Thursday, July 31, 2008

Letters from Camp.......

On Monday morning I dropped my 10 yr. old daughter off at camp. She is staying in a cabin on a small lake with 11 of her girlfriends (I have to say I am a little envious).

The camp offers swimming, fishing and several "theme night" activities such as: Mexican Fiesta night, Board Game Night, Olympics Night and Rock Band Night.

The best part however, is that this is a Christian camp so the kids are singing worship songs and hearing bible teaching along with quiet time to connect with God through His word and their journals (now I am REALLY envious! lol).

I am so grateful that Cece is able to have this experience. When my oldest daughters were her age we didn't know about this camp so they went to a different, secular camp. Fortunately I saved the letters they wrote (along with every other note my children have written me) while they were gone. These notes and letters are even more precious to me now that they are grown (19 & 21).

So here, in their own words, are the experiences of my little campers:

These letters were written from Girl Scout Camp when the girls were in 2nd & 3rd grade:

Dear Mom and Dad,
I wish I could come home so I could eat your food. The food here is very gross.
And also I wish I could come home so I could flush the toilets.
I made a candle for both of you.

Dear Kids,
I miss you guys. Has mom called my name and then she figures out I'm not there?
I hope you are busy because I am really busy.

XOXO I love you all,

Dear Mom, Dad and Kids,
Camp is great so far! I have met many people. I share a cabin with Lizzie, Olivia and Beth.
The showers are freezing and have bugs crawling on the walls.
The people who sleep next to us have to talk all the time. Well I passed the treading water test and I don't have athlete's foot or lice. I gotta go now.


Dear Mom and Dad,
Yesterday I got dehydrated and homesick so I threw up. Today I feel fine. I have a million bug bites (exagerated). We have a wasp nest in our tent but it's dead. Everything here is going wrong.

It is fun here but you get too many bug bites. The food is really bad.

ps. keep writing

These next letters were written on a camping trip the girls took with their 6th grade classes:

Dear Mom and Dad,
Wildwood is really fun! Sarah thinks that Jordan likes me because he is always standing near me and talking to me. He also helped me fish when we went fishing.

Jordan caught a turtle and I got a picture. Melissa got a tic in her belly button.

You know those pants that are hippy type, well on Tuesday I got mud all over them because it was really muddy.

Our bathroom smells really bad because of the toilet. Well anyway the plumber found a dead mouse in the tube.

Oh by the way, the teacher snores! I can't sleep.
Well got to go!
I miss you all!


Here I am at beautiful, out-in-the-sticks Wildwood.
The teachers bunk is right next to mine.
The food here isn't too good, only the dessert.
I can do the log dance, I will show you when I get home.

ps. tell the dogs I miss them a lot
pps. Becky hit me in the nose and I got a headache but I'm Okay!!

Dear Family,
I am doing just fine. On Mon. I got a bad headache but took 2 Advil.
On Tues. we went on the Adventure Challenge course and I got a headache.
I can't sleep because the people snore (not the teacher but Dana and Anna T.).
On Tues. I got a tick on my stomach and one on my armpit.
Well I gotta go eat dinner. Yum Yum!


Dear Family,
Okay, I don't think I ever want to come back here without being prepared.
On both Monday and Tuesday I got a headache and now I think I'm headached out!
On Tuesday, like I said I got ticks but I didn't have 2, I had 5! WOW!

The weather is very nice and I am going canoing this afternoon.

I bet if Jake has a ball game during my recital Dad would go to the ball game instead.

I have seen many animals here. I have seen frogs, turtles, pelicans and more. I went fishing but none of the fish took the food.

I will see you Friday.


Like I said, I am so glad I kept those letters. They are priceless!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Garbage Day....

I think it is only fair that I should warn you about a certain sub division here in Kansas that has recently encountered an unusual amount of trash.

A couple of days ago I went out to run for the first time in a few weeks. As I ran I could feel the garbage that had been building up inside of me fall off onto the road where I left it behind....

Worries about my children's choices and behavior.

Decisions about their future.

Preparing for my son's senior year at high school.

Which school to send my daughter to.

Sending my youngest off to kindergarten.

Concerns about my husband's job security.

