to the answer.


So this Tuesday, I am grateful for Waiting - for Beth Moore, Lisa Whelchel and Lysa TerKeurst and tons of other ladies leading me on this journey

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chill Out, Chick!

This chick can be pretty intense. I am task oriented and very intense when when working on something. I always thought that the passion, dedication, hard work and pursuit of excellence was a strength. But now I am thinking that it might just be a weakness. For me, accomplishing tasks, seeing the product of my time and efforts, feeling like my work makes a difference to someone- I am contributing to the bigger picture is my identity- my self-worth.
I also just don't go half-way- Oh, no, I have to go all out! Then it has to be done just so, almost to perfection. I will spend hours preparing a flyer or writing a letter to someone- just fretting and fussing over the smallest of details. The end result after an extended amount of time in the activity usually leads to burnout.
Yes, the activities I get so wrapped up in are good, worthy activities- Ministries, even. Now how good of a thing can that be?! But ministries are way too often laden with people problems,too. Getting people to work, see things in the same way, work with the same intensity, be dependable, etc. is really hard and very, very draining. But hey, it is ministry, all for the Kingdom, right? It has to be worth it all.
But that leads me to the question I am struggling with now and have been for some time: At what cost am I doing ministry?
The cost is immeasurable for it involves the most important ministry I have been given, my family. God has blessed me with an amazing husband and two wonderful blessings that call me Mommy. I have been given these children to raise and nurture. For whatever reason,God has deemed me worthy to be their mommy. They need me to be intentional, attentive, enthusiastic, patient, loving, joyful, healthy (spiritually and physically) while parenting them. Instead they get distracted, frustrated, grumpy, grumpy, grumpy, impatient, absent physically and emotionally, tense and intense. They have paid a great price for my good deeds.
Hubby is patient most of the time and supportive most of the time. He, too, has paid for my intensity in ministry affairs. My home has paid a price as has my health and my spiritual well-being.
All of this affects the effectiveness of my ministries. So, what is a chick to do? I am not in a postion to just walk away - I do have some God-given talents and desires to work in these ministries. He has provided me with these opportunities and has blessed them. But it is my choice in how I will spend my time and how I will use my leadership to accomplish ministry. My choices in the past have been selfish and intense. Now my choices are to let go, delegate, and narrow the focus-simply to Chill Out!
By limiting the ministry part of my life, I pray that I can be the kind of mom, wife and Christian I need to be. It is too great of a cost, not to really be intense about my family and my spiritual well-being.
So this chick is thankful for the chance to just chill out with the kiddos!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

I have taken inventory of my freezer and have planned out the next four weeks just using my freezer! I know of some days that are going to be Daddy-less or that we have plans already made, so I have taken those days into account. I also know very well that there will be some days when I just feel lazy or have one of those headaches that puts me out of commission, so I have a few convenience foods always on hand. With the exception of some travel plans, we will not be eating out but enjoying some eating in - thanks to a well stocked freezer and some yummy recipes.

The other thing I determined I need to do again is make each day a themed day - Sunday is sandwich lunches and fish for dinner; Monday is crockpot meals; Tuesday is pasta; Wednesday is dinner at church or upside down dinner; Thursday is leftover buffet; Friday is pizza, calzone - something pepperoni; Saturday is grill out

This week will challenge my plans as DH has an elders' meeting Monday, Tuesday is DD's PTO meeting and Wednesday is the first night back to church activities.

Monday - Creamy Mustard Chicken - recipe from a freezer meal website
Tuesday- Leftovers due to PTO meeting- toss some buttered noodles in to round out the meal
Wednesday- Eat at church
Thursday- Sausage Potato Casserole
Friday- Pepperoni Lasagna Rollups
Saturday-Grill steaks from Angel Food - Make homemade steak fries
Sunday- Salmon and Cheese Grits

