Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Big Girls Don't Cry

Ok, so you may be singing or humming this song for the rest of the day, but I had to give this post that title.  As the song says, "Big girls don't cry"...right????  Well, we try not to cry at least.  My big girl did shed a few quick tears after her 4 shots today.  Yes, 2 in each arm at the same poor baby!  A few tears might be expected, but she was definitely brave and strong.  We have been praying all week that God would help her to be brave, and she was fantastic!

Tears are to be expected in life.  It could be tears of pain, as in my big girls experience today.  We can cry tears from emotional hurts.  There are tears of joy, which can be so hard to explain.  We shed tears of sympathy, as we cry along with friends or family during their hurts.  There is even tears of relief when a prayer is answered.  In other words, tears can accompany any and every emotion we experience.

I have shed my share of tears in my lifetime.  And to me it is such a comfort to know it is ok to cry.  And it is even more of a comfort to know it is ok to cry to God.  He will comfort us.  He will listen to us cry.  And most importantly, when our time to enter heaven to live with Him forever comes... He will wipe away our tears for good!!!!

Today's Verse
"In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God:  and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears."  2 Samuel 22:7

I love that verse, in fact I love the whole chapter of 2 Samuel 22.  We can call to Him in our time of need and distress.  We can cry to our God.  And it is promised that He will hear us and listen.

Other verses in the chapter offer hope and reassurance that He is all we need.  As a youth, I sang in the teen choir at church.  Now, I have told y'all that my singing is not a joyful noise to anybody that hears it with maybe the exception of my girls (and that will soon change I am sure).  But nevertheless, I have sang in public before.  One of my favorite songs was taken from verses in this very chapter (verses 4 and 47).

I will call upon the Lord
Who is worthy to be praised
So shall I be saved from mine enemies
I will call upon the Lord
The Lord liveth
And blessed be the Rock
And let the God of my salvation be exalted
The Lord liveth
And blessed be the Rock
And let the God of my salvation be exalted

I still sing that song several times a week.  In fact, the girls and I just sung it before nap.  I can call upon the Lord at any time, with any request, and even through my tears.  Big girls may try not to cry, but thankfully it is ok if we do...and we know we have a loving God that will listen when we do have to shed a few tears!

Other favorite verses from 2 Samuel 22, which in case I didn't tell you enough...I love this chapter!
v. 2-3 "And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer.  The God of my rock; in him will I trust:  he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my savior, thou savest me from violence."
v. 29 "For thou art my lamp, O LORD:  and the LORD will lighten my darkness."
v. 31 "As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried (proven): he is a buckler (shield) to all them that trust in him."
v. 33 "God is my strength and power; and he maketh my way perfect." 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Unknown Hurt

I have a scratch on my finger, and I have no idea how it got there.  I discovered it when the soap hit the open wound and the burn started.  I felt like a wimp because it was a serious ouchie.  I had been busy preparing supper, so I can only assume I cut my finger on a can or knife.  It was bleeding a little, and the cut is about a half inch long, so we are not talking just a tiny scratch.  How did I not feel this when it happened?  How did I not know I had injured myself?

As I was reading to the girls, the burning sensation was more intense.  I needed some sort of medicine for this little boo-boo.  The more I thought about it, the more it seemed to hurt.

Ever had an emotional hurt that happens the same way?

Someone says something.  You are pondering the conversation after it happened.  Wow, did they really say that to me.  Ouch, that comment burned.  Did they mean it like it sounded and the way I took it?  We overanalyze.   We continue to ponder.  The more we think about it, the more it hurts!

It was an unknown hurt.  The friend, family member or acquaintance in question does not realize they hurt us.  It was not intentional.  But they did cause us pain.  Not pain in the actual moment, but pain after we walked away and really thought about it.

How do we handle the pain?  Do we look for "medicine", or God's guidance to help us forgive?  Or do we stubbornly start fuming over the hurt and write that person off?  We can become bitter over unknown hurts.  Friendships can crumble over unknown hurts. We might not bandage up the wound, forgive and move on.  Instead we can't stop thinking about it.  It makes us angry.  It makes us resentful.

Maybe you have hurt someone unintentionally?  You may have said something that didn't come out quite right.  You hurt a friend, and you didn't know it.  Would you want that friend to write you off?

Just like my physical boo-boo needs a bandage, our emotional boo-boos need our care and attention.  They need to be addressed immediately so we aren't damaging friendships by not confronting the little things.  Even little boo-boos get infected.  One small comment, that is taken the wrong way, can ruin a great friendship.