Feeling judged and rejected by my peers.

Fighting the worldly influences that surround & tempt me.

Frustrations in family relationships.

Feeling overwhelmed by the events on the calendar.

Staying on top of the bills, laundry, dinner...

Resuming my role at CBS.

Feeling out of shape.

Ignoring the voice of Satan who says, "You will not succeed so don't try"

Yes, there is a lot of garbage back on those roads.

I know that God doesn't want me carrying all of that around. He wants me to lay it at His feet so He can deal with it. But sometimes that can be a hard thing to do. As I pray about it my mind says "let go" but my stubborn body has a death grip on the stress.

That is when I need to come to the end of myself physically and release the endorphines that help to give me relief from stress and worry.

I need to think less and trust God more.

I need to stop trying to control my circumstances and let God control me.

I am still not sure I even like running. It is hard, uncomfortable and requires commitment and quite honestly I live in a world of relative ease and comfort. Yet, it is in the act of pushing myself physically that I exhaust my own resources and find peace in the presence of God.

Now if I can just remember this lesson perhaps I won't leave a garbage trail the next time I go out to run!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Let the Games Begin......

Tag....It seems that I am "it".

Not once, but twice this week I have been tagged. I love a good game so why not play online...

First of all here are the rules:
1) Link to the person who tagged you (that would be Susan and Rebecca)
2) Post the rules on your blog (copy and paste 1-6)
3) Write 6 random things about yourself (see below)
4) Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them
5) Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6) Let the tagger know when your entry is up

Now for my 6 random facts:

1) Quin and I were "almost" in a magazine ad when he was a baby. A local modeling agency called and said Walmart had chosen us to come and be photographed for a diaper ad. Unfortunately Quin didn't cooperate very well and kept crawling off. They paid us for our time but decided to go with the "alternate model" and her "cooperative" baby girl.

2) I like almost all foods and beverages except Pizza and Iced Tea. YUCK!!

3) Shortly after I got married I taught myself to sew. I made all kinds of clothing and projects but my favorite things to create were costumes. Our family became known as "The Halloween Family". I would still sew if I could locate my sewing machine under the piles of junk in the basement.

4) I am a recovering Fantasy Football addict. I drafted a team one year and became obsessed with the game. For three years I knew every player on every team and I was respected as the only female in the league! But when my husband's team beat mine (by 1 point) I refused to speak to him; and when we shushed the kids because we couldn't hear the "up to the minute highlights" on the radio I figured it was time to hang it up. However, I still get a thrill when that highlight music plays. LOL

5) I am terrified of snakes! Even thinking about them creeps me out much less seeing one on TV or in a movie, or heaven forbid if I were to ever run across one in person!!! YIKES!

6) I would never have thought of myself as a computer person and yet here I am writing a blog and redesigning blogs for others. In fact both of the women who tagged me have asked me to work on their designs!

Wow, that was hard. I didn't realize how uninteresting I am!

So hmmmm, now who to tag? So many of you have already been tagged and I don't want to put undue pressure on anyone. How about this: If you have not yet been tagged and participated in this game, you are now it.......

Saturday, July 26, 2008

TSMS~~Unanswered Prayers!!

Yesterday I wrote about my kids and the funny things they have said. But then I got to thinking about what my Father (God) would write about me if He had a blog! I am sure He would chuckle as He told you about some of my prayers over the years!

Here is how my life might look if God had answered some of those prayers.........

This is what I would look like:

This is who I would have married:

This would be my career:

And because I prayed that I would have 14 children (I even had all of their names picked out), my family would have looked a lot more like this......

Today I am thanking God for answering these prayers by leaving them unanswered.

Instead I look like this........

This is who I married........

I enjoy my career as a "Full Time Mom/Part Time Bible Teacher"......

And instead of: Brooke, Brad, David, Doug, Natalie, Matt, Sandy, Chris, Corrie, Carrie, Scott, Teresa, Joey and Chrissy, God has blessed me with this bunch of gorgeous offspring.......

I think this song by Garth Brooks sums it up best, some of God's greatest gifts are "Unanswered Prayers"!

Enjoy your Saturday and be sure to visit Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders for more music that will make your soul sing!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes & a Brilliant Award....

