Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Vacation

Our family decided to take a Christmas Vacation.
It's one of those new fangled "Stay-cations" so popular since the recession set in.
We stayed right at home, cuddled up and did what ever we wanted.
Daddy took off work.
Mommy took off from her diet.
Kiddos took off from getting dressed ;).
Good stuff.

Louisiana snowman- Plastic wrapped hay bales on the lakeside.



We did have a bit of a bump in the road with dueling throat infections but two doses of antibiotics put those to rest. But not before Mommy and Claire missed the Folks family Christmas at my in-laws house- bummer.

We watched the Nativity Story - which I highly recommend.
(http://www.amazon.com/The-Nativity-Story-Keisha-Castle-Hughes/dp/B000MGBM1I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356636996&sr=8-1&keywords=nativity+story+movie)
and
The Christmas Miracle of Johnanthan Toomey- Which is a winner on every level.
(http://www.amazon.com/The-Christmas-Miracle-Jonathan-Toomey/dp/B000UAE7P4/ref=sr_1_1?s=moviestv-tradein&ie=UTF8&qid=1356637039&sr=1-1&keywords=jonathan+toomey)

We also watched a zillion episodes of our favorite TV shows on Netflix, shopped with our gift cards, opened presents, ate steak Daddy grilled for us and way too much dessert.

I can also definitively say- Stratego is a great board game and table top Air Hockey is always a good investment.

First time that I can ever remember we did not go anywhere on Christmas day.

Hope you take the time to spend a lazy day or two with your loved ones.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Praying: Before & After

I like everyone in the US spent sometime this weekend discussing the events in at Sandy Hook Elementary this weekend.
We don't have broadcast TV or cable so I just kept up with the story online and my kids heard very little. I did take some time out to talk with them before school today about what they might hear and field any questions they might have.

When anything like this happens a sure bet is that crazy stories or ideas will immediately begin to fly around as though they were the pure truth and must be repeated. I know my kids will hear some of that and I wanted to arm them with healthy skepticism and let them know Mom would be happy to talk with them about anything they hear.

I personally am still numb about it all, because it hardly seems real.
Maybe I don't want it to be real.

My husband said he teared up when he heard the news. He wanted to see our kids.
I did not cry a single tear. I felt perfectly secure that my kids were safe at school. Denial? maybe.

My first feeling was anger.
I am definitely more of an anger person.
I totally understand the instinct to blame.
I understand the search that immediately begins after some tragedy to find the person or persons who could have prevented this.

I thought about that this weekend. I read and heard the angles.
"Gun Control is the problem"
"Evil is the problem not guns"
"Lack of God in our culture is our problem"
"Bad parenting"
"Inadequate mental health care"
"Inadequate school security"
etc....

I really did not think I had anything constructive to add to this discussion so I just prayed this morning.
Then and idea struck me so convicting I knew it had to be God.
What if I was the problem?
What if it was people like me?
People who see or knew the kid who never fit in.
The too quiet kid, the not easy to befriend kid, the mentally ill kid, the kid who did not get what he needed at home, etc...
The people who knew that kid or kids, who knew God was their only hope and who never prayed for them.
Maybe we are the ones who dropped the ball.

Even as I sit here now, I can picture two, no wait, four boys who would fit into one of those groups. Do I pray for them daily? No.
Do I work to befriend them or their families? One family I do but not the others.

Here is the blinding truth that God put on my heart:
Satan can over come gun control, time spent in Church, good parenting, medication, friends, or any other fix we try to use EXCEPT..... GOD HIMSELF.

Sometimes what an Adam Lanza needs is a miracle and only a miracle.
Sometimes what we who call ourselves "Christian" need to do is to pray before the tragedy not just after.
Ask God to put someone on your heart who needs a miracle, then pray every day for that person. The unreachable, the truly troubled, the one lost in the shuffle, etc....
Yes, act to show love and kindness but more importantly pray, pray, pray.

The only sure way of defeating Satan is the pleading of the Holy Spirit from the mouth of the child of God.

As we truly should be praying for the families After this tragedy also let us begin to be more faithful to pray Before such can occur.

James 5:16 The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Teach yourself

I am a substitute teacher.
You know, the person every child either dreads to see coming because of busy work or the person every child loves to see coming because of the challenge of doing as many wrong things as possible in one class.

