Sunday, February 28, 2010

Living the the LIGHT

Upward ends officially today. We have our closing celebration today. I'm a little sad about it too.

I have had more fun this year than I thought was possible. I have worked with 5 boys, with the help of Nick (a sr. high student from church), and had the time of my life. I was a little concerned about coaching 4-5th grade this year. My 5th graders at school are somewhat draining and I was wondering how I would manage 2 extra hours, outside of school, with the same age group.

So I prayed.

God definitely answered. I looked forward to Thursday night practices and Saturday games. I loved seeing the boys and watching them play, learn, have fun, and share their hearts for Jesus.

My favorite aspect of Upward is team devotions. Every night at practice we would break to dig into the word and learn about Jesus. This year we learned about him being light. The curriculum really drove home the fact that Jesus is light and we need to live in the light. It pushed the kids to be conscious of how they are living their the light, or in the darkness.

I don't know if the boys took the devotions to heart. I don't know if they grasped all that was being taught. I don't know if they truly understand what it means to have a personal relationship with Christ.

What I do know is the God spoke to me and through me. God used this ministry to reach into my heart and fuel the passion that he has place there for kids. God taught me that I haven't been living in the light like I should.

precious Jesus,
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you during this season of Upward. Thank you for 5 amazing boys who probably taught me more than I taught them. Thank you for giving me a fresh breath of you and seeping your love into my life. You have such awesome and mysterious ways. Amen

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Random Recipe

This is just an awesome soup recipe I had to share. If you hop over to a blog that my sisters and I occasionally post recipes on, you will find one fantastic minestrone soup recipe. Great for days like these (cold, and dreary, and cold).


Seeing Clearly

I've got a ton of thoughts going through my head... lots of mixed feelings. First of all for some of you who don't know- we're going to have a baby! Number 2 is due at the end of August. We are overjoyed and thrilled about adding to our family.

It seems like in the past year we've gone through a ton of changes. We had a miscarriage, we've had changes to our jobs, added new responsibilities in our church, we've had sick family members, deaths in our families, changes in our church, an earthquake the completely devastated an island that I love, and now the upcoming change of a new baby.

Some this last year has been wonderful. It's been full of blessings and joy and excitement. I've loved watching my daughter grow. I've enjoyed doing ministry with my friends and husband. I have felt so blessed to be a part of sharing God's love to others. But other times the heartaches were/are overwhelming. Whether it's my pain or the pain of loved ones or those around me- it's hard. Today those heartaches seem to be all at the surface.

So last night when I should have been posting I laid in bed and thought of this verse.

1 Corinthians 13:12 (New International Version)

12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

This is speaking to me so well today. I feel like I'm looking in a dirty fogged up mirror and trying to make sense of what I see. I just cant. I can't figure out why bad things happen. I can't understand why there is so much pain and suffering. I can't see why changes are good and how they are going to be great in the long run. I just want to have the mirror cleared off so I can get it. You know? I'm sure that some of you are relating. We all have things that happen to us where we say "Really? Seriously God? Why? Why is this happening? Why am I hurting so bad? Why do I/we have to go through this"

We won't figure it out friends. We won't ever know why some babies don't make their way to us but others we hold in our arms . We won't know why a heartache that threatens to crush us was brought into our lives or why we are seemingly bombarded with one problem after another. We just won't know... the mirror is clouded.

But... There's a but! This verse says that even though now things don't make sense there will be a time. A time when we stand with our Savior and when we can see the plan that he has set in place for us. The mirror will be crystal clear. We will know just as we are fully known. I love that. He knows our hearts and our fears and our joys and our pain. He's walking this road with us and someday we'll be able to look back at it with him and just smile.

Thank you my great God for walking this path with me. Thank you for holding me when I cry and hurt and for celebrating with me when I am joyful. Oh God, I'm so glad that you promise me a time when the mirror will be clear and I'll be able to see and understand. I praise you for your plan for my life and for never leaving me along.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wise Sayings

Last night during my devotion time I opened my Bible up to Proverbs. I scanned through the pages, looking at some of the ones I had underlined as favorites. I love reading the book of Proverbs for a few reasons. First of all, some of them are just downright funny---

"Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife." (21:9)

Whoa, are we really that bad, Solomon?

