Mothers and Daughters

>> Monday, December 29, 2008

My one and only daughter has moved away from home. I suppose it's time, after all, she is 22. It is still really hard. I was going through papers tonight and I found a skit that I wrote that Kristen and I did together at a Mother's Day Banquet at our church in 1995. She would have been about nine years old. When she called tonight I asked her if she remembered doing it. She said yes but wasn't game for a repeat performance. Oh boy:) I thought I would share it. It also gave me lots of insights into our adult mother/daughter relationship now.

I was all drippy typing this. I think I got my keyboard wet. I hope you enjoy:)

Kristen and Mommy

(Face each other)
Mom -- It’s like looking into the past when I look into my daughter’s eyes.
Daughter -- It’s like looking into the future when I look into my mommy’s eyes.
Together -- The same eyes, the same hair, the same hopes, the same dreams.
Mom -- I like to read.
Daughter -- Me too. I like to write.
Mom -- So do I.
Daughter -- I like it when we snuggle up on the couch.
Mom -- I remember doing that with my mom. I remember my mom reading stories to me from the Bible.
Daughter -- We do that -- you read to me.
Mom -- You read to me, too.
Daughter -- I like it when you pray with me.
Mom -- When I was little I prayed, ‘Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I ask Thee Lord, my soul to take.’
Daughter -- That’s silly. That’s not how you talk to a friend.
Mom -- That’s right. We can talk to Jesus just like we talk to each other.
Daughter -- Well, not just like it. I yell at you and stomp my feet.
Mom -- Oh yeah. I yell right back.
(Turn back-to-back)
Daughter -- She yells at me for no reason.
Mom -- She chews with her mouth open and makes annoying noises just to irritate me.
Daughter -- She says we’ll do something and then she keeps saying, ‘Later. I’m busy.’ Yeah, busy with my brothers!
Mom -- She wants to have all of me, all the time. She’s very demanding.
Daughter -- All I want is a little time – time to be with each other.
(Face each other again)
Mom -- There’s never enough time.
Daughter -- You have work.
Mom -- Well, you have school.
Daughter -- There’s baseball practice for the boys.
Mom -- You have piano. We sit and practice together, remember?
Daughter -- We do, don’t we? I forgot.
Mom -- I guess you do have to be demanding because I might forget and not spend that time with you.
Daughter -- I’ll try not to be a pest. I’ll help around the house so we have time to play.
Mom -- That’s a deal.
(Shake hands)
Daughter -- When I’m a mom, I want to be just like you.
Mom -- When you’re a mom, you’ll be better than me.
Daughter -- I love you, Mommy.
Mom -- I love you, Kristen.
(Hug each other)


Pennies from Heaven

>> Thursday, December 25, 2008

This morning I woke up to my husband warning me about my "Christmas present" from my son. "Don't yell now when you see the house."

Well, it probably couldn't be much worse than when I went to bed, now really, but I was scared. He said Nik thought of my present all by himself and was up very early in the morning following through with his plan. And considering I was up until 1:30 AM and Jim was up at 4, he didn't have a very big window of time.

I warily got up and went into our hall, ready for anything (cuz Nik is ornery and I'm just not sure where he gets that from -- LOL! That's your Christmas funny for the day:) There were pennies all down the hallway to the front room.

I know, that makes no sense if you don't know me and even if you do, that might not make sense. You see, I've been saving change. It's Mari and my fun money when she comes in 3 weeks from today! Any change that isn't hidden from me is fair game. I've discovered how fast it all adds up. It's become a standing joke in our house and it's caused some strife at the same time since getting to Ryan's new house requires a toll way (well, the way Ryan likes to go anyway.) Jim had a whole cup full of change in the car and the next time he went to pay the toll -- mysteriously it was gone. I plead the 5th!

Everyone has been very generous, letting me have their change, either willingly or unknowingly:) BUT Nik, my sweet boy, scattered 500 pennies on the floor for me. Do my kids know me or what? AND I wasn't too proud to get on the floor and pick them up by handfuls and put them in my Star Bucks glass jar, filling it up, by the way. I don't take it to the bank until it's full:) I've been there several times so far.

So much fun. Christmas, so far, has been really cool. It's 7:24 and Nik, Jim, and I are the only ones up. We're watching a movie until Ryan and Kristen wake up. Wishing all of you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! And remember, Christ is the true reason for this season!


Far Into the Everlies!

>> Thursday, December 11, 2008

Psalm 8

A David Psalm
1 God, brilliant Lord, yours is a household name.
Oh yes! A name above all others indeed!
2 Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;
toddlers shout the songs
That drown out enemy talk,
and silence atheist babble.
Are babies looking up to You? Is that what they're doing when they grin?
3-4 I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Oh man! I do see You in Your handiwork. It is a true work of art that You created for us!
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?
That's for sure. Why do You put up with us like You do? I am so small in comparison so why do I demand Your attention and get upset when I don't see You jump.
5-8 Yet we've so narrowly missed being gods,
bright with Eden's dawn light.
You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,
repeated to us your Genesis-charge,
Made us lords of sheep and cattle,
even animals out in the wild,
Birds flying and fish swimming,
whales singing in the ocean deeps.
And we don't do that very well, either.
9 God, brilliant Lord,
your name echoes around the world.
Your Name does echo around the world - sometimes in a derogatory way and hopefully more often in praise and glory to You. I praise You Lord, in these storms raging around me and my family and friends. I praise You for who You are. I praise You for what You do and all You've done and all You will do. I praise You when things look the blackest and all seems lost. I praise You when it's the furthest thing from my mind to do.

Love You Lord! Love You for all time! Love You forever and ever and far into the everlies because You are teaching me to love. Love You! Love You! Love You!


God-Seeker Party!

>> Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Psalm 5 (The Message)

Listen, God! Please, pay attention! Can you make sense of these ramblings, my groans and cries? King-God, I need your help.
Every morning
you'll hear me at it again.
Every morning
I lay out the pieces of my life
on your altar
and watch for fire to descend.

Oh man, you mean King David was like all of us? Seems like my prayers are nothing but groans at times. I certainly do need Your help, God. My life seems like a big jig saw puzzle that's missing pieces. And sometimes I try to fit a piece in that just doesn't fit.

4-6 You don't socialize with Wicked,
or invite Evil over as your houseguest.
Hot-Air-Boaster collapses in front of you;
you shake your head over Mischief-Maker.
God destroys Lie-Speaker;
Blood-Thirsty and Truth-Bender disgust you.