I spent the last two weeks filling in for the same teacher.
This particular teacher taught 7th grade Life Science (I am a huge science nerd so I loved this), 6th grade Spanish (I learned some fun Spanish words) and 7th &8 grade Spanish.

7th & 8th grade Spanish is not a fun class to sub for if you don't speak or write Spanish.
They had to write paragraphs in Spanish about different topics. For all I knew they were copying the glossary from their book.

Some students spent most of their time crafting the illusion they were working, then never actually turning in a paper.
Hey, academics aren't for everyone but if you want to advance in just about anything in life you have to learn how to teach yourself.

I think the best students learn how to teach themselves.

It's like eating. You can wait for mom to spoon feed you but things go much faster and you get what you want if you lean how to do it yourself.

How do you teach yourself?

1. Read
If you want to learn more about a subject read about it. Often and much. Watching videos is another great way to take knowledge in.

2. Ask questions.
You have to be brave do this one. You have to want to learn so deeply that it overcomes your fear of "the stupid question" and drives you to root out knowledge and understanding. You have to make it okay in your mind to not know or to be ignorant. My Dad was big on repeatedly telling me that being ignorant was not a bad thing, it was just a state of not knowing. Jump in and get some "knowing",

3. Experiment
You have to try out what you are learning. Act out what you learn- on a test, in writing, behavior, etc...

4. Repeat
Again, and Again until.... you leave the Earth.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Soldiering On


My little soldier- She is getting ready for the local Nutcracker performance.
A bright little moment today getting the pictures made for the program.

Sometimes the holidays are hard.
Sometimes you are struggling through something right in the middle of the holidays.
It might be a personal pain that no one really knows about or one that everyone is talking about.
No matter what it is, it is difficult to navigate the holidays with an ache in your heart.
How do you reconcile the celebration with the struggle?

The holidays alone, with all the expectations- the ones you put on yourself, the ones you put on others, the ones others put on you, can be a mine field of chances to lose it.

I don't have an answer.
I am not particularly good at waiting for God to show me the way to face things.
But wait I must.
I haven't a clue how to do it without Him.

While I wait, I will decide to make the holidays a treasure hunt.
I will find things to delight my heart in because my God is on the throne and I am His child.

Things like my son being asked to carry one of the wise men gifts for the Hanging of the Greens service at our church.
Cute little stinker.

Things like my husband having the whole week of Thanksgiving off.
Or my little girl getting me, my husband and my mom to bike ride with her.
Hammock time.
Seeing my Aunt for Thanksgiving and knowing she lost 15lbs by eating right- props to her.

The more time I spend treasure hunting the less time I will spend nitpicking.
It will certainly make the waiting easier.
And when at last my course is clear from my God above I will have a mental chest full of holiday treasure to boot.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Joy

This month there are thoughts of gratitude in the air. Thankfulness is a running theme.
It's a good thing.


I heard a speaker this week state that the downside of that is comparisons are also running rampant.
"I am thankful because I am not suffering, sick, broke, etc.... like some are".
Or those who read the thankful lines may then feel their lives do not match up to Suzy, whose husband is apparently the "best, most amazing, model of perfection". (Insert raised eyebrow on deadpan face)

While appreciating what we have is vital, appreciating it because it is not one thing or another is slippery ground.
I am a coddled baby at this moment, with a life full of amazing blessings but what if that changes tomorrow?

Would I like Corrie Ten Boom's sister find thankfulness for the fleas in my concentration camp cell? She did. Corrie then found out later those fleas kept the guards from their cell so they were able to read the bible and share the gospel with all the women crowded with them.

Thankfulness and ultimately Joy are not to be logical things- as the world would see them.
They are not to be based on what we can sense with our 5 senses.

Those 5 senses can expand our joy but not create it.


Joy comes from knowing God, from understanding what the future holds for us who love Him and from a deep belief that there is so much more to life than what is on the surface.

I have a very real problem doing this. I want certain outcomes and I cannot imagine why those outcomes would into be exactly what God would want too.

But more than those outcomes, I want joy. I want to be joyful to everyone around me. I want to be that face that lights up the darkest day. So this week I admitted to God I am unable to choose joy. I am without the strength to rustle up joy in my moments of disappointment (which sadly are daily).
I asked Him to come in and live Joy in me.