But most of all I like proverbs because in each short snippet, there is a truth that can be applied to everyone's lives. For example, in the proverb above, it convicts me to NOT be that quarrelsome wife. How many of us have picked or nagged at our husbands? I know I have. But God's plan is for us to love our husbands and keep peace in our households. That is not to say that we cannot disagree --- but to pick a fight? Not a good example of a godly wife.

Another one of my favorite proverbs is 13:3.

"He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin."

Many times the Bible speaks of the power of the tongue, and how man continually struggles to tame it. The ability to control one's words is one of the clearest marks of wisdom, according to Solomon. I pray that God will help give me the power to discern what words should or should not come out of my mouth. To my husband, to my children, to my friends.

What is your favorite proverb and why?

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Oh, how I fight this! I don't really consider myself to be a person totally against change. I just don't like it to all hit at once.

So I searched to see what God has to say about it. What I found is that change must happen. Without it, we cannot move forward - not personally, not physically, not emotionally, and certainly not spiritually.

In Genesis, God created Adam. But he didn't leave Adam alone. He created Eve because "the Lord God said, 'it is not good from man to be alone.'" This was a change.

Throughout the Old Testament their are changes in leadership. Some come and quickly go, others stay for a long time. With each change comes adjustments, heartbreak, questions, growth, learning.

Then, enter Jesus. The people of the time were not looking for this guy. Yes, they were looking for a Messiah, a Savior, a leader. But Jesus wasn't exactly what they had in mind. He came and completely changed their lives. He showed them how to live. He led them with love and compassion. He died a lowly death on a cross accompanied by criminals. He changed the way the world looked at God. He opened a door.

Change. It is never easy. But it is absolutely necessary for growth.

Precious Jesus, I trust that you have the best in mind for us all. I pray your calming presence over us right now as we step into the unknown in faith. You are in control. You are the leader of this church and these people. God, may we lean on you and cling to you in the midst of the change. May it bring us one step closer to you. Amen

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Giving Up cont.

Kristi started yesterday's post and it was definitely thought provoking. She brought up the point of sacrifice. I thought about it and then realized that one of the things that takes my time up, takes time that I could be using to spend with our Father, is facebook. I love facebook. Ok, I'm kind of nosy and love to be "in the know" so facebook is RIGHT up my alley!

I am staying home with Grace and now babysitting for a friend also. That means during nap times I have some "free time" Of course I could be doing laundry, cleaning those cobwebs away, or even, as odd as it may be... having some time in the Word. But instead what do I do? Jump online and catch up on what I've missed in the last half day er... half hour.

So today, day one of Lent for me. I put the babies to sleep (well, one was sleeping, one was having a privilege of watching Sid the Science Kid :) ) and instead of hopping online I sorted and organized bills, caught up on our budget and went through receipts. It was great! I felt focused, on top of things, and if I must admit a bit proud of myself.

So... day one- check. But here's the thing. I'm not sure I really got it today. Know what I mean? Yes, I stayed away from facebook but I don't know if I trully got the reason for my giving up. It wasn't to give myself more time to clean my house or to get caught up with my paperwork. It was to GIVE to God. This whole idea, like Kristi said is to remember His sacrifice to us. To use this time to grow closer to Him and to prepare myself to both mourn his death and more importantly celebrate His coming back from the dead!

So.. day one.. not to bad. But tomorrow? Tomorrow I'll crack open my Bible during Sid the Science Kid. Or I'll grab my journal and spend some time thanking Him for all his blessings.

Joel 2:12-14

Yet even now, says the Lord,
Return to me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
Rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the Lord, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
and relents from punishing.
Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain-offering and a drink-offering
for the Lord, your God?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Random Thoughts on Lent

UPDATE: thanks so much for your comments!! I love hearing your thoughts about Lent. It is so encouraging to hear your perspectives. Keep them coming! ps. Alex gave up nintendo, then changed his mind to the Wii. We will see what it is tomorrow!!!

