Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Luke 5

I love how when Jesus called people, they "left everything and followed him". Oh, that we might be willing to do the same. Here we see Simon (also known as Peter) leave everything. And we also know from Chapter 4 that Simon was married (see Luke 4:38). So it wasn't like some bachelor guy who could easily drop everything. Can you imagine Simon as he walked into the house that night? We don't always see the inside scoop, but I suppose we can use our imagination. Maybe his wife was very willing, but what if she wasn't? Talk about stress.

Gotta love v. 16 "But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed". Jesus knew that time with the Father was very important. If Christ needed that time, how much more do we?

I hadn't noticed before that v. 27-32 talks about the calling of Levi, and elsewhere it is the calling of Matthew..just interesting side note there.

The last section (v.33-39) of this chapter took me a bit to really figure out. But it finally made sense. Jesus was bringing the new "wineskin" and you can't just weave the old and new together. You have to embrace the new. I liked that. How often God has done that with me. I want to hold on to the things in the past and He has given me a new future. If I want to fully enjoy and live my future, I cannot hold on to my past, no matter how comfortable it may be.

Cool :)

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Luke 4

The temptation of Christ. For a long time I would read over this passage and kind of say to myself "that's nice". I had yet to comprehend (even a little bit) what it meant for Christ to be fully God and fully man. I would always say to myself...He was God..like that would be hard. But as I have begun to understand Christ as fully God and fully man I see the importance and the difficulty of these temptations.

Food

I don't know about you, but I can barely go four hours without a snack, let alone FORTY DAYS with no food! :) Seriously though. When I'm hungry, I'm grumpy, and if someone is shoving a hamburger in my face, it's gonna take more than my puny willpower to say no. Jesus was hungry. And He was human. And by the grace of God He was able to say no.

Power/Success/Stability

I think we look at the second temptation and say "yeah whatever". But let's stop for a minute and think about our lives. Satan is offering Jesus everything...all the power and all the success and all the money.. How does this correlate in our own lives? How often do we sacrifice our time, our energy, our families, to gain power in our company (looking for that next promotion), to be viewed as successful (the nicest car, the nicest house, the nicest clothes), to have a "stable" lifestyle and not have to "worry" about tomorrow. But I believe God has said, not to worry about what you'll wear or what you'll eat because He will take care of those needs. We don't even have to worry about tomorrow because God will take care of that too. We struggle with Satan dangling the power and success in front of our faces.

Prove Your Faith

Satan's last temptation (at least that we read about here) is for Jesus to prove that God does what He says He will do. Ouch. How often are we faced with questions from people who want proof that our God is real. Well "why doesn't he heal sickness?" or "why does he let innocent people suffer?" Questions that we can't answer, questions that seem to fly in the face of what God is about, questions that require faith and knowing God is in control and He has His reasons and whatever those reasons are they are right, true, and fair, because that is who He is. But it's difficult. We want God to prove it too. We want to see with our eyes and know His power.

The other thing that stuck out to me as I read this chapter, was that Christ countered each temptation with God's Word. With what has been said and promised already. It just brings home the fact that we need to know God's Word in an intimate way. It was exciting as I did Experiencing God, we had memory verses for each week, and I was amazed at how often the memory verse would apply to something that happened or be fitting in a conversation or was just brought to my mind in various situations. His Word is alive and very applicable to our lives.

BOOKS

I finished the second Harry Potter book. It was good. The books are a bit dark. Some of the scary parts are a bit gruesome and scary. I'm not sure I would be comfortable letting my grade school child read them. I'm not sure... I started the third book the other night and ran into a couple more curse words (d--- again). Again I was frustrated at the nonsense of it. Not necessary, not appropriate. Frustrating.

Monday, December 02, 2002

Luke 3

John is reprimanding the crowds who come to be baptized because they basically were wanting to avoid punishment from God so they thought getting baptized would be a good idea. They weren't ready to change their lives. I really liked verses 10-14...

The people asked John, "Then what should we do?" John answered, "If you have two shirts, share with the person who does not have one. If you have food, share that also." Even tax collectors came to John to be baptized. They said to him, "Teacher, what should we do?" John said to them, "Don't take more taxes from people than you have been ordered to take." The soldiers asked John, "What about us? What should we do?" John said to them, "Don't force people to give you money, and don't lie about them. Be satisfied with the pay you get." Luke 3:10-14 New Century Version

As I read that..I thought "How obvious!" "Duh!". But as I thought about it more, I realize how we still struggle with these same issues today. How many shirts are in my closet? How often have I gave away my clothes to someone else? How much food do I have in my fridge, but how often do I share it with others?

These people had allowed their culture to creep in and destroy their sense of right and wrong. Their values were influenced by what was "ok" in their society. As disciples of Christ, we have a higher authority that we must listen to and more and more his values and ways are the direct opposite of what our culture and our world feels is ok.

My brother asked if it was ok if he invited a woman to our Christmas Dinner. She has no family in the area, and won't be leaving to see her family until after the holidays because she's in the middle of a messy divorce. My mind hesitated and then I said, "Yeah, definitely." But my first thought, was I don't know this woman, I don't want to spend the day with her...It's Christmas after all! YEAH SHAWNA>>IT"S CHRISTMAS after all! We should open our hearts and homes to people..especially those in need. This woman is down and out and I'm thinking about how it will possibly inconvenience me. Then I read this Chapter in Luke today and had confirmation once more, that I need to be more giving. I need to realize that everything I have, everything I am, and everything I do, comes from God and I should be willing to freely share it with anyone and everyone. It's about life change. Mine being transformed by God and my willingness to join God as He changes other lives. God thanks for the reminder, thanks for humbling me once more.