I am all of these things at one time or another, sad to say: maybe not wicked or evil (I hope not anyway) but I can be a hot-air-boaster. Oh man -- a mischief-maker for sure! Ugh... How many times do You shake Your head at me, God? So sorry. I can be a lie-speaker. I lie to myself mostly, I'm thinking. It takes Your light to reveal things in me that I gloss over. So happy for that light. I don't think i'm blood-thirsty and I hope I don't bend the truth too much.

7-8 And here I am, your invited guest—
it's incredible!
I enter your house; here I am,
prostrate in your inner sanctum,
Waiting for directions
to get me safely through enemy lines.

Oh man, that is crazy. I am all of those things and You still LOVE ME! You still want to spend time with me! You want me to come and wait on You. Here I am, Lord. You invited me. You let me in. I'm listening for Your directions for my life. Help me, please?

9-10 Every word they speak is a land mine;
their lungs breathe out poison gas.
Their throats are gaping graves,
their tongues slick as mudslides.
Pile on the guilt, God!
Let their so-called wisdom wreck them.
Kick them out! They've had their chance.

My, what if we looked like how we acted? When we lie about something, the poison gas would knock over the listener. Gaping graves for throats - ugh... Mudslides for tongues. Please help me keep my thoughts focused on You, Lord. Give me Your wisdom so I follow You all my days and don't become like these descriptions. Please, Lord.

11-12 But you'll welcome us with open arms
when we run for cover to you.
Let the party last all night!
Stand guard over our celebration.
You are famous, God, for welcoming God-seekers,
for decking us out in delight.

I can't wait to run into Your arms for cover. Oh -- God-seekers, come to the party! God is standing guard so we can party all night. I want to be clothed in Your delight, Lord, for sure and certain. I'm ready to party now:)



>> Monday, December 8, 2008



Domino Effect

>> Sunday, December 7, 2008

Have you ever thought of how all of our lives intermingle with each other? Everything has to be set up just perfectly for things to work. It reminds me of dominoes. In order to get all the dominoes to knock down the one beside it, they all have to be set up just right. They need to be the correct distance from each other and standing just right.

Just think of it - because you made a decision about something a long time ago, it effects the people you interact with down through time. And the decisions I made and continue to make, effect you -- good or bad.

If one domino is out of place, all action stops. They will only keep them falling as long as all the dominoes are in their correct positions. If we make decisions that make the lasting effect of
the dominoes to stop - it might be a lost blessing or a lost soul even.

But because God is who He is, He recalculates. He sets the dominoes up in a different path to get us going again. I am so glad. I would hate to think my dominoes stalled on account of me bei
ng disobedient. I wouldn't want other people that I come into connect with, to miss out on what God has for them.

He set us up before we were even born. We have freedom of choice, of course, but He knows the roads we will take because He's God. He knows everything. I can rest in that fact. It's so good to know God is watching over me all the time.

"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139:13-16)

I love God set-ups. They work out so much better than any setting up that I try to do. I am so glad that God cares for us so much that He keeps us falling the right way so we can keep interacting with each other. Friends and family and even complete strangers benefit from this. We have lasting effect on people - we need to remember that as we make decisions.

Anyone want to set up some dominoes with me? Hmmm? I'll even let you be the one to knock them over! Really truly. Anyone wanna play?


Wicked Fun!

>> Saturday, December 6, 2008

On Sunday, January 18th, Mari and I are going to go see the Broadway play, Wicked. We found fantastic tickets, right in the orchestra section. It is going to be 'wicked' fun! I've never been to a play like this before so I am really looking forward to it.

That's probably about all we will be able to afford to do in Chicago. We weighed our options and decided it was worth it. The rest of the money will go for the hotel, Starbucks, and the dollar menus:)

Mari is flying into Midway Airport on Friday, January 16th. I'll be driving to get her so I need very good weather and I'll be waiting for her flight to come in at 1:00 PM. We're staying in Chicago until after the play and then Mari will be driving us to my house.

On Thursday, Mari will be speaking at our Ladies' Night Out at my church. I'm so excited for everyone here to get to know her. She's speaking about chocolate and friendship. She has to leave early Friday. I think we forgot about that. Oops... We were going to spend the night Thursday night at the hotel again so we would be there for her flight. Oh my goodness. We need to recalculate as Jim's new GPS unit says all the time when Jim doesn't listen to it and strays from it's calculated path:) Mari - did we mess up? Maybe go up as soon as LNO is over. We both could be up later than get up earlier, I think:) You think?

But anyway, those are our plans for January. I can't wait!


What do you think?

>> Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mari made some NaNo book covers for me but I can't pick which one I like the best. Anyone want to help me choose? I'll put a survey on the sidebar. I finished my NaNo word count but I still have a long way to go before it's actually finished. Thank you for praying me through. It's been lots of fun to see so much progress towards it! I'm also very proud of all my friends who made their NaNo goals. Yay!

Thank you, Mari, for doing these for me! I love them all.


I'm Just Saying...

>> Saturday, November 29, 2008

Questions to ponder this Saturday morning from sunny Pensacola, Florida. Maybe someone can help me answer. But then again, maybe not...

1. Is he a woman? or is she a man? I don't know. Our front desk clerk has us confused or maybe he/she is the one confused. I'm just saying....

2. Surely there are things to do in Florida, right? Why are we having so many problems finding them then? Hmmm?

3. Why do these men ask me what I want to do and then don't take me to do them? I don't get it. :) Really truly don't.

4. Why, oh why can't I enjoy the sights and marvel at creation without my teenage son making fun of me and telling me I'm stupid? Oh boy. When did he get to be the dork police? No one elected him for that position.

5. Why, when we go to a beautiful beach, full of white sand that squishes in your toes when you walk barefoot, oh why was I the only one with my shoes off enjoying it?

6. And speaking of beaches, why was I the only one standing in that cold, clear Gulf water? Why would anyone want to pass up that experience? Hmmm?

Well, I was just curious. Maybe you've experienced these same problems. Then again, if you don't travel with guys, maybe not:) LOL! I am having a good time despite them. No, actually, we're having a very good time because of them, too. Really. Just had to poke some fun at my guys.

I hope to get to the beach again today. I also want to see the lighthouse on the Naval base. It's our last day. I really hope I get to sit and watch the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico again. I really want to soak up some sun before we head back to cold winter Illinois weather. I'm just saying...


