December 15, 2011

Whatever is Lovely

 Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, don't you think?

I learn this truth every time I try to buy my husband clothing. He simply likes different styles, colors, and patterns than I do.

If we are to make every thought count, then we must really embrace this idea of "lovely". I think that, in this one little adjective, the Lord shows us how unique He made each and every one of us.

To me, the Lord made very specific things, ideas, even people "lovely". To you, my ideas might even be revolting.


Interesting. I really believe that the Lord uses this area of "lovely" to speak deep into our hearts.

Let's share about what things, ideas, people, or feelings we find lovely for a few days. To give us some focus, lets use the same back drop: color.

Ready? I want to hear from you...

Yellow: What is lovely?



"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

November 24, 2011

What are You Thankful For?


May the Lord of all creation fill your heart, mind, and life with His grace and mercy.

May you look around your reality today and see His fingerprints everywhere.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Bekki

November 23, 2011

There was a time...

For today, I want to side step a bit and share a bit about my own journey with taking thoughts captive.

Many years ago life was unbearable for me. No details necessary, trust me, just the truth that life was very bad. I was too proud to admit to anyone that I was hurting as much as I was so I walked a very dark road alone; or so it seemed.

I did not know the Lord as well as I do today. I was pretty new at trusting Him in every aspect of my life. I had no idea how to cope and survive with my life's reality, so I ran away in my own mind.

In my head I created an entire alter universe if you will. It was pretty elaborate. In every moment of the day that I was was alone I was in this alter world mentally and emotionally. I was happy there. Loved. Nurtured. Busy with good deeds.

It is embarrassing to admit even the tip of the iceberg with this area of my past, yet I believe that some of my readers may struggle with their thoughts as much as I have.

When the Lord finally got my attention, He very clearly spoke to my heart that I was in sin in my own mind. I had created an elaborate false world that did not honor Him. He told me in no such words that this part of my life had to die.

I ignored Him for a while, but eventually I realized that my own fantasy was keeping me from facing and dealing with my life. My imaginary world had to be destroyed so that I could enter the real world.

You may laugh, but this was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. My thoughts wandered every single second. I was quick to run and hide in my own head.

The Lord took my heart and walked me through the transition. I sang praise songs, prayed, talked to the Lord out loud, read and memorized scripture. I remember one day driving on a work errand. I was almost screaming at myself as I pleaded with the Lord to help me. I wanted to honor Him, but my secret world was so much happier and better than my real world. I wrestled this with the Lord and He eventually beat me. (Actually He mercifully allowed me to surrender).

You may think I am ridiculous, however I know that if something is true for me it's likely true for someone else. Out of fear of reality I had created this magical kingdom. It was very hard to pack my thoughts and move out.

Fast forward a few decades and the Lord has honestly rescued me from myself. I am fully present in my life. I do not run and hide in my mind like I used to, although there are many days that I struggle with myself. I have learned that taking thoughts captive is sometimes an almost impossible task and can feel like hand to hand combat. There are days that I collapse from exhaustion from fighting my own imagination.

The amazing thing, for me, is that as I look at the things I am supposed to think about: whatever is true, noble, right, pure, etc I am reminded about my past thought enslavement. My mind was truly in chains, yet the Lord mercifully released me.

But it took effort. A Lot of effort.
There's no pixie dust here, no happy thought that will make my life "fly" like Peter Pan.

I have to purpose each and every moment how to look at a glass. Is it half full? Half empty? Chipped? Cracked? Beautiful?

When I struggle most I need to run to the word, recite scripture, put my headphones in and hide in the closet while I meditate on the words to praise music, or ask someone who loves me to pray.

Every single moment we have a choice. Be content and trust that the Lord has our back, or grumble, whine, and complain about our circumstances.

When I find myself being negative, frustrated, angry, or confused...
I talk myself back as I pray...
...back to Him.
...back to peace.


~~Where are you today? Are you exhausted because you have been wrestling your own thoughts? My prayer for you is that you will look up from the floor and see the face of Your God looking at you with compassion. Allow Him to give you true victory over your mind. It is too hard for you, however rejoice that nothing, nothing, nothing is impossible for God~~


"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

November 22, 2011

Whatever is Pure

I have finally recovered from my own cold and its time to focus my thoughts more clearly.  We've already taken a quick look at thoughts that are true, noble, and right.

How are you doing with this whole "taking your thoughts captive" thing?

I have to admit, it is a lot easier on paper than in practice, however I have seen such a huge benefit in my own life due to a concentrated study. My head is always my worst enemy and I love that the Lord already knew I would struggle in this area. He so graciously meets me each time I spend time with Him. His word is truly alive!

Next on our thought checklist is to make sure our thoughts are pure. I love that the Lord is covering all the bases, don't you?

Pure simply means "Unmixed with any other type of matter. Free from harshness or roughness." Exactly!

If I am fixed on Jesus and surrendering my will to His, then there is not any room for "other" types of thoughts. Selfishness cannot exist if I am studying His unselfishness and yielding to His leading each day.

Since God is a God of love and peace, and since He lives in me, then there will NOT be harshness or roughness in my thoughts, words, or actions.

(Hard swallow) The more I study the word the more I become aware of what a wretch I truly am.

When I mix the Words in red with any other material, my thoughts become polluted. I am easily deceived and misled, so I have to be careful what I read. I prefer to stay in the Word, rather than risk an "oil spill" in my brain.