Friday, November 29, 2002

BOOKS

Finished Experiencing God. Was great. Definitely a much needed spiritual awakening. It really got me thinking and diving into God's Word and listening to God and watching. Highly recommend it, especially if your walk feels stale and cold. Was great.

Finished the first book of Harry Potter. It was cute. The only problem I had was it had one cuss word (d---) in the beginning and that just frustrated me. But beyond that, a thoroughly enjoyable book. I have begun the second in the series and am liking it as well!

Luke

I was nervous when I finished Experiencing God because I had this great routine of spending time with God and now I'm on my own again. So I've started reading Luke. I don't think I've ever read this book in its entirety. So I'm looking forward to discovering it in the next few weeks. I read Chapter 1 on Wednesday and today I read chapter 2

Chapter 1

The one thing that stood out to me was how much I appreciate Mary for living a pure life. I had never really thought about it. But to be chosen to carry Christ! How humbling and nerve-wracking. Can you imagine? I appreciate that there was a woman with who God could entrust the Christ.

Chapter 2

In this Chapter I appreciate how God gave Mary and Joseph confirmation (as He did in Chapter 1 with Elizabeth) that the child they were to raise was indeed the Christ. We have two separate people who come up to them and declare Jesus as God's salvation. I can't imagine being Mary & Joseph..the questions they must have asked themselves. The doubts that Joseph had to have struggled with in believing Mary that she hadn't been with someone else. It is mind boggling. But we see here God anticipating those doubts and struggles and giving them confirmation through other believers. How true that is for today as well! God, you're too cool!


Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Life is so crazy around here! I feel like someone pushed the fast forward button on my life. It's the middle of November..Holy Cow! I can't believe how fast this year has flown by. Now we're in the middle of Thanksgiving plans and then soon to be Christmas and then the New Year and if that wasn't enough to make me crazy, my brother-in-law is getting married in 2 weeks and both my husband and daughter are in the wedding! Aaaaaaa! :) I do love to be busy though.

It cracks me up because here I am complaining about how busy I am, but the moment this all slows down (about the end of January) I will be complaining about how bored I am..lol. Never satisfied are we?

Friday, November 08, 2002

This week has been less than the best.

Wednesday night was the best--NOT :) A guy who goes to our church is in serious physical pain with no end in sight. As I talked to him for over an hour I was so overwhelmed with all that he was going through. I'm a "fix-it" person. If there's a problem, I'll work on it and think on it and figure out a solution. That's the kind of person I am. But there is no "fixing" his situation. I couldn't "do" anything. And it broke my heart. Right after I got off the phone with him, I got a call from my brother. His life has been turned upside down and he was now in the hospital suffering from a nervous breakdown. And again there was nothing I could "do". Nothing I could do to "fix" or even temporarily put a band-aid on the situation. And my heart was broken once more.

After I got off the phone, I did a lot of crying. Not for me, but for them. For the guy who deals with physical pain everyday and it's messing up his life in more ways than you could imagine. For my brother who feels like he's lost everything. I cried for them. I cried that their lives are so messed up. And then I spent some time with God. And I laid it out before Him. It was good. He doesn't want me to "fix" everything. He doesn't want me to "figure" it out. He wants me to love on people. If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it..." 1 Corinthians 12:26 It's been a long time since I've allowed myself to "suffer" with another. Most of the time I take it before God and trust Him with it and go about my merry way. Oh and don't forget that I would give a band-aid or two for the situation. God calls us to suffer with each other.

Thanks God that you humbled me this week and made me think about someone else and not just to think, but to feel their pain. Thanks for making it real to me.

Be the body. Suffer with those who are suffering.

And there is an upside as well... ...Or if one part of our body is honored, all other parts share its honor. 1 Corinthians 12:26
Rejoice with those who are rejoicing! Tonight I will do that too. I'm going with a bunch of ladies from The Crossover to TGI Friday's to eat and talk and have a great time. And I'm sure there will be lots of laughter!

So really, this week has been a good week. I was allowed to come alongside of other parts of "the body" and suffer and I'm also getting the opportunity to rejoice as well.

God is good.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Experiencing God

Just like individuals, churches are often more interested in what God wants them to do than what He wants them to be. Being the kind of people that please God is far more important than doing something for Him.

Ahh, being. That sense of just "being" there. Not doing anything. Drives us crazy. Can't imagine the thought of not being busy doing something.

God desires purity and holiness in our lives. He's more interested in who we are than what we do. He wants character development..we want to be able to "list" all the great causes we've championed. I think some of us will be surprised when we stand before Him on judgment day and find that our list is insufficient. Develop who you ARE in Christ. The actions will follow out of that being..and the best part is, those actions won't be filled with our selfish desires and motivations, they will be filled with God's power and His authority and will actually make a difference.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Two days in a row..whoo hoo!

Just finished my lesson today and there was such a great illustration, that I just had to share it!

The question, How can I know whether the word I receive is from God, my selfish desires, or Satan? was posed to Blackaby and the following was an illustration he used to help bring understanding.

From Experiencing God (workbook) page 160

Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Mounties, train men in anti-counterfeiting work. They never let a trainee see a counterfeit bill. They know only one genuine type of ten-dollar bill exists. They so thoroughly study the genuine bill that anything that does not measure up to that is counterfeit!

