Thursday, January 24, 2013

equipped

Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus-the great Shepherd of the sheep-with the blood of the everlasting covenant, equip you with all that is good to do His will, working in us what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ. Glory belongs to Him forever and ever. Amen.  Hebrews 13:20-21
Sweeping out the garage was the task at hand.  The garage was empty aside from the dirt on the floor.  I even had a broom.  Why did I feel like I was David facing Goliath?  The muddy floor spanned out for what seemed forever in front of me and my broom.
I was overwhelmed.
The job was well defined and I knew how to do it, but although I was coming at it with a broom, it was only a regular broom.  A push broom would have been a more appropriate tool for this particular task.
As I spent my minutes attacking that clumped, dried up mud on the floor with my non-push broom, God began speaking to my heart.
{I love it when He does this!}
He gently reminded me that with Him, I have all that I need to tackle this life and its issues.  He is able and willing to equip me with what I need, when I need it...every. single. time.  His power, His confidence, His compassion, His everything is mine because of Jesus.
The problem?  I sometimes neglect the Giver and Provider of the equipment.  I go out as if my reserve is enough to tackle what's in front of me.  I realize only then that my reserve gives me a small broom when I could really use a larger one.  
God wants to inspire me every single day. 
They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.  Jeremiah 32:38-41 
He wants to reveal things to me over and over and over again.
While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him a second time: “This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:1-3
He has equipped me, but He wants to keep on equipping me.  Morning devotion and meditation is how He speaks life into me, providing me with His presence and His awesomeness to equip me for my day.  It's a different day when I begin my mornings out with Him instead of waiting until later in the day.  
He's calling me back to that early time with Him.  I've missed it the past little while and I want to answer that call to a morning spent first with Him and then the rest of the world.  
My morning looks a light brighter already...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

