Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Weekend Blessings

What an incredible weekend! It was everything I was hoping for and more. I know some of my Bloggin' Buddies were praying for me, so thank you! I was thinking about you.

God blessed this weekend from the get-go. Friday evening, when I got off of work, I had to go to the church and check on things for the rummage sale. Well, there were a couple of boys there that were able to go with me and pick up the rest of the furniture. So, you know what that means, don't you? I got to sleep in a little later on Saturday! Actually, I didn't sleep any later, but I didn't have to run around. It was nice to have some quiet time. Anyway...the rummage sale was a success on Saturday. The youth made $1000! I wish I had taken pics, but I forgot my camera. Argh!

Saturday's Bible Study went very well. It was comfortable and relaxed...even if it was with adults! Seriously, though, we are doing Breaking Free by Beth Moore and it is going to be a good one. I am sure it will provide some very good blogs in the not so distant future. We had a great time fellowshipping. We talked, laughed, ate, studied, and prayed. What could be better?

Sunday started in church singing praises to our Lord and it ended at an arena singing praises to our Lord. I am talking about the Casting Crown's concert, of course! What an incredible band. They have such a heart for spreading the Gospel. I refer to them as an outreach band because they are all about us being the hands and feet of Christ, being real....not 'playing' church, and recognizing that the love of Jesus stretches far and wide. Their music is beautiful, but hearing the singer speak, well, lets just say that he really wore his heart on his sleeve. He was compassionate about children in far off lands and he was passionate about reaching a lost world. We had an amazing time. Did I mention that we were on the main floor six rows back from the stage???? Yea, we were! :)

And we even left with a new child! OK...not exactly.

World Vision is an organization that helps children in other countries to have fresh water, food, and to go to school. The Lord laid it on the hearts of Connie and I to adopt a child for our youth group. So, we went to a table, found the most adorable little girl with a name I can't begin to pronounce, and brought her info home with us. We are going to ask the kids in youth group and Sunday School to make weekly donations and help us to give this beautiful little child a better chance at life. She is 4 years old and we call her 'Triple T' (all 3 of her names begin in the letter T and we can't pronounce any of them accurately. Hence the name:). She lives in Vietnam. Please pray for her.

I hope all of you had a blessed weekend, too.......;0)

Friday, April 25, 2008

God and Me

My 2nd post of the day....boy I'm on a roll!

This weekend is going to be busy, but I am really looking forward to it. For the first time, in a long time, there is a weekend that is busy with things that are all about....ME! Well, actually they are all about God......and me:)

Saturday my day will start at (insert eye roll here) 6:00am. That is NOT all about ME! Our church is doing a rummage sale for some of the youth (one of mine is included), so we will begin our day by picking up some young men, loading some of my furniture into a truck and taking it to the church. I guess this really is for me, too since I will be the one who has to pay for my daughters mission trip if she doesn't raise enough money.

After that, I will attend the first day of my new Women's Bible Study with some dear friends of mine. You know them as Joyful Mom 6, Wilderness-Shiloh, and Nana of Eight. I am really looking forward to this (Yes, ladies...I seriously am). I was a bit apprehensive joining a women's bible study because I, well, don't usually do 'adult' groups. My passion is youth ministries and that's where all of my time is spent. Working with the youth, teens preferred, is my comfort zone. If you put me in a room full of adults and 5 teens, you will find me with the teens. I just gravitate towards them. Plus, I usually don't like women very much. These women and a spattering of others are truly an exception. God has been working on me though. Mostly through this blog and the women I have had the pleasure of meeting via the blogosphere. I just love all my bloggin sisters! So, I am anxious to be out of my comfort zone and deepen my relationship with Christ and my sisters in Him. I'll let you know how it goes. (Unless it goes bad. Then I can't tell you because, you know, the above mentioned bible study women read my blog:).