Happy Beginning of Lent Week! I am really excited for these next few weeks that lead up to Easter. Of course for the obvious reason of remembering the sacrifice God made for us in sending His Son to die on the cross for my sins and your sins, and for His joyous resurrection, symbolizing our own rebirth and access to God--the veil of the old covenant torn in two.
This time of year also symbolizes a changing of the seasons.... a few warm days scattered in with the chilly ones, a few early flowers springing up, March Madness (Boiler Up!), and Spring Break with our family. Lots of great things to look forward to in the upcoming six weeks.

One of the traditions I took away from my Catholic upbringing is the practice of giving something up for Lent. I like the symbolism of it. Not that we as humans can in any way create a sacrifice of any degree of comparison to our Savior's, but I believe that it is a small reminder of the sacrifice He made for us. I also think it helps my children understand it better when they actually have to do it themselves. The jury is still out on what Alex is giving up for Lent.... I gave him several suggestions of things that he loves that he could give up for six weeks. (Nintendo, Wii, candy)They all seem to be too difficult to bear at this time. So we will see. Caroline's first response was that she was giving up fighting with her brother. I encouraged her to think of something a bit more tangible (and I was thinking that I wanted them to actually succeed at this process!) and she surprisingly and quickly came to her own conclusion that she was giving up candy. This is huge, given that her sweet tooth rivals mine. It is fitting that she choose the exact same thing to give up as I did. Maybe we can support each other over these next few weeks. :) Or we will both be really cranky!

The point to all of this is that every time I walk to the cabinet to pull out a snack size Reece's, I remember my pledge of sacrifice, albeit small. Whether it is giving something up, fasting on Fridays, doing a Lenten devotion, or attending an Ash Wednesday service--- these acts help us to focus on the meaning of Lent. What do you do during the Lent season to remember God's sacrifice for us? Please, pretty please with a cherry on top, will you comment? I am very curious to know what our readers think. We could learn from you and your experiences. Just click on the comment button below and create a Google account with your email. Easy Peasey.
Thank you all so much for being a part of our blog world. Blessings to you and may you go to God on this Ash Wednesday and rejoice in who He is and what He has done for you.

"For to this day, the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. But when anyone turns to the Lord the veil is taken away. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lords' glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:14, 16,18)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Green with Envy.

Your hair is straighter. You are married with kids. Your job is better. Your financial situation is more free. Your dog is well trained. You're skinnier, funnier, smarter. You get the idea don't know?

I have a friend that sometimes causes me to be so envious. She has amazing kids, a great husband, and the girl looks amazing in anything. She could cover herself in a car cover and look like she was headed to the Grammy's. If I did that, I would look like, well, a car (and not a cute sporty Miata).

Envy is an incredible struggle for me. It squelches joy and peace and can even lead to anger.

The Bible tells us:

Stop your anger! Turn from your rage!
Do not envy others--it only leads to harm.
Psalm 37:8 NLT

…envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones.
Proverbs 14:30 AMP

So I get it, envy is bad. But how do I cope with it? The Bible teaches what should be the replacement of envy: LOVE.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy…
1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV

My eyes were opened today, as I read these truths, that God isn't telling us just to love the people that we envy. He of course, does want us to love those that we feel envious of, but sometimes for me it's just as difficult to love myself. He wants us to love who He has created in us. To fall on our knees praising Him for the unique blessings that He has given to us. The Love that He teaches about in 1 Corinthians is love that He wants us to experience both giving and recieving.

1 Corinthians goes on to explain that Love always supports others and wants the best for each person. This is a bigger challenge for me after all most everyone would look better in a car cover than I.

secret admission

It's Friday. I usually post on Wednesdays. I missed that one and I was planning on posting yesterday but here's my secret. My hubby is out of town. I had my little one plus one more all day yesterday. My plan was to post last night but I got her down for bed, cleaned up a bit and then got in bed and watched the two hour Survivor premier. So nothing of worth got accomplished last night.

