Thursday, December 6, 2007

Finding My Christmas Moment

Each year I ask God for a Christmas moment; a small quiet block of time to be alone in His presence. A special time when He can share His heart with me. It is during this set aside time each year, when my heart is still, that God has touched me deeply. These Christmas moments have opened my understanding about different aspects of Christ's birth, life, death or character I might have missed otherwise.
Christmas means different things to different people. I have wrestled within myself in the past over some of the traditions surrounding Christmas. I have wondered what a Christmas- that truly honored God- should look like. On those Christmases past even as I struggled God has always smiled. Even when it seemed we had nothing God has provided materially for our family and made a Christmas where there seemed to be none. Because He has done this for us I don't wrestle (as much) with the materialism or the controversies that arise over Christmas. Instead I revel in the season and look for was to make it special. The fact the God has done so many Christmas rescues in my life has caused me to focus less on the material and concentrate more on the spiritual and emotional aspects of Christmas. I now look for ways to extend the season as long as possible!
Our tree is up and simply decorated. We have cookbooks spread out on the counter and are trying new holiday recipes as well as making the old favorites. Christmas books collected over the years are out and we are reading inspiring Christmas stories each day. The Advent wreath is on the coffee table and we've been reading about the many prophesies fulfilled by Christ...some prophesied over a thousand years before His birth! We look forward to lighting the next candle on our Advent adventure.
As I try to lay for my children a foundation of Christmas traditions that tie them to the truth of Christmas, my heart is content. I feel ready for Christmas though I have not purchased one gift.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Weekend Retreat

I am sleep deprived and and not very clear headed today. Our women's retreat always falls on the weekend before Thanksgiving so the week prior and the week after are full of activity.It was such a good weekend there was healing and renewal in the hearts of many women of whom I am one.
The theme of the retreat was I Live to Bring you Praise. Many of the workshops had to do with the seasons of life we all go through as women. We learned about enduring difficult seasons with stamina and faith. We learned about living sacrificially and attaining a higher level of maturity. There was such a unity of Spirit and all of the workshops tied into the teachings in the general sessions perfectly.
I taught two workshops on Thriving in a Difficult Marriage. So many women are locked into marriages that are painful for them and it was a difficult subject to teach on. I hurt for these beautiful sisters, as I looked out over the room I could see the pain in some of their eyes.
I wanted these women to see from my own life that God can heal and restore the years the locust has eaten. I wanted to help them use the tools God has given to us in His word to affect change in their lives. We are not without hope!
To easily we forget that if marriage is our model for the relationship of Christ and his bride the church; then enemy of Christ and the enemy of the church is also very much the enemy of our marriages!
I knew I was teaching two workshops but I though one was going to be in the morning and the other in the afternoon . What I didn't realize until I got there was that the workshops were to be back to back so I talked for two hours straight. Today my throat is a bit dry and scratchy but I was honored to be able to share. I know, I know, you all know me and have no doubt about my ability to talk for two hours straight!!!
At night during the game time we played a game called Mafia. It's been around a while but I had never played before. I am not normally a game person but I had a blast. We stayed up until 12:30 A.M. Saturday night playing. I am not sure it is good to know how easily women in your church can put you on the hit list or how convincingly some of them can lie
I hope each of you has a blessed Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Info on Camp FARAWAY

I have gotten many comments lately especially about CAMP FARAWAY.
The sign was apparently put up by some Canadian military who -like One of Eight -are FARAWAY.
When our son saw the sign around base he could not resist the photo opportunity. A picture as they say paints a thousand words.
Our prayers are with all of these men and women,,,prayers they all stay safe and come home soon!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bloggy Titles

Most of us don't get to choose our own names we are born into them or marry into them. BUT we do get to choose our screen names. I have long been facinated by some of the creative names that have passed through my mail box. Okay so I'm the one person that reads bumper stickers and tries to figure out vanity plates. One statement on vanity plates if you can't fiqure them out, why bother? But I digress, over the summer I participated in the Dog Days of Summer give-away and was amazed at the creative titles my bloggy friends had chosen for their blogs. Some were serious or spiritual, others were just outrageously funny but most expressed something about the author. The give away was hosted by Rocks in My Dryer. Case in point the title Rocks in My Dryer, if you have small children -particularly man cubs you have certainly had rocks in your dryer. Some of these creative titles made me smile. Maybe you could use a smile. So here's a few I liked. I am sure at least one will make you smile.
Stretch Mark Momma
Desperately Seeking Sanity
Fresh Brewed Writer
It Coulda Been Worse
Monkey Giggles
Junk in the Trunk
You Can't Unscramble Eggs
Whatcha do Today?
After a Cup of Coffee...or Two
A Frog in My Soup
Antique Mommy
Between Diapers and Dishes
Chocolate the Other White Meat
Conversations With My Hair Dryer
and my personal favorite...Mommy The Human Napkin! Blessings,