Today's Verse
"A friend loveth at all times"  Proverbs 17:17a

We cannot let Satan use the unknown wounds to ruin our relationships.  If you are suffering from a wound, ask the Lord to guide you as you seek to bandage the wound and forgive.  If you sense you have been the offender and wounded a friend unintentionally, ask that friend for forgiveness.  Talk it out.  Unknown hurts can cause serious damage, but not if we are prepared to put a stop to the burn as soon as the boo-boo occurs.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A whole 24 hours

Have you ever had a week you dreaded?  You knew it was coming up on the calendar, but you just simply were not looking forward to it.  Maybe you had a deadline or an appointment or something was going to be taking place at work, and you just wished you could fast forward through it.  I have been looking upon this week with some dreadful thoughts.  There are several reasons for my negativity about this last week in February/first week in March. 

First of all, can you believe we are already in March?  WOW!  Where is 2012 going so fast?  Slow down please, I need to catch my breath!!!!  Second, our calendar is filled with dreaded doctor and dentist appointments all week long, with four appointments to be exact.  My oldest daughter is getting the dreaded school shots!  Ouchie!   And I have to begin the procedures to fix a badly broken tooth.   Another ouchie!  Third dreaded point, getting our taxes done...enough said!  And trust me, there is a fourth and a fifth and a sixth reason to dread this week, but I will not bore you with all the details. 

So I mentally told myself this morning to try to find some positives in the week.  Plan some fun crafts for the girls.  See if there was anything special we might could do to take our minds off the dread. 

First, I remembered how happy we are that March 1st is this week.  Besides the fact it is my niece's birthday (Yay Kyla!!!), it is also a happy happy day here in Angier, NC.  March 1st equals the reopening of our beloved ice cream shop, Sunny Skys!!!!  We have to make it through the long winter months with not having any of the delicious, homemade flavors we love so very much.  But on March 1st the wait is over, and we can finally enjoy that cold, sweet goodness again.  So check one for happy moments and not dread.

Second, with all these Dr. appointments, Daddy gets to stay home more.  The girls love it when Daddy is home from work!  They will be so very happy, so check two!

Third, it hits me...we get a WHOLE EXTRA DAY!  I am always wishing there was a little more time to complete the things on my list.  Doesn't everybody wish for a few extra hours here or there? Well this year, we get a whole extra 24 hours.   Well if that is not a positive in the middle of a few negatives, I don't know what is.  One whole extra day!

It only comes around every four years, so how will I use my extra 24 hours?  Will it just be another "regular" day? 

We've heard it said every day is a gift from God.  Do we treat our days with that attitude?  Even on the regular days or the dreaded days, do we have the attitude of praising and serving the Lord.  I  want my even my "regular" 24 hours to be lived for Him.  So, this extra 24 hours will be no exception.  I will continue to be thankful for each day He gives me knowing that "For me to live is Christ,"  (Phil 1:21).  I want my extra day to be a day for God, just like everyday should be.

Today's Verses
"But I will hope continually and will yet praise thee more and more.  My mouth shall show forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof."  Psalms 71:14-15

I am still going to praise God "more and more" even on those days of dread.  " I will hope continually" knowing even my dreaded days are in His hands, and I will "show forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day." being thankful for my Savior.

 A whole extra 24 hours to be thankful and hopeful and simply full of praise for the Maker of our days!  Now that is something positive in a week with a few negatives. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Finding the good in a bad memory

If you were to outside outside today, you sure wouldn't think it was February.  It feels like the middle of spring here in NC.  The temps are in the 70s, and the sunny outdoors is calling my name.  The girls and I went to the park yesterday and hope to get another quick trip in this afternoon before supper.  My girls love being outside.  Running, sports, swinging, sliding; you name it and they love it if it involves being outdoors. 

I do have to be honest though.  When these 70 degree days do show up in the middle of February, I can't help but get a small chill.  Not from the temperature of course, but from a bad memory.  You see, it was in February of 1989 when a tornado came through my small home town.  We had been having weather just like we are having today.  The tornado destroyed our house, several barns, and knocked down too many trees in our yard to count.  It was probably the scarriest day of my life.  I can recall every detail, even what I was wearing.  I can close my eyes and picture the whole day play out like on a big movie screen.  I recall trying to calm everyone down in the lunch room when they came over the intercom and said we were under a tornado watch.  "It is just a watch guys, not  a warning.  We will be fine."  But it was only a few short minutes later when the warning came.

Now I am not trying to point fingers or be disrespectful concerning my teacher, but she did something that could have been horrific.  All the other classes got under the table in our little lunch room.  Granted, this room was filled with windows, but you always hear to stay where you are and take cover.  She on the other hand, made a split decision to take our class outside and to the main building.  I can picture that black swirling sky and the thunder still rings in my ears.  We made it ok to the building and huddled in the hall way.  The doors at the end of the hallway burst open with a gust of wind and some glass shattered, but thankfully that was the only damage done to the school.

My parents were at home, but with God's protecting hand, they were unharmed as well.  I can picture the damage, all the cars, all the people there as my Nanny slowly drove me into the driveway.  Trees were everywhere.  The front porch was gone.  One huge tree had fallen on our house.  Barns were completely gone as if never even there.  The Lord blessed us that day with safety, but it was still scary.

