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"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." Matthew 5:14-15

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." Matthew 13:45-46

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Counter Cultural

I have been thinking a lot lately about how we are called to be separate from the world and to be different. Romans 12:2 says, " Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Unfortunately even in the church we find compromise and conforming to the world. You hear comments like, "Well, that verse doesn't apply to us today because we live in a different time." But isn't all of God's scripture ordained? We can't just pick and choose which of the areas that we want to obey and just disregard others.

1 Timothy 2:11-12 says, "A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent." When you read this passage, what comes to mind?

Please share your thoughts.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Back to Normal?

I'm so glad you enjoyed the photos of our tree. My youngest son took those. He received a digital camera for Christmas and he has really enjoyed making movies and taking photos. Most days you will find him doing something with his camera. Today though you will find him working on his standardized testing. He will be working on that today and tomorrow. I know he will be glad when he is finished.

I think I am slowly on the road back to normal. Is that possible? I was feeling better and attended church services on Sunday morning, but as we were half way through the service, I realized I wouldn't be able to stay for Sunday School. So as soon as the service concluded my husband dropped me off at home. I no sooner was relaxing on the bed when I started with a new round of the stomach bug. Off to the bathroom I trotted.... again and again and again. Okay, you get the picture. It was not a pretty sight. By Sunday evening I was worn out. Yesterday was a day to recover and rest.

Today I have been pretty much up and about. I had my first real meal, a piece of toast for breakfast and I just had half of a sandwich for lunch. So I'm praying that everything stays where it is supposed to be! :)

I spent the morning working on finishing my oldest son's portfolio. I still have one subject of papers that need to be copied and included. Then the last thing will be to print off pictures from our various field trips. Last evening my sweet husband spent several hours putting all of the photos for me to choose from into a special directory so I could arrange the pages. Only problem is, I can't find the directory! So I guess I will wait until he gets home from work so I can work on that. Then tomorrow afternoon is their home school evaluation.

I will breathe a sigh of relief after Thursday, when I take the test to be graded. Then we will be officially finished for the school year. Of course my oldest son still has two college finals next week, but I will not have to help with that.

That pretty much catches you up to date on what has been happening in my life. I pray I will be completely on the mend because I have lots of plans for the summer. I'll be sharing about them in the weeks to come.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

My Favorite Sight in Spring







I was wanting to post this yesterday, but ended up spending the day in bed with a stomach flu instead. I am feeling much better today.

I wanted to share with you one of my favorite sights each Spring. This is a view of our Japanese cherry tree that is in our front yard. Each year it brings me such joy to see it in its full beauty. It has blossomed a little earlier than normal this year. Most years it is in full blossom close to my birthday. This time it is a couple weeks early.

As I write this I hear the birds chirping outside. They too are enjoying this beautiful Spring day. I praise God for the change of seasons and for the promises He gives us. What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Easy Pickle Recipe

With warmer weather just around the corner, I thought I would post an easy pickle recipe that I got from my mother-in-law.

2-3 Cucumbers or zucchini (I use both when they are readily available)
1 large sweet onion
2 cups water
2 cups vinegar
2 cups sugar
salt

Slice cucumber, zucchini and onions. Leave onions as rings. Place in large bowl and liberally salt. Let sit for about an hour until it starts to wilt (water will form in bottom of the bowl). Rinse thoroughly.Taste to make sure they are not too salty.

In the mean time, stir equal parts of vinegar, water and sugar. Pour over cucumbers, zucchini and onions. (Be sure it is in a bowl with a lid). Keep in refrigerator. Start enjoying the next day.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Half Full or Half Empty

Most of my life I have been a glass is half empty type of gal. I'm not sure exactly why, but I have often struggled with being more negative when it comes to looking at things. This is something that I asked the Lord to change about me several years ago. I found that as I looked at the negative side of things, I became more negative. Not a pretty picture and definitely not encouraging.

This morning the Lord reminded me of how far I have come. I can't say that I always look at the positive side of things now, but often I do. When something negative does happen in my life, I try to remind myself that God is not surprised by the situation and I know that I can trust Him. I find that often if not always, being positive is a choice that I can make. Will I choose to see the bright side? Will I choose to walk in faith and believe in God for this circumstance?

I guess my biggest struggle is that last June I attended She Speaks, because I knew that God wanted me to be there. I had just finished writing a book with Bible study on the Proverbs 31 woman. On a real step of faith I met with a representative from a publishing company. I was scared to death. But the night before, I had given my writing to the Lord for Him to do with it whatever He wanted, whether that meant being published or not. I had two editor appointments. The first one I was really nervous, and they weren't interested. The second one I just felt more relaxed and less nervous. I was able to talk passionately about my book proposal. I was shocked when she said that she wanted to take it along back with her. That was ten months ago. I have heard no word since then, even though I have emailed and written a couple letters to inquire about the status of my proposal.

Since then I have written and submitted a devotional, a home school article, entered a poetry contest, and have not received word from any of them. This year I really felt the Lord was encouraging me to be more active about pursuing publishing. This is probably where I have the hardest time being a 'half full' type of gal. The enemy keeps reminding me of past failures. As I try to make that choice to look at things positively, will you pray for me?

I have received almost 200 responses back from my survey of the ten struggles that Christian women face. I still would like to get 300 more from various churches around the country. I have a huge task ahead of me of compiling all of the results and then coming up with something to write about it. I'm at the stage right now where I'm afraid to fail. The task ahead looks pretty daunting. I pray that the Lord will not only give me ideas for this book but also provide the women that are willing to share their ten struggles. I pray that I will be able to look at this project as half full.

