Thursday, June 30, 2011

How did I live before the internet/cell phones?

This week I haven't had internet/wifi at home because I've been painting. So, I've been using my iPhone. Well, this morning I woke up to no cell service or home phone service. Normally, not a big deal. But since my internet isn't hooked back up & running, I was basically cut off from the tech world.

Ahhhhhh........... I couldn't handle it. I felt so isolated. So I am very thankful my phone service is back up! I'm at McDonald's now letting the kids play so I can surf & blog & just be online. I was having internet withdrawal. Isn't that crazy?? I mean, I lived half my life without internet & most of my life without an iPhone. But now I'm so lost without it.

I think for me, just know it wasn't working, even if I didn't want to use it, was what bugged me.  I like the security of knowing I could get ahold of someone if I needed to. If Hubby was home, I might have felt differently.

So, could you survive without internet or cell phones? I know I couldn't!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fun in Hope

The kids & I went to my Parent's this week. We helped Dad in garden, went to Columbus Commons playground, went to my brother & sister-in-laws, went to Mamaw Beeker's, went to Hope Square playground & just hung out at Mom & Dad's. Poor Jessica came home with fat lip & several bruises/scraps on legs from playing so hard. But everyone had a great time. Below is a slideshow with lots of pics of some of the activities of the week. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Are you a generational thinker?

On Saturday of Deeper Still, Beth Moore talked about the fact that God is a generational thinker & we should be too. She taught out of 2 Timothy 1:1-14. She said
        1. God has a unique regard for generations,
        2. We are each in our generation on purpose (Acts 17), &
        3. Each generation is linked to the other two.

She talked about how there are 3 generations of faith at any one time.
      1. Lois generation - roughly age 61 & above - Lois means "Desired" or "Better"
      2. Eunice generation - roughly age 40 - 60 - Eunice means "Victorious" (It's weird to think I'm in this generation)
      3. Timothy generation - roughly age 39 & below - Timothy means "Honoring God"
She also talked about how we need all 3 generations & that all 3 generations need each other. Each generation has their unique challenges & need things from the other 2 generations.

Beth had 3 ladies, one from each generation, get up on stage & tell one of their challenges & what they need from each other. It made me stop & really think about those I'm around. Here is what I brought home from this talk.

To those in the Lois generation:
-Are you mentoring those below you? Are you sharing with those who are walking the same path you walked? Are you encouraging them? Are you seeing the good in the younger generations?

To those in the Eunice generation:
-Are you respecting those older than you? Are you seeing that they are a fountain of expertise & that they have walked where you are walking? Are you encouraging them?
-Are you mentoring those below you? Are you encouraging them? Are you seeing that they want to live godly lives? Are you seeing the good in them & not just expecting them to party & not amount to anything?

To those in the Timothy generation:
-Are you respecting those older than you? Are you seeking out mentors? Are you seeing that they are wise as they've walked your road before? Are you gleaning all you can from them?

Each generation of women are needed. We need to show respect for each other & get along! We need to stop trying to "Compete" with each other! Instead of back-biting & fighting one another, we need to love & encourage one another. It is hard. The world wants us to fight & despise each other. Let's let the world see we are different! What an amazing witness it would be if our churches were filled with women who lifted one another up, who really loved each other & encouraged one another.

As I look at my list of friends, I'm blessed with ones in all 3 generations. I've tried to encourage those friends, but I'm going to try & be more intentional about it now. I'm going to try & seek out those older than me to ask questions of. I'm going to seek out those who are a step ahead of me in life to watch & learn from. I'm going to continue to encourage those younger than me or those in the step behind me in life. I'm going to try to be more open to them so they can ask me questions & seek out opinions from me. Not because I know it all, but because I've already walked the road they are on. But most of all, I'm going to try to love those around me.

To all my friends & family, I love you all! Walk with me on this journey we called life! Reach out to me & I'll reach out to you! If I falter, pick me up. If I mess up, lovingly correct me! I'm better online than in person, so help me! And I'll help you! Together, in unity, we can make life better & we can be more like Christ!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Do you know how to rest?

On Saturday morning of Deeper Still, Priscilla Shirer spoke. Boy, did I need to hear this message!!

She spoke about how we all need a Sabbath rest. She several very direct questions. "Are we so addicted to the Chaos that we can't enjoy "rest" when given to us?" "What is it you are overdoing in your life?" She went on to say that we can be free from sin, but enslaved to things that are "lawful" but have spiraled out of control.

Several things came to my mind. I overdo with food, helping others & computer time. All 3 of these I have cut back on in past year. BUT then I feel guilty when I'm not as active. I've started to pick things back up that God told me to put down. Then Priscilla said this "We need to be free to say "I'm not God & I'm going to leave time for Him in my life." Wow! I so needed to hear that. So the guilt is gone. Yes, we don't do all the extra-curricular activities every other family is doing! But that is ok! Instead, we are getting up & having family quiet time. We are spending quality family time together & I am focusing on raising my kids. I am resting in God & leaving room in my life for rest!