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Great Out of Doors

We are preparing for the first family camping trip in many, many years. I am excited about spending time with the kids. My sketch pad is packed and I am good to go!
The thought that One of Eight and his sweet wife won't be with us is sad to me but knowing this is his last deployment is a relief. God has been so faithful to watch over him on each deployment. I am amazed that we serve such a detail oriented God. Nothing escapes His watchful eyes.

I am looking forward to getting alone with God. It is always so wonderful to be able to draw away and listen for Him, especially when you can be in one of those beautiful places He created instead of a man made structure.

God has a plan for each moment of my life, He is a God of detail. I am not always tuned in to his agenda -because I have my own own agenda. In fact, I often lie awake in at night and mentally plan the next day. Unfortunately for me and my agenda scripture makes it clear that we cannot serve two masters. I have to be able to submit my will and my schedule to God. I must surrender not just the day but each minute of each hour in the day.

You might wonder how you can possibly get everything accomplished you need to. Well, I'm not sure. In all honesty I have never in 48 years turned out the lights at night, climbed into bed and said, " Wow! I got absolutely everything done today that I had planned!"
The nature of the beast is this, we can easily become slaves to work. I don't know about you but I want all of God's blessings for my life. Blessings very often do come in disguise and if we are too busy we miss them .
I am not telling you to throw out your schedule but I am saying don't be a slave to it. Be open to the Still Small Voice. If we will lay our schedule on the altar of God's will we might just be surprised by the Divine Interruptions God sends our way.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Art is Not For Sissies

If I could take a dream vacation it would be to Brightwood Studios, home of artist Claudia Nice. If you are interested in nature study, art, or both you will love Claudia Nice's work. I highly recommend How to Keep a Sketchbook Journal . Between the covers you will find detailed sketches on every page with beautiful hand written notes by the authoress. On page fifteen there are directions for making a field kit. I hope to make one soon for each of
the children.
The link below will take you to the studio web page where you can see samples of Claudia's detailed artwork.
If you have a little boy that thinks art is for sissies tell him Claudia Nice's eye for detail and keen sense of observation landed her a job with the search and rescue in her area as a man-tracker! That doesn't sound sissie to me -and might motivate a little more interest in keeping a nature notebook!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Post Card From God

Today was a good day overall but even good days can have their stressful moments and today was no exception.
As I pulled up to the drive thru at McDonalds I saw a long legged, scrawny, chicken running about the parking lot. The irony of the situation made me stop and laugh. It was like a post card from God saying

"Hey, stop and enjoy life, don't take things too seriously!"
Thanks God, I love you too.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Less is More

The 19th of September remembers the ten year anniversary of the death of Rich Mullins. There were many things I admired about the man and his music but what will forever stand out in my mind about him was the fact that he didn't seem to feel the need to promote himself.
In his later years he embraced a life of poverty which enabled him to pursue his life calling more fully. Now that may seem extreme to you but consider for a moment...How much "stuff" does in take to make me feel happy?

"How much time, effort and money does it take to take care of my "stuff?"

Our desire for stuff can hinder us emotionally, physically and spiritually.

My husbands grandmother is an excellent example of a person entrapped by material belongings. Having been raised during the depression a deep rooted sense of fear for the future caused her to horde material things. She was very thrifty on one hand which was an admirable trait of hers but her tendency to horde was not.

A day came when her health made it necessary to declutter a bit to accommodate a wheelchair. I found 10 identical pairs of gold shoes in her closet while cleaning.Ten! All the same size, style and color, and that was just the gold shoes. There were also the black, brown, red, white brown, sandals, dress, sport shoes and slippers. Her modest home had three bedrooms and a garage stuffed to the brim. She paid electricity for a second refrigerator, yet she lived alone.

When is enough, enough?

When this sweet lady passed away all of her "treasures' were sold for pennies on the dollar at yard sales to strangers.

This is not the first time I have seen this and each time it is sad and breaks my heart. Do you want your children to go through rooms and rooms of clothing and fabric, electronics, costume jewelery, pictures and papers when you are gone? Or perhaps worse yet have bickering break out between family members over...s.t.u.f.f! :( Of course not!