MtR: He Is Just That Good

"You hem me in - behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me." 
Psalm 139:5
Rick looked at me Sunday afternoon and told me that he believes my being at camp this weekend was putting me smack dab in the center of God's will.
"You have to be kidding me!" I thought to myself for a moment before saying anything.  "Did he really just say that?"
Really.  He did.  He even repeated it when I needed him to.
I smiled and chuckled, then told him that it was funny that he said that because I could name about 5 really good reasons why I should not have been there.  In reality there were even more...some I would find out about as the days went on.
It's true, too.  Just a week before as I sat in church, knowing how my gut feeling was that I needed to bring the boys North, I sat and looked at the calendar of events telling me it just wasn't possible.
Too many meetings...too many other peoples' expectations.
In my spirit I knew I had to go.
So I called, sent messages, making arrangements for me being absent for a week.  I could not explain it, and still can't, but there was a feeling that this was God's will and He would handle the details.
I remember telling myself that God will reveal Himself to me and confirm that I was doing the right thing.  Maybe it was more of a whispered prayer...
Off I went on faith, confident in the One who was sending me...calling me to Indiana and, specifically, winter camp with Bible Memory.
On Monday we packed for a Tuesday morning take-off.  Getting the last bags in the car, (along with sleds, winter coats, boots, and perhaps even a kitchen sink if one looked hard enough), the phone rang.  My sister was calling to tell me that our 91 yo Grandma had fallen and was en route to the hospital.  I thanked God for having us all ready to go so we could be there for her and the family during this, this time.  In April of 2012 she fell and broke her other hip.  I did not make it up there for that surgery/recovery.
Made it to Grandma's room in the hospital just before they took her in for surgery.  She made it through surgery and has six weeks of rehab ahead of her now.  The day the boys and I were leaving for winter camp, they were transporting her to the nursing and rehab center.  God's timing ceases to amaze me.
After getting home from the hospital, the boys and I went sledding at my mom's house for about an hour.  The snow was melting fast and I really feared that there would not be any remaining if we waited for morning light.  I turned on the lights in the rooms that faced the hills and raised the shades.  It gave off enough light so we could see to go sledding.  Yay!  It was a great way to get some exercise in after being in a car for 7 hours and at the hospital for a couple more.
The snow continued to melt through the night and early morning hours, but there still remained enough in the back yard that had not been touched yet.  We postponed breakfast and hit the hills again.  After two years of no sledding, we enjoyed every moment of it!
Also while there, my aunt had to go to the hospital for outpatient surgeryand my uncle was recovering at home from back surgery he had just had on that Monday.  My sister and fam were still recovering from major illnesses that they had been suffering through for over a week now.  They had just been at our house on their way home from Florida.  I am still amazed that one or all of us did not get sick.  It had to be God.  No doubt about it.
We left for winter camp in Goshen, with plans to perhaps stop back by on our way home to GA.
I found myself at winter camp amazed that the boys and I were still healthy and praying that it would not hit while we were there.  My prayers were answered.  We remained healthy in spite of all the exposure and more people having colds at camp as well.
All the while of traveling and visiting with family, I kept praying for and about winter camp.  God was stirring up something special and I wanted to be sure not to miss it.
It was in the first Bible time that I knew why we were there.  Both the boys and myself.  God had a message for all of us, even though it was different for each of us.  God wanted to instill in Tim that He wanted to and would speak directly to him.  God's message for Alex was that God loves Him just the way He is and that He had nothing to prove to anyone.  Jesus thinks he is worth dying for, living in eternity with, and praying for.   Alex knows Jesus as his Savior, but at 10, he's finding himself battling an identity crisis...not a little boy, not a teen yet.  He tries to hard to be whatever it is that he thinks is what people wants.  God assured him that Alex is good enough just the way he was made.
As for my word, it kept showing up in and around passages that Rick had us read...give.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Luke 6:38
Not for sure why just yet, but this verse leapt off the page at me.  I am anxiously awaiting the days ahead to show how God is going to move in my life.  It's God, so it's going to be good!
I felt all weekend long the filling that I have been longing for quite some time now.  God knows, hears, and answers!  He is amazing and He is good.
On the way home, we left Goshen just ahead of sleeting rain.  A few minutes of driving in it and I was thankful we were headed South and out of it.  So, I thought.
Rain drenched us the entire ride back to my mom's, but we made it safe and sound.  My sister and fam came over so we could see them before we left the next morning.  The boys really enjoyed this, as did I.  It was hard being there before and not getting to see them much.
Heading out in the sunshine the next morning, was marvelous.  It lasted for awhile...about halfway to be exact.  We enjoyed a stop in Nashville to visit the American Picker's shop and have lunch.  Not an hour or so later, I was stopping for coffee to perk me up and get me seeing clearly again because the rains had found us again.  The temps were hovering just under freezing, too.  I needed to keep alert especially now.
We made it through pouring rain and traffic jams to our house a few hours later.
After I made it home, I found out that an ice storm chased us from Nashville all the way to Chattanooga.  We had just missed being in the middle of a horrible mess.
That is when I really knew without a doubt that God's hand had in this trip the entire time...from the first moment I thought of it to the moment I learned of that storm following us.
He does indeed go before and behind us...and lay His hand on us.  Not because I deserve it, but because He is just that good.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

