Tuesday, January 30, 2007

In Other Words--Satan's lies

I have a two year old. And like most two year olds, she believes that she is the master of her universe. Her vocabulary is littered with "Flower do it" and "no me" and "mine." As she asserts her independence she is certain that her decisions are the best and everyone else's, especially Mommy's, need to be discarded. And although she is absolutely adorable in declaring herself the center of the universe, she is wrong. My job as her parent is to guide her to an understanding of her proper place and lead her to follow authority in her life--both from her earthly parents and from her heavenly God. It would be easier to let her do her own thing, but her future would look pretty bleak.

"Satan's ultimate lie is that you are capable of being the god of your own life, and his ultimate bondage is getting you to live as though his lie is truth."
~ Neil Anderson ~

So often I am like a two year old. I begin to believe that I am the center of the universe. I take my own advice, buy my own publicity, go my own path. I act as if my decisions are best, and all other decisions, especially God's, can be discarded. But Satan is not a good parent. He has no interest in curbing that selifishness that makes me my god. (god=who I place as the centering point of my life to worship and follow (Mipa's definition)) In fact, his goal is just the opposite. He cheers me on. He fuels the flames. He tells me that, indeed, my decisions are best and God's are not for my interest. Satan lies to me until I buy the whole deal: I'm god/center of my world and God is not. Then he backs away, leaving me to live the bleak future that I have created in my own power. Because once my eyes are totally on me and not on God, I have no future and I am no threat. And that is living in bondage.

Instead of believing Satan's lies, may we trust God's faithfulness:

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Today's In Other Words is being hosted by Christine at Fruit in Season. Please join us!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Monday Menu Planning

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Another week where German is traveling a lot, so I'm keeping it simple.

Monday: Ginger Chicken with Snowpeas, Green Salads, Steamed Carrots
Tuesday: Lamb Stew
Wednesday: me--meal at Bible Study (last session)
girls--spaghetti and salad
Thursday: Chinese Style Steamed Chicken
Friday: Pinto Beans and Sausage
Saturday: Lamb Kebabs, Tzatziki, Salads, Whole Wheat Pitas
Sunday: Lasagne with our Small Group Fellowship (I'll be taking dessert, tbd)

More great menu ideas can be found here.

Upcoming Events

There are some really cool things coming in blogsphere. Check these out!

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Stitching Finish

Here are the bunnies I stitched for Chris' Peter Rabbit Round Robin. The three little bunnies come from a counting sampler that was featured in Cross Stitch Gold Magazine (I have lost the issue information). Peter Rabbit is from Storybook Favourites in Cross-Stitch by Gillian Souter c. 1995.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Another Catch up Post--Flower's Birthday

My baby turned 2 on the 20th. I can't believe how quickly time flies. She is the most delightful child when she is not being an absolutely stubborn reflection of myself. In the past 3 weeks she has finally decided to talk--and she never stops. We discovered she sleepwalks when we were in Dublin over Christmas. So we are in no hurry to take her out of the crib now, lol. She has almost toilet-trained herself. Is successful about 75% of the time. I'm sure with a little effort that will be conquered in the next month. She is my delight. Here she is enjoying birthday cake. (For her birthday we just had one family of friends over for dinner and cake. At two she won't remember a party so why have a big to-do. Jewel helped bake the cake and was so proud of herself.)
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And since I mentioned Dublin...here is a pic of the girls at the Dublin Zoo. They had a blast that day!
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Catching Up with Stitching Bloggers Question

I have been great neglect in keeping up with the weekly questions. I'm not going to bore you by catching up the myriad that I've missed, I'll only do last week's.

Today's SBQ was suggested by Danielle and is:

What company produces your favorite hand-dyed fabric? Are there any companies whose hand-dyed fabric you do not like? If so, why?

My hands-down favorite for hand-dyed fabric is CountryStitch It was great when it was Deb's business, and Linda has continued with the awesome customer service and quality of fabrics. Which reminds me, I'm needing to restock my faves....