So warm February days are not completely fun for me, because I can't help but play that day over in my mind.  There are other things that spark bad memories for me.  Frankly, it is quite unavoidable.  There are bad things that have happened to all of us, and there will be little things that remind us of those bad events. 

Is there a way to find any good in these bad memories?

I was able to understand once I was older, that the Lord had taken care of us on the warm February day.  Nobody in my small hometown was injured, just a little shaken by the weather.  We were able to get a new house.  We were living on an old family farm, and the house was over one hundred years old.  There was no heat or air, and although I still loved that house, it was a blessing to build a new one.

But there are other events in my life that I still can't understand.  I can't seem to find any good.  Certain things trigger my memory, and I think about these bad memories...the loss of loved ones and friends and other hurts I have experienced.  I just cannot see any reason for them.  But, God had a reason for them.  And if I can see no other good in them, I can see God and know that He was in control. 

Today's Verse
"Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice."  Philipians 4:4

You might think I am crazy for using this verse when talking about the bad things that have occurred over time.  But, we as Christians are to rejoice always...we rejoice because our Lord is in control.  My KJV Study Bible for Women says of this verse, "For if the Christian believes that his life and all its circumstances are in the hands of a sovereign, wise, and loving God who is always working to accomplish good for him, then he can indeed 'rejoice always'."

Finding the good in a bad memory may seem impossible, but finding God's hand in our circumstances is a comfort and a reason for rejoicing!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Not Sure????

Yesterday I talked about recalling the place you were at when you asked Jesus into your heart and life.  After sharing that little tidbit, I can't help but tell the story of the first time I felt the Holy Spirit urge me to get out a pad and pen and start writing.  I had often kept a  journal of prayers and memories, but this was a sure "write this down now" calling.   

Our church was in the midst of moving.  The pastor had been preaching on salvation and dedicating your life to the Lord.  I was washing dishes and thinking about church things. (If you read recently, you know I always include talking with God with my dish washing)  I heard a little voice saying, "share with the church your whole testimony".  I immediately responded, "I can't do that.  I hate talking in front of crowds.  I will not be able to get my words out.  I don't want to take up everyone's time when we will be celebrating our new sanctuary."  But I just kept feeling a tug at my heart.  I then had the idea just to write it down.  I stopped washing right then and pulled out a notebook and pen.

Words had never been so easy to write.  They just kept coming.  Every detail was there and so vivid.  I loved the feeling of writing it down.  I loved how happy it made me.  Not only was I joyful over recalling the events, but also because I felt so wonderful just writing!

I read the story to my husband, who made me read it to our pastor, who persuaded me to read it that first Sunday in our new sanctuary.  (I couldn't say no or it would disprove my favorite verse - Phil 3:14)  I read my story that Sunday.  The story of the most important decision of my life.  The story I had felt the unbelievable urge to write down.  I'd like to share some of my story today...

I have posted before about peeping my eyes when the teacher asked if we had asked Jesus into our hearts.  I had raised my hand for yes because my cousin raised hers.  The feeling that I had NOT really asked Jesus into my heart just kept making me feel so funny.  I finally told the teacher, "I have to go with the others.  I HAVE to ask Jesus into my heart."  That caring teacher took us one by one into the "junk room" at the church and helped us pray.  I sat on an old box and prayed the sinner's prayer.  I was soooo excited.  I felt so different.  I couldn't wait to tell everyone!  I ran out and told my family, and I remember telling all my friends at school the next day.  Yes, some laughed at me, but I didn't care! 

The devil can make you doubt your salvation.  I remember when I was 16 having those doubts.  What if I was too young?  What if I really didn't understand?  What if I really wasn't saved?  I am so glad I had another caring teacher I could turn to for guidance.  I told her my concerns, and we prayed together (this time in the ladies' prayer room).  I gave my life to God that day.  No I have not been perfect since I was 16, and no I never will be.  But, I will never doubt if I am a child of God.  It was hard to admit I had been doubting, but I had to have that time with God.  Time to really talk about my doubts and really give my whole life to Him.

You may wonder if I was really saved at the age of 7, and yes I believe I was.  I knew I was a sinner.  I knew Jesus died for me.  I knew I HAD to ask Jesus into my heart. The Bible says we must have the faith of a child. (Mark 10:15).  But I am so glad I had that moment with God at the age of 16, and I have never had to doubt again. 

If you have a single doubt...please find someone to talk with!  You can have total assurance and it is the most awesome feeling in the world!  Please check out the "Not Sure?" page on the blog for verses and the Roman's Road is at the bottom of the page.

Today's Verse
"Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angles of God over one sinner that repenteth."  Luke 15:10

If you are doubting, let today be the day when the angels rejoice over you!

