Monday, May 31

The True Meaning of Memorial Day

As I was trying to figure out how to celebrate this Memorial Day with my girls this year, I came across this video. I played it this morning for my girls and we talked about what Memorial Day really means. While I still think my girls do not really grasp the idea that men and women have died so that we can be free, my hope is one day they will realize it. Please take a moment to watch this video and say a little prayer for all those families who do not have a loved one to celebrate with this Memorial Day. Thank you to all those men and women who have fought and died protecting my freedom...the freedom that allows us to have a blog like this...we are so blessed!

Happy Memorial Day to you and your family!

Friday, May 28

A New Way

We are going to try a new way of posting on this blog beginning the first of June. Betsy, Heidi, Stacy and myself will take a different week and post about whatever is on our mind. We are taking a break in meeting monthly so we will continue to share what we have learned as we write over the summer. We would love your comments.

Have a wonderful, safe Memorial Day Weekend! Enjoy the outdoors.

Thursday, May 27

God's Activity...

Why pray about everything?

I think a big reason is to see God's activity in my life...let me give you a fun example:

A couple of weeks ago I was at Walmart and saw a 'turtle sandbox' displayed with a big SALE sign next to it. It caught my attention and I pondered for a minute if I should pop for one for our grandchildren. We have 3 little ones under the age of 2.

I weighed the pros and cons of spending $38.00 for a plastic box.

I prayed.

I didn't really receive any startling negative revelation, so I went ahead and bought one.

I got out to my car and the big green turtle didn't fit in my trunk. It didn't fit in the back seat. It sat on the Walmart cart. I took my husband's golf cart and bag of clubs out of the trunk and tried to manuever the turtle again with no luck.

I called my husband and explained my predicament and asked if he could bring the bigger car to Walmart so I could get this green turtle home. He heard me out and patiently agreed to interrupt his work to come. I told him he couldn't miss me...I would be sitting with golf clubs and a golf cart outside my car... A turtle top would be in the back seat and the turtle bottom was sticking out of my trunk.

I sat and waited.

I began 'people watching' and noticed a few people were gawking at me, too.

I started to think maybe I should have waited for a more definite answer to my earlier prayer.

Just then a lady who had pulled in next to me got out of her car and started walking into the store. She stopped suddenly and turned towards me.

"Is that a sandbox you have in your trunk?' she asked.

"Yes, they are on sale today," I replied.

"Well," she said, "I have a turtle in my trunk you can have if you want it...."

With that, she opened her big trunk, and there sat an even bigger green turtle...the 'deluxe model'.

"You can return your turtle sandbox and take mine instead if you want," she offered.

I thanked her profusely and put her turtle on two more carts that were nearby and continued to wait for my husband....One little grandma, two big green turtles, a golf cart and golf husband couldn't miss me if he tried!

I told him the whole story, as well as my prayer.

"Well," he said, "What are the odds of a woman driving into the Walmart parking lot, parking next to you and having a big green turtle in her truck?"

The odds are pretty good when you pray about everything.

Praying about everything helps me see God's activity in my life...all the time.

Wednesday, May 26


Thanks so much for your prayers for Meredith yesterday! All the way from Switzerland!

The most immediate update on her was that she was still in surgery last night, but the doctors were hopeful that the cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes. That is much to be thankful for.

Circumstances like health and relationships drive us to prayer quickly, don't they?

"The average person prays 3 minutes a month" a pastor recently said.

Yet the Bible says we are to be in constant prayer.

Sad, isn't it that prayer is how we are to connect with God, but somehow we don't care that God is here with us throughout our day...for all our needs.

What would you do if God was coming to your house today? In less than 1 hour?

Would you clean? Prepare a big meal? Cut the grass?

Would you think about preparing your heart before He arrived?

In Luke 10:38, Jesus came to Martha and Mary's house. Martha set about doing the things we woman are good at. She cleaned and cooked and was ready to be hospitable. But she was also 'worried and upset about many things.'

Mary chose 'what was better'...what would 'not be taken away from her'. She SAT at the Lord's feet and LISTENED. She must have prepared her heart all along so all she wanted to do was communicate with Jesus.