And as I prayed it I felt Joy, flowing like warm honey into my mind. I felt peace that in my mind made no logical sense, seeping in.

When you know you are leaving for Disney tomorrow does the toaster breaking ruin your day? How much more so do we who are heaven bound need to look ahead for the Joy to face today?

Dear Lord,
This world is not my home, I am only passing through but I pray the direction I am going will lead others to YOU.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The touch of the Master's hand

I am typing up a pile of hand written notes I had stacked up since 2008 on bible studies I had done or books I had read and I came across this note:

2/16/09
We are not the old dusty violin that simply needs to be dusted off and tuned up by the master. We are a stone, some sticks and a bit of yarn that can be transformed into a violin by the master. Or a violin that has been run over by a car, or has yet to be carved from the block of wood.
I have no idea what promted me to write this but it struck me today when I read it.
How hard it is to be truthful about the state we are with out Christ?

Even harder still to be truthful about our state when we know Him but aren't obedient.

You are a living breathing testimony, giving account of what you believe in every choice you make.
Do you give the impression that God needs your help to manage others?
Do you give the impression that parts of your life don't need to be under God's control?
Do you give the impression that just around the corner is a time you will "have it all together" and you are diligently working toward that?
Those impressions will not impress a world with out Christ.
God help me to stop strapping self to the Gospel, I am just slowing it down. (Casting Crowns - What this world needs)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Are you in the wrong Church?

Here is a simple survey to determine if you are in the wrong church:

· Do you feel a burden, a strong urgency for the community surrounding your church, to reach out to them, to share the gospel specifically with those people in that town?

If the answer is no, you may be in the wrong church.

· Do you feel a care and concern about the members of your church- a maternal, paternal, brother or sisterly feeling in which you can look past the faults in them and see talents and potential that you want to invest in developing?

If the answer is no, you may be in the wrong church.

· Do you think about the future of your church and how you can ensure that it continues to grow and become a strong influence for decades to come?

If the answer is no, you may be in the wrong church.

· Do you worry that new members may not be getting enough care and teaching after they join your church? Does it bother you so much that you speak with your pastor about how you can help to provide this for them?

If the answer is no, you may be in the wrong church.

· Are you willing to suffer for your church? To not have a need of yours met for a time because you are needed there?

If the answer is no, you may be in the wrong church.

If you answered no to any or all of the questions above you may not be in the right Church.

From what I have gotten reading the New Testament you may need to seek out a Non Christian Church to attend. I am pretty sure a Christian Church will not be a good fit.  You will only go from one to another in frustration at the poor fit, possibly never able to match up or make a connection. I hope this survey helps you to prevent that.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Nothing New Under the Sun

Ecclesiastes 1:9

What has been is what will be,
 and what has been done is what will be done,
 and there is nothing new under the sun.

One of those cliche sayings we use that actually comes from the Bible is the phrase "nothing new under the sun".
By it's very nature, a cliche- "A woman's work is never done" or "You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink" for example gets used so flippantly by people we begin to forget what it really means or to think if it is really true or not.

Well something happened to my yesterday that makes "nothing new under the sun" seem so real and true it shocked me.
The Bible has a way of doing that, for a text thousands of years old.

I was given a box of books by a friend that she had collected over the years. In this box were many hardcover books from the early 1900's - Anne of Green Gables, Emily Post etiquette, etc...
It even contained a school book from before the civil war, an 1850's tattered and rebound school primer.

I also found a small black book entitled "Quite Talks on Power" by S.D. Gordon copyrighted 1903.
That makes this book 109 year old.

It's a nice little book in very good shape with a ribbon book mark built in and a lovely embossed cross on the cover.
I thought to myself:
How quaint.
How adorably old fashioned this book will be. It seems to be on Christian living.
I will amuse myself on how out of date the ideas in it are.

So I began to read.

It almost took my breath away.
It read like a blog written on a I-pad yesterday by a preacher down the road.
It brings to light how a Christian can live with power, real power in their lives.

Here we have a man who traveled the country asking people "What kind of Christian are you?".
Now, it's true 109 years ago most Americans he encountered would have identified themselves as Christians, but the honest responses of the people questioned sound very modern.

As I read further I became so convicted about the kind of Christian I am, that I started to read parts of the book to my husband. He could not believe this book was 109 years old.