Sometimes a mom needs a translator!

Case in point, here is a conversation I had with one of my girls recently as we were driving to Walmart.

Daughter: "Mom, can we eat at that restaurant called "Terri's Poles" sometime?"

Me (afraid of what "poles" are doing in a restaurant): "HUH?"

Daughter: "You know, they are all over the place. There is one right over there...."

Of course some of my children suffer from "foot in mouth" disease (it's hereditary on their Dad's side). Several days ago the doorbell rang and this is what my sweet girl said to me:

"Mom, someone's at the door for you but don't bother putting on makeup, you don't have to look good!"

That same afternoon I had to explain to my teenage daughter:

"NO, you cannot get a tan by lying in the shade!"

There is never a dull moment around here that is for sure!

So now you know why I blog; it is so much easier than trying to communicate with my family! And it's where I find a little R.E.S.P.E.C.T!

Speaking of respect, today I want to say a HUGE "Thank You" to Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders for presenting me with an award (I can't think of my last "non blogger" award).
She thinks I am "Brilliante"!! I'm pretty sure no one in "real life" has called me brilliante recently!

Now I am supposed to pass this on to 7 more "Brilliante" bloggers.

However, I am going to cheat again and pass it to the first 7 commenters on this post (assuming of course there are 7 of you). In my mind you are all Brilliante and there is no way I could choose a favorite 7!

So if you are one of my first 7 comments make sure to copy the button and share the Brilliance with 7 more......

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Week So Far and Word Filled Wednesday....

The two teenagers have returned from the beach conference and the pace of life has picked back up around here.They did strengthen friendships within their youth group and enjoyed the teaching that was presented so I suppose the trip was a success. The question now is, "how to keep the flame of faith burning while returning to every day life?" But then, that is a question we all must work through!

The school issue for Lilly still hasn't been finalized. We did have one door close today but we are still praying for God's direction as we try to make a decision as to which high school she should attend next year.

Monday was the last night of my "Slightly Bad Girls" bible study.
Like the other "Bad Girls" books, this one is very good and I highly recommend it. I am grateful that thousands of years later we can still learn lessons from the "imperfect" women of the bible! God's grace covered them and it is what I am clinging to today!

I look forward to the day I can talk with Sarah, Rebekah, Leah and Rachel. Won't those be some interesting conversations???

The highlight of my week so far was Monday night when Lelia came to visit! Her son had to catch an early flight out of Kansas City so she spent the night at my house. I loved introducing my family to one of my blogging friends (I told you they are real people!!).

Unfortunately, she had to leave far too quickly but she promises to come back soon and stay longer. Meanwhile I got a much needed baby fix from her granddaughter Amiyah....

I also spent some time outside this week with my camera where I captured my neighbors' sunflowers. They are so majestic looking, some stand over 8 FT tall! They are also the State flower of Kansas. So this is my offering for Word Filled Wednesday this week....
Be sure to look for more photo/scripture encouragement here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hunting Lions?

I recently received some pictures from a friend whose Dad and Brother went on an African Safari. As you can see they were very successful and are bringing home some rather big trophies. Seeing these pictures got me to thinking about 1 Peter 5:8:

“Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.” Amplified

I remember when my daughter’s Girl Scout troop spent a night camping in the zoo. We set up tents in a field near the middle of the zoo. We enjoyed an early evening tour, snack and program. Then it was into our tents and sleeping bags for the night. A short time later we all heard the unmistakable sound of roaring of lions. It was LOUD and it sounded very close. Fortunately, I was very aware of the iron bars the lions lived behind. Without them it was only a thin piece of tarp that separated my daughter and I from those lions.

How different, in some ways, our culture is today from that in which Peter lived 2000 years ago. Here in Kansas we have our lions on display in cages. Lying in the sun and looking like giant kitty cats we rarely see a lion show much aggression. Peter certainly knew another side of lions, where they lived in the wild. Because he was compelled to compare our enemy, the devil, to a roaring lion, I wanted to know more about the lion Peter knew and how it operates!

First I learned about the lion's hunting technique:

It stalks its prey using as much cover as possible and then runs it down with a short rapid rush. In fact, lions have little stamina and will get quite close to the prey before charging. One source says that a lions final charge is made from as close as 10 meters.