As far as not liking any, I can't really think of one. There are some that are more "splotchy" than I like for the type of work I stitch, but I actually like that look on some pieces.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

In Other Words--Who am I Impressing?

It is so easy to be the Pharisee, isn't it? Oh I know that we don't intend to be the Pharisee, we intend to be "spiritual," but we end up being Pharisees. But that is what makes us Pharisees--being spiritual at the expense of others and the expense of the gospel.

The Pharisees wanted to keep the law as God commanded. So they made all kinds of rules to help them keep it. And they made it near impossible for anyone to want to come to God, because they made it so hard. I, too, want to obey God. And so the tendency is to become legalistic. Other Pharisees around me may be impressed and will cheer me on, but the lost--they will think that my brand of religion is just too "hard" and walk away. Am I impressing the self-righteous or gently impressing the need for obedience in the hearts of those who are being drawn to obey?

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel." Matthew 23:23-24

Then there is prayer. The Pharisee wanted his prayer to be heard as important, impressive, and to show others how to pray. But all God heard was self-inflated words. It wasn't a prayer from the heart. And I do the same thing. I use the "church words" when I pray (especially aloud in a group) and sometimes forget the heart words that God so wants to hear. And if the lost were listening to my prayer, would they hear a deep cry of concern for them from my heart or theological dribble that means nothing to them. Am I impressing the haughty or impressing God's desires onto the hearts of the lost?

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." Matthew 6:5-8

And service. The Pharisees would never get their hands dirty to help someone in need. It would make them "unclean" and besides, what would their friends think? But the lost need us to get dirty and to meet them in the filth of sin that is their world (and was once ours). I need to not be afraid of reaching out, of touching, of helping those who need help. But like the Pharisee I sometimes wonder if anyone is watching and let the fear of what others would think hold me back. So I impress my Pharisaic friends with my clean hands and miss the opportunity to impress the lost heart with service.

When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"
On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Matthew 9:11-13

ugh. Yes it is easy to be a Pharisee. But when we impress the Pharisee we do little to further the kingdom of God.

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces." Matthew 23:13

"You act more like a Christian by your influence on the lost, then the saved people you impress.” - Dr. Alvin Reid

Lord, help me act like a Christian today...amen.

Laurel Wreath is hosting In Other Words today. Pay her a visit and read what God is teaching others through Dr. Reid's quote.

Monday, January 22, 2007


I'm sorry I've gone quiet for the last little bit. I'm still here. I'm reading blogs everyday, and I'm trying to get better about commenting again. There is nothing wrong. I'm just quiet. I'm writing. God is speaking about goals and wishes, about gifts, about the Bible Study I'm in and the Bible Study I'm teaching. In fact, in the next few days you may wish I was quiet again. But I haven't been released to post a lot of the thoughts. I think I just needed a week or so to just be with God and myself without the distraction of saying it in a certain way. So more is coming. But I wanted you to know that all is well here.

Monday Menu

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Great week last week starting South Beach Diet, so a few more recipes from the Quick and Easy South Beach Diet cookbook!

Monday: BBQ pork (from Friday's tenderloin), steamed carrots, Indian lentils (QESBD p 287)

Tuesday: Turkey Parmesan (p. 172), Steamed Broccoli with cheese, green salad

Wednesday: The girls: Spaghetti and Sausage
German and I: Chef Salads before we leave for Bible Study

Thursday: (German away on business) Garden Chili (Fix it and Forget it Lightly, p. 180), crackers

Friday: Crab and Avacado Salad, Lettuce leaves, Carrot and Celery Sticks

Saturday: Dinner at church followed by a Ceidhl!

Sunday: Dorthea's Split Pea Soup (Fix It and Forget It), whole wheat crackers

For other great menu ideas check in here.

oops...forgot about the ceidhl on Saturday, so had to revise!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Happy Birthday Flower!

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Happy Second Birthday Sweetheart!