You can't imagine all the ways people can counterfeit money. But Mounties don't study how people counterfeit money. They just study the real thing. Anything that doesn't measure up to that is fake!


I just loved that. Applying that to our spiritual lives... Know God thoroughly and when something comes your way and you have to question it..measure it against God. If it doesn't measure up..it's not from Him.

Thanks God!

Monday, November 04, 2002

Added an interesting blog tonight. It's a group of people ( I assume scientists?) who are in Antarctica. Some really awesome pics. I haven't got a chance to read all the way through the blog yet, so not certain about all of the content. Interesting though.. :)
I thought I would get better at this with time, but I don't know :) lol.

Just wanted to share a couple of Scriptures with you that God has laid on my heart lately...

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God. John 8:47

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him... John 6:44


(all NIV translations)

I just found each of them to be right in my face lately :) Apart from God I am nothing! If I'm not hearing God it is because I do not belong to God! Only the Father can draw people to Himself! It's not about me! Duh! :)

Thanks for listening!

Friday, October 18, 2002

Am enjoying Experiencing God immensely! So much good stuff and it's very challenging. It's discussing crisis of belief right now, which is the point in time where you realize what God is asking you to do and you know you cannot do it on your own, that you will have to trust Him to do it. So you have to decide what you believe about God. Do you believe what you say you believe and are you going to make that belief reality by actually acting on it? Good stuff.

I really appreciated today's lesson...here's an excerpt:

"What our world often is seeing in our day is a devoted, committed Christian serving God. But, they are not seeing God. They comment on what we are doing,
'Well, there's a wonderful, dedicated, committed group of people serving God.' They, however, do not see anything happening that can only be explained in
terms of the activity of God. Why? Because we are not attempting anything that only God can do.

Our world is not attracted to the Christ we serve, because they cannot see Him at work. They see us doing good things for God and say, 'That is wonderful, but
that's not my thing.' The world is passing us by, because they do not want to get involved in what they see. They are not having an opportunity to see God.
Let the world see God at work and He will attract people to Himself. Let Christ be lifted up--not in words, but in life. Let them see the difference that a living
Christ makes in a life, a family, or a church; that will make a difference in how they respond. When the world sees things happening through God's people that
cannot be explained except that God Himself has done them, then the world will be drawn to the God they see."


Great stuff. How often we do that..our little "do-gooder" works. Not that doing good is wrong, but we need to be sure that we are spending our time doing the things God calls us to do. Watching and seeing where God is at work and then joining Him in that task, not dreaming up things to do for God and asking Him to bless it. I think sometimes we fail to truly believe (by acting on our belief) that God is involved in this world. I think sometimes we think He's up there hanging out, waiting for someone to get a creative idea so that He can bless it. God is already at work. He's already moving. He's calling us to join Him in His work that He is doing. He's the boss.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Hey! :)

BOOKS

I read The Healer by Dee Henderson this week. It's a continuation of the O'Malley Series. Great set of books! The premise of the series is that there are 7 orphans who wind up a Trevor House and they adopt each other as family and when they grew up they legally changed their last names to O'Malley. Each book focuses in on one of the children (now who are all adults) and takes us on their journey of finding Christ and whatever else happens to be going on in their lives. They have all been excellent romantic/mystery novels. And they are very light reads.

Experiencing God is going really well. We started Unit 4 this week. I'm enjoying the daily discipline and also the new desire within me to make this a part of my life. Today we talked about God and all the different names there are for Him. We took time to worship Him and call Him by those names..it was good :)

WHAT'S GOING ON?

Not much. Keeping busy basically. We have developed a routine that works, but is tiring :) With all the kids going to school it makes it interesting in keeping up with who needs to bring what on what day and when. :) But we're figuring it out.

My major decision has yet to be decided. I'm not sure what God's waiting on, but I'm learning to follow His lead. So I'm waiting and trying not to worry or figure it out :)

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

Take time to pray for your friends. And take time to give them a call and see how they are doing..just because you want to :)

Don't forget to sound off!

Thursday, September 19, 2002

I'm BACK:)

BOOKS

The Presence ended up being really good. It was very encouraging along the lines of learning to trust when God is speaking to you. The main character has a tremendous amount of faith and trust in God. Good book :)

Experiencing God is going really well..am thoroughly enjoying. It does require quite a bit of time each day and so that seems to be taking up what little free time I have had for things like reading, getting online, or just watching tv. Which isn't a bad thing :)

There are so many things through this book that are not new, but are said in a way that it makes sense. The theme over and over is that there is no method or formula to make you a good Christian--it's all about a relationship with God. And the point is not to become a "good" person or Christian, but to enter into a relationship with God. To learn how to love Him. And then ultimately to learn how to see where He is at work around you and adjust your life to become part of it. That is so different then asking God to bless our plans or to "help" us out. It's not about us, and while we agree with that statement, how often do we go ahead and continue to make it about us? What is God doing in MY life? What does He want ME to do? We get so busy doing and pleasing God (which is important) that we forget about the relationship. There is a statement in the book that says, "You cannot bypass the relationship." I'm so guilty of doing that. I like to be busy, I like to do all kinds of things and I think that I'm doing them because I love God and I want to serve Him. But I think that if I was really honest with myself, I do them because I want to be a good person and a great Christian and I want to feel good about myself. It's not because I love God.