How much more would we guard and protect ourselves if we realized how close our adversary is?

Ephesians 6:11 tells us to “put on the full armor of God and take a stand against the devil’s schemes.” If we could sense the devil’s presence we would NEVER be caught without our armor firmly in place. More often we think of him as “out there” and not “right here.”

I also found it relevant that a lions tongue is so rough it can draw blood just by licking you. All the more reason to heed James’ advice, “submit yourself to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

Most of the lion’s hunting takes place under the poor lighting conditions of early evening, at dawn or during the night. The lion is at a disadvantage when its prey is able to see clearly. We must remember that God is our light and our safety is dependant on Him. Psalm 119:105 states: “thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” If we venture from that path we are vulnerable to attack. John 11:10 warns us “it is when we walk by night that we stumble, for we have no light.”

Another hunting tactic for the lion is to lie in wait for its prey to come and drink from the water hole during the dry season.

Perhaps nothing is more disturbing than seeing the devil’s destruction in the spiritual lives of believers and/or the church. The book of Matthew is full of Jesus’ warnings to the teachers of the law and the Pharisees, whom He calls hypocrites. Matthew 23:13 is especially sobering; “you shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” Matthew 15:8 speaks of those who “honor Him with their lips but their hearts are far from Him.” What better victory for Satan than one within the body of Christ?

And then I learned about the lion's prey:

It is commonly believed that lions attack weak, sick, wounded or old. The fact of the matter is, they will attack and eat whatever is closest to them. Sex, age and condition are not a factor in a lions hunt and they are not a factor in the enemy’s pursuit.

One article I found says that lions are “always ready to eat whatever type of meat they find.” They will even take over, or steal, kills made by other carnivores.

The devil hunts us when we are on the mountaintop or in the valley, when we are celebrating and when we are broken by our circumstances. Whether we are old, young, rich, poor, male or female, we have an equal opportunity enemy and he is hungry for our destruction.

Of course, if we are covered by the blood of Christ he can’t take our salvation, but he can reduce us to walking bones instead of a joyful, and fruitful, heart and soul. Jesus clearly tells us this in John 10:10 when he says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

On the other hand, lions rarely eat an entire kill. They take what they want and leave the rest for hyenas and vultures to finish. Our enemy, also, leaves behind a wake of wounded, broken and lifeless people for the world to swallow up once he has had his fill.

Just as Adam and Eve were left alone and ashamed in the garden after Satan had convinced them to eat of the forbidden fruit, in our world today we don’t have to look far to see examples of people enticed into sin and the consequences they are forced to bear. Business scandals, Politicians, TV Evangelists are just a few public examples. However Satan is just as busy in the everyday world, leaving people’s lives devastated.

So how do we protect and defend ourselves against this beast? We can fight him with the strength of our own lion, the Lion of Judah. Jesus has said, “in this world you will have trouble but take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Solving The Fur Dilemma...

Something is coming between me and my "best friend".......

This beautiful golden-furred girl is leaving part of herself on everything she touches. Actually she doesn't even have to touch it, the fur just finds it. The carpet, the clothes, the tables, the hardwoods....I'm beginning to understand why they call it "fur"niture.

I know she can't help it. It is probably a great embarrassment to her so I try not to mention it around her. Unlike the kids who just carelessly yell out, "THIS IS GROSS, THERE IS DOG HAIR EVERYWHERE!"

Well I recently learned about a product called the "FURMINATOR" (I apologize if this conjures up images of Arnold Schwarzenegger badly in need of a back wax!! EEWWW!). It is actually a "deshedding tool" recommended by dog groomers.

I first saw one of these at the local Pet Store where it seemed a bit pricey for a "dog brush". However I was able to find it on for a lot less, and best of all it had a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars! Well that's about all it takes to "sell" me on something~~a discount and positive consumer rating!

So we are waiting for delivery of our very own "Furminator". Meanwhile I am shaving the floors and waxing the "fur"niture. PLEASE hurry Mr. Postman........

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Old Business & A New One!

I need to take a couple of minutes today and thank two very wonderful ladies who have blessed me with an award........

