Day 329

At least once a day I have to tell my kids to settle down.  Yesterday, we were on our way to Tulsa to drop them off at their aunt and uncles for a few days and they were excited.  Excited about staying with their cousins, excited about swimming at Nana & Papa’s pool, excited about all the fun they had at our family reunion, excited about our dinner at Hideaway Pizza, just excited about everything.  When one child gets excited, the other gets excited and pretty soon the two of them are bouncing off the walls and they need someone to tell them to settle it on down.

Settle down according to our family’s dictionary means to quiet down, get still, and get yourself back to a normal state.  This morning God had to tell me to settle down.

I woke up early to give myself enough time to get ready before heading to the airport to catch an early flight.  I have never flown while pregnant and my doctor suggested I take a baby aspirin before the flight.  I went to Target last night to get some baby aspirin, but baby aspirin does not exist.  The pharmacist showed me where the low dose aspirin was and said it was what I was needed.  I picked it up and started to to get it, but then I felt like I shouldn’t get it, so I put it down and left.  My first thought when I woke up this morning, “You should have got that aspirin.”  My second thought, “But I didn’t feel right about taking it.”  My third thought, “Why would the doctor suggest something that could be dangerous to you or the baby?”  My fourth thought , “Well it wasn’t “baby” aspirin.  And he said “baby” aspirin.”  And on and on and on.  I was bouncing off the walls… getting more and more stressed out about what I should or should not do.

Finally, I heard God say, “You didn’t feel good about taking it last night, right?  Well, that was your spirit.  You’ll be fine without it.  It’s settled.”

Ahhhh.  That felt so good.  I needed someone to tell me to settle down.  I needed someone to help my mind quiet down, get still, and get me back to a normal state.  I thought Google would be helpful, but it wasn’t.  Half of the pregnancy boards said take the aspirin before a flight and half of them said don’t take it.  To stop the bouncing I needed a word from the Lord.  He’s not as confusing as the pregnancy message boards.  His Yes’s are Yes’s and His no’s are no’s.  I like that!

When we find ourselves unsettled, we need to look to the Prince of Peace and let Him settle us down.  We need to listen for His calming voice, His simple yes or no, His clear direction, His reminders, and His peaceful leading.

Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God

  1. The Spirit Himself is always reminding us that we are God’s children.
  2. The Spirit wants to lead us even in the little things.
  3. God helped me settle down and stop stressing out this morning.
  4. Slept great last night!
  5. My brother in law Scott took us to the airport at 6 a.m.!
  6. My in laws gave us our plane tickets to Santa Barbara for our Christmas present last year.  Such a great gift!
  7. My father in law made our flight reservations and made sure we got the exit row seats which have much more leg room and priority boarding.
  8. Bourne movies.  Quality flight entertainment.
  9. Our flight into LA was delayed and we missed our connecting flight to Santa Barbara, but Papa got us backed up on the next flight out.
  10. Crackers & Hummus plane snack to tide me over until lunch time.
  11. Got some cute pics of Gus & Beau hanging out with the cousins Ryan & Olivia.
  12. Got to talk to the kids for a little bit and tell them goodnight.  Love those sweet voices.
  13. 2 extra hours of daylight thanks to west coast time change.
  14. Santa Barbara is beautiful!!!  Even the airport is amazing.
  15. Josh came to Santa Barbara when he was younger and thought it would be a pretty and romantic place to take a girl… he was right.
  16. 40’s on 4o Sirius radio station.  40’s music just seems very fitting when driving around the beautiful town.
  17. Palm Trees.
  18. Beautiful and very fragrant flowers.
  19. The smell of the ocean.
  20. The Montecito Inn.  Beautiful hotel, awesome architecture, really nice hotel staff.
  21. Perfect 72 degree weather.
  22. ZERO humidity!
  23. Driving around with the windows rolled down.
  24. Exploring and being spontaneous.
  25. Ate dinner at an amazing mexican restaurant, Los Agaves.
  26. Yelp!  So helpful when planning which restaurants to visit.
  27. Gorgeous sunset on Stearns Wharf.