Lunches for my kindergartener will be peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter and Nutella or peanut butter and marshmallow creme with vege and fruit on hand, cookies, juice- Luckily she loves fruit and veges and these three peanut butter combos are a huge variety for her!
Lunches for brother, mommy and daddy when he is home will be lunch meat or jelly sandwiches, fruit, yogurt and tea. Okay, ice cream, too, we are addicted to the stuff - just look at my hips.
Breakfasts include breakfast bars, granola bars, and bake oatmeal, coffee, juice, milk -
This is a good recipe to double or triple and then freeze for use when mornings are super hectic. This can be used for breakfast or with a side salad at lunch or as a dessert.
Baked Oatmeal
3 cups quick oatmeal
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
Mix all the ingredients together. Pour into a 13x9 dish prepared with Pam. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until edges are slightly browned. Serve warm with sausage, applesauce, warm in a bowl with milk poured on top. Serve with salad on side or with ice cream.

Monday, August 10, 2009


I have to admit that I am a bit addicted to blogs- not just any old blogs, but the blogs of some wonderful and inspiring- {in}couraging Christian women. I am so excited that my bloggy girlfriends are writing for a new site that just launched this weekend!!

So I was thinking about what or who {in}couraged me, I did think of a few things:
*my darling husband and his prayers and support
*holding hands with husband of 17 years
*the laughter of my children
*my children showing kindness, empathy for others, obedience
*completing a long awaited project
*looking at family photo scrapbooks
*working on said photo scrapbooks (AKA a long awaited project)
*baking and cooking yummy meals for my family
*reading a book on the beach or on a porch
*watching and listening to nature in my backyard with a pond- love the wood ducks!
*music by Kari Jobe, Gwen Smith, Amy Grant, Point of Grace, Chris Tomlin to name just a few
*worshipping with the preschoolers and witnessing their hearts in worship- that is so incredibly {in}couraging!!
*finding a few moments and actually sitting a listening for God to speak to my heart and calm it down
* reading the inspirational, challenging and the often crazy adventures of ladies such as Lysa TerKeurst, Trish Berg,and Holley from Dayspring
Each of these wonderful girlfriends remind me that my life with all the fears, insecurities, trials, triumphs,and sins are not out of the norm. That by the Grace of God there is hope in this life and there is a promise of an amazing life to come-

That is {in}couraging!!

So what {in}courages you? Give thanks for those things and people - It is by the Grace and Goodness of God that we can celebrate these blessings in life!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Going Alone

This week has been a little hard for me. One I sent my oldest to big school as a kindergartener. Now this child was born for school and is so smart (not that I am bias or anything). I know she is ready and needs to go but still seeing her little girl self walk into that big ole building with the other BIG kids was a little scary for me. (We won't even think about when she goes to college- sobs!) Despite how frustrating her endless questions, torments of little brother and general little girl silliness are, I miss my baby girl! There I have said it- so with tears in my eyes, I will so admit I am sad about sending her to kindergarten.
The other thing that has been hard is realizing that this week 14 years ago on August 4 was the day my Daddy died unexpectedly in Canada of a heart attack. It doesn't seem like it was that long ago! I am a Daddy's Girl and I adore my Daddy. It is very difficult and painful not to have him here with us now. I just miss him so much!
Despite all the changes life gives me and I know more are to come, I am confident that God wil give me the strength to get through it and settle into it all. But here is the problem, I am notorious for going it alone. Knowing that God is there and will see me through it but then actually relying entirely on Him and not solelyon myself are two separate things. I think of my sweet little girl this week when she insisted on walking into school alone for the first time. "No, Mommy, I want to walk in like a big kid." She was full of confidence that she could do it, but as the Mommy, I wasn't ready to let go of her hand. God is always there ready to grip my hand or even pick me up and carry me, but I am the little girl always saying, "No, I have to figure this out myself and get myself through this." Do I always have to be the big girl? Why do I let go of God's hand and go off on my own? Unlike my kindergartener, I don't often get to the destination safely. Lots of frustrations, failures, or more problems are a result of my going it alone. Simply, I get myself into more trouble.
So with this week and all of the reminders that life is moving on with new beginnings and bittersweet reminders that life changes in ways we don't always like or want, I know that God will hold my hand all the way through this life. It is also very comforting to know that He has my baby in His hands as well. So as a mommy I need to let go and let Him be her Daddy, too.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

Okay, so things are "slowing down" and I have great plans to follow a menu and get some great meals on the table for my sweet family.

