Our favorite non-boring thing to do...

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Gardening at Serve Day

Gardening. I love it. I’ll take the opportunity to pull weeds, plant flowers, prune hedges, etc. on most any day. That said, I got to spend a couple of hours gardening in the side yard at New Hope for Kids in Maitland yesterday. It was another big Serve Day at Northland and so me and about 30 other people went to serve the folks at New Hope. We split up into groups for different tasks and of course I went straight for the landscaping crew. We were to rake, pull weeds and bag up the yard debris. We received one request from one of the directors - shake off the dirt when pulling the weeds - it can make the bags heavier than they need to be and they don’t want to throw out the dirt - just the weeds and debris.

So we got busy weed-pulling. And every time I get to gardening and pulling weeds my mind quiets down and I get reminded that my heart is fertile ground for weeds of sin; envy, worry, disbelief, lack of trust, greed, you name it. As I’m pulling literal weeds I’m asking Jesus to “search my heart and pull out the weeds.” Yeah I know, that’s not “exactly” how the verse goes... it’s:

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

What was cool was the next step after pulling the weed: shaking off the dirt that was supporting the weed. This said a couple of things to me. My heart was available to the sin and then sustained it by having other good parts of my heart involved. Clearly, it’s time for the sin to be confessed and pulled out so that I can be again led “along the path of everlasting life.” The part of my heart that was sustaining the sin gets separated from the sin and left to rejoin the rest of my heart in its original purpose: to support life-giving, sustaining practices in the communities God’s given me. Learning how to be more like Jesus, and putting it into practice: doing life together in a small group, being involved in missional ways at church, serving one another inside and outside the church, discipling and encouraging others toward growth.

Holy Spirit, thank you for taking weed-pulling to the next level. Please point out the sin in my heart, take it out shake off the good parts of my heart that got wrapped up in the sin and restore my heart for the glory of God and His purposes.

~Soli Deo gloria~

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Rhino Skin

Listening to music while I work today... Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers are up with 'Rhino Skin'... fitting for the flurry of thoughts running through my head today. "You need rhino skin, or you're gonna give in". I'm battling back thoughts of self-importance and self-esteem based on who I work for and what I do and not whose I am. I don't want to 'give in' to me; I want to trust God to do what He says He will: 'never leave or forsake me' and 'to make my paths straight' (when I put my trust in Him).

At best, I'm distracted today. Thinking of future and not so future plans. I know that God has His plan for my life - just not sure what it is exactly at this point. I've been all over the place lately (last year) - small group for me; small group at work for others; prayer group at work; participating in the ASL Choir; going to Ukraine (my heart literally aches for the kids there!)... and most recent events: holidays (oven ordering fiasco; Thanksgiving with family; serving others; doing it on a different day?); Lauren moving out soon - actually makes me tear up to write that... I'm a wreck.

And on top of all of that I read Philippians 3 this morning and then heard a part of a message from Dr. Chuck Swindoll on the way to work about wanting God's will while I want my own too (monkey with his hand inside a gourd grasping rice - he can't get his hand out while grasping "what he wants" and he gets captured) - read: it doesn't work. Philippians 3 was all about the fact that we are to give up ourselves and our desires to be all about what Jesus did for us and to understand that that was so great an act that nothing we've ever done or will ever do could ever compare - "therefore, I count it all as loss".

I feel a whole lot of loss at the moment. My job feels awkward and like I don't belong anymore. I want more time with Lauren. I want more time with Jason - we had some fun silly moments this weekend. I want more time with Jesus - super personal, quiet holy time with my Abba Father.

July 8, 2017 - Apologies for the abrupt end... but thought I'd post this and get it out of 'draft' mode... This was in early December 2016...

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Torn Asunder

Friends are just returning from Orphan Camp in Ukraine, Barvinok, specifically. My heart is both lifted, filled and dumped out and empty every time someone posts about their time there, or a few more pictures. I'm breathing based on the frequency of posts; gasping for air in between. And then I take a moment to evaluate... do I just miss not going - being one of the "ones" that goes to a far-off land to share Jesus who don't know Him yet? Or is it more?

