Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas is upon us once again. The end of 2008 is just around the corner. I am truly convinced that this year has been the fastest year ever!

With all of this, I was trying to figure out what to write since I have not blogged for a bit. And I wanted to focus on this time of year. So much of this time of the year gets focused on buying gifts, decorating and cooking that we often forget the most important thing. I mean, sure, we all know that it’s celebrating the birth of Jesus, but how often do we take time to consider the story? The preparation? One of my favorite stories is found in the book of Luke, in fact, the very beginning-

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."
Mary’s response (how I would LOVE to have this faith!):
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

And then, there’s Joseph’s story which can be found in the book of Matthew chapter 1-
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us." When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

The story began with a child. The other night I watched a play where children from kindergarten through 8th grade put on a skit about the announcement of Jesus. Where we don’t really know what the angels might have been doing as they got ready to bring the announcement to Joseph, Mary and the shepherds, we know they had to be ready. We need to be ready too – ready to bring the good news of Jesus Christ – the good news of peace on earth BECAUSE God and sinners were reconciled! Not a peace absent trials. Not a peace because of everything going great. No, a greater peace. A peace that passes ALL understanding. A peace that can only come from a relationship with Jesus. A peace that exists because of the presence of God. And He brings peace through all of our circumstances. And this peace is for all who call on His name –
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tis the Season

No, not to be jolly, although a group of people think it is. The truth is, this time of the year brings much to the table. Lots of emotions change during this season, not just because Santa is bringing gifts, but because of the focus on Buy, Buy, Buy! And, watch out if you don't buy enough, you must not be a "good" person. Let's face it, why shouldn't our children have the latest? (I hope you sense the sarcasm!). And, let's not forget Thanksgiving - it's all about the food.

Well, it's not. It's not about the gifts. It's not about the food. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy making a feast and giving gifts (ok, getting them too!). BUT, too often we miss the mark. We fail to see the needs of those standing right in front of us. And now we have this company who feels it is necessary to take the approach of "why believe in a god?" Fox News has the latest... http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,450445,00.html It's a shame. I get that there are those who choose not to celebrate. I understand that some people don't agree with the "Reason for the Season." But to allow people to simply make up their own mind on what "good" means? To dare to say who needs God? In times like today, my question is "Who doesn't need God?"

We need a hope. We need to believe. Creation is longing for us to and if you search your own self, you will know without a doubt you were created for more. You will sense the yearning in your heart for answers, answers that can only be found in Christ.

People have questions today. People want answers. And the answers have to be real. They have to be truth. It is the truth that will set you free. The answer is there. The answer is waiting to be given. You just have to ask. I know, if you ask 20 people you will most likely get 20 answers. So, how do you find the answer that is real? I can answer this way - it is not an instant message that will come with the steps to peace. It is not an email or uploadable file that will show you the way. It takes time. Not because the answer is hard to find, but because we have to get past the mess. We have to weed through the crap we have been dealt for so long. Because we have been told we can "rationalize" our own answer. Wow. If we rationalized our every thought, our every answer, we never would have learned how to make a plane fly... We never would have found that inside the seeds that fall from an almond tree is a delicious nut... Or that peanut butter and chocolate would make such a great candy... We never would have discovered that some flowers can make a delicious tea or that some herbs are a remedy for aches and pain... I could go on. I hope you get my point. I hope this makes sense. It is that simple though and the answer you are looking for lies within you already, longing to come out, longing to be set free.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

From a wise woman

We are in a time very different from say 30 years ago. A time where we have the first African American candidate for VP, a first female candidate for VP, a time where same sex marriage is accepted, has been made legal and is now up to change again, an economic...hmm, what should i call it? an economic something. But, through all of this, I heard from a wise woman today. And this is what she has to say about one of the above issues.

"You know, as much as God is against the same sex thing, He also doesn't like people who judge. He is our only judge, so why should we, as people, be the ones to make a choice to ban something that someone chooses to be and do? I am not saying it is right, but I'm not going to vote to stop it...I see how much it hurts them. They feel like they're outcasts and aren't accepted in a lot of places just because of a choice they're making personally. Who are we to tell them what's right or wrong? Who are we to stop them from being who they want to be?"

Just a little input - before "we" try to answer the question she poses, consider this - do we ban people who have gossiped? Do we vote against people continuing to lie? steal? slander? What right do we have? none. Because we too have issues. We too choose to do things we know we shouldn't. I can say that confidently too because I know a little secret - you, just like me, are human. And, we will sin. Our sin is NO different in the eyes of God. Before any of us try to say "yeah, but..." don't go there. We can "yeah but" about all kinds of things.