MtR: jealousy

Then God spoke all these words:
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.
Do not have other gods besides Me.
Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands.
Exodus 20:1-6
I was not prepared for it.  Had no idea the fierceness with which it came forth was possible.  It overwhelmed me...consumed me without hesitation.
Jealousy.
The anticipatory fear of losing something one has to someone else. -Alia Hoyt
Yes.  Brewing up inside of me. Wanting to erupt.  Clouding my thinking.  Leading to conclusions that may or may not be truth.  Leaving me empty.  Stealing my joy.
A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy.  -John 10:10 KJV 
I busied myself in order to try and not think about it.  It was still lingering close, so that when given the chance it reared its ugly head again as I saw it all over again in my mind's eye.  Confusion over words previously shared set in deep.  I felt as if I had been lied to.  Did my feelings matter?  Apparently not. 
Sleep finally came only to give way to those same feelings once awake again.  Hours had passed, but it seemed the same as when the first gut wrenching feeling hit me.  
Knowing I could not hold onto this any longer, I went to the One who knows me best.  The only One who could help me.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Romans 8:35,37 NIV
Confession.  Tears.  Cries for help.
A reminder of a great God's love for me was the answer.
As I reached for my devotional, with a fevor like someone who needed to draw their next breath, I was met with the very hand of God leading me to His Word...His Truth.
I heard His voice saying to me, "This feeling of jealousy you have...it's the same jealousy I have for you."
I knew and understood.
“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Joel 2:12 NIV
Through my meanderings, I had lost sight of my First Love.  I allowed other things to have my devotion and attention.  He is drawing me back.  Opening His arms for me to return to Him.  Asking me to acknowledge His authority over me.  To accept it.  To thrive in and under it.
What feelings I had were minor in comparison of His.  He used my current situation, brought on by my own free will, to show me His goodness.  In His light, my darkness lessened.  I saw more clearly my sin...fear, doubt, misplaced affection.  Combined, they all led to the overwhelming jealousy that had consumed me just hours before.
The cloud began to lift with each verse I read.
God is enough.  He is the only One who can satisfy.
I cannot lose something that is not mine to begin with.
Who says I'm losing it anyway?  There was a promise made.  I trust it will be upheld.
Satisfy us in the morning with Your faithful love
so that we may shout with joy and be glad all our days.

Psalm 90:14
What a remarkable God moment!  
The moment when He answered my call and I heard Him loud and clear.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Memories, Dreams, and Reflections 2012

Just like in January 2012, I have again enjoyed reflecting over this past year while finding photos to match the themes listed by Jaymi over at Live.Love.Travel...
 
me in 2012...Alaska, South Africa, Atlantic Ocean, Home
me 2012
i ♥ u...my little Alaskan Princesses
20120709_154421
still laughing at the hobo sign (not visible is an actual hobo next to the sign, digging through the dumpster)
hobosign
winter wonderland...the only snowflakes last winter
snowflakes
birthday present of NASCAR driving experience
P1150521
friends encourage you to keep going to reach your goals (FlatTop Mountain, AK)
flattophike
i was inspired to make the boys' memory blankets {finally}
boysmemoryblankets
spring fever broke out bad for me when in Cape Town, South Africa
zzu
vacation to South Africa
a1
summer days of sun and swimming suits
20120612_160504
a day in my life...ice cream treats are always requested
20120816_153413
all smiles...NBC's mission team to Alaska
P1150041
autumn...Mom's mums in Indiana
moms mums
family...Candace and Murray Skyping with family on their wedding day
P1130864
celebrate...happy dance over my first passport stamp
b
let's do it again...visit to TX
20120525_172546
i miss you...my friend Stacey
P1150400
beautiful day on Shell Island
P1140566
dress up in your best penguin suit
a
macro...lilacs in Anchorage
20120619_110612
holiday in Amsterdam
on holiday in Amsterdam
my favorite from Cape Town
a2
don't ever change...so fun to be around
PicMonkey Collage2 just because I haven't shared quite enough photos from South Africa :)
Monkey Valley Resort, South Africa
hopes and dreams for the future...a trip to Paris
20121225_070351

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

DPP 31: last hoorah

P1170069

The tree came down today...well, earlier, on the 31st...it's always a bittersweet moment when the lights give off their last minutes of twinkling joy.  

Happy New Year!

"What Will They Say Next?!" 3rd Edition

A 5 yr old little girl, Harbor, had her older brother, Alex, and Tim all at her beck and call while playing together. Her favorite being Alex, she told him when he asked her why she had been sitting on the side by herself, "I was waiting for you to check on me...you should have come over and checked on me!" He apologized. She put him back on her A-list. :) 12.29

Alex was singing "The First Noel" while building a sandcastle today...so sweet! 12.27

"Being a Ninja Turtle is hard work!" said Tim, as he finished fighting off the bad guys (a stuffed moose and bear) in the living room while pretending to be Michelangelo. 12.25