Sunday is the icing on the cake. First, and most importantly, my girls and I will go to church and worship our Lord. After church is over....we will worship some more.....at the Casting Crowns concert! My Aunt Kathy and Uncle Steve bought us tickets for Christmas, so we have been (not so) patiently waiting for 4 long months. I love this group and the message they spread, so I am really looking forward to it. One of my daughters decided she does not wish to attend, so my good friend, Connie, is going with us. She is our Pastor's wife, MelMac's mom, and Director of Youth Ministries at our church, so my girls are extra excited she is going. They adore her. Poor Connie! The concert doesn't start until 7pm, but we are leaving right after church so we can have lunch at Panera and grab a Starbuck's or 3 before the show starts.

See.....all about God and me this weekend.....and I'm LOVIN' it! I can't wait to post on Monday and tell you all about my time of fellowshipping with my sisters and worshipping our Lord.

I hope you'll leave me a comment and let me know what your plans are:)

He Makes ALL Things New

Spring is such an amazing time of year. Everything that has been dead for months begins anew. It never ceases to amaze me how fast this change occurs. You can drive by a field that is completely brown one day and the next day....it is entirely green. Yesterday I was in awe of how lush the grass looks. It has been cloudy and rainy the last couple of days and the dark green grass against the gray backdrop of the sky is absolutely breath taking. New buds of life adorn the tree's and flowers are beginning to poke their heads up out of the ground for their first glimpse of the year.

I don't think there is a season that reminds me of God more than Spring. It is truly the paradox of our life in Christ. We come to Him brown, broken, wilting, lifeless. He speaks Truth to us and we become stronger. He speaks Hope to us and we become green again. He speaks Love to us and we begin to bloom, poking our heads up out of the ground for our first glimpse of eternal life. Our branches begin to flower because our Vine is strong and provides us with all we need to produce good fruit. Jesus is the Spring of our lives and we are new.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

God On The Mountain

Yesterday I had to drive to Storm Lake for training. It's about a 2 1/2 hour drive from where I live. I was totally un-excited about it. However, my mom went with me (thanks, mom:) and I found a really great Christian radio station to listen to. One of the songs they played on this station was an old country-ish Christian song called "God on the Mountain". I was immediately 'put-off' by the music of this song. I ADORE worship music, but I really gravitate towards more contemporary worship music. Although, I must say I do love old hymns.

Since I was in the car, in the middle of nowhere, I was pretty much stuck listening to this song and I am sooo grateful. What incredible lyrics. The song spoke of how things are pretty easy when we are on the mountain, but the valley is hard and we shouldn't lose faith because..... the God on the mountain is still God in the valley.

What a wonderful reminder. God is still God. He doesn't change. Circumstances will change, but He remains faithful, loving, merciful, and full of grace. He is there whether we are on the mountain or in the valley......and He is the same God.

I wrote a post titled 'Is He Good' earlier this month as I feel God has been speaking to me about this subject. This song was just His love song to me yesterday.

If you would like to hear it....hokey music and all.....click here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Check It Out!

I have had a busy day today, so I don't really have time to write a post. However, I do want to link to Lori's blog at Manna from Heaven. She has an awesome video that you HAVE to see!

I also want to link to a captivating blog from Angie Smith. She is the wife of Todd Smith who sings with Selah. Her blog is called Bring the Rain. Please don't go to this blog and plan to read one page. If you don't have time to devote to it, then may I suggest you bookmark it and read it at a later time. Preferrably with a cup of coffee and a gazillion tissues. It is an incredible story of faith, love, trust and above all.....hope. It is centered around a tiny miracle that changed the lives of a family forever.

Blessings to you my friends:)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Locks Of Love

On March 28th, my youngest daughter donated her hair to Locks of Love. I was working and couldn't be there, so my mom took her and took these pictures to capture the memory.

Jordan began growing out her hair in December 2006. By March 2008 she had plenty to donate.