Roman's Road - Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9-10, and 10:13

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Not just for a moment...but FOREVER

Did you hear about the phenomenon that photographers flock to take pictures of in mid-February.  It is a waterfall that when the sun hits just right, for just few moments, only for one day in mid-February, the water looks like orange, hot lava.  It is located in Yosemite.  Pretty neat.  I am sure it is beautiful and amazing to witness in person.  But for those of us not able to go, here is a picture...

Just for a moment it is famous.  Just for a moment it is photographed.  Yes, someone might notice it other days.  But frankly, it is not a popular waterfall any other day of the year.  But, it is considered beautiful, even if only for a moment, and only if the weather cooperates.  Then just as quickly as it starts, it is over.  It is just a plain waterfall again.

As I walked into my kitchen this morning, the glistening, thick blanket of white frost outside on the grass caught my eye.  If you read yesterday, you know my family was wanting snow, but it was a no show.  And though this frost was not snow, it was a glittery, white blanket, that was close enough for a moment.  Yes it didn't last long.  The sun came up and the shimmer melted and was gone.  But, for a moment our yard looked like a winter wonderland.

These things in nature last but a moment.  In my life, I want Something that is lasting.  Something that is never ending.  Something that is eternal.  I don't want something that is but for a moment...I want it FOREVER. 

You know the only thing that is eternal...our Heavenly Father and His never-ending love and His eternal salvation He offers through His Son.

His love and salvation is not just for a moment...but FOREVER!

Do you remember the feeling you had when you asked Jesus to be your Savior?  I can recall every detail.  That joy I felt is unspeakable, as the old hymn says.  It is indescribable.  I once heard a preacher say, you might not remember the exact date or the exact time when you became a child of God.  But if you can't remember the place you were at and the feeling you had, you might need to make sure you have had that most important time with God.  A time when you asked Him to rule your life.  A time when you confessed your sins and asked Him to save you.   He will save you!  He will write your name in the Book of Life.  It will stay there forever.  Not just for a moment.  Not just until you sin again.  But thankfully, FOREVER!

Today's Verse
"As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even FOR EVER."  Psalms 125:2  (Capitalization of FOR EVER is for our emphasis only.)

He promises to be with His people FOREVER.  I am so glad His love is not like the lava waterfall, or the disappearing frost, or the melting snow.  I am so glad it is not like a human love with all its flaws.  It is a love and a promise of salvation that, we can be sure, is not just for a moment.  It is FOREVER!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dealing with disappointments

We had the chance for snow here in good old NC.  We had the chance, but it passed us by.  If we lived just fifteen miles north, we could have seen a dusting.  But sadly it wasn't meant to be today.  And as the weather can be so crazy here in NC, we are expecting close to 70 degrees by midweek.   We had perfect spring time weather on Saturday.  Cold and rainy yesterday.  Snow flurries last night.  And in two days, spring again.   YAY!  Can anyone say Aaaa-choooo?  We will surely be feeling the effects of the up and down temps in the coming days.

Even I was a little disappointed with the no show snow.  I peaked out the window at 2:30 am hoping to just see a dusting of the pretty white stuff.  My girls were sure hoping for it to snow too.  Their disappointment surprisingly did not last all that long.  We had a visitor this morning and lots fun things to do, so the no show snow was not too disappointing.

I was proud of the girls not being pouty about the weather.  I wish I could say the same for myself.  I was not necessarily pouty about it not snowing, but just other things that happened.  The usual.  The waiting.  The questions.  The disappointments.

We were gone all weekend to my parents.  I just knew someone would come look at our house.  The weather was supposed to be gorgeous on Saturday which usually sends the house hunters out.  But nobody wanted to view ours.  Yes we had some looks the past two weekends, but they all fell through.  Disappointments again! 

I asked my husband at 2:30 am why we were not hearing from God.  Most husbands do not like to talk at 2:30 am I have come to find out by my own experiences and hearing stories from other wives.  He told me at a more reasonable hour this morning, that we are down to the fourth quarter (man talk) and he just knew we would hear from God soon.  I have been beating myself up.  Is there something I need to do that I am not doing?  Is there a sin in my life I need to alleviate and repent?  Is there anything I can do to not have to face another disappointment?

And, as you might have guessed if you have read the blog before, two quotes were in the girls' devotion this morning that spoke straight to my heart.  And there was a devotion in my inbox that was dealing with waiting.  Two things sent straight to me, for my benefit, to calm my heart, that only God could have ordained to come at the perfect time.