Where I am not as vigilant in guarding my thoughts is when I sit to watch television. I can easily find my vegetative state after a long day and become hypnotized by, well, stupidity. This stupidity leaks into my thoughts and affects my life.

I find the sweet Hallmark movies a perfect example. After watching some of the wonderfully sappy shows that are on lately I can find myself discouraged that my life doesn't measure up. I can entertain negative thoughts about my own husband. "If only he..." I can beat myself up as I compare myself to those amazing women portrayed on the big screen, "If only I..."

When I mix what the Lord has called me to be and do and I dare to compare it with what I perceive He has called you to do, my thoughts and life become murky.

I believe that thinking on "Whatever is Pure" is essential to walking in peace. (Funny that I would agree with the Lord).
When there is an input category of "other" I need to be on guard.


Its a sneaky process. The enemy is truly a liar and a thief desperate to rob us of our peace. We need to be careful in our own lives that we are conscious of what we mix in our minds.

I will stop comparing my life to yours, you need to never compare your life to any one's either. There is no peace there. We need to be purposeful in choosing what we read, watch, and absorb. There are no innocent bystanders here.

Focus on things that are pure: the Love of Christ, the fact He promises peace without understanding, that He is our strength, the promises He gives (and keeps) in His word, His direction and will for our lives. He is so good.

Lord, help us be simple minded people, content within our lives and circumstances, and laser locked on You and Your Word.


I find it hard not to compare my life to others during the holidays.
How about you?


"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

November 17, 2011

Confession

I have struggled with my own thoughts this past week.
Funny how that works. Here I am studying and sharing about taking thoughts captive and I find myself being my own student. You gotta laugh.

Nothing reveals where my heart condition is truly at better than sickness or drama running through my life. This past week or two it's been sickness. You know, I never think having five boys is so overwhelming until they all have simultaneous issues. This has been my reality lately.

Fall has brought a burst of beautiful color to our trees, snow capped accenting to our local mountains, and sickness to my home. All 5 of my children have been sick lately. Since I have a couple kids with asthma, "not feeling well" can quickly turn into quite the drama. To top it all off my husband and I have come down with our own versions of what our kids had... Fun!

Back to my thoughts. When I do not feel well I am prone, very probe, to internal grumbling. When my husband is sick, I become acutely aware that I was wise not to become a nurse. I am not patient, loving, and kind naturally. I have to die to my self daily and ask (or beg) for the Lord to flow through my life. When I do not feel well I tend to take my eyes off the Lord and begin to see my life through different eyes.

I confess that this is where my heart has been. Struggling to focus on my negative thought and drag them kicking and screaming through the filters of "whatever is true", "whatever is right", "whatever is noble". It has been almost a world class wrestling match in my head. I'm a bit exhausted.

Yesterday, as I began my day in a full frenzy, my best friend and soul mate encouraged me to filter my day through the priorities the Lord has set before me. In my flesh I was mad. "I do not have time to rethink my day!" but I listened.

I flipped my Bible to the Proverbs of the day (yesterday was the 16th so I read/prayed through Proverbs 16) and there it was in black and white. Paraphrased: I can make all the plans I want, but the Lord is in charge of what really happens. (big sigh)

I surrendered my thoughts, plans, and life once again and ran through my list of priorities.
I had too much to do and not enough time to do everything.

My list was filled with last minute homework assignments for my children, holiday workshops at school, budget and checkbook balancing, menu planning and list making, dinner to plan, and a few hundred other little things.

My original plan was to do all the publically noticeable things first and to leave some core things to do until the evening. After spending time with the Lord I knew I had to do things correctly.

I first prayed for my husband and children and anyone that the Lird placed on my heart.
Then I did the things that would bless my husband: budget, checkbook balance, menu plan, and grocery list. (he hates going through these ontge weekend and it always blesses him when I get them done mid week.

I then planned dinner (loaded baked potatoes and salad). I placed the foil wrapped meal in the oven and set the automatic oven so I didn't have to think about it later.
Then I hit school assignment with the it's
And finally the more public project for the school.
No, I did not get everything done, but there was peace between my husband, my children and I.
Those things that didn't get done, will today.

Taking our thoughts captive can be challenging any day of the year, but it's impossible if we do not approach God. He's right there, waiting.

I'd encourage you to take your heart, thoughts, and "to do" list and sit with the Lord.
Do everything in His order. It's the only order with peace surrounding it...

My priorities:
Jesus
My husband
My children
My extended family
My church family
My community.

How about you? Do you have a priority checklist?
Where does your family fall on your list?

November 9, 2011

Whatever is Right

Everyone likes to be right.

OK, I confess, I like to be right.
Being wrong is a very hard thing for me.
I think I was born competitive.

My husband is a book collector. A few years back he purchased the 1828 version of Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language.
I love this dictionary.
Intertwined with the black and white definitions are God's word and truths.

Today I am examining thoughts that are right. As I look up the word in my 3 inch thick dictionary I can see this is one of those entries that cover more than one full column. Yikes.


I love Noah's second definition:
In morals and religion, just; equitable; accordant to the standard of truth and justice or the will of God. That alone is right in the sight of God, which is constant to His will or law; this being the only standard of truth and justice.

Wow, I love that. The measure of right uses God's will and laws as the standard.

In black and white, right is fair, true, lawful, proper, straight, and fit.

The truth is that right is a relative term depending upon what filter you are looking through.

