Saturday, December 19, 2009

WHAT? It's almost Christmas?

I have been so busy thinking "Wedding - Wedding - Wedding" that I haven't got my tree decorated!

It is standing but it does not have a single ornament on it and Christmas is less than a week away!

I haven't wrapped any gifts yet either!


I better get busy!!!

A New Season of Life

Life has been crazy lately! My beautiful baby girl, Kate, is engaged!

Kate & Jake
She has set her wedding date for this coming May and we have been very busy making wedding plans!! It is SOOOO much fun!! I am relishing every minute of it and want to make the most of sharing this very special season with my daughter!
So far we have booked the venue. She wants an outdoor wedding and reception and selected Vance Vineyards. It is a beautiful setting and will provide minimal decorating and a gorgeous backdrop for pictures.

Vance Vineyards

We have also shopped for and bought the wedding dress. What an exciting day that was. Kate tried on somewhere between 10-15 dresses and the one she selected seems to have been made just for her. Sorry - no pictures to be posted of the dress! You will have to wait for the wedding!
Kate and Jake have selected the wedding party and last weekend I was blessed to shop with Kate and her bridesmaids for their dresses. Not going to post these either. But I will say that her colors are hot pink and lime green. That usually gets one of two responses - "Ooh that will be pretty" or "Really?" I have to admit my response was "Really?" but after shopping with her and seeing everything, I think it is going to be beautiful!
She has picked out and ordered her cake.
She has book the photographer and scheduled engagement pictures for this weekend.
She has booked the pastor.
And last weekend we purchased a whole bunch of silk flowers and accessories.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Religion and The Gospel

I grew up in church and lived most of my young life in and out of God's will. Most of my 'life choices' were made when I was out of God's will and have had a lasting impact on me. However I always felt His presence and could hear him whispering to me that I was making a mistake - I just didn't care enough to listen. The battle within me was raging between my flesh and the Spirit. I couldn't quite turn lose of myself and trust God to run my life. Several years later I decided that I needed to get my act together for God. So I began doing the "right" thing. You know following all the rules - serving in the church doing whatever I could to make me feel good at the time. I wasn't doing all those really big bad sins anymore and the good things I was doing were most certainly cancelling out the little sins in my life. Then God slowly began to teach me about grace. I began to realize I couldn't do enough because He had done it all!!! I had no trouble accepting God's love - I just needed to understand the concept of grace. Through the power of the Holy Spirit I do understand God's grace - I know that there is NOTHING I can do to warrant His magnificant abundant grace. That concept alone makes me want to worship and praise Him!

However, I have still struggled with some theological issues. I guess because I grew up in a strong denomination and in a Christian home I have always had some strong beliefs. I recently have come to realize alot of those beliefs are legalistic, not very scriptural, and have not been very healthy for me and my relationships. God has been teaching me about the spiritual war that has gone on in my life for a very long time! Conquering Addictions has helped me lay to rest several things from my past that have haunted me; and it continues to teach me new truths from God's Word. I have become aware of the battle between religion and The Gospel. I think I have had a clear understanding of The Gospel, but I have been guilty of holding on to man's laws and judging others based on man's law instead of leaning on The Gospel. It can be a struggle to live under the umbrella of God's grace and not get tangled in the web of legalism. The past few years I have felt a release from being judgmental. Today I was reading Galations 5 and felt a fresh understanding of God's Word. So I decided to see how this scripture was worded in The Message.

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don't use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. ...
Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. ...
Why don't you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law dominated excistence?

It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat compettion; all consuming yet never satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.

But what happens when we live God's way?
Galations 5: 13-22

I love the wording of these verses in The Message!

I want to 'live freely and animated' for Christ!
I want to be 'motivated by God's Spirit'!
I want to 'escape the erratic compulsions of a law dominated existence.'

And that list of destructive behaviors - 'a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; all consuming yet never satisfied wants; divided homes and divided lives; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions' - Why do I let myself get caught up in such things when I know there is so much better for me! God has such a better desire for me!!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galations 5:22-25

(The Message vs 26 - That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.)

Lord Jesus - Thank you for teaching me. Thank you for stretching me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for your abundant grace that continues to cover me. I pray that I will be motivated by Your Spirit; that I will live freely and animated for Christ. I pray that the Fruit of Your Spirit will empower me each day. Remind me each and every day to ask for Your power and strength to live for You. Help me to escape the erratic compulsions of a law dominated existance. I want to avoid emotional garbage and chaos. May You be the only thing I am addicted to!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Freedom from Bondage

Conquering Addictions continues to stir up the pit and at the same time my God continues to sweetly break me free from the bondage that has held me for 35 years!!! It is amazing to me and greatly saddens me that I could be forgiven but still held captive by sin that has been repented of and turned away from!

Last Tuesday the topic of discussion was confession - not just confession to the Lord but, of all things, confession to another believer. I have never been one to believe in public confession - God alone forgives my sin so why would I need to tell any human of my transgressions? Well that is not what we were taught last week. We were reminded that God's Word does say "confess your sins one to another". Another one of my biggest arguments with this whole thing has been that Satan likes to remind me too much of my past failures - I do NOT need to give him an opening to rub certain things in my face again. So I have been adament that I was NOT going to participate in confession and revealing my 'inventories' to anyone - it was just going to be between myself and my God! Well, as usual, the Lord had a different plan. He began to pester my about a shameful secret from my past (35 years ago).

