Saturday, February 28, 2009

Give Me A Sign!


Remember the movie "Bruce Almighty" when he is beginning to try and pray and he asks God to give him a sign, and God does by bringing about all kinds of road signs? However Bruce is looking for something significant and almost miraculous. He doesn't see the subtle signs God puts right in front of him.

I think we are a lot like Bruce in that situation, at least I am. I pray with the right intentions and wait patiently (OK sometimes the patient part is a bit difficult) but I try and wait patiently for an answer. Sometimes it comes right away, other times it doesn't come at all. I also think that sometimes God is trying to answer our prayers and we just aren't looking for the answers in the right places.

I mean in the past, I have prayed for solutions to whatever dilemma life is handing me at that time, such as, getting through a bad and difficult divorce, handling a child custody issue involving my ex husband living completely on the other side of the US, marrying a second time, dealing with lay offs and job losses, finding our first home, I am sure you get the idea.

Well lately I have been praying for this job that my husband has had for about six months. When he initially began the job, we were told that travel at first would be quite a bit until the company secured work in California. We were told it would never go past 3 weeks without the company sending him home to be with family. I am sure you can see where this is going.

Well it's now February and he is still traveling about 75-90% of the time. The longest he has been gone has been 5 weeks at a time, in a completely different state that we can't travel to, to be with him, and we have to deal with life without him. Our 10 year old does well sometimes but really hates this job of daddys! It tears both of us up when he has to leave. We have been praying to God to at least let us know if this is our path at this time. Since we live in California the job market is pretty dry here. I have had my application with a temp agency since January of 2007 and no not one phone call.

This new job is hit or miss at best. Sometimes with him being gone for so long, he works continuously long hours, and seven days a week, with no time off. When he does come home, we never know how long he will be here or when his next job is. There have been times where he was promised work only to have nothing available and was told to wait and hopefully something will come up. It's not a job you can rely on to pay your mortgage because when he does work, its OK on the financial side but when he doesn't, we struggle to find ways to make ends meet.

I have prayed for one answer from God, which is simply this. Should we keep trying to work with this job or walk away in faith that you will provide something else? We don't have any back up savings as we have to pay as we have money as we will never know when we will have more. There is no spare anything. I have to admit I was frustrated these last three weeks.

Even though he was working in Bakersfield, only 2 hours away, he was unable to be home most days because of issues with this job that required his immediate presence at the location site during all hours of the day. He works during the evening hours and attempts to sleep during the day. So we don't get a chance to talk much, things are a struggle at home since I am it, both mom and dad, while dad is away. I manage the house, bills, issues, school, church, you name it, it's my new responsibility. When things break in the house, I have to try and fix it. I've gotten quite good at how to fix the sprinklers, and how to turn of water and dig a hole in a hurry!

This wasn't what I envisioned my second marriage to be. This one, is almost becoming like my first one, where my husband chose to be gone all the time and leave me alone, whereas this time, we have to be apart because the job market is so scarce and we need the money. For me, the situation is familiar. I am alone, except for God's guidance which has helped to keep the family intact most days. Nights are the hardest. That's when everyone realizes that dad is missing and isn't coming home. It doesn't make it easy by any means. God makes it bearable, doable, and I realize he strengthens me to make it through each day.

My frustration remains in how long does one deal with this? Is this what God meant for me at this time in my life? Is this something we are supposed to walk away from because it's hurtful to our family and marriage? Or is this what God has in mind for us and if it is, please help us all deal with it.

I am confused because I can't voice this to anyone really because the people I do speak with, tell me to be happy, we at least have a job. That is such an empty response. I hate hearing it anymore. I feel like people don't really understand what's involved. I love having my husband home at least once a day, I can make it longer if I needed to but I never expected this. I find myself not really wanting to talk to hubby when he does call because we never know when he is coming back. The phone calls become hard because they are so short and the times when he does call is so late. I try so hard not to vent my frustrations on him and yet I fail there too. I did pray when I was finding myself at the end of that short rope and I believe that God asked me to simply hang up. Don't say anything more. Wait.

When I finished pulling weeds that day, I came inside to find an email that I usually get daily, a devotional for women, and I had one come up as a new email, that I had received some three days earlier but it came again, new at that moment. It dealt with how us women want God to change our men, and we pray for those changes, when all along, God just wants us to pray for changes within us. That those prayer must begin for us first. It didn't dawn on me until I was in church that night with hubby who managed, gracefully to make it home that night, tired and exhausted from Bakersfield, but wanted to come to church instead of sleep.

When we both opened our Bibles that night for a guest speaker for our usual pastor, when hubby opened his Bible he pulled out a piece of paper for a labor company. He turned to me, and said, I wonder if this is a sign? I explained about my email earlier that day and we both realized that God does speak to us, just sometimes not in the way we would expect.

I am working hard on myself with God during these long days. Still waiting for confirmation on the job issue but will wait as long as God has me to, until that time. Can you please pray for me in this as well, for God to reveal to me and Steve what His plan is regarding this job? If it's not in His will, then pray that God will give us the strength to walk away and find something else that will at least keep him home at night.

Thanks for your prayers and for listening!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I Believe!


I remember the saying, "I believe" was something that ran throughout the movie Miracle on 34th Street when the validity of a man claiming to be Santa Claus was called into question by the court of law. You have union workers stating their beliefs, traffic cops, kids on the street you name it, everyone is stating their belief in Santa Claus. Then there are other plays on the words believe. You have to believe it to see it, I believe I will have a second slice of pie, I believe in myself, I believe in UFO's, I believe in life after death, you name it someone has believed in it. Some will even claim to use the word believe to inspire something heavenly, supernational or to come off sounding religious or moral.

What about our religious beliefs? Oh sure we can share then when asked, or when in church or perhaps with close friend or families but never anywhere else, least likely of all work right? Isn't that the taboo word, God at work, don't discuss it. What are we afraid of? We might offend someone? We might get fired? Its just not something to discuss unless off site or when asked?

For five years, I taught a class as a corporate trainer for one of the largest communications companies called Respecting the Workplace. I loved this class because of how we got to stir up things you aren't suppose to discuss at work. Did you know, that you can discuss religion at work? Yup, and sometimes it's one of the few places you can learn from other's differences. The issue of trying to sell your religion or force someone to change their beliefs is where companies tell you that you're crossing the line because you have potentially offended the other person.

Yet as Jesus walked among the people during his times here, didn't He talk to people about God, wherever He was? He didn't dine only with the big wigs and CEO's of companies or the White House, he went in the worst possible places imaginable. He can to the people, He didn't call the people to Him. He met them right where they were, in the midst of their worst times and in their worst appearances. It doesn't say that lepers hid from Jesus, they sought Him out. The prostitutes didn't run away in shame, they ran to Him.

People need to know what faith in God can do. We all know at times what our faith in God the Father and Jesus Christ has done for us, do we share it or do we wait to be asked? I heard a news report last night that really bothered me just after the Academy Awards last night. It stated how Hollywood choose that opportunity to share it's beliefs with not only the people attending, but also all the viewers on television. I heard that writers and actors alike used this opportunity to share their beliefs in gay marriage (AGAIN) and how the rest of us supporters of non gay marriage should be ashamed for withholding their rights from them.

Which rights are they claiming? Rights for benefits? Rights to adopt children? Rights to leave personal property to their significant other? I am lost. I will not support the right for the definition of a married couple to be something other than what God created and that's man and wife.(Genesis 2:24) Is it because they have intruded on everything else that was God ordained at this point and won? Is this a challenge for them to attempt to persuade others to their side?

Hard to believe that we should be ashamed for believing in the design of marriage the way it should be, and it doesn't need to be redefined for any other reason. Go find another cause. There will always be another one. I stand by my decision to raise my children to be tolerant of what other people may believe and that there always will be people who believe differently than us. I will not have society force me or my family to believe that marriage as it has stood since the beginning needs to be changed to fit everyone.

This is one time where one size does not fit all and I think it's wrong that the media remains biased on this point. I can't wait for someone to stand their ground and report both sides without favoring one side or the other. Since it's my right to choose, I will choose not to support the Hollywood actors or writers with my hard earned money so they can use it for evil. I will support those actors, writers and companies that promoted God so that they can continue to produce great fruit in a dark world.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fear Factor


Have you ever watched the show "Fear Factor"? I don't believe it's on anymore but it certainly made you wonder just how far some people would push themselves to conqueror their fears or perhaps in some cases just how far would you go for money?

