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.

  • 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.

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


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!