God wants us to be an openhanded people. We serve a generous God but we must have open hands to receive. Clutter clogs up that flow of giving. Hmmm, preaching to the choir here...

My friend Gayle always says "You can't out give God." and it is true.

Go through your closets, cupboards and garage...

IF you find cans of Lima beans but your family hates Lima beans? Gift them to someone else or to a food pantry.

Does Jr. really need three winter coats? How many outfits does it take to have a decently turned out family?

Old boyscout and AWANA uniforms are often needed by low income clubs. Put the awards in a shadowbox hang it on the wall and gift the uniform!

Your overflow household items and clothing can be used in so many ways!

The homeless shelter and local animal shelters always need blankets in the winter. The men at our local shelter depend on bikes for might check with yours if you have disabled bikes or parts.

Graffiti abatement programs can use your leftover paint. Libraries would love your magazines and books. Your church nursery or play group might want Jr's outgrown toys.

Ask God to reveal your heart as far as your attitude towards material things. Ask Him to give you creative ways to re gift those things you no longer want, use or need.

Your housecleaning can really bless someone else.

I'm off to clean and declutter!!!


Friday, September 14, 2007

Random thoughts

As I was cleaning the outside of my stove and mopping the kitchen floor this morning my mind jumped from thought to thought as it often does. Here is some of the random thoughts I had running through my head.

What was it that God saw in seventy five year old Abram that made Him want to draw Abram out of a pagan nation to set him apart for Himself? What was it in Abram's heart that pleased God so? Abraham wasn't just the Father of a Nation he was "Ibrhim Khalil -Abraham the Friend'." Father create in me the type of heart that you seek in a friend. Give the tenacity in spirit I see in all of the men and women of God.

What a blessing it is to be cleaning my home ( I didn't always feel this way:) This is Friday, Preparation Day for Jews all over the world. There must be women everywhere cleaning and preparing special food, bathing children and making ready to welcome in Shabbot. Oh, Father please help me to truly see my home as a sanctuary.
Help me to be intentionally hospitable. Help me be intentional about making Sunday and preperations for Sunday special.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fragments of Life and Mommy Guilt

My days seem incredibly full and it is easy to rush from one activity to another without taking time to really see life through God’s eyes.
As mommies we tend to wrestle with a lot of guilt. We tend to compare ourselves with others (which scripture warns us not to do)
and find ourselves wanting.
The truth is when life throws us a curve ball and we end up looking our mortally squarely in the face (as my friend Emily did recently ) we find the thought of not being here for our families very, very sobering. Even if we aren't doing everything perfect we are irreplaceable in the lives of our families!
In my quiet time recently I cried out to God, I was feeling overwhelmed and just not up to the task of another year of homeschooling.
God spoke so clearly to me in response from the book of John; and though I am using the verse out of context it spoke directly to my weary heart.
Jesus had just fed 5000 men (plus women and children) from five barley loves and two small fishes. So when they were filled, He said to His Disciples…
"Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost."
Fragments that was all I had to offer God, fragmented thoughts and plans, fragmented time, fragmented emotions. Bits and pieces here and there from past years of schooling that needed to be somehow shaped into a cohesive homeschool year.
Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost." Jesus was speaking to me ... telling me bring me those fragments I can use them. Like a child bringing her Daddy a broken toy to fix, and that’s okay because healing and fixing broken things is what our Heavenly Father does best.
I am convinced nothing will be lost if I gather up the fragments and leave them with God.

Maybe you have brokenness in your own life... it's okay.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Earthly Treasures

Earthly Treasures

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy,
and where thieves break in and steal. Matthew 6:19

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Saying Good Bye again

I have no greater joy
than to hear that
my children walk in truth.
3John 1:4

The day is drawing close (too close) when One of Eight deploys (for seventh time.) I am so thankful for him- and all the men and women of our military and their families.
As he heads over I covet your prayers for his safety and for all of our men and women serving this country. Thank you!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wednesday morning and I finally have a lull in the activity level in our home!

Seven of Eight slipped and fell on Saturday, banging her head, her foot, her knee and then fell into the pool! To say she was frightened would be the understatement of the day.

The blow to the foot broke one of her toes and the poor thing has been hobbling around since Saturday. Five days later she in in a "shoe" -which seems to be a hard soled splint- rather than a cast. She should heal quickly and be ready for summer camp in August!

The boys are off on Sunday for a short term missions trip to Mexico with Caravan Ministries. They will be building small houses for families in need. I am grateful for this ooportunity for them both. I know it will be life changing!!