I personally have a few legitimate fears that I would love to overcome. I have a huge fear of flying. I guess in light of recent news events (Hudson River, 9/11 and others), it doesn't put my mind to ease. I hate that I fear it to the point I won't sit by my family because I am not the best traveling companion. I am the person who sits white knuckled, grabbing the arm rests for dear life, like I think I can personally steer the plane with them if need be. I don't like to have a discussion with anyone until I can see the ground just as we are about to land. Now you can talk with me about anything. I've been told by some it's a control issue with me. Yeah I don't think so. I would rather sit back, relax and have someone else get me to where I would love to be.

I got this fear of flying, some 15 years ago, when I flew from New Jersey to California. I was waiting for the plane as it sat on the runway, to apply the brakes and rev the engines, you know like planes are supposed to do. This one didn't. Instead as the plane turned onto the runway, it immediately tried to gain enough speed to take off. It felt like forever and I certainly felt like it wasn't going to make it. Kinda like the old clunker cars you see on the roads that should be condemned because they aren't road worthy.

As the plane lifted off, it immediately dropped shortly after it took off. Not a mild drop mind you, but a kind of drop that had most passengers on the plane looking at each other, like 'what was that?' As the plane banked to the right and kept climbing, it dropped again. This time it was so noticeable that people on the plane screamed. No one from the flight crew bothered to say anything as the plane kept on flying. I promised myself if the plane should land safely, I would never fly again.

I have unfortunately flown again after that, but not without the greatest fear I could imagine. I have tried flying with business travelers since they fly alot, taking prescriptions to help relax (remember the movie Six Days, Seven Nights with Harrison Ford and Anne Heche? She had nothing on me when I was flying.) I had to take so many pills that it really didn't do much except make me a little bit more relaxed until I landed and then had to sleep it off, because I had taken to many.

Isn't it funny how your body can override certain things, like relaxing due to the 10 Xanax you just inhaled, to keep you aware of things going on around you? I am also deathly afraid of heights. OK being in a plane isn't the same thing, with the heights, it's mostly being in a building with high floors and looking out the windows or stepping out onto the balcony. This fear stemmed from my ex husband who snuck up behind me when I was on a hotel balcony only to pretend to throw me over. NOT FUNNY! Who thinks this is funny?

I can honestly say I have gotten over my fear of death the closer I get to God. It used to scare me to death. It didn't help that everything I did as a child or rash I got, my father, would tell me it's cancer! Isn't my life full of joy?

Actually it really is now. I have come to realize that God is not the author of fear but the devil is. It's the devil that loves to come around during those times to tap me on the shoulder and remind me of those fears and if I allow it, to dwell on how it feels when I am that scared. I now remind myself that God is in control of everything going on and only He knows when my time will be up. So until then, I need to enjoy the things He has offered such as a flight to visit my hubby while he is out of town or my daughter's home on the East Coast during the summer with her dad, my ex. I have for too long listened to the enemy and given him too much control of my life, when I need to remember that "greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

I just need to remember that each time I am reminded of my fears I need to take those thoughts captive and instead choose to turn those fears over to God. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

It doesn't mean it will make the fear just dissolve but knowing that God is my pilot should make my life a little easier to deal with. What do you fear and how do you handle it?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Do You Validate?




I just wonder if any of you when you pull into a parking garage actually stop somewhere just to get your parking ticket validated? I mean sometimes they will validate the whole time you are there, but most times it's only for a specified time. I saw the cutest YouTube video that a friend sent me! You really should see it! It's called "Validation" and you can search for it on You Tube! It's about people that stop in a parking garage, and seek out the validation person to have their parking tickets validated so their parking will be FREE!

What they get when they arrive is "validation". They receive the most sincerest compliments from the person who marks their tickets, but only after he provides them with just the right compliments they need for the day.

I find this so true, especially being a stay at home mom and sometimes wife whose hubby is gone for weeks at a time. He is usually home for a couple days and then leaves for another 3-5 week stint. Let's just say I could use some validation. My kids need rides to school, sports activities, the malls, friends house, church, youth group, last minute things at the store. Can you relate?

Well it's amazing how much a sincere compliment can completely change your attitude and change your day. Too often though we put some faith in wanting those compliments from people, when the only person who will give them to you all day long without waiting is God. "I am with you always." Jesus promises in Matthew 28:20. God's compliments are not only sincere but they are filled with love, joy and hope. It's because God always sees the best in us, believes in us not matter how many times we fail and will never forsake us no matter how many times we push him aside.

Tonight we shared a dinner with hubby while he was passing through town and we were discussing just how important it is to let people know honestly what you think of them. Just the good however! At least for now. I was explaining how I took the time today to send along a quick email to my home school teacher to thank her for supporting me, always being quick to respond to my issues as a home school parent, and just glad that we have her when I hear from my friends that they don't like their kids teachers. I took the time not only to write it but to be sincere in my compliments.

A few minutes later I received the nicest email of thanks from her saying just how important that email came at a really difficult time in her day and just by reading it, it changed her day. Sincerity in it's purest form. Today at dinner, my oldest daughter was telling us how irritating our waitress was because she would ask if we needed anything, and we would tell her we were OK, she would thank us. Caitlyn said why does she say thank you so much, and I informed her that she was displaying good manners in how she was responding to us, her customers.

By the end of dinner, Caitlyn expressed that our waitress really went out of her way to make sure our drinks were always filled, if we needed more bread, took away all our empty plates when we were finished and genuinely cared about us. We discussed that perhaps someone should know about her outstanding service, since too often you don't get that kind of attention anymore. My hubby did stop on our way out and asked to speak with the manager to let her know just how good our waitress Vanessa was! She said she would be heading back to talk to her since she was going that way.

It is now our families goal to validate someone each day in a genuine and sincere manner. We are hoping it will make a difference in their day and bring a true smile to their face and a bounce in their step.

I feel we all need to feel validated every day in some small way, we know that some days we just need to feel like we count, and I pray that each of you that reads this post will be encouraged by the Holy Spirit each day that God created you and has kept you right where you are because you are serving His special purpose! Nothing happens that doesn't filter through His hands and without His knowledge. You mean everything to God! Your ticket is now validated!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Is Your Marriage On The Rocks or On a Rock?


Interesting play on words isn't it? Kinda catchy huh? The question is which place are you and your spouse in? I have to admit for the first 8 years or so of our marriage I wouldn't have admitted it but our marriage wasn't built on the rock that is God, but now for the last year and a half, not only is our marriage stronger but we honestly have grown in our relationship with God both together and individually.

It's not to say that we have had a carefree 8 years of marriage, but let's say the word divorce came up more often than it should, both of us would have been willing to give this up in a heart beat if God hadn't had different plans for us. He was always working on us to bring us to Him. In fact the guilt if any should be on me since I was a believer longer than Steve, but my walk hadn't always included God. Sure I called out to him when I needed Him, but not when things were going well. I had that part of my life mastered.

It wasn't until Steve started so say that we should go to church, that we agreed to at least give it a try for our kids sake. I mean I couldn't expect to wind up in heaven and explain to myself why I didn't bother to mention Jesus to my 10 year old daughter. I knew it was a personal decision for both girls and it really has helped to keep my oldest more grounded in her life in high school. She never feel into the clicks, the drugs, or sex issues, and she is insisting that she stay pure up to marriage.

The point I am trying to make is that God designed marriage to be a life long commitment, not a trial period and if it doesn't work out then we part and go our separate ways. No, it was meant that wedlock should include a padlock. It was designed to stand the test of time and endure but only if our house (our marriage) is built on a strong foundation. Have you ever seen houses built that look incredible but fail because of the foundations? Look at the recent mudslide homes in Orange County and Laguna Hills. Beautiful multi million dollar homes that fall away in the midst of a mild rain that last over several days. Sin is like that subtle rain. It's not enough to appear to pose any real danger to your home, but over time, erosion eats away at the ground bit by bit til your home slides away. Sin within a marriage has the same result.

Without God as our foundation in which sin can not eat away at, we are almost assured at some point that our home will come sliding down. The great thing is that God can repair that home and make it better than it was before it was built. We just need to commit to spending time together in prayer, praying daily for our marriage and families because the rains will come, eventually, and we will all be tested. Isn't it time to build your home on something that will last instead of trying to fill it full of things that won't?