 

Day 328

Several years ago my husband and I were visiting his grandmother who lives in Plainview Texas.  Plainview is the perfect name for Plainview.  There are no trees, no tall buildings, no mountains, no hills, just miles and miles of farmland.  The view is very plain, but it’s pretty in it’s own way.  We were driving around after a little rain shower when a rainbow appeared in the sky.  I’ve seen lots of rainbows before, but I had never seen one like this, and have never seen one like it since.  It wasn’t just a little sliver of a rainbow or half of a rainbow, it was a full rainbow.  You could see where it started, where it ended, and everything in between.  The whole rainbow was revealed to us, none of it was hidden.  It made Plainview not so plain for a few minutes.  I guess rainbows like that are pretty common out there, due to the fact that the sky is so big and there is nothing to break up the sunlight shining onto the raindrops.

Luke 8:17 (GW) There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. There is nothing kept secret that will not come to light.

Jesus let His disciples know that the things that seemed hidden about Him or secret about Him would be revealed.  Someday they would completely understand who He was, is, and is to come.  He knew sometimes His parables confused them.  He knew they couldn’t see the full picture, but He promised that eventually, they would see, along with every one else, what He was all about.

Jesus did not come to the earth to be a light that hides under the bed.  He came to be a light, displayed on a table for all to see.  He doesn’t want his teachings to be kept secret.  He doesn’t want people only seeing a partial view of who He is.  He wants us to see the beginning, the end, and everything in between.

1 Corinthians 13:12 tells us that right now we see things in a blurred mirror, but when we get to heaven we will see things clearly.  We will have complete knowledge of Jesus like He has complete knowledge of us.  We will never fully grasp all that Jesus was, is and is to come while we are here on earth, but that doesn’t mean we can’t strive to get our mirrors less blurry or that we should just deal with the things in our lives that are preventing us getting a better view of Him.  We’ve got to continually wipe down our mirrors, so we can see as much of Jesus as possible, to tide us over until we get to see Him in all of His glory.  He wants you to see as much of Him as your earthly body can handle while you are on the earth, so start looking harder.

We have to clear out the trees, move the mountains, and make the sky as wide open as possible so when He shines His light there’s nothing in the way to deflect it and we’ll experience a plain view of the one who puts rainbows in the sky.

  1. Rainbows.
  2. We can get our mirrors less blurry while we are here on earth.
  3. The more we see of Jesus the more we love Jesus.
  4. One day our mirrors will be completely clear.  We will see Jesus in all of his glory and have complete knowledge of Him.
  5. That grandmother we went to visit in Plainview got married today!!
  6. MeeMee.  She is he cutest little grandmother ever.
  7. MeeMee found love again!  Very happy for her and Billy Tom!
  8. The view of the stars last night at Robber’s Cave.
  9. I got to meet my little nephew Gabriel for the first time this weekend.
  10. Loved seeing Gus & Beau around a little 4 month old.  They were so sweet with him.
  11. For a few minutes we thought my kid’s favorite dog Norah was missing.  She got off of her leash, but we found her waiting back at her cabin.
  12. Big family breakfast.
  13. Gus got to shoot a B.B. gun today.  He loved it!
  14. Had fun competing in the family reunion games this morning.
  15. Beau took a great and much needed nap this afternoon.
  16. My brother in law Tommy smoked some delicious meats for everyone’s lunch today.
  17. We had no service on our cell phones, so no GPS and no map, but Josh picked the right highway and got us back to Tulsa.
  18. Safe drive to Tulsa.
  19. I got to take a little nap on the drive.
  20. Yummy dinner at Hideaway with the kids.
  21. Gus & Beau’s Aunt Brookie and Uncle Scott are keeping them for the next 2 nights while we are in Santa Barbara.
  22. Gus & Beau were so excited and not sad at all when it was time for us to leave.
  23. 1 more sleep til Santa Barbara.
  24. We’ll be able to watch the service we are missing at Gateway this weekend when we get back!  Wouldn’t want to miss Week 2 of Dave Ramsey.
  25. Got a good shower, got my hair clean, and got to relax at Josh’s parents for the night.
  26. Oklahoma has firework stands!  Feels so patriotic here.
  27. In bed by 9:00!  Ready for that early flight!

