Thursday, November 28, 2013


Do I remember to give God thanks for my blessings?  How about for my trials?

In 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 it says to rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Give thanks in all circumstances.

In everything?

Yes, in all circumstances.

When I'm running late and I get stuck at another red light?
          Thankful for an opportunity to speak to Him.

When I burn dinner?
          Thankful that I have food to eat.

When it feels like everything that could go wrong is going wrong?
          Thankful I have Him to lean on when life is too heavy to bear alone.

It's easier to give thanks when life is going my way.  When it fits in my pretty little box and goes according to my plan.  It's easy to be thankful when my dinners turn out fabulous, my kids aren't whining, my husband gets home from work early, and the puppy is behaving well.

But, am I giving Him thanks for those small things?  Am I taking the time to thank Him for my small blessings.

Today, take some time to thank Him for your blessings and your trials.

Jesus, we thank You.  We thank you for everything in our lives.  The good, the bad.  We lay it all out before you and give thanks.  We know that You will use all things to work together for our good.  And we trust in You, now and forever.  Amen.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Big and Small Prayers

Last week one of Barrett's hearing aids broke.  It started cutting in and out and buzzing.  That means we have to send it in to get fixed.  Unfortunately that usually means he only has one hearing aid for 7-10 days.

Can you imagine not being able to hear out of one ear for a week or more?  I can't.  I tried to wear ear plugs for a weekend once (so I could get a feel for what he hears like without his hearing aids) and I made it an hour and a half.  Ninety minutes friends.  That's all I could do.  It was awful, and I could still hear better than he can without his hearing aids.

So, I prayed over his hearing aids.  I prayed that they would work so we wouldn't have to send the buzzing one in.  I prayed that if we did have to send it in, that it would be faster than usual or we could get a loaner.  I prayed that the transition with the loaner hearing aid would go well.

God answers prayers.  His hearing aid still needed to be sent in to get repaired but, he doesn't have to be without a hearing aid this time.  This time he gets a loaner.  The audiologist had one in the office.  Friends, this is the biggest praise.  I was in tears when I was listening to the voicemail.  He will be able to hear fully while his aid is getting fixed.  He won't have to struggle in school or at home to hear for the next week.

God answers prayers big and small.  Take everything to Him, no matter what.

Praise Jesus!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Holy Yoga for One

I'm a Holy Yoga instructor and I teach two classes a week.  One morning class and one evening class.  I struggle with numbers though.  Lately my classes have had 3-4 people.  I want my classes to be full. I want to share Jesus with as many people as possible.  So, I started praying that God send those to class who needed to be there.  Last Thursday I had 8 people in my class!  Praise!  It was a Holy class.  It was amazing.  

I prayed all weekend for my class on Monday morning.  

Lord, please let the people that need to be there, be there.  This is Your class, let it be what You want it to be.  Amen.

So, this is who showed up for my class on Monday...

Yep, that's my mat (and one of my kids is in the pile to the left).  

I spent the hour on my mat moving, singing, praising.  All for Him.  And you know what?  It was beautiful. He knew exactly who needed to be at that class on Monday.  He knew that I needed that class so much.  He knew that I wouldn't get an hour in on my mat at home.  He knew.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Oak Trees

I suffer from "hurrying sickness."  I always feel like I need to be going, doing, going, doing.  Over and over again.  My to do list never ends.  I mark one thing off and add two more.  I am constantly moving or doing something.  I feel unproductive if I'm not.  But, that's not what God wants for us.

Listen to the story of Mary and Martha.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman 
named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the 
Lord's feet listening to what he said.  But Martha, was distracted by all the preparations 
that had to be made.  She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has 
left me to do the work by myself?  Tell her to help me!"

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but 
few things are needed - or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not 
be taken away from her."
Luke 10:38-42 NIV

Jesus told Martha that what she was doing wasn't important, it wasn't necessary.  That what she needed to do was let go of it and sit down and enjoy the time with Him.  When is the last time you were able to made time to sit down and enjoy His company.  To really spend time with Him.  