I have again come here to this blog to recommend a book that I have not finished reading but I heartily do so with this book

I googled this 109 year old book to find it is out of copyright so you can read the whole thing or down load it on this web site: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/20731/20731-h/20731-h.htm
You can also buy a reprint version on Amazon.

109 years ago people did not get how their little everyday choices had eternal effects.
Are we any different?

I just want to leave you with this small section from the book that struck me as being a truly timeless observation.

Quoted from Quiet talks on Power:

And so I thought I would just ask the friends here to-day very frankly, "What kind of Christians are you?" I do not say what kind you are, for I am a stranger, and do not know, and would only think the best things of you. But I ask you frankly, honestly now, as I ask myself anew, what kind are you? Do you know? Because it makes such a difference.

The Master's plan—and what a genius of a plan it is—is this, that the world should be won, not by the preachers—though we must have these men of God for teaching and leadership—but by everyone who knows the story of Jesus telling someone, and telling not only with his lips earnestly and tactfully, but even more, telling with his life. That is the Master's plan of campaign for this world. And it makes a great difference to Him and to the world outside whether you and I are living the story of His love and power among men or not.

Do you know what kind of a christian you are? There are at least three others that do.

First of all there is Satan. He knows. Many of our church officers are skilled in gathering and compiling statistics, but they cannot hold a candle to Satan in this matter of exact information. He is the ablest of all statisticians, second only to one other. He keeps careful record of every one of us, and knows just how far we are interfering with his plans. He knows that some of us—good, respectable people, as common reckoning goes—neither help God nor hinder Satan. Does that sound rather hard? But is it not true? He has no objection to such people being counted in as Christians. Indeed, he rather prefers to have it so. Their presence inside the church circle helps him mightily. He knows what kind of a christian you are. Do you know?

Then there is the great outer circle of non-christian people—they know. Many of them are poorly informed regarding the christian life; hungry for something they have not, and know not just what it is; with high ideals, though vague, of what a christian life should be. And they look eagerly to us for what they have thought we had, and are so often keenly disappointed that our ideals, our life, is so much like others who profess nothing. And when here and there they meet one whose acts are dominated by a pure, high spirit, whose faces reflect a sweet radiance amid all circumstances, and whose lives send out a rare fragrance of gladness and kindliness and controlling peace, they are quick to recognize that, to them, intangible something that makes such people different. The world—tired, hungry, keen and critical for mere sham, appreciative of the real thing—the world knows what kind of Christians we are. Do we know?

There is a third one watching us to-day with intense interest. The Lord Jesus! Sitting up yonder in glory, with the scar-marks of earth on face and form, looking eagerly down upon us who stand for Him in the world that crucified Him—He knows. I imagine Him saying, "There is that one down there whom I died for, who bears my name; if I had the control of that life what power I would gladly breathe in and out of it, but—he is so absorbed in other things." The Master is thinking about you, studying your life, longing to carry out His plan if He could only get permission, and sorely disappointed in many of us. He knows. Do you know?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Are you talking to me?

Yes self, I am talking to you.

(Dear Blog reader, small yet amazingly cool group that you are ;), if you get something out of today's post, Yea! If not just remember sometimes I have to have a heart to heart with myself)

So you think it was a coincidence that you heard the same sermon twice in the past two weeks?

I mean come on, how many times have you heard the "Ezekiel and the dry bones sermon" these days?

Well, not at all lately, to be honest.

And you know you were thinking, "Hey dry bones brought to life by the word of God's prophet in a vision, cool".
But the second time you heard it you were thinking "Weird, is this a personal message?".

Well, yes I was.

You know you have been slogging through a molasses of fear and worry. You know you are grabbing at every branch of Truth about God, to get you through with your Faith intact and (Please, oh, Please) stronger.

"Jesus + nothing = everything"- gave you the boost you needed to feel satisfaction in an uncertain place.

But, the waves continue to roll, the boat isn't steady, and you keep whispering "You see the storm, right, Jesus?".

Yeah, (head down cast) it's true.

So Jesus, patient loving perfection that He is, whispers back "Dry Bones, Kiddo, Dry Bones".

He tells you the story, Ezekiel 37:1-14, like a daddy taking his little girl on his knee.