This particular sin has been a heavy burden that Satan has repeatedly told me "If anyone finds out about this, you will lose all respect and they won't want to be around you anymore" "God may have forgiven you, but you will never be rid of this - it is way too BAD for you to forgive yourself".

As I prayed about this particular situation and asked God first of all to 'please don't make me do this - please don't make me confess this to anyone - there certainly can't be any good reason to confess this - I have been forgiven and turned from the sin never to return to it in 34 years.' But God kept reminding me of something that Tim had said during the teaching. He said "There is freedom from shame when you can confess the sin to someone." The Lord would not leave me alone about this. But at the same time Satan kept whispering those lies to me. And I was confused! Did God want me to confess or did Satan want me to ruin my reputation with my friends.

On Thursday morning all the way to school I was praying about what God wanted me to do. I told Him I wanted to be obedient more than anything else and would He please make it clear to me what I needed to do. I got to school and within about 10 minutes my dear friend, Nina, came into my classroom and sat down across from me. Now, this is not unusual! Nina comes into my room every morning. However, she usually starts talking or working on something. What was different on this morning was she just sat down and looked at me like she was ready to listen. I could hear God saying, "Go ahead - tell her - get rid of your shame and be free!" So I very reluctantly began to talk to her about this big secret I had harbored for 35 years. She listened and she very tenderly talked with me about what had happened and about the things in my life that followed the incident. She helped me understand a lot about my choices during my late teens and how they related to this particular incident.

But the biggest thing I now realize is that there IS power in confessing to another believer. I now know that my dear sisters in Christ will not turn their back on me. I know that even though I had been forgiven I was in bondage to shame. But the good news is: Satan can no longer rub that shame in my face - I am free!!

Lord Jesus - You are awesome! I praise Your holy name! Your power has saved me and set me free! Thank You for my dear Sisters in Christ! Thank You for Nina and her amazing friendship! May I always remember the lessons You have taught me this week.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Addictions and Grace

I have been taking a 16 week course at church - Conquering Addictions. We are on week 6. Everyone has an addiction, you know - it might be drugs, alcohol, smoking, pornography, eating, shopping, etc. This course has been offered several times and we were 'strongly' encouraged to participate. Some of the comments were "So much Bible" - "Great discipleship" - "Best thing I have ever done" - "It will bring you so much closer to God" - "It makes you go deep". I am one that LOVES Bible, discipleship, and going deep; and I am all about getting closer to God. But...this conquering addiction thing was not that appealing - not so sure I want to go down this particular road. But guess what - God kept pestering me and finally brought me to the point of knowing it is time to dive in and face my demons! Now, this is not an easy thing for anyone!!! Even though I am not battling the 'biggies', my battle is still a difficult one!! I like to eat and I like to shop! Both of these habits have gotten me into trouble throughout my adult life.

We began the course at the beginning. Sounds so simple - but I mean the beginning of the Bible. You know, In the beginning God created... I remember week 1 thinking - "OK, are you kidding me - I know this stuff forwards and backwards - don't think this is going to make me go deep"
Guess what? I was wrong! Imagine that. I have learned so much!!! I have been reminded about being created for fellowship and my need for counsel from my creator. I learned that after the fall when God told Eve her desire would be for her husband it meant she would want to control him - OMG - isn't that what every woman wants to do - control her husband, but men are made to be the head of the household - there is the problem - the battle for control!!! I have been reminded about the awesome story of the Gospel - about redemption, justification, and sanctification.

Last week we started addressing certain experiences we may have had in our past - things like sex, anger, and resentments. I thought "God, I DON'T want to do this!!! We have been over these things and you have already forgiven me! Why should I have to put this on paper and share with others? Can't this be just between you and me? And since you have forgiven me in the past, it is forgotten!! Case closed - I don't need to do this". Well, once again, NOT! He won't let me! God is making me think about people and events that I am harboring anger and resentment toward. Can you say, "Yuck!!" This is NOT fun!!! It is painful. I don't mean just painful having to dig down and pull out the past and recall how angry or hurt I was at the time - but painful to realize and accept any responsibility I may need to own for the resentment. I am not the type of person who likes to admit my faults! (The Lord has been working on me with this for quite a while.) And, you know what, all this pain and resentment recall has been making me kind of crabby!

But today I am reminded of God's grace:

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realise just how beautiful You are, And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.

Yeah, He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.

And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If his grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…
He loves us,

Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.
"How He Loves" by David Crowder Band

Lord, you are awesome! Thank you for your love. Thank you for loving me so much that you are jealous for me - jealous for me to live a life in the fullness of you. Thank you for pushing me, for molding me, for not giving up on me, and for forgiving me. Thank you for allowing me to fall in your grace as if I were sinking in the ocean. No matter how much I resist these inventories for Conquering Addictions I do want to be transformed for you!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Disappointments and Forgiveness

I have been disappointed again!!! Life is full of disappointments. Maybe I have too high of expectations of others. I expect people to treat others with respect - I expect people to think of others - I expect people to treat each other the way they would want to be treated. I was raised hearing the Golden Rule almost on a daily basis (it seemed like it anyway). "Do unto others the way you would want others to do unto you". I also tried to instill that in my children. I hope I didn't preach it at them on a daily basis though!

I am struggling with the decision of giving someone another chance or being a doormat!

I wonder if it could possibly be God's plan to have put someone in my life - and for this person to hurt someone I love very much - all for His glory. Does this make any sense? I don't want to mention names but I will call this person Suzy Q. I am feeling like I am suppose to talk to Suzy Q, who has made me very angry!!! I don't think I am to talk to her about my anger - but I think I am suppose to talk to her about my Jesus.