The goal here is to filter my thoughts through the word and will of God.
Why?
Because that where the promise of peace is hidden in plain sight.

Back to my "need" to be right. It's the self-centered thought that gets me in trouble, the pride behind the words spoken, the lack of humility that makes my "right" wrong.

This one can look harmless at first. Be careful. I am afraid we will be tested on this one very soon. If a thought seems right, yet is wrapped in arrogance, pride,self-interest or deceit then it is most definitely wrong!

Need an example?
Recently, my husband and I disagreed about a parenting issue.
I knew I was right and I made no mystery about that fact.
I "agreed" to do things his way, but I wasn't quiet about the fact that  I knew better.

In the end, he was proved right and I saw the light.
Unfortunately, because I had stood on my own pride to declare my thoughts of being right, I ended up undermining his authority in our home.
I am still trying to undo the damage.

If only I had filtered my thoughts through the word...

Not everyone struggles with pride the way I do, yet I know we all struggle with the thoughts in our head.

Today, let our hearts be so full of God's wisdom that we cannot hear our own foolishness!

How about you? Do you struggle with being "right"?




"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

November 7, 2011

2011 Homeschool Blog Awards! Vote Now!


I am so honored to have been nominated for this years Home school Blog Awards. Everyday as I read your emails, notes, or comments I am humbled to have the privilege to speak to your heart!

Click here to vote for "A Penny for Your Thoughts" for the category of
Best Encourager


You can vote once per person in your household anytime between now and November 18th, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time (PST).
(yes, even the baby can vote if they are encouraged:))
Make sure to take a few minutes and go vote for your favorites and let your bloggers know you love them! Spread the word!

Love and Blessings,
Bekki

November 6, 2011

Whatever is Noble

This kind of thought is a little bit more abstract for my brain, because I do not normally think in terms of nobility. SO, I looked it up in the dictionary.
Don't laugh.
I love the dictionary!
If God tells me that my thoughts are to be noble, then I better have a clear understanding of what that means, right?


It turns out that there is the obvious definition of nobility pertaining to "class, title, and rank". This was what I thought, yet I had to chew on that for a bit. How do those things honor the Lord in my mind?


definition said Nobility also involves an heir of "being special; set apart". A noble thought is excellent, holds a high moral standard and is wrapped in dignity.


Wow. Have I told you before that I love God's word? It seems like the deeper I go, the more I realize I barely scratch the surface...

 I have already discovered that my thoughts are to be true, but  now to the truth they also must be noble.

In regards to the whole title, rank, class part I am to have no hint of arrogance in the truth that I am set apart for Christ. I am His and that alone make me special (to Him). Arrogant thoughts would be a warning that I have forgotten to think true thoughts. Truth is I am nothing, He is everything.

Back to noble. My thoughts are to be excellent. This one convicts me. I have a lot of thoughts in a day.
I mean a lot.
I have to confess most of them are not "excellent".

In my crazy world, my head is usually spinning as I race from one task to another. This does not produce "excellent" thoughts. I need to slow down in order to ensure that I am purposeful even in my own head. (I can see that this is going to be a lifelong process).

The last two parts of thinking noble thoughts is that I should have "high moral thoughts" and they should be wrapped in dignity. That seems pretty obvious. If I am looking over the fence in my head dreaming that the grass is greener over "there" then I am likely not having high moral thoughts.

There's a praise song that says,
"Lord my heart, is prone to wander.
Prone to leave the God I love.
Here's my heart, Lord take and seal it. Seal it for Your Courts above."

I love that. The truth is the Lord already knows my mind will wander.
An immoral thought, a doubt, an inward complaint is not a sinful thought UNLESS I dwell on it and allow it to take root.

Our enemy is the father of lies and I believe some of the bloodiest spiritual battles are fought between our ears.

Today, let our thoughts be true: absolutely! But may they also be highly moral and wrapped in dignity. May we dwell excellence and be conscious of idle thinking.

Since the Word says clearly, "As a man thinks, So is he" I choose to be conscious of my thoughts.

What's your thought on thinking noble thoughts?


"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

November 4, 2011

True or TRUE

As I was going to sleep last night I was thinking about focusing on truth again.
I was thinking that there may be some people that think that I am over simplifying this process of thinking on "whatever is true."
I know that this is an area that I have personally struggled with in my own Christian walk, so I can only assume there are others like me...

With that in mind:

If You and I were sitting across from one another and I held up a quarter so that each of us could see one side: What would you see?
One of us would see Heads
The other would see tails, right?

If we had never seen that coin before we could argue forever about what we are looking at. Because we can only see one side at a time, it's hard to relate to the "other" side.The truth is that we would both be correct. One of us would absolutely be looking at Washington, the other would definitely be looking at an eagle (if its an older quarter).

In our thoughts, truth is like that.

There are two sides to every thought. One Truth is encouraging, one truth  is destructive.
One truth is from the Lord, the other is from the enemy.

Just like the quarter our thoughts have two sides.
One side is faith filled, the other is doubt filled.
One side is hope filled, one side is defeated.

When taking our thoughts captive, we need to consider the quarter. While both sides are true, we can only look at one side at a time. We need to choose which thoughts to "look" at each moment.
We need to choose the side the Lord would want us to see.

In your own mind today, choose thoughts of truth. God's Truth.
No matter what you are facing, there is a faith-filled, hope-filled thought.

If you are struggling and cannot think of anything good, ask the Lord to show you.
He is faithful.