Monday, January 15, 2007

No IOW from me this week

"Let us learn to discern whether the words spoken against us or against God or against the truth are merely for the wind--spoken not from the soul, but from the sore. If they are for the wind, let us wait in silence and not reprove. Restoring the soul, not reproving the sore, is the aim of our love"

~ John Piper from "A Godward Life"~

This week's quote for In Other Words is above. I'm taking a break from writing on the quote this week. Call it blogger's block, or lack of inspiration. I've written several things related to the quote, but keep coming back to the fact that this week my writing is "for the wind." For other Christian women's take on the quote please visit Loni who is hosting this week.

Monday Menu Planning

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Here is my menu plan for the week. Trying some new recipes from The Quick and Easy South Beach Cookbook this week.

Monday: Spanish Monkfish, steamed carrots, green salads
Tuesday: Lamb Kebabs, Feta, Cucumber & Radish Salad
Wednesday: Cold cuts, cheese and salads (Bible Study night)
Thursday: Pork Roast, Stir-fried veggies
Friday: Baked Chicken Pesto, Green Beans & Mushrooms
Saturday: Grilled Salmon, Steamed Cauliflower and Broccoli or Steamed Carrots (must check with dinner guests as to what their children like), Green Salad, birthday cake
Sunday: leftovers or chef salads

For other menu ideas head over to Lara's site.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Making the New Year's Meditations Real

I find in my life that I absolutely have to have accountability or nothing changes. I can look like I have it all together. I know the right things to say. I am a master at looking spiritual. I have a fairly good grasp of the Scriptures and am able to teach and speak well. So, unless I am vigilant about having accountability, most people around me would not venture to guess the gunk (nice description for sin) that lurks in my heart. And, even if they would venture to guess, I can come across way too self-assured and they would not pursue it. But the gunk is there. And I am giving that gunk to God this year. I don't want to live with it anymore. God is calling me to be honest about it and to share my heart, so that others can either a)help me grow or b)grow with me. And as much as I would like to keep this between me and one or two friends, I feel like I need to write about it. Here. So you can read it. *ugh*

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We need to be careful what we pray because God will always honor prayers that are to make us more like Him. One of my meditations was that I want to respect German as my husband and the head of this household. It isn't that I don't respect him, I do. He is an absolutely great guy who loves me when no one else would. He is a Godly influence, a man of faith, a loving husband, a jubilant father, a great provider... He is everything I could have ever dreamed of and more. But there is that one issue--he's male and I'm female and often we just don't speak the same language. And it can cause us problems. But I want to work on this. God is calling me to work on this. And I am (or I thought I was). First task: get Emerson Eggerichs book Love and Respect and read it. I started it Christmas Eve. What an amazing book. I even joked that he had been listening in on our arguments. I definitely see the potential in this book. Then, Saturday happened. (disclaimer--please read to the end if you read past this point, this is NOT about German, it's about me. thank you.) German was leaving on Sunday for a five day business trip. I was not feeling well. I asked him what he wanted to do and he said either get together with the young man he mentors or do some work before the trip. I was disappointed because he was leaving, but said ok. I did not say "but I wanted you to want to spend time with me." (mistake number one) He tells me to rest. (yeah, right) But he doesn't leave. He packs his bag. Then he turns on the television. At this point I'm confused. He was going, but now he's not. I'm not interested in watching telly, but I know that he doesn't like it when I leave him in the bedroom to watch t.v. alone. It stems from him being an extravert and needing lots of human interaction. I'm beginning to suspect that my leaving him to be alone is perceived as disrespecting his needs so I stay. He watches a car show and then another show, neither of which interest me. So, I get out my cross stitch and stitch while we watch t.v. and talk about the programs. (mistake number two)