Love God. Love people. Choose this day to serve Him. Choose this day to be a light to a world that needs to see.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Worth Reading

This is from a gal by the name of Nancy Campbell. She has a ministry called "Above Rubies." Thought I'd share this one...

ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE

Psalm 27:4, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple."

David longed for the "House of the Lord." It was his favorite place to be. But David could not be in the house of the Lord continually, as much as he longed to. He was king of a nation. He had battles to fight; administration to attend to. But dear mother, we have the opportunity to live David's longing. Let me explain.

The house of the Lord is no longer one temple as it was in David's day. It is not even a church building where we attend on Sundays or Saturdays today. The house of the Lord speaks of His presence. God wants your home to be His house where His presence dwells; a place where you abide in Him and He abides in you. The house of the Lord is abiding fellowship with Christ. The house of the Lord is your kitchen where you prepare the meals; the house of the Lord is your dining table where you feed your family and make every meal a love affair; the house of the Lord is any room in the home where you are working or interacting with your children.

In your home you can behold the beauty of the Lord. As you abide in Him and look to Him, He will impart His grace to you in your time of need. He will show you that He is the God who is enough for every challenge and every situation. He is with you, in your home, and will never leave you or forsake you. No, not even when everything seems overwhelming and you feel like tearing your hair out! You are still in the house of the Lord at this moment. Instead of despairing about the situation, stop for a moment and realize that God is with you. He has promised that He will not fail you. Thank Him that He is with you. Thank Him that He cannot fail you.

In your home you can inquire in His temple. David had to go God's temple to inquire of the Lord. He faced battles, enemies and challenges; He needed God's discernment, wisdom and strength. You also long for God's wisdom. You are desperate to know what to do. You cannot go on without His strength. Praise the Lord, you don't have to get into your car and rush off to a church building. You are in the house of the Lord right now. You can inquire in His temple right now. He will give you His wisdom. He has promised, remember.

All you have to do is abide--that literally means to live in His presence. It means to acknowledge that Christ is living within you and that you are in Him. You are inseparable. You are one. He is your life source. You can't live without Him (well, I can't anyway!). Your own strength wains; you need His. Your wisdom is human; you need His divine wisdom. Your love runs out the door; you need His agape love. You are depressed and down in the dumps; His joy does not depend on how you feel. You feel your life is worthless; you can only bear fruit to bless your family and touch other lives as you abide.

John 15:4-5 says, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me can do nothing." There it is. The secret to living in the house of the Lord all the days of your life.

How I love those words... "all the days of my life." It doesn't matter what my day is like, God is with me. It doesn't matter whether I think God has left me; He is bigger than my thoughts. My thoughts deceive but God doesn't change.

See your home in a new light. It is the house of the Lord. You can live in it all the days of your life.

Love from NANCY CAMPBELL

PRAYER:
"Thank you, Lord, for showing me that my home is the house of the Lord. Help me to enjoy my home in a new way. Thank you that I don't have to visit the house of the Lord. I live in it! Amen." AFFIRMATION: I am not a visitor but a dweller in the house of the Lord. - Isaiah 41: 10, 13; Hebrews 13:5-6; James 1:5-8.

If you know others who would be blessed by these devotions, you are welcome to forward them or let them know they can subscribe by sending a blank email to subscribers-on@aboverubies.org

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hmm

OK, now that's frustrating.... I was already having a hard time figuring out what I wanted to write, started typing some things and my internet decided to quit on me. So, what I had written I have now lost...not that it was much.

So, I will leave it at this - there is much on my mind and I'm having a hard time trying to put it into words. When I do, I will post. Until then, below is a list of things that either really inspire me or stir something unexplainable within me. It may not make a whole lot of sense, but it's what I'm posting...

