Monday, November 14, 2011

L3 Challenge: Joy & Pain

I cannot seem to get through this book because I am savoring each page, sentence, word...
And I must quote Ann Voskamp to round out this day as I contemplate my priorities, dream for the future of my family, pray for the wisdom in choices, and thank God for his always goodness, always grace, always compassion.

I eat a bit of chocolate, watch the rain drops tap the parched and browning leaves...and I read::

.: Joy is always worth the wait, and fully living worth the believing:.

.: it was God's necessary tool to reshape me, remake me, rename me, and now how could I stop being...full of grace?:.

.: Joy and pain, they are but two arteries of the one heart that pumps through all those who don't numb themselves to really living:.

those who don't numb themselves to really living...

And I pray :: Oh Lord give me the eyes to see you in the daily joys and pains. Open up my heart to feel. If it is goodness Lord, guard me from taking the credit. If it is hardship or suffering, Lord, give me the humility to be full of grace. Bring me low, Lord, and give me the compassion to stay there with you. I thank you Jesus, now and always. Amen.
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

L3 Challenge: Overcoming Failure

So I fail. And I fall. And there is evidence of things broken.

It isn't always sin that causes failure, but disappointment, discouragement, depression. The 3 D's.

I have to face these three anew each day it seems. But it isn't the falls or the failures that define me. It is the rising again. New life promised, and new life lived. New life loved. 

I see the contrast of pain and beauty. Contrast of color in this season. Pastel green grass covered in frost, bright red leaves, pale blue morning sky. It is all the seeing of the difference that makes the difference. 

When I stay fallen, I don't see the beauty of rising. Certainly the rising is difficult. It is a discipline. But it is a grace. A gift. 

A gift received and a gift given. Risen life gives and serves. It shares. 

On this day of the challenge I will look for the contrast. See and believe that there is a gift to be received today, and a gift to give. My whole self for another. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

L3 Challenge Day 29

At first I was going to try to reword this, but I can't. And shouldn't.

This journal entry, video, and verse have been essential to my thinking today as I muddle through my grief.

I was eight weeks Monday. This was the second baby that I miscarried.


I wish that word didn't imply that I failed to carry the baby.

It is also a true statement though to say that from now on I will miss carrying that child. I will miss for the future in a way that I may never forget.

Why are you sharing this so publicly if you don't want a response?

Well, honestly, I am sharing this so that the people who choose to read what I blog here know that no matter what I'm writing from my real life. Real life is painful and pain isn't tame. I want my friends to know that I am working through the pain in my life and more importantly I'm desperate to know more of Jesus through my life. And that is what I hope to share here. Whether it is through teaching a child to read, breaking bread with my neighbor, or walking through the valley of death, I want to see Jesus. I want to be like Him.

My challenge for the day? Well, to pray this prayer:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

L3 Challenge Day 28

When the day has been long and dreary, my challenge: make something warm to fill the insides.

And then savor the smiles around the table.

Food for the body may warm for an hour, but food for the soul warms for eternity as the memory of the filling causes warmth to renew even on the coldest days.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

L3 Challenge Day 27

When life is painful and the day itself is a challenge: make something warm. Like these headbands. A focused mind on a practical task keeps my hands busy and my heart free to be poured out before the Lord.

Psalm 62:8
Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

L3 Challenge Day 25

Come By Here (With Ann Voskamp) from Shaun Groves on Vimeo.

As you probably noticed, I have been reading a lot by Ann Voskamp. This song really ministered to me, and as I face my challenges both self imposed and otherwise I hope to see God in each moment of my day. Thanksgiving in both the beautiful and ugly things in life.

Friday, October 14, 2011

L3 Challenge Day 22

"Set a strong guard about thy outward senses; these are Satan's landing places, especially the eye and the ear." -- William Gurnall

"All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing." Ecclesiastes 1:8 ESV

It's striking to me to remember how much my senses are assaulted by Satan. To protect my faith, purity, priorities, family, etc. I must be on the guard. What makes me weary? Trying to satisfy my eyes and fill my ears. Yet, to live life to the full I must constantly exercise self-control. Discernment. Discipline. A strong guard.

My challenge for today is to be tough. Saying no to the atmosphere of this world and to say Yes to Jesus Christ through prayer and the Holy Spirit's leading. Every activity, hour, attitude of my day is either a choice to let the world, Satan, and sin into my senses or a surrender to the Holy Spirit to control what is let in and how I respond to it. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

L3 Challenge Day 20

They lose their air. Fall to the ground. Taking a different shape.

I've been taking a different shape lately. Trying to adapt when I've lost my air. Steam. Drained.

What do you do when this is the status of your day and it's only noon?

Taking a different shape.
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Monday, October 10, 2011

L3 Challenge Day 18

Being lead by the Spirit doesn't always make sense at the moment. Some leading requires boldness and others require humility. Some require immediate action and others require patience or abstinence of action.