There was another place in the book where a church member was asked by the pastor, "Can you describe your relationship with God by sincerely saying, 'I love You with all of my heart?'"

The strangest look came over his face. He said "Nobody has ever asked me that. No, I could not describe my relationship with God that way. I could say I obey Him, I serve Him, I worship Him, and I fear Him. But I cannot say that I love Him."


That hit me upside the head yesterday because I realized that if I was truly honest, I would have to say the same thing. I would add that I respect, honor, and appreciate God. But love, I'm not so sure. To be really honest..I don't think that I know Him well enough to honestly say that. I kind of liken it unto great speakers and/or authors I have heard or read. I know a lot about them, I've seen how they develop their speeches or their stories, I'm "wowed" by them, but I haven't entered a personal relationship with them. And sometimes I wonder about my relationship with God. I say I love God, but do I spend time with him? I know I judge how a person feels about me by the amount of time they spend with me. Especially in my marriage. If Josh spent as much time with me as I do with God, our marriage would be in BIG trouble. And I think before I always thought of spending time with God as one of the things you do to make you a good Christian. And while I know I knew in the back of my head that really it's to develop a relationship with God, I didn't live that way. So this study has been really good for me to really fall in love with God. Not just to serve, worship, obey, fear, respect, and appreciate--but to LOVE GOD! It's been awesome and I find myself looking forward to the time I get to spend in the study and the time I spend afterwards just "being" with God.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

Do you love God? OR do you just obey and serve Him etc.? Take some time to fall in love with God again, or for the first time! Don't forget to Sound off and tell me about it!

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Hey! How's it goin?? :)

BOOKS

The Presence is going well. I'm about half-way through it. It's interesting. Not the best book I've read, but still good :)

I have started my next non-fiction and that's Experiencing God. I've went part way through this workbook before, but petered out somewhere in the middle because my procrastination/lack of discipline kicked in and I just got out of it. This time I'm leading a small group, so that will help tremendously in keeping me on track :) It's great stuff, well worth the time and it's really awesome and I'm looking forward to making it all the way through. Hopefully I will also become more faithful with blogging and can share my thoughts with you on it :)

WHAT'S GOIN' ON?

New section :) Just some tidbits of what's going on in my life :) My oldest son who is soon to be 5 started preschool today! He went last year as well, but this is his first day this year :) Tomorrow my youngest son will start preschool for the very first time! They are both so excited about it and that's just terrific, so glad for them!

Soccer practice went better this week :) While people weren't overly friendly, they didn't try to avoid me either :) lol. And my daughter is improving! Which is great ;) She's having a great time and it's good to see her out there.

I'm trying (desperately) to get into some kind of routine. It's so not working, but I so need it or else I"m going to go crazy! My poor son (the youngest who is 3) ended up putting himself to bed tonite! It was so funny, I was helping my daughter with her homework, and my oldest son was watching and talking with us and Josh came home from helping out my brother and when we all went upstairs to read our bedtime story, there was my youngest already curled up in bed fast asleep! When I had hollered upstairs about 15 minutes before that he had said he was playing, so I didn't think anything about it! Poor Kid, he's just exhausted with all the running around we seem to be doing!!

THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

I think I'll leave you with some thoughts from my Experiencing God book--2 things stuck out at me tonite.

1. Our memory verse--John 15:5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." Apart from HIM we can do nothing--absolutely nothing. Nothing new, but just struck me hard.

2. (quoting from the book) "When you come to the Lord Jesus to seek His will for your life, which of the following requests is most like what you ask? Check your response.
1. Lord, what do you want me to do? When do you want me to do it? How shall I do it? Where shall I do it? Who do you want me to involve along the way? And please tell me what the outcome will be.
2. Lord, just tell me what to do one step at a time, and I will do it."

OK, so I obviously chose number 2 because I'm so together--_NOT!! :) I chose one, and would probably add-_How long do you want me to do it? and How can I know for sure it's you? lol. I'm horrible about that! I don't want to just make this first little step and then wait--waiting is horrible..I HATE waiting :) lol. But it's such a necessary part.

Anyway, it's getting late and I better go. Let me know your thoughts!

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Howdy Ho!

BOOKS

Started The Presence by T. Davis Bunn yesterday. It's really interesting. It is not linked to The Warning or The Ultimatum (also by T. Davis Bunn). It is based around the character TJ Case who is a lawyer. He was a Congressman, but crossed party lines to help a friend get into Congress and then ended up losing his seat. Anyway, I'm only on chapter 4, but it has some really great characters. One thing I appreciate about the books I have read of Bunn's, is that his characters are struggling to accept who God has called them to be and have to make huge sacrifices for God. I think it has been helpful as I have thought about my "major decision". Anyway, very interesting.

I haven't chosen my next non-fiction book yet. I only have like 12 I would like to read..lol :) But at the rate I read non-fiction that could take me a year.

THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

My daughter had her first soccer practice last night. She was too funny. A total bundle of energy and she would just fly towards the ball but really had no clue what to do with it once she had it. She couldn't remember who was on her team and kept getting confused as to which way to kick it! But she had a great time and that's what is important right? :)

As a mom who has never been a part of the soccer sport, I was disappointed by the fact that not one person really helped me out as to what was going on. I saw a few familiar faces (from around school), but no one came up to help me feel "included". It was very odd. I have heard it said that church leagues (of any sport) are the worst to play on. And I unfortunately am beginning to wonder if it's true. With softball, everyone was very nice and we would talk as practice was going on and learn little things about each other. But walking out to the soccer field, it became very obvious that everyone knew everyone else and that I was the outsider. It was awkward--very awkward. And frustrating! Part of me just wanted to say "forget it" and go home. And probably would have if my daughter hadn't had a great time.