Can you do that today?  Can you put everything in your mind aside and spend time with Him?  

Sometimes God calls us to be doing more and sometimes it's less.  Last week I talked about feeling stuck and how there is freedom in letting go and embracing where God has called you to be.  

Since I am always going and doing I think that should be the way my spiritual growth should be.  I do something and it should stick right away, right?  Wrong.  It takes time to solidify our spiritual growth.  We have to put in the time with Him and work.  Then we have to give it time to stick.

Friends, what if the "stuck" times are the times we are solidifying our growth.  When God wants to make a squash He takes six months.  When God wants to make an oak tree He takes one hundred years.  He takes time to make squash and oak trees.  He takes time when it comes to our spiritual growth too.  

In the Book The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith he states the following.

"Some years we may experience tremendous growth, and some we see very little 
change.  An oak tree has only a couple of months of actual growth each year in terms of 
measurable expansion, says Strong.  The rest of the year, the other ten months, are spend 
solidifying that growth."

So embrace your slower times.  Let them be the times that solidify all of the work He has done in you. 

I'll end with a prayer from The Good and Beautiful God.

Patient and loving God, when you want to make a squash you take six months, when you want to make an oak tree you take one hundred years. You created us, O Lord, to be eternal spiritual beings, more immense than we could ever imagine. Stretch out our arms to embrace the rhythm and pace that you have created the universe to operate at. Through our reading and discussion today and through the on-going practices of our faith may we be healed of hurry sickness. Amen.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Thick Skin and Soft Hearts

Have you ever had one of those conversations where someone says something that just gets under your skin?  Maybe that person meant well, but just chose the wrong words.  I hope I've never been that person, but let's face it... I'm human.  I'm sure I have.  And if it was to you, I'm sorry.

Earlier this week I went to Barrett's school to pick him up.  He rides the bus to school, but I pick him up at the end of the day.  This isn't how we planned for this to go, but after many tears about long days and "missing me" I told him I would pick him up from school every day.  This remedied his sadness during the school day and his teacher made sure she told me that immediately.  He is the first one on the bus in the morning and the last one off in the afternoon.  That makes for a very long day.  I figure if I can shave 30 minutes off of his day by driving 4 minutes round trip, it's worth it.

So, when I was picking him up I ran into his bus driver and she started up a conversation.

Bus Driver: Is he going to be back on the bus in the afternoon?
Me:  I hope so, but it's his decision.  It makes for a very long day.
Bus Driver: Maybe you should have held him back.  We did that with my granddaughter and it was really good.
Me (annoyed): We did.

You know that mama bear that comes out?  Yeah, somehow I kept her under wraps.  Or He kept her under wraps.  There are so many things that I could have said, but wouldn't have made the conversation any better.

He doesn't have issues at school.  He's a good listener.  He's polite.  He doesn't cause problems.  He's always ready to help his friends out.  He's social.  He was READY for Kindergarten, and all day Kindergarten.  He just "misses me" and I miss him when he's gone for that long too.  I like to see the big smile on his face when he sees me standing there waiting for him.      

I try really hard to think and then speak, but it doesn't always happen that way.  So, I'm trying to stop fuming about what Barrett's bus driver said to me today and remember that being a Christian means I need to have "thick skin and a soft heart."  If I let everything that everyone said to me get to me I think I would be a pretty angry person.  Instead, I choose to take a deep breath and vent what she said to Him.

I lay it at His feet.

He takes it.

He's got it.



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Joy and Sorrow

Back in January 2013 we told some friends that we were expecting, then they told us they were expecting.  Three days later I had a miscarriage.  Our baby was due at the beginning of September, their sweet baby came at the end of September.  He is beautiful.

I held him for the first time last week.  I cried.  They were tears of joy and sorrow.  I am so joyful that he made it into this world.  I am so thankful that they got their baby.  But I would be lying if I said it's not hard.  That I don't understand why I can't be holding my baby right now.  He (yeah, I just think it was a boy) would be 10 weeks old right now.