I have watched Suzy Q become part of my family - we all love her! She has been very respectful and helpful - a wonderful person. She has willingly participated in the spiritual part of our lives. And now - BAM!!! She has done something that cuts me and my family to the core!!! People are saying 'kick her to the curb' - 'you are just asking for more pain' - 'you can't trust her and you can't have a relationship with someone you can't trust'. But I somehow feel like God is saying, "Love her" - "Forgive her" - "Talk to her" - "Don't put your faith in her, put your faith in me" - "Tell her I love her and what I have done for her" - "Plant a seed".

So I think 'okay, I want to be obedient - maybe God is getting ready to do something big here and I have an opportunity to be part of it, so, YES! I will talk to Suzy Q!'.

Then I start to think, 'I am trying to make this all about me - I just want to be part of something big for God so I can feel good about myself. Who do I think I am?'

What am I suppose to do here! Lord, please make it clear!!! So I am going back to what I have always heard about God's will - If it goes against His Word, don't do it. I think it is always God's will to share His love with others. Satan would NOT want me to do that - so he must be the one telling me to forget about it - Funny how he uses my pride issue to try and talk me out of sharing Jesus.

Lord, this life experience has reminded me that I am not to depend on others to fill me up. They will always disappoint me. Only You, Lord - the Living God - can fill me up. So fill me, Jesus, with you - Empty me of me and let me be a light for You in this dark world. I want to be obedient to You Lord. Allow me the opportunity to share You with Suzy Q and grant me the right words to say. Help me and my family to forgive her and to be an example of Your love. May you be glorified through this disappointment!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Levi!

Yesterday was a fun day!! We celebrated Levi's birthday a little late. Levi, Kate, Jake, and I went to The Incredible Pizza Place in St. Louis. Cole joined us for a while. We ate pizza, pasta, salad, dessert, etc and then took on the big game room! Jake, Levi & Cole did their best to impress us with their strenth at some type of hammer swing game and also a punching bag. We had fun playing mini bowling, Wheel of Fortune pin ball, skee ball, dunk the alien, guitar hero, a Sega dinosaur hunting game (till Jake and Levi were told they had to share the game by an employee), bumper cars, and flaming fingers (this one was quite addicting!). We actually accumulated roughly 1200 tickets in our hour and a half! Then we had the tough decision of what we wanted to get with our tickets! Levi chose a BIG tennis ball and candy, Jake and Kate got hackie sacks, Kate got a spiny squishy pink ball and candy, and I got 2 large foam dice and a spiny squishy pink ball.

Next we headed to the mall. Everyone made at least one purchase and we enjoyed some cookies and a cherry icee!

Last stop was PetSmart. I needed to pick up some breath mints for Pixie girl. The kids had fun checking out the dogs for adoption. Levi kept threatening to try to smuggle one home, but he couldn't pull it off. That didn't scare me as much as when Jake threatened to smuggle a snake home! Yikes!!!

We made it home safe and sound with no new pets!!!

It was a great family day - I loved every minute of it - just wish Seth, Jessica, Colby and Carson could have been in on the fun!

Jesus Saves!

I received some very exciting news a week ago! My nephew, Jordan, accepted Jesus!!! He is a freshman at Southeast Mo University and had just moved down a few days before classes started. He walked into an open area (not sure where) but anyway there was 1 guy sitting at a table so Jordan went over and sat down and started talking with this guy. Turns out the guy is planning on being a pastor. This guy asked Jordan if he could share something with him and started talking with him about salvation. After several hours, Jordan asked Jesus into his heart! Jordan's words to me were: "I've never felt this good! I don't want to spend another day not living for Jesus!" He has been attending a Bible teaching church and is getting involved in the Campus Ministry! God is so awesome! I am so grateful that this one guy was obedient and bold enough for Christ to share his faith with Jordan!!

Lord, thank you for this young man who spoke out for you. He has made a difference in your kingdom and I ask your blessing on him. Father, I pray for Jordan - may his faith in you grow and may he fall deeply in love with You. I pray for the road that is ahead of him. Grant him the strength to face the temptations that Satan will place in his path. Help Jordan as he tries to be a witness to his family and friends - may they see the difference You have made in his life! Father, I pray that I could possess a bit of this boldness for You and I pray that others can see You in my life!

Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Desire and Delight

What an AWESOME weekend this has been!!!

The Beth Moore Simulcast was such a blessing. It seems like just yesterday that my SisterChick Tracy challenged the ladies in my Bible Study with these questions: What has God placed on your heart to do? What is He calling you to do? Are you being obedient to Him? Being a host church for the simulcast came out of those little questions and God blessed our obedience tremendously! What began in March as a simple question of obedience transformed into 178 women being blessed by God's Word inside The Bridge Community Church. We were able to be part of over 90,000 women world wide in 45 states and 5 countries experiencing the message of "Coming Home to the Desires of Your Heart" delivered by Beth on Friday night and Saturday morning.

Find your delight in the Lord and He will give you your heart's desire. Psalm 37:4

I learned:

The desires of God's heart need to be the desires of my heart!

Nothing dictates our lives like our desires. In my natural state I will always do what I want.

Beneath the desires of our hearts is the heart of our desire. Glory and destiny are at stake.