The battle was over, long over. The ground was littered with an end game story- many dry bones.
He makes the point, we are not talking about a valley of injured people, even critically injured barely clinging to life, no. We are talking about a valley full of DEAD people. Not just DEAD but no flesh on the bones. Bleached bones working on becoming fossils.

"I ressurect DEAD things" He says. I don't just handle hurts and pains, I dig up fragments of things that used to be living and make them into walking talking living things.

Ezekiel 37:11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”

You get what He is saying right? You get His response to the "Woe is us, all hope is gone" talk right?

(Weeping)

If it's His will to dig something or someone out of a grave, He will do it. That's who you serve, kiddo.
If you're His, "Hope is gone" becomes impossible. Not possible. Unable to exist.
You don't have to grab that branch, it grabs you.

I need that, Thanks God, Thanks Holy Spirit, Thanks Jesus- I am so eternally grateful you are here with me.




Monday, September 24, 2012

'fessing up

Ugh.
I did it again.
I let fear take the wheel.

It's no secret that our church has been going through some hard times. I have struggled with allowing those circumstances control my contentment.
I had the whole "Jesus + a healthy church = everything" attitude going.
The truth is Jeus + nothing= everything for a Christian.

Philippians 4:11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

This is what Paul is saying "nothing that happens around me can take away my joy and contentment if it is based on Jesus and what He has done for me".

All fine and dandy until you have to actually live it out.

When punch after punch comes to something you deeply care about. Just when it looks like something good may be coming, another deep cut comes.
And while the emotional blood is flowing and the fear is rising above your head, leaving you gasping for air, can you embrace the "+ nothing"?

Not easily.

For me when that spike of fear hit, I panicked. I spoke words of exasperation. I spoke words that sounded like blame. So and so is doing such and such and it's freaking me out.

The only thing that was "freaking me out" was my own lack of faith.

I was really saying "oh, Jesus you are great and all, but I need people to get on board with what you have asked me to do".
I need human helpers and human approval. Need, need, needy, need it.

What can be done for me, that Jesus hasn't already done?!!!!!?

Think about that one for a minute.

Think about it.

What has Jesus left undone, incomplete for me?
What emotional discomfort is too much for what Jesus has already completed in me?

Wake up call.

God was telling me "What Jesus are you talking about because, My Jesus, has done all the work that can ever and will ever be done on your behalf, so what need do you have that He has not already met (past, present and future all at the same time)?".

God was saying to me "Wake up to the truth".

How could Esther say "I will do as God is leading me and if I perish, I perish?
Or Daniel and his Jewish brothers say the same?

But we say, surely God would never ask me to stay in a circumstance that hurts or does not meet my needs. Sure He would never leave me in such deep pain.

No, He would not leave us in an emotionally empty place, a lie would. 
Oh Yes, He can ask us to stay. Mainly He can ask it because a circumstance was never intended to meet your needs, only He was.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Jumping the gun

Having only gotten to chapter 2 of this book, I feel kind of silly making this recommendation but I make it none the less.
Jesus + Nothing = Everything
by
Tullian Tchividjian
(grandson of Billy Graham)

Here are some quotes to wet your whistle:

"We habitually look to something or someone smaller than Jesus for the things we crave and need. And none of it is ever large enough to fill the void"
He points out that John Calvin said our hearts are idol-making factories from the start. Christian, non-Christian, we just long to identify with something or someone but we also ask it to satisfy us.

"An idol is anything or anyone that you conclude in your heart, you must have in order for your life to be meaningful, valuable, secure, exciting, or free."

That one is a whopper. This does not mean only negative things like cheeseburgers, cigarette or alcohol. This means political reformation, kids, a spouse, a house, good treatment, a growing church, no debt, social reform, homeschooling, etc... basically everything on the face of the Earth.

If you decided you must have something that doesn't go by the name of Jesus Christ savior of the world to be satisfied in this life, then you have added something to the equation and now you have Jesus + that thing.

You are essentially saying Jesus is not enough.

Ouch cubed.

That doesn't mean you cannot have any of those things in your life, it just means you have to be at peace with God if they are taken away.

Any time you feel stress or anxiety it's the indicator you have one.

I have been longing, pleading, begging God to make our Church strong, amazing, changing the world for Him. I feel anxious when it does not happen. I NEED it to happen. I have a hard time staying calm when I talk about it. It's not a bad desire, it's a godly one.