God has a lot to say about thoughts. Grab your Bible and discover for yourself...

November 2, 2011

Whatever is True

 It has been a few days since I have written, because I have really taken this thought to heart. As a writer, I spend a lot of time in my own head. Thoughts are amazingly powerful. They effect the expression on my face, change the tone of my voice, and scream through my body language.

It's urgently important that I think properly. Like I shared last time, this is a major key to having the peace of God in my life.
I want peace.
I crave peace.
I want the people around me to observe me at peace.

If my thoughts are on track, then my face will be relaxed and quick to smile; my tone will be gentle and in control, and my body will not be all tense.

I am going to dive deeper into this for a few days.
My thoughts are to be about "whatever is true."



But what kind of true?

It is true that, no matter what state or condition my life is in at this moment, it is better than what I deserve.

It is true that the Lord is always with me.

It is true that God wants my praise, not my perfection.
Since I cannot be perfect, I should not pretend to be. I should lovingly devote my everything to Jesus and know that's enough.

It is true that I am a sinner saved by grace.

Jesus is truth. His ways are perfect. If I acknowledge that He is with me in every moment and I believe it with all my heart, then I am filled with truth as well.

The Word is so powerful.
It doesn't matter if it is spoken, written, or even thought.
Since the power of "life and death are in the tongue", I have to assume that this is true even when words are spoken only in my own mind.

Jesus knows my thoughts.
He said that those who hate; commit murder. Those who lust; commit adultery.
He's pretty serious about what goes "unspoken".

My heart and thoughts need to match my appearance.
If I love my Lord, then the truth is that my heart is filled with praise, worship, and prayer.

If I love my husband, then I am constantly dwelling on the truth of how blessed I am to be his wife and how big of an honor it is to serve him.

If its true then I am thankful, even when frustrated.
I have been blessed to be married for over 20 years now and I know my husband deserves a medal for making it this far and still being in love with me.
It is true I am blessed.

If its true I love my children, then I will pray for them and will not be lazy in their training.
If its true that I love them, then my heart dwells on the truth that I only have them under my wing for a few short breaths; then they move on. The truth is I must make the most of every moment.

See why it's been a few days? I've been picking this verse apart and I feel I barely scratched the surface.

How about you? Think about "whatever is true" in your life. If its true then...

I'd love to hear what's on your heart.




"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

October 29, 2011

Taking Thoughts Captive

I've been doing quite a bit of thinking and praying about the idea of taking our thoughts captive as Christians. What does the Bible say? Look at Philippians 4:9 with me...

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

There is so much here, it's not even funny. The end is the clincher for me though. I will have the peace of God if I practice thinking this way. What way? I believe we cannot classify our thoughts by looking at just one category. Yes, something may be true, but if its not also pure, lovely and praiseworthy I shouldn't be dwelling on it.

My thoughts control my life. I think more so since I am a writer and words are constantly rolling around in my head. Add to that, the fact that I am a woman and you'll know there are more than enough thoughts running through my head at any given moment.

So What to do with thoughts that don't make it on God's list? Thoughts of anger, frustration, jealousy, sorrow, loneliness and the like. I have to remember the end of the above verse. If I practice what the Lord would teach me, then I will be at peace. If I dwell on things I shouldn't then it should be of no great surprise that I do not have peace. Have you ever tried to be frustrated with someone and be at peace at the same time? I can honestly say I have tried, but it doesn't work.

If someone offends me, even if I am justified in being hurt, I have a choice to make.
I can hold onto the hurt and be miserable, or I can let it go and be at peace.
Some days I can do this better than others. Today, I am kicking myself for not being careful enough with my words. In my haste to communicate my "thoughts" I hurt someones feelings and now I feel bad. I have asked for forgiveness, but I keep thinking things like, "what if I had said this, or changed that..."
I realize now as I am writing this down that I have not taken my thoughts captive.

So here it goes. Although it is true that I spoke in haste, it is more true that the Lord has given me the opportunity to ask for forgiveness.The excellent and praiseworthy result from my mistake is that the Lord is a God of restoration and He  allows me to make it right with the person I hurt. I am so thankful that I do not have to walk through this life alone and sad. I am thankful for the truth that Jesus loves me and is right in everything He is and does. I can practice being purposeful in my speech and tender with my words.

Peace is worth humbling myself before the Lord and the people He puts in my life.

Last thought. I had a friend once who was encouraging me to take my thoughts captive and she remarked that in order for you to remove a "bad" thought completely, it needs to be replaced with a good thought. I find that very true. What works for me is praise and thanksgiving. I cannot be upset and thankful at the same time. It's OK that my list starts out stupid. "thank you for the car I drive" or "thank you that I can see". Don't get me wrong. Those things are great, but when I'm made or hurt I need to simply start thanking the Lord for everything I can. Funny, just in the speaking of thankfulness my heart softens and peace begins to flood in... If I cannot think of anything to be thankful for (which has happened on occasion) then I begin quoting scripture and praying the verses...

What works for you? I know I'm not the only Christian who has battled taking thoughts captive...

October 27, 2011

Best Deal of the year

So yesterday I'm out thrift store shopping with my 2 youngest boys. All their jeans and long pants have holes in the knees and I told then I'd like to see if I can scoop up a few pair. We did the usual praying (i always pray before going into a thrift store. Since the Lord had to prompt someone to give something away prior to me walking in to shop, I see it as a perfect opportunity for the Lord to provide).
I told the kids that going to a thrift store is like going on a treasure hunt, you honestly never know what you'll find.