What does this have to do with a bathroom?


I was lead to clean it. And I mean no disrespect by talking about such a room with relation to obedience to the Spirit, but it's been the progress of my spiritual life lately to seek to listen constantly to what I am to do for Him. For today, it was this. Serve my family.

Right now. Stop what I was doing. On my knees. And worship the Lord for meeting me there as I obeyed.

I sang and scrubbed. It was beautiful.

{Here is a bonus for today: these printable scripture cards are attractive and practical!}
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Saturday, October 8, 2011

L3 Challenge Day 16

Rescued by clothes on the line.

Rescue from failure, even just the feeling of failure. The chores pile up, kids call to play, books pile on shelves, days committed before they even begin: responsibilities multiply when I'm not looking, and then when I least expect it - I'm rescued.

The clothes washed and on the line, floors swept, kids bathed, and I no longer feel like I'm defined by what was left undone. It was done for me. It was a gift.

The gratitude that burst forth from receiving fuels me to give in the same way.
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Friday, October 7, 2011

L3 Challenge Day 15

Pause. Reflect. Breathe. Receive.

We were on a walk to the library when we came upon a tree which was losing it's leaves readily.

We stopped. Watched. The fall. Seasons changing.

We took the time to reason why this season is called "fall." Hands raised to the highest branch, she waited with full faith to receive more from the obliging tree.

Pause. Reflect. Breathe. Receive.
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

L3 Challenge Day 13

Siblings. Sharing. Sinning. {Forgiving} Celebrating.

Celebrating the playing of a simple board game. The favorite color. The joy of taking turns. The pain of being bumped out of place & the hugs of forgiveness. The little minds processing what choices to make.

The moment when she told him "I love you" & he said it back {Ay yuve yu}.

Today's challenge was just to sit an enjoy. Don't be distracted from this eternal moment, stop thinking about dinner and dishes, and soak in the littleness of these two miracle kids.
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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

L3 Challenge Day 12

I've been learning a lot about true joy, thanksgiving, and grace as I read "One Thousand Gifts" and the sentence that has struck me the most lately is:

"Gratitude for the seemingly insignificant -a seed- this plants the giant miracle."

Choosing to be grateful is choosing to live. Choosing to say thanks is choosing to breathe life. Joy can only come to the living.

I love fully living because of what Jesus has done to my heart. Being the temple of the Holy Spirit is a wonderful miracle & I am grateful to be involved.

I love that in Acts 5:20 the angel tells the apostles to go and tell all the words of this full Life.

Full Life. He didn't say go do miracles or prove the consistency of scriptures prophecy (both of which they did as well) but he told them just go tell them about your Full Life.

Life. Gratitude. Joy. All & only because of Jesus.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

L3 Challenge Day 11


There are words that bring life.

There are words that bring death.

There are no neutral words.

Every time I open my mouth I have a choice to make.

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L3 Challenge Weekend Recap

I don't think it is random that I have been enjoying a lot of continuous themes lately. From what I'm learning in my personal study of the Word, prayer, BSF, and preaching on Sunday morning it seems that for weeks everything has been complimentary.

This weekend I was meditating on the Consuming Fire of God. There are so many verses that describe the Consuming Fire of God.

In Acts I just studied Pentecost and even wrote about the wind but there was also Tongues of Fire visible on each head. About 120 people were in the room where the Holy Spirit was poured out.

Fire. Tongues of Fire. Consuming Fire.

In my prayer journal (pictured above) the author has written on each page a name of God, verses where the name is recorded, and reflective thoughts. God is a jealous God and that goes along with understanding his Consuming Fire. His jealousy is holy and pure. It is clear in the commandments that I am not to make any other idol or worship any other thing but God alone. He does not share what is completely and rightfully his. And I love how James puts it in chapter 4
1What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passionsa are at war within you?b 2You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4You adulterous people!c Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
The Spirit within me yearns jealously for my whole attention, affection, worship, devotion, service, and witness. It is my evil desire that leads me to think that I can worship my stuff, self, kids, spouse, church, etc. and still please God.

No, I can't.

God's Consuming Fire is going to come to burn all that up! The things done that are not done through the Name of Jesus will be burned up.
each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
At the end of the service yesterday we sang this song Consuming Fire, and I was just blessed by passion of my God for my whole heart. And yours too.

Friday, September 30, 2011

L3 Challenge Day 8

This picture doesn't do it justice.

Wind on the water.

Today was a good day for pondering the wind. I've been studying Acts intently and when the Holy Spirit comes upon the believers in Jesus Luke describes hearing the sound of a violent, rushing wind.

People gathered because of it.

I wonder: was there a rush of wind or just the sound? And what's the difference?

I googled "wind" today and found some pretty interesting things about wind energy, wind damage, wind patterns...And I could honestly read for days about it without truly understanding it.

Wind isn't tame.

God addressed Job from a whirlwind.