Naval Aviation Center, Pensacola, FL

>> Friday, November 28, 2008


More Pictures

>> Thursday, November 27, 2008


Toasty Warm Thanksgiving:)

We are having a good time in Florida. It was a long trip but enjoyable. The van isn't handling very well so anyone who would like to pray, that would be greatly appreciated. We got to drive right in to the Naval base where Ryan is staying.

This afternoon we spent some time on Pensacola Beach. The sand is amazingly white but the water was cold. Tomorrow we're going to take a picnic to the beach. Hopefully it's a bit warmer. I was the only brave one to stick my toes in it. Hope you enjoy the pictures!


Are We There Yet?

I missed the deadline this morning for, "Home for the Holidays" topic. I had the idea as we passed a very bad accident last night. It's not even proofed. Please pray for travel mercies as many are on the roads this Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving from the Hubrichs as they travel from Illinois to Florida to see our son! I am now typing in a hotel room in Athens, Alabama. Woohoo! Halfway there!

“Mommy, when are we getting to Grammy’s house?” Joey squirmed as much as his booster seat would allow.

“Almost there, Buddy. Sit still now.” Joan turned around to look him in the eye.

Joey saw the seriousness of his mom’s look and sat still, suddenly absorbed in his new Christmas coloring book.

The traffic was bumper-to-bumper. Aaron kept his whole attention on the task at hand.

Joan started to sing, “Over the river and through the woods…”

Joey jumped in with his off-key little boy soprano voice, “to Grammama’s house we go!”

Joan finished the song while Joey giggled at seeing the silliness in his mommy, something he rarely saw when his daddy was around.

After a few minutes of silence, Joan check on Joey to make sure he was still awake. “You okay, Jo-Jo?”

“I was just thinkin’…”

“What were you thinking?” Joan questioned.

“We didn’t pray, Mommy. We pray before we go to Grammy’s house… ‘member?”

Joan looked at Aaron. “He’s right, Honey. Why didn’t we pray?”

Aaron didn’t take his eyes off the traffic. “Probably because we were in a hurry.” He took a quick peek in his rear-view mirror, “Hey, Bud, can you pray for us right now? I’m kind of busy. Mommy can help you.”

Joey smiled. “I can do it, Daddy.” He squiggled in straight into his seat as he prepared for this most important job of the trip. “Dear Jesus, me and Mommy and Daddy are going to Grammy’s house. Please watch over us. Keep Daddy driving good.”

Joan finished for him, “Yes, Lord… thank You for Your hand of protection on us so far. Forgive us for not remembering to pray before we left. Thank You so much for this great little boy You gave to us. It’s in Your name we pray… Amen.”

“Amen.” Aaron added.

And Joey finished it off, “Amen.”

At that very moment, a semi suddenly spun out of control.

Aaron gripped the wheel tight and threw on his breaks. “Lord help us.”


Joey walked between Joan and Aaron. They lifted him up by his arms, and swung him high in the air. “Are we almost there yet, Daddy?” Joey asked.

“I think so, Bud.” Aaron assured the excited little boy.

“We’re home for the holidays, Honey,” Joan smiled at her boys.

Joey let go of his parents hands and ran off to the man that stood in front of them. “Jesus!”

Jesus opened His arms up wide and readied Himself as Joey plowed into Him. Joey snuggled his face into Jesus’ robe. Joan and Aaron came up behind and all were welcomed joyfully.

“My children, you are home for the holidays. Welcome!”


Just Not NOT in the Job Description!

>> Saturday, November 22, 2008

Just a fun little sample of what I wrote today for NaNo.
I hope you enjoy:) And please, please treat your pastor's wife nicely:)
Jenn listened to hear if an answer would come but none did. She heard kicking and screaming going on in the kitchen so she followed the sounds that no one could have ignored. She saw Tammy holding up a little guy by the shirt and washing his butt in the sink with the sprayer.

Jennifer rolled her eyes at this thoroughly disgusting sight she was seeing. It wouldn’t have been quite so bad if the sink weren’t full of dishes. “Oh man,” she thought. She rushed over to Tammy’s side to see what she could do.

“Tammy,” she stood and put her hand on the woman’s well defined, muscular arm.

Tammy jumped. “Oh, Jennifer. Why are you here?”

Jennifer almost said something that wouldn’t have been very becoming from a pastor’s wife and then thought better of it and stopped herself. “You called me, remember?” She tried to keep the irritation out of her voice but she wasn’t sure it worked.

“Jenn, you came at a God awful time. The kids are being bad and little Henry here pooped his diaper big time. This seemed the easiest way to clean him.” Tammy suddenly realized what Jenn was seeing and stopped dead in her tracks. She turned the water off and wrapped the little baby in a dish towel.

Jennifer began, “Listen Tammy, do you need help? I’m here now. Maybe we could talk as I helped you do whatever needs to be done.” Jenn shuddered. She couldn’t believe she just volunteered to help after her long day of work.

Tammy looked a little reluctant at first and then made a quick decision. She handed Little Henry to her, dish towel and all, and said she would be ever so grateful if she could get him dressed. Tammy then walked away to the next problem and left Jenn scrambling to figure out where the diapers were or a diaper bag. Even a kid would be nice at this point, to help her get what she needed.

It was unusually quiet for this house. She wondered what was going on and who did what with the little angels. Tory went zipping by on a scooter, just missing Jenn’s toes. “Honey?” Jenn tried to stop her but she went by too quickly. “Where are Henry’s diapers, Honey?”

Tory pointed to a large orange diaper bag and then was on her way again. Jenn couldn’t believe she hadn’t notice that atrocity. She pulled out a diaper and a clean onesey. She went to the front room and cleared a seat on the couch so she could diaper the squirmy little thing.

Just as Jenn was about done dressing Henry, Tammy came back into the room. She plopped on the recliner, with a newborn hooked to the boob. Tammy hadn’t even covered herself up. It was there for all to see. Jenn looked away quickly, her face reddening.

Tammy noticed this and reached over and threw a t shirt over the little girl, at a vain attempt at trying to cover herself up. “Welcome to my world.” She grinned at Jenn and Jenn grinned back. She had no idea what else to do. “Since you’re here, you think you could grab that bottle on the stove and give it to Lil Henry for me? I’m sure he’s getting hungry, too.”