Yesterday was really fun. I stumbled upon a store that is moving across town. They had marked all their merchandise down to 25 cents. That's right, 25 cents.
I do not know what you may feel about buying second hand clothing, but with 5 boys I can tell you I love it. They can shred the knees of a $30 pair of jeans the first day. I learned that in order to allow them to "be boys" I needed to not care about their play clothes.

Anyway, I was able to get 3 tennis rackets. 4 tops for myself and 5 pair of pants for the boys. What was even better was the fact that I paid for the hefty $3.00 sale with quarters from the bottom of my purse.

I love it!

How about you? Are you are thrift store shopper? What's the best deal you ever stumbled upon? If you've never stepped into one, I encourage you to try it!


My personal best was I stumbled upon a really nice leather jacket for myself. I am WAAAY to cheap to ever buy myself a brand new one. My awesome find was $12!

October 21, 2011

Taking time to Truly Pray



He is wounded in a way I cannot imagine. I do not know how he became injured or even where he lives. I have never seen his face or heard his voice. Yet, I call him friend.

How is that possible?

This believer has been through a traumatic experience that severed his spine. A dear friend of mine sent a message off the other day asking for prayer. My heart was pricked by his story and so I prayed.


The Lord has not allowed me to cease from praying for this unknown friend, yet I can feel his pain. Not the physical, but the mental challenge of trusting in the Lord when life throws a bucket of curve balls at you.

I have been awakened in the night with specific prayers to lift and reminded of this person through songs on the radio. God is at work through this persons life in a way I may not ever fully understand.

What I do know is that I cannot help but consider him a friend now. We are knit together in a battle through prayer and united by the Living God.

Stop for a moment.
Ask the Lord if there is someone He would like you to pray for. I know He will immediately place someone on your heart. You may even see their face in your mind or hear their voice. Stop and pray for them. Take a moment to look through the Psalms and find a verse that speaks to your heart and pray that verse for them. Consider the next song you hear may be the very words you are supposed to lift to the Lord.

Take the time to pray. If no one else comes to mind, you can pray for me:).
Be blessed today!

I'd love to hear how the Lord encouraged you to pray...
Leave me a comment or shoot me an email.

October 20, 2011

It's One of those "Crazy Schedule Days"

At least I know what's for dinner!
What's in my dutch oven?

Now if only I could figure out how to be in two places at the same time!
Sometimes being a mom is a challenge.
Sometimes being the mother of 5 boys spread out across 12 years is almost impossible. At one end I am teaching a son to read and ride a bike, at the other end I am shuttling a car-less 18 year old to the bus for school when its too late or early to ride his bike (while simultaneously lecturing him on what I mean when I say, "please clean your room").

I thank the Lord that I can rely on Him for direction and guidance. I trust that what I need to get done will, and what falls to the floor is not necessary.

What I want to know from you today is how do you manage your life?
Do you schedule your day the night before, write out your  to do list in the morning over coffee, or run the day by the seat of your pants?
(comment below or email me)

What I need to know is how you get your "adult" children to keep their room clean?

October 19, 2011

Total Body Make over

Well, it happened.
I walked about a mile yesterday with my children. I am working on teaching the younger ones street safety when riding a bike, so my mile walk was really more like an almost jog.
The Result? Let's just say that is NOT a picture of me...

Humiliation, that's what happened.

OK, maybe not that dramatic, but I was totally winded and I actually pulled a muscle slightly.
For someone who use to coach people on "How to get Skinny" regularly, this was horrific. Almost like when you thought you were a rock start only to discover you were trailing toilet paper all day and had poppy seeds in your front teeth.

My excuses:
I have a wounded arm and when I walk it actually would hurt. A Lot.
I thought I was OK.

Cold hard truth:
My arm is getting better.
I like my late night snacks.
I am lazy, and have fallen out of "love" with exercise.

Plan:
  • Kick myself in the behind and get moving again. A mile a day on my feet period for a week. Then increase by half a mile a day until I can walk across America.Well, maybe 5 miles.
  • Stop eating.
  • OK, not really, but I will choose to be as serious about my health as I am about other areas of my life! Jump start back into the "Commit to Fit" life habits that helped me before.
Ask for forgiveness. I feel like a teenager who through a party while their parent were away. When the Lord looked me square in the face this morning I was "caught red handed". I couldn't fit in pants that should fit me. I have neglected His temple... Lord, forgive me.

Whew! I feel lighter already.

Comment below and tell me what a wretch I am for becoming fat and lazy.
Well, how about encouraging me that it will be worth my while to lose a few pounds so I can keep up with my "pack of bikers". Gotta go, I've got a mile to put on my shoes...

October 17, 2011

You Awoke Blessed and With a Choice

Scripture tells us that in everything we do, do all for the glory of God.
Whether you face a day of laundry, dishes, or homeschooling. Maybe its commuting to a "real job". Whatever you co today, do it all for the glory of God.
The amazing truth is that God handpicked each one of us to live the lives we woke up to this morning. He knows who we will come in contact with, where we will succeed, where we will fail. He has blessed each one of us with a full measure of faith and strength to walk through our perspective days in a way that will profoundly impact the world around us.

Remember we woke up blessed, but we also woke up with a choice.
Do we glorify God today, or do we glorify ourselves, our family, our friends?