It's more.

I am longing to feel deeply for these loves again. To be broken open - to be raw for days on end whether it means tears or maniacal laughter. I ache for the desire to be so wrapped up in caring for kids who've been less than marginalized. They've been emotionally discarded, dropped off at the doorstep of the human equivalent of Goodwill. I hold them in my heart - have for a year now - but would rather meet their direct gazes with an assurance of care and concern for their hearts and minds by the One who made them and loves them unconditionally.

My God. I miss those kids. Lord Jesus, give me the chance to return and to love them like you love me. My heart has been torn asunder - into a thousand pieces.

Philippians 2: 1-4Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lauren's Senior Year - end of the first week

So I didn't get to post every day but am at least going to tell you in this post about stuff that happened... Not a lot happened. She went to school, drove most days, came home for an hour,  went back for volleyball practice.

We had the volleyball parents meeting on Wednesday night... Not really sure about this coach, but are hoping that things go well and that Lauren gets good advice, coaching and playing time. We love watching her play!

She's not able to wear running shorts to school this year (new coach, new rules, plus they really aren't dress code but she has been able to pull it off. I think most teachers recognize her height and realize that they don't make shorts long enough to fit their "fingertips" rule for her. Oh well, she's wearing jeans and trying to figure out Iowa to wear yoga pants (needs longer tshirts).

She's working as an assistant for one of her classes (supposed to be with kids with disabilities). Doug Peters (the teacher) kept her for his office (athletics). She set up his wireless keyboard the first day and rearranged the peripherals to better suit his needs... She's a tech-savvy-kid!

She is doing well in AP Stats. Hoping that continues.

First football game is next Friday... She and Becca will be in the stands of course!
Until then...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Her First Day as HS Senior

So. It's here, Lauren's first day of the last year of high school. Yeah of high school, not of the rest of her life. I'm going to try and write a little something every day this year... 1. To see if I can do it and 2. To give Lauren something at graduation or after that she can look back on and remember that the the things that seemed awful either really weren't or they didn't last long and that all the good that happened are memories to last a lifetime. So, here goes...

Day 1 - She slapped a LMHS sticker in the front window of Jason's Saturn last night and took off this morning. I didn't quite get done what I wanted to for her first day... I have cinnamon rolls still in the fridge... They'll definitely keep until tomorrow morning. She actually may need them more tomorrow than today anyway. I did put chicken and rice in the oven for dinner tonight...  On a delay timer. Hoping that works! And no pictures this morning. 😕 Sort of a bummer for me, but it's more a tradition that a need, so, I went with her request this time. I didn't last year and got a cruddy (but funny and infamous) pic of her hand in front of her face.

Jason and I are riding together this morning. Here's Jason's thoughts... She has the car, she made it to school on time... Increased responsibility... Doing good so far. He was actually pretty sentimental last Friday...

His text to me:
I was just thinking, on another note, how cool its gonna be watching Lo run in, warm up and play varsity level. :-D
I remember dropping her off from half way through 5th to 8th grades...

Softie. 😆 And I love that about him.

Praying for Lauren today... Praying that she's right where God wants her to be: all the right places at just the right time and that He'll give her all the right thoughts and words.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Who's Your Valentine?