Jenn set Henry on the couch so she could boost herself up then reached back down and got the baby. She found the bottle and went back and sat down on the couch in front of Tammy. Henry rooted around looking for the nipple. Jenn then remembered what she was doing and stuck it in the little guy’s mouth. He made suckly piggish sounds as he guzzled the milk.


Master Puzzler

>> Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yesterday, major walls came crashing down in people's live that I truly love. I got to thinking about the walls that came down as Joshua marched into Jericho. That was a good thing - ordained by God. "Shout! For the Lord has given you the city! (Josh. 6:16 NIV)

"When the people heard the sound of the horns, they shouted as loud as they could. Suddenly, the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the city from every side and captured it." (Josh. 6:20)

But what about the people in it? There was one woman, Rahab, that God chose to keep safe because of her help to the Israelites when the spies were scoping out the city. Ultimately, her life majorly improved when she was made to leave the fortified city. Her and her family were spared death.

I wonder why she didn't leave the city earlier if she didn't agree with what was happening there? Have you ever thought of that?

Have you ever noticed in your life that things have to get really bad before you're ready to move on to something else? And usually, when you do finally part with whatever it was you were holding onto (whether a job or whatever...) then you really start to see God's hand.

So what I'm wondering is, maybe the walls had to come down yesterday. Maybe, perhaps, God is shaking up things to get them to fall into place. Whoever was trying to put together the puzzle (oh man - probably us) was trying to force them into a space when it clearly would NOT fit. God is the ultimate Puzzler. He fits pieces together that no one else would even think of and when He is finished - we stand back and admire His handiwork. We marvel at His ingenuity.

But at the time, when He is doing the shaking up, we don't wonder what good things He is doing for us. We puzzle over what is going on. We cry out to Him or we dig in our heels and fight Him every inch of the way.

God gave Rahab a place of refuge during this tearing down and rebuilding process. He took care of her, very good care of her. Much better care than what she had inside the city walls.

When the walls of Jerusalem were finally finished, lots of celebrating went on. "At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres. (Neh. 12:27)

But right now, it's hard to think about the rebuilding. The walls are still crumbling. Refuge has been taken but still, God hasn't shown His hand yet. But we know He will. His timing is most definitely NOT our timing. Of course His ways are definitely NOT our ways - and I am so thankful of that considering how many times I have majorly botched things up in my life.

If your life is going good right now, please pray for those who are in the process of watching their walls come down. You've been there. You know it's not easy. But you also know that the rewards will be great when it's all said and done.

"SHOUT! For the Lord has given you the city!" I can't wait until we hear these words in these situations that I see in my family and friend's lives. I can't wait for the dedication to those new walls. I can't wait to See how God works out these many different situations.

Shhh! The Master Puzzler is at work right now.


She's Coming!

>> Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's official. Mari is coming to me! Tickets were bought in the early morning Saturday hour. Thanks to a very good friend, she was able to buy a ticket and only have to pay a little extra. Truly an amazing gift. Truly an amazing friend!

She's coming on Friday, January 16 and will leave the next Saturday, January 24. We are going to have lots of fun! I can't wait for Mari to meet my friends here and see my life like I got to see hers. I am very excited! Excited to the max!


Missions Blog -- God's Smuggler

>> Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Patty at Patterings is hosting a missions month. I, being the great procrastinator, have waited til the very last minute to get mine in but I have done it! Years ago I read the book, God's Smuggler, by Brother Andrew. This week I started to reread it. Now I know why I remembered this book out of all the ones I've read. Brother Andrew grew up in Holland. As a child, he told the story of how he would lag behind his family so there wouldn't be a seat for him in the pew. He would then sit in the very back by the door so he could sneak out. He timed it just perfectly so he could stand by the minister as people shook the man's hand and in this way, he would pick up tidbits so that his cover would not be blown. Well -- this boy grew up to be a man that had a fantastic call on his life.

He couldn't get enough of church. He longed for a closer and closer relationship with God. Soon it was apparent that he would be a missionary. He began in 1955 by being a one-man missionary. He took in Bibles and spoke to Christians behind the Iron Curtain. There are amazing stories he recounts. This is a must-read. What I enjoyed the most is how he was taught to totally rely on the Lord to supply his every need.

Brother Andrew called his new way of living -- the Game of the Royal Way. He discovered that God would supply his every need without him having to beg. God would do it in the most Kingly manner. In school they were sent off in small groups. They had two rules they had to stick to: they could never mention a need aloud, and they gave away a tithe of whatever came to them as soon as they got it - within 24 hours. They were not allowed to take up collections or even mention money at their meetings. All their needs had to be provided without any manipulation on their part or their experiment would be a failure. This I can't even fathom! And you know what? His every need was met and he was taught great lessons and these lessons are now passed on to us, the readers.

His one-man mission work grew to be called, "Open Doors International, a nondenominational organization with bases around the world. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in missionary accounts. It is most awesome!

And now, Peej -- I want to wish you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! This has been a fantastic way to celebrate with you! What a great idea! Happy, happy, happy birthday my friend!


What I Like About Me - Hmmm...

Oh boy. Joanne asked me to list three things I liked about myself. It really is hard. It's much easier to find strengths in others than ourselves. Steam is coming out of my ears. I'll try, for Jo, I suppose.

I love to make friends. That's a good thing, right?
I love to encourage others in their walk with the Lord and in pursuing their dreams and using their talents.

One more, huh? Ugh...

I bounce back easily when I've been hurt. I am very forgiving and forgetful:)

Okay, now I get to choose three to take part in this misery!
I choose Vonnie from My Back Door.
Marita from Mari Flower.
And Amy from Sparrow's Flight.

You can find these blogs on my side bar:) I can't remember how to add them here - :) Sorry. Hope everyone is having a great day! Be sure to tell a Veteran how much you appreciate all they've done for us! Also, don't forget our men and women who are serving now! Happy Veteran's Day!


Espresso Truffle - A Must Try!

>> Sunday, November 9, 2008

Saturday morning I had to take Kristen in to Bloomington for a State-wide teacher test. I went, with my lap top and debit card, to Starbucks. I ordered the Espresso Truffle. Oh my! Wow! It was chocolaty heaven. Wonderful. While I enjoyed it, I worked on my NaNoWriMo project. I am now up to page 35, and last night I was right on track at 13,412 words! It is most amazing considering I am having such horrendous headaches.