Saturday- Buffalo Chicken Wraps
Sunday- lunch at church (Discover Northridge)
dinner- Spinach and Broccoli Enchiladas
Monday- Sausage and Potato Supper
Tuesday- Southwest Pasta
Wednesday- Make baked beans for cookout for family swim night at church
Thursday- Salmon and Tomato Grits
Friday- Homemade Pizza
Saturday- Leftover Buffet

It is not like I don't have a ton of cookbooks and cooking magazines (I heart Paula Deena and Sandra Lee), including a cookbook I helped compiled and one compiled on the computer. But this week I am trying some recipes from www.tasteofhome.com. I get these delivered to my Inbox each week and every once in a while some come up that sound too yummy and easy to pass up.
This week there were several, starting with the Buffalo Chicken Wraps. Here is a little known fact: This chick loves some buffalo wings. So guess what?! I made this little wrap recipe - very easy and yes, the bacon is a must. Another thing my sweet sister says, "Everything is better with bacon." Very yummy - no, the kids ate the cold "quesadillas" with cheese and veges and were quite happy with their own creations.
I also discovered two new blogs and I am trying some of the recipes there.- Let's just say freezer meals are possibly my new best kitchen secret. I will post more about this find as I try some of the 3 meals I put in the freezer today. Ohhh..... so excited about

Mommy Moment Musings

We have traveled safely to and from Tennessee and VBS is finally done and cleaned up, one week of swim classes behind us and one to go and now in full swing to get ready for changes in worship services and in Kidsville....SIGH!!!!.... I long for a few months where I can just be quiet at home being mommy and homemaker, wife and scrapbooker. So many recipes, so many photos, so many things to play and teach yet so little left of me to give to the most important part of my life and the most important ministry I am called to do.
I have realized that although I love children's ministry, I don't love the fact that I spend a significant part of my week, dealing with finding more people to minister to the kids. I don't have time or energy left to shepherd kids or volunteers. I am now a mere sheep herder. Rounding up volunteers to take care of the little lambs for a given hour. Sheep herding takes away my time to shepherd and enjoy my kids- leaving me grumpy, hurried, scattered-brained (don't ask about the ice cream supper invite- case in point.) As my sweet sister says, I "drop my basket" a lot. No one, especially my sweet babies, should witness mommy dropping her basket. Now I am realizing the truth that I am overcommitted to and now have to devise a way to not only survive but also thrive with my responsibiblities in ALL of my ministries.
I thought I had sought God's Will for what I should be doing this year with my time, but I don't believe I did in earnest- I just gave it lip service, not any heart service. Because of my stubborn and prideful self, I am going to continue by stretched very thin unless I can delegate and empower others to step up. I need to continue praying about all of these things. I do take comfort in knowing that God's grace is enough for me, that He has the power to fill in the gaps of my weaknesses.
(1 Corinthians 12:9)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

This is quick as we are in SC for the weekend and DH has finally come upstairs for bed. In an effort to be intentional, I am limiting computer time when the family is not occupied with sleep or other interests such as a he-man movie.
So very quickly and a bit sketchy details,the menu plan for this week:
Monday - In SC
Tuesday- Crockpot chicken
Wednesday- pasta
Thursday- Fish
Friday- Calzones
Breakfasts will be cinnamon toasts (kids love it) and cereal bars
Lunches will be sandwiches (PBJ, egg salad and deli meats)

Good Intentions

I have spent a lot of time lately composing posts in my head. Why is it that I get inspired when I am not near a computer or have the opportunity to sit down and type for a few minutes?

