Monthly Archives: April 2017

What I added…

Good morning …. good wonderful, yippeeeee-it’s-Friday-finally….morning to you <3

Even though there is rain, rain and more rain in the forecast…it’s Friday so … yay!!!

After yesterday’s somewhat yuk post of soul-bearing, I am looking forward to leaving you for the weekend with the Praise-God-from-whom-all-blessings-flow love that He poured into me during Lent as I added two things…

First, I used a little gift book that was given to me several years ago by my sweet sister/friend Lisa.

It is called The Tender Words of God by Ann Spangler.

The book is divided into thirteen chapters with morning and evening readings. The readings are just one or two passages of Scripture followed by a prayer.

Each week has a different theme based on what God has told us about Himself as our loving Father.

A few of these include…compassion, forgiveness, faithfulness, hope and comfort, love and mercy.

The week of devotions ends with some reflection time on Saturday and a short meditation to start the new week’s theme on Sundays.

Lovely.

Here is an excerpt that will give you a better idea…

From The Tender Words of Blessing and Provision 

I Will Provide a Way Out”

The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast desert. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.   Deuteronomy 2:7

So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to all. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.    1 Corinthians 10:12 

Lord, you know that life can sometimes be like a wilderness – dangerous, difficult and lonely. And you know how discouraged I have sometimes been. Forgive my complaining and help me remember that there is never a time when your grace is insufficient for my need.   Page 163

As we passed through the season of Lent, I let these gentle words of hope and promise breathe life into my soul.

Sometimes little is more, and these small passages would feed me morning and night. It became something I looked forward to at the start and end of each day.

Spiritual CPR.

The passages were short enough that I could grasp onto a phrase of truth and mull that over and meditate on and ponder throughout the day.

This discipline worked well with the second thing I attempted to add.

I say attempted because I was not as consistent with this one.

My hope was to learn to incorporate the Prayer of Examen into my bedtime prayers, but many nights I ended up reverting to my usual cover-all-the bases prayers of anxiety and guilt…instead of following the ordered steps of the Prayer…

which is neither good nor productive..

or…

I would be in the process of becoming still in His Presence and going through the day thinking of the ways of gratitude in my heart for various things and…

I would fall asleep.

Which maybe isn’t such a bad thing but still…

But the nights I did work through it, were refreshing to the spirit and I will persevere in learning this discipline.

Here is the the version of the Prayer of Examen practiced by St. Ignatius that we received from a prayer service at FCC in my own words:

  1. Become still before God and ask the Holy Spirit to presence Himself with you as you look honestly at your day.
  2. Gratefully recount the events of the day from morning til evening
  3. Reflect on your emotions, responses and motives that fueled your actions
  4. Confess those areas that come to mind where you did not follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit or, basically, did it your way, ask for help to respond differently to similar settings in the future and RECEIVE His forgiveness.
  5. Hopefulness as you think over the new day tomorrow. Rededicate yourself to the LORD and ask for His guidance for the things that you expect to happen and those that will catch you, but not Him, by surprise.

Both of these additions to feed my soul…

COUPLED WITH….

a subtraction of something that fed my flesh…

made for a beautiful journey through Lent 2017 <3

God bless you all and I will see you on Monday!

 

 

 

The good, the bad…and even some of the ugly <3

The first part of this is a short update/thank you…etc…so please hang in there and read the note for today after the praise for funds raised!!!

I received this news in an email from WBGL organizers today and I want to share it with you to rejoice and thank those of you who partnered with us and to offer an opportunity to help WBGL meet their goal if you missed it but wanted to still donate.

“Nearly 330 walkers and runners joined the WBGL team and participated in a variety of races from the 5K to the full marathon last weekend, and many others purchased t-shirts and a custom art print to support the cause. Together, WBGL listeners and those in the races raised just over $64,000 and fully funded 9 Freedom Packages through International Justice Mission – as you know, each package includes a rescue operation and aftercare for those rescued. This is absolutely incredible – and we couldn’t have done any of it without each one of you!

As you know, our goal was to fully fund 10 rescues through IJM. We’re just about $4,000 short from funding our 10th rescue. If you know someone who wanted to get involved, but hasn’t had a chance yet, it’s not too late! All the team pages are still up and running.” see WBGL.org Hope for Justice

That is exciting to me and I hope it encourages you that they were able to raise that much in funds!

Thanks for listening….

and now for today’s note to you.

I wanted to take a moment and share some thoughts gleaned from Lent this year.

If you remember, I encouraged you all to add something and take something away.

The something I took away was to limit my exposure to social media.