Laurie Ann at "A Magnolia's Heart Beats" and Lea at "Shabby Olde Potting Shed" have both bestowed upon me the Arte Y Pico award.

Although I don't know what the wording actually means, I have seen the button bouncing around Blog Land and I am very honored to now have one of my own. I am amazed that anyone cares to read my ramblings, much less that they would give me an award for them! Thank you Laurie Ann and Lea!

Now I am supposed to share the wealth and pass the award on to five other bloggers. However, I have two problems with that:
1) I could never just choose five blogs out of all the ones that bless me.
2) Many of you have already received the award and what would you do with multiple Arte Y Pico awards?? The mantle might begin to look really crowded. LOL!

So if you are a reader of my ramblings and haven't received your Arte Y Pico award I am bestowing it upon you now!!!

As if the award was not enough, I would also like to thank Laurie Ann for allowing me to do her new blog design. I have been attempting to build a little "Blog Design" business in my spare time so I was thrilled when she asked me about a "blog redo"!

Please forgive the following shameless self promotion:
If you are ever in need of a "new look" I would LOVE to help! I am also considering doing some "holiday designs" if there is any interest. Feel free to email me if you want to know more.

Well, I think that about covers it! Today I am off to lounge in the sun and splash in the pool with the kids. Summer is passing by way too quickly and before we know it they will be back in school. Meanwhile enjoy your day and remember to be careful out there......

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How many kids???

When people find out I have 7 kids I generally get one of two responses:

#1) "OH, I know a lady with 12 kids. She home schools, works full time and runs marathons every weekend!"

In which case I feel like a slacker and think I had better get started making more babies right away!


#2) "How in the world do you manage 7 kids??"

In which case I just say rather proudly, "It's nothing really, it's all in what you get used to."

Of course my two oldest offspring have somewhat left the nest. The oldest lives in a nearby apartment and we never know when we will be blessed with her drama company, and the next daughter is attending college so she only visits when she can. That leaves only 5 children at home full time (I am already starting to feel like a slacker!)

So on Saturday night, as my two teenagers boarded the Chartered Buses to head to the beach with their church youth group, I was suddenly overcome with a feeling of freedom I can't ever remember feeling before. Like a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.

My husband and I left the parking lot of the church with 3 little kids, and because there were half as many mouths to feed we headed out to dinner. We requested a table for 5, not the usual table for 9 that requires a 2 hour wait. We were able to enjoy adult conversation while the children colored on their place mats and giggled amongst themselves. YES! 3 is so doable!

Sunday was a day of leisurely watching the kids' sporting activities. After dinner Quin and I read for awhile in the hammock while John took the girls to the pool. Everyone was settled in by a reasonable hour and the house was quiet!

Monday was a day of organization. I filled 3 large trash bags in my teenage son's room. I cleaned the closets, changed the bedding, sprayed Fabreze and did more than 12 loads of laundry. There is not a sock in this house that is dirty!

Tuesday was a day of getting haircuts and having a birthday sleepover.

The plan for Wednesday is to go to the movies with Grandma, which translates into "a free afternoon for mom!"

Over the past few days I have discovered I am actually hearing myself think (I have heard of this phenomenon but can't remember the last time it actually happened to me!) Yes, this is the life. I can manage 3 kids. I can stay on top of them and clean up after them. We may even be able to afford them!?

Today as I was basking in my "mom of 3 coolness" I got a call from my college daughter. She is coming home this afternoon and bringing her boyfriend and his dog. By Saturday the teens will return from the beach and it will be a full house once again. Blaring stereos, TV's and raised voices will replace the peace and quiet that has been my life this week.

So as I was looking at my reflection in the mirror this morning, a conversation played out in my mind:

"How in the world do you manage 7 kids?"

"Only by the grace of God!"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Day to Celebrate!

Thank you all so much for the comments you left on my post yesterday concerning my daughter. It is humbling to know we are being lifted up in prayer by so many Godly women!! Your personal testimonies and words of encouragement give me such hope!

Although I know God will work her life for His purpose it is hard to be patient while she walks this road. I am reminded of the song: "Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord." I don't know about you but I hate waiting alone, so thank you for coming alongside of me in this "wait".