Dear Lord,

May you bless the readers of this post. May they find comfort and peace in their marriages and families by putting your first. In trusting you Lord, may you bless their families and marriages, keeping them strong, and keep them walking in your light when dark clouds come. Remind them that even though the skies maybe sunny now, we never know when the subtle rains of sin can come along to try and erode our foundation in you, and keep our eyes focused on you always.

In Jesus Name,

AMEN!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

God Needs To Go To Back To School!


Why is that you asked? When did God ever go to school? I mean He must have went as Jesus Christ into the temples to learn about the scriptures or that he was endowed with that knowledge since He was God in the flesh right?

What I am talking about is what most people now call, the separation between church and state. I am talking about when God and the Bible was taught in schools. When it was OK in some schools that in addition to the Pledge of Allegiance which always included, "one nation under God", but also recited the Lord's Prayer as well. When you could pray in school and weren't automatically taken to the principles office because you may have "offended" someone in your class or even the teacher.

I had a very enlightening church service last night and in case you want to hear it, simply google, Calvary Chapel of the High Desert, click on Sermons and click on Dennis Davenports sermon from last night. Even though we were doing a study in Micah, we got on the topic of disciplinary problems in schools in the 1940's and 1990's. Here is the list:

1940:

1) Talking out of turn
2) Chewing gum
3) Making noise
4) Running in the hall
5) Cutting in line
6) Dress code violations
7) Littering

1990

1) Drug abuse
2) Alcohol abuse
3) Pregnancy
4) Suicide
5) Rape
6) Robbery
7) Assault

*Taken from “School Violence Prevention: Strategies to Keep Schools Safe,” by Alexander Volokh with Lisa Schnell in January 1998

The interesting statistics would be what are the current disciplinary problems in our schools now, 19 years later? We could only hope for those problems of the 1940's again much to today's problems. I don't see much changing except for the frequency that these things would happen in addition to school shootings, murder, eating disorders, cutting and more. You fill in the blank.

Have you noticed how much of our actual United States History is being removed from our schools simply because it offends someone's religious preference? We learn about Patrick Henry's famous quotes, "Give me liberty or give me death." but what about this part from the same famous speech, "No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The questing before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings. " (Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death speech from Libertyonline, dated March 23, 1775.

Heaven forbid that if that same speech would be uttered by our current government leaders, whether president or congressman, senators or anyone in government, the lawyers would be all over that person. The ACLU would come out of the woodwork for that offensive speech. Yet why don't we tell the whole story when it comes to history for American's and remove all religious references?

Another interesting thing that I heard last night was Thomas McKean, was nominated for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and upon finding John Roberts guilty for treason and condemned to death issued this statement to Roberts from the bench, " "You will probably have but a short time to live. Before you launch into eternity, it behooves you to improve the time that may be allowed you in this world. It behooves you most seriously to reflect upon your conduct, to repent of your evil deeds, to be incessant in prayers to the great and merciful God to forgive your manifold transgressions and sins, to teach you to rely upon the merit and passion of a dear Redeemer and thereby to avoid those regions of sorrow, those doleful shades where peace and rest can never dwell, where even hope cannot enter. It behooves you to seek the fellowship, advice and prayers of pious and good men, to be persistent at the throne of grace and to learn the way that leadeth to happiness. May you reflecting upon these things and pursuing the will of the great Father of Light and Life, be received into the company and society of angels and archangels and the spirits of just men made perfect and may you be qualified to enter into the joys of heaven, joys unspeakable and full of glory." (faith of our fathers.net/mckean.html)

Did you catch that? Hmm, now tell me again about separation of church and state? Is that a literal wall or just put there to keep from offending someone? Sure it offends us now, the minority, Christians, because for too long we sat back and stood by while the people we have nominated have eliminated things from the way we run government now to appease the "people". Don't they just mean the people that will cause problems, the people who will call their lawyers and ask for their civil rights to be upheld? I mean can we really tolerate the needs of every single person living here? I wish for a ethical God fearing man to stand up for what he believes in and confess it in the middle of our governments. Stop being chicken! Be a David in the midst of the Goliath government. God will be with you.

Here's more: Did you know that of the 56 original signers of the Declaration of Independence, that 54 of them were born again Christians? 27 of them held diplomas in seminary schools?

Did you know that on September 17, 1774, The Continental Congress began their session by opening with a word of prayer that last for 3 hours? John Adams wrote to his wife Abigal and tell her that they believed that God was speaking to them by quoting Psalms 35? Here is what he wrote to her, "From Paul Ankerberg’s website, David Barton of WallBuilders discusses the Founding Fathers and a 3-hour prayer session and bible study of Psalm 35…in CONGRESS!!


John [Adams] told [his wife] Abigail, he said, “But our Psalm for this morning was Psalm 35. He said, “I beg you, read that Psalm.” He said, “God used Psalm 35 to put our hearts at rest. We know it’s going to be all right. We prayed Psalm 35 as a Congress this morning.” And Psalm 35 is an excellent prayer for these people, particularly feeling that they had an unprovoked attack coming at them.

Now, Congress read and prayed Psalm 35 over a three-hour period. Well, John continued a very faithful correspondence with Abigail and in another letter that he sent to Abigail he told her, “Today, Congress did one of the wisest things it could possibly have done. Today, we called for a national day of prayer and fasting.” And he told her, “We’ve appointed a continental fast.” He said, “Millions will be upon their knees at once before their great Creator imploring His forgiveness and His blessings, His smiles on American council and arms.” And he told Abigail, “Abigail, can you imagine the impact of having millions of people upon their knees at once praying to God?” I would love to witnessed that happening, can you?


Did you know that when the Congress of the United States in 1782 printed the first Bible, that on it's opening page were printed the words, "For Use in Schools"?

Or how about the Mayflower Compact which is removed from our history books after being in them for 150 years following the landing of the Mayflower and the Pilgrims. Do you know what it said? " In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the Grace of God, of England, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, e&. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the General good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, King James of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620." (allabouthistory.org/mayflower)

So I personally believe that it's time that we as people of our United States begin to allow God back into our government, back into our schools and back into our lives. Forget tolerance of every other religion, and what offends people. If it offends you then don't be a part of the government, enroll your children someplace else, and believe what you want. Do expect the remainder of us to remain silent any longer!

What’s more, the very same Congress that sent the First Amendment to the states for ratification voted to hire chaplains at taxpayer expense for both houses of Congress. And George Washington, who supported the First Amendment, is the one who started the tradition of prayer at presidential inaugurations – as well as adding the words “so help me God” to the presidential oath and taking said oath on the Bible.

Certainly Benjamin Franklin would not have agreed with Newdow (the atheist who has asked for God to be removed from the pledge of allegiance). Even before the First Amendment was conceived, Franklin publicly called for prayer at the Constitutional Convention. He reminded the delegates that “God governs in the affairs of men,” and warned that, without “His aid,” they were likely to suffer the same fate as the “Builders of Babel.” Franklin’s motion for beginning each day with a formal prayer was set aside, but the convention recessed for the purpose of worship and prayer. Moreover, Franklin’s suggestion for prayer was the catalyst for the First Congress hiring paid chaplains. (http://americanfounding.blogspot.com/2006/09/first-prayer-of-continental-congress.html)

I think it's time for us to revisit the successes of our history in order to gain a much needed insight for our countries current crisis. If we start with God, how can we lose?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sunbathing on the Sea of Dread


Ever planned a vacation for you, your family or just you and your hubby? I know I have and the reason for planning one usually comes because I am way too stressed out, we haven’t had a vacation in who knows how long, or we just need to get away from life. Sound like your reasons?

When you think about it those reasons, it sounds pretty valid. The real thing is for me, based on those reasons alone, would cause me to take daily vacations if you knew my life and the things that go on in it daily. However let’s really break it down and see just how “relaxing” it is.