Delighting in God adapts our desires into inevitabilities. When we are living consistantly in His will and delighting in His presence, it is inevitable that our desires will be in line with His.

Nothing external can steal our right to delight.
If I am missing out on the desires I need to check my JAW - Am I...
J - jealous - Do I have any jealousy?
A - angry - What am I mad about?
W - worried - What am I worrying or fretting about?
These things can take a bite out of my desire!

Repression will make me sick - Rebellion will make me stupid - Reverance will make me real!

To make room for delight, I must commit.

Nothing is passive about patiently waiting for desire to turn into delight. Sometimes God wants me to shut up and listen to Him. Sometimes He wants me to praise Him in the pain.

Till faith becomes sight trust God and do good.

I am called to be a mighty woman of God.

It amazes me that Beth could get all of that out of 1 verse!!

It was a blessing to feel God's presence during the Simulcast.

It was a huge blessing to see 178 women blessed by His presence!

But words cannot explain the blessing of obedience!

Thank You for the message I received from You this weekend. Thank You for Tracy and her urging me to obedience. Thank You for a church that supported the dream You gave me. Thank You for the lessons I learned during the preparation - the lesson of focusing on Your plans - about not allowing Satan to get me side-tracked with the pettiness of this world. It was a challenge but it was Your power that gave me the strength to look outside of myself and keep my eyes focused on You. I know that I failed several times but I am so greatful for Your gentle reminders! Thank You! I am Yours!

Then - today - Celebration was AWESOME!!! Tim's conclusion to the Summer on the Mount was fantastic!!! Our God is amazing and He will not let go of me! I want to continue to live for Him, to be obedient to Him on this earth, and to anticipate eternity with Him!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fresh Appreciation

You have left your old sinful life and the things you did before. You have begun to live the new life, in which you are being made new and are becoming like the One who made you. This new life brings you the true knowledge of God. Colossians 3:10

Hmm - I have left my old sinful life and the things I did before. That is so true and it was a long time ago! I need to think about those 'things' I did; not because I want to think about the 'good ole days' but because I am desiring a fresh appreciation for what Abba has done for me.

I was in the dark - now I'm in the light.
I was living to please others - now I live to praise Him!
I was dirty - now I'm pure as a fresh snow.
I was lost - now I'm found.
I was ashamed - now I'm forgiven.
I was sick of myself and hated myself - now I'm full of my Father's love.
I was full of sin - now I am redeemed!
I was chained by my sins - now I'm free in Jesus!!

Thank you, Jesus, for not leaving me to my own destruction! Thank you for delivering me from the pit of sin I was in. Lord, don't let me forget where I was - not because I want to remember it, but because I want a fresh appreciation for the life I have in You. Keep moving me forward in the plans You have for me.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back to School with a New Attitude

Well, it's 'Back to School' time! Time for new 'sharp' crayons, new 'clean' folders, new 'unchewed' pencils, new clothes, new names, new faces, new smiles, new relationships, and LOTS of prayers.

Everyday on my 25 minute drive to school I sing praises to my Lord and spend time in prayer for my 'little ones', reminding myself that I don't know what each one has endured since I last saw them and at the same time beating myself up for my failures the day before. "I wasn't as patient as I should have been." - "Why didn't I really listen and look at little Suzy when she wanted to tell me that story?" - "Did I laugh with the class at all?" - "Did I praise Joey enough?" So, I would pray for a 'fresh attitude' and go do it all over again. And always feeling like a failure for all the things I had done wrong.

So I am asking myself if I truly want to touch each child with my Father's love and I am asking for the ability to make a difference on a daily basis, why am I failing? Why do I not turn to Him in the stressful moment and then berate myself later?

Well, yesterday's sermon was on prayer and God taught me a few things.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. " Matthew 7:7-8 (TNIV)

"My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves. And friends, once that's taken care of and we're no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we're bold and free before God! We're able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we're doing what he said, doing what pleases him." 1 John 3:18-22 (The Message)

Yesterday as I sat in church listening to the sermon I jotted the following notes:

"Pleasing God gets His ear"

"We must ask! God wants to bless us - but we MUST ask! Ask daily for: wisdom & Holy Spirit's power"

"Prayers for us should be to magnify Him"

"He sits and waits for us to ask for more of Him"

"God loves persistance, but He especially loves persistance in His will"

So, once again I am asking myself "If I truly want to make a difference in the lives of my 'little ones' and I am persistantly asking for more of Him what is the problem?" Well...if I am really honest I have to ask myself the following questions:

Do I really want Him to be magnified or do I want to be known as a 'great teacher'?

I may be persistant, but am I persistant in His will?

As 1 John 3 says I need to stop beating myself up for my daily failures and I need to truly love others. I may not like everything about everybody but I can love the people God created - with His help of course. If I truly love others just because He made them (after all, who am I to criticize what He created) and I stop beating myself up for failing (because I am NOT perfect and I WILL fail) then I will be bold and free before God. Then I will be able to stretch my hands out and receive what I ask for because I will be pleasing Him.

Well, that sounds simple enough - don't you think? Just love others and forgive myself. Okay God, here we go...

Father, I am asking that for this new school year I receive a new attitude - an attitude of love and forgiveness. Love (real agape love) for others and the ability to forgive myself of my failures. You know I am a perfectionist and I want to be the perfect teacher. Help me to turn lose of this perfection rope that binds me and instead cling to You and the freedom I can have in You. I want it to be all about You, Lord! Give me an attitude that pleases You! Make Your desires my desires! May You be glorified through Your work in my life! I love You and I want this new school year to be about You and how You will mold me and make me more like Jesus. Empty me of me and fill me with You!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Finished Dining Room

It's Done!!! I am so excited - the dining room is finally finished!