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This is where it gets crazy. He is teasing me and poking me in the ribs. Flower had been doing this earlier, and I thought he was mimicing her. So I say, "It's really maddening to be the only introvert in a house full of extraverts. Sometimes I don't want to be touched." I thought I said it light-heartedly and joking. I must not have. (mistake number three) He lost it and said "You've had space all afternoon." What??! I totally hear in my head, "You aren't communicating." But I ignored that voice and reacted. Badly. Very, very, badly. WWIII badly. And we were right in the middle of an out of control crazy cycle. And when we finally spun down I said "I don't understand; I stayed with you all afternoon and you say I had space?" (or something near to that) And he pointed to my stitching which he hates for me to do when I am with him. In my head, he was watching t.v., why should he care that I stitch? And maybe he shouldn't. But he does. And I know it. And I did it anyway. And now I get it: stitching=disrespect when we are supposed to be together. Even if he is doing something else. Even if I don't understand why. It doesn't matter. I need to respect his wishes on this.

So, God is teaching me about respecting my husband. And I'm asking for your help. Please pray that I see things through his eyes and will act on it. And pray that when the voice in my head is talking to me, I'll honor it instead of pursuing my own hurt feelings. And pray that I'll remember to put up my stitching before he gets home every evening--where it goes in the sewing room-- so that it is not a deterrent to our time together.

And, if this sounds familiar to you...go get the book. It is amazing!

photo credits: both from morguefile.com; merry-go-round author is annika and heart author is sullivan

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

In Other Words--God's Amazing Embrace

It constantly amazes me how much God loves me! When I think of the garbage that I have experienced in my life, some of my making some by inheritance, and compare that to the knowledge of where He will take me (and it is certainly not a garbage dump) I cannot comprehend it. When I think of the sins I commit everyday, that He knew I would commit, and realize He still died for me, it leaves me speechless. And then I ponder that there are still failures to come, probably lots of failures to come, and yet He still plans to hold me in His arms, it drives me to tears. How can it be?
It can be, because that is Who He is. Holy and merciful. Demanding and providing. Judging and full of grace. He has every right to judge, and so He does. But then in His compassion He provides the sacrifice. He pays the price. And He calls me His daughter, His heir, His beloved, His bride. WOW! Wretch that I am, He holds me in His arms.

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

"Wherever you are spiritually whatever you have been through emotionally, you
are already wrapped in the Lord's embrace. Held close by nail-scarred hands."

~ Liz Curtis Higgs~

How could I say no to such grace? How can anyone? Why would you say no when the embrace is already there?
To read other impressions on Liz Curtis Higgs' quote, please join In Other Words with Iris at Sting My Heart

Monday, January 08, 2007

about the blogroll

You may notice that my blogroll has been cut way down. Since blogrolling is not working much of the time, I've decided to go with google reader to help me keep up with the blogs. So, I have shortened my links list considerably. Please do not be offended if your blog has come off of the roll. I took all of my stitching and homeschooling links off. I've kept a few for easy access (especially a couple that don't have feeds). Rest assured, even if you are not listed in my sidebar, I am still reading your blog. Blessings all....

Monday Menu Planning

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Monday: chicken quesadillas
Tuesday: spaghetti and salad
Wednesday: homemade pepperoni pizza, carrot sticks
Thursday: Indian take-away (in honor of Daddy being in India)
Friday: chef salads
Saturday: Grilled chicken with Feta, steamed carrots, salads
Sunday: Dorthea's Split Pea Soup and homemade bread in the bread machine

For more menu ideas visit Lara at Org Junkie.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

In Memory

German's dad had a falling out with his sister a long time ago. He cut off all contact with her. His expectation was that his sons would do the same. But, when German was an adult contact was established with his aunt. She and her husband were always gracious and knew that my FIL would come first and they would step out if he learned of the relationship that was being established. But my FIL withdrew from his sons' lives long ago as well, so it was not an issue.