We have to decide first of all where we are headed, that could take weeks for some. Once you decide on a location, you have to check the weather, locate a family friendly hotel, book the hotel, book any activities that you may need to, pack for the vacation, get airline tickets, or car rentals or even pack the family truckster up. Then you have to get to the airport, get through security, locate food since airlines stopped serving food except the prepackaged peanuts of approximately 7 inside, and wait in line for your flight. Then you have to deal with any potential delays of your flight, connecting flights, lost luggage, bathroom breaks, and locating a rental car or airport shuttle after picking up your luggage from a never ending pile from baggage claim. Then it’s off to navigate some foreign roads you never have driven; deal with toll roads, and since you never have correct change since most people ATM it lately; check into your hotel, deal with not enough pillows, bad smelling room, uncomfortable beds, and the noisy neighbors just on the other side of your paper thin room. Sounding relaxing yet? Yeah right….

If you’re like me, you need a vacation from your vacation when you get back. Isn’t that what your original design for a vacation was supposed to be? If you are like me, what you were expecting was lots of sleep in a luxury room, with a feather bed, tons of super soft pillows, no noise whatsoever, being waited on hand and foot, all your meals are prepared with just the touch of a few buttons on the phone, no worries right?

We worry about everything and anything! We live in a worry-filled society in a worry-filled world with lots of other worriers like ourselves. The truth is however that worrying changes nothing. “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” Matthew 6:25

There are a wealth of opportunities to be anxious about everyday and it’s never ending. Take for example, the stimulus bill, our states budget crisis, layoffs from every company you know, foreclosures at an all time high, late notices of every utility bill and credit card, deaths of loved ones, family members, friends and even perfect strangers, abortions, problems with our cars, divorce, marriage, gay issues, stem cell research, wars and never ending natural disasters. Got a lot on your plate at night??? How about popping a pill for that? Valium, Xanax, sleep aids, you name it, you can be assured you can locate a doctor willing to listen to just a sample of the issues I mentioned above, and you’ve got yourself a personalized autograph prescription. Yet, it doesn’t take the worry away. It only puts it off, it’s right there where you left it once you wake up or the drugs where off.

“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.” Matthew 6:34

The things I have listed that we worry about are the same things our parents and grandparents worried about, but worrying about them did nothing to prevent them from happening. Worry ruins our health, robs us of any joy and changes nothing. Worrying about something does nothing to change the thing we are worrying about. Sometimes worrying about those things makes things worse than they were before.

One simple sentence unveils God’s provision plan: “Live One Day At A Time”. God disclosed this same strategy to Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness. He provided manna daily, one day at a time, not monthly or weekly. Even on the day prior to the Sabbath, God knew what He was doing. He told them not to gather it on the Sabbath, but the day before. He provided twice as much for them because He wanted them to keep the Sabbath holy and do no work, including the gathering of food. Did the Israelites worry? Yup, even after witnessing all God’s miracles, they worried constantly up to the point of wishing they were back in Egypt where they had plenty of food, water and a place to sleep at night. They grumbled about it daily and constantly.

But weren’t they complaining during their time in Egypt for God to free them from their bondage as slaves to the Egyptians? God answered their prayers, but He never promised them that everything would be a perfect “stress free vacation” of sorts. But He did answer their prayers, just not the way they had hoped.

What they saw as problems, God saw as provisions. Imagine quail in the desert, so numerous that each family had so much that they complained that they were sick of eating it. More grumbling, more worrying!

Worry splits up our thoughts into today and tomorrow. So why don’t we worry about yesterday? Because we know that nothing we can do today will change what happened yesterday. Worrying about tomorrow’s problems today, takes away the strength God gives us to get through today’s worries. This leaves us with not enough resources to deal with today because we borrowed on it to fix tomorrow’s worries. Now we are in debt with worry. No wonder we feel like we can’t deal with just today. We are too busy tackling tomorrows, next weeks, next months and sometimes even next year’s worries. No wonder we are stressed out, sick physically, tired, run down, and at the end of our rope or even all of the above. God never planned on us dealing with things that way. “One day at a time.” Hear the voice of God?

If you are like me, we worry so much about something that has yet to happen, but most of the time, what we worry about never really happens. Worry gives small problems, big shadows. Corrie Ten Bloom said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of it’s sorrows, it empties today of it’s strength.” “God will take care of everything you need.” (Phillippians 4:19)

So what can you do to eliminate this worry and stress from your life?

1. Pray More!!! You can’t worry while your praying and you can’t pray when you are worrying. In my case, this means I need to pray most of my day. I worry a lot. The average person prays about 8 minutes a day when the average pastor only prays about 10 minutes. Shouldn’t that tell us something? Imagine how different our lives might be if we just prayed a little bit more? Couldn’t hurt right? No where in the Bible does it say to pray a little or to put limits on our prayer time right?


2. Want Less! I tell my daughters this daily when it comes to buying things, especially in this economy where the average family is barely making ends meet while paying more for groceries, gas, bills, and everything else while our income goes down or stay the same as it was before. So I have to ask them, “Is this a want or a need?” Sometimes I have to remind them of the definitions of each. Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Enough for today is all we can enjoy. We cannot eat or drink or wear more than today’s supply of food and clothing. The surplus gives us the care of storing it and the anxiety that someone may steal it. Enough is all we should expect, but a craving for more is ungratefulness. When our Father does not give you more, be content with your daily allowance.” (The NIV Worship Bible, New International Version, Dana Point, CA: Maranatha 2000, 1302)


3. Live for Today. “Who of you by worrying, can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:27. God will take care of things in His time, not in our time. He sends help at the hour we need it. You don’t have the wisdom for tomorrow’s problems, but we will tomorrow. You don’t have the resources for tomorrows needs, but you will tomorrow. You don’t have the courage for tomorrow’s challenges, but you will when tomorrow comes.

God will meet our needs daily. He did then, he still does, and he will continue to do for you always. Trust in Him, and wait! Don’t worry.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gardening with God


Why do we look for weeds instead of flowers in our daily walk?

If you’re like me, I love to garden! I love spring for the benefits of great smelling lavender, roses and herbs. I have a couple of gardens in my backyard. I have a border of roses along my fence of all different colors. I prefer roses that have a long lasting smell and vibrant color. I also have incorporated lavender as well because the bees seem to prefer it. If you can attract the bees, your flowers will bloom like crazy. Plus an added benefit of the lavender is that our hummingbirds love it from the occasional sugar water we have out for them.

I also have two gardens that my kids each have. In one, I have a dwarf, granny smith apple tree and the apple blossoms in the spring are something unforgettable and beautiful. Caitlyn has some mini roses in her garden and a rose bush that produces some vibrant purple/pink flowers. Kailee on the other hand has mini roses and night blooming jasmine so that we have fragrance all day and night long. We also have some freesia plants that grow in containers alongside our spa. Love that tropical smell!

I also tried my first herb garden this year after trying to grow a raspberry plant for two years and saw no results. So we uprooted that, and now have strawberries, cilantro and chocolate mint growing. We had an early snowfall this year, which dumped some two feet of snow and killed our tomato and basil plants. So we will replant in the spring and try again. Gotta love growing your own produce. I really want to try to plant a lemon and orange tree if not for the blossoms but for the fruit as well. Plus think of all that freshly made orange juice and lemonade.

It is often too easy to become distracted by being ungrateful in our daily lives. Too often we spend our prayer lives asking for our own personal wants and needs, our adversities to be lifted, our trials to be eliminated or shortened, occasionally toss in the needs of a friend or love one and we forget to thank God. We forget when our prayers are answered to stop and say thanks to Him. We often pray with needs in mind but not thanksgiving for what we already have. Another beautiful day, filled with the breath of life, a healthy body, loving kids, warm homes, a car that starts when you turn the key. How come we take for granted this things and think we don’t need to thank God for them. Is it because we think we deserve it or because God just does it without being asked or is it that we simply take such things for granted?

“Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NCV).

I have to pass along a story from Sidney Connell I read recently. When her brand-new bicycle was stolen, she called her dad with the bad news. He expected his daughter to be upset. But Sidney wasn’t crying. She was honored. “Dad,” she boasted, “out of all the bikes they could have taken, they took mine.” Gratitude is always an option.

I believe we should make gratitude our default option and you may just find yourself giving thanks for the problems of life.

Management consultant Robert Updegraff wrote:

“You ought to be glad for the troubles on your job because they provide about half your income. If it were not for the things that go wrong, the difficult people with whom you deal, and the problems of your working day, someone could be found to handle your job for half of what you are being paid. So start looking for more troubles. Learn to handle them cheerfully and with good judgment, as opportunities rather than irritations, and you will find yourself getting ahead at a surprising rate. For there are plenty of big jobs waiting for people who are not afraid of troubles “.(Alan Loy McGinnis, “The Balanced Life: Achieving Success in Work and Love (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1997), 56-57.

