Thursday, January 21, 2010

What a Relief

There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse! As I have often found in travelling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position, and be bruised in a new place. ~Washington Irving

Moved 750 miles from friends and family

Bruised in a new place

Found a job; quit a job (repeat about a dozen times)

Bruised in a new place

Financial hardships

Bruised in a new place

Relationship struggles

Bruised in new place

Denied an easier road

Bruised in a new place

As Mark and I are running this race walking this road crawling down this path of constant change the Lord has set before us, I oft times:

Question my God


Beg my God


Wrestle with my God


Shut out my God

I can do it myself.

I want to get angry with my God and stomp my foot and tell Him how it isn’t fair! But then I remember . . .

Beaten three times

Bruised in a new place

Shipwrecked three times

Bruised in a new place

Stoned once

Bruised in a new place

Thrown in prison

Bruised in a new place

Denied relief . . . three times

Bruised in a new place

Who could endure such repeated bruising? I’m sure I couldn’t.

Who would willingly continue with the certainty of more bruising? I’m sure I wouldn’t. But then it comes. Not all the answers I want, but the only answers I need.

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong". II Corinthians 12:9-10

Through Paul’s affliction, though we know not what it was, he learned to surrender his own will to the will of God. Paul recognized that it is during these times of hardship and human weakness that God’s strength can be experienced most fully. It is during these times that we are forced to put aside our own frail, human-centric dreams, wants and ambitions, and rest in the will of our God who gives us what He knows we need. It is during these times that we see our need for Him.

"By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:2-6

"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:2-4

So I endeavor to accept this shifting, and be. . .

Bruised in new place.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stop Your Bellyachin'

I know I just posted, but like I said, lots of lessons. This one will be brief because, as I have been thinking about this for sometime, I have searched for better words than mine to tell the story. I touched on my discontented spirit in the last post, and have actually had conversations with some friends in regards to this topic. Before we moved to KY, I was so ready to go where ever God would lead us into ministry. Once here, despite God's obvious hand in every step along the way and his faithful provision, I found myself constantly complaining and worrying. Even considering going back home. Does this story sound familiar? A people called by God, delivered from less than ideal circumstances, meeting with trials and hardships along way - but still having their needs met by God in unexpected ways, and yet still continuing on in their grumblings and moanings? Got it now - I thought you might! Here is a link to a great commentary regarding this exact subject that I found online

Here are a few points from the commentary:

There is a natural tendency in the carnal christian to murmur and complain about one’s lot in life. We complain and murmur when we feel that things aren’t working out right, and when people don’t work fast enough to please us.

But the only thing that carping and whining accomplishes is to make us cynical, resentful and bitter human beings. It fosters the idea that we deserve to be treated better, we deserve more, and that we have earned the right to be treated special.

We’ve got to learn how to shut down this grouchy attitude before it destroys our life.

Complaining weakens our resolve. Words of faith empower us.

We need to train ourselves to walk by faith. We need to eliminate the negative words that destroy our faith in God, and instead fill our mouths with positive, kind and edifying words. Or, we will end up in the same predicament that the children of Israel found themselves in.

Complaining will neutralize the power of God in your life as well. The blessings of God are sure, but they are not automatic.

You can fully believe that the Bible is the Word of God and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; but if you don’t stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself, your negative words will neutralize the power of God in your life as well, making it of no effect.

To insist on being a negative, grouchy, grumpy and whining person will eventually cost you. You don’t have to be like the children of Israel; you can change your attitude on life.

You can learn a new way of living, a new way of thinking. You can learn how to speak the Word of God in faith. You can learn God’s way of living.

I do now find myself more frequently remembering all the ways in which God has met our needs in both big and small ways. I find that because of where we are, geographically and circumstantially, I am finding myself in situations that give me the opportunity to tell and retell of the faithfullness of God in our lives. I also love how God knows me so well, and speaks to me in ways he knows I will hear - through songs and music! I cannot even count how many songs that have pierced my spirit and melted my heart in regards to this exact topic. One in particular is Nichole Nordeman's Sunrise. If you've never heard it, at least google the lyrics - AWESOME!