The quotes:
"God is the giver, and we are the receivers.  And His richest gifts are bestowed not upon those who do the greatest things, but upon those who accept His abundance and His grace."  Hannah Whitall Smith

"You may not see immediate results, but all God wants is your obedience and faithfulness."  Vonette Bright

The devotion:

Today's Verses
"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 deistresses for Christ's sake:  for when I am weak, then am I strong."  2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Two things stand out to me.  Not only will God's strength get us through.   Not only will He make us strong in our weakness.  But rather, I am to "glory in my infirmities (or weaknesses)" and I am to "take pleasure in infirmities).  I would love to add in verse 10 the phrase "in disappointments" right before "in distresses". 

I am going to glory in my disappointments today.  I am going to take pleasure in my disappointments.  I am going to "Trust and Obey" as the song says.  I was not meant to see snow today, because God wanted our visitor to be able to come over this morning.  God has the perfect buyer for this house, or maybe He wants us to live here for ten more years.  He is making me strong even though I am feeling weak from the disappointments.  I am going to deal with the disappointments with His help and His strength!  I am going to "accept His abundance and His grace" day by day.  I don't deserve Him, but thankfully He loves me no matter what...even when I am disappointed!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Memories and Meltdowns

When we were in Florida last week, we had the crazy idea to visit all four Disney theme parks in four days.  This led to some serious fun but serious exhaustion as well.  You could stay for a week and still not see everything the city of Orlando has to offer as far as FUN is concerned.  I had to laugh quietly to myself as we took the dreaded bus trip home from the Magic Kingdom. That had been our second day and our longest by far.  We were there soon after the park opened and stayed until the gates were closing.  The little kiddos on our bus were all about to pass out, my girls included. Little heads bobbed as their eys struggled to stay open.   I thought to myself how many fun memories had just been made by all the families on the bus.  But that is not to say there were no bad moments as well. 

When traveling with toddlers and preschoolers, tantrums and breakdowns are bound to happen.  I decided the Disney people might want to add the byline:  Happiest place on earth - full of fun memories and meltdowns! 

The meltdown portion was very evident at a stage show we attended.  It was geared just for those ages two to six.  It was all their favorite characters and lots of singing and interaction.  The problem is, the time of the show was right after lunch.  In our world and generally the world of so many two to six year olds, this time equals nap time.  Oh there was laughing and excitement as the show started, but by the end, you could hear the whining and the crying starting to creep up all around us.  (We were embarrassed that even Granddaddy had nodded off during the show.)

Something the kids adored so much, but they just couldn't make it through.  They were just so tired.  They wanted to have fun.   They loved the show.  It was not their fault that they were having a whiney meltdown moment.  This was nap time.  Nap time is crucial for a fun filled evening to occur. 

Just like a trip to Disney, our whole life is going to be full of ups and downs, memories and meltdowns, triumphs and tantrums.  How will we handle the negatives?  Will we only dwell on the bad?

Today's Verses
"I will remember the works of the LORD:  surley I will remember thy wonders of old.  I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings."  Psalms 77:11-12

If I only looked at the few bad parts of the trip... the few times when the girls were whining, when they were tired and a little fussy, or when the bus and boat transportation was not going just exactly how we wanted it, it would overshadow the most important parts.  The fun memories that were made are what I want to dwell on, not the meltdowns. 

The same is true in my life.  I want to mediate on all the wonderful things God has done in my life.  There are so many blessings.  There are things I take for granted.  There are things I am not thankful for that I should be.  Yes, there have been some disappointments.  Yes, I have had some meltdowns from feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.  Yes, there are some prayers and concerns currently in my life.  But I want to focus on the positive.  I want to be thankful for the works and wonders God has performed in my life.  I want to tell others of His love and blessings.  Let's focus on the good memories and the many more to come!  Every single day, not just a Disney day, is the chance to make good memories and focus on the blessings in our lives.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wash Wash Wash

I believe my little Valentine had a fabulous birthday yesterday. We made a beautiful birthday cake shaped like a butterfly (my first time "carving" a cake to decorate).  I posted a picture below.  We had a fun party at her preschool.  It was exciting getting to be in her class for the afternoon.  I have not had that chance this school year, and I loved getting to really meet and talk with all her classmates.  The students were all very appreciative for the party, and I loved helping them decorate their Valentine boxes and pass out their cute Valentines.  The boys and the girls are in the "cootie" stage.  Do you remember that stage?  Where the girls think the boys have cooties and the boys do not want to be near the girls.  So funny!

After the grandparents came for over for supper, I was forced to do the dreaded cleanup from the day.  And it had been a long day.  I was tired, but I cannot make myself go to bed with a dirty kitchen.  Thankfully I had used a hostess's best friend...throw away plates and cups!  But even so, there were plenty of things to be washed.  I made my piles.  I had a pile that I would place in the dishwasher, and the pile that I would hand wash.  My hand wash pile seemed soooo much bigger!

Yes I do still hand wash a lot of dishes.  In fact, I hand wash dishes pretty much every night.  I think it just runs in my blood because my mother is the same way.  My friend who used to live in NC before moving to GA used to get so mad at me for not using my dishwasher more.  She did not have one in her first house, and had to hand wash everything.  She could not understand why I wouldn't use my dishwasher!  (I miss you AWC!)