As you can see as a gardener, sometimes, all I can do is find those irritating weeds that grow in my garden. You know the ones that despite how many weed killers or organic home treatments you try, so many inches of mulch, they just keep on coming back. We need to indwell a garden of grace. God’s love sprouts around us like lilacs and towers over us like Redwood pines, but we go on weed hunts. How many flowers do we miss in the process?

If you look long and hard enough you will always find something to complain about. So quit looking! Lift your eyes off the weeds and major in the grace of what God has to offer.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Love Jar


All week long I have read tons of emails, website posts and blogs of different things you can do with your hubby to keep love alive or to inspire a bit of romance on Valentine's Day. In all this reading I did find a wonderful tip that is super easy to do and will last as long as you would like. I wouldn't recommend more than 4 weeks as things change so frequently in my house and my life, it's hard to plan out that far in advance.

The idea for the Love Jar is from the Focus on the Family website and it's so easy, you will wonder why you didn't think of it. Why not keep love alive everyday and not just on Valentine's day? Here is how you start. You each get 4 slips of paper and on it you each write something on the paper that the other person can do for you to make you very personally loved! It could be something big or something small, depending on what your needs are. You will be surprised at how simple some of your man's needs are. The point is to be specific!

The jar's intention is to help each other out, with finding specific tasks we can do on a weekly basis to show unconditional love. It takes the guess work out of what the other really needs in order to feel loved. I know my hubby will ask me what he can do for me, and it really takes all the feeling out of it if I have to tell him. I have given up trying to think at some mysterious point in my life he will be bestowed the gift of reading my mind, and have resolved to tell him. This is where the love jar comes in handy.

By writing down 4 needs for me and he does the same, we will each pull one out of a jar on a Sunday. It will tell us what the other one needs and we have a week to pull it off. It's funny how simple things mean so much to the other person. One of my hubby's was to call and talk to him when he is commuting so he isn't lonely on his long drives and it helps to keep him awake. Go figure! Certainly not rocket science.

By the way, Steve already fulfilled one of mine for this week, by making me dinner since for about as long as I can remember with him being out of town, all the cooking has fallen on my shoulders. I knew that he would be home this week but who knew that he would do that task! Amazing too because this man can really cook! What was it you ask? Shepherds Pie on a cold and rainy night! Yummmmm!

I hope you are encouraged to try this idea and it brings back some meaning into your relationships! Let me know by commenting!

Friday, February 13, 2009

If God Loves Us, Why Does He Allow Bad Things To Happen?


“Dear God….”
Why do you allow people to die before they should?

Someone died before his or her time. Don’t we assume that we have a timetable slated when we are supposed to live a full life, like into our older years like 70’s or 80’s? When does the Bible say that? It doesn’t. It states that there is “a time to be born and a time to die”. (Ecclesiastes 3:2) God is in charge of that. We don’t have a say about when we get to be born or when we get to die, but we have everything to do with the time in between and how we choose to live it. Psalm 90:12. “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” means to make the most of our time. Don’t take any of your loved ones for granted. Don’t put off telling someone in your life just how much they mean to you, because no one knows how much time you have left. You don’t have a guarantee on how much time you have left.

There is a book that tells you about “The Things You Must Do Before You Die”, with some of the examples such as going to the academy awards, or running with the Bulls? Running with the bulls? Isn’t that a way to die? Did you know that the author of this book died at the age of 47 after hitting his head after a fall in his home, and he only completed half of the things in his book. The goal isn’t to do all these things but to glorify God. Sure it’s ok to do some of things but they shouldn’t be our life’s focus.
God will give you a peace that passes all understand not give you an understanding.

Don’t worry about it, pray about it and he will give you enough strength to get you through it day by day.

Psalms 61: Here my cry of God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

No one ever said that you would live a trouble-free life in this world.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Bad things happen to Christians as well, problems with our families, dying in unexpected accidents, getting cancer. No one is guaranteed a problem-free life.

Why is it that the words trial and problems occur in the same sentence. Why doesn’t God remove my problems if He loves me? Because God loves you, it’s your definition of how He should show that love that is our mistake and what we think good means in our life. No pain, no suffering, no death, a problem free life with the sun shining and birds singing. Doesn’t that sound appealing?

John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Our definition of good is what benefits us in the here and now and not in the by and by. We are interested in what will benefit us temporarily while God is interested in our eternal benefit.

We are interested in what will make us happy, while God is interested in what will make us holy.

He doesn’t always remove suffering because it makes us stronger and keeps us closer to Him. We can also be used in our situations to glorify Him and bring others to Him through our problems.

Why does God allow it?

1. Adversity levels us and keeps us humble. Prosperity has a tendency to make us proud. We don’t need God when things are going smoothly, the bills are paid, we have a great job, family life is incredible and there is money in the bank. Hopefully however, when adversity comes, we turn to God and see what really matters. It is during times of prosperity we will forget God. When tragedy and adversity hits, we pray and pray a lot.

2. Adversity teaches us eternal truths we would not learn on our own. Our basic objective is to avoid pain at all costs. We want to be comfortable. We want to look good, but we don’t want to sweat, we don’t want the muscle aches and pain, but pain reminds us of a deeper need. Hunger pains, birth pains, back pains, you get it.

God teaches us lessons in those pain filled valleys we wouldn’t have learned on the mountaintops of our life. Things we need to know, things we need to share while we are passing through this life into our eternal one.

3. God allows us to go through these adversities so we will have compassion for others in pain. Never minimalize someone’s pain, but reach out for him or her.
Success builds walls but failures build bridges. When things are going well for you, you got that promotion, you kids got all A’s again, you just bought a new house, paid off all your debt, and you’re sharing that with someone whose life isn’t going well. They are losing their home, they don’t have enough money to put groceries in their home, and their kids are failing in school, it puts up a wall between you and them.

But what happens when a friend comes to you and tells you that they need prayer, that they were just diagnosed with cancer. You care and you want to help them. You should. When we go through adversity, we can help others.

2 Corinthians 1: 4-5 “ who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”

It was only through the death of Stephen that the worst Christian killer, Saul of Tarsus, was brought to God and became Paul. So sometimes good comes from adversity and tragedy. We just need to look for it and seek God every minute of every day.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Principles of Prayer


Today happens to be like most except it's not. It's unique in it's own right. A day that God put thought and effort in throughout every minute. Today I found myself receiving lots of great advice by my friends in Christ. Sometimes, I find myself wondering if my prayers ever get answered and I can rest assured that they are, I just might not like the answers I get.

I am the person who for the longest time was your typical pessimist. I always planned for the worst case scenario. Forget the game, I was the maker of those ideas. I never wanted to be caught off guard without knowing what to do. I hate panic and anxiety. Don’t we always want to have a back up plan, or a back up plan for our back up plan. Sometimes God allows us to have no options and no back up plan. There is no safety nets and if God doesn’t get you through it, 'party’s over'. God likes to do that from time to time. Where only God can turn it around.

Read Acts 12: 1-5. It is when James has just be killed and since Herod is receiving so much great pleasure and praise from the people because of it, he decides to arrest Peter and plans to do the same for him. While Peter is sitting in prison an amazing thing happens. The people begin to pray for him. Despite all the odds against Peter, 4 guards watching over him, a heavily walled prison cell, chains on his hands, and virtually no way of getting out, an angel awakens Peter. He tells Peter to get up and get dressed. It's time to go. The guards are not disturbed, the chains fall off of Peter and the prison doors open on their own. Think God can't do the impossible in our lives?

We are going to pay attention to the last part of verse 5 in Acts 12:, “but the church was earnestly praying to God for him”. Constant prayer was offered even though all other doors were closed except for the door to heaven.

Here are the 4 Principles of Prayer.

1. The prayer that has power is prayer that is offered to God.

Constant prayer was offered to God, back to verse 5, isn’t all prayer offered to God? Not always, did you know that it is entirely possible to pray with no thought of God? You can go through the motions, sometimes in prayer we are thinking more of how we sound or look when we pray to God. This is better than any prayer I ever have prayed, God is never a part of it. Have you ever looked around when people are praying? You don’t have to close your eyes or fold your hands, sometimes we focus too much on the look rather than keeping our will in alignment with God’s! How do you discover God’s will? Read His word. You will know the heart and mind of God! You need to bend yourself God’s way not try to bend God your way.