  • Family pictures
  • Hearing about divorce
  • People having sex before marriage or affairs
  • Relationships
  • Pictures, especially black and white
  • Sharing what is good, truth
  • Wanting people to know God’s truth
  • Fellowship
  • Cooking for others, cooking period
  • Serving
  • Giving: time, resources
  • People who stop going to church
  • People who talk about things & won’t let go
  • Unforgiveness
  • The freedom in forgiving
  • Music
  • Education
  • Movies
  • Seeing people in need, knowing this and knowing how much we waste and how much stars (movie, music, sports, etc) make.
  • Destruction, natural
  • Birth
  • Children
  • Hearing rumors, slander
  • Words of death
  • Words of life
  • Watching “Diners Drive-ins & Dives” or for that matter, the Food Network
  • Wanting people to understand why I stay married
  • Watching someone play the violin or piano
  • When people complain about things that happened a long time ago, even 2 months ago. It’s time to move on!
  • The fact that we, as believers, aren’t representing Jesus.
  • Hearing about people who have been turned off from the “church” because they were hurt (this is double feelings – both anger & empathy)
  • Listening to creation wake up
  • Listening to my bread crack after baking

Friday, July 4, 2008

i want to do what You want me to do
i want to be who You created me to be
i know that at times i look at things other people do and i get all excited and want to do it. that's mainly because i hear the excitement in them about what they did. it's not necessarily that i want to do exactly what they did, like when i listened to everyone's testimony about the Philippines or when i hear the passion in someone's voice sharing something that happened, or hearing about lives changed.
i guess it's that passion i want. that's what it really is - to do things well; to be passionate about whatever i do;to let out that feeling that starts to come alive in side of me when i see, do or hear certain things. i don't know how else to explain it. i've never been able to find the words to make it make sense.
and, to begin to say "when i do this...that's when that feeling comes" doesn't mean "that" is what i really want to do. but i know there is something that lives within me that wants to come out. i've felt it. i just still don't know how to let go. and i believe that until this, whatever it is, gets resolved, thinking about dreams will remain confusing for me. why? because i have not been able to, hmmmm, good question.
and i don't know how to explain my answer except like this - is it photography? or cooking? i don't really know. but when i do them, sometimes that feeling i described above starts to burn inside of me. other times it has started when i've prayed, or served, or taught. sometimes ti starts with no common explanation, completely random...or is it?
and that's where i leave it, and maybe, just maybe i'll listen in such a way that i can hear what "it" is

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

60 Days Ago...

ok, give or take a day, but...

Planned a visit with my older brother and his family...they were to come out June 10th, but it was a surprise for our parents...boy were they surprised. The reason for this entry though is just to try to put some things in writing...wish i could have recorded every instance where we, the children, almost blew the cover of them coming to visit. Seems like every time we turned around one of us would say something that just brought it too close! Yet, every time, somehow, it never managed to come out that they were coming. Thank you Lord for Your hand, i know it was not us that kept it a secret!

i want to remember my parent's face when they saw their oldest son and his family standing there. wish i could describe it in such a way that anyone reading this would be able to picture their faces. it was like they were dreaming, not really sure they were standing there at all...priceless. It's been 7 years since they saw my sister-in-law. and really, 7 years since adam too because the last time he came out was only for 2 days... it's going to be a great visit!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sleep, or lack there of

Why is it some nights sleep comes without an issue and sleep lasts until the lovely alarm wakes you? and why is it some nights it doesn't quite work that way?

last night was one of those nights that didn't work. Even when i went to bed, although i was tired, i couldn't get right to sleep... But, figure i was out by 11pm, 1:30 rolls around...i remember because i was awake. not sure why, just woke up. but i woke up with a feeling to get up. honestly, i usually do anyway. you know, go to the bathroom and just peek in on the kids. so i lay back down, but can't fall asleep. it's not that i wasn't tired. so i move to the couch. 2:30 slowly rolls around...i think a bit, nothing too much, but i think. i started thinking about people in my past, not in a bad way, just people who have come in and out of my life. then, i start to fall asleep. i believe i saw the clock say 3ish...and you know what? i wake up to our fire alarm! talk about waking back up! of course i jump up to see what it went off for, but as i get up to investigate, it stops. ok, this is not like the kind of chirp that happens when the battery is low, this is a full on alarm. i smell all over the entire house (fortunately that's only 965 square feet, lol) and outside. i smell the wall heater (that is turned off, never on). nothing. GRATEFUL i don't smell smoke and that the alarm is not going off, but now, wide awake again (something about the adrenaline of panic? lol). so, needless to say, cannot get back to sleep again.....4 o'clock... i'm thinking great, i have to be up at 5... sleep finally came, just in time for the real alarm to go off, you know, the one i set on purpose to tell me to get up, time to get hubby up for work... and so now, i'm here, at the computer, typing about sleep...it is 5:39. i could go back to sleep, but find myself thinking no, i want to type about this (i think a lot!! LOL).

and just a side note, the typos? well, my keyboard is missing the g key and the t key and one shift key. it takes too much effort to make sure everything is right...