OH MY GOODNESS...my baby's hair is GONE! Her loss.....somebody else's gain:)

The finished product:)

I am very proud of Jordan. This was not an easy decision for her. She was adamant that she wanted to keep her long hair. Then, one day while we were sitting at the dinner table, my cousin, Kaeleen, and I talked to her about Locks of Love. Without hesitation she wanted to donate her hair. As soon as she realized she could help somebody else, she was willing to make the sacrifice. What a big heart for a such a little girl. Well, maybe she's not so 'little' anymore, but she will always be my baby!!

Thank you sweetie for being so selfless when it comes to others. I know Jesus is proud of you.....and mommy is too:)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Blah, Blah, Blah!

So we were blessed with a few days of sunshine and now it's raining and cold....again. I guess I shouldn't complain because I know it could definitely be worse! I could live in Washington:)

I haven't had much to say lately and I haven't felt like blogging the last couple of days. Not sure what that is all about. Maybe it's the whole 'be still' thing. I am forcing myself to blog today, though because I don't want to get out of the habit. I'm one of those people that if I get on a roll with something.....I can't stop or I won't start again. So, here I am blogging about how I don't feel like blogging. Obviously you would rather be reading this than some other blog that is actually full of good Scripture or advice....right?

Tonight is prom and my girls are forcing me to go to the walk-in. In case you are unfamiliar with what a walk in is, allow me to explain:

Walk In: A place where local town folk gather to watch the teens enter into the prom. A place where you can hear adults ooohing and aaahing AND mumbling under their breath about how ugly that dress is, how expensive their childs attire was, can you believe she went with him?etc.

Sounds exciting huh? The kicker? My girls aren't even going to prom, yet! However, we do know quite a few kids who are going, so it will be fun to see them all dressed up. Well, maybe fun isn't quite the word.

OK....please go read something fun, exciting, interesting.....something other than the excessive ramblings of moi. I am going to try to post pics of the family for you this weekend, but I have 400 pics to download from my camera. Can everyone say S-L-A-C-K-E-R? :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Blogger Spotlight

My bloggin' buddy, Robin, has 4 blog pages and all of them are worth checking out! I know a lot of you already know her, but for those who don't......

My personal favorite is Think on This. It is a blog page dedicated to beautiful, sometimes breath taking, quotes. I could spend all morning meditating on some of these lovely word gatherings.

She also has a Memorize This page where she challenges us daily to memorize a new verse. They are usually short and fairly easy to remember. So...if you are a slacker, like me, when it comes to memorizing scripture, jump on over to Robin's page!

Actions Speak Loudest is Robin's more personal blog. This is where you find questions about life, letters from Missionaries, stories about her children, and a pretty good chuckle:)

If you like to read or if you wish you liked to read, grab a cup of coffee and step into Robin's Reading Room. She hasn't updated it in awhile, but there are links to numerous author's. Personally, I stay away from this room. I have 8 books started and none finished! I have no business being in a reading room:)

Thank you for the messages and the challenges! I love reading your blog!!!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Quiet Time?

"Be still and know that I am God"- Psalm 46:10

I have always called the above verse my 'life' verse. A few years ago I was going through some trials and I distinctly heard God telling me to 'be still'. I am one of those people who always wants an answer 'yesterday', so learning to 'be still' was, and is, a real stretch for me. Of course, I am finding that it's a real stretch for most people.

Lately, I have heard God telling me to 'be still'....again! This time it is not because I am anxious about anything, but because I have had a hard time finding real, honest to goodness, alone time with Him. Life is busy and I am having trouble shutting out life! You know how it goes. You start out with the best intentions. "Tonight I am going to spend some alone time with God. I am so excited. Here I come God!" Then, you get home.........