The best valentine a man or woman could ever have is Jesus. Not only does he love each and everyone of us beyond what another person could ever love us, He has all of the characteristics that we look for in a potential Valentine!
Sort of sounds like a want ad: Looking for Valentine; must be humorous, creative, respectful, loyal, compassionate, be a great listener, love me deeply, able to forgive, and must know how to celebrate the good in life.
He is funny - think of Jesus 'casting out demons'... He didn't just banish them (think Charmed - little bits of disappearing black smoke), but he put them  in a bunch of wild pigs that went running amuck all over the countryside. Consider some of the parables he told - most have that 'aha, ha ha ha' moment as he makes a point about loving God and others or giving everything to follow him.
And speaking of the parables he made up and told - creativity! The prodigal son, the man with the 10 talents, the vineyard (I am the vine, you are the branches) and the list goes on and on. Story-telling is an art in and of itself, but to be able to create the story, make the point you want and tell the story in an intriguing way? That's pure creative skill.
When Jesus was here on earth, he respected the men, women and children that he was surrounded by every day. Regardless of stature, social standing, sick or not, man or woman, Jesus gave respect to all. He even respected and revered the people that it was 'OK' to shun - the lepers, the tax collectors, the lame... Jesus sought out these people and redeemed them and made them more than 'OK' for His glory. All of us are respected, 'sought out' and can all be redeemed.
Jesus defined loyalty. He was loyal to God's will for his life here on earth; he was loyal to Peter who denied him three times. It's one thing to be loyal to your calling and to 'stick it out', but to be loyal to those that are anything BUT loyal to you? How many of us would 'stick that out'? He's a loyal lover of our souls and our hearts. He is the ultimate Valentine.
True compassion - being 'for' people that everyone else is against; loving and caring for people that no one else wants to; doing more or giving more than what is asked - loving us enough to give us what we need, not just what we want. Jesus IS all of these. Healing on the Sabbath (such a big "religious No No" then); not just healing the physical person, but forgiving sins (healing the heart and the God-person relationship) too. His compassion isn't just in word, but in deed - he lives compassion.
Must be a good listener... What defines a good listener? Is it just someone to 'hear' all of the stuff we have to say? Is it someone who listens and tries to fix everything? Jesus' version of 'good listening' was patient and patient and patient. :) It didn't matter who it was (see 'Respect' above), he listened attentively and responded patiently. Consider the rulers trying to find fault in him or his disciples learning what it really meant to follow him or just those that cried out in utter and extreme need. He listened to them all with patience and love and then practiced compassion in each response. Good listener, check.
Deep love means caring confrontation. What? Don't we all want someone who loves us so much that they'll lovingly challenge choices we are making? But not just point them out and  sit back condescendingly - someone that will help us see the goofs; that will help us overcome those mistakes and help us the next time it comes up. Love that wants to see us succeed - that wants us to live life 'more abundantly'. Jesus is the only one who can love us like that.
And when we realize that we've made one of those bad choices; when we've misstepped for the umpteenth time - we need forgiveness. More importantly, forgiveness is available - Jesus is forgiveness. His forgiveness is permanent - we repent (confess it and turn away from what we did before) and he forgives. Forever. Forever forgiveness; that's what Jesus offers.
And lastly, 'knows how to celebrate the good in life'! Wow, this one's particularly exciting because God created celebration! So, who better than Jesus to know how to celebrate?! He celebrated with us on earth at weddings; he told stories of celebration - the wedding feast - the prodigal son's return home and more. He knows our hearts, um he MADE them to look like his, and he knows the joy we experience in celebrating the once lost and now found, or of joining two hearts in a wedding celebration. Hmmm, funny, right? I was lost and was found by Jesus - my heart will finally be joined for eternity with his at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.
All this to say, that  Jesus, the perfect Valentine, possesses all of these characteristics and more. And he loves you! What better Valentine is there to have, than Jesus!

John 1:17, NLT
For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

God, thank you for... (beach things)

A abundance of sand
B the beach
C conch shells
D days at the beach
E eateries at the beach
F fishies in the sea
G Gulf beaches
H highways that lead to beaches
I Ice cream after the beach
J jumping on the beach
K kids that love the beach
L laying on the beach
M Mondays on the beach
N nighttime walks on the beach
O oceans unending
P peaceful time on the beach
Q quality & quantity time at the beach
R restful days on the beach
S sunrises & sunsets
T time at the beach
U umbrellas for shade
V vivid colors at the beach
W small and big waves at the beach
X eXtreme sports on the beach
Y yellow sun
Z zoo of creatures in the ocean

That's what we are thankful for God!