This wall of crosses holds the inspiration for the entire room. Kate gave it to me for Mother's Day and I loved the wrought iron look.

I found the sage frame over the piano at Jour de Fete in Ste. Gen over the weekend. It will hold our family picture that we had taken at Engler Park.

While Seth, Jessica, Colby & Carson were here, we had a celebration dinner of the new dining room. We enjoyed salad, spaghetti (Colby's favorite) and garlic bread - yummy and fun!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Your kingdom is built on what is right and fair. Love and truth are in all you do. Psalm 89:14

Love is a difficult pursuit and truth is a tough one, too. According to Max Lucado, "put them together, pursue truth and love at the same time and hang on baby, you're in for the ride of your life. Love in truth. Truth in love. Never one at the expense of the other. Never the embrace of love without the torch of truth. Never the heat of truth without the warmth of love..."

This seems like a hard task - to be loving and honest at the same time. I'm not sure if I have ever been able to accomplish this. I pray that as I grow everyday to be more like my Savior, Jesus Christ, that I will experience the ability to embrace truth with love. What a sense of peace to know that God is able to handle both - He is love and He is truth!

Father, teach me what it means to pursue truth and love at the same time. May I be able to show others what it means to combine these two tasks into one singular task.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


As a single woman it is very easy to get depressed about being alone. Everywhere I go I see couples - young couples in the early stages of love - older couples who have been together for 50 years and they are still holding hands - grandparents relishing their grandchildren together - and families with a mom and a dad together. All of these can be painful and if I am not careful I will fall into the trap of feeling sorry for myself and thinking one or more of the following, "I did not sign up for this life!" "How did I end up alone?" "I am going to grow old alone and die alone!" "Who is going to take care of me in my old age?" "What is wrong with me that I am alone and rejected?" and on and on and on. This state of mind is not a good place to be and it is definitely NOT what God wants for me. I was reminded of this today!


Regarding, Zion, I can't keep my mouth shut,
regarding Jerusalem, I can't hold my tongue,
Until her righteousness blazes down like the sun
and her salvation flames up like a torch.
Foreign countries will see your righteousness,
and world leaders your glory.
You'll get a brand-new name
straight from the mouth of God.
You'll be a stunning crown in the palm of God's hand,
a jeweled gold cup held high in the hand of your God.
No more will anyone call you Rejected,
and your country will no more be called ruined.
You'll be call Hephzibah (My Delight),
and your land Beaulah (Married),
Because God delights in you
and your land will be like a wedding celebration.
For as a young man marries his virgin bride,
so your builder marries you,
And as a bridegroom is happy in his bride,
so your God is happy with you.
Isaiah 62:1-5 (The Message)

That is awesome!! I am not rejected! I have captured God's heart! My God is my bridegroom! He loves me and is happy with me! You can't get any better than that!!!

Lord Jesus,
Thank you for Your word! You knew I needed to hear these very words today and you placed them in front of me. You have a new name for me! You hold me in Your hand! I am not rejected because You love me and You have plans for me. You delight in me! I am Yours, Your beloved, Your bride and I will live for You!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It only took 3 days!

A few years ago I did a little makeover on my main bathroom. New porcelein tile, new paint, new light fixtures, and new faucets. It looked really nice. But I could not afford a new countertop so I just lived with the yucky white with gold specks.

Then someone told me about an inexpensive way to transform it! Rustoleum hammered paint

So I hunted and hunted and ended up having to order it on line. I bought it in two colors - bronze & copper - I didn't know which one I would want, but I did know that I wanted it to go with the antique bronze fixtures and faucet. I decided on the bronze, but decided to keep the copper. Here is how it all played out!

Day 1 (Saturday)
Tape off the counter and begin applying bronze hammered paint.
Coat 1 and wait 2 hours: "hmmm"
Coat 2 and wait 2 hours: "that's a little better"
Coat 3 and wait 2 hours: "now we're gettin somewhere - maybe one more coat and those brush marks will be gone"
Coat 4 and wait 2 hours: "oh man...those brush marks are still there. Well, maybe I can use a different technique to get rid of them - I will just pat the counter with the side of the brush and give it a faux marble look."
3 hours later I wanted to be DONE so I applied a coat of polyurethane and off to bed I went! I am not very patient when it comes to projects!

Day 2 (Sunday)
Somehow the counter did not look as good in the light of day as it did at midnight the night before. "Oh no! What have I done! I should have never applied that polyurethane yet. What can I do to fix this?"

I soon had it all figured out!!

After church, I stopped at Wal-Mart and was told by the Master Paint Man that I definitely should not use polyurethane because it will turn yellow - I needed polycrylic ($17 a quart - "yikes it must be white gold in a can!"). I also purchased some small wire brushes and sandpaper block.

"Wow! If I hadn't messed up last night I never would have known that! I would have put on 2-3 coats of polyurethane and it would have eventually all turned yucky yellow. So glad I made that mistake!"

So I headed home and...
Levi went to work sanding off the polyurethane. And...I decided to add more coats of the bronze hammered paint because now the counter was all dull looking. So . . .

Coat 1 and wait 2 hours: "lookin good"
Coat 2 and wait 2 hours: "oh yeah"
Coat 3 and wait 2 hours: "almost done!"