Thanks for praying for Meredith yesterday...
today pray for yourself and your family. Pray for your health and protection. Pray for your finances and your job. Pray for your husband. Pray for your friends. Pray for the oil spill in the gulf. Pray
a prayer of thanksgiving for the beautiful spring days, your family and your blessings. Pray for your attitude. Pray for your 'to do' list. Pray for your enemies.

If we don't pray about something, we are communicating to God that we can handle it.

Learn to pray about everything...and everything will change.

Monday, May 24

Wear Pink and Pray

Tomorrow a good friend of many is having a surgery. She found a lump in her breast on May 14th and it proved to be cancerous.

Decisions have been made quickly and tomorrow she will have a double mastectomy.

She has been on my mind and in my prayers since I heard the news. A good friend of hers requested we all wear pink tomorrow to remind ourselves to be in prayer for our friend Meredith all day long.

We haven't used this blog for prayer requests that I can remember, but I would like to do so today. Please pray for Meredith tonight on the eve of this huge surgery, and tomorrow and then again in the days to come.

"The prayer of a righteous woman is powerful and effective." James 5:16


Thursday, May 20

What makes a good mom?

This was a question Barb wanted us to think about as we met this past year. I thought I would share the short list that we came up with as a group.

A good mom is someone. . .

who is okay with being out of balance
who relies on the Lord
listens to the Truth
takes responsibility in ALL areas of her life
who knows herself
who knows her children
who is dependable
and is someone who is a leader not just a manager

What do you think makes a good mom? Share your comments below. . .

Wednesday, May 19

Homemaker's Treat

Betsy has complied a Homemaker's Cookbook for us. We've collected so many recipes for all the different categories. From appetizers to Company dishes. Our favorites, of course are the desserts. Fabulous desserts.

Here is an easy dessert that finished off this year... Rhubarb Cake:

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 egg
1 cup milk (sweet, sour or buttermilk...choose one!)
2 cups flour
1tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

nuts are optional, but delicious if you are a nut eater

Mix all together. Stir in 3 cups chopped rhubarb.

Mix 2 T cinnamon and 2 T sugar together and sprinkle over cake before baking.

9x13 pan. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Serve with ice cream or as a coffee cake. Yum!

Tuesday, May 18

The Wrap Up

Homemakers with Hope had our last meeting of the year last night. Once again we all commented as to how fast the months slipped by.

Want a peek into some of what we learned?!

There are 2 ways to live as a Christian woman:

1. From Self. This woman sees the teaching of the Bible as a great guideline. She wants her kids to learn from the Bible. She feels it's her job to do the things mentioned in the Bible...she's hoping the 'things' she does will transform her life and her family.

2. Thru Christ... This woman also sees the Bible as a great guideline for her life...but she knows that she can't live a life like that. Only Christ can live it...thru GRACE. She daily looks to Christ to drive her live thru her and she gains freedom and joy as she is transformed from the inside grace!

We also reviewed how a woman handles failure and mis-steps.
Overcoming failure does not mean becoming means remaining faithful. You continue to TRUST God. He gives you perspective as you work thru your disappoointments

We talked about our roles as women again this year. We defined spiritual maturity as: "Recognizing that 'knowing God' is the greatest pursuit of my life and then ordering my life around that relationship"

Intentionality was a focus this year. Being intentional as a mom and homemaker, a wife and friend can all lead to a more productive life. Being intentional in knowing God means we focus on our relationship with Christ, not more activity. (That spurred on a good discussion)

As I look thru my notes, so much gets lost without hearing our discussion. Part of the challenge this year was to share our thoughts in this blog. None of us are inspiring writers, but this venue gave us an opportunity to share a viewpoint that is often lost in the mountains of information and influences that are available to young women today.

Perhaps my thoughts about Homemakers this year is summarized best by Andy Stanley in this quote from his book, Louder than Words:

"Today you took a step. You either moved closer or further away from what you hope to be. Most people move further away. A handful overcome the negative inertia of this fallen world and moved forward. But nobody-nobody-stood still."

As Homemakers with Hope and all you readers, I hope we can all be moving closer to what we hope to be. Closer to what God has in mind for us by encouraging and walking along side each other in this busy world of being a woman.