Day 327

Last year at this time we were less than a week away from finding out at our 20 week anatomy scan that our baby’s heart was no longer beating and that I would have to deliver him stillborn. I remember that day perfectly. I remember what I was wearing. What the weather was like outside. The way the doctor trailed in conversation when he realized what he was about to have to tell us. Trying to not loose it in front of my two small children. Having to wait there on the exam table while the doctor went to get another doctor to confirm what he was seeing and seeing for myself my little baby’s face on the ultrasound monitor. I couldn’t believe I would never get to see that face here on earth. It was the second hardest day of my life, the first being the day we delivered him.

With such vibrant memories still so fresh in my mind I knew that when I was ready to be pregnant again that I would have to be prepared to battle fear. I am 16 weeks pregnant now and up to this point I’ve had an extremely peaceful pregnancy. I would be lying if I said I didn’t get butterflies in my stomach every time I go for a prenatal check up, but that’s pretty much been the extent of fear… up until the past few days.

I knew that my 16 week check up was coming up and I was excited, but then those memories from last July began to play in my head. I don’t know if it’s because the weather feels the same, I’m wearing all of the same clothes I was wearing this time last year, my tummy is the same size as it was then, or that as we draw nearer to the one year mark I just seem to be thinking about the whole thing more than usual, whatever the case, fear crept in.

I felt like I was managing it okay on my own. I was praying, praising, speaking God’s word, and all of that helped, but I just couldn’t seem to get the spirit of fear to completely leave. I told my husband what was going on. He got right beside me, put his arm around me, making me feel tiny, and began to pray for me. As he was praying he said this, “Faith does not cast out fear, love does. Lord, help Sarah to be more aware of your love for her than ever before.”

Everything else he prayed was awesome, but that right there is what helped me send the spirit of fear packing.

1 John 4:18 (AMP) There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror!

I spent the day before the appointment meditating on God’s love for me and the bad memories turned into real moments of feeling the baby flutter around in my womb… like a tiny sign from God that everything was going to be okay. A little reminder of his big love for me.

One of my kid’s favorite books is “God Loves Me More Than That” by Dandi Daley Mackall. It’s a beautiful picture book that talks about how long, how high, how deep and how wide God’s love is for us. An easy concept for my kids to grasp. They totally believe every word of it. They know that God loves them deeper than a treasure chest beneath the sea and wider than the prairies where the cowboys ride. They don’t question it one bit. As I was thinking about God’s love He reminded me of that book and told me to keep telling myself that, God loves me more than that. Anytime fear started to stop it by saying, God loves me more than that and to really believe it like my kid’s believe it.

It seems so simple, but God’s love is powerful, and just by reminding myself how great His love is for me, I was able to go to my appointment today free from fear and experience the joy God meant for me to experience.

Whatever THAT is that you are worried about today or whatever THAT is that is causing you to fear, remind yourself that God loves you more than THAT!

1. We are having a GIRL!!! So excited about my little Sunny Joone.
2. The feeling I left with today was the exact opposite of what we felt when leaving the doctor last year! Double joy!
3. We got to see such a cute shot of Sunny’s little foot moving around.
4. My doctor was able to get such a great view of what he needed to see to tell us the sex.
5. Peaceful morning leading up to the appointment and peaceful appointment.
6. I had a dream 2 weeks ago it was a girl!
7. When I called to tell my mom the news she said she had just told my dad I was going to have a girl that looked just like me!
8. My niece Courtney had a dream I was going to have a girl just a few weeks after we found out we were expecting.
9. My friend Briana told me she was praying for me and baby and God told her to refer to the baby as a her!
10. God is so very good!!! I love that he put Sunny on so many people’s hearts.
11. The kids were both excited to find out they were getting a little sister.
12. We had such a happy drive to Robber’s Cave!!
13. Safe drive to Robber’s Cave.
14. Robber’s Cave! Loved going with mg family when I was a kid and I love bringing my kids back. Keeping the tradition alive.
15. My huge family. Reunions are pretty awesome with our big ole gang.
16. Gus had a blast swimming this afternoon and loved the pool slides.
17. Beau got a good little nap in and I got to relax too!
18. Roy’s Cardinal Grocery store.
19. Wi-fi! Without it this blog post would have to wait. Excuse the number formatting. Too hard to use code typing on an iPhone.
20. Hot dog roast!
21. S’mores!
22. So many sweet texts and messages congratulating us on our girl news!
23. Had time to make peanut butter chocolate chip cookies this morning.
24. Sleeping in a little cabin tonight. The kids just can’t get over their big bed that looks like it’s made of tree logs.
25. The tall trees lining all the trails and the hills covered with trees. Really pretty and green!
26. My friend Sayra kept Gus and Beau for me this morning while we were at the doctor.
27. God Loves Me More Than That!!