Next I used the small wire brush to dab some copper hammered paint onto the bronze. Then I took a wadded up plastic wal-mart bag and swirled it. Voila!! "Yes! That's what I wanted!"

Next it was time for the 'white gold in a can'.

Coat 1 and wait 3 hours
Coat 2 and wait 3 hours

Day 3 (Monday)

Remove all the tape & caulk around sink and counter top.

Are you ready . . .

Drum roll please . . .

Here it is!

The transformed bathroom countertop!

So 3 days,
7 coats of bronze hammered paint,
1 coat of polyurethane applied & removed,
1 faux copper finish,
and 3 coats of polycrylic
and we have the finished product!

So? What do you think?

It's Almost Here!

I am transforming my living room into a dining room! Some might think that is an odd thing to do, but I have a good reason. I don't have a dining room. My kitchen has a table that seats 4 - or 6 if you put an extra chair on each end and then you cannot get around to the kitchen cabinets because the table and chairs are wall to wall. My family is growing! I thank God for that every day. This past Thanksgiving and Christmas I was sad at family gatherings because 4 or 5 people would sit at the table and the other 8-10 people would go downstairs to the family room and eat around the coffee table or off their laps. So I had a revelation!!! It went something like this - "Jeanna, you need a dining room table. But where would you put it? Well, there is the living room that you hardly ever use. Why not transform it into a dining room? Great idea!!" So that is how it began. The decision was made - I would use my income tax money to buy a dining room table!
So in January I went shopping for a dining room table and I found one - wasn't there - they had sold it but... they did have a picture of it. I really liked the picture! They made me a copy and I proudly hung it on my refrigerator to remind me of what my income tax money would go for.
Well income tax preparation day was very sad. There would not be enough money to buy my dining room table. So my plans were put on hold.
I soon decided that summer school money would provide me with my dining room table. The picture continued to hang on my refrigerator as an inspiration of what was to come!
Summer came and it was time to make it happen!
So step one was to paint the walls. The walls were a faux pink - kind of reminded me of being inside a bottle of pepto bismol. It was rather calming and I liked it. But I gave them up for my new inspiration. I chose 'Desert Fortress' as the color for my new room.

I also added a brown scarf to the window treatments.

I was going to paint the fireplace, but was talked out of it by 2 very special people (daughter, Kate, & friend, Gay Ann). So I just painted the fireplace mantel and hearth. The mantel was a dark walnut and the hearth was concrete. This is a BIG improvement! I chose a color called 'Boston Legacy'. I love paint names! It really does influence my choice! Crazy, don't you think?

I soon discovered a problem. There is no overhead light in the living room. An overhead light is a necessity in a dining room. So I had to find a light and someone to wire for it and hang it. Finding the light was easy - it was even on clearance! Finding someone to wire it and hang it was a different story. But I finally did and he took care of it this morning! So....

The light is up!!!
My dear friend, Gay Ann, went shopping with me for the dining room table and chairs. We checked out several furniture stores. Of course we went to the store that provided me the picture and this time they had the actual table and chairs! But we were still looking so we drove down the road a ways to the next furniture store. We found a beautiful set and it was less expensive than the previous one! It has been ordered and should be here within the next week.
I will be sure to post a finished picture of my new dining room!!
Let's see . . . next will be a rug for under the table, table linens, dishes, wall decor . . . the list goes on and on!

Monday, July 27, 2009


I have a hard time staying focused.

I go to the store for a few items and "oops" come home with 2-3 bags full of stuff not on my list. I walk into a room to get something and "oops" get sidetracked with other things and leave the room without what I went in for. I'm driving down the road and "oops" my mind starts going somewhere else and I miss my turn. I'm praying and "oops" I cut God off. Ouch - that one hurts!

Why is it so hard for me to stay focused? It is easy to blame my wandering mind on the fast paced world we live in. But, is that accurate? Maybe sometimes, but probably not most of the time. I think I just need to be more disciplined. That might make a big difference!

I sure am glad that God doesn't lose His focus! He has always had His eyes focused on the end result. From the first day of creation (actually before that) He has known where He was going and what He was going to accomplish. He has known what each individual on this earth could accomplish if they would focus on Him. He has known all the pain I could have avoided if I would have kept my focus on Jesus. No sense crying over spilled milk. It is time to move forward!!!

Lord, thank you for being such an awesome God. Thank you for the tender, loving discipline You use to mold me into what You want. Thank you Lord for the constant focus You have for me. I am so glad that Jesus kept His focus all the way from the manger to the cross! Today, I want to keep my eyes focused on Him!

For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45

Friday, July 24, 2009

Awesome Wedding Entrance

What a great way to start a marriage!! Check it out

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


How many times have I ignored warning signs? Too many!! Ignoring a warning light on the car dash has led to major mechanical problems; ignoring a physical pain has led to significant health problems; and ignoring bad behavior in my kids has led to more of the same and bigger issues down the road! All of these issues could have been avoided if I had only paid attention to the warning signs!

Now, what about warnings from God? Oh my - ignoring the warning signs and small whispers from Him have led to such pain and sorrow that could have been avoided so easily. As I look back over my life I wonder just how far would God go to get my attention? I am so thankful that He has never given up on me! And I hold tight to the hope that He never will!

However, I am tired of having to learn things the hard way! As Beth Moore has said "Do we always have to learn the lesson on a field trip?"