Friday, May 14

Theme 2010

My theme for this year is prayer. You may be thinking that it should probably be a theme I focus on every year but I felt particularly drawn to focus on it now. In January of this year we found out that our daughter has a condition that could have some pretty big effects on her little life. However, she could also live a very normal life with minimal effects from the disorder. We have no idea what the future holds for our family. There isn't a step by step process or action steps we can take. We just simply wait and see. As a mom this has rocked my world. I want to be doing things. Getting help. Fixing things. Taking away any possibility of hard times. BUT, I can't. I can love her, kiss her, support her, and PRAY. Prayer is my action step. It is my most powerful weapon. Because it is the way that I will get through whatever comes our way. Communion with Jesus will be what gives me the peace, strength and hope to face any challenges. That is why I will focus on prayer.

Tuesday, May 11

My Theme for 2010

It seems like every year I struggle with picking a theme...almost to the point of not choosing one sometimes. But then I look back at years past and see that I have grown in areas that I intentionally focus on.

I have had to be careful that my theme doesn't become a 'project' for me. An activity that chalks up 'points' for me in my spiritual growth. Spiritual maturity doesn't come from spiritual activity so I have had to keep my 'theme' in perspective as I took on a subject to be more mindful of.

This year I've been challenged to answer the question,

"What is the defining characteristic of a follower of Jesus Christ?"

I had quite a few themes that I thought would answer this question quite nicely, but scholars and teachers of the Bible all seem to be in agreement that humility is the defining characteristic of a follower of JC. I didn't really want to hear that because I wanted something like generosity or service to be the defining characteristic. To me, those would be measureable and would feed my need TO DO. Immediately, I identified that as PRIDE and thus I knew I wanted to spend this year focusing on humility.

I have missed a wealth of wonderful reading and insight by not choosing this theme earlier. I know true humility comes from God but to be aware of it 24/7 has kept me in constant conversation with God as I am continually in agreement with Him that I have a lot of pride in my life.

I needed to define humility so I knew what I was looking for from God. The working definition I am using is:
"A right view of God that produces a right view of myself and right relationships with others."

With a theme of humility and a working definition in hand I start my day telling God I need Him to prick my conscious when pride rears up. I need Him to give me a right view of myself.

He has brought to my attention that
"I deserve"
"I have a right"
"Should this be happening to me?"
maybe don't have a place in my vocabulary if I am seeking to submit to a life of humility like Christ.

Humility is submission and dependence on God. NOT me trying harder, but Christ in me...and so He spills out of my life as I rest in Him.

I know I don't have to worry about making this theme my 'project' for the year because it is only by God's grace that I will be able to embrace humility. Jesus was God and yet He laid aside the use of divine power. I am forever striving for me, myself and I. I can only lay that aside by the grace of God.

Andrew Murray says it best: " 'Me' is a most exacting person, requiring the best seat and the highest place for itself, and feeling grievously wounded if its claim is not recognized. Most of the quarrels among Christian workers arise from the clamoring of this gigantic 'me'. How few of us understand that true secret of taking our seats in the lowest rooms."

Maybe my measuring stick of this theme will be in seeing this 'gigantic me' in the right perspective for a change.

Pause On Purpose

This year I really struggled with choosing my theme. I am not sure why exactly, but after finally choosing it I wonder if I was just fighting God in the process. My theme is Pause on Purpose. I have been challenged over the last year, in particular, to slow down in various ways. A few years back Barb challenged us to practice really observing the Sabbath. While I have always agreed that this was a good idea, having it actually play out in my life was harder to imagine. Well, early this year I listened to Max Lucado’s CD, Cure for the Common Life, on a trip up north and my theme hit me square between the eyes. The book itself is about finding what God has gifted you with individually and living within that strength and purpose. Chapter 12 is titled “Pause on Purpose” and this particular chapter hit home.

I would like to share a short passage from this chapter.

. . .do you sense a disconnect between your design and daily duties? Are you neglecting your strengths? God may want you to leave your Capernaum, but you’re staying. Or he may want you to stay and you are leaving. How can you know unless you mute the crowd and meet with Jesus in a deserted place?

“Deserted” need not mean desolate, just quiet. Simply a place to which you, like Jesus, depart. “Now when it was day, He departed” (Luke 4:42) “Depart” presupposes a decision on the part of Jesus. “I need to get away. To think. To ponder. To rechart my course.” He determined the time, selected the place. With resolve, he pressed the pause button on his life.