The Fruit of the Spirit's not a Lemon

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. THESE are the fruits of the spirit. As many of you know, it has now been about 15 months since our family embarked on this path that God has called us to. I wish I had the skills (and the time) to properly express all the ways in which God has used, and continues to use, this season of our lives to work in my life. I think, though, that this particular topic will encompass a multitude of those. Admittedly, I have been a person quick to anger, discontent, and rarely patient. Over the past several months, I've felt as if God has been holding a mirror to my spirit, allowing me to see things in my heart that I haven't wanted to see. I began to ask myself these questions, "Why am I so angry all the time? Why can I not remember the blessings God has given me and be content?" As I began to ask myself these types of questions, the Holy Spirit brought to my heart the fruits of the spirit. I began to go down the list and use it as a measuring stick of sorts. "When others meet me, talk to me, see me, do they see these fruits in my life? More importantly, as God looks at me, does he see these fruits?" Not surprisingly, I found myself falling short in almost every area. If I'm angry (which is often), how can I show love, joy, patience, kindness, or goodness? If I'm ungrateful for what I have and living in discontent, how can I show peace? If I'm not daily being thankful for the extraordinary provision of my God, am I demonstrating faithfulness? If I lose my temper and lash out at my children, my husband, or the clerk at Wal-Mart, will they see gentleness and self-control. Am I bearing fruit in my life of the relationship I am suppose to have with my Saviour? Oh how it makes my heart ache to think of the opportunities that have been missed to have my life be a witness through the fruits. Thank God HE has not given up on me!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Santa, Are You for Real?

It was a wonderful Christmas season! Full of activities, excitement, and . . . lots of questions. Our goal this year was to have a meaningful family activity every night of Advent. I read, studied, prepared (on the computer!) a lovely calendar of events that started Nov. 30 and actually ran a few days past Christmas. I won't say how many of the events we actually did (mostly because it's embarrassing), but the few we did accomplish, were pretty cool. The boys had been asking questions about Santa, and if he is real. Mark and I had already discussed how we might deal with this. It is not that we can't appreciate the fun of make believe, but the truth of the matter is that I'm not comfortable lying to my children, when the truth is hidden in the legend anyway. So, we ordered the book Santa, Are You for Real? by Harold Myra. Great book for kids that explains where the idea of Santa Claus comes from and the story of the real Saint Nicholas. Now, I am not saying that my highly intelligent 5 and 6 year old fully understood the idea, but we've at least laid a good foundation. We also read a multitude of books that recounted the Christmas story, as well as a plethora of bible passages. And when all was said and done, my kids could tell me why we have Christmas and parts of the Christmas story - like that Jesus was born in "a stinkin' barn" as our youngest said, with plenty of indignation!

We had a whirlwind Christmas, it seems. School for all was finished by Dec. 19th, and we headed up to Dry Ridge for the weekend. Saturday was rehearsal for the children's Christmas Program, Sunday morning was church, and Sunday evening was the final program. Both kids had speaking parts! My dad arrived in Louisville on Monday afternoon, and we all drove to the airport to get him - kid made sign and all! Dad spent the week with us, which included plenty of shopping, cooking, baking, and wrestling (it's a Papa thing). On the morning of Dec. 26, we all headed out to drive the 12 hours to Oklahoma . . . that somehow turned into a 14 hour drive! We all arrived safely at Papa Terry's house completely exhausted. While in OK, things didn't slow down. Saturday was lunch and Christmas at my mom's with my grandpa and my niece, Joy. Sunday was a great visit to our home church, St. Andrew's UMC, and Christmas with Mark's family. Monday we were very excited to have the opportunity to spend part of the day with our good friends, Todd and Lisa Bergman and their boys - FUN! Tuesday, we had unbelievably nice weather and we, along with my parents and Mark parents, spent the day (a record 5 hours for us) at the Tulsa Zoo. Gratefully, on Wednesday, we were able to visit both my grandma Polly and Mark's grandma Judy (which was the driving force behind our unexpected trip). It was good to see that they were doing better than we expected. This brings us to New Year's Eve. As tradition holds, Mark's parents watched the boys and Mark and I spent the evening with out good, long-time friends, Brandon and Michelle. Lots of good food, good movies (somewhat debatable), and good times. It felt just like home! Thursday, Mark, Brandon, and the boys went to BassPro (I know, you are all surprised - the closest one here is in Cincy), several Wal-Marts and a Target (Ethan was on a very determined mission - spend all the Christmas money). Michelle and I had a wonderful lunch at Pei Wei (mmmmmmmmmmm) and then did some shopping in Owasso. The rest of the day was spent doing laundry, gathering, and packing. Mark's parents had a nice dinner for us that night, which Brandon and Michelle came to, and then it was an evening of Wii playoffs! Sadly, we are now at Friday, the return trip. Not much to say about that except somehow we manage to make record time (11 1/2 hours)WITH THE KIDS! Mark was so excited. Then we hit the ground running when we got home. Laundry, unpacking, lesson plans - everyone back to school.