When we focus on Him in all we do, we glorify Him and baffle the world. Funny. It's when we let go of our own expectations and our own good that we are overwhelmed by His direction and His good. We shine His love and life, we look different. Those who are hungry and thirsty linger longer around us to see if they too can have what we have.

Be filled with the love of Christ today. Look long and hard at your "to do" list and choose to do all that you do for His glory. Let a few things fall to the floor if necessary.

Remember you woke up blessed and with a choice. Like Indianna Jones, choose wisely...

October 15, 2011

It's Your Turn: What Do You See?

In an old Henry Winkler (The Fonz) movie, An American Christmas Carol, Scrooge holds up a piece of wood and asks, "What do you see?". The boy he is talking to replies, "A Stick" with an annoyed attitude.

The scene then unflods as Scrooge enlightens the boy. The truth is that something is hidden within the piece of wood that can only be seen by the one who looks beyond the bark. A candlestick, a toothpick, maybe a chair leg is hidden within.

Because I heard this repeated many times throughout my life, it has become part of me. When I see something that catches my attention, like a bird or a flower or tree I look beyond the obvious and try to see what lies within.

The amazing thing is that there is always something there. Sometimes its a story, other times its a lesson. I never know until I stop to ponder.

This morning I saw a beautiful tree and I stopped to ponder. I am inviting you to do the same thing.

Instructions:
Look at the picture above.
What do you see when you look beyond the obvious leaves?
Take a moment and share your thoughts: comment or email.
Come Monday Morning I'll share what I see.

A Winner will be chosen by random draw to receive a thank you for sharing prize.


Ways to enter:
Comment below. (1 entry)
Email (2nd entry)
Share on facebook (3rd entry)
Share on twitter (4th Entry)

October 14, 2011

I am Fine

OK, so today if I were to ask you how you are doing, what would your answer be?
If you answer, "fine" you would be like the vast majority of people around me.
We are all "fine" aren't we?
But is that good enough? Are we really fine?
Good, great, tired, anxious, blessed, scared, sick, energized... 
Come on, we are all something other than fine.

So here it comes, the true test.

How are you today? I really want to know.

After you share with me, ask people around you how they are doing.
When they respond that they are fine, smile and ask..
"What would it take to turn your "fine" into "great!"

October 12, 2011

Permission to Heal

As you may (or may not know) I recently had surgery on my right elbow to repair a partially torn tendon. The injury was over a year old and had effected every single area of my life. I could not cook, clean, write, or even cozy without pain or fear of further injury. It was awful.

Well, 3 weeks after my procedure I began working on straightening my arm again with the help of physical therapy. I've been holding it in as neutral of a position as possible for a long time and it (my arm) had decided it will simply not allow itself to be straight.

When I did coax it open, the pain was awful. So I decided to talk to my physical therapist about it. All he did was nod his head and say things like, "yep." and "that's normal". Yet the confidence he had changed everything for me.

The simple truth that he knew my surgeon and trusted that the surgery would work (based on the doctors reputation) meant that I could let go of fear and trust in my healing.

OK, it may sound so trivial to you, but I've been hurting for so long I was afraid to trust that the surgery worked. I was misinterpreting the healing pain as injury pain and I wasn't healing.

The day of the "Yep" nod I believed in the doctor and trusted that I would get better.

I now look at the physical therapy as a challenge. Who is going to win? Me or my stiff muscles? That's right me...

Injury and suffering is like that. Not only can it cause agony, it can paralyze our "muscles" into being overprotective, stiff, and ineffective. The good news is that our Master Physician is able to reach into our broken lives and repair a lifetime of damage. All we have to do is trust.

Surgery and healing can be painful. The process is not a cake walk. However, if you are hurting today in anyway I wanted you to know that God can be trusted. He can heal you. Honestly, the second you accept Him he does heal you.
What's left is for you to trust  your Surgeon and to begin using those stiff muscles.

They will respond over time. You can trust, laugh, and lay without fear of re-injury.

Trust me. I know your Doctor. You can trust His work.

If you could see me I'd be nodding my head and saying something profound, like, "Yep."

October 10, 2011

2011 Homeschool Blog Awards!

I am super excited to have been nominated for the "best encourager" category for this years 7th Annual Homeschool Blog Awards. 

What a fun thing!

I am really excited to review the many other sites that are in the process of being nominated. What a fun way to say thank you to all the bloggers that you follow each week.






Nominations are open this week. Be sure to look through the categories and nominate your favorite blogs!



1. Best Homeschool Mom Blog

2. Best Homeschool Dad Blog


3. Best Blog Design


4. Best Photos


5. Best Crafts, Plans & Projects Blog


6. Best Family or Group Blog


7. Best Encourager


8. Best Current Events, Opinions or Politics Blog


9. Best Homemaking or Recipes Blog


10. Best Teen Blog


11. Funniest Homeschool Blog


12. Best Special Needs Blogger


13. Best Homeschool Vlogger


14. Best Variety


15. Best Thrifty Homeschooler


16. Best SUPER-HOMESCHOOLER


17. Best Nitty-Gritty Homeschool Blog


18. Best NEW Homeschool Blog


19. Best Homeschooling Methods Blog

20. Best Homeschooling Nature/Field Trip Blog


October 9, 2011

Filters Need a Changing

Step 3: Changing my filters.
I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it.Psalm 101:3

I have become lazy.
I am in a season of "purging the vile and faithless practices" that have seeped into my life. Some are easy to let go, others much more difficult.