My favorite word is "intentional". I just love that word! Intentional means with a focused purpose. I have advocated being intentional about everything; marriage, parenting, spending time with God, fianances, time for myself, ministry. I have spent a lot of time in self-evaluation lately. Hence, those wonderful posts that will never see a computer screen. As a result of the evaluations to date, I discovered this horrible truth. Despite how much I want to be intentional, I have never been intentional at all! Now I could beat myself up and I have done quite a bit of that lately. But I have decided to make some changes in my life to become more intentional in living.
What I also discovered that I can not do this alone. That has been my problem all along. My "Miss I Can Do It Myself- I Can Figure This Out" self has failed miserably in all aspects of going it alone. I can not make a schedule and keep it without some guidance and discernment provided to me by God. He alone knows my every weakness and He alone can make me strong where I am weak.
I am thankful for a God who can forgive me for my sinful, selfish, pride-filled life. I am thankful that despite my failure to be intentional and do all things in life with a focused purpose that I do not have to give up. I can start again and this time intentionally seeking God's direction in all things. He alone will supply me with all I need to be the kind of wife, mommy, ministry leader, Christian I need to be.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tired and Failing Mommy Basking in Grace

I struggle so much with knowing if I am following God's Will for my life and for my family right now. I am heavily involved in some great and important ministries such as children's ministry and MOPS. However, there is no greater ministry than the one of being mommy. With the weekly demands of children's ministry and the demands bi-weekly of MOPS, I am often not a happy mommy. I feel terrible and that I am a failure as a mom. My children deserve a mommy that is happy to be with them and is engaged in their play and activities. But instead, I am grumpy and impatient with their preschool antics. I want to intentionally parent my children. I want to intentionally discipline, teach and love them. How can I do that when I am thinking about the phone calls I need to make,the endless to-do lists just to make sure Sunday is good to go for all of the little ones? What am I suppose to be doing? This would be easy if I knew that these areas were not my gifts. I also think that my kids should understand that God expects us to serve others.But how do I find the balance? I feel so tired and so burdened with the responsibilities of mothering, leading two ministries, being a wife and a Christian. (It doesn't help that I serve the entire morning at church so I am never free to go to worship- I long, hunger for worship.) I also feel like a failure in so many other areas of life- finances, wife, maintaining a personal relationship with God.There are so many decisions I make that endanger or hurt my family. Many of my decisions also hurt my spiritual health as well. Despite how many times I try to start over and improve, I fail. I know I can't do this alone, however, I end up going my own way before too long.
This is not meant to be a pity party or beat myself up session, but simply an acknowledgement that I am a person who struggles daily- even minute by minute- to walk according to God's Will. I am very weak and without my Savior, I would be hopeless. I am so thankful that I bask in God's Grace. It is not because I am married to a wonderful, Godly man nor that I am ministry leader for two ministries or have college degrees or anything else I have done in my life. It is simply because God loves me. Loves me enough to sacrifice His Son for my sins and shortcomings. I am thankful that God's grace is more than enough for me, the sinner and screw-up. I am thankful that God's power can be made perfect as He helps me in all of my many weaknesses. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Menu Planning Monday

This week is a little less hectic than last week. Thank goodness! So I am back with a menu this week.
All of the breakfasts will be cereal bars or frozen tea biscuits.
All of the lunches will be sandwiches- turkey or PBandJs.
Monday- Chicken Stir-fry and pineapple slices.
Tuesday- Pork Tenderloin (cooked and frozen earlier)
Wednesday- Eat at church
Thursday- leftovers
Friday- Grill hamburgers, potato salad, chips and make your own ice cream sundaes
(Get together with other elders and their families planned- If Dana is still sick, we will do a frozen pizza and popcorn with just family.)
Saturday- Chicken Nuggets and tater tots and vegetables
Sunday- Pizza at church or sandwiches at home.

I am very pleased with the One Trip to the Store-Cook for a Year cookbook. I am looking into freezer meals via www.frugalmom.net
I really liked being able to pull out a meal from the freezer after babies' births. I hope that I can organize myself enough to cook ahead and freeze meals.
There are more meals for the week at www.organizedjunkie.com

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

This week's menu includes cereal bars and fruit salad (mangos, pineapple, grapefruit, kiwi) for breakfast. Lunch will be sandwiches and fruit salad.
This week is unusually very busy in the evening. So I have several convenient foods planned.