Day 326

I’m a once a week grocery shopper.  I plan our dinners out a week at a time, make my shopping list and head to Target to restock every Tuesday.  Come Monday evening there is not a whole lot to eat around our house.  Milk is gone, fruit is gone, the kid’s snack basket is close to empty, there may be like one egg in the egg carton, and a few slices of bread- probably the heels, in the breadbox.  It’s obvious that it’s grocery shopping day.

This week when I was planning my menu and checking the pantry to see what we were out of I thought about something my mother in law posted on Facebook a few weeks ago.  She said she had been reading in Psalm 23 and thinking about how a shepherd leads his sheep.  He takes them to eat in green pastures, but when there is no more grass for them to eat, he moves them to a new pasture.

Isaiah 40:11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd;…

Jesus wants to feed and lead you in the same way a shepherd feeds and leads his sheep.  He wants to keep moving you from green pasture to green pasture, but you have to be willing to leave the pasture you are in and walk with Him into a new pasture.  We get comfortable with things the way they are and when we are comfortable it’s harder to notice that the pasture we are in isn’t cutting in anymore.  We stop moving forward in our relationship with God and the plan that He has for our life when we aren’t able to recognize when it’s time to move on.

Just because God led you to a certain pasture a few years ago, does not mean He wants you to stay there forever.  If you are down to your last egg, it’s time to move on.  I can’t go to the grocery store once in January and be set for the year.  I’ve gotta keep taking stock, keep making shopping lists, and keep making trips to Target so I can provide food for my family.

Food runs out.  The box of Raisin Bran I bought last week is gone.  It  provided nourishment , I enjoyed it, but when it was empty I threw it away and went to get another box.  Even good pastures, pastures that God led you to, pastures you enjoyed and served a purpose in your life will dry up and that’s okay, because He is a good shepherd and when the time comes to leave your comfy pasture, if you trust Him and follow Him, He’ll lead you to one that’s even better.

  1. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want!
  2. The Lord feeds me like a shepherd feeds his sheep… keeping them happy and grazing in green pastures.
  3. My very wise mother in law.
  4. Target.
  5. Started my 16th week of pregnancy!
  6. My niece Courtney texted me just what I needed this morning!
  7. My friend Julie watched Gus & Beau for me this morning so I could get a manicure/pedicure.
  8. My feet are finally ready for flip flops!
  9. The nail technician that did my pedicure was 16 weeks pregnant, just like me.  I enjoyed chatting with her about all things baby.
  10. Felt the baby flutter around a few times during my pedicure.
  11. Fun lunch with the kids at What-a-burger.
  12. Came home to a clean house!
  13. Will come home to a clean house next week after vacation!
  14. Beau was fascinated with my polished toenails.  We had to make a trip to Walgreens and get some pink polish for her toes.
  15. Beau sat so still while I painted her tiny, tiny little toe nails.
  16. Having a girl is awesome!  Really enjoyed that little moment with her today.
  17. Packing, organizing, making lists, cleaning… all things I love and all things I did this afternoon.
  18. Beau woke up from her nap in a very cuddly mood.  Loved holding her close.
  19. Great report from the doctors about my friend’s pregnancy!
  20. My hair is clean and straight again!
  21. Too worn out to cook… Cici’s $5 pizza to the rescue!
  22. Final day of Wacky Week Southlake went great.
  23. Josh got home in time to say goodnight to the kids and to see Beau’s little painted toes!
  24. Felt so good to crash on the couch and kick up my feet for a little while after a very busy day.
  25. Gus bathed himself tonight… still don’t trust him to wash all of that hair of his on his own, but I let him skip hair washing tonight and he proved he’s officially becoming a big boy!
  26. Gus spotted the “Shake It & Make It” ice cream cups at Walgreens that he saw an add on TV for and has been talking about ever since.  He can’t wait to shake it and make some ice cream with Nana & Papa in a few days.
  27. Tomorrow we leave for our family reunion at Robber’s Cave!!  Excited to start our vacation!!!