While at Starbucks I also watched people and one family became a part of my story. I am going to share a bit of it with you now. I do hope you enjoy. The purpose of NaNo is to get you to write. Later on, when the month is over, editing will begin, but for now: WRITE WRITE WRITE. It's a good experience for me. I really appreciate your prayers. This is a goal I really want to achieve. So please, no trying to correct any mistakes you see. Okay? Here it is, ready or not!

Chapter something or other
found somewhere in there:)

Barb held the door open for a young family of four. The two children, a boy and girl, sat down at the table giggling while their mom ordered.

“Espresso Truffle, double shot and caramel macchiato, decaf.” Jenn and Dave’s order was ready.

Dave took their drinks and followed Jenn to an available table. She chose to sit near the small family. They drew her attention and made her heart fill with joy for some reason.

“Coffee and my Davie, it just doesn’t get better than this,” she smiled coyly above her warm chocolaty drink. She then was drawn back to the small family.

The mother brought donuts to the two children and they ate them up. The little blond girl smiled with delight. The glasses that rested on her nose made her face seem even smaller, more elfish. She chewed with her mouth opened, and wiggled her head at each bite. She rocked back and forth in the chair. The father then brought their drinks. The small white cups had a cloud of steam off of them. The boy looked to be about eight. His cheeks dimpled in when he took a drink of his hot chocolate.

“Be careful, it might be too hot,” the mother said.

The father looked at the boy and asked, “You want a drink of coffee?”

“I do but mom said no.” The father handed the boy his drink.

The young boy slowly brought it up to his lips. He started to take a sip and then put it back down. He finally took a drink. “Blah.” He quickly handed it back to his dad. They all laughed except for the little boy with a horrendous coffee taste in his mouth. The little girl decided to try her hand at her first coffee taste. She stuck her tongue out and spit. She then rubbed her tongue to wipe away the taste. She was not impressed either. Neither one were convinced that mocha was another name for chocolate.


Geometry Anyone?

>> Wednesday, November 5, 2008

In Geometry class this quarter, we have begun to talk about Transformations. Just so you know, in case you don't: I am NOT the teacher. I'm a teacher's aide. It would be very very scary if I were teaching a Math class. I'm talking SCARY SCARY! Anyway, about three lessons into it I had a sudden realization, "WOW. What a blog idea!" But I'm not supposed to be blogging. I'm supposed to be working on NaNo. But you know, a girl's just gotta blog when the Spirit says blog, so blog I am:)

There are three main Transformations:

Reflection (that's when you FLIP!)
Rotation (that is when you TURN!)
Translation (that's when you SLIDE!)

Okay, I know. You're not picking up on my excitement. Listen up! This picture of the mountain, you know it's a reflection. When you reflect something, it is a mirror image and every point is the same distance from the central line. It is a flip over a line.

When we become Christians, we totally FLIP or repent. We begin to align ourselves with God and His Word. We totally flip around.

This next shape is showing a rotation or a turn. When a shape is rotated, it is turned around the center. The distance from the center to any point on the shape stays the same. In our walk with Christ, we should be making Him the center of all we do and say.

This next shape is a translation. The shape has moved or slid down. It doesn't rotate or resize, it just moves. In our walk with God, we not only should be reflecting Him and rotating around Him; we should also be drawing nearer and nearer to Him. We should be sliding closer. We will never achieve perfection. That will happen when we die and we get our new body but we can do our best to live the way He desires us to live.

"When I was a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor REFLECTION as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (1 Cor. 13:11-13 NIV)

"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being TRANSFORMED into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Cor. 3:18 NIV)

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be table to test and approve what God's will is -- His good, pleasing, and perfect will." (Romans 12:2 NIV)

In all of these examples, the size stays the same - when we become Christians, we keep the same body -- but it's our mind that changes, our way of thinking. We do a total turn-around. We desire to reflect our Maker.

Hopefully you picked up a little bit of my excitement. You know the toys, Transformers, (more than meets the eye?) That's us. Using what we have and totally changing it up, reflecting, and sliding closer to God every day.

Okay now, aren't you so jealous that I get to sit in a Geometry class every day for fifty minutes? Oh boy! Happy reflecting, rotating, and translating!


The Truth Will Set You Free!

>> Monday, November 3, 2008

"Dave had encouraged her to read her Bible so she reached up on her nightstand and set it in her lap. She opened it to where she had left her bookmark so many weeks ago. She began to read Mark chapter 8. She read slowly to let the thoughts and teachings of Jesus fully sink in. She suddenly stopped at verse 31. “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Jenn knew this freedom was spiritual freedom in Christ. She was ready, so ready to be free again but wasn’t sure she was really ready when push came to shove. She stood, on the edge of the cliff. She wasn’t ready to take the plunge. She knew God was there to catch her, she knew that without a doubt but to act on it, to totally surrender to Him, she just wasn’t ready to make that commitment. She didn’t feel she had enough faith. She didn’t feel that she was good enough. She just plain didn’t feel…"
These are my NaNo characters. They aren't real but maybe they are. Maybe it describes you and your walk with the Lord right now. Maybe it's my walk, if not now, in the past and I'm sure will also describe the future.
Just like Peter, we have to step out of the boat to see God work in our lives. If we hold on too tight inside the boat, we will never see our lives played out fully - the way God had intended them to be. I'm jumping in feet first with this writing project. It overwhelms me most of the time but when I changed my focus to what God wants, and getting into His Word, I have seen it come together a bit better. Of course, I might start floundering in the water tomorrow but I also know that God will be there for me and I have many friends who will help pull me up, too.
"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (Mark 8:31 NIV)
Aloha! Cha cha cha!!!
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Come to my Rescue

>> Sunday, November 2, 2008

This morning in church I was blessed tremendously by the worship leader and the sermon. I used a part of Greg's sermon as part of my NaNo story today and a song from worship, Rescue from Newsong. I strayed from his sermon to go with my story, of course. It's not exactly what he said. Just so you know that:) I'm going to share with you a part of what I wrote this afternoon for NaNo, just so you have some idea of what I'm writing. Hope you enjoy. Maybe I'll do this every once in a while. Not sure. We shall see. Right now I've hit my goal of 1600 words a day. I'm now at 3,369! Woohoo! Thank you for praying. I really really appreciate it! Now, let the story begin:

Come to My Rescue
A guest worship leader was brought in for the morning service. It was time for a change. Dave and Jenn both knew that. They were trying to bring the congregation into a more contemporary service and having this young man lead would do a great deal in helping that along.
Besides that, Jenn needed a day off. She was doing so much in the church and was paid nothing. She needed a time to heal. They both sat in the front pew. They stood together, hand in hand. Benjamin, the young worship leader, stood at the keyboard. His face lifted to Heaven, He began a song, Rescue by Newsong:
You are the Source of light
I can't be left behind
No one else will do
I will take hold of You
Dave put his arm around Jenn’s side and drew her in close. Benjamin continued to sing:
I need You, Jesus
Come to my rescue
Where else could I go?
There’s no other name by which I am saved
Dave and Jenn’s free arms went into the air.
Capture me with grace
I will follow You
My heart is Yours for life
I need Your hand in mine
No one else will do
Lord, I put my trust in You

At the next chorus they joined hands and held them high in the air. Together they were in this struggle with their church and community. Tears streamed down both their faces. One, tears of a struggle he knew nothing about and could do nothing but pray; the other, tears of frustration and loneliness.
I need You Jesus
Come to my rescue
Where else could I go?
There’s no other name by which I am saved
Oh capture me with grace
I will follow You
This world has nothing for me…
(I will follow You)
This world has nothing for me
I need You Jesus
Both felt a great sense of encouragement as the song ended. They let go hands and dried tears. Dave had no idea what healing was going on behind him but he knew that God was working on he and his wife.
Dave moved to the pulpit after the last song. He was finally able to see the faces of the people. A few had tears in their eyes. Some looked to be stone-cold. He couldn’t worry about that for now. He had to continue on with his plans for the sermon.
Sorry, will stop there. Hope you enjoyed a small piece
of my NaNo:) I really really appreciate your prayers and support.


Chaos and Clutter

>> Saturday, November 1, 2008

I'm sitting on the couch. I've laid on the bed. I've thought about my story for a week now. I've taken notes. I've researched. I've gotten so excited to do my NaNo project, and now I'm choking. How can I have writer's block already? Oh boy. Such a big project to take on: 50,000 words in one month. What am I doing? I have no doubt that I'll get things figured out soon. I need to pray more and let God at the helm. I think that's what I'm supposed to be learning right now.

My project title is: Free To Be...

and here is the snyopsis:

A woman lost in a sea of expectations. Beaten and bruised from the past, she stuffs and stuffs until she is so far inside herself that she withdraws. Unknowingly, she builds a cocoon around herself so no one can enter, so no one can hurt her ever again. Until one day God brings into her life... a friend. Through much laughter and tears, she begins to understand what it is to be, "Free To Be..."
I've been asked to be a voice to pastor's wives. They have such a hard job. Have you ever thought about that? They have to be all things to EVERYONE. That shouldn't be the case but in many instances it is. They have very busy lives outside of the church, just like the rest of us, yet many times they are expected to play the piano, teach Sunday School, plan the next Ladies' Night Out, put up with well-meaning church goers who complain about the pk's behavior... Need I go on? I don't think so.

Many times these women carry around baggage with them from the past that defines how they react to different stressors in their lives. My goal is to write my NaNo novel as a fictionalized account of one pastor's wife learning to be free to be whatever it is that she was meant to be.

Okay, this is where you come in. I need at least 1600 words a day to achieve my goal. I really want to do this. I need to finish a project for once (that's important to the ADD part of me that comes up with great ideas and then fails to follow-through) It's also important to create an awareness that our pastor's wives are real live people that have no place sitting on a throne in our minds. Lift them up in prayer. Find ways to help them out. Encourage them with cards or phone calls. Maybe make them a meal. We just finished pastor appreciation month but it should happen every day, for both the pastor and his wife and children.

I would love your prayer support and encouragement. I want to do this justice. Thank you in advance. I know many are already praying.

On another note: my contentment blog entries are coming back to bite me! I found out today that Mari and I did not win the cruise. The woman that did win TOTALLY DESERVED IT. I am so glad she won, really truly. I am content with the results. I didn't start out that way, though. I cried and whined but now I am good. God is good. He knows everyone's needs. He knows this woman NEEDS to get away. I am thankful that Mari is going to come to Illinois to see me. Now that we know the results we can start to plan. This will be so much better and very much cheaper.

Just like Paul, every life lesson draws me closer to the One that created me. He holds my hand as I maneuver my way around the chaos and clutter. I am so thankful for that. I am content. I am happy.

And speaking of chaos and clutter -- oh my goodness. I'm already a horrible house cleaner -- what am I going to do as I attempt to keep up on my writing goal? The house will fall apart all around me and I might not even notice. Not until my husband mentions it, though, I'm sure. Oh boy. Clutter and chaos -- please pray that God shows my husband how to be content with extra clutter and chaos and help him maneuver around it all:) Actually it might be cleaner than normal when I use my household chores as a reason to procrastinate:)

I am procrastinating right this very minute. As of now, I have 1,387 worthless words on my word processor. I need to get it together and quickly. Thank you for praying. I appreciate you all so very much.


Sanctuary, Contentment Part 3

>> Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sometimes we set our minds on things that we just KNOW will make us happy but doesn’t last, does it? We need to learn how to be content. We can learn. It’s never too late. Really truly.

“When I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing Your likeness.” Psalm 17:15 This should be our goal:)

Remember Paul. As he wrote the letter to the Philippians, he was sitting in jail. Well, the jail looks more like a tomb. He learned to be content even in those circumstances.

How did he learn that? What is the secret? Of course, that is my goal in this blog series, to find the secret to contentment.

Paul prayed. He prayed continually. He wrote, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERYTHING, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7)

We should go to the throne room of God and spend time with Him there. It is there where we will begin to learn contentment. “A glorious throne, exalted from the beginning, is the place of our sanctuary.” (Jer. 17:12) A sanctuary is a safe place. A place that brings us comfort and rest.

God said to Jeremiah, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jer. 33:3)

This is the first step in learning to be content. It’s not hard. It’s so simple that we overlook it at times. We need to spend time with God, sitting at His feet. I challenge us all to do that very thing. Right now even. He told us to call to Him and He would answer us.

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If Only..., Contentment Part 2

>> Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Oh man, if only we win the cruise…. " I’ve been repeating this phrase a lot lately. I can’t help it. I really, really do want to win that cruise to Mexico, but you know what? I had no idea how badly I wanted to win it until I saw the button advertising the contest. Not a clue. I was perfectly content with Mari coming to see me in Illinois. And I will be content with her coming here if we don’t win. I’ll be so very happy to see her. BUT I WANT TO WIN! If we don’t win, Mari knows she’s going to have to scrape me up off the floor. (November 1st is THE day we find out. Just in case you have one little bit of curiosity) And you know, if we do win, all of you are going to get very tired of hearing about it. Sorry in advance.

