Thursday, July 26, 2007

I AM Study--Lesson 11, Fist Shakers vs Faith Takers

Lisa at The Preacher's Wife has given us another awesome installment of this study. The passage is from Joshua 2 and is about Rahab. Please come along and learn from her insights.

Burning Questions

1. When is the last time you encountered a Fist Shaker? This may be a stranger to you or as close as a loved one in your own home. Does anything in our description help you to understand their animosity towards God? Are you able to have more compassion towards them?

I have a friend who was once an awesome faith taker. But she has become a fist shaker. She is angry with God--over past hurts, over her mom's death, over perceived injustices and mostly over God's willingness to forgive and His demand for us to forgive as well. She has chosen bitterness over forgiveness. She chooses to live in her fears rather than be vulnerable before God. It breaks my heart. I totally see how she became angry, but it is often hard to understand why she chooses to stay there. As much as I love her and pray for her, honestly I have to daily ask God for compassion towards her. I want to love her with compassion, but pity is so much easier. God continues to work in my heart on this issue.

2. Does anything about Rahab's redemption strike a nerve? This may be a question you would like to ponder privately. Sexual sin and/or victimization can be an area where Satan has an enormous stronghold because it can hold so many painful and shameful memories. If Rahab teaches us anything, please know God can redeem any life and any situation, no matter how heinous it seems, and plant you unashamedly 'in the midst of Israel'. Rahab deserved death according to Mosaic Law, however she was shown nothing but lovingkindness by the God and nation of Israel.

Redemption of any sort strikes a chord with me! My past may not be the same as Rahab's, but it is just as sinful and just as *filthy* in the site of God. As I really look at me in all of my wretchedness, how can I not be grateful? And knowing that those who know the real me still choose to love me, well that is just amazing!

3. Is there an area of your life in which you feel you have come full circle? Where you've come to a place where everything and nothing are the same? (I'm thinking Lord of the Rings when Frodo goes back to the Shire after his long adventure. You have no clue what I just said if you are not an LOTR nerd so just ignore this if it doesn't make sense! :)

ok, not a LOTR fan so the illustration is lost on me, lol. I do see areas of my life where God brings me back to people or situations or circumstances to allow me to see how He has grown me. I come "full circle" to find that I don't have to react the same way anymore. That is always exciting.

4. When you were born again, did you gain a new appreciation for your surroundings as Rahab did when she received the Promise along with the Promised Land? Has some old place, object, or relationship been redeemed by now serving a 'high and holy purpose'?

I was seven when I asked Jesus to be my Savior so, praise God, I don't have a lot of night/day perspectives of life before and life after salvation. But I do have turning points in my life: Places where I see God revealing sin and habits and behaviors and dealing with them and then allowing me to move on from there. I'm doing Beth Moore's "Believing God" study where she defines our promised land as places where our theology meets our reality. I see that. I see places where God is so real in my life that there is no difference between what I profess and what I do. I long for that promise land authenticity in all aspects of my life so that my whole life is serving a "high and holy purpose."

5. Believers can still be Fist Shakers. Do you have circumstances in your life in which you find yourself shaking your fist at God? Something He has asked you to endure, asked you to do, seemingly taken away from you? Can you see how shaking your fist is keeping you from your Promise? (I'm not talking eternal security here - Only abundant living.)

There are constant struggles in my life to let go of the control and allow Him to make me the parent that He calls me to be. Fear of failure, fear of repeating the past, fear of .... can often lead me to places where I shake my fist at His high calling rather than trust in faith that He cares for my girls even more than I do. I fear this may be a struggle until they are grown and then some, but I pray I'll get better at letting go.

Bless you as you seek to be faith takers in your life!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Writer's Block and Little Time

Just wanted to let you know that I have not dropped off the face of the earth. I have a serious case of writer's block and not much time to fight it with summer activities. I'll be back soon....I promise.

Blessings to you!

Friday, July 20, 2007

SBQ Round up

When I started blogging, the only bloggers I knew were stitchers. So, naturally I expected my blog to be a stitching blog. I always wanted it to be *whole life* and not just *hobby* but I did plan to have at least a weekly stitching post. I signed up for the Stitching Blogger Question of the week and had good intentions. Then life happens. I realized this week that I had 9 SBQ’s in the queue to answer. I chose four to answer. And I’ll try to be more intentional about them in the future, for my stitching friends who are reading. So, without further adieu…

This week’s SBQ was suggested by Ish and is: Which project (finished or in progress) are you most proud of? Explain why.