2. They prayed with passion and perseverance.

Constant prayer or earnest prayer, is the same prayer that Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane when he sweated blood. This wasn’t a casual flippant prayer, like God please like pray for Peter or whatever, like a teenager would. Do we pray this way because it doesn’t concern us especially when praying for others, and then now it’s back to you? If you don’t put any heart in your prayer than you shouldn’t expect God to put much heart into answering your prayer. God promises to answer the prayer of the person that searches for Him with all their heart. Persistent prayer, keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. God isn’t getting bugged by your prayer, so we pray once or twice and if we don’t get an answer, we move on. This didn’t happen in Acts 12:1-5. They were praying persistently! They were praying that Peter wouldn’t get killed like James.

We also have to remember that God will answer a prayer in one of three ways. (1) Yes, which we love to hear; (2) No, we don't like it, but at least it is an answer; and (3) Wait, which is the most frustrating for us.

When we don't like how long it takes God to answer a prayer, we feel the need to help Him out. The result is that sometimes we can mess things up. Remember that slow means to grow.

3. They prayed together.

There is power in prayer when people come together united to pray for God's will. Together we are stronger than one person praying alone. As long as our prayers are in accordance with God's will. Sometimes people wonder why they don't get what they want, like the winning lotto numbers, well because what you are asking for isn't God's will for your life.

4. They prayed without doubt.

God can still intervene with a weak prayer. Sometimes there are only things God can do and sometimes our part in it, is to be disciplined and obey.

Man has his will but God will always have His way.

Here are my daily things for today that I am grateful for:

I am grateful for the fact that today we have clouds in the piercing blue sky and the hope that rain might be on the way. I am thankful that my husband, even though he is home upstairs sleeping, due to working graveyards, is home. I think home is way better than a hotel any day. If I can just keep our noise level way down. I am thankful for warm clothes out of a dryer and the fact that we have a working dryer! I am thankful that my brother has worked out the details of Steven's hotel stay for the next two days since snow may keep him from coming home tomorrow.

Most of all I am thankful that God continues not to give up on me, a work in progress!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What Difference Does Prayer Make?


The Power of Prayer

When atheists pray is it like talking to a disconnected phone? Sometimes even as Christians we can forget whom we are talking to when we pray.

Are you currently facing one of these situations in your life right now, foreclosure on your home, job loss, life threatening illness, fear of an uncertain future, loss of friends or family members? So what should you do? The Bible tells us to pray. “ Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:6-7)

I myself find this to be one of my greatest challenges. See when I worry about something, I often wonder if I am supposed to do something to make it better if I can. I wonder when I am supposed to wait upon the Lord? I find myself thinking, ‘aren’t I lazy if I don’t do something and then if I can’t fix it, should I then pray?”

Lately in the midst of this economic crisis our country has fallen into, not without some fore knowledge however, we are ourselves victims. For over a year now, I have placed my application with Apple One, a temporary service out here, to attempt to find a part time job. Do you know this is the first time in my lifetime I can remember, that no one has called me? Not even to answer the phone, do something from home, even file? For an entire year? Anyone else relate to this issue? So for almost the last year, we lived on my husband’s disability while he recovered from an injury from work until recently. We now find ourselves struggling to play the new game for this year called “Trying to catch up financially”. Forget what everyone tells you that by calling your mortgage companies and credit card companies that they will work with you even lower your interest rates and possibly allow you to skip some payments. NOT in this economy! These were the most heartless people I have ever had the privilege of speaking with. No one would do anything for us unless we were officially three months late. Nothing. No matter whom we asked to speak with that were of higher authority.

So what does someone do with no other options, you got it. We waited till we were late, and tried calling back. Can you guess what our options were then? Risk of foreclosure because now we are running near three months behind, our credit card companies are calling hourly wanting a payment and the letters begin flowing in filling our mailbox with legal notices and collection companies. So when do you call on God in prayer?

How do you get yourself out? I find myself with this struggle daily. Sometimes I begin to think I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel when we get extra money or a bigger than expected paycheck, and then, BOOM! The light at the end of the tunnel was a train! More unexpected expenses like our car repair, or job related expenses that must be expensed and get reimbursed for later. Can you relate at this point? How about out of town travel just to work in this economy. My husband has for the last 5 months been out of town working because in our lovely state, there is no work. So now we face, how does our family get along for 3-5 weeks without our leader in our home? How do I tell my daughter, that this is what it takes anymore to make ends meet? Yikes! Sometimes I feel that this is more of a perpetual uphill battle where I never make it to the top, I can see it, but can never reach it.

I have found peace however! I have come to realize that God has everything under control, even though to me, I really wish I could peer into the future and just know it will be all right. It’s God’s way of making sure that I continually seek His will daily and rely on Him at all times. He has come through in some amazing ways. Never again will I doubt God, and I know that whatever comes tomorrow good or bad, it’s a brand new day that God has created just for me. I can with His grace find something in it to be thankful for and until things change for the better, I will rest at His feet and wait! God’s peace will guard your heart and mind.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's All In How You See It!


How do you see the world? Black and white, technicolor or do you see the unseen things or the things that God shows you every day that you take for granted. Take for example between reading chapters from the book Max Lucado wrote called, "Every Day Deserves a Chance", and waiting for my daughter to get out of her track and field meeting at school I watched the world for 30 minutes. OK I don't need therapy but I just paused for a moment in my day and saw things a completely different way. Oh and by the way, the book is amazing, incredible and as my daughter put it, "I love the way he writes, I oculd just eat his words!"

So here is what I wrote while waiting and I hope you enjoy it. The jet trails trace their paths along a baby blue backdrop of sky while the stark maple sentinels stand guard over the winter evening while anxious buds await the coming spring.

The silence that falls when the last car heads home before the close of the day as the setting sun and rising moon not only say, 'Good Night' but 'Good Morning' as they pass in the span of time.

Heavenly lights appear at first as a dull faded light but grow in intensity as more of them join together like friends keeping each other company. One by one the black inky darkness is pierced by yet another heavenly light until the night sky is lit up with the twinkling of millions of stars and suddenly the night moon isn't lonely anymore and can show its full face to those that look up to see it.

As the stillness of night fades from black into a midnight blue, the moon begins it's descent home again, ready to begin the process all over. Then the morning magic begins as the morning sky begins a one of a kind light show created by God. He paints a unique watercolor masterpiece each morning and evening for just a brief moment never to repeat the same painting again.

So how do you see your day?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Happy 11th Anniversary



Well I can't believe it but it's finally here! Yes, it's official! Steve and I have officially broke my relationship record and have been married now, today, 11 years! We are definitely more happier today than when I first met him. So today I thought I would reflect on where those 11 years have gone and look forward to even more happier years ahead.

I met him in October of 1995, when I was working as a Technical Supervisor for L.A. Cellular, now AT&T Wireless. I was coming in as his boss. Let me tell you that entire department that had applied for the position was losing out on that opportunity for some girl, that probably didn't know the least thing about service.

In all honesty they were right on some points. I didn't know what it took to be a manager of service, but I did know how to do all the things they did. I spent quite a few years being teased about being the first girl in wireless or cell phone installation. It was a brand new field for women. So I had to deal with the guys not helping out, being resentful and so forth. Back to Steve.

So I remember walking into the service bay that day and being told before hand what a trouble maker he had been for the store manager. Always getting into fights, bad temper, you name it. Let's just say he wasn't the person I really wanted to deal with. So I walked in and saw this person behind a counter, wearing a black leather jacket and the most amazing blue eyes ever! It's funny but I saw something that day in those eyes, call it looking into his soul, but I honestly believe that God revealed his true character to me that day. He was someone who really cared about people and had a heart of gold.

We became fast friends as I was still married at this point and on the verge of asking my current husband to move out, due to his unfaithfulness. After 10 years with him it was time to draw that chapter closed. So Steve became one of many people that helped me through one of the most difficult stages of any one's life, the divorce of a long marriage and child custody issues.