But anyway… we always think something else will make us happy. Is it just me or is everyone easily swayed by things they see? The other night Jim and I were watching a how things are made show on the History Channel. They were showing some of the secrets of Krispie Kremes. Did you know that the delectable donuts go through a glazing machine? Yumm… I told Jim I would love to go through that machine myself. Ummm… never mind. This is a PG blog. I’ll stop there. But do you know what I did today? I broke open a container of biscuits, you know – the POP! kind and I fried them up and drowned them in sugar. This isn’t a good time to remind everyone that I’m on a diet, right? So I look good for our cruise, which we’re going to win. See? I'm easily swayed.

In my last blog entry I began to talk about contentment. This is the second in the series. If you have any thoughts, feel free to chime in. Let’s all learn together. I’ll begin to get into the meat of the matter in the next entry, I promise. For today, this is my Sunday musings: some fun thoughts as my mind meanders.

My mind is especially hurting today, too. It’s been a really rough weekend. Would I be happier, more content if my headaches suddenly went away? It makes sense. By the world’s view, it would have been much better if I never had them in the first place. In reality, my chronic headaches have brought me much growth and maturity. I’ve also met some really outstanding friends that I probably never would have met otherwise. I do say at times, “Okay God. Enough already. Will You please take them away now.” But He’s strangely quiet on the subject and I still struggle and do lots of moaning and whining.

If only… then things would be so much better. If only… What do you “if only…” about? I would love it if you shared.


Enjoy Your Day! Contentment, Part 1

>> Saturday, October 25, 2008

As Nik and I were driving to church a couple of Sundays ago, we passed a pasture that had some horses. One of the horses poked his head out of the fence eating the grass on the other side. On the way home Nik said something to me about it. We were both amazed that it was still munching on grass almost out of his reach. It must have looked awful enticing to go to so much work to get. Oh my.

It reminded me of contentment. There are so many times that I don't live in the moment. I am constantly looking forward to the next thing. I am not content in where I am or what I'm doing.

About five or six years ago I memorized the book of Philippians. I'll have to share that adventure with you sometime because it was awesome. As I was studying and memorizing the book, I realized that I really really liked Paul. He maybe had some personality quirks but don't we all:) Maybe that's why I like him. He was very real. He had so much to overcome in his Christian walk. So much guilt he had to contend with but he overcame and he did so much for the Kingdom of God.

Paul wrote about being content. When we know about his life, it is quite an amazing thing, thinking he was content in where he was and what he was doing. (The picture is the inside of a prison that Paul would have spent so much of his life.) He was forced to be alone when he was such a social man. He was active in his life but was then forced to be chained and confined to a small space and no sunlight. He loved to preach the Gospel yet many of the avenues he used to do that were taken away from him. Satan must have intended on making him utterly hopeless. Cause him to question what he believed. Give him a good reason to maybe even end his life but instead, all this had the opposite effect on him. Look at what he wrote:

"I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philipians 4:10-13 NIV)

How do we live a life of contentment like Paul? I'll try to share his secret with you after I study more and get it figured out:) In the meantime, let's try to enjoy the day, okay?

Aloha baby!


The Linus Effect

>> Monday, October 20, 2008

I am feeling very insecure today. I am battling my headaches again after a couple weeks of reprieve. I'm sitting in the corner right now, holding on to my blankie for all I'm worth and hoping no one gets tired of me as I go through this time -- AGAIN. Medicine isn't working and rest doesn't seem to help. I am snatching at anything I can to have some semblance of order and relief. I am trying to take hold of God and His promises. I am trying to let Him be my blankie.

For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

The Lord is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)

So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can Man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:6)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

I'll hold on to these verses and to God's promises as tightly as I can. Will do my best anyway.



>> Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I have decided to enter the National Novel Writing Month in November. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. That's 2,000 words a day. That should be within my reach. Am going to attempt it anyway. There is no punishment by death if I don't get it accomplished anyway so I should be safe there. I usually work well with short goals. Now I need to figure out what to write about. A minor technicality.


Time out for a Birthday!

>> Monday, October 13, 2008

Today is my very good friend Shirley's birthday. I wanted to send birthday greetings and lots of love clear to Canada via my blog.

Happy birthday, Shirley, my sweet sweet friend! Hope and pray your year is full of blessings and health.



Audience of One

>> Saturday, October 11, 2008

Today I went to Berean Christian bookstore, and bought the book, A Sisterchicks Devotional: Take Flight! I've only read the first chapter so far but am loving it already! It's talking about worship. Robin Jones Gunn, the author, writes about a time when she wants to worship God but passes up the chance because of people around her. She says this, "I didn't release the praise welling up inside."

I can relate to this. Every Sunday in church I am inhibited because of others around me. No one stops me from praising God the way I want. No one but me. Sometimes I don't want to stand out. I just want to blend in with the crowd. But sometimes I am so powerfully touched by the Holy Spirit that I feel like I'm going to burst. That would be needing to release the praise that wells up inside like Robin writes about.

Her co-author and best friend, Cindy Hannan, writes this: "God knows our hearts, and He patiently asks us to bring more of ourselves to Him than we have before. He waits for us to realize that when we worship, there is an audience of only one.

Look at 2 Samuel 6:14 -- David danced with great abandon before God. He didn't care who was watching or what they were saying.

2 Chron. 6:13 -- Solomon knelt in front of a whole congregation, stretched his hands to Heaven and prayed.

Psalm 95:6, (The Message)-- David writes, "So come, let us worship: bow before Him, on your knees before God, who made us."

John 4:23-24"It's who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration."

Sometimes our praise comes out in different forms. It might be a poem or a story. Maybe you break out into song or speak in a different language. One time you might lift one hand and the next two. You might kneel or be flat on your face. Some even dance before the Lord like David.

Psalm 27:6 (The Message) "God holds me head and shoulders
above all who try to pull me down.
I'm headed for his place to offer anthems
that will raise the roof!
Already I'm singing God-songs;
I'm making music to God.