Thursday, July 12, 2007

Prayers for our military

I wanted to respond to a blog I read last night. I thought I would put my reply here as well. This post is not political per say but if you don't want to hear my feelings on the war you may not want to read on. Iris' post hit close to my heart because my "baby" is deploying to Afghanistan in August. This brave young man turned 28 yesterday. Happy Birthday Mike!!! For most of the last ten years Mike has been away from his home and family. Three and a half of those last ten years have been spent overseas.
His brothers and sisters have grown up; some have married and purchased homes. His friends have married and started families and careers. He has missed out many of those milestones! He doesn't complain though, he just feels like he's just doing his job.
One thing I did not address on Iris' blog that I should have is this; I think the role of Chaplains is VITAL! They perhaps have the most difficult job of all.A good pastor is worth his weight in gold. They carry their congregations on their hearts. The marry us and burry us. The counsel us when our marriages are in jeopardy and when our children have gone astray. They sit across the desk from us and hear some of the ugliest things that lurk within the hearts of men and women! They visit us in the hospital when we are sick. But most importantly the pray for us and spend hours studying so they can teach us truths from Gods word. Stop for a minute and imagine what a military Champlain deals with in the course of each day. How do you counsel and encourage a man or woman that has lost a limb or the ability to function as an able bodied man or woman? How do you help a man or woman that has allowed alcohol to get a stranglehold on thier lives because alcohol has become their coping devise? What do you say to a man or woman that comes home from war only to find out they have no marriage to come home to? For the couples that stay together how do you help them navigate the rough waters ahead?
What do you say to the parents, siblings, spouse, or children that have lost a loved one? How so you deal with the effects of Post Traumatic Stress on the family? How do you explain depression to a child?
Chaplains are dealing with many different belief systems unlike a civilian pastor or priest. A Military Champlain is not allowed to be compensated for many of the vital services your pastor and mine might get financially compensated for such as performing a wedding ceremony.
Don’t forget Chaplains when you pray for our military personnel., you have had many good insights. I am not sure anyone really counted the cost of this war physically, emotionally, or spiritually. War as you said is war and the cost of war is always high.Military life during times of peace presents many hardships for military families but the collateral effects of war on our men, women, families and society as we know it may not be realized for many years to come.These men and women need all of our love and support and continual prayer. They need them now and for years to come! There is not one that will return home to us unchanged. Theresa,

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


"Relying on God has to begin all over again every day
as if nothing yet had been done."
~ C.S. Lewis ~

Transformation: doesn’t the very word make you think of instantaneous makeovers like Cinderella’s transformation from little cinder girl to beautiful happily ever after material by the swish of a magic wand?

This is very misconception sends me into a blue funk sometimes! Not in the physical sense, I wash up okay most days but spiritually, oh spiritually, I thought I’d be a lot closer to Camelot by now!

Recently a dear sister and I were both lamenting over the lousy attitudes we have been wrestling with.

How can that be that after years of walking with the Lord I still seem to struggle with such pettiness of spirit?

It is as though God has turned me inside out lately exposing all of those sensitive areas that are normally safely covered.

I have been so hyper sensitive and critical and all those little uglies that have been buried deep within me seem to be popping up all over!

Isn't it amazing the way God brings us to the end of ourselves over and over and over again? He is concerned about every detail of our lives , and our attitudes are the rudders that our actions follow.They are important details God will not overlook.

Home it's such a wonderful training ground for attitudes ours and our children's!



1/2 empty or 1/2 full it is still the glass my children drink from!

Daughter of Light?