Here's the thing I discovered last night.  Some things are of course not dishwasher safe.  I had used some of my serving pieces, and I never put them in the dish washer.  My mom has started giving me a Le Creuset piece for Christmas every year, and I only ever hand wash them as well.  But even things that are deemed "safe" for the dishwasher, I just feel like I can do such a better job washing them myself.  I can get them more clean.  I can make sure it is just right.  I can do all the washing!

What parts of my life do I feel the same way about?  Are there parts that I try to "hand wash" myself and not let the Lord handle?  Are their aspects I think I can do a better job at than He can? 

I know I am guilty of this.  I have tried to "hand wash" too many problems. "Oh I can handle this little problem.  It is no big deal." "Do I really need to pray about that?"  "Yes I have a plan and my plan will work!"  These thoughts can be a detriment to our lives.  God wants to be involved in every decision, every problem, every single circumstance we go through.  He wants to be consulted.  He wants to be included.  He wants to be in control.  There is no way we can handle anything in our lives better than He can!

"He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good:  and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he."  Proverbs 16:20

Trusting in the Lord is a guarantee of happiness, and I believe that trusting Him with every part of our lives is the ONLY way to handle our matters wisely.  Don't try to "wash" everything yourself, give it ALL to God.  He can "wash" it ALL!

I still plan to hand wash my dishes most nights, but days I do decide to use my trusty dishwasher I admit I enjoy the break.  The other thing about hand usually provides a great time for prayer.  As I am washing away...I can give every care and concern about my day over to the Lord to wash and take care of.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

He is Love!

It is the day of love!

But what is love????

If you are a Christian you know the real answer.....God is love!

I know you may have seen this before, but it is my favorite Valentine of all!

Today's Verse
"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."
1 John 4:8

I do hope you know the one True God of love. The One who sent His only Son to show us the ultimate love. He died for us. He died for everyone. He loves us no matter what we have done.  He loves us no matter what!  God is Love!

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day.  Happy Birthday to my little Valentine present born five years ago today!

If you want to read a funny Valentine story keep reading.  I copied a hilarious story from the Moment's with You devotion by Dennis and Barbara Rainey.  Soooooo Funny!

This is Valentine's Day. And Sam forgot it.

Sam's wife had a card addressed to him, hidden in her top dresser drawer. Her gift to him was under her dresses in the closet. She waited for him to make the first move, to end this little dodge of his. There he was, sitting down to watch television at 7:30 at night as if he might be camped out there till bedtime... as if he'd actually forgotten what day this is!

Finally, at 10 P.M., when Sam had stumbled upstairs to brush his teeth, he found his wife sitting bolt upright in bed. Somehow the temperature felt noticeably cooler in that room than in the other parts of the house.

"What's the matter? What'd I do?" He did a super-quick scan of his usual offenses. Everything checked out.

"Tomorrow morning," she said through clenched teeth, "I expect to find a gift in the driveway that goes from zero to two hundred in less than six seconds. And it had better be there!"

With that, she snatched her pillow and blanket and trudged off, presumably to the downstairs sofa, leaving Sam standing there looking very unmanly, totally exposed as a Valentine forgetter. But his pride wasn't about to be threatened so easily.

The next morning his wife found a gift box in the driveway. She tore it open and looked inside.

It was a bathroom scale.

Sam has been missing since Friday.

Monday, February 13, 2012

More Time

Oh how I wish I could relive every detail of our trip.  We had a fabulous time!  We did not want to come back home!  Our oldest daughter said she really hoped we missed our flight home.  And she has already been asking today when we were going back. 

Disney World really is a happy and magical place.  We wish we could have spent more time there, but we were blessed to have those four wonderful days riding rides and seeing all our favorite characters.  We had a blast!  Not that there were no bad moments, because with two little ones and not a lot of sleep, there were some meltdown moments.  But, overall we could not have asked for a better trip.  The girls were on their best behavior, our youngest daughter took wonderful naps in her stroller, our oldest daughter rode Splash Mountain twice, we saw all our favorite characters, the hotel was wonderful, the plane rides were great, and the Lord truly blessed us with good health, good weather and lots of fun. 

I do wish I could spend a lot of time telling of all the great adventures, but life seems extra busy after getting back.  With my Big Girl turning the Big 5 tomorrow, party plans are in the works. Yes I have the ultimate sweetheart with her Valentine's Day B-day.  Cakes are being made, Valentines signed for the class, and lots of things to do.  Just like we wanted more time down in Florida, I need more time today!!!!!