The intentions fly out the window as you are greeted at the door by 3 girls who are 'dying' to tell you about their day and ask you to drive them all over town to a variety of places they need to be. Before you leave, though, they pull out various pages of paper and begin to read them, usually simultaneously as a bonus effect, and ask for your signature. Just as you pull into the driveway from being their personal chauffeur, one of them is curteous enough to inform you that you need to go to the store and pick up some *insert item here*. Even though, you just left the store and made it a point to ask them if there is ANYTHING else we need! The cell phone begins to ring as people realize you are off of work. You notice the dog is licking the floor and you come to the conclusion that nobody remembered to actually feed the dog. We only discussed it 5 times that day. ETC! The list goes on. By the end of the night I plop into bed, bow my head, say a prayer, grab my Bible and try to read, at least, one chapter. Yes, it's quiet, but it's not quality time. And, to be honest, just because the house is quiet, my brain usually isn't. It's still trying to figure out what happened when we walked in the door.

I asked my Bloggin' Buddy, CDCVersion, if she had any suggestions and she came up with an idea for Indian Lake Papa to host a poll asking readers to share what they do when they want quiet time with God. It was an awesome idea and many readers have shared their 'secrets'. (If you haven't read CDC's or Papa's blogs....please do! You won't be disappointed. Just click on their names:) I am looking forward to reading the responses again and 'stealing' some habits!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Solid Rock

Don't you just love that picture? Doesn't it seem like our faith is stronger when we have something solid to stand on? However, the Bible tells us the definition of faith is: "being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1)

Last Wednesday, at youth group, we spoke to the teens about faith. In our group we spoke about David's faith when he had to face Goliath. Truly, David had faith in God. For David, it wasn't a question of 'maybe it's not God's will that I fight this giant', it was as simple as 'God gave us this land and He is with me'. That, my friends, is what faith is all about. Standing on the promises of God. Having faith that what God says is true! Being certain of what we do not see!

Lately, God has made it very clear to me that there is more to having faith than just believing. We must 'act'. Peter's action of faith was stepping out of the boat and onto the water. For David, it was facing Goliath with nothing more than a few stones and a slingshot. For Moses, it was trusting that he could wave his hand over the sea and God would part it.

Often, we forget to act. We 'voice' our faith, but we are still scared to step out of the boat. We shrink back from our giants instead of facing them and when we get to the edge of the land where the water meets the shore and it seems there is no way out, we panic.

Yes, our faith is stonger when there is something solid to stand on, but it's important to remember that we always have something solid to stand on: God's promises!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wordless Wednesday. Well, Kind of.

Today I linked to a website that I would like to share with you:

It left me speechless.
(click on the 99 Balloons)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Yes Way!

Some of you may remember a post I wrote in February titled: "A Change Is Gonna Come". I was fairly vague in that post as I didn't want to open doors for Satan to interefere. Thanks to those of you who prayed and continue to pray for me. I am ready to elaborate. (Thanks for your patience Mel:).

For the past couple of years, I feel God has been calling me home. No! Not His home, my home. He has given me a deep desire to be home with my children. However, being a single mom and the only source of income kind of throws a wrench in things. Of course, in my human mind I am thinking: "This is impossible". NO WAY is He asking me to be a stay at home mom (It's important to note here that every time I say NO WAY, I make a vow to NEVER say NO WAY again). God has also given me a deep desire for teens/children. Not just the sweet, cuddly ones, but the ones who are hurting, scared, abused, neglected, and generally.....real pains in the caboose! I just wasn't sure how this all fit together.

Last month, I began a DVD course for counseling teens. At the end of the course I will receive a certificate. I believe, with all of my heart, God has prepared me for this and called me to counsel hurting kids. Now, I believe, He is also calling me to foster/adopt more children. Which, to be honest, I wasn't completely sure I ever wanted to do again. It hasn't been an easy road. Isn't it funny how it is all coming together?

I have been amazed at how excited my heart is at the prospect of this journey. I have been amazed to look back at the last few years and see that God, like the greatest of all conductors, has orchestrated each and every note of the symphony.

I am looking so forward to sharing each step of this journey with all of you.....

Monday, April 7, 2008

Got Some 'Splaining To Do!

I feel the need to explain my last post. I forget that some of you who read my blog don't know my family history.