"Psalm 100:1-2 (The Message) "On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter,
sing yourselves into his presence."
Tomorrow, I'm hoping and praying that I will be able to respond to God's love the way I feel I ought to without worrying about how anyone else is worshiping or what they think about how I am worshiping. Hopefully, roofs will be raised all across the land in praise and worship and honor and glory to our Lord of Lords and our King of Kings!

I can't wait for Sunday! Psalm 122:1, "When they said, "Let's go to the house of God," my heart leaped for joy."


Bend, Stretch, Reach, Stand Still and KNOW!

>> Friday, October 10, 2008

One fall day this week as I was walking back to school after fleeing for a bit for some fresh air, I saw the prettiest fall leaf I had seen in a long time. I couldn't resist. I had to bend down and pick it up. When I did, I realized it wasn't real. That was very disheartening. But as Nik was driving me to school today I realized this is a great illustration to show that sometimes things are not what they seem to be.

As I first started reading and studying Zephaniah, I read that he was killed. I assumed it was because of the stand he was taking for the Lord, proclaiming His Word. Now that I've dug in a little deeper, I'm seeing this might not be the case. The answer isn't jumping out at me very easily so I am going to work on that this weekend.

Just like the pretty artificial leaf, we need to remember to closely examine something before we wholeheartedly attach ourselves to it, whether it be a boyfriend/girlfriend, a thought or belief, TV shows... And it goes the opposite way, too. Closely examine God and His attributes so that we can firmly attach ourselves to Him.

As we see in Psalm 139, God searches us. He knows us inside and out. I challenge you today to search Him.

Psalm 139
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, [a] you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to [b] me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.

19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!

20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?

22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Search Him today and rest in the knowledge that even though God knows us inside and out, He loves us anyway. That's a pretty awesome love to think about. Bend down to pick up a piece of God today. Stretch to pull down a bunch of hope. Reach out to grab hold of a branch of joy. Stand still and KNOW that 'I AM' is with you ALWAYS. Rejoice in the abundant life that God offers to us when we give ourselves wholly to Him.


Mighty to Save, Zephaniah part 2

>> Tuesday, October 7, 2008

In chapter 2 of Zephaniah, our prophet/worship leader spreads the word to the people:

3 Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land,
you who do what he commands.
Seek righteousness, seek humility;
perhaps you will be sheltered
on the day of the LORD's anger. (Zeph. 2:3)

Everyone else who does not humble themselves and do what the Lord says, they will be destroyed. If you read chapter two, you will see that this path isn't pleasant at all.

In chapter 2, Zephaniah describes the wickedness:

2 She obeys no one,
she accepts no correction.
She does not trust in the LORD,
she does not draw near to her God.

3 Her officials are roaring lions,
her rulers are evening wolves,
who leave nothing for the morning.

4 Her prophets are arrogant;
they are treacherous men.
Her priests profane the sanctuary
and do violence to the law. (Zeph. 3:2-4)

These people didn't obey anyone and did not want to be corrected. Worst of all, they did not draw near to God. I know I've fallen into these categories at various times of my life.

Contrast the people to our Lord:

5 The LORD within her is righteous;
he does no wrong.
Morning by morning he dispenses his justice,
and every new day he does not fail,
yet the unrighteous know no shame. (Zeph. 3:5)

We are not able to look to anyone and know for sure they will never fail. I've personally seen great men and women of God fail and I know you have, too. Isn't it great to know that our God never ever fails? He is ever-faithful.

Verse 7 shows us the people being given another opportunity to correct their ways but they still didn't change and God doesn't lie. If He says there will be punishment, we better believe there will be.

We've been promised Heaven but Hell is also waiting for occupants. Everyone will have some place to go.

All the prideful and haughty will be punished but in verse 12 Zephaniah says that the meek and humble, the ones who trust in the Lord, will be left.

So we've seen punishment being promised and the faithful being rewarded. This is where Zephaniah 3:17 comes in:
The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."
This small book is packed with a punch. It certainly confirms our need to come to know the Lord as our Savior and trust Him with all that is in us and then some:) It shows us the day of the Lord will be a day of judgment, for sure. Are you ready?


Spontaneous Songs of Praise

>> Monday, October 6, 2008

As Beckie and I were on our way to Chicago last Thursday, she had a friend call her with a verse of encouragement. When I heard Zephaniah, I knew exactly what verse she was reading to her because that is my other friend Becky's favorite verse.

Zephaniah 3:17 "The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."
The next day I decided I wanted to study the book of Zephaniah. It's only three chapters. That was a very attainable goal so I began. I copied the first chapter onto my word processor and looked at each verse and when I hit a word I wasn't quite sure of the meaning, I looked on It is so great to have so many helpful study tools at our fingertips.

I'm going to share some things with you about the author:

He was a Kohathite -- served by preparing for and directing worship

A prophet in days of Josiah

A priest in the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah -- Sent by the king to Jeremiah with a message soliciting the prophet's intercession and prayers

Shows Jeremiah the false prophet's letter

Taken to Riblah and killed

So basically, the way I read this is that Zephaniah was a worship leader and he gave prophetic words to the Kings of Judah. Reading Zephaniah 3:17 one would get the feeling this book would be comforting and give you a mushy feeling in your stomach. That is far from the case. In chapter one, Zephaniah warns the people about a coming destruction. It isn't pleasant. Not at all.

He warns the ones who worship idols and the ones that not seeking the Lord or inquiring of Him. Ummm.... I think I fall into those categories at different times of my life. Ouch...

In verse 7 he says, "Be silent before the Sovereign Lord, for the day of the Lord is near." He goes on to say who will be punished: those are aren't going to church and the ones that do but cause trouble. (vs 9) Also, the Lord is looking for complacent people (pleased, esp. with oneself or one's merits,advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect; self-satisfied.) Ouch...

14 "The great day of the LORD is near—
near and coming quickly.
Listen! The cry on the day of the LORD will be bitter,
the shouting of the warrior there."

This same word could be spoken in the Church today, don't you think? "The great day of the Lord is near - near and coming quickly." We are still waiting so many years later and we are still sinning in so many of the same ways. We still grow complacent, forgetting WHO we are waiting for.

So, I'm sure Zephaniah was not the favored worship leader in his time. Obviously since he was martyred. I'll talk about that more later this week when I continue on with the small but powerful book. But for now, I still want to think of God in this way:
"The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."

The same God who punishes and corrects also takes great delight in us. That is very comforting. It makes me want to break out in spontaneous songs of praise to my Lord. Maybe I'll do that right now.

Happy Monday everyone!

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