Which would you say that you are of the two? How do you deal with things when they seem impossible?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Looking Ahead

Here I am, almost at the end of my 12th year of home schooling. It seems hard to believe. When I started out twelve years ago I really wasn't sure if we would continue all of the way through - not because I wasn't in favor of it, but I was insecure in my abilities. I guess you would say I'm in the home stretch since my oldest son only has a year of schooling before he graduates and moves on to college. Incredible! Next year my youngest will be in 9th grade, which leaves only four more years for me to be home schooling. I know how quickly time passes, and before I know it those years will have passed away.

So as I look ahead to four or five years when I no longer have the responsibility of their education, I begin to wonder what things God will have in store for me. Is there anything that I can be doing now to cultivate and prepare myself for that time? I have always had a desire to write, and I think that God will use that more in my life as I get to the point where I have the time and freedom to write. But I also have a desire to mentor and work with women to encourage them to follow after what God has for them, and not what the world says. We live in a time when it is getting harder and harder to go against the flow. It is so important that we do make a stand for our beliefs and stick with it.

In this waiting time it is important to still spend quality time with the Lord and to dig in His word to discover what His will and desires are for my future. In the mean time I can also be doing research - learning how to be a mentor, better writer, encourager, etc. I want to prepare myself for what lies ahead so that I will be faithful. As you look ahead what new things do you feel God wants you to do?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Chance to Rest and Reflect

This week did not turn out the way that I had planned it. Don't you just love when God changes 'your plans'. Monday was my youngest son's fourteenth birthday. Everything went well and he had a great time celebrating with some friends of his. Tuesday I woke up with a mission on my mind - to get the boy's portfolios put together for their home school evaluation on Friday.

I spent two days working extremely hard trying to get everything all together. But finally, by Wednesday evening I had to give in to the demands of my body - I was sick. I had been fighting a sore throat, fever, aches, etc. for a couple days and was just not getting any better. By Thursday morning I realized that I would not be able to get the portfolios finished or even make it for the evaluation. So I made phone calls to reschedule that, canceled writing club for that afternoon, scheduled a doctor's appointment for Friday, and crawled in bed.

Friday found me with an antibiotic prescription and just resting as much as possible. I am starting to feel better today, but realize how stressed I was at the beginning of the week wondering how I was going to get everything accomplished. I was given a chance to rest and reflect over the past couple days.

It is so easy to rush ahead and make plans for our days, but I must never lose sight of seeking God's face and seeing what plans He has in mind for me. Often they are quite different than I would imagine. As I had this time of forced quiet I had the opportunity to read the book Even Now by Karen Kingsbury. It was my first time to read one of her books. Through reading the book and having more time to talk with God, I was able to listen and hear Him speak about several areas in my life that need some attention and working. Even though I have not enjoyed being sick, I praise God for this time of rest He has given me. When was the last time that you took the opportunity to rest and reflect?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Slipping Through My Fingers

Have you ever felt that time was slipping through your fingers? I felt that yesterday as I watched my fourteen year old son interact with three boys ages 12-14. It struck me that we only have a few more years of celebrating his birthday together before he could be off to college. Wow! Where has the time gone? It definitely feels like it has been slipping through my fingers.

This year has been a blur. Even my oldest son commented about it. We are down to our last week or so of home school for the year and he could not believe how quickly this year passed. I feel the same way. I have just two more days to get all of their school papers in order before they have their home school evaluations on Friday. As I was recording all of our field trips I was surprised at all the places we have been this past year. I had not realized that! :)

I think God has been showing me that I need to slow down at times and take advantage of the time that I do have, instead of thinking that I will have time later. Right now I'm in crunch time with putting these portfolios together, but starting next week I plan to take some time to just stop what I am doing and just relax with my boys. I don't want all of our time to slip through my fingers and later regret that we didn't spend some more time together.

How about you? Is there something or someone that you need to stop and treasure today?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Busy Day in our Home

Today is my youngest son's fourteenth birthday. Here is a photo of him that we took back in August. I can hardly believe how quickly my sons have grown. My youngest is now taller than I am and is developing hair on his chin as well as a deep voice. I'm thankful for him. Happy Birthday Son!

I also wanted to share something exciting that happened in church yesterday. I already had shared about the Heaven's Gates & Hell's Flames production that was at our church last week. Many lives were changed. Praise God. Yesterday it was scheduled to have a baptism service. No one was scheduled to participate in the first worship service, but Pastor opened it up. Two people that just became Christians last week came forward and decided to be baptized. It was so touching to see God's spirit moving. My husband heard in the evening that four people that were saved last week were baptized in the second service, as well as the person that was originally scheduled. Praise God!

So today we are praising God for how He moved at our church yesterday. We also are praising God for our 9lb. 8 oz. son that came into the world 14 years ago.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Organizationally Challenged

Over the past couple weeks you have been very open about sharing your struggles you face as a Christian woman. One of the biggies for me is organization with the home. I do well for a while and then everything seems to just go crazy. My biggest area of conflict is my office/craft area. Originally it was set up to hold my craft items as well as an area for me to write. Here's what it looks like now. Obviously I haven't been doing any writing in there. In fact, I've been writing in the dining room.

Since this room isn't being used it has become the collect all place for something that either doesn't have a home or needs to be 'hidden' away when someone is coming.

Lysa TerKeurst and Karen Ehman are teaming up to help those of us that are organizationally challenged. If that happens to be you go here:
http://lysaterkeurst.blogspot.com/2008/04/organization-swap-and-hop.html
to learn more about how to participate.