Neuschwanstein Castle. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket It was stitched for my husband for our 10th wedding anniversary. The pattern was chosen because this is where we went on our honeymoon. I managed to keep it a secret and almost completed it on time (showed it to him on our anniversary but had about 2 more hours of stitching to go). I really love the final product.

From July 12: SBQ was suggested by The Wagon and is: What do you love to do that many people hate? What do you hate to
do, but do anyway?

I love to backstitch—and do blackwork. I think the project does not look completed until there is backstitching in it. I HATE French knots, but do them anyway because they do add to overall look of a piece.

From July 3: Do you consider yourself a "floss miser?"

I am absolutely not a floss miser. I do stitch to the very end of a length but only because I don’t like reloading the needle very often. But I have no problem with tossing the remainder of a length of floss when I am finished. Life is too short to worry about saving small strings, especially when the floss is the cheapest part of the project.

From June 6: Today's SBQ was suggested by Ish and is: What has been your most challenging project and why?

That would be Jewel’s baby afghan. It was challenging in size and complexity—large center section over two and border sections over one. But it was a challenge emotionally as well. I started it the first time I got pregnant but did not get very far before that pregnancy ended in miscarriage. I picked it up again with pregnancy #2, only to put it away again. I would not stitch on it until well into my second trimester with Jewel and then had to really be diligent to finish it before she was born. I was on target to finish by her due date but the little imp came 2 weeks early. So it was finished with her laying in my lap—another challenge in itself. But the end result was perfect! (picture to come)

Whew...somewhat caught up. I'll do better. Maybe. Have a blessed day!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Monday Menu Planning

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I have been lax about posting this each week, although I am still faithfully doing my plans. Here is this week's plan:

Monday: Pesto chicken, shredded carrot, cabbage and broccoli salad

Tuesday: Lamb Dansak, naan bread, melon

Wednesday: Lemon chicken in crock pot, steamed asparagus, salad

Thursday: Grilled lamb steaks, steamed mixed vegetables

Friday: Pork in Marscapone sauce, corn on the cob, salads

Saturday: Grilled tuna steaks, steamed carrots, salads (Or eat out at the Gurkha buffet after watching the Red Arrows Air Show)

Sunday: Navy bean and ham soup

For other great menu ideas, check out the menus linked to Org Junkie!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I AM--Lesson 10--Keeping it in the Family

Lisa's back with another installment of this awesome study. If you haven't been following the study, it is not too late!

The background passage this week is Exodus 32:9-14. The focal verse is verse 12:
"Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, 'With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth? Turn from your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people."

Wow! Moses was bold! But, as Lisa points out in the study, the point was that the world was watching how God handled His people, and His reputation was at stake. And with that teaser (go read the study at The Preachers Wife), here are the discussion questions:

1. Have you ever experienced trials that were best dealt with "in the family" for either your reputation's sake or God's? You may still choose to leave them there, but you are welcome to share if you are comfortable.
Oh, yes. In my case "the family" turned out to be a couple of Godly friends (one who I married) and a minister. It was God's blessing that He dealt with my sin openly and decisively, but not in such a manner that was so well-known to harm the ministry that He had begun and of which I was a part. He cared for my reputation, yes, but His reputation and ministry were utmost importance.

2. Have you ever found yourself in a bizarre circumstance and later were able to walk someone through the same/similar situation? Did you recognize the hand of God in it?
"Bizarre" seems to follow me. :) I can think of several situations that just didn't make sense at the time (sometimes still do not make sense) but later there was someone experiencing similar losses or circumstances. I definitely see the hand of God in those times.

3. I was in my late twenties before I ever let myself believe God was for me instead of waiting to smack me upside the head every time I made a mistake. Do you truly believe God is on your side?
Yes, oh Yes!

4. If God has ever had you in the Holy Spirit Choke hold (and who hasn't He?), how have you reacted to God's chastisement? Were you bitter? Brokenhearted? Grateful?
Yes. :) lol Actually, bitter is rarely something that hinders me. But angry and frustrated, hurt and brokenhearted, definitely. Ultimately, as I see the power that comes from discipline getting things out of my life I am grateful.