And by “social media” I mean checking FaceBook a couple of times a day, checking back to the blog and taking a peek at Pinterest and Instagram throughout the day. A lot.

Right now my cheeks are getting a bit flushed and I’m wanting to go scrounge the baking cabinet for the Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips.

I want to check the laundry or do anything but tell you why I knew this was something I needed to take away.

As I prayed for what God would have me remove for the season of Lent that might be feeding my flesh, I was not surprised when this is what came to the forefront.

I knew I had drifted from my initial intent to use FaceBook to help share what God lays on my heart to write each day. I also was spending a fair amount of time checking in on these other things…letting my curiosity and natural tendency toward procrastination and distraction to become unbalanced.

It is hard to put into words without sounding needier than I already do, but I was finding myself wasting incredible amounts of time checking to see responses/reactions to my post…

and scrolling through endless feed…

and starting to compare myself and either over assess or under assess my value…

and all of this became quite evident that it was getting an unhealthy place in my focus when I had to REMIND myself that I was fasting from checking it except to post first thing in the morning and then scroll through the first ten feeds and LOG OUT.

And the reminding was more like pushing my phone away and praying for strength to follow through on my “fast”. I know…pathetic.

I also…ugh…was in the habit of checking back to the website several times a day to see if the post was well-received. (so embarrassed…I could crawl through the floor…but hey…truth or dare…so nothing but the truth for you all)

So right now you may be shaking your head and wanting to tell me how you don’t do FaceBook…

or you might be shaking your head thinking you don’t give a feather or a fig about how people have reacted to a post you made or something you said or wrote or drew or whatever…

and to all of that I say…

good for you!

But.

Maybe what I discovered about why I needed to deny my flesh in this area might be applicable to you in some other thing you do that, if you took it away, would make you uncomfortable at your dependance on it.

Because I realized as I fought the temptation to check it during any given day that I had two “fears”…

One was how dependent on the approval of others that I can be.

The other was that I thought I might be missing out on being included in the very odd community that is FaceBook/social media/pseudo-cool-clubness.

Or worse yet, misunderstood because I wasn’t responding to other’s incredible or sad statuses. Like …. gasp…what if they think I don’t care or am uninterested????

People were sharing their stories and pictures and others were liking or loving or commenting or all of the above without me.

And both of those “fears” revealed some parts of me that needed to die.

Not just for Lent but for good.

I found myself turning to God more as I turned to technological connectedness less.

In those quiet places, I found I could hear God’s voice more clearly than I have for too long of a time.

Now that Lent is over, I am finding I have a better perspective on checking in with the different ways I connect electronically.

I may need a refresher course in a few months but for now, I know God has led me to a more disciplined approach to how I spend my time both on and away from social media.

It would be encouraging to hear about your take aways from what you removed and your gains from what you added during the season of Lent.

As you ponder your own God-whispers from Lent and Easter, please please share those thoughts with others.

That is how we live out our faith…and that is what sharing our testimony is all about.

Being real about what God has revealed to us as we seek His refining is one of the best (though sometimes painful) parts of the journey…

On a positive note…tomorrow on the blog I am going to talk about what I added. So if you are still speaking to me….I will meet you here tomorrow.

Otherwise … have a blessed day!

A special day here on the Journey <3

First off, thanks for taking time to send comments to our Rachel for her beautiful post yesterday – blessed her and blessed us <3

Today I am celebrating another offspring because this one…

has a milestone birthday.

Not Joel.

This one…

We celebrate her life and the joy she has brought to us and to all whose lives she touches.

Several birthdays ago, she told me she woke up and her first thought was waking in our home as a little girl.

I had bought a ginormous plastic purple drinking glass for her that year and set it in her room for her to see first thing in the morning.

For some reason she remembered it and that year she said the thought of it made her feel loved.

We laughed to think that such a simple memory was tucked away in her heart for such a time as that morning.

As parents, we pulled out all the stops for birthday parties…we didn’t have Pinterest but we had the public library and Parent’s magazine and we were all into themes.

Games, decorations, food…were all centered around the theme of the  year…and she remembers a plastic glass perched by her bed.

Makes me smile to know she knows she is loved <3

So happy birthday Sis…may your day be filled with delights that echo through the years to come…

you…

are….

loved

<3

Sending out the Twelve…Did I do enough? Guest Post from Rachel Maxwell <3

I can well remember sitting in the parking lot of the Lutheran Preschool, pregnant with Sarah and bawling my eyes out as I realized that I had just ushered our first born into the beginning of a lifetime of arenas that would be hers…not mine. I am puddling up even as I type those words to introduce this beautiful piece our Rachel sent me a few weeks ago as a guest post. Grab a tissue and enjoy the gentle pondering of her tender heart <3

We sent our oldest to kindergarten this year.