About 3 years ago, I was a happy mom with 3 beautiful children when a very good friend of mine decided to start doing foster care. I shuddered at the thought of it. I was happy for her, as I knew she longed to have more children, but there was NO WAY fostering/adopting was something I would be interested in. I have learned to NEVER say 'NO WAY' when you are a follower of Christ.

My girlfriend took in a 13 year old girl named Amber. Amber and my eldest daughter, Sam, became pretty good friends and started spending quite a bit of time together. My girlfriend, Lori, had planned to adopt Amber and I was thrilled...thinking how cool that Sam would have such a great friend be a part of her life permanently. After a few months, Lori began to feel that adopting a teenager was not God's plan for them and that they wanted to have more biological children. By then, I was already way attached to Amber and could not stand the thought of her going to another family. Before I even knew what was happening, my mouth began to utter the words....I WANT HER! After a year of fostering her we finalized the adoption in November 2006.

When I speak of wanting a 'baby' or other children....I am speaking of adoption. I believe it is something God has been revealing to me for the past couple of years. I am eager to share more with you, but I think I will wait until tomorrow as this post is long enough:)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Cry Of My Heart

My mom reads my blog, so I hesitate in writing this because she is sooooo going to 'freak out'! But...it wouldn't be me if I didn't give her, at least, one thing a day to worry about, so here goes:

I want a baby! I have wanted a baby for the past couple of years, but I have brushed it aside because of, well let's see.....

I am 38 years old, I am physically unable to conceive a child, I am a single mother to 4 children already (including 3 stinky teenagers), I am poor (monetarily speaking), AND.....well....the children God has already given me, let's just say, they can be challenging.

Now, it could be just because I have been blessed to be around quite a few pregnant women (both in the flesh and through the blogosphere) lately and the smell of fresh, newborn baby has lodged itself permanently in my nostrils. However, I believe my desire to have a baby is more than a fleeting thought.

I have been blessed, beyond belief, that God has given me 4 beautiful, precious children (Yes! Even the stinky teenagers:) and I don't want to be selfish. But.....it is definitely the cry of my heart to have more. They don't even have to be babies. Although, a baby would thrill me.

So, God, if you're listening (which I know you are:), may Your will be done.

Sorry mom....it's out of my hands now!


I feel like I need to post a disclaimer letting you all know that my mom is a great woman who has supported (reluctantly at times:) my desire to trust and follow God's plans for my life.
Even when that meant adding another branch to our family tree. BUT.....

She is a mom at heart and always worries when she thinks I am getting in over my head. She has learned over the last 4 years, as I have, that even when it looks like I am drowning, God lifts my head and breathes life into me. Still, she worries! Thank God! She wouldn't be my mom if she didn't.

I love you mom!!!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Little Afternoon Humor

Cracked me UP!
I know....I need to get out more:)
Hope this brought a smile to your face today!!!
Wishing you Love and Blessings.....

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Is He Good?

I have a good friend who has been going through some pretty awful 'stuff'. I asked her how she was doing and she said she has been doing better because of a question her husband asked her. His one simple question to her, at a time when she was in her deepest despair, was this: "Is God good or isn't He?" At WOF, Sandi Patty posed, basically, the same question: "Do you believe that what God says is true or not?"

These questions have caused me to do a lot of thinking. Both are basically asking the same thing...do we trust Him? Sure, we trust Him when things are going great. We praise Him with Amen's and Hallelujah's when our life is sailing smoothly along the water, but what about when we hit that unexpected wave? Do you still trust Him? Is He good? Do you believe that what He says is true? If we 'name it and claim it' and 'it' doesn't happen.....is He still a good God?

If God is good (say it with me...) all the time, then why are we so prone to doubt Him every time something goes wrong? Worse yet, why are we so prone to doubt our own faith or question somebody else's? The woman who is lying on her death bed while cancer invades every part of her, has been praying, in faith, for healing and a miracle. That miracle hasn't come. She isn't being healed. Is it because of hidden sin that she hasn't confessed? Is it because her faith isn't strong enough? Is it because God isn't good enough?