I sat down to rock my little one and decided to check a few quick emails on the i-pod.  This little device had been lost before the trip, but was thankfully found out in the playhouse yesterday!  The time is still set from when my husband was in Nevada a few weeks ago.  Although it was really 1:00 the time read 10:00.  I couldn't help but wish for a brief moment that it really was 10:00.   I am feeling so overwhelmed today, and more time would be a blessing.

But as you all know, we all only have 24 hours in a day to make the most of.  I was tempted not to sit down and read a passage today.  I kept thinking, "Oh I will read something tonight".  But, I need that time with the Lord so He can show me how to best use the rest of my time today.  I need that time of refreshment, renewal and strength that can only come with time spent in His Word. 

Today's Verse
"See then that ye walk circumspectly (carefully), not as fools, but as wise.  Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."  Ephesians 5:15-16

"Redeeming the time" means to literally "make the most of every opportunity".  I would have missed the opportunity to fellowship with the Lord today if I did not redeem my time wisely. I cannot walk carefully if I am not seeking time with Him.  Yes I could be using this time for work and chores, but would things go smoothly if I had not spent any time with God?  I will be the first to admit that my days are never smooth if I don't spend the time reading my Bible, praying and asking for guidance. 

So let's be grateful for the time we have today, and lets use it wisely.  But no matter how busy we are, let's make sure we are spending some of our time talking to our heavenly Father.

I do feel like I rushed through this post, but I really must get back to work.  I do want to say a Big Happy Birthday to my wonderful Mother, and I hope everyone has a Happy Valentines Day tomorrow!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Leaving on a jet plane

So I am taking a quick break from packing. Yes we leave very early Monday morning to head to Disney World. I do not know who is more excited, my girls or my parents :). We are all so overjoyed to be going and are praying for a safe and fun trip. I am a little nervous about flying, but I have all my fear verses in my back pocket.

 Every time I prepare to fly, I cannot help but think of that scene from Armageddon the movie. They are preparing to board the shuttle and they begin to sing, "I'm leaving on a jet plane, I don't know when I'll be back again...". I don't know why I think of that, but I have been singing it all day.

 So you know it is important if I post on Friday. I know we have talked a lot about fears recently. I had to share a post I read yesterday. It is by Tracie Miles and was posted on February 1st. It was a wonderful post and I do encourage you to check it out next week. Two of my favorite parts came from the the devotion she referenced called Jesus Calling. The first talks about not wasting energy on worrying, and the second talks about God being our best security system. I believe I am going to put that on our security keypad to remind me of that truth when my husband is traveling. I love it!

 So please check out Tracie's blog, and I will be back week after next. I am sure there will be some wonderful stories to share!

Today's verse "But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.". Psalms 66:19

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Praying for pet peeves

That is a tongue twister!  Can you say praying for pet peeves three times fast?

Ok, you might be thinking I have lost my mind.  Why would we ever pray for pet peeves?  But just hear me out.  I happen to have a lot of pet peeves.  I cannot stand irritating noises.  Little ticks and beeps and clicks can drive me up a wall.  There is not a single clock in our house that ticks.  Every clock has to be digital or there is not any batteries in the ticking ones.  My human pet peeves make up a long list.  My number one pet peeve would have to be smacking.  Smacking gum, smacking food, smacking candy... please can't you eat and chew more quietly.

I have a "sister" that can vouch for this.  The story is kind of famous in our family.  My sweet little innocent five year old cousin was simply smacking on star-burst candy one day.  I gave her warnings.  I threatened.  I begged her to stop.  When she wouldn't quit, my thirteen year old selfish self, proceeded to chew a piece of the candy up and put it in her hair.  Yes I know, that is horrible.  You don't have to tell me how evil that was.  I was having a very mean spirited moment, but she has forgiven me.  Nonetheless, I should not have done such a horrible act.  We laugh about it now, but the way we react to pet peeves can speak volumes.

What are some of your pet peeves and how do you react to them?  How do we react to rudeness?  How do we act in bad traffic situations?  How do we react when someone is really getting on our last nerve?

I listened to a Focus on the Family broadcast over Christmas break about strong willed children by Cynthia Tobias.  She told the story of a mom that started praying for her strong-willed teenage son every time he did something that bothered her.  Things turned around and their relationship improved greatly.  Sadly, her son died soon after the reconciliation.  Cynthia told how that mother was so grateful for the turn in their relationship, and they were able to have six good months together.  The story broke my heart.  But it also started to stir something inside of me.  Everything improved because of her prayers.

Another pet peeve of mine is neatness.  I am a neat freak and self -proclaimed OCD.  My youngest daughter, as you might have read yesterday, loves to pull clothes from drawers and empty baskets all over the house.  She just dumps all the contents and simply walks away.  This drives me crazy to say the least.  I am constantly picking up.  After listening to the broadcast, I felt the urge to start praying every time I have to pick up after the girls instead of fuming.  Some days I really wanted to scream to the top of my lungs after I had picked up the crayons and art supplies for the seventh time.