I'll make another post later about current events . . . and hopefully adding some pics from Christmas!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Merry Thanksgiving, Happy Christmas, Jolly Holidays

I can't believe it has been over two weeks since my last post. Although, I noticed that when I posted something totally unrelated to Twilight, I only got one comment. Hmmmmmmm. Oh, well. So . . . the movie came out last Friday and, admittedly/shamefully, I was out those school doors by 3:19. I was impressed by the movie, however, it must be noted that I went in with a certain level of expectation of disappointment. I had seen the trailers, and knowing that movies are never as good as their books, I felt reasonably assured of some disappointment. The production company is not a major in the industry and naturally had a limited budget. Overall, though, I think the movie was well done and I look forward to seeing the next one when it comes out.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! I spent the better part of today Christmas shopping - by myself. In the past, I have always done the big "day after Thanksgiving" shop-a-thon with my mother. She would pick me up or we would meet at her house in Tulsa around 4 AM and finish up sometime in the afternoon. I couldn't find anyone around here willing to do that with me! It is making me miss my mom that much more during these holidays. We have recently decided to head back to OK during the Christmas/New Year holiday. My dad is flying into Louisville on Dec. 22 and will spend a few days here with us. Then, on Dec. 26, we will all drive back to OK together. On Jan. 2, the fam will head back to KY to get a start on a new semester. We all return to school on Jan. 5. Mark is taking a J term (a one month long, condensed class) - and he has chosen Greek! It will be a FUN month for us (is the sarcasm coming through in the text?)!

The boys are doing well in school. Both are making good improvements - although I still miss homeschooling. I don't know if we will ever get back to it, but given the choice of feeding them or homeschooling them, we went with putting food in their bellies! The students in my kindergarten class are doing exceptionally well! All of them are making excellent progress - some first grade readers, lots of kids starting to read little three letter words, and even my less experienced students are now getting nearly all their letters and letter sounds. It is so amazing to watch their transformations! We are indeed "fearfully and wonderfully made."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Return of the Mini-Van Mom

That's right people - I'm driving a mini-van again and loving it. And no, Michelle, it does not make me feel old! We got a really good deal on a 2000 Toyota Sienna. There was a family on campus trying to sell their van before leaving to head home to Korea (today). We really needed more space, especially for traveling to Dry Ridge once a week, and any trips back to Oklahoma we might be able to make. (Don't get excited, okies, we don't have plans anytime soon!) We are planning on selling the Avalon, so we should be able to recoup all the money we spent on the van - hopefully a little extra. Like I said, it was a really good deal. The boys love it. It has one of those automatic side doors, so they get to pretend they are using "the force" to open and close it! Mark and I already like it because it has captain's seats for the boys - quite a nice space between them now!

On a somewhat different note, we are still in the process of deciding whether to move into the parsonage in Dry Ridge this coming summer. (Actually, the parsonage is in Jonesville, and Dry Ridge is the closest town.) We love it here in Wilmore, but we really long to be closer to our churches - and when you're a poor seminary family, it seems almost stupid to pass up free housing (including utilities). I, of course, would have to quit my job, but I could try to get a job in Grant County. A member of our congregation teaches 3rd grade there and I'm sure she could help me out. My mentor teacher this year also knows the Grant County Superintendent and offered to help me get on there if we ever decided to move. So those are all positives. It is a very small area. It would take us about 20-25 minutes to get to the nearest anything. And our neighbors are a little worrisome - very rough around the edges - and we think the church has had problems with them. Obviously, right now, we are leaning heavily toward moving. Both Mark and I can really see our family there. Please be in prayer for us as we consider what God would have us to do.

Monday, November 10, 2008


OBSESSIVE CULLEN DISORDER! The Cullen's are the vampire family from the Twilight series I have been reading. Believe it or not, I have already started re-reading the first book, Twilight, again. After reading all four books so quickly, they more or less become one long continuous story in my head. With the movie coming out in less than 2 weeks (which is based only on the first book), I wanted that story fresh in my head. For those of you who are familiar with the books, they now have one of those quizzes to see which character from the book you are. Mark took it before me (even though he hasn't read the book) and he is Carlisle Cullen. My friend and I thought this was humorous. Then I took the quiz and . . . I'm Esme (who is Carlisle's wife in the book). So at least we are still married in the land of fiction!!!! This post also comes with a promise that the next post will NOT be about Twilight. I will attempt to write something about family and our lives here in Wilmore. Happy Reading.