Join my Journey by Clicking on the Highlighted text above.

October 7, 2011

Taking Life too Seriously

So I am in the middle of trying to help my son edit an essay that is due tomorrow, when all of a sudden a Nerf bullet comes flying by. I look to my right only to see a very gleeful husband aiming a Nerf pistol at me and declaring, "wow this thing is really accurate."
What's wrong with this picture?
The wife/mom/home-school teacher in me would say, 
"How could he possibly bombard our school time with a sneak attack?"

The Boy/husband/father sitting to my side would say, 
"Don't take life too seriously!"

As Much as I hate to admit it, he's right.
I am so focused on helping my son complete his home school assignment that I forgot to embrace the beauty of being a home-schooler.
Who cares if we break free for a quick Nerf battle?
The only thing that will change is the atmosphere in our home... For the better.

Instead of being stuffy and too serious, my children should be able to laugh, play, AND learn.

So I invite you women, wives, moms, and fellow home-school teachers:
"Shock the heck out of your husbands and children and set up a perfect ambush." 
Join my new life goal to not take life too seriously!
I'll meet you in the toy aisle at Toys R us...

October 6, 2011

Step 2: Oil Change

Step 2. Oil Change.
Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions. Ezra 8:21

Today I proclaim a fast, not to bring attention to myself, but to announce to my family that I am waiting expectantly for a word from the Lord. True, the Bible talks about keeping your fast between You and the Lord, but I love that here the Word "Proclaims the fast". It has an air of expectancy to it...

Join my Journey by Clicking on the Highlighted text above.

October 5, 2011

Fingerprints of God

I'm sitting here by a cozy fire tonight, blessed beyond measure by our loving God. Everywhere I look I see His fingerprints. Inspired to think about this by a fellow blogger, I am reminded that the Lord leaves His mark everywhere in my life.

What is crazy is that I often forget to look. Not tonight.

By the light of tonight's fire, I look around and see the fingerprints of my Creator all over my life.
In the twinkling eyes of my husband. Wrapped in the warm cozies of my children. In the Word, that always proves itself to be true. In the unexpected answers to prayers spoken only in my heart.
He is everywhere. Like the warmth of the fire beside me, I feel His presence.

Look around. Visit
The Rusted Chain
to be inspired.

See His fingerprints on your life.

What do you see?

October 3, 2011

Inspection Time

After a week of chewing on Time for an Oil Change, I decided to go a bit deeper. OK, a lot deeper. My own life is in need of a good overhaul, my spiritual engine is sputtering and stalling, so I thought I'd share the process I am going through with you. I' calling it My Spiritual Overhaul.

I plan to sit at the Lord's feet for a few days and take note of what He reveals to me. O.K. By "sit" I do not mean "criss-cross, apple sauce".
Life still goes on. I have a husband to minister to, people to feed, and children to teach but the ears of my heart are perked.

I invite you to join along with me. Click on the highlighted words above to be directed to Step 1: Where do I begin?

1. Inspection Time: Search me O God, and Know my heart, try me and know my thoughts. Psalm 139: 23

October 2, 2011

A Penny for Your Thoughts

I am looking right into your eyes and waiting for you reply,
"A penny for your thoughts".

What's on your heart? Where are you in your walk with the Lord? What's happening in your life that you love or would love to change?

I'm anxious to hear from you!

September 27, 2011

Wow, I Loved This!

For those of us who struggle with our quest to be Wonder Woman in our flesh... Ok, even if you do not I definitely do...
I found this great post about being a Superwoman or an abiding woman. It is a must read...

http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/blog/2010/02/super-mom-vs-abiding-mom.html

September 26, 2011

Caught in the Crossfire


Boys are unique creatures.
Being the only girl in a home filled with testosterone can be challenging at times. Yesterday necessitated me hiding behind a locked door for a half an hour.

You see, we celebrated my husband's birthday.
Harmless as it sounds, the new tradition in our home is that all male-type humans receive nerf guns and extra amunition for their big day. My husband reminded me of this tradition while in the same breath describing the weapon he would like to possess.

Call me sucker. GO ahead.

September 22, 2011

Time for an Oil Change




It's that time again. Every 3 months or so I have the oil changed in my car, and right now it's over due. I have honestly let a few things slide, so not only does the oil need changing, the pumpkins (rear differential) need lubrication, the spark plugs need swapping, and the whole engine needs a good tune up. I know if I neglect it much longer the car will begin to grumble, miss-fire, stall, and eventually break down along the side of the road.

Spiritually I find myself in same place as my car these days. I'm over due for an "oil change". In my case I've got to pause from my rut of a routine. Instead of checking email and Facebook each morning, I need to open my God mail and sit in the presence of His face. I find my life sputtering and miss-firing because I have been skimping on my devotional time, reading commentaries rather than studying scripture, and rushing through prayer rather than basking in the Son.

In a low a few days ago I dug my Bible out. It was under 2 books and an alarm clock and has been there for an embarrassingly long time. (In my fleshly defense, it's so thick it hurts my wounded arm to carry it, so I've been reading on my iPhone). I opened the cover and a note page fell out. Over the past 13 years, the Lord has given me words of encouragement for my son who struggles with a benign tumor. This is the page that fell out...

Funny how the Lord works, those promises given to my son, written in my own handwriting, now spoke volumes to my heart. It was like warm healing oil washing over my heart.