Father God, I want to see Your warning signs with my eyes. I want to hear Your warnings with my ears. And I want to be obedient to You with my heart. But, Lord, if I fall back and fail to see, hear, or be obedient, then, please, take me on the field trip - don't leave me to my own devices!

Come back to the Lord your God, because He is kind and shows mercy. He doesn't become angry quickly, and He has great love. Joel 2:13

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Love Chapter

1 Corinthians 13 has always been a favorite. This morning I read it in The Message.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first",
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end. (vs. 4-7)

Well, it looks like our society doesn't know much about love! And I am ashamed to say that includes me. I have gotten better over the years, but I have a LONG way to go.

...when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled. (vs. 10)

YES!! The promise - I just love it when I hear a promise from God - He doesn't expect me to get it right everytime - He knows I am incomplete and unable - BUT, one day it will all change!

When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good. (vs. 11)

Just like I thought earlier, I have gotten better over the years. I have grown - God did not leave me where I was 10 years ago and He will not leave me where I am now, as long as I am actively seeking Him.

We don't see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us! (vs. 12)

So much of my life I spend trying to figure out: What makes that person tick? Why would so-and-so do that? What happened that made her so bitter? Why isn't this Christian joyful? What can I do to fix this situation? Why can't people keep their negative comments to theirself? What does God want me to do? Why can't I hear what God wants me to do? Verse 12 explains it all and reminds me that it's always going to be like this until He returns! When Jesus comes back we will see Him and be like Him! Oh Happy Day!!!

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (vs. 13)

Lord, I want to be more like you, Jesus, everyday! I want to trust You completely! I want to cling to the hope I have in You with all my might! I want to love others extravagantly! Help me to see with Your eyes, hear with Your ears, and love with Your heart. Thank you for reminding me that it is not all about me - help me to put aside my 'me-first' attitude. Help me to not 'revel when others grovel' and I do want to 'take pleasure in the flowering of truth'. May each day I depend on You because I know that without You it is impossible for me to do any of these things. Thank you for not leaving me where I was - and just so we're clear - I do not want to stay where I am! I want to be more like the Creator!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Holy - what is it?

HOLY - I have always loved this word - HOLY

For some reason today the word Holy is at the front of my mind and I don't know why, so I decided it must be a God thing and to just go with it.

First, I looked up the definition:
Webster defines Holy as "exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness."

Next, I went to God's Word and was reminded of this verse:
Psalm 99:9 "For the Lord our God is holy!"

I love music, so I naturally thought of one of my favorite old hymns, "Holy, Holy, Holy".

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty!

Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.

Holy, Holy, Holy, merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed trinity!
I must have sung that song a million times and never realized the connection between "Holy, Holy, Holy" (3 times) and the trinity. Wow!
One of my new favorites is "The Revelation Song". When this song is on I really belt out the following part:
Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come!
Addison Road recorded the song, "What Do I Know of Holy". I have the CD and pulled it out to read the words. I can sing a song a hundred times but there is just something about reading the lyrics that causes me to really get the message. This one hit me!
I've made you promises a thousand times
I've tried to hear from heaven
But I talk the whole time
I think I made you too small
I've never feared you at all, no
If you touched my face would I know you
Looked into my eyes could I behold you
What do I know of you
Who spoke me into motion
Where have I even stood
But the shore along your ocean
Are you fire, are you fury
Are you sacred, are you beautiful
So what do I know
What do I know of holy
I guess I thought that I had you figured out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How you were mighty to save
But those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who you might be
The slightest hint of you brought me down to my knees
What do I know of Holy
What do I know of wounds that will heal my shame
And a God who gave life its name
What do I know of Holy
Of the One who the angels praise
All creation knows your name
On earth and heaven above
What do I know of this love
What do I know of Holy
What do I know of wounds that will heal my shame
And a God who gave life its name
Wow! Lord, I sit and I think - I am almost speechless - I am humbled.
Was this song written for me? No, I don't think so, but I do
think you led me to it today and I thank you!
I have made you so many promises, just like this song said, and I
have done all the talking most of the time. I have even said
"I don't fear God - He loves me, so why should I fear Him?"
I am sorry for being arrogant and thinking, "I know all the stories
and I have you figured out". I thank you, Lord, that you showed me
this glimpse of 'holy' and brought me to my knees.
I now realize that I don't really know anything of 'holy'
I cannot fathom the wounds of Jesus that healed my shame.
and a God that gave life its name.
But I am so grateful that I do know The Holy One - Jesus!
Day after day and night after night they keep on saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty - the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come." Revelation 4:8
Holy - I have always loved the word, and I will always love the one it stands for - my Jesus!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Grandkids are IT!!

I have been out of town the past 9 days and 6 of those days
I spent with my awesome grandsons, Colby and Carson!
What a grand time we had!!

Carson is 8 1/2 months and he is working hard at walking! I can't believe it!
None of my children walked early. He was up to 9-10 steps by the time I left.
As you can see in the above picture he gets lots of practice pushing big brother, Colby,
around on the tricycle!

Colby and I spent lots of time playing ball! He knows just how he wants
the ball thrown and was certain to tell me, especially if I throw it wrong!
Sometimes it had to be high
Sometimes it had to be low
Sometimes it had to be rolled
I could always count on him letting me know if I did it right!

Carson crawling!
Carson doesn't crawl like most babies!
He crawls on his hands and feet - I don't even
know if that counts as crawling?!?
He looks like a monkey! But this way
he is always ready to stand up and work
on his walking!