Your escape requires equal determination. Hell hates to see you stop! Richard Foster hit the mark when he wrote: “In contemporary society our Adversary majors in three things; noise, hurry, and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in ‘muchness’ and manyness,’ he will rest satisfied. Psychiatrist C.G. Jung once remarked, “’Hurry is not of the Devil; it is the Devil.”

The devil implants taximeters in our brains. We hear the relentless tick, tick, tick telling us to hurry, hurry, hurry, time is money. . .resulting in this roaring blur called the human race.

But Jesus stands against the tide, countering the crescendo with these words: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Follow the example of Jesus, who “often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:16).

It is so simple yet so hard to actually play out in my life. I need to choose to pause on purpose on a regular basis to make sure that my life is in alignment with God’s will. God does not yell over the roar of our lives, we need to slow down and listen to His whisper. Now I will be the first to admit that this is really hard to do. I am a doer, a Martha. I define a successful day as one where I have crossed everything off my to-do list and added a few more. While in general I do not think this is bad, I just have realized that we each need to intentionally take the time to pause. . .on purpose.

I have not perfected this by any means, but I am slowly, intentionally pausing on purpose to refuel. . . to take the time to reconnect with the vine. I am also attempting to help my girls do this by having reading and prayer time as a family every night before bedtime. I want to teach them the reason behind why we are taking the time to read about Jesus and why we need to talk with Him daily, why we need to "pause on purpose." It is a start, and I am so excited to see what God does in my life this year through this theme.

Monday, May 10

2010 Themes

We probably should have talked about this a little earlier in the year, but it is worth taking a week to discuss it even now. For those of you who may be new to this blog, a few years back Barb challenged us to choose a theme each year: word or phrase that we want to spend the year focusing on. The theme can be something we want to see grow in ourselves, something we want to pursue, something we want to learn about ourselves or God, and something, I think, to help us be more intentional about our lives. It has since become one of my favorite things to do each January.

I must admit that each year it is difficult to finally choose the word. I usually want it to be something of great meaning, and I want it to represent where I am at in my life for that year. Some years my word has taken on really special meaning, and other years I have not done as good of a job focusing on my word. Either way I think it is a great tool to help me be more intentional. It gives me purpose and direction in my quiet times and what I focus on for my own personal growth. I thought today I would post a list of possible word choices for you, and tomorrow I will share my theme for this year. Please do not limit your choices to this list. It is only a jumping off point. . .










































































Friday, May 7

Marriage By Design

By design, marriage is a discovery of God's activity in your life. Ever thought of your marriage in that light before?

Marriage is as much of a relationship with God as it is with your spouse.

The health of all other relationships rests on the health of your relationship with your spouse. That is why experts say the best thing you can do for your child is to love your spouse.

Many homes tend to be child-centered, meaning the emphasis is on the children in the family. Everything revolves around the kids. Giving attention and care to your children is important, but the top priority should be the relationship between husband and wife.

How do we improve our marriages? By spending more time with God! From the overflow of our love relationship with God, we love our husbands. That flows down to our kids. And that is when we see God's activity in our life!

I know I run to God often because of my marriage. I can't pull it off by myself. Oh, I try....

I have temporary success...
then I slip up and fail to love and give and serve with a gentle spirit...
then I re-commit and try harder...
and the cycle repeats itself.

It's all about ME trying HARDER. That makes marriage a tough proposition.

When I recognize that I can't do it, I go to God and see how He changes relationships...
I admit I can't do it...
He gives me GRACE...
My attitude and focus changes. I find I am responding to God's activity in my life...

God gets the glory

Isn't that awesome! I just need to stay connected to God and out of that relationship, my marriage and parenting skills flourish.
Unfortunately, there are days I find myself feeling pretty competent and I decide I don't need to spend time with God. I take control of the situation and before long, my temporary success has run its course.

Good stuff to ponder this weekend and have a Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 6

Husband Expert

My sister is getting married in June. She, like me, has known her husband since they were 16. They began dating in high school and it has been fun to see their relationship evolve. A couple of weeks ago I was able to share with her some marital advice. I shared with her one of my favorite bits of wisdom from Barb. She has challenged me to become an expert on my husband. To get to know his thoughts, passions, dislikes, and quirks. I love that advice. So many couples grow apart and say that they have become different people who no longer fit together. Many use this reason as grounds for a divorce. I shared with my sister that surely my husband and I are different people than we were 10 years ago and I hope that in fifteen years from now I will see ways that we have both changed and grown even more. The exciting challenge in marriage is continually studying your spouse. I want to know how my husband's life experiences shape and mold him. I don't want to be left behind as we both grow, I want to grow together. That means I am diligent about the questions I ask him and I place a high priority on the time we spend together. I would also challenge you to become an expert on your really is important.