So as I plan for the summer & next school year, I am keeping in mind that I need to carve out & create my schedule based on what God has put as a priority at this stage/season of my life. My priority is love God, love my hubby and love & raise my kids to love God! So if things don't coincide with that, then I will be cutting them out of my life. I am expecting God to move in my life & do great things.

Priscilla challenged us to take 14 minutes each day to "Shabbat" (rest w/God) & to clear 14" of space. Why 14" of space? Because when you have everything, you can find anything, enjoy anything or even see clearly. We need to take our attention off our stuff & put it on Jesus!

So far this week, I've spent at least 14 min each day resting in the Lord by spending time in His Word with my kids! I've also spent time by myself in God's Word. I haven't cleared any space yet, but I know several areas that I need to clean out. I want to clean out my twitter list. I want to get rid of those I follow who take my time away from my kids, mainly celebrities. I also want to clean out my homeschool stuff. It clutters my home & takes my attention from other things. I have lots of preschool things that I could be passing on to other homeschoolers & be a blessing to them.

SO do you have time & room in your life to rest, Shabbat? or are you so addicted to the chaos of life that you don't know how to rest? God meant for the Sabbath to be a way of life! He started us off with an example in the first book of Genesis! God rested on the 7th day! We need to have a time where we can pause & rest and enjoy the blessings God has given us.

What is out of control in your life? What has become so important to you that you can't enjoy everything because you have everything? Is it work? shoes? belts? homeschool materials? kids involved in every sport? laziness? food? computers? Twitter? Facebook? Working out? In & of themselves, none of this is bad. It's when they become our focus, our priority, that's when they are bad. I'm going to clean out my stuff & my time so I can have margin in my life! So I can have rest! I want to make Jesus my priority & rest in Him. Will you join me?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Do you know that God Loves You?

Kay Arthur was our first Deeper Still speaker. What an amazing woman of God! At 77 years old she knows the Word of God better than anyone I've ever seen. God's Word just poured out of her! Just amazing!

She talked about how God loves us, but many of us don't really believe that! We can't believe God really loves us. God is the only one who knows ALL about us & still loves us! God wants me to experience the freedom & power that comes with knowing God loves me! Over & over again in God's Word, He tells us how much He loves us!

Whatever we've been through, Jesus went through it. He was mutilated, naked, despised, in agonizing pain, taunted, teased, scorged, mocked, hated. And He went through it all for me, for you. Why? Because He LOVED us! He even went through being forsaken by God for us! How can doubt His love for us??

If we really believed God loves us, we would want to get to know Him! We would want to get to know His Word. His Word is truth & when it comes to His Word, we don't know it all. We need to focus on His Word. But we are a generation of silly women who are collectively too entangled in this world! We don't want to work & wrestle our way through God's Word.

That point hit me hard. Many times, I just trudge through this life expecting God to answer all my prayers, but I have no passion, no love for Him or His Word. I get too entangled in the things of this world. I let other things become my passion! Then I get mad at God for not answering my prayers the way I want Him to. Ways that are not even in His plan. I think I can tell God how to do things & when He doesn't I think He doesn't love me. Instead, I should be making God & His Word my Passion. I should spend time with Him & lay everything at His Feet & let Him answer my prayers in His way & His timing. God has a purpose & a plan! Everything that comes to us is filtered through His fingers of Love!

I don't want to be a "silly woman" anymore. I am changing my focus in life. I am choosing to spend my time getting to know Jesus & laying everything at His feet. He loves me! How can I do anything else if I truly believe the God of the universe loves me? God is my passion!! What or who is your passion??

Deeper Still

This past weekend, I attended Deeper Still with a wonderful group of ladies from my church. What is Deeper Still? you ask. It is a conference that was put on by LifeWay Women. It included wonderful worship lead by Travis Cottrell and his worship team. It also was a weekend of wonderful teaching by 3 generations of women: Kay Arthur, Beth Moore & Priscilla Shirer. There have been 10 Deeper Still events over 5 years. I attended the 2nd one in Nashville in 2007 & now the last one in Louisville.

Before I went, God had laid on my heart that I need to be anticipating His working in me. I was to go expecting Him to change me. I blogged about it here - . When I got there, one of the first things Kay Arthur said is "What are you expecting God to do in your life this weekend?". I got so excited anticipating what God was going to do. I was amazed at how God used each speaker to challenge me, encourage me & even rebuke me!

Over the next week or so, I plan to blog about each session & what God taught me from each. But this post is just a general overview of the weekend & what it meant to me.

As I prepared to go to Deeper Still, I was worn out physically, emotionally & spiritually. It's been a rough month. Hubby is back to traveling almost full time. Homeschooling year ended right on time as I was ready to quit. Kids seemed to be extra trying. I seemed to be extra grouchy. My fibromyalgia seemed to be flaring more. I was barely making it through the days with all things considered. I wasn't living, I was surviving.