ok, but seriously... while i was awake after the smoke alarm, i realized that previous sleepless nights i told myself i would ask God if there is a reason i am awake, or at least that i would pray. so i began to pray. i prayed specifically for people who have lost loved ones - a friend of mine just lost his wife and just about a month ago, another friend of mine lost her husband. anyway, just praying. people say "why not take something to help you sleep?" i've decided i would much rather be awake to pray then to sleep right through something God has for me...not sure if that was the reason i was awake, but i would rather learn it was then find out i missed an opportunity...

another note, had the strangest dream after falling asleep after praying...couldn't even begin to explain it here...

oh well, i'll just take a nap later.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Home school

OK, so i took on the task of homeschooling almost 8 years ago now...whew! My oldest graduated in 2006, my second is a sophomore and my youngest will start kindergarten this fall. Just know a VERY important thing should you decide home school is for you...there is no easy answer! Each kid is different, each parent teaches different. there, i said it. Something that seems so stinking obvious, yet, we seem to forget it when we take on a huge task like homeschooling.

Success stories are always good to read though, so here goes. My oldest daughter never really had a favorite subject, that is, until her last year in school. She always did the work, but just never really enjoyed the classes. There was a class that actually had her do a 1/4 semester in each topic - cooking, construction, child care and one other i can't seem to remember. She really enjoyed the cooking and was quite proud of her skill in "planing" a piece of wood (i admit, it looked really nice when she brought it home). But, 2 subjects really had her interest - Astronomy and Photography. Both curriculum was by the same place, you'll have to email me and ask me the name if you are interested. She really liked those, and picked up a lot of knowledge from them. Sure wish she could have taken the course sooner...

second success: my son. the one who, even as a 10th grader, has not liked reading or writing. the one who i could not get to write a 500 word essay no matter what. Then, i had an idea - brainstorm each section of the story - main character, plot, beginning, end, etc. Then, i had him start connecting everything and all of a sudden, he was at over 800 words! He is still writing too, over 26 pages of binder paper worth of words. even if i estimate using a standard of 100 words per page (they are handwritten), that's over 2600 words...and, he is excited about the story. I was talking with a young man at church on Sunday and was telling him i was going to have my son work on the ending...he said "why? let him keep going." and i realized, he is absolutely right. I will keep checking to make sure he is looking ahead, but hey, why stop a good thing.

i really wish i had been able to find out my oldests' interest in astronomy sooner. but, it certainly helped me get outside the box of teaching.

You know, it's not for everyone. But, the alternative for me, well, i just don't see it as an option...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

silentary suicide

the things that go through my mind
are crazy..
scary..
it’s all
suicide,
hatred,
love.

what has become of those thoughts?
the actions that have taken place..
you wouldn’t believe.

why do i think these?
who has made me feel such pain?

i feel so much pain.
slowly, I am suffocating.
it’s like someone is smothering me with a pillow,
whispering in my ear, "die."
it brings tears.
i try to fight back,
i try not to listen,
but his words are so strong,
i start to listen.

he whispers more,
you’re worthless.
you’re a nobody.
you’re nothing.
no one wants you.
no one really cares about you.
then he screams,
you’re ugly.
you slut.
you’re trash.
look, look at yourself.
you’re filth.

this seems to be taking over my mind.
this, thing,
it haunts me,
a living nightmare i wake up to.
i keep running to the light at the end,
but it keeps getting further and further away.


i’m grasping for air.
i can’t seem to get free from what is suffocating me.
my pulse is slowly fading...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Think

Life is about learning. Life is about obstacles and opportunities. Life is about turning failures into opportunities. Life is…do we ever stop learning? Do we ever do something and NOT learn from it? I suppose we could, if we choose to simply ignore it. but truth is, we always learn. Just because we choose to not respond to it or pay attention to what we have learned doesn’t mean we didn’t learn. Our choices dictate our next step for the most part and completely define our future. So, why does it take so long for us to figure things out? Why is it that we can do things over and over with the same results yet think we will get different results? Why is it that we think we can do damaging things in our life without negatively affecting our future? Hmm, key word… T H I N K… ‘to use the mind to consider ideas and make judgments; to anticipate something happening;’ ooh, these are good- ‘to have a conscious mind, to some extent of reasoning, remembering experiences, making rational decisions, etc’ ‘to employ one's mind rationally and objectively in evaluating or dealing with a given situation’ ‘to consider for evaluation or for possible action upon.’ So maybe that’s it…we just don’t think.

one more thing, i just let my 16 year old go on his first date...life flies by when you aren't looking!