However today I am celebrating, as it is my "baby's" 6th birthday! I can't believe how fast the past six years have flown by!

I found out I was pregnant just before Christmas so instead of announcing it to my family I sent sonogram pictures in my Christmas cards.

When I realized my due date was mid-July my husband went into a panic. That was prime baseball season for my then 11 yr. old son! The baby would have to be born in between the State and World Series tournaments. Fortunately for me the 11 yr. old World Series was local (the year before we had to travel to Memphis).

I'm sure my doctor thought we were crazy but he induced the day after the State tournament and I was pushing the baby in his stroller at the World Series games the next weekend.

The first time I saw him he frowned at me (he still has his dad's frown) and I remember thinking he had a HUGE nose (it is still a little on the large side).

The nurses overheard his brother exclaim, "11 years, 5 sisters and I FINALLY have a brother!"

The funny thing is, he is very different from his brother. He doesn't have any interest in sports (probably all that baseball when he was still in the womb!) but he loves superheros, pirates and garage sales!

Tonight he is having his best friend sleepover. The plan is to play Indiana Jones on the X-Box, then have chocolate cake and watch Larry Boy, Star Wars and Space Jam.

One of the greatest blessings God has given to me is to see the world through the eyes of this little boy!

Happy birthday little man, I love you!

Monday, July 14, 2008

The God of Hope

* Important note to friends and family: This story begins with a flashback. I am NOT pregnant!!

OH NO! I can't be pregnant. I am only 26 years old and I already have a 10 month old baby, as well as a 3 and 4 year old! We can barely support the family we have, much less add another one to the bunch! How will it look as I am hugely pregnant, pushing a stroller and being followed by two little ones? What will the neighbors think? What will my family say?

The doctor's can't tell if the baby is a boy or girl but I just know it is another girl! And I have the perfect name.......Lilly Christine. Lilly, because I love it and Christine after my Grandma.

The baby's head is partially delivered but the contraction has stopped. It feels like I am being split open, so the doctor has pushed her head back in until the next contraction, when I am able to push her whole head out from inside of me.

She is a beautiful baby girl, and the name fits her perfectly~~Lilly Christine.

For the first week after her birth I am surprised at how easy she is. She eats and sleeps and hardly makes a peep.

But then she discovers her voice and since about the second week of her life, Lilly has been making herself heard! "Easy" would never again be a term I would use to describe this daughter, she is as difficult and complicated as an advanced math class would be.

Don't get me wrong, I love this girl with all of my heart! She is beautiful, funny and intelligent but she is also a "wild card". A girl who has always longed to keep up with her older siblings and lacked patience with others as well as herself. If she couldn't do something absolutely perfectly, and be the very best, she would rather not try at all. So little by little she gave, sports, academics, church......

In a family where the starring roles already seemed to be taken; the oldest one, the smart one, the athletic one.... where could she fit in?

And then, to make matters worse, more babies came along. Now she wasn't even the baby anymore. She was the middle child, the 3rd of 5 girls. What in the world made her special?

I believe this is where Satan sold my daughter the lie that she could find the attention she craved through negative and risky behaviors; she could be the "wild one". And besides, living that kind of lifestyle is so much more fun than following rules.

Like a used car salesman who spots a little old lady alone on the lot, Satan knew a vulnerable target when he saw one. I have bought more than my share of "lemons" from the enemy but my heart breaks when I think of him being anywhere near my children!

For the past two years our family has watched as Lilly has become ensnared in Satan's trap. The "friends" she has chosen have left her lonely and the "activities" she has participated in have left her empty and dissatisfied. In short, what she thought would bring excitement and fun has left her miserable.

So what is a parent to do? How does one child's behavior affect the rest of the family?
What if it causes friction in a marriage? Where does a parent find help when financial resources are limited? When the roaring lion is in the process of stealing, killing and destroying your precious child, where do you turn?

This is the place I found myself as I returned home from North Carolina last month and was faced with perhaps her biggest trouble yet. I had no idea what the answers were, I just knew that my husband and I were in over our heads and we couldn't help her anymore. We had tried everything we knew (punishment, prayer, rewarding good behavior, counseling...) but she was continuing to rebel. We felt helpless and our future looked hopeless.