So as I think about that experience it brings to me a sense of urgency to make sure our church doesn't become like that. That when a new person walks through the door we are friendly and welcoming and willing to "show them the ropes". And how important that not just one person does that, but several--so the new person really feels like they are being accepted and really wanted there. Help me God to remember that every Sunday, regardless of what is going on, the most important thing is to make people feel Your love in a tangible way.

Would love to hear about your experiences of being an "outsider" or creative ways you've helped others not feel like an "outsider"! Feel free to Sound Off!

Sunday, August 25, 2002

Hey, Hey, Hey--look who's back :) Maybe I'd be better at weekly blogging? lol.

BOOKS

I FINISHED IT! :) ( For Better or For Best that is) Smalley is big into practical ideas. Which I appreciate, but at times get frustrated because I can be sort of an anal person and think if I just do this, this and this, this will happen. Which is hardly EVER true unless you are doing math! But I probably learned three important lessons (nothing new here--just good reminders)

1. Don't assume you know everything.
2. If you do assume so, be willing to apologize everytime you are proven wrong.
3. And when you actually do know something, don't rub it in.

:) lol. Ok, just kidding (sort of). The main theme throughout the book is the same thing I hear over and over in every book I read about relationships and every person I've ever known who has went to marital counseling gets the same theme as well--"If you want a better marriage, you are going to have to be willing to change." No matter who you are or what the situation is, you cannot coerce, manipulate, persuade, or bribe your mate into being who you want them to be. You have to become who God wants you to be and delight in your mate because you love your mate unconditionally, not because you want something. :)

THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

Have you ever had a decision to make and you just can't seem to decide? I'm not usually that way. I'm usually very decisive. But man right now, I'm stuck. God seems totally silent on the subject and I've polled most of my friends and have gotten very little response because it's one of those big decisions that no one really wants to say their opinion for fear that they might be steering you wrong. It's one of those major decisions that will affect every little part of your entire life--it's a turn your life upside down kind of decision. And God seems silent. I would think He would have a lot to say about this, but He seems to just be waiting. And I HATE waiting--lol. Of course He knows that, and I'm sure He's grinning at me right now. Patience my child. In due time my daughter. Or am I not listening? What if He's telling me and I'm not listening? Ugh..I really hate these kinds of things :) I know I'm learning something through this process. And I know He has a plan. I just don't want to miss it, ya know?

Would love to hear about the times God has seemed to be "silent" and how it all turned out! Sound Off!

Saturday, August 24, 2002

It's me again:)

First things first.

Heylo Brian:)thanks for reading:)

Where to start.
We went and looked at the car.
The car was in great shape for being 15 years old. It ran good, drove nice, all that usual stuff you look for in a car.
While talking to the lady who was selling it we found out that she was selling it becuase her husband in filing for divorce AGAIN.
Made me kinda feel bad for thinking of offering her less than what she wanted.
No incase your wondering we didn't buy it. yet:)

Still trying to figure why I have my job :)
There have been several conversations arise that have been about church/religion kinda conversations ,if ya know what I mean.
I have tried to voice my opinion without offense or "sterotypical" retort to somthing or anyone.


Family time!!!!
That's a huge one.
The kids have developed an interest in video games.
Been attempting to bond/play at the same time with them.

Well as you can see it's very late ( I think good when the house(people in it) is asleep.)
For some strange reason I have a craving for some Cap't N crunch ( which we don't have in the house) of course
So I reckon I'll just go to bed.
Got a big day ahead later on so .......

Catch Ya later

Josh

p.s. Goodnight Brian

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Just wanted to let you know that I made it through today with flying colors! :) Ha ha. And my daughter had a great time as well :) I dropped her off at her room and said hello to her teacher. Then her teacher told her to go to the playground until the bell rang and that was that. I was smiled at politely and got the hint that this was my cue to exit. So I went to the van and reminded myself how much my daughter loves school and what a great day today was for her. I managed to choke back the burning sensation in my throat and nose and the tears that pooled in my eyes remained there. :) When I went back to pick her up she ecstatically told me all about her morning and who was in her class and the rules and that their class got 1 point today (which is a good thing)! (when they get 15 they get 5 extra minutes of recess!!) And she gloated over the fact that I had homework! She just thought that was hilarious. (just some papers to sign and a handbook to look over--typical first day materials). Anyway, the morning went well and my daughter is anxiously awaiting tomorrow when she'll actually get to "learn stuff" as she puts it. :) Thank you God for her..and thanks for watching out for her.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

HEY! It's me! Wow, remember me? lol. I know, I'm terrible at this everyday blogging stuff. I always wanted to have a diary growing up and my mom would buy me one and I would write in it for like 5 days straight and then I wouldn't write in it again for like another 4 months or so. I just have never been able to keep up with stuff like that. ANYWAY--

BOOKS

Yes, I'm STILL reading For Better or For Best. As I read it I keep thinking that all his ideas seem manipulative. Like if I implemented them I would be trying to be someone I'm not. I'm one of those spontaneous people ya know..I tend to say or feel or think the first thing that comes to me and unfortunately it usually falls out of my mouth as well. I am much better at tempering that now as I have seen how destructive it can be to relationships. But it's still always there right beneath the surface, threatening to take over if I let my guard down. I think the book is good--I do, I think I'm just negative about it because it seems overwhelming :)

I read The Ultimatum by T. Davis Bunn a week or so ago. It was the sequel to The Warning . I liked this one better I think. Maybe it was just because I understood what was going on better or something. The Warning dealt alot with economics and the stock market and bank stuff and I just didn't know what they were talking about most the time so it was confusing. The Ultimatum deals more with the characters and relationships and I could identify better with it. So it was pretty good.