Monday- Beef Fajitas (Sam's find- very yummy- just adding green peppers and onions)
Tuesday- Pizza (frozen)
Wednesday- Eat at Preschool End of Year program
Thursday- The one night home!! Parmesan Crusted Fish Fillets
Vege, Rice
Friday- Corndogs and tater tots and raw veggies
Saturday- Beef Stroganoff
Sunday- Eat at church for lunch
Creamy Crock-Pot chicken for dinner

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I seem to always be a day behind in my postings. This week we have taken some time to enjoy some sunshine and the warmer weather. The freedom of being outside and not in pounds of layers is a welcome and refreshing part of the season. The kids are having fun in their imaginative play. They are, for the most part, enjoying one another. I am forever grateful for two kids that are healthy and physically and mentally able to play together.
This past week brought a reminder to darling husband and I that the little lives we have been entrusted with here, ultimately belong to God. A local family's three year old drowned in a pond as he was riding his bike. With a pond in our backyard and a three year old of our own, that situation became very real for us. As much as we love our kids, God loves them far greater! It is difficult to fathom that kind of love. I am thankful that God does love my two sweet blessings that much and loves me that much as well. I celebrate my kids and their joy in the spring's wonderful weather.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

Okay, so I create menus but don't strictly adhere to them. Life happens and on to the next week-

This week breakfasts and lunches are pretty standard stuff- frozen waffles, sandwiches and chips - nothing really new there.

Monday- Dana is gone to an Elders' meeting -
Spinach Enchiladas
Cheese Quesadillas

Tuesday- Ham and Potato Casserole

Wednesday- Dinner at church

Thursday- Chicken Fajitas

Friday- Shrimp and Grits

Saturday- Homemade Pizza

Sunday- In LaGrange

Spinach and Cheese Enchiladas
(I will halve this recipe using the leftover spinach from another weekend meal)
8 tortillas
1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1Tbls diced garlic (I use minced garlic from a jar)
2 Tbls butter
1/2 onion
1 tomato, diced
2 cups shredded cheddar/jack cheese
3 Tbls vege oil
2 tsp taco seasoning
1 tsp Hot sauce
2 tsp flour
1 cup water
1 tsp garlic salt

For sauce, combine oil, taco seasoning, hot sauce, flour, water, and garlic salt in pan on stove. Bring to boil and simmer 5 minutes.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. In small pan on stove, warm butter over medium heat. Add spinach, garlic, and onions. Stir until warmed through. Remove from heat and add tomatoes. Gently warm tortillas. Using 1 cup cheese, and all spinach mixture, place small handfuls of each in cener of each tortilla, roll up and place in pan , seam side down. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Ladle on enough sauce to cover, then add remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with remaining sauce on side.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

Okay, today is Tuesday but with the crazy weekend and MOPS this week, I am running a bit behind. But I must say this week is going to be pretty easy.

DH is not home two nights this week for dinner and not home for at least two lunches. Wednesday night normally has us at church for dinner, but this week, preschool is having a BBQ fundraiser Wednesday so I am picking up the plates earlier in the afternoon and the kids and I will eat before heading to church for the activities. Friday night is Mommies' Nite Out with MOPS so the family will eat leftovers and I will take a dish for that. What with all the food from the weekend, most of the meals are already made- just a reheat and add a fresh vege. So here is this week's crazy (luckily not often) menu:

Breakfasts- cereal, frozen waffles and fruit
Lunches- sandwiches and crackers, fruit
Monday- leftover potpie and ham, twice baked potatoes, and veges
Tuesday- Upside down dinner (waffles - probably frozen)
Wednesdsy- BBQ from preschool
Thursday- fish sticks and popcorn shrimp
Friday- leftovers
Saturday- pizza
Sunday- Crockpot chicken

I won a neat little book from 24/7Moms.com. It is 70 Meals and 1 Trip to the Store.
I am going to try to use some of those recipes in the coming weeks.