The boys had so much fun last night at their SS Christmas party. They were telling us all about it on the way home and their rendition was filled with laughter, some singing of the "new" 12 Days of Christmas, and ending with Tim saying, "Good times...good times!" 12.18

Sitting beside Tim on the couch, I noticed how warm he was. He touched his face and ears and said, "I am warm because I am just so excited about my birthday tomorrow! I get hot just thinking about it!" 12.16

Alex is pondering why reindeer is spelled "rein" this morning. "Who came up with that?" he asked, rhetorically. Then followed up that with, "There are so many wonders of this world and no one to tell you why!" 12.10

Tim, upon tasting some fresh pineapple, exclaimed to me, "Mom, you have to try that pineapple! It's so good, it's better than SpongeBob's house!" 11.30

We were all playing Sorry! tonight, sitting on the floor. The boys were goofing off and I heard this conversation take place between them: Tim to Alex, "Did I hit you in the crops?" Alex laughed and asked him, "Did you say 'crops'? Tim said, "Yes. Did I hit you in the crops?" Alex, almost unable to speak due to laughing, helped his brother out, "It's 'crotch', not 'crops'!" 11.29

Alex removed any doubt that Wonder is all that and more when it comes to store bought bread. Eating a sandwich, he sounded concerned as he asked, "Is there something wrong with this bread? It's all soft and stuff." "No, that's the way bread should be." I replied, laughing. "We just haven't had Wonder bread in awhile." :) 11.26

Tim, upon tasting some fresh pineapple, exclaimed to me, "Mom, you have to try that pineapple! It's so good, it's better than SpongeBob's house!" 11.11

Alex is quoting Si Robertson...I'm just hoping he's not thinking of growing a beard for a few years. 10.28

Listening to the boys over our walkie talkies...hilarious. Tim asked me to buy him a rocketship so he could send Alex into space...all the while he knew Alex was listening. 10.26

Tim came running a minute ago, really excited..."We have hatched a butterfly!" I give you, Spikey, the Butterfly! 10.19

Tim and I spent this afternoon together while Alex was off golfing for his birthday. He has chatted the. entire. time. There's so much going on in that little mind of his! :) 10.17

My personal favorite moment of the boys getting their feet wet with all the hoopla of college football is when Alex came home recently and made reference to the "Alabama Elephants"...and I have not chosen to correct it because, honestly, I don't get what "Big Al" has to do with "The Crimson Tide" either. :) 10.11

It is a moment like this one, sitting within earshot of where Tim's singing "10,000 Reasons" in the shower, that all is at peace in my world. God is good! 10.5

Alex and I were discussing skymiles on the way home tonight and how they work. After some thought, Alex, laughed and said, "Wouldn't it be awesome if we got travel miles for roadtrips? We'd have all kinds of bonus prizes if we did." :) 9.26

Alex's thoughts on fruit, of which, he cannot get enough..."I love fruit. It's so...fruity!" 9.24

Thinking over our day and realizing I was almost talked into letting Alex purchase a Christmas tree for his room while it is still summer...wow. 9.21

Hearing Alex play the piano in the mornings makes for a wonderful start to my day! I ♥ that boy! 9.13

Best moment from tonight: Tim, matter of factly, yet kindly, telling our friends' almost 16 year old son to just call him when he needs some advice on girls. 9.8

Tim made brownies today. Upon enjoying one, still warm from the oven, he told me, "I think that's one of the best brownies I've ever eaten. Mom, you know that saying, 'If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself'? Well, it's true!" 9.5

It's a toss up who is enjoying the rain of tropical storm Isaac more...the fish in our pond or my boys who are out playing in the pouring rain right now. 8.28

What do you think Tim would call an accent mark at piano practice today? A "loud-a-nator", of course. Only my son... 8.23

Alex came running in and grabbed his science book. Me: "What's up?" His reply: "I saw a bird!" I love his love of learning. 8.22

Tim's thoughts on 3rd grade today..."3rd grade is fun. I didn't know it would be so inspirational!" 8.16