A few weeks before our wedding, we received a phone call asking if FIL was coming to the wedding. When we said no, she said "then we will." She and her husband flew from Tucson to Spokane the morning of our wedding, met me for the first time, attended the wedding in the afternoon, and flew home to Tucson that evening. That, my friends, is a sign of love.
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They made four trips to see us in Alabama, including coming to German's graduation when he received his MBA. There was a rumour that my FIL might "surprise us" that weekend. Aunt Jo said she would just fade into the crowd if there was a sighting of her brother, to not worry about them if that happened. It, of course, didn't happen.

In September 2004 she buried her husband after a long battle with lung cancer. The next week she was diagnosed with breast cancer followed quickly by an additional diagnosis of lung cancer (different cancer, not metastasized). She fought valiently and with humour through three rounds of chemotherapy.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Just before Christmas she made the decision not to struggle through a fourth round. The doctors' did not feel that they could enhance quality of life and felt they could add only a few months of quantity of life. German spent the week before Christmas with her in Arizona. They had a wonderful visit and he was able to say his good-byes while she was in good spirits and feeling fairly well.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

On December 28 Aunt Jo entered into hospice care. At 0115 MST on December 31, she entered heaven. Her memorial service is this weekend. She will be missed by a daughter and son-in-law, a son and daughter-in-law, a granddaughter, a grandson, and a nephew and his family who are so very grateful that she took the risk and allowed herself to be family when the odds were against us.

Rest in Peace
Aunt JoAnn
We Love You!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

God is moving

Tonight was a great night at my Life in the Spirit Bible Study. Some of you will be shocked to read that, since that is not normally my assessment of the study. And, honestly, I did not go anticipating anything different than the last few weeks. But, tonight, God showed up in a mighty and real way that is hard to even describe. It all started innocently enough. We are studying being filled with the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit. The pastor asked us to share stories of people we knew where we had seen the Spirit at work. I immediately thought of several people at different times in my life where the Spirit had moved in dramatic and not so dramatic ways. I thought of Jason who a friend and I had discussed was going to be a preacher two full years before he heard/accepted/acted on the call (you choose what works in your way of thinking). I thought of another friend who I had seen change from deathly afraid of international travel to working in full-time mission work. I thought of how God has led us to each job change and locality change that we have made in our marriage. I thought of the ladies who have been posting their New Year’s meditations on Laurel’s site and the way God is moving in blogsphere. Others thought of and shared their stories as well. It was encouraging.

Then the pastor asked what would it look like if revival really came into our church family and how we would react. Could we anticipate revival? How do we do that? We had a great discussion about watching for God at work and being active in seeking His leading and His moving in our church. And we talked about that part of anticipating God moving is to be willing to do things differently--to be open to change--because God rarely does what we expect; He does so much more! That really got me to thinking about what the “more” might look like. Would I like it? Would I want it? Would I be a part of it? I would hope that I could answer “yes” to all of those questions because I should want to be a part of anything God is doing. But moving outside my comfort zone always takes my breath away. So I realize that I need to pray to be ready to change. I need to honestly and earnestly seek a flexible heart if I am going to experience God in a "more" way.

Before I left for the study tonight, I grabbed a copy of this that Ellen wrote over at Laced by Grace. I had copied it because I‘ll be sharing part of it with my Ladies Bible Study next week to jumpstart a discussion of where we see God taking the group this year. I had not given any thought to taking it tonight. But something (or Someone) prompted me to get it. And then I really felt I needed to share questions one, two and six. So I did. I guess we‘ll see what God does with that. (side note--I‘ll be sharing some of my answers to those questions in the coming days, because I am being seriously challenged by them. Watch this space.)