On Sunday, our friends had their son baptized.  I'm one of those people that always tears up during a baptism.  I think it's beautiful.  Standing in community and declaring your child is His, it's just beautiful.  Watching them on Sunday, standing up there with their three boys I cried again.  And again they were tears of joy and sorrow.

"Others who have lost children have shared the inability to separate the sorrow from 
the joy in life.  I find that they are inextricably woven, never to be pulled fully from 
each other in this life.  I am reminded of this delicate dance as I think upon the Savior 
whose blood mingled with our freedom.  I am an injured dancer, and yet one who 
wants her life to bring glory to the one who allowed sorrow and joy to dance at all."

Whether I got to meet my child in this life or I meet him in heaven, I still grieve for him.  He was a part of me for a reason.  He was not a mistake.  He was knit together in my womb, even for a short time, for a purpose.  For that I am thankful.  I hope that the 10 short weeks I carried him, he felt loved.  He was, and still is, a gift.  

Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. (2 Corinthians 6:10)


Monday, November 11, 2013

Frozen Chicken and Tears

I wanted to make a nice dinner.  I decided I would make a whole chicken in the crockpot. That should be quick and easy, right?  This is coming from the woman who NEVER defrosts her meat ahead of time.  You know, like the night before.  That requires thinking ahead and I don't tend to do that.  I make a meal plan every week, but I don't decide which days we are going to eat which meals.

Anyways, I went to the deep freezer and grabbed my whole chicken.  My whole frozen solid chicken.  My plan was to cut the wrapper off and throw it and the other ingredients into the crockpot.  Dinner done.  Yeah, that was my plan.

This is what happened.  I cut the wrapper off and threw it away, but there was something stuck to the bottom of the frozen chicken.  You know the thing that thing the manufacturers put in there to catch all the juices, it had become a part of the chicken.  In my infinite wisdom I grabbed my knife and started prying the "chicken juice catcher" (yes, that's my technical term) off of the chicken.  As you can imagine this wasn't working very well.  Parts of the chicken juice catcher were coming off, but some of it was still stuck to the chicken.  So, I did what any sane (using the term loosely here) woman would do an screamed at the chicken.  I'm really hoping that I'm not alone in this.  I hope that I'm not the only one that has screamed at her chicken.  Then, I grabbed the knife and stabbed it.  I'm not proud.  Plus, the screaming and stabbing didn't get that darn chicken juice catcher off of the chicken!

I scream, "I hate cooking!  I hate food!"

Now, I'm in tears.  Frustrated.  Feeling alone.  Overwhelmed.  I cry out to Jesus.  Help me!

Then comes this thought.  This frozen chicken is a metaphor for my life.  I had an idea in my mind about how I wanted making dinner to go.  I had a plan, my plan.  I wanted to do it quickly and get it done.

But, God He wants us to savor life.  He wants us to slow down.  Maybe we even have to stop and lay it all down at his feet.  Maybe that involves screaming and tears. He knows the plans He has for me and he wants good for me, for you. (Jeremiah 29:11).  

Defrost the chicken to get dinner made.

It's genius!  It was outside of my thought process, which seems ridiculous in hind sight.  I tossed the chicken in the microwave to defrost and that chicken juice catcher came right off.  And now, a few hours later my house is starting to smell amazing.  All because I chose to go on a different path and switch gears.

I was just going to toss that stupid chicken in the trash.  Throw it away.  But, I stopped.  I prayed.  I asked for help.  The surrender (even on something as small as making dinner) allows Him to take the weight off of our shoulders.  He stands there waiting for us to allow Him to yoke to us.  His yoke is easy and the burden is light (Matthew 11:30).  We just have to ask.

So, I thought I would share the recipe with you.
Crockpot Chicken Dinner
1 Whole Chicken without innards, defrosted (at least slightly)
Put the chicken in the crockpot and season to taste with salt, pepper and sage.  Or whatever you would like.
celery, I just used what was left in my fridge
carrots, I used 4 large
onion, I used 1/2 of a large white onion
Chop the celery, carrots and onion and add to the crockpot.  I just used what I had.  I'm horrible, I hardly ever measure.  Add 1 cup of water into the crockpot.  Cook on high 6-8 hours.