I'm getting ready to start The Presence by T. Davis Bunn. I'm not sure if it goes along with the other two or not. The cover and stuff is similar in fonts and coloring, but it doesn't say anything like it's supposed to be book 3 or anything. And the back reads as if it is a completely different story. So I don't know--stay tuned and I'll figure it out :)

THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

I never did get my watermelon seed question answered. I haven't had time to get online and research that. Hopefully within the next couple weeks I'll have some time to get that done.

Life has been so crazy lately. My daughter's first day of first grade is tomorrow! So we've been busy getting the school supplies and getting things ready and spending time together before she goes back again.

I absolutely can't stand her going to school..lol. I know that sounds crazy but it's true. She is ecstatic. Always has been about school. Even before she was going to preschool she would talk about "when" she gets to go to school etc. And I'm really grateful and glad she enjoys it. But it's really difficult for me to turn her over to people I don't know very well and for her to spend more time a week with them than with me. It's scary and heartbreaking. I can't imagine what I'll be like when she goes off to college or gets married or decides she wants to live in some big city 2000 miles from me. lol. But at the same time I'm so proud of her. She's so confident and carefree and excited and eager. It's great. She's a great kid. I guess this is where trusting God comes in huh? :) I'll make it.

Well, I guess thats it for right now. Feel free to share your thoughts with us!




Thursday, August 15, 2002

Blah Blah Blah

What to say????/

Is there realy anything worth saying?


Yes for that one(Hi Brian:) faithfull reader we have. I do reaize it's been a few days since my last post:0
BTW thanks for my FIRST comment:)

Been thinking of lots of things lately.

1. My Job: Why do i have it? Mostly:)
I know why I have to have a job, but why this one?
Since I'm here, I am trying to see what God's plan is for me here?

2. A second car for our family.
We need one.
We have one that is a possibility of buying but do we want to spend that much money on a 2nd car?

3. Been watching several movies that seem to have a running theme(unknowingly when i picked them out)
How much time ( quality time) do i spend with my family? as a whole and as individuals?


Well all this thinking has got my brain hurting so I'm gonna go for now
Chat later

Josh



Friday, August 09, 2002

Hey I'm back:)

After being busy with other details in life.
Gettin ready to leave tonight to go to St. Louis
to visit my Parents.

Hopefully with a new week coming up I will be
able to update more often:)

Well TTFN

Josh

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Ok I'm back and hopefully all will go well, no strike that--all WILL go well :) Anyway, forgive me for being gone so long. Life got crazy (as it tends to do from time to time) and I just got sidetracked. Like one of my best friends, Brian (see What It's All About link), I am not a disciplined person. While I would like to be, I suffer from procrastination which delays every good intention that I have :) ANYWAY---

BOOKS

Ok so I still haven't finished For Better or For Best by Gary Smalley. But I AM still reading it. (that counts right?) It does have a lot of good information, but to be quite honest, the more I read it, the more I realize I know less and less about being married and I have to come face to face with how selfish I truly am and well, that's depressing.

In Chapter 6 (entitled Motivating Your Husband to Change) Smalley discussed six qualities every woman needs to develop to be able to encourage her husband to listen to her needs and to gain a desire to meet those needs. The qualities are as follows:

1. Courage: The inner commitment to pursue a worthwhile goal without giving up hope.
2. Persistence: Continuing to pursue a goal until it is achieved.
3. Gratefulness: A sincere appreciation for the benefits received from others.
4. Calmness: An inner peace that allows you to respond quietly to a stressful situation without fear.
5. Gentleness: Showing tender consideration for the feelings of another.
6. Genuine Love: Meeting the needs of another, prior to your own personal needs being met.


Ok, so as I look over this list, I have to cringe. Out of this list of six, I would say persistence is the only quality I see in my character that manifests itself on a consistent basis. All the others I have seen at times, but are in no way a daily way of life. But the more I read the more I keep saying to God, "I can't do this." As I read the steps he outlines to help bring "marital bliss", I say "that's just not me." Then I get even more bummed. But then I began to realize, these qualities etc that he talks about, are very similar (if not exactly the same) to the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22 & 23 (let me refresh your memory--and mine!)

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

And so as this thought passes through my mind, I'm encouraged because just as I cannot conjure up the fruits of the Spirit, I don't believe I can conjure up the six qualities stated above. It's from God. It's not about me. It's about loving God and allowing God to work in me and His Spirit produces the love, joy, etc. And His spirit will also produce in me the courage and persistence and all the other qualities--if I yield to Him.