BUT... I want to tell you about what we ladies who write on here are going to be doing for the next few weeks! Beth Moore just released a new book called So Long Insecurity On her blog Living Proof Ministries she is going to have an online discussion every week. Although we'll be a little behind (we just ordered the books and they're starting next week) We decided to join her. We'll be sharing our insights here too. You can go to this site to find a retailer to buy the book if you want to join us So Long Insecurity We got ours from Borders (and got a great deal!) Please take some time to go and check out Beth's blog and also the book site. We are very excited to try this!

If you think you'd like to participate with us, please leave us a comment below. We'd LOVE to know who is going on this journey with us!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

God's Word Is Alive and Active

I have felt crummy the past few days.... the typical head cold has gotten me under the weather. But the good thing is that while I have been sipping hot tea and popping Zicam, I have gotten a little extra time to sit and read my new devotion book I received for Christmas. It is called "Voices of the Faithful: Inspiring Stories of Courage from Christians Serving Around the World". The foreward of each month is written by my favorite Bible Study teacher, Beth Moore. I just wanted to share with you a little of what I read tonight about the importance of God's Word in our lives.

Whether stateside or on foreign soil, believers have the same text in common and the same inability to live well without it. I don't care who we are and how long some of us have been in church or ministry. None of us can make it victoriously without a steady diet of Scripture. And why would we want to? Hebrews 4:12 tells us that God's word is "living and active" (NIV). That means it isn't just an ancient sacred text still making a few relevant applications. The Greek verb tense for "living" in Hebrews 4:12 indicates the Word is PRESENTLY and CONTINUALLY teeming with life. If we believe the Word is alive and "all Scripture is Godbreathed" (2 Timothy 3:16) we might say that every breath comes to us still warm from the mouth of God. As if He just said it.

This really resonated in my heart. It is hard to stay focused on daily Scripture reading and time spent studying God's word. Sometimes that time gets pushed aside for other daily activities. It is my prayer today that God ignites a passion in me for His word, and that I daily make it a priority. Will you join me in this prayer?

For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting swift and deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are. (Hebrews 4:12 NLT)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Ohhh! I love love love being in a good discussion. I didn't realize exactly how much I've missed being in a Bible study until tonight. We had small group at church (I'm pretty sure that it's not officially a small group but it technically is a small group of couples so that's what I'm calling it!) We watched Rob Bell's Nooma video called Kickball. If you have never seen a nooma, you should. They are all on different topics and talked about different areas/struggles/stages we go through in life. It's the perfect thing for a discussion too!

Tonight's video was called Kickball. I'm not going to do it justice but he told the story about being in the mall with his son and finding this cool ball thing that velcros on your hand and then has a string attached with a ball at the end. His little guy wanted this toy. He said he needed this toy. He whined and whined and tried doing the whole if you love me you'll get this for me thing... Rob tried reasoning with his son, he tried just telling him no. Finally he had to pick him up and walk away.

What this little guy didn't know was that after the mall they were going to a store to buy a kickball. His parents thought it would be a great gift for him to have a kickball. They took him to the wall of balls and let him pick out the one he wanted. He beamed and was so very happy that he had his own orange kickball.

Rob relates it like this. Doesn't this happen in our life with God? We want something so very badly. We plead and plead and beg and whine and sometimes cry and get angry. We think that we have it all figured out and if God would just ___________ then we could ________. I know I have thought that before! The biggest thing we need to remember is that God is God. All the time. He is truly good and loves us. He wants the best for us and no matter what we are going through none of the above changes. Just like the little guy who just needed that toy... his parents knew that they had something so much better for him. Our Father is like that. What he has planned for me, for you, is WAY better that you or I could have imagined.

I'm going to close with my ALL time favorite verse from the Bible. I read it tonight for the first time from The Message. Love it. Especially the end. Thoughts? Comments? Have you ever wondered if God was going to give you what you were hoping for? Ever questioned Him?

I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. When you come looking for me, you'll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed."

Thoughts? Comments? Have you ever wondered if God was going to give you what you were hoping for? Ever questioned Him?