I really didn't know how I was going to function or even enjoy the weekend. Earlier last week, God started preparing me. He drew me into His Word & putting excitement & anticipation into my heart. So I left for the conference worn out but anticipating.

I had no idea what God was going to speak to my heart & that He would start as soon as the first session started. We were sitting 2 rows from the stage. In front of us were the piano & drum set. As I stood their singing, I noticed how passionate the drummer was about drumming for the Lord. He put his all into those worship songs. God whispered to me "Are you putting your all into worshiping me?" The tears started to flow as I sang & prayed. I asked God to clear my thoughts of all the worries I was carrying, of all the doubts I had & of all the concerns on my mind & just let me focus on Him. Those around me probably thought I was strange, but I honestly wasn't aware if they were. I just focused on my Savior & worshiping Him! I was free! Free to praise my Savior! Free to focus on Him! Free of my fears, my failures, my doubt, my selfishness, me! I believe God gave me just a glimpse of what it will be like to praise Him in Heaven where He will be our all, our passion!

After that refreshing encounter with my Savior, the rest of the weekend was just icing on the cake. I was changed! Yes, I still have the same worries, doubts & concerns. I'm still tired. I'm still achy. But my heart is changed. I know, that these will all pass away! Only God is forever! I know that He loves me & that whatever I face, I can face it! I am free to anticipate what God is going to do & expect Him to answer my prayers! Travis Cottrell taught us a new us a new song called "I am Changed." The lyrics say "Now it is not I but it is Christ living in me. I'm Changed because of You Oh Lord!" "This is the Life that I now live. I life by faith!" So I no longer am just going to survive! I am changed & I am going to live for my Lord! I'm going Deeper Still with my Savior!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Morning, Sunshine!

It's amazing what one word can do to your mood. My wonderful hubby has taken to calling me "Sunshine" in his emails & texts. Why? I don't know. You'll have to ask him. What I do know is that this has a profound effect on my mood.

Lately I've been struggling with pain & fatigue more than normal. So I've felt nothing like sunshine. But when he calls me that, I perk up. I smile a little more & I complain a little less. It changes my whole outlook on my day. He probably has no idea that just that one little word has made a difference in my moment, my day! So now he does ;-)

So think carefully about the words you use. You never know, they might change someone's day for the better or for the worse. Words have power!!

What are you expecting?

This seems to be the question on my mind this week. Specifically, what am I expecting God to do in my life? Am I expecting Him to do anything? or am I just going through the motions. Am I looking for God to work in my life? Am I watching to see what message or blessing He has for me?

So many times, I get so entrenched in my daily life. Before I know it, I've dug a deep trench by trudging back & forth doing all that "needs" to be done. I don't look up, I don't look around. I just keep plugging away at life. When I finally do stop, I realize I've built walls around myself. Walls of housework, school routine, tv shows, kid raising, husband care-taking, yard work, church work, etc...

None of those things are bad, but they can become so routine that we get in a rut & all the joy is sucked out of everything. Before I know it I'm rushing to get everything done & taking no prisoners along the way. I become moody, irritable & withdrawn. I realize I'm not living, I'm just surviving.

What's the difference? Attitude!

I decided this week, after a blow-up at my kids, to be intentional about spending time in God's Word. The first day, my study asked if I was anticipating God working in & around me? I wasn't. I was only focused on what I had to do to get by. The last 3 days I have been starting my day in God's Word & praying for Him to open my eyes to what He is doing and to help me to expect Him to move!

I've seen God working! I've been more even keeled in my attitude. I've seen tenderness developing in my son that I would have missed before. I've seen God convicting my kids & softening their hearts. I've seen God answering prayers because I've been anticipating Him to answer!

Today, I'm going with a group of ladies from my church to "Deeper Still" with Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer & Kay Arthur. I'm going expecting to hear from God! I'm excited to find out what message God has for me as I continue this walk with Him! I'm expecting Him to revolutionize my life & change me to be more like Christ!

So what are you expecting? Are you expecting God to work? Are you expecting God to bless you? Or are you just trudging through life trying to do it all on your own?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mom's beautiful wild flowers

Ok, I'm going blog crazy. This is the first time in awhile that I've been able to sit down & blog. I promise, this is the last post for today! Enjoy the beauty of my Mom's flowers. God has blessed us with such beauty. I know this is just a fraction of the beauty we will see when we get to Heaven. That thought blows my mind!

Park pictures

Last week we visited my parents & went to the park in Hope to let the kids play. So with no further ado, my kids playing at the park:

Yesterday's Storm

Yesterday afternoon, the clouds started moving in & the wind picked up. I grabbed my camera (1st chance to do so in awhile) & headed outside. I had to brave the wind as it was quite strong. So, below is a slideshow of my cloud pics!