But I have asked it to make me feel satisfied. God, if you would just do this everything would be okay. It's an idol.

Talk about rocking my world and making me feel like Alice in the looking glass. I need to just obey God daily, feel His peace, soak up all the Jesus through scripture I can and release all that longing to Him. If my church never becomes all those amazing things that does not diminish my obedience at all.

My faithfulness is to Jesus, not an idea or outcome. If He leads me to do something, I do it. The end. If He stops me, reroutes me, moves me, or radically changes me, so be it. He's enough.

Paul got it. Peter got it. Do I? Maybe, I feel like I have some tough choices mentally to make about how I look at the world.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Fall" in love

A tiny crispness in the air for a few mornings and I am head over heels in love with fall.
Fall and Spring just feel like fresh starts.









Don't be fooled my yard looks nothing like this, these are just leaves downed by Hurricane Issac.












My yard actually looks like this:



The feeling of the sunshine has changed from blistering to warming and the air feels less like a woolly blanket and more like life giving vapor.


Fall means fresh starts. A new School year full of possibilities and free from failures. Freshly Sharpened pencils as Meg Ryan says in "You've Got Mail", the ultimate symbol of possibility. What will they write?

Remember how great a brand new crayon felt in your hand? How fabulous was the sharp tip and the wax smell.

Every day is like that.




Are you a slave to something in your life?


Are you feeling the future lays out before you grim and bleak? No Chance to break free from depression, poverty, anger, fear, longing, loss, need, weakness, etc...

It's fall baby!
It's a new day. You have the power to choose change.

Luke 15:20
And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.

He is the power to change and all He wants to do is throw His arms around you and kiss your face.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

City by the Bay and a Hurricane by the house

San Francisco is .... An amazing place to visit.
No wonder it's one of the world's top tourist destinations.

China town was fun!
A shoppers dream. We had a pretty good Chinese meal there as well.

The coastal hike from Land's end (the farthest point out to the Pacific) to the Golden Gate Bridge was AMAZING! It was a long hike but the weather was like outdoor AC with a ocean breeze blowing all day. I never broke a sweat and we were going up and down hills all day.

Beach that was our starting point. Hi, Pacific Ocean, nice to meet you. (Psst- don't tell anyone but I took a pebble from this beach home to Louisiana with me).

Here is the view of the Golden Gate Bridge from that beach.

Getting Closer.
Almost there.
Soaking it in.
Oh, and would you look at that, the America's Cup Sail boat races are taking place in the bay. Magical.

Monday night we went to Tartine's, which is an fantastic french bakery/sandwich shop in the Mission district. Their Tres Leche cake was a "do not miss". For a chocolate lover like me to fall for a vanilla dessert like that it had to be world class.

So by Monday the word had come from home that my parents and children were directly in the path of Hurricane Isaac. Not cool.
They battened down the hatches and kept in touch.
During the weekdays my hubby had to go to his conference- yeah the actual reason we were there. So I entertained myself at the Westfield Mall.
It was tres snazzy. These are the escalators for the upper floors. The shopping in the mall was a mix of too pricey and just right. On the street outside the mall I fell in love with H&M- we really need one in Baton Rouge.

Tuesday the storm hit and we ate Sushi. No connection.

Wednesday my parents lost electricity so we communicated by hit or miss cell phone calls. We ate at an Irish pub. Cottage pie is yummy, feel good food.

Thursday hubs had to work in the hotel room on disaster recovery issues for his company. We had lunch at Fisherman's wharf (pier 39).
Hubs you are adorable and sometimes I just cannot believe your are mine.


The seafood was wonderful. That evening we had steak at our hotel restaurant which was also very good.
Bad news was the water was very high over the road out from our home so my parents and kids were trapped in with no electricity. They had a generator for the basics but no AC.

Friday we headed to the airport only to be delayed an hour. We flew to Dallas and raced like mad to the gate and just squeezed into our connecting flight to Baton Rouge. It was the last flight in of the night to B R.
Stayed with my sister who had AC and regretted that the air here feels like a woolly blanket compared to the air in San Fran.

We met the kids in a boat Saturday and got more gasoline for Dad's generator. Here is the curve in our road where the water stopped but it went on for a eighth of a mile down the road.