Wednesday, May 5

your time-starved marriage

I think I mentioned this before, but Jeff and I lead a small group in our home for young married couples. We are currently reading a book by Les and Leslie Parrott called Your Time-Starved Marriage. I think a very timely title for our generation - the generation that has a list on top of a list of all the things we have-to and want-to do. We are really enjoying this book, and I would like to share a few thoughts to give you some food for thought for your marriages.

One of the very first quotes in the book from a Stephan Rechtschaffen states, “ We think much more about the use of our money, which is renewable, than we do about the use of our time, which is irreplaceable.” Take a moment and reread that quote. Time is irreplaceable. Once it is spent, we cannot get it back. What if we thought about that quote more often during our days. . .would it change what you did? Would it change how you spent your time? I think if we are all honest it would change everything. Time is the one thing we can’t hold onto and we can’t get back. How much time have you spent nurturing your marriage today? A little humbling isn’t it?!

I think it is really hard to step back and take a good hard look at how we spend our time, but our marriages depend on it. How many times have you heard couples say, “We’ve grown apart.” In the book they address this statement by saying,

Truth is, couples don’t just grow apart. They simply grow, and they either CHOOSE to make space in this growth for each other or not. Individuals change, interests evolve, opportunities appear, or a crisis happens. The passage of time guarantees change. And you can’t stop time.

We need to each choose to take the time needed to nurture our marriages as we grow and change so that we grow and change as a couple. . .together.

I think my favorite part of this book so far has to be the following story I am going to leave with you today. It is my challenge to you. A challenge for yourself and your marriage.

In his (John Ortberg) book, The Life you’ve Always Wanted, he has a chapter called “An Unhurried Life” in which he tells the story of getting some spiritual direction from a wise friend shortly after moving to Chicago to become the preaching pastor at the mega sized Willow Creek Community Church. “I described (to my friend) the pace at which things tend to move in my current setting, “ John writes. He also told his friend about the fast clip of his family life. “What do I need to do, “ John asked, “to be spiritually healthy?” After a quiet moment, his friend finally spoke: “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”

Another long pause. “Okay, I’ve written that one down, “John told him, a little impatiently. “That’s a good one. Now, what else is there?” John had a lot to do, and he was talking to his friend long-distance, so, as he puts it. “I was anxious to cram as many units of spiritual wisdom into the least amount of time possible.” Another long pause on the line. “There is nothing else,” his wise friend said. “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”

Monday, May 3

The History of a Marriage

I attended a funeral last week of a man who had been married for 32 years...13 of those years he spent as a husband and father...19 years he spent totally paralyzed as a result of a stroke. The stroke was so severe it left him without the capacity to walk, talk or interact in any way but to blink his eyes.

The funeral was packed. Many friends and family members spoke of this man's faith and contribution to his family. They spoke of his sense of humor. They told of his perseverence and his incredible spirit of forgiveness as he dealt with aides that were less than civil to him.

They spoke of his wife.

For 19 years, she raised 4 children and made all the necessary adjustments needed to continue on and build her home. And she did. At one point in the service, we all stood up and gave the family a standing ovation...just prompted by the tell the wife and kids that they had just completed a long journey and it was time for them to hear that it was a job 'well-done'.

I couldn't help but think that if that had been me, left with 4 kids and an invalid husband would I carry on with such grace and love? Nowadays, I've got to believe people wouldn't encourage a spouse to endure such a lonely path when a simple divorce might ease the situation abit. I have to believe this wife received wise counsel and tons of encourage to stay and rely on the Lord to get her through some mighty tough days.

Marriages are built by life-shaping experiences. Events that have a lasting impact on who we are and how we live. We are building history as we build a marriage. That history is the super-glue that can hold a marriage together if it is given a chance.

This weary wife stood in front of the congregation and shared some of her family's history last week. A history that was possible because she chose to do the right thing. She chose to remember her vows of commitment. This was a wise woman who truly BUILT her home...and now has a history of a remarkable marriage to share.