Alex was being a little philosophical tonight in the car: "There are so many things in this world to figure out yet...all the why's and what's. It's so overwhelming!" 8.2

Hearing that pancakes are for breakfast, Tim was excited and said,"Good, I've been waiting all week for that!" To which Alex replied, "You've been here a day!" 7.3

The boys are planning on making me breakfast in the morning. Tim told me, "It will work out well...we'll make yours and you can make ours." I wonder if they are scared to eat their own cooking... 5.30

Boys have a busy day today with school, testing, and piano recital tonight. They are calm and collected...Mama has butterflies for them, but knows they will do great! 5.21

Dinner conversation last night began with the boys accounts of the tornado warnings at a number of Bible Memory camps we've experienced together. After a few minutes of "remembering when", Alex pipes up, "Well, it is called Bible Memory for a reason...those tornadoes are memories that God provided for us." I love that boy. ♥ 5.15

Tim, just now..."Mom, you're the age Moses was when he saw the burning bush and God talked to him through it. Maybe I should burn you a bush for your birthday...you know, in the fire pit and all." Maybe Tim thinks God has something important to tell me... 5.8

Having been away from each other for a whole day, Tim was catching Alex up on what he did. Tim: "I finished my book, 'Lions at Lunchtime' today." Alex: "So what was it about?" Tim: "Lions...at lunchtime." Classic. 5.6

Last night Tim was telling me about his friends at AWANA, and, after naming them, he said, "The four of us, we're squished!" I think he was going for "tight", but it was so cute, I didn't correct him. :) 4.30

Alex's latest..."I can't wait until Heaven...there won't be things like toe jam and stinky feet up there." Then Tim piped up, "But, it would be nice if we could have Legos in Heaven."

I love being a mom of boys! 4.19

Tim, upon seeing a photo of the 4 little bird eggs in the nest on the corner of the cabin's porch, said we could dye them pink and blue. 4.10

The boys are in the garden tub in their swim trunks trying out their Lego boats they designed and built...no word, yet, if they float. 4.2

I agree wholeheartedly with Tim's summary of revival meetings this week..."God is very powerful and He loves me very much!" 3.15

I am not for sure of their conversation topic, but Tim's response to Alex's suggestion was, "You are being logical. I am being funny." I can only imagine... 3.13

In preparation for time change, Tim asked me earlier this week if it was illegal to not change your clock. When I replied no, he sounded so relieved as he said, "I'm not changing my alarm clock, so I just wanted to make sure they can't arrest me." 3.11

Heard banging and clanging from inside the boys' bathroom. Damage report: Towel rack down for the count due to Tim attempting to do chin ups on it. His account included, "With two feet on the floor it seemed sturdy enough to hold me. It was even doing okay with one foot in the air. When I lifted the second foot...that's when we had a problem." 2.19

Enjoying our lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches made on the George Foreman grill, Alex, with a puzzled look, asked me, "Did you personally name the grill?" 2.16

I have two history buffs in the making...they want a family trip to Washington DC and surrounding areas and they both chose books about George Washington and the Declaration of Independence just now at the library. 2.10

Tim's declaration this morning: "It would have been nice to have been born in France. Then, I'd be French and live in the country with the Eiffel Tower. Maybe we could move there one day." I think Tim's bucket list has it's first item listed. :) 2.8

Last night, tucking the boys in, Alex and I were discussing Lego sets and their costs...Me: "Is there a $1000 Lego set?" Alex: "Yes, but it's from way back in 2003 or so. It's really old." Tim (very matter of factly): "2003? I'm from 2003...it's not that old! I'm only 8!" 2.3

Still smiling at Tim's revelation yesterday afternoon..."You really do learn something new everyday...whether you want to or not!" 1.20

Sweet music to my ears hearing Alex sing "I am bound...I am bound...I am bound for the Promised Land!" as he was getting ready for bed tonight. 1.16

On the way home from the grocery store this afternoon, I had the radio on low. Tim heard a long note held out and, without skipping a beat, chimed, "Is this that 'Noel' song? That is so last month!" And so begins 2012...♥ 1.9