My reading recently took me to Ephesians 5:8 ~ For you were once darkness but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.
I was excited but humbled as well because I don’t feel much like a Daughter of Light. Especially of late because I have really been battling something dark that has wanted to squelch the light right out of me. Suffice it to say I often feel more like a Daughter of Grumbling, or Daughter of Discouragement, or even a Daughter of Disorganization ~ but Light????? Me?
My mind has mulled over it again and again… what does it mean to be a Daughter of Light? Why would God chose that particular name, especially for me? What does a Daughter of Light look like?
I had a memory from my early childhood in Portugal. This particular memory was of going on a walk through the country side with my father.
The countryside was hilly and brown scattered here and there with patches of tall scruffy grass. Among the occasional gray mottled boulders, dusty looking sheep could be seen grazing. One could easily imagine young David sitting on one of the rolling hills watching over his flocks, perhaps making soulful sounds on his flute.
I remember my fathers legs being oh so long and it seemed we walked much too far and that he walked much too quickly! Our walk soon became a carry :O) as walks with small children often do.
At some point in our walk we ended up going inside a small cave that had formed in the crevice of the rocky hillside. It is the memory of this cave that will stand out in my memory forever!
As we stepped into the cave we were immediately engulfed by a cool, musty darkness. The deeper my father carried me into the cave the thicker the darkness became! It soon devoured the anemic fingers of light that filtered in through the opening and it had become so black I couldn’t see anything. This was this type of darkness that the term “I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face.” was coined for!
My father’s face, that had moments ago been just inches away from me, was now invisible! The ebony darkness was so thick and ominous. I remember being terrified… so paralyzed with fear that my ability to breathe seemed effected. I felt as though I was inhaling the very darkness!
In my childish immaturity, I was alone. My father was gone! I could feel my father’s heart beating cadence against me and I could feel his strong arms securely around me but I felt alone and afraid. Even the soothing sound of my father’s deep voice in my ears could not reassure, or comfort me.
Suddenly the darkness was illuminated by a small flicker from my father’s cigarette lighter! That tiny flame lit up the walls of the cave and chased away the darkness. That one small light illuminated the face of my father who had held me protectively in his arms the entire time; but now I could see his face and I was flooded with relief. I felt protected from the darkness. The light revealed what was truth…my father was there and he had always had been there! He had never left, I for that moment lost sight of him!
So, what does it mean to me to be a Daughter of Light? A better question might be what does it mean to be light? Merriam Webster tells us light is “something that makes vision possible.”
When the children were younger we studied the life of an amazing woman. Her name was Helen Keller. Early life was uneventful for Helen. She was a bright, active, healthy, toddler but an unfortunate illness left her permanently blind, deaf and mute. Helen found herself virtually a prisoner inside her own little body unable to access the world around her and unable to communicate with those she loved the most!
How tragic her life may have been except for a monumental change that occurred a few years later when the family decided to hire a teacher. The teacher came to live in their home and helped to care for the unruly, undisciplined child. Helen’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, came along side Helen and patiently taught her a new way of “seeing” the world. She changed Helen’s life forever. Annie Sullivan became light for Helen because…she made vision possible for the blind girl!
That is what a Daughter of Light should do. That is what a Son of Light should do. They should come along side those who are spiritually blind, deaf and mute and teach them to see God, to hear God, and to talk to God.
“But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light for whatever makes manifest is light.”
We are to be the light that exposes darkness. We don’t have to do anything in particular except to be who we were called to be. Our life choices should manifest God.
We don’t have to be highly educated people to grasp the truths of God’s word. Jesus used the plain language of the plain people to share deep truths. St Augustine said it this way “Hearts speak to hearts.” Often the simple things teach the most valuable lessons.
Remember the children’s Bible song that says “Be careful little eyes what you see. Be careful little eyes what you see. For the Father up above is looking down in love, so be careful little eyes what you see.”?
I would challenge each of us to look at our lives and see how well our “grown up” lifestyles measure up to the almost childlike simplicity of the scriptures. Have our “grown-up” rights of passage actually caused us to compromise our faith (Or the faith of others?) and make provision for sin within our hearts instead of giving us promised freedom we expected? Have our little eyes and little ears jeopardized our little hearts?
Could we, would we ask Jesus to sit and partake in our daily diversions? Could He sit next to us and watch our favorite television show or read over our shoulder as we read from our favorite book or magazine? Perhaps even a critical ear needs to be opened on the music we listen to.
Would our reading, media, music and computer viewing choices be pleasing to Christ whose spirit lives within us? Do these influences draw us into deeper fellowship with Christ and with other believers? Or do they cast a shadow over, or even openly mock Godly things? Do we honor the holy name of God that Christ died to preserve? Or do we let God’s name get bantered about and do nothing about it?
We truly live in the day scripture says good will be called evil and evil will be called good. The things of God are perceived as childish, narrow minded and foolish by mainstream media, and mainstream America is being carried along in the wake of that media.
Have we become so jaded by the attitudes of the world that we have lost our childlike desire to imitators of God? Have we compromised our ability to be Sons and Daughters of Light?
Ezekiel tells of men who have set up idols in their hearts and put before themselves that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. What a frightening but accurate picture of the church at large today.
We must remember who we are in Christ. WE are, you are, and I am, the light of the world. We are not alone in this world and we can’t live as if we are! We live in a dark place where even a tiny flicker of light can offer great illumination.
Darkness is only ~ the absence of light.
What an incredible mantle we wear as Children of Light!
From a Daughter of Light!!!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Learner's Permit!!!

An exciting day a learner's permit has been issued to a certain 16 year old in our household! WooHoo! To think I only have to do this three more times!