5. Write a brief prayer of Thanksgiving for God's long suffering. brief??
Father God, it is daunting to understand that when you called me as your child thirty-two years ago You knew even then the journey I would take. You knew the times I would turn away. You knew I would be selfish, miss out on blessings, make a mess of things and break your heart. But You loved me anyway. And you called me anyway. In doing that You made me a child of a King. Your patience and your perseverance to change me from a royal mess (and a royal brat) into a royal Princess amazes me. I stand in awe t hat you LOVE me that much. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for always being there when I return. Thank you for desiring my best and parenting me to develop into Your likeness. Thank you for Your mercy and Your compassion in the midst of the discipline. Thank you. Just, thank you. In Jesus Precious Name....Amen

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

In Other Words: Daily Reliance

We have a little Sunday routine in our house. As we are leaving church there will be an exchange something like this:
German or MiPa: "ok home to take a nap"
Jewel: "no we need to eat lunch first"
German: "that's what we said, nap time"
Jewel: "no lunch. we always eat lunch before nap"
MiPa: "we had lunch yesterday, today we will just take a nap"
Jewel: "nooooooo mom, lunch!"
MiPa (to German): "why do they expect us to feed them every day?"
mass giggles in the back seat. Then we go home and have lunch before naptime.

It's good fun. The girls always giggle. They know that it is all a joke. But there is truth to it. They need to eat everyday. Each time they sit down for a meal it is because they currently need nourishment. The meals from the day before or the week before do not meet the needs of growing children. They expend the energy and need it to be replenished.

Our faith walk is much the same. Jesus taught us to pray for "daily bread." He also teaches us that He, Himself, is the "bread of life." I need Him everyday. My "daily portion" of Him the day before is not going to sustain me through the difficult times of today. Yes, He is still my saviour everyday and He still cares for me, but in order for me to truly utilize the glorious resource of Jesus in my life, I need to daily ask Him to be Lord. I need to daily bow my head, my heart and sometimes even my physical knee to Him and say "today you are Lord of my life; today I rely on you to lead me where You want me to go."

It is not always as easy as it sounds. Somedays I am busy and I get to midday wondering why everything is so difficult. Then I realize, I'm relying on me not on God. Somedays are so jumbled and chaotic I think I'll read my Bible later--only to find later never comes. Somedays I am just sure I can handle it on my own, but I can't. It all is so much easier to cope when I am trusting Him with my day. You see, the daily reliance on Him is for His sake: worship Him and give Him rightful domain in my life and it is for my sake: to remind me that I am not capable without His Hand guiding and leading my life.

"Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing yet had been done."
~ C.S. Lewis ~

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."
Lamentations 3:22-24

Father God, I give you today. I lay it at your feet--with all its hopes and expectations, with all of its frustrations and joys. I give it to you. Please give me the portion of you that I need to go through this day. Help me to rely on you for today and not worry about the past or the future. Today is what we have. I am trusting you with it. In Jesus' name...Amen

To read what others are writing about this quote, please visit Iris at Sting my Heart. I know you will be blessed!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I'm too much like these peachicks

" often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" Luke 13:34b

Ever since the peachicks have been spotted in our back garden, and another set spotted on a day out, I have been thinking about this verse. I tend to read Jesus' lament to Jerusalem about their unwillingness to be protected and think "why won't you listen?" It is easy to be frustrated with unbelieving family members and friends thinking how much better their life would be with Jesus and why can't they see it.

But reality is, often, I don't see it either. Take for example, this picture:
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You can't tell it in the picture but it is pouring down rain. I mean really pouring it down. In fact, the only reason we were sitting by this window in order to get this picture was we were waiting out the rain to run to our car. Under the mama peahen are five other chicks. Five chicks dutifully staying under mama's protective wings and staying dry. Then there are these two. Who knows what they are thinking. But there they are, out in the storm. Jewel kept telling them to get under the mama. She couldn't understand why they would want to get wet (especially since she hates it). We were laughing at her and at the chicks. But, maybe, it was no laughing matter. Does peachick behavior mirror my own? More than I want to admit. How often do I complain in my prayers that there is a storm and God is letting me get wet? How often is His answer, "then get under my wings." Who knows what I'm thinking when I choose to stay in the storm rather than allow Him to protect me, but it happens much too often.