I think we try to make things so complicated by figuring out the latest communication techniques to improve our relationships or trying to decide what kind of punishments we should provide when our children disobey or what to do when things go wrong, when really it all comes down to giving our lives to God and following Him daily. He will give us the strength to make it through each thing that comes our way--if only we turn to Him. I know in my own life there have been many times when instead of immediately turning to Him, I turn to a friend or relative, or book, or magazine to figure out how to deal with what's going on. Don't get me wrong, these things can be a help, they can give you some really practical advice. But the bottom line is that it all comes back to your relationship with God and if you're allowing Him to produce His fruits through your life or if you are trying to do it on your own. :)

Ok, so back to the books I'm reading. The Warning by T. Davis Bunn was pretty good. Not a great read, but interesting. It's about a man who is called by God to warn God's people that an economic disaster is coming. It is a part of a series, but I'm not sure what the other books are, I'll let you know. :)

THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

I guess I really already did that earlier. :)

Thanks for reading..please feel free to sound off!

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

I just wrote a really long post and then lost everything I had written. So when I'm not quite so frustrated I will rewrite it and publish it, until then.. :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

BOOKS

I finished The Visitation. It's by Frank Peretti. It was very good. Not a quick read. Not a light read. If you've never read a Peretti book, let me fill you in a bit.

Peretti is a Christian author and he mostly writes books that are fiction. He mainly writes about the supernatural and the spiritual warfare that is constantly going on around us. This book differs from his previous (This Present Darkness; Piercing the Darkness; The Prophet; and The Oath, to name a few) books by the fact that there isn't a separation between the spiritual world and the physical world. (If you read one of his previous books and this book, you'll understand better :)

ANYWAY, this book revolves around Travis Jordan, a pastor who has run aground spiritually. He's tired of all the "stuff" that goes with the church and religion and so he throws in the towel basically. The only problem is that a self-proclaimed prophet comes trotting into town performing miracles and deceiving the entire town. Whether Jordan wants to be or not, he's drawn into the mess and while figuring out the truth, comes to some major revelations of his own life and his own relationship with Jesus Christ.

If you're looking for a light, romantic, "feel-good" book, don't read this one. If you're looking for something thought-provoking, intriguing, with a great plot and story flow, than this is the one for you! :)

I'm still reading For Better or For Best by Gary Smalley. I've read this one a couple of times before, but I can always use the reminders! (like: Don't be a nag!--ha ha) (Josh, do not comment..lol) Anyway, I'm only on chapter 4, but since I've finished my fiction book, I will have a bit more time to read my non-fiction book. I don't know why it is, but I can fly through any fiction that you give me, but non-fiction I struggle to make it through a chapter a day. This book by Smalley has some really good material, but you have really got to want to improve your relationship for any of the suggestions to work. It takes time and patience (all marriages take that anyway!), but it's good stuff, good stuff to think about and work through.

My next fictional pick is The Warning by T. Davis Bunn. I've read a few of the books he has written with Janette Oke, but never anything he's done on his own. The book was suggested to me by an aquaintance who has similar tastes in books, so I thought I'd give it a try. I think it's the first book of a series. I'll let you know :)

THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

Why does watermelon have white seeds and black seeds? Are the white seeds developing into black seeds or are they two completely separate things?

I know that's not deep, but that's my thoughts for today :) lol. It's late, I'm tired. Thanks for reading..feel free to sound off!

Sunday, July 21, 2002

Well, It's me again. As I sat here the other day I began thinking to myself, What is a Blog? What should I Blog about? Who is gonna read my Blog? Among several other ideas (which I may decide to do as well) I've decide to just Blog the first thing on my mind when i sit down (in this very uncomfortable chair) at the computer. Then just ramble on for a bit and see what comes out.

If anyone reading this knows me personally in real life you will know that Shawna and I are two very different people. She can type and comunicate her views and thoughts easily, I on the other hand am not so gifted. So my plan is to try and be a litte less serious about my blogging. Don't get me wrong, I share many of her views, but may not express them in my blog.

So with that said I have nothing left on my mind, cause well it's almost midnight and I'm very tired, so I'm going to bed :)

C-Ya tomorrow

Signing off,
Josh

Hello!

Just so you know, my husband and I decided to join forces and so now it's "our thoughts" instead of "my thoughts"! :) Hope you enjoy!

PARTY
Well, the party was...different. I felt bad, my daughter and I were the only ones who showed up. Well unless you count the neighbor family that kind of "crashed" the party. The little girl was ecstatic that we were there and the mom was truly thankful. I'm glad we went. Though their lifestyle is really different from mine, which in turn makes it difficult to connect.

As I sat throughout the afternoon (I decided not to swim regardless of what everyone else was doing--go me! :)), I kept asking God what I was doing here. This was definitely not the type of influence I wanted on my daughter. But what was the alternative? To subject my daughter to the influence of me saying these people are not "like us" and so we shouldn't go out of our way to hang out with them? Hmm tough call. Some would say that we have to protect our children and keep them away from those elements that might endanger them or tempt them into another lifestyle contrary to God's word. But as I look at my daughter's innocent face who found no fault in the way these people lived, kept their house, and talked, I realized that she has been given the gift to look at them as people. Just people she would like the chance to know better. And I felt ashamed. Because what good am I to my daughter if I constantly shield her from all the possible "negative" influences? The negative influences are ALWAYS going to be there to face. I need to be teaching her how to handle the negative influences, the differences and to learn to find ways to bridge those gaps and make connections to those who are different from us. All in the effort to love them as Jesus would so that hopefully one day they will come to know Jesus the way we do.

That's what it's about. It's about loving people the way Christ did so they can know Him too. And what better way to help my daughter learn than to come alongside her in the friendship she has began with this little girl and be there beside her as she is in the midst of the "negatives" so I can help her to stand for what she believes without being judgmental and without compromising?