Then God showed up.

Lilly's small group leader from church is also our Pastor's daughter. She is young(25), beautiful and fun, and apparently she has had our daughter on her heart for awhile.

So when Lilly called her after this latest round of trouble, Angie came to talk with her. She feels that Lilly is at a point where she really wants to change but doesn't know how. Her desire is to mentor Lilly and "lead her into a REAL relationship with Christ". In her words, "the enemy has beaten our daughter badly and she wants to help Lilly know the true joy of Jesus."

By this time my eyes were spilling buckets of tears. I couldn't believe that just the night before I was crying out to God that "I couldn't do this anymore" and today He was sending me an angel who wanted to help!! Some of my friends and relatives have belittled God's involvement in this situation, chalking it up to coincidence but I KNOW where my help came from......the LORD himself!!

I don't know how this mentor relationship will work. They have started with a mutual "TV Fast" and Lilly is willingly adhering to it. TV was a HUGE addiction for her so not watching it at all is a big deal. The idea is to spend time together 4 or 5 days a week doing anything from shopping to exercising to coffee at Starbucks.

This week we have allowed Lilly (and her brother) to go on our church's youth trip to the beach in Panama City, Florida. She will spend the week with her new "mentor" and learn about things like quiet time and journaling. And they will be doing it all with the beautiful backdrop of the ocean.

My great prayer while they are gone is this:

"Where do I send her to school next year?"- I think the temptations at her current school will be too overwhelming for her if she were to return there. I know there will be temptations at every school but I really feel like she needs a "fresh start" somewhere new. Somewhere she doesn't have a circle of friends we don't approve of and a reputation to overcome.

Like I said before, there are friends and neighbors (unbelievers) watching this situation so I am calling on God to Glorify Himself through it! I am waiting and watching for doors to be open and paths to be laid to the right school.

God's word promises that "He knows the plans He has for Lilly, plans to give her hope and a future." So I am claiming that promise for her and waiting for God to show me how to partner with Him, as her mom, in securing that future.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The "ME" Monster...

A few years ago my family discovered a comedian named Brian Regan. We bought his DVD and it makes us all laugh till our sides hurt.

One of the routines he does is about the "Me Monster". Too often one of us gets so wrapped up in ourself that we turn into a "me monster". (Life is all about "ME, ME, ME.....")

The irony to me is that when we become so focused on ourselves we become the most unhappy because we are never able to have or be everything we desire on our own.

We will always seek more; enough is not a word in 0ur vocabulary.

We are threatened by or resentful of others.

And most of all, when we are seeking to live for self we are not in unity with God's plan for us and therefore we are unable to rest in the peace that comes only from allowing Him to be the Lord of our life.

So the next time you encounter a "me monster", or feel yourself becoming one, remember what Jesus had to say on the subject:

"For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." Matthew 23:12

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

WFW~~~A Time to Rest!

In my last post I told you how much I love to run and how God is blessing me through it.

Today I want to tell you about my new-found way to relax.

Last week I discovered a hammock on sale at KOHLS. It came with its own stand and the whole thing fits perfectly under two shade trees in our backyard. It is big and cozy and if I close my eyes it is almost like being on vacation!

The shade and gentle breezes make even the hottest day feel comfortable and with the summer flowers in full bloom the view is almost tropical.

A couple of days ago I went out to the hammock with a book and I didn't get up for 3 1/2 hours! It was the most wonderful form of laziness I have ever experienced!

I read, I prayed, I slept and I read some more.

The kids would come out and say, "Mom, you've been out here a really long time!"
I just smiled and nodded.

My husband called and said he would be working late.
I told him it was no big deal and to take his time.

Eventually I forced myself back into reality and returned to the demands and disorder waiting for me inside my house. However now I know that whenever I need a quick escape, paradise is waiting for me in my own backyard!

Who needs Calgon? Hammock, take me away........

Now, for the Word-Filled Wednesday part of my post I would like to use a photo of the lilies I can see all around my backyard. I am praising God today for His grace and His abundant blessings, including giving me 3 1/2 hours of "me time" this week!!

For more WFW posts click here.