The tears are hot on my cheeks as I recall the shortest and longest walk I have ever been on as his younger brothers and I escorted him to the door of his new school.

He was met with the welcoming, smiling faces of teachers and staff as they helped him find the right line to sit in. They called him by name…thanks to the nametags his teacher mailed us in early August.

He stood in the kindergarten line and looked back one last time.

I held it together…until I saw the back of that cute little head and red Spiderman backpack heading into a new adventure.

One I wasn’t going to be a part of every day…One I could only hear about later and second hand through the tidbits and stories he chose to share.

It’s an adventure I know I can’t push him to share…but thankful for each small nugget of his day I get to be a part of.

And like so much of parenting…I thought of our Father.

I thought of Him sending out of the disciples…did the ‘Mary half’ of Jesus wonder as I wonder? Did he question the humanity of the ones who followed Him?

I wonder….How will Graham represent our family name?

                        How will Peter represent the name of Jesus?

Will he be kind and known for his servant hands?

Will Levi be known for his generous heart?

I’ve taught him how to break bread and share meals with others…will he?

Will My disciples remember Me feeding the thousands?

Will he invite anyone to sit with him at lunch or will he be invited to sit at a table?

Will you feed My sheep?

Will he bring Jesus into every conversation?

Will you make disciples of ALL nations?

Will he stand up for the Truth in a world of non-conviction, opposition, and falsehood?

Will you remember My actions before and on the cross?

Will he continue to ask me for help, to seek my wisdom?

Will you remember My prayers shared with you in My Word?

I am in no way comparing my sacrifice as a mother to the great sacrifice of Jesus…please hear me.

But in my earthly stumbling’s along the way, God has graciously allowed me to become a mother and share in the lives of each of my children.

And I know He has spoken to me about Himself in this way…over and over again.

I labored for each of them before they were born…in different ways, but labor all the same.

We loved them before they were considered worth anything by the standards of this world.

Their lives had purpose and value…from the very start of their creation.

And so far…all of Graham’s life has led us to this point…is he ready to be sent out?

Have we done enough?

I think of Jesus walking alongside, performing miracles, teaching lessons, exemplifying prayer and petition to His Father all in front of His disciples, knowing His death, resurrection and ascension lay ahead of Him and He would leave them with what they had learned.

As I walked back down that long sidewalk back to our car…I cried.

Jesus knows that pain…He wept too.

The God who made the entire world with His spoken word wept on this earth.

The kindergarten teachers had the parents kiss the palms of our children’s hands and tell them to place it on their cheek when they were sad and missed us.

When we did this with Graham, his eyes lit up with the realization that he could do this at school and still ‘feel’ us and our love in the palm of his hand.

I may have placed the palm of my own hand to my own cheek as I thanked my Heavenly Father that I can feel the love from the palm of His hand.

He knows…He knows my heart and He loves me all the same.

The scars prove how far He is willing to go.

And you’d better believe I was ready and waiting for that final school bell to ring…and I got to look on the face of the child I love so dearly.

And then I had a glimpse of that reunion in heaven…

when I’m the child craning my neck so I can find Him and finally put that beautifully scarred palm on my cheek with a physical touch and I can look into His eyes and know I’m okay.

I’m home.

Weekend recap

Happy Monday…don’t you love that saying up there in the picture?

We did a lot of little things this weekend that added up to where we are today.

So here’s a few to share.

We ran the 5K and I found out it is a lot easier to run when you have actually been able to train for it…

we finished with pretty good times for each of us. My personal best…out of the two I have actually participated in…L.O.L….seriously…

and…

our pre-race pep talk from the fan club helped too.

On Saturday we went up to watch these yahoos…

so mommy could attend Hearts at Home and daddy worked.

When Graham asked me near the end of the day why his mommy had to go to a meeting today, I told him she was learning how to be a better wife and mom.

He looked at me like I had two heads and said she was the best mom ever already.

Agreed.

The band of brothers braved the cold to cheer G on in soccer…

We found out that no matter how many times you load them into the car in a given day..

Joel has his shoes and socks off and lost before you even put the car in reverse.

And apparently he is ambidextrous when it comes to ice cream…

 

Other than that we did yard work…took a couple of naps…and…

I got new sunglasses…

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Hope you all are having a good start to this week!

See you tomorrow <3