Or, how about this (revisited) picture:
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Mama peahen has spotted my rambunctious children. She perceives a threat and she gathers up the 5 chicks. But this one is just so curious it has to poke its head out and see. Thankfully there was a glass window between the "threat" and the chicks and it was indeed safe. But I know that I'm often the same way. Satan is prowling and temptation is abounding. Jesus sees the very real threat and gathers His children under His wings. The message is clear: don't pay any attention to the threat, stay safe with Me. Don't look at that program or movie or book. Don't listen to that garbage. Don't drink that or eat that which is not wholesome. Stay under His wings and be protected. But we get curious. Just looking won't hurt. I'm staying close to Jesus so I'll be safe. And we peek. And sometimes we get ensnared because we take ourselves out from under the protective wings of Jesus.

Sometimes we are not willing. And sometimes Jesus weeps because of it.

I can't get these images illustrating that verse out of my head. I want to be like the wise chicks that are snuggled up under their mama safe from the storm and from any threat.

Father God forgive me when I am not willing to be protected by you. Forgive me when I disobey and play in the storm after you have called me to safety. Forgive me when I don't trust you enough to believe that there is a threat and I peek out, or edge toward the threat. Thank you for your grace to accept me back even when I flirt with temptation and fall into sin. Thank you for your forgiveness at my confession of that sin. Thank you for using those times to teach me to trust you more. In Jesus protective name I pray...Amen!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Happy Independence Day!!!

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May we never take for granted the freedoms we have in the USA. Celebrating in my heart today (wish we were in St. Louis!). Have a Happy and Safe 4th to my US readers.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Goals Day

Can't believe that it is already July! Here is a re-visit of June's goals:
1. Really finish JJ's There is a Season--yes!
2. Complete rocks on fish RR to 25% (yes I'm lowering my standard)--not interested in this project right now, I'll put it away for a while
3. Complete quilting on Jewel's quilt and pin on other quilt top--yes and yes
4. Organize fabric closet--yes
5. Stay on track with Beth Moore Patriarch study--yes, finish it this Friday
6. Stay on track with I AM blog Bible Study--yes, I'm loving this study
7. Sort printed pictures into album stacks, decide what I need to print for next
8. Finish Pre-K homeschooling year!--yes!
Not a bad month in general.

Goals for July:
1. Stitch on Rosewood Manor Flag Sampler
2. Stitch on an old RR at least 5 hours this month
3. Quilt pinwheel quilt
4. Finish piecing and pinning Flower's first quilt
5. Stay on track with I AM blog Bible Study
6. Review and choose material for the Fall Ladies Bible Study
7. Begin summer session of homeschooling
8. Blog about and finish documenting first year of homeschooling
9. Finish planning for October vacation
10. Sort through photographs to plan next album

A Very Cool Tribute

I remember the evening of August 31, 1997 so well. German and I were on our first "real" vacation since our honeymoon. We had taken long weekends before and we had taken holiday time to go visit family. But this was a pure and simple vacation--an entire week away by ourselves to just have fun. We had spent the day exploring Gatlinburg and the surrounding area. We had a very late night game of miniature golf and then went back to the hotel. We turned the t.v. on to veg out until we fell asleep. Almost immediately the "breaking news" story of Princess Diana's accident (and later her death) came on. We watched BBC throughout the evening until the last fateful announcement of her death was proclaimed. Maybe because it inturrupted our fairytale vacation, maybe because German is the same age as Diana, or maybe because it was just so tragic--but the memory stays with me.

Fastforward ten years. I don't often give much thought to 'memorial' type events years after the initial event. I much prefer to look forward and not back. But living in the UK it is easy to get drawn into Princess Diana memorial events. So we watched the Concert for Diana yesterday. May I just say what a lovely tribute the two young princes collaborated on for their mother. The variety and quality of the show was amazing. I loved watching my two little girls with their hands in the air swaying with the crowd. Flower was especially into clapping along. German and I rocked and sang along with "Maggie May" (Kristin I was thinking of you!), the girls were mesmerized by Swan Lake, I remembered why Donnie Osmond was "the" thing when I was younger. We laughed, we sang, we cried with some of the stories and we relished in remembering a life that was so giving to others. A very cool tribute done very well. Sometimes, it is a good thing to look back.