Seth took Colby fishing one night and this is what he caught!
He was so proud!!!

I was thinking about how much I love my children
and how much I love these two little guys!

They are called grandchildren for a reason.

Just take the love you have for your own child and double it
and that is what you feel for your grandchildren.
I wonder what it will be like with great-grandchildren.
I will be waiting a LONG time before that happens - thank goodness!

Thinking about the love we feel for our children and grandchildren
makes me think about the love God has for us.

His love doesn't grow with each generation like ours does.
He has always loved and will always love all humankind extraordinarily!
I cannot even imagine the love He has for us but I am SO grateful!

His love is BOUNDLESS!!

His love is EXTRAVAGANT!!

His love is NEVERENDING!!

His love is enough for me!! What else could I possible need?

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1

Friday, July 3, 2009


I can always find something in the book of Psalms that speaks to me. One of my favorite passages is Psalm 40:1-4.

I wait patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
and out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth
and a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
Lord, thank you for lifting me out of the pit!
Thank you for placing me on the solid rock!
Thank you for the new song you put in my heart every day!
Thank you for changing me!
I pray that many will enter the mystery of Your grace
and abandon themselves to You!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I'm Losing My Mind

I am wondering what my day would be like if I kept at the front of my mind that everything I say, and most importantly, THINK, was heard by Jesus. Wow!! That is a scary thought!!! I know this happens - but - I don't remember it often enough and I certainly don't have that on my mind when I am frustrated or angry or disappointed.

Lord, today, I surrender my thoughts to You.
Help me to remember that everything I say and think goes by You.
I am going to adopt the attitude that ALL my
thoughts are being spoken to You, Lord.
I pray that my mind will be continuously molded to become more like the mind of Christ!
Today I pray that I will not bring shame to You Lord.
But that all I say, think, and do will bring glory to Jesus Christ!
I want to lose my mind to you!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

50th Birthday Celebration

Wow! I can't believe I am 50 years old!

It actually happened about a month ago, but this weekend was the fun celebration. My best friend from high school, Tina, flew in from Dallas, TX and we celebrated our big events together.

Kate and I picked her up at the airport on Thursday evening and began our fantastic weekend with dinner at St. Louis Bread Co! Yum!! When we got into Farmington we stopped and rented 6 movies so we would be ready for the weekend. We went home and watched "Last Chance Harvey" and went to bed - we aren't what we use to be!!

On Saturday we braved the heat with a 'Winery Day'. First stop was lunch at Vance Vineyards in Fredericktown. We enjoyed appetizers - stuffed portobello mushrooms, crab cakes, and toasted ravioli. For lunch I had a grilled pork loin sandwich, Kate had a club sandwich, Tina had a chicken club sandwich and Jake had shrimp fettucini - Everything was delish!!

Next stop was The Cave Winery - a place I have always wanted to go! It was a bit of a drive but very beautiful! We traveled down narrow roads and gravel roads, paved roads and more gravel roads! But we finally made it! After tasting and deciding on a wine, we purchased a bottle along with some wonderful chocolates and then rode a shuttle down to 'the cave'.

We were so excited to enjoy our wine in this nice cool cave - What a neat experience this was going to be!

Well!! It wasn't long (maybe 1-2 minutes) before we were getting dripped on. Oh well, we thought, we can handle some drips for the experience - you know ambiance and all! Then Kate says to Jake, "Is that a snake?" Tina and I bolted out of our chairs! Needless to say we removed ourselves from the 'nice cool cave'! Forget about ambiance and the experience!!

Me and Tina, my BFF from high school relaxing inside the nice cool cave!

This picture was taken before we heard the word "snake"!

This picture was taken at the entrance to The Cave (after we heard the word "snake")

So after the snake incident and picture taking we left the cave - Back into the 100 degree heat - Unfortunately the nice shuttle did not show up to take us back up the hill and we had to walk. But all in all I am still glad we went to The Cave Winery!

Last stop was Sand Creek Winery - the newest one in our area. Again it was a beautiful drive and again we were on pavement and then gravel.

At Sand Creek we enjoyed cheese and crackers and homemade potato chips with homemade dip!

Kate and Jake
Aren't they cute!?!

Levi, Jordan (my nephew), and Tommy & Cole (2 of Levi's high school friends) joined us at Sand Creek.

Jordan, Levi, Tommy and Cole.

After getting home we watched a movie - "Fool's Gold" - we enjoyed that one. We tried to watch "Surfer Dude" but it was really bad. Later Tina had to have her 'white castle' fix. Kate and I had Sonic - no belly bombers for us!!

On Saturday we decided to get some sun and hit the pool at Kate's apartment. Unfortunately, Kate got a little too much sun! After sun bathing we had to have Hunt's Burgers (it's a Farmington thing). Then we did a little shopping at the shops around town. I actually purchased 3 plaques to match the 1 Kate gave me for Mother's Day - they are for my up and coming Dining Room!

Saturday night was movie and popcorn night! We watched "The Bridges of Madison County" - an old movie we had both seen, but we still cried! We had to make a taco bell run at about 1:00 in the morning! Tacos were one of our favorite late night snacks back in the day!

Sunday came too soon!! After enjoying lunch at Ruby Tuesday's we did a little shopping and then it was time for Tina to go to the airport and catch her flight.

I had a blast celebrating my 50th birthday with my life friend!!

I thank God for her - she has always been such a blessing in my life!! I pray we can celebrate many more birthdays together!