As we were leaving the party, my daughter blurts out "When can we come back and swim again?" to which I smiled and said, "Whenever they ask us to." And the mom looks at me and says, "Maybe I'll give you a call next week?". And I say, "That would be great." And I mean it.

I'm one step closer to my goal. I recognized the opportunity God gave me and I do hope that the mom gives me a call and I have to find the courage to embrace this opportunity. I'm glad God's ways are different from mine. I'm thankful that He is constantly pushing me and challenging me and creating a desire within me to learn about His ways and His desires. The changes are difficult and slow and often times met with a bit of grumbling. But I'm always pleasantly surprised at how it all turns out. Thanks God for loving me enough not to be satisfied with where I'm at but to want me to press on. (See Hebrews chapter 12 for more on "pressing on" and receiving God's discipline)

See ya tomorrow!
Ok, finally got the page set. Now I'm going to bed:)
Goodnight all!

Saturday, July 20, 2002

Heylo i made it:)

Friday, July 19, 2002

Guess What??? I made it to the Updated List..cool huh?

Ok I'm really going! Bye!
Today I'm taking my daughter to a birthday party. Pool Party that is. What great fun. I get to stand around with people I don't know and generally feel like a doofus. Which might surprise some people because if you know me, I'm generally a very friendly person who is very outgoing. Well the catch is, I'm outgoing on my turf! If it's my party or a party I put together or at a place I'm familiar with, I can chat up a storm. But if I'm walking into a place I've never been before or if I'm surrounded by people I don't know and they all seem to know one another, I immediately feel like a doofus. It's intimidating. I want the upper hand. I want to be able to be the one who can mix and mingle and make everyone else feel comfortable, not try to figure out how I can feel comfortable. Ugh. But I will go, and I will probably have a decent time--think positive right? And what's up with the fact that it wasn't stated whether parents are supposed to swim? If I go in my suit and no other adult is, I'm going to feel really silly. But if I don't go in my suit and everyone else IS wearing their suit then what? ugh..I thought I was through with trying to fit in since I graduated from high school..never changes does it? I suppose I could take my suit and leave it in the car and then go get it if everyone is swimming, and leave it if they're not? That could work.. Then I only look a little like a doofus :) lol.

Aren't birthday parties great? I think it's a shame that there seems to be a certain age where it's no longer "necessary" to have a party? Who says? What's the purpose of a birthday party anyway? In my mind it's to celebrate another year of a person's life. Well that isn't just for children! I love party games and I love people and I like being the center of attention, so it kind of stinks that it's not "cool" to have birthday parties. Maybe I will just buck that tradition and throw myself one smashing birthday party next year. I could go all out, have cake, hats, dorky games..the whole nine yards. Hmm.. I'll have to think about that.

Well I'm thunk out for now :) I need to make some lunch and get ready for that party! See ya tomorrow, feel free to sound off in the comments!

Thursday, July 18, 2002

My heart goes out to Erin Runnion, mother of Samantha Runnion who was found dead on Tuesday night after being kidnapped on Monday. I can't imagine the pain she is going through.

So what kind of punishment does Samantha's captor deserve? 20 years, Life in prison, death? How can you even find a punishment that would actually fit the crime in this case? Because our government believes in decent treatment of those in prison, tormenting him/her (most likely him) is not an option. But crimes like this make me feel like justice will never be served. Who knows what kind of horrors that poor little girl went through before she died. It's not fair.

And as I cry out to God on behalf of this poor mother who is living my worst nightmare, what kind of comfort can I find? I know that the man who did this will have to stand before God and account for what he did. And I know God is just.

But I also think, God loves that man. Because the Bible says in 2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." He would like for this man to come to repentance. I want vegeance, I want death. I want this man to suffer every horror that could be thought of, because I think he is despicable. I think he is disgusting. But God loves him, and not only suffers over the loss of Samantha, but suffers over the sin of this man. And if that man decides to call out to God, God will save him. God won't make the consequences of his crime disappear, the man will still have to suffer whatever the consequences may be. But God will honor his prayer and make him a child of God.

Part of me wants to cry out as to how that could be. This disgusting, less than human, evil man--how could God possibly forgive him and allow him into His presence? Because God has promised in Joel 2:32 "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Everyone--murderer, adulterer, liar, thief, those who think they are better than others, rich, poor, educated, uneducated--everyone. And if God could not forgive this man who has done this horrible thing, what hope do we have?

We need to pray hard that this man is found, because he is a threat to other children and other people. But we also need to pray that God will intervene in his life and bring about repentance. That will be difficult. But we should. As Christians, we need to know God's heart and what He wants to see done. And according to 2 Peter--he wants everyone to come to repentance and that none should perish and that should be our heart too. Granted we are going to have to ask God to help us desire those things. Because it will not come naturally.

But if we truly want to be God's followers, we have to make the things He desires, the same things we desire. It takes a relationship with God to really know what He desires. It will take time. It will take patience and it will take a lot of discipline as He begins to transform us. It will probably be painful as well as we see ourselves for who we really are. We like to think of ourselves as "do-gooders", but in reality we're really selfish. I'm gonna take some time this week to pray for this man and the Runnion family..

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Welcome to my blog. A place to place your thoughts out loud and hopefully to find a few to mull over. Hopefully one day my blog will actually appear in the updated list and I will actually use my comments space, but we will have to wait and see I think.