I now pray every time a basket is dumped onto the floor.  I pray for my girls current needs, their safety, and their future.  The list is endless on things we can pray for our children.  Just a quick prayer for the offender.  I also ask God to help me handle my irritation for the pet peeve.  This praying for the girls instead of yelling at them has been such a relief.  I am not saying I am perfect and have not gotten frustrated over some pet peeves, but the number of angry reactions are down.

But what about others?  Can we use this same concept on others in our lives?  Can we pray for those people that do things that get on our nerves?  Should we pray for the person that cuts us off, is extremely rude to us at the check-out line, or even the person that smacks their food while they eat next to us at a restaurant?

Today's Verse
"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."  Romans 12:21

Short verse, but oh such a powerful verse.  Let's "overcome evil with good".  That is something that could really get under Satan's skin.  Instead of letting pet peeves get under our skin, it would be so much better to get under the devil's.  Every time someone you love or even someone you do not know at all, does something that irritates you, put a smile on your face and lift up a simple prayer.  I do not want to ever be overcome with evil like I let my thirteen year old self do all those years ago.  I do not want to yell at my kids when they are messy.  I do not want to be rude back to the person who just offended me.  I want to pray for them and even myself.  Pray for their salvation, for their day to turn around and pray that my light and love for God can still shine through and not my irritation.  Let's pray for those that spark pet peeves in us and maybe someone will pray for me if I were to ever do anything irritating  : )   (which I know is a ton of things)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Silence is Golden

My girls seem to own every toy that makes a noise.  There are the play phones ringing, different things singing, baby dolls crying, and not to mention the instruments.  Now I love my family dearly, but we do not seem to be musically inclined.  I knew they had no chance from my side of the family, but my husband has a few piano players on his side, so I thought there might be a chance.  This does not appear to be the case, but yet we still own about every instrument you can think of.  I hear the piano, the organ, the guitars, the drums, the violin, and the horns, oh those terrible, ear-splitting horns.

Silence...........AAAHHHHHH!!!!!!  Wonderful!!!!!

When it occurs, it is usually such a breath of fresh air.

But wait, it is not nap time.  It is not bed time.  What in the world could be happening?

If silence does occur between the times of 7:00am-1:00pm or 3:30pm-8:30pm there is a chance there is mischief taking place.  Now in my girls defense, this is not always the case.  There are times they are quietly reading books or coloring in a coloring book or playing quietly in the tent.  And when I peer in on those oh so blissful moments, my heart is overfilled with joy.  But, and there is always a but, there are the silences that are full of quietly coloring on the furniture or dumping every basket in the house or pulling all the clothes out of every drawer.

Silence............SSSCCCRRRRREAM!!!!!  "Don't do that!!!!!!"

Silence during nap time/quiet time is so refreshing.  No wondering if they are misbehaving.  No mediating arguments.  No fixing broken toys.  No calming crying babies.  No noise!!!!!!

But then I sit down to read my Bible, read an article, read a chapter in a book, and pray, and the noise starts back.  The noise may not be audible to any body else, but it sure is audible to me.  The noise is my thoughts.  I need to pay bills, make the grocery list, do a few loads of laundry, get supper started, call that person back, and the list keeps going and the noise is still there.

Silence...........YIKES!!!!!!!!!!  My to-do list is impossible!!!!

How do I get my thoughts focused on God?  How can I "listen" to Him if I am instead listing everything that needs to be done?  I have to find true silence.  I have to focus and pray for the "noise" to stop before my true "Quiet Time" begins.  I am not good at that.  Sometimes I just sit down like it is a duty to read my Bible not like it is a joy to read my Bible.  I have to really get alone with God.  Really listen.  Really be ready to learn.  I have to stop the noise in my head.

We all know the verse Ps 46:10a "Be still, and know that I am God".  How can we be still?

I have to ask for it.  I have to pray for the thoughts rushing my mind to stop.  I have to pray for those quiet moments throughout my day.  I might not have but just a moment to spend with God some days, but every moment I do spend reading and praying is a moment of strength.  That strength is what helps me get through the rest of the noise of my day.

Today's Verse
Isaiah 30:15b "In returning and rest shall ye be saved:  in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength"

If I don't turn everything off, including my own thoughts, I will not get that quietness that is required to give me strength.  I cannot "hear" what God might be saying through His Word, if I am listening to other thoughts.  Later in the same chapter of Isaiah verse 21 we read "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee saying, This is the way, walk ye in it..."  I cannot hear that direction if I am not focused and truly seeking His direction in my life.  Silence is a must to seek His will.

Silence...........Golden!!!!!!!!  And truly needed for the strength to make it through the day.

If you are looking for a good, quick and encouraging devotion for today, I really did enjoy the Proverbs 31 Devo today.  The link is below if you have a moment to read it (in silence hopefully).  It really hit home for me today!