Sometimes the end of the day results in this Mommy feeling very frustrated and so tired as I listen to two preschoolers argue over who has the blue crayon or who wrote on someone's masterpiece. I wonder what am I doing wrong? What do I need to do to have a peaceful and enjoyable afternoon with two loving and compassionate children? Then there are those few days where I listen to them playing together in some imaginary and creative play, giggling and just being sweet. When I stop and be still and really think things through I realize that I do have two sweet, loving and compassionate kids! But they are learning how to get along with others who have different ideas or ways of doing things. With one being boy and the other girl they do think about things differently. They are also a lot like me. When I am tired from the day's activities, I get impatient and simply grumpy. But I am older and have learned some self-control over those emotions. They are simply little people trying to figure all of that out. They are also like me in that often my way seems to be the best and the only way and become very irritated when others don't see things my way. In short, we are all not perfect- selfishness, pride, lack of self-control often shove out the gentleness, patience, joy, contentment, and love we really want for ourselves and for ourselves. So today, I am thankful for two children who are truly gifts from God. And even with their grumpiness and fussiness, they are mine to guide and help prepare for this imperfect life and the perfect life with God.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

I like the idea of being organized. With 2 preschoolers, a busy husband and my own busy to do lists, organization is far from the word to describe my household or my life. However, when it comes to meals, organization is crucial to making it through a difficult time of the day. It also helps save a little money. If dinner is planned, then fastfood is not going to be an option.
I have planned menus for many years, but in my first personal blog I will share my menu for this week. I do grant myself a little grace in allowing menus to be substituted or rearranged a bit. With erratic work schedules, a erratic moods, behaviors and needs of the two kids and my own unforeseen issues to deal with, I need all the grace I can get. So I try to keep some fast emergency meal ideas with ingredients on hand.
If you are stopping in for a peek at my menu, please know that my choices are mommy and kid friendly. Ease and yumminess for all is my motto. There are a ton of other links at orgjunkie.com for more menus plans. Take a peek there,too.Enjoy!!

All breakfasts consist of cereal bars, cereal, grapefruit or apples,frozen waffles or toast sticks. Juice, chocolate milk, coffee.
All lunches consist of deli meat sandwiches (may use sandwich maker to make it hot, pretzels or chips, fruit and cookie and tea or water.

Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie
Easter Egg Cupcakes (made from cake mix and put in Easter Egg mini cake pan- kids decorate with sprinkles after frosted)

Tuesday: Smoked Sausage Bake

Eat at Church building

Thursday: Monterey Chicken
Mashed Potatoes

Resurrection Buns

Resurrection Cookies

Twice Baked Potatoes
Deviled Eggs
Mayonaise Rolls
Carrot Cake

Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie


2 deep dish pie crust form the freezer section
1 package (4 breasts) boneless, skinless chicken, cooked and cubed
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 ounces sour cream
1 cup milk
1 bag frozen mixed veggies
2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste


Place cubed, cooked chicken in pot pie crusts
pour veggies over chicken, 1/2 bag in each crust
In separate bowl, mix soup, sour cream and milk. Pour over meat and veggies
Sprinkle cheese on top.
Bake at 375 for one hour, or until cheese forms top crust and is melted and slightly golden.

Smoked Sausage Bake
smoked sausage, cook up
quartered potatoes
chopped onion
red, yellow, green peppers, sliced
parsley and olive oil

Combine all in a dish. Cover and bake at 400 until potatoes are tender.

Monterey Chicken
4-6 chicken breasts
4-6 T BBQ Sauce
4-6 slices bacon
grated cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses

Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken in glass dish. Top each with 1 T BBQ sauce and 1 slice baon. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Top with cheeses and bake additional 10 minutes.

Resurrection Buns

Resurrection Cookies

Mayonaise Rolls

1 c self-rising flour
2 T sugar
1 cup milk
2 T mayo
Add to dry ingredients and mix.
Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top.