I cannot box the wind. And I dare not box in God. Just when I think I've got a handle on His nature, He shows up in the whirlwind.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

And I forgot to mention...

The sun.
Literally we are soaking in every last ray we can get while the leaves are still somewhat green and the ground is soft.
There is something in my heart that treasures these moments as the seasons change.
And these treasures are seeds.
Hope grows when life seems frozen.
Roots growing deep down into my soul for mid-January when all is white and frozen; hope keeps me warm.
The storm rolls in as I'm whispering Thanks for these treasure moments and I'm reminded again that time is priceless.
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L3 Challenge Day 7

The thing I learned & internalized today: spending time outside in the fall with the cool wind, kids in bright rain boots, & hot cocoa is priceless.

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L3 Challenge Day 5 (belated)

Yes, it bothers me too that day 5 is out of order.
I'm a rule follower.
If you only knew me growing up, then the statement would probably cause you to scoff. Reality for me is that I broke enough rules and experienced enough consequences to wake up and realize the value of Following the rules, staying within the protection of borders.
I teach my kids all kids of rules; rules for their safety, rules for their health, rules for their behavior in private and public, rules made by men.
What rules are the most important though? Are they my rules or God's?
Sometimes I hear myself bark a rule to "motivate obedience" of a rule like "no being silly at bedtime, mommy says it's time to be calm!"
A lot of times it seems like I'm teaching my kids to draw near me with their behavior but not necessarily with their heart.
How do I teach my kids God's rules? And even more, how do I teach them that breaking God's rules have eternal consequences and breaking man's rules have present consequences? I do not want to raise avid rule followers; I want to raise avid God-worshipers.

So my challenge for today: let go of my-made rules and focus on God's rules. Count my success for today based on my following and teaching His borders.

Isaiah 29:13 convicts me to not simply teach my kids (and myself for that matter) the behavior worship but rather the heart of worship. Psalm 119:41-48 will be on my heart today (I love this whole Psalm, but especially this portion.)
Psalm 119:48 "I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes."

It's good for me that day 5 is out of order. ;)

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

L3 Challenge Day 6

Conviction has a time.
And it isn't mine.
Conviction is timed.
And I have run my time out.
Conviction not acted upon turns into dread.
More conviction.

Today all of these met me face-to-face, and I was filled with boldness for action.
"You will be my witnesses..."
Today I said yes to Jesus and walked 20 feet to love my neighbor.

Conviction has a conclusion.
And it is the embrace of God.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

L3 Challenge Day 4

As you can guess, I love a challenge.
What you may not know is that I love to be crafty
But there is a catch: I'm only slightly creative. May there never be a day that I take credit for someone else's design. 
That being said: these are two projects I've learned about today and plan on accomplishing.

These two amazingly cute & fun crafts were found here:
Make It And Love It
Brought to my attention by my beloved friend, Casie. :)

L3 Challenge day 3 (belated)

"Count the cost"
What I've been challenged with today: how do I approach being a disciple of Jesus? Did I come to Christ recklessly? When I was young and first drawn to Jesus, didn't I just jump in and expect it to be easy from there on out?
Yes, I did.
Over the past 3 years Jesus has been so patient to grow my faith, and yesterday I was challenged afresh to continue to count the cost in being Jesus' disciple. Here in Luke 14:25-35 Jesus uses strong language and says over and over that unless a follower meets his demands they "cannot be a disciple."
Yesterday my pastor pointed out that a person who doesn't meet Jesus' standard isn't simply a "lousy disciple" but Jesus himself says that he or she CANNOT be.
Strong language.
Strong commitment.
What follows this passage in Luke? The parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son.
Oh how Jesus has rescued me from my many wanderings! Bless the Lord, oh my soul!

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

L3 Challenge day 2

What I learned today: it's good to let kids try new things. Even tomboys feel pretty in purple heels.
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Friday, September 23, 2011

L3 challenge day 1

Thing learned today:
A little girl dancing with all her might can make one sick mama feel no pain.
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What could be accomplished in 100 days?

Could I tackle this pile? What could I learn in 100 days? What should I apply from previous knowledge? Interested? Join me for the challenge!
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Monday, August 29, 2011

This Post is Just for Me...

...I hope you like it too.
Here are my liked links of the week:
Alphabet Parade
Kindergarten Worksheets
Ballerina preschool pack
were going on bear hunt printables
household management forms
Preparing ahead for Advent 2011

And definitely end with this one...
A holy experience.

May God bless your week as you rise up, as you sit down, and as you go into the world. Be doers and not hearers only; teaching them diligently.
{love grows here}

My husband calls me a hippie...

I really enjoy being creative, but even more than that I enjoy researching. Lately in my research, I have found some creative ways to make my own hair care and skin care items.
Check it out!
I've been doing the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) for my face for a little over 2 weeks, and not shampooing for a little over 1 week - so far I'm loving it and even got the compliment yesterday your hair looks fuller from Rob. {Big smile}