Day 325

Water balloons have changed a  lot since I was a kid.  It used to take about an hour to get 10 balloons filled and ready for war.  It was so hard to get them wrapped around the hose that we would usually loose about half of them in the filling process.

I spotted some water balloons the other day and thought my five year old, Gus, would enjoy them, so I got them.  750 of them and two nozzles that go on the hose, making filling them a cinch.  I was right, he loves them.  He thinks it’s so fun to throw them at the fence or on the porch or against his swing set and watch them explode.  He didn’t realize they were for throwing at people until his dad came outside and I told him to throw one at him.  Bad idea.  Water balloons might be easier to fill nowadays, but it seems they are harder to break.  Gus threw one at Josh and it just bounced off of him.  Josh picked it up and threw it back at Gus, but he threw it hard enough to break it, and he got him right in the back, leaving stinging and a huge red welp behind.  Gus was crying and mad all at the same time.  I thought it would make him feel better if I threw one at Josh.  So I did and keep in mind I don’t throw like a girl.  Growing up I was right in the middle of two baseball playing brothers, so I put some heat on that balloon.  Josh dodged it and it went flying straight toward my unsuspecting, sweet little two year old daughter.  And the next thing I know she is standing there, with the remains of a popped red balloon on her forehead, crying her eyes out.

My revenge backfired.  My idea to get Josh back was noble, but I didn’t execute it right.  I wanted to avenge Gus and make him feel better, but instead I ended up with two crying kids.

Romans 12:19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.

The Lord knows that things will happen in life that make us angry… righteous angry.  Someone hurts your child or someone betrays your trust or does something that you feel they need to be paid back for.  You cringe to think about them getting away with what they did and are tempted to take things into your own hands.  God gives a fair warning.  He says NEVER, no matter what, NEVER take revenge.  Never pick up a water balloon and try to hit the person that you  think deserves to get hit, because you can’t control the outcome of your actions.  More than likely you will miss and you could hurt someone else in the process.  Hand that water balloon over to God and let Him handle it.  He promises to pay them back.

Leaving revenge up to God is a matter of faith.  You have to trust that He is real, that He will defend you, and that He is fair.  God would never ask us to turn the other cheek if He had no plans to bring the person who hit us in the cheek to justice.  He doesn’t just let people off the hook when they mess with His kids.

Isaiah 33:22 For the LORD is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king. He will care for us and save us.

He makes the laws, passes the judgements, and has the final say as King.  His final say will always be in favor of you because He cares for you.  Leave it up to Him.

  1. God is my avenger.
  2. God is my judge.
  3. God is my lawgiver.
  4. God is my king!
  5. He cares for me and is always in favor of me.
  6. He will avenge us better than we could ever avenge ourselves.
  7. He is fair.
  8. Beau got over the water balloon incident pretty quick and never held it against me.
  9. The nozzle attachments for the water hose that make filling water balloons so easy.
  10. Gus asked to watch one of his baby videos this morning so we did and I enjoyed every minute of it!
  11. Gus still has the exact same laugh he did when he first started laughing.
  12. Picked up a gift card at Kroger instead of having to go to the mall.
  13. Didn’t think I was going to find blue bandanas for my team at my family reunion, but spotted some right as we were leaving Hobby Lobby.
  14. Got an extra blog written today.
  15. Peanut M&Ms.
  16. I happened to look at my gas gauge and realized I had ONE mile left to E, thankfully we were just a few seconds away from a gas station.  Pulled in with zero miles left.  It would not have been a good day to run out of gas!
  17. Josh came home with great reports from Day 2 of Wacky Week in Southlake.
  18. “Three Little Birds” 
  19. Lindsay Cochran is celebrating her 13th birthday today! Gotta be the most thoughtful 13 year old I know.
  20. Got the upstairs bathroom organized and ready for company.
  21. We worshipped our hearts out during Bible time today.  I love watching my kids sing and dance and smile about Jesus.
  22. The kids entertained themselves all evening while I made dinner and cleaned up.  I love Gus’ imagination and how Beau joins right in on whatever he’s imagining.
  23. Really yummy and fresh tasting basil chicken pasta for dinner.
  24. The smell of Basil.  It never gets old.
  25. The kids cleaned their plates and were sad when they couldn’t have seconds because we had to save some for dad… that’s a good dinner!
  26. Josh got home just in time to kiss the kids goodnight.
  27. When my husband prays for me.  I’m so blessed to have a husband who knows how to pray effective prayers.