Then it was prayer time. It was a time of open prayer, which is usually 3-4 people praying out of the group of 10. Tonight it was silent. Really silent. For a good 10 minutes. I can hardly describe it. It was “heavy“ with the presence of God. I kept hearing a repeated refrain in my head of “Don’t talk” so I didn’t. I was literally bouncing with giddiness as I prayed about what God could do in our church if He truly filled us. (I may need to remind you all that I am in a conservative traditional evangelical church that shies away from charismatic anything for the most part--so this is not our normal prayer time expression). All of a sudden I could not help smiling at the thought of what God was going to do. I almost laughed aloud, but thought better of it, since the time was not really right. The pastor closed the time with a prayer that he thanked God for a time of “overwhelming presence that keeps us in silence.” Afterwards one of the ladies in the group came over to me and said, “That was the greatest feeling--kind of heavy with God’s Spirit and then I couldn’t help but smile as He washed over.” HOW COOL IS THAT? I don’t know what it means, but I know that God is at work and I am EXCITED to see what He does. I wish I could say that is always the case, but too often I am comfortable in the normal and even leery of change. So this is a great feeling. I’m sure I’ll be posting more as this unfolds. But for now, I feel like my waterfall is coming. COOL!

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year Meditations

Dreams for 2007

Wow. I’ve been thinking about this a lot since it was announced. As I look back over 2006, so much has happened that I could never have dreamed. (German leaving a job after 18 years without a firm offer but trusting that God said ‘leave now’ and the tremendous blessings that the new job, and the new house, have been; beginning to home educate with Jewel and how much God is teaching me through that; new people in the Bible Study I’m leading; the blessing of blogsphere, etc.) It almost seems impertinent to state dreams. But I believe that God loves hearing the desires of our heart. So, here it goes:

In 2007 I want to grow more Christ-like in my speech with my children. I want to break the stronghold that my mother taught me that a raised voice brings calm. It doesn’t. It adds to the chaos. I want to not be the cause of chaos in my home. I want to embody Proverbs 15:1 and Ephesians 4:29 and Ephesians 6:4. I pray that our time of school is teaching Jewel and Flower, not only basic education but basics of living in a family and getting along with one another. I pray that our play time is making memories and setting an example of loving life and loving God.

In 2007 I want to display the gentle quiet spirit that German needs me to be in our home. I want to show him the respect that he deserves as my husband and the head of this home. I pray that God will mold me more and more into that wife that He knew German needed and that if asked to describe his wife, adjectives like “Godly” “supportive” “loving” and “giving” would be the first things that came to German's mind.

In 2007, I pray that the Ladies Bible Study will grow in numbers and in depth. I pray that those dear ladies who are coming each week, believing that being churched is the same as being saved, will see Jesus for Who He is and submit their lives to Him. I pray that I can be an instrument of truth. I pray that I will be careful in my speech and my answers. I want to grow in knowledge and impart that with honesty, sincerity and integrity. As we study the Patriarchs (study by Beth Moore) may I grow in an understanding of what blessing and covenant and being a chosen people is all about.

In 2007 I pray that my quiet time will be rich, deep and taking me to new levels. I pray that I will be more consistent and not allow the struggles of the day to intervene. I pray that I will have successfully memorized at least one verse a month that is directly applicable to what God is teaching me. I pray that my accountability and prayer time with a friend is consistent and honest and that she and I will enter into 2008 changed women because of how God has sharpened us with one another.

In 2007 I pray that this blog touches someone’s life. I pray that it is not just useless words put out there, but that I am cautious and responsible with my words. I pray that it never become a source of pride of what I can do, but that it remains a means for me to relay what God is doing. I pray that I will be a Biblical friend to those I meet in blogsphere, pointing them to Jesus in every word and action.

I do not believe in making resolutions on New Year’s Day because I believe that resolutions are made in our own strength depending upon ourselves to break the habits that we are resolving to break. I cannot break the habits in my life on my own. But I pray that 2007 is the year that I allow God to have victory in my life in my diet and physical well-being. I would like to look back on 2007 at a healthier weight and an even greater relationship with God as I allow Him to be my comfort instead of food.

Books I want to read in 2007 to help me on the journey:
1. Prayer by Philip Yancy
2. Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs
3. Forever in Love with Jesus by Dee Brestin and Kathy Troccoli
4. Shepherding A Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp
5. The Joy of Eating Right by Dee Brestin and Peggy Johnston
6. Believing God by Beth Moore
7. Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes
8. What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa Terkewst