We reunited at my wonderful sister and brother-in-law's house until we were able to return home the next day with a dry road and electricity.

We were very blessed that week, a wonderful trip and a safe happy family.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Things to come

Cram packed week.
Packing and cramming a suitcase and heading out on a jet plane.
One fantabulous Adventure awaits.
Just the facts:
I have A.) never traveled longer than a 45 minute flight away or a 10 hour drive,
           B.) never flown with my husband,
           C.) never been farther west than Katy Tx,
           and D.) have never seen the Pacific Ocean.
None of those will be true after next week- Yeah!

Don't worry my loyal two followers, I will post tons of pictures in two weeks.

Somethings just seem so wonderful, you are just sure you have made a mistake and it's someone else's life.
This is one giddy 36 year old.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The sweetest thing

I attended the sweetest little wedding this weekend.
It was the no stress kind.
A small family wedding for my sister.
12 people.
1 couple.

The point, the focus of it was two people making a promise before God to spend their lives together loving each other.

The setting was simple yet had a feeling of stablility.

A church made from reclaimed lumber (from another church) and new construction.

A great symbol of our lives in Christ- reclaimed lives built on new construction.

God wants to do miracles of that kind in our lives but we don't want to give him a chance.

Submit to God, obey Him, read His word, pray daily, trust in unseen things- I'm too busy for that.

Yeah, to busy squandering your life, wasting your treasures and chasing lies.

I am struggling this week watching people do this. At times watching myself do this.
oh, me of little faith.

James 1
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Perseverance
doggedness, steadfastness. Perseverance, persistence, tenacity, pertinacity  imply resolute and unyielding holding on in following a course of action. Perseverance  commonly suggests activity maintained in spite of difficulties or steadfast and long-continued application

Perseverance: exactly what is missing in most of our lives.
Exactly what is missing in Churches.

From what this verse says you cannot have spiritual maturity with out perseverance.

You cannot understand what Paul or Peter understood. With out it, you will feel like the things they write sounds crazy and you will question God every step of the way.

What is the key here?
By holding out and giving Him all that you are, you are saying that all your chips are on the bet that He is all He says He is.

By holding on and submitting, we give God the chance to prove He is all He says He is. When we see, hear, feel and finally know He is good through what He does, then our lack becomes a non-issue.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Passing the Test

School is about to start up.
I am a  normal mom, I pray hard that my kids would be successful and take advantage of every moment of learning.

It makes me wonder if these parental urges are the same ones God feels for me.
Does our heavenly Father long for us to "get it", to take full advantage of the learning opportunities He gives us?

I think yes.

For example Jesus gave us a test we could use to tell if we really loved Him.

John 21:15-17
Jesus was talking to Peter, who was a rather hyped up guy. He was the type to heartily declare "I love ya, Lord. I love ya more than most".
But Jesus had really only one measure for Peter. He asked him the same question 3 times.

Do you love me?

Every time Peter gave an enthusiastic yes and after the 3rd time he got his feelings hurt. What's the deal Jesus?
Can't you see my heart bursting with love for you?

Jesus told him there was one measure of his love, one thing that would easily show if he had the love.

FEED MY SHEEP

Now I have heard many sermons that go deeply in to the words used and that dissected the language and I think that is great.
But, the very simple message there is profound all by it's self.

Do you love Jesus?
Well, the proof when we examine your life is not how loudly you say it, or how beautifully and strongly you sing it in a praise song, or how many times you post scripture on facebook.

The proof is that you live to uplift and grow fellow believers. You seek out sheep that don't even know they are part of the flock and you make sure they get some sweet feed.

Kind of laughs in the face of the idea of finding a Church that feeds you.

Jesus did not say "feed my gentle sheep", "feed my sheep that agree with you", or "feed my sheep that feed you back", or "pay someone good to feed my sheep".

I have come to terms with this.
How am I loving the church?
Do I have lines I have drawn that show my love level is almost on empty?

I am a big mouth like Peter. Full of fire and gusto for Jesus. So this one really get's my attention.

I pray I will also be like Peter- humble enough to pour my life out serving God's people.


Later in Verse 18 Jesus straight up tells Peter he will die doing this mission. Jesus was not worried that feeding the sheep had a high cost for Peter. Jesus loved Peter and He knew Peter would ultimately be satisfied by the life he was to live.