Day 324

I love those moments when you are praying out loud and suddenly you know what you are praying isn’t coming from your own mind.  Your spirit begins to take over.  Sometimes that happens when you begin to pray in your own prayer language, one that you don’t understand, but sometimes it happens and your spirit begins to pray in your native language;  you understand what you are saying, but you know you aren’t the one coming up with it.

That happened to me the other day while I was praying with Josh.  We were praying about our future and I said, “Lord, help us to pick up on the scent that you’ve laid on the trail for us.”  While I was saying those words I could see a dog in the woods with his nose to the ground sniffing and walking, sniffing and walking, leading his handler to whatever it was they were looking for.  It was such a vivid image and I found myself thinking about it again this morning and desiring to know how a tracker dog gets so good at tracking.  I did some research and now the words and pictures God gave me have an even greater significance.

There are different types of search and rescue dogs, but the one I saw was a tracking or trailing dog.  A tracking dog works with his nose to the ground.  They are trained to follow the trail of human scent through any kind of terrain.  “These dogs are not searching, they are following.” (How Stuff Works, Julia Layton)  In other words, they start where the person whose scent needs to followed was last seen, they are given an article of clothing or something containing the person’s scent and then they go to work.

When I read those words this morning, “they are not searching, they are following” I thought of this scripture.

Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

As children of God we should never be searching, but following… following the Spirit of God wherever He takes us.  He desires to lead us.  He wants us to be able to pick up on his distinct scent and follow after it and only it.  To not be distracted by other scents that will inevitably cross our paths.

Interesting too, that the tracking dog has to start at the last place the person they are tracking was seen.  I know for me when I feel like I am stuck or going in circles, it’s always best to go back and think about the last thing I heard from God.  To think about the last step He led me with and make sure that I’ve completed that step before trying to go on to the next one.  Where was the Holy Spirit last seen in your life?  If you feel you’ve lost His scent, go back and pick it up again.

Search and rescue dogs spend approximately 600 hours in training before they are ready to go pro, but the training process is not grueling for them, it’s more like fun and games with lots of rewards.  A dog training to find people who have been buried in snow for instance, watches from a distance as his handler falls into a snowy ditch and then is realeased to search for him.  When he finds his handler he is rewarded with his favorite game- tug of war.

Being led by the spirit requires training too, training that comes with rewards.  Hebrews 11:6 says that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  If He leads you to do something and you do it, a reward will be attached to it.

I think about my father in law, Ken Blount, and the time that God led him to help Willie George start a Christian T.V. show for kids.  He was told upfront that there was no money to pay him a salary with, but Willie believed if he came, so would the salary.  He knew it was what God wanted him to do.  So he left a good paying job in Texas, took a huge step of faith, and moved his family to Tulsa.  The Gospel Bill Show was born.  He was led by the spirit and he is still reaping the rewards from that as well as his children and grandchildren.

God has a scent, a scent that you can train yourself to pick up on, follow, and receive your reward.  Remember, you are not searching, but following.