Well, like my car needs more than an oil change, my soul needs more than a short encounter with a piece of paper. I need a tune up spiritually. So I'm off to dig back into the word. I expect I have a few filters to swap out. I've been watching too much TV lately. I know I need new spark plugs. My body needs more exercise. To me, not much is sweeter than prayer walking.

I'd encourage you to take a good look at your own spiritual vehicle as well. Are you stopping by the scriptural drive thru like me? Neglecting the only One who can keep you running? Filling up on cheap substitutes; like TV?
Start your tune up today! Christians should never be stranded by the side of the road of their own lives out of neglect, Amen?

Enough for now, I gotta call Jiffy Lube and get my car serviced so I do not need to call you for a ride!

Click here for my free gift to you: An Oil Change Jumpstart

September 21, 2011

Headline: Wonder Woman Exposed!

Ah, humility.

I am reflecting about last week and I find that I am in fact a complete fool.
Don't laugh! You too may suffer from the same pride-flu that I caught at conception.

You see, I am wonder woman cloaked in a few more layers of clothing than the old TV Star. I can do everything myself, better than anyone I know. (Do you hear Him snicker?)

I injured myself over a year ago and finally had surgery last week. I find my superior, self-sufficient self bound by a cast on my dominant arm, and cannot even wiggle my fingers without pain. This is no problem for wonder woman.

I've prepped many meals and have them stored away, I found a brush/hairdryer combination for frustrating, I mean self-sufficient hair styling, and I even solved the most baffling of challenges for the one-armed modern wonder woman: bra fastening. That's right! A few athletic tank-tops with built in support make my quest for not needing help from anyone perfect. I won't need help. Yeah for me!

Did you hear the explosion?
My plan blew up in my face. Graciously, and with humor I might add, our gracious Lord allowed me to see that even Super Heroes need help.

Can you guess what happened? My pride-flu in full force had me delusional. I thought I could do it all. My "fever" led me to total stupidity. Are you ready? Pay attention, I want you to avoid the same humiliation...

I was dressing myself with my new "wonder woman tank-top". I successfully managed to get my casted arm into the proper hole and maneuver my head into the neck of the top. All I had left to do was to slip my left arm up into the shirt and then to pull everything down and into place...

"oh husband... Could you please come here?"

Husband walks into the bathroom and tries not to laugh. I am hopelessly trapped in my new tank-top. My casted-right-arm stuck in a useless right-angle and unable to reach anything helpful. My left arm was twisted and bound in a beautifully ridiculous way leaving me half covered half exposed and completely unable to move.

My husband rescued me (mades me mad because, brace your pride, "This is What he finds Irresistible") and smiles as he quickly leaves me alone to deal with my attitude.

The Lord is so good. Although my pride died a totally humiliating death that day, He allowed it to happen with my best friend and love. Although my husband would never publically reveal my stupidity, I will. In hopes that you will not fall victim to the same cruel fate as me.
I.
(Darn. Is it me or I? Someone grab a dictionary. Mine's too heavy)

Ask for help. Ask the Lord to send it to you when you need it.
Kicker: You need to accept the help sooner than I did... or risk being trapped by your own underwear!

September 11, 2011

Standing in the Middle of the Bermuda Triangle

I was standing outside with my 13 year old last night and we literally felt like we were in the center of the Bermuda Triangle. On one side we had a huge rain storm moving toward us, behind us we had a "holy crud" level lightning storm, and directly in front of us a wild fire was licking the tops of the mountains behind our home threatening to come our way and force an evacuation. It was incredible!

My husband walked out and began praying outloud that the Lord would move the massive raincloud to downpour above the fire and squelch it's flame.

God is an amazing God. No matter what impending doom is surrounding me, He is always there; forever faithful. Now, He could have allowed the massive forces of nature to overtake us, yet He didn't.

How cool is that? Even if you find yourself in the center of the Bermuda Triangle, there is nothing to fear...

August 31, 2011

Plastic and Words: What Do They Have in Common?

One of my boys sets sail next week to study marine biology while sailing on a gorgeous tall ship. Swimming with sea lions, snorkeling, and night "diving"- truly a lifetime experience.

In preparation for his journey he is studying all about the ocean and it's lifeforms, and we were taught about the Pacific Garbage Patch. Before this little video I thought nothing about the millions of water bottles thrown away every hour, and less about where they end up. It is staggering!

In life it's easy for me to get so caught up in my own little world that I fail to see the reality right in front of me. I think I know what you may be going through, but in truth I likely have no idea! People have a great (or not so great) way of masking the challenges and triumphs of their life. I'm hoping that the Lord opens my eyes today; That I am purposeful in all my conversations and actions and that I am able to see the people around me.

I pray I am more careful with my actions and words than I have been with my plastics...

If you want to learn more about plastics do a quick search for TED and Pacific Garbage and watch the short lecture.)

August 30, 2011

Stone Age Writing

My computer died a dramatic death December 2010. As a writer, this has been more than a significant challenge. As a person living in the future, it makes life seem impossible.
Think about it... What do we need? Google it!
Recipes, blogs, directions, school research papers. We do everything with and from a computer.

Fast forward almost a year and I am here to formally announce that I have not died without a personal computer. My children's research papers have been completed on time, and my family has not starved! I have even sent more than 3 "old fashioned cards". Hurray!

Hmmm. What else do I think I need that I can absolutely live without?