Is God good or isn't He? The answer is YES! God is good! Circumstances in our lives should never change the truth about who He is and who we are in Him. Does He love us? Yes! Then why would He allow someone I love to be sick or die? Maybe the same reason He allowed His Son to endure hours of torture....it just has to be that way. Maybe there isn't an answer that will ever be clear to us. Are you OK with that? Are you OK with just trusting that God is good? Are you OK not having Him or the situation completely figured out?

We have been speaking to the youth group about making choices. Everyone has choices to make everyday. It could be as simple as whether or not to shower or it could be complicated and affect the rest of your life. Our biggest choice, however, is choosing to believe that God is good and what He says is true. Even if the situation's outcome is the one that you dreaded the most. God see's the big picture. You know, the picture we're not allowed to see because we would definitely mess it up! :)

Remember, God always has the final word. Thy will be done. Not my will be done.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Blessed To The 'Max'

My uncle Steve recently took an early retirement so he could pursue God full time. He has no idea what that looks like, yet, but he is secure in trusting that God will show him in His time. In February Steve decided to volunteer for the Women of Faith National Conference in Texas. One of the main draws to volunteering was not only would my aunt be able to attend the national conference, but Max Lucado would be a speaker and Steve just might get a glimpse of him.

Now, I have already mentioned that I am a Max Lucado fan. However, what I failed to mention was the reason I am so drawn to Max. When I found Christ and was baptized, approximately 7 years ago, my uncle Steve and aunt Kathy bought me my first Christian book titled: "Traveling Light" written by Max Lucado. I have been hooked ever since. My uncle, however, is beyond hooked. I believe he has read every book Max has written. To say he is a fan is, absolutely, the understatement of the year!

Well, my uncle, my aunt, and my mom headed to Texas to the WOF National Conference and left me home.....alone.....by myself......even though I have ALWAYS wanted to go. OOPS...sorry got off track. Seriously, I was very excited for them. Especially Steve! I knew he was going to get to see Max!

God has a very intersting way of putting you in your place, doesn't He? Not only did Steve NOT get to see Max Lucado, but he ended up working almost entirely outside the conference. Discouraged as he was after returning home, Steve decided he wanted to serve at the WOF conference in Omaha. So, he got in touch with them, filled out the necessary paperwork, and waited for his assignment.

After running background checks (Steve was Chief of Police. We were pretty confident the background check would pan out:), WOF contacted him shortly before the conference was set to take place and asked him if he would like to work production. Meaning: he would be working at the Qwest Center for the entire week prior to WOF. He would be a "Production Runner" (AKA: Gopher:). He was thrilled at the opportunity and said "Yes!". Although he wasn't planning on it, he was still hoping to catch just a glimpse of Max.

On Monday, March 24th, he left for his first day as Production Runner. He would be putting in 12 hour days. My mom and I were eager to hear about his first day, so we went to my aunt Kathy's and waited for him to get home. When we arrived my aunt said that she had received a phone call from Steve earlier. Apparently he was very anxious to tell us about some news he had received. My aunt proceeded to tell us that one of the people in charge of WOF had asked my uncle to be Max Lucado's security! I am sure I don't have to tell you what he said! :)

My uncle was finally able to meet the man he had admired and respected for so long. Max was very gracious and invited my uncle into his hotel room where they had a very nice conversation. My uncle informed us that Max is, indeed, the wonderful man he appears to be. Max was very interested in getting to know Steve and when Steve informed Max that he was a retired police officer.....Max thanked him for his service. As Steve told us this story....he began to weep.

I believe God blessed Steve because he served with a 'right' attitude and a 'right' heart. Steve truly didn't think he would meet Max or even see him. His whole reason for serving was to do just that.........serve.

Oh, and as a bonus.....he received 4 tickets that were about 5 rows from the stage. Guess who got to sit there???? :)