I'm serving our chicken with butternut squash and a kale salad.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Laying it at His Feet

I was talking with a friend the other day about surrender.  It's such a hard thing to do.  And God doesn't want me to do it unless I want to.  It's my choice.  It's part of that free will thing.  When I decide to surrender, I have to do it in love.  If I'm not surrendering in love, then I might as well not surrender.

I've been reading Angie Smith's book I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy.  This is an amazing book by the way.  Definitely worth the read!  I'm realizing through reading this I am still working through the grief of my two miscarriages.  I'm still working on fully surrendering those to the Lord.

Anyways... I was reading her book at a coffee shop this morning and this is what I read.

"I literally screamed at the sky while I cried over my own hurt and the hurt of a sister 
I had never met.  He never back down, though, and I am grateful for that love.  It is 
the love of a Father who Himself is well acquainted with sorrow.  It is the love of a 
Father who has lost His Son.  He understands the ranting and the door-slamming.  
The emptiness tat wraps around me when I think of my sweet Audrey.

He knows.

And He only has one request.

Bring it right to Me, Angie.

Every time the anger roars in your heart.

Bring it to Me.

Every time you feel like nobody hears you.

Bring it to Me.

When you think it isn't fair.  When you think it isn't true.  When you can't think at all.

Bring it to My feet, and I will make an altar from your suffering." 
- Angie Smith, I Will Carry You

Whether is grief, life or something else that's overwhelming me.  I can take it to His feet.  I can surrender it to Him in love and He will make an altar from my suffering.  He understands everything that I'm going through.  It's all covered in His love.

I lift my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Stuck and Freedom

Have you ever had one of those days/weeks/months where you just feel stuck?  That's where I am right now.  It's where God has asked me to be, but it's not where I want to be.  He doesn't want me to feel stuck, He wants me to lean into Him for strength.  I want to go off and do great and exciting things, but He wants me here.  And He wants me to find joy here.  I am here to do what He has planned for me, and my life.  I struggle with following His directions when it's so the opposite of what I want to be doing.

But I remind myself of this...
He can see the big picture.  I can't.  He knows what's best for me, I only think I do.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

I've been here for about a month.  Not doing what I want to be doing, but trying my hardest to lean into Him and what He's called me to do: minister to my family.  Fully jump into everything.  And do it with love.  Even the small stuff like cleaning up spilled milk and fixing broken toys.

As a stay at home mom sometimes it doesn't always feel like I'm doing great things.  Sometimes it feels like I'm stuck in the mundane.  I don't always like dealing with the meltdowns, laundry, dishes and arguments.  But then I'm reminded that the most important thing I get to do with my kids is share Jesus with them.  It's a choice I get to make.  It's not something I have to do.  I GET TO share the LOVE of Christ with my kids.  I show His love through all of my actions.  That's wiping tears, helping with homework, packing snacks, making dinner, helping make beds, washing clothes, being patient, everything.  When I do all of those things in love, it shows.  When I do all of those things while leaning into Him, it shows.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28 NIV

I'm not saying it's easy.  By no means is it easy.  It's a daily hourly every minute surrender.  Over and over each and every day.  Sometimes I don't surrender to Him and life gets harder.  The days feel like a constant battle.  Those are the days I feel stuck.  Those are the days I feel out of control.

JJ Heller has a song called Loved.  My favorite lines from the song come from the bridge.
Freedom comes in letting go
Open up the window to your heart
Freedom comes in letting go
Open up your heart

It's so true.  When I let go of my expectations and lean into His will, His Word, His plans I feel free.  I realize that I'm not stuck.  That I am doing great things.  That am I doing one of the greatest things of all... sharing Christ with my family.  And I'm finding joy in doing it.  I feel freedom because I've let go.