He became my best friend over the next three years with us offering advice to each other during subsequent relationships both of us would be involved in. He was living with his current girlfriend and making a move away from our department some 1 1/2 away in Palmdale. It was one of my lowest moments, even though I wasn't losing a best friend, I knew we wouldn't meet for breakfast at Green Burrito, go for Chinese Food at lunch or catch a movie whenever either of us wasn't busy.

We finally decided after those three years that we were better off being together than apart and each called off our current relationships and moved in together. We took a much needed trip to Hawaii as friends just to see how things would work out as well as give ourselves time to rethink what was really important to us without all the day to day hassles of work and family.

He proposed on December 17th of 1997 and we married in February 9th of 1998 in Lake Havasu City with his mom, dad and aunt watching in a courthouse. Times were tough for us and with so much money potentially going to be spent on a wedding and reception, his parents decided that if we really loved each other, it shouldn't be about money but just being together. So we celebrated our day by going to Carl's Jr and having a combo meal, I still have that cup! We wrote on it that day that it was our official wedding glass, and we got married in jeans and T-shirts. No need to have that dress cleaned and I was still able to wear it long after we got married.

His parents got us a hotel room in Laughlin that weekend, and we just spent those days like every other one since then, being with our best friend. For the last 11 years, we celebrate every 9th of the month with cards, or simply saying, "Happy Anniversary" and we try to be the first to say it. We have spent some of those nights away from each other thanks to work, but we always find the time to say it or send a card or note along for the other to find. We never take each other for granted.

We have had our ups and downs and times where I didn't think we would make it, but I can say without a doubt that I have never loved anyone as much as I love Steve! I find security in him that I have never had in any relationship and I know that he really cares for me and our family. His love is never wavering and I know I will remain with him not only in this life but in all eternity as well as my best friend forever. BFF's!

We spent this weekend, shuttling kids back and forth to the mall, when we were planning on at least having lunch together. That didn't work out unfortunately! We had our car break down Friday afternoon on Steve while he was on his way home. He spent about 3+ hours taking the car to Saturn in Ontario and getting a ride home because we let our automobile card lapse. So $ 645.00 later, we picked up our car on Saturday with a new fuel pump and headed home to spend our anniversary at home. Today he left at 6:30am to spend the day in Bakersfield and may not make it home tonight, but I still love him. I love him because he is still my best friend and we can still find something to laugh about.

He is the person I want to grow old with and spend every day I can with, all with God's help. I could never love someone so much if I didn't have faith in God. He teaches me what it's like to love unconditionally and I model it daily in my marriage. So Happy 11th Anniversary honey! I love you forever and infinity for all eternity!

Love, Me

Friday, February 6, 2009

Second Chances


Ever wonder how we can continue to fail every day in so many ways, yet we get back up again the next morning with a renewed sense of hope to try again? Or perhaps tomorrow you don't get out of bed. Maybe you just stay in bed all day, covers pulled up by your shoulders, your head all snug in your super soft down pillow and you leave the curtains closed.

The fact remains most of us don't just sit in that bed after a horrible, terrible day. Sure some of us may lay there for a couple of days, perhaps a week, but we all have to get up some time. The sad thing is what is going on in our heads while we lay there. It's usually something like, "Poor me, my life sucks, I am worthless, no one cares if I am here today, my life doesn't matter, so why even bother getting up?"

Do you honestly believe that stuff in your head? Why is it, as women, that we believe the lies we tell ourselves in our head? Why is it that we give ourselves the lowest self esteem possible? Is it because we don't feel like our efforts matter? That if we choose to stay at home, we don't contribute to our families financial matters? Is that we are successful because we don't hold down a job and a family? Where do the lies come from? Our past failures? People in our past and present lives? Perhaps a word spoken in anger that finds its way back into our heads like some sick recording that is stuck in a loop?

Nope, it's the enemy, trying to tie that weight around our neck once more, to keep up in bondage to ourselves. To convince us that the lies in our head our true. Do you know how to make them stop? Talk to God! Oh, I can hear you now, God can't hear me, my needs are that great, what can He do for me anyhow? Truth is, do you even bother to try? Do you honestly have a heart to heart conversation with God like you would with a close friend and really pour out what is going on in your life? You matter to God all the time. Your seemingly small matters, matter to God.

Do you know that when you pray to God, that all of heaven stops, and listens? Everything going on at that particular time is being quieted by God. He stops what is doing, makes sure he can hear every word you are speaking, no matter if it's just a whisper or your voice in your head, but He listens. Really listens! Your voice matters in heaven! God isn't even judging the quality of your prayers. He isn't sitting there talking to some of the angels saying, "Oh what is that person asking me for help with that again, can't they just do something for themselves?"

God is a God of second chances. He is willing to overlook every failure we make. Every single one. Nothing is beyond God's forgiveness. He is like a parents that watches a child make a mistake. His heart breaks to just rush out and fix it or to prevent it from happening. Like most parents however, we see the need in letting go a bit. We wait because we know what comes from learning from our mistakes. We learn valuable lessons that will help us to become better people. He is just like us in the fact, that He is never far from us. He is just waiting for us to ask for help. Like any parent would, He races and reaches out to us and helps us. No request is too small, or too big, or not worth His time.

So whether you just lost your job, lost a family member, lost your home in the recent financial mess of this year, lost your marriage, lost hope...remember this, God is waiting for you. He has the hope you don't anymore. He has the courage, the love, the forgiveness, the belief in you that you can pick yourself up and go on. You can even make this next chance, better than the one you had.

Here is something from an email post I got from Max Lucado, one of my most inspiring authors whose works I love and can't seem to get enough of. One call and heaven's fleet appears. Your prayer on earth activates God's power in heaven. You are the someone of God's kingdom. Your prayers move God to change the world. You may not understand the mystery of prayer. You don't need to. But this much is clear: Actions in heaven begin when someone prays on earth. What an amazing thought! When you speak, Jesus hears. And when Jesus hears, the world is changed.

All because someone prayed. May you realize that God gives us second chances on a daily basis, and you matter to Him!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sitting on the Fence!


Have you ever found yourself stuck in the middle of a difficult decision, not knowing quite what to do? How do you figure out what to do? How do you know that your decision will be the right path to take? Whom do you ask for help?

Hopefully your answer would be to pray first before tackling anything that you have doubts about. You never know the path that God would like for you to take. Even though you may think that the choice would be easy however, God may have something even better in store for you.

Too often we find ourselves sitting on the fence between the world of black and white. We call sitting on the fence, those areas of shades of grey. Nothing could be that simple, shouldn't we compromise? The question we should ask ourselves is do we know what is right from wrong?

In today's world, people are accepting things that they know are wrong, and calling it acceptable, and the things that should be good such as things based on Biblical teachings are now be tossed out as wrong. In Micah 3: 1-2 it states, "Should you know justice, you who hate good and love evil."It is wrong to eliminate God in government buildings, schools and churches. Sorry but it is what our country was founded on but has seemed to slide lately in favor of what the majority wants. Since when has the majority ever been right? Aren't we compromising things that we seriously shouldn't? We were once a nation that feared God, now this country wants God removed from everything except the church. Even that now is being called into question because people don't want to hear what is wrong in their lives. Are those that make the laws above the laws? But be careful, when you look in the mirror, look out for the double standard in your own life as well.

I will never apologize for my beliefs and if asked I will be prepared to share those with anyone who asks. Do you find yourself feeling less shocked when you see things on the news or in the movies because it is the new norm for you? Do you find yourself becoming more and more tolerant of that which is evil and less interested in that which is spiritual? Do you find that your words seem to have no effect on the nonbelievers you share them with?

If we don't pick a side and in this case it should be the white side of our fence, then when we try to correct someone in the error of his ways, we won't have any affect. There won't be any power in our witness because we lived a compromised life.

Our current government has done what is right in their own eyes. They need to do what is right in God's eyes instead of their own, otherwise we will continue to have problems in our country. It's like when 9/11 happened, we had people everywhere asking this country to pray, people were praying everywhere. In schools, government buildings, office buildings you name it, people that day and days that followed begged God for his help. Did you ever notice that God didn't really do anything to help this country following that tragic event? He could have exposed the terrorists responsible and had them eliminated but amazing enough, we still can't find them. It's because we never repented in our evil, greedy ways and yet still asked God for help. We were still sitting on the fence, not wanting to pick a side one way or another. We wanted our cake and eat it too! Micah 4:4, states "Then they will cry out to the Lord, but he will not answer them. At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done."

Even today in the ministry, there are people that are in the ministry using it primarily to make money. They tell people what they want to hear, so that people will send in their money. But it doesn't last. Leaders and authority figures love money and they love themselves. They believe everything that they are doing is justified, but God will allow judgement to occur because of their continuing to sin. Nothing this president and his cabinet attempt to do on their own will work to restore our country. We need to change our ways.They need to change their ways and turn their hearts back to God. We can't accept things we know are wrong and accept them as right. We need to help people out and stop turning our backs when people are hurting. We need to genuinely care about people again.

You can't experience peace until you make peace with God. So as a person who claims to be a Christian shouldn't be afraid of anything. Our lives should be a reflection of what lies beneath. We shouldn't worry about offending anyone, otherwise we shouldn't be a Christian. We are the light and salt of this world and the world that is currently dwelling within the darkness it has brought upon itself, hates the light. It hates to be shown the error of it's ways because it would be forced to change, and it feels too good right now to change. Even in church there are people who will say, "I don't want to hear that!" I just want a pep talk. I want someone to to tell me what I want to hear.

Peace in our lives fails when we put our eyes on our circumstances instead of on God. Stop sitting on the fence. Stop trying to justify your actions! Stop living the lies you keep feeding yourself. Time to pick a side, there are no areas of grey in God's eyes! Time is running out for you to make that choice, do you really want to be left behind, thinking that you can always do it tomorrow?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Gratitude Journal 2009


Have you ever compiled a list of some of the things you are grateful for? I used a suggestion that Oprah came up with some time last year. It's called a "gratitude journal". It's basically a pretty fabric colored book I got from Barnes and Noble filled with lined paper. It is pictured above.

What I did for a large part last year, was every night before I went to bed, I would write in it three things I was grateful for that happened that day. It helped me to focus on some of the smallest things I was taking for granted each day. It was also a great way to look back at some things from last year.

Here are some examples of the things I wrote in my journal: 1. Seeing Kailee throw a sticky ball and it sticks where she throws it. 2. Lemon shrimp. 3. Listening to Kailee scream when she laughs.

I started to include things that I could look back and smile about too. Things that may not have happened that day, but that I could remember and have that warm and fuzzy feeling all over. Like these, the smell of a rainy day when everything is all wet, the way a cold wind feels blowing across your face and through your hair, or watching people try to jump the waves in the ocean and hearing them laugh!

As you can tell I have included so many things in my journal. I want to continue that tradition through this year since it takes the focus off the negative and returns things back to the positive. Trust me, if you search for them, you can always find at least three things, sometimes more. Sometimes, it's the beautiful pastel colors of pink, blue and green in a sunset or the way something smells like apple pie, that takes you back to that fall, cold morning where you and your family went to pick apples while crunching through the fallen leaves on the ground.

It is meant to bring you back to a happy place at the end of a long winded day. Imagine what life would be like if we remained focused on those moments and not the ones that seem to devastate our days, how something so small can blow up into something so large. I think it's time to change and remember the little things. Sometimes it's the little things that matter most.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Man After God's Own Heart


Ever wonder what God really designed men to be like? Were they supposed to be sports loving, tool craving, beer drinking, women watching person most of us know? I am not talking about those type of men, unless they are claiming to be God fearing, then they should not be doing some of the things I listed above, drinking beer and women watching, especially if they are married. I don't condemn those men that have the occasional beer but the one's that over indulge themselves becoming drunk drinking beer. Those are the ones that I have an issue with.

What I am talking about is the men that God designed for us. Both single and for married women, the men that God created are one in the same. Both should be serving God, first and foremost. These are not the ones that send their families to church, while they stay at home. It's a bit different if they are working however, but they should be a spiritual leader in the home. One that their family would look up to that leads them everyday in the same way that God would. He prays daily for his family. He leads the family in prayers at mealtime. Besides working to provide a living for his family, he helps out, not when asked but when he sees a need.

God didn't design men to just flop on the couch when they get home from work, and then place demands on the family, like we live to serve, like slaves. Nope, contrary to what the world thinks a man is to care for his family, like Christ cares for the church. Jesus never made demands while He was here on Earth. He came to serve people and in most cases, it was the ones that needed Him the most. The lost, the sick, the dead, and the non believers. So our husbands are supposed to care for us, not only for our financial needs, but our personal needs as well.

They never demand equal treatment or even substandard treatment. They are here to serve their families. It is that great responsibility to husbands, like Christ has for the church to bring up his family to be worthy of God. They aren't the ones with the hands off approach to parenting or be a friend type of parent or simply let your mother handle it since she is the mom.

Imagine how great life would be for us wives, if our husbands were even a small fraction of what God designed them to be. How easy would it be for us, to love such a man? I know for me, my husband isn't perfect, but he is perfect for me and our family.

He works doing all he can to provide for our families needs, even going out of town for three to four weeks at a time, because work is so scarce here. I know that alone breaks his heart because I see it in his eyes and in his voice when I take him to the airport. Not only that, when he is gone, he calls every day. Not because we miss him but because he wants to remain connected to us even while he is gone. He calls just to hear our voices and to hear what is going on so it's not so lonely for him.

He emails me thoughtful and romantic notes to let me know how much he loves me and misses me, but is specific to certain events in our life either past or future. He does his best to keep love alive.

When he is home, this man will love this family unconditionally. He gets up when I do, to enjoy a cup of coffee with me before the kids wake up. He helps me get them ready and drive them to school. He shops with me because he genuinely wants to. He honestly spends quality time with me every minute he can. He will fix dinner when he knows I am running late from track practice with the kids so we don't have to wait for me to fix it. He is an incredible cook by the way.

The one thing I enjoy most about him lately is his hunger for knowledge in the Bible. I love being next to him and holding his hand while we read. I love sitting next to him at church and hear him sing praise and worship songs. I love seeing him interact with people at church. I can see he really loves and cares for people and it's not a forced reaction. I was truly blessed by God when I found him at the lowest moment of my life. He gives me hope and faith that God truly blesses those who love Him.

How could you not love a man after God's own heart? I married him and I plan on spending not only this life with him, but I know without a doubt that I will spend an eternity in heaven with him as well.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Weekend Memories


Sorry, I haven't written for some time, I think Friday was my last blog. We had Kailee's official party on Saturday so we were busy from sun up til sun down. Lot's of friends and family for all ages. We had all 10 of Kailee's friends, about 4 of my teenage daughter Caitlyn's friends, and then of course our friends and family. It was a gorgeous day out, plenty of sunshine, no clouds. Almost seemed like a summer day in January. Now how odd is that?

We played limbo, broke the pinata, poor little turtle. I think we packed him with so much candy all it took was one good hit and he fell apart from where he was tied to the rope. Note to self: Don't load it with too much candy! We had a luau themed party so we played Hawaiian music while the kids finished up their games. We got pizza from Little Caesars, because with 22 people, food can get expensive. We had chips and homemade salsa, thanks Steve, as always people rave over your salsa! We had veggies, fruit and of course cake and ice cream.

Presents came next, and Kailee did something unusual this year, she asked for gift cards for Target and Game Stop. She was going to save them all up along with any birthday money and then go buy some Wii games she has wanted since Christmas. Poor thing didn't want to spend any of them. At least she didn't get presents that parents often look at and think, "Great, what are we going to do with that?" Nope! Good choice Kailee.

The evening ended when most of the guests left at 4:30pm, so we cleaned up with the help of our teenagers who stayed til 6pm. They really helped alot. Seriously, they did!

Next day, we woke up and headed to church and it's funny. I remained in this weird mood for most of the day. Melancholy almost. Even my husband, seemed to notice. I guess I needed to recommit my time and start spending it with God again. Since the weekend, I haven't finished my nightly studies or even blogged. Funny how that really affects your mood.

So we took Kailee shopping to use her gift cards, she bought a couple of games, Super Smash Bros and My Sims. We dropped Caitlyn off at Sean's to watch the Superbowl with his family and friends, and I went to lay down in bed since I was feeling so blah! Funny thing was that they had an I Love Lucy marathon on the Hallmark Channel and I watched several episodes while switching to the Superbowl every now and then to see the score. I was rooting for the Cardinals as Kurt Warner is a Christian and we prayed for his team to win! Sad to see just how close they came!

Well back to school today and another week looms ahead. Time to get back on track!