  1. Those who are sons of God are LED by the Spirit of God.
  2. God’s got a specific scent He’s placed along a specific trail to lead us into His good and specific plan for our lives.
  3. The more we practice being led the better we get at it.
  4. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
  5. I really enjoyed reading about search and rescue dogs today… what amazing animals!
  6. My father in law picked up on a scent, followed it, and God rewarded him.
  7. When God speaks in pictures like the one He gave me of the dog.  I love having something to visualize like that.
  8. Good school time with Gussy.  He’s doing so good and I love playing teacher.
  9. After a week of phone tag, I finally got to talk to my new friend Linda.  I’m so excited about building a relationship with such an amazing lady.
  10. Set the kids up outside with their kiddy pool and popsicles and I got to talk on the phone uninterrupted while I watched them through the window.
  11. Taught Gus how to use his new Iron Man fishing pool.  He’s a natural.  He’s so excited about the possibility of catching a real fish at Robber’s Cave this weekend.
  12. Got my car detailed.  It is squeaky clean!  No goldfish crumbs, empty capri sun pouches, or water bottle lids to be found!
  13. The car detail took a ridiculously long time… TWO hours!  But Gus & Beau were little troopers.  I was more put out about it than they were.
  14. Free fountain drinks at the car wash.
  15. thecolor.com – online coloring pages that entertained the kids for one of the hours while we were waiting.
  16. Mac computers!!!  The computers in the waiting room were PCs and they made me appreciate my Mac more than ever before.
  17. Beau was able to watch a whole episode of “Team Umizoomi” on my iPhone.  Technology was really helpful for those  two hours of my life.
  18. No time to make dinner so we opted for Peanut Butter & Banana sandwiches and everyone enjoyed them.
  19. The kiddy pool water was nice and warmed by the sun when we got home and the kids spent all evening playing in it.
  20. Dinner on the patio.
  21. 1,800 kids at Wacky Week in Southlake today!  So glad everything went smoothly.
  22. Put Beau to bed and could hear her singing “Ring Around The Rosie” to herself for a few minutes before she fell asleep.
  23. Extra good episode of 24 tonight!
  24. Finished my water intake early today so I didn’t have to chug a whole bottle right before bed.
  25. Barnes & Noble.  Read that hundreds of their store are closing and that they company is on it’s last leg.  I sure hope not.  I love that store and so do my kids!
  26. Real books!  I’ll always opt for a nice hardback children’s book over an ebook as long as they are available.
  27. Two weeks ago Beau started stuttering… similar to what Gus did when he was his age.  It was really bad for a few days, but we have been speaking and trusting God’s word over her and she is doing great!

Day 323

Last week we got a new cable provider and while they were installing the cable they changed some stuff on our phone lines too.  Our phone lines are supposed to be connected to our security system and they must have been disconnected, because now our alarm pad flashes the letters F.C.  Failure to communicate.  We can still set the alarm and it will still go off if a door or window has been opened, but we will be the only ones who know about it.  Because of whatever happened during the cable set up, the alarm monitoring company will not receive a phone call to alert them that our alarm has been set off, thus they will not be able to contact the police of fire department for us.  I should probably get that fixed soon.

In my quiet time this morning I was thinking about how important communication is and asking God to show me how I could improve my communication with Him and He led me to Numbers 20 to the story where Moses gets banned from the Promised Land.

The Israelites were completely out of water.  They had been completely out of water before and the last time it happened God had Moses hit a rock with his staff and water came out of the rock, but this time God communicated to Moses to do it like this,

“Take the staff,  and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water.  You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”

Similar but different.  This time he was to take his staff, but he wasn’t supposed to hit the rock with it, he was supposed to speak to the rock.  Moses was in a bit of a bad mood and completely tired of being in the wilderness with the most ungrateful group of people ever, but he knew God wanted them to have water, so he obeyed… kind of.

He took his staff.  He went to the rock.  And then he hit the rock with his staff two times.  He said nothing to the rock, instead he griped at the Israelites, but the water still came forth.  He probably didn’t even realize that he had messed up the instructions that God gave him, but God did.

“Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy  in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

Ouch!  That had to hurt, but Moses didn’t argue.  He knew God was right.  The whole way he went about that assignment was dishonoring to the Lord.  God communicated to Him very clearly exactly what he wanted him to do, but Moses didn’t listen.  Failure to communicate.

God wants leaders in place that know how to communicate with Him.  People who not only spend time talking with God, but spend time listening to God and honoring what they hear Him say.  Failure to communicate effectively with God will keep you from getting to your promised land.

So many of us are walking around like my alarm system, flashing the letters F.C.  We sound like we are functioning properly… we pray in the morning and with our kids at night and we even pray for our food at restaurants, BUT it’s all one way.  The phone wire has been disconnected and we aren’t communicating with our monitoring service.  We aren’t hearing from the one we need to hear from.  The whole point of being in a relationship with God is being in a relationship with God; a relationship where you communicate with Him and He communicates with you!

It’s hard to sit and listen, just like it’s hard for me to find a good time to call my alarm company so they can come out and fix the problem, but I know I gotta do it and I know it will be worth it.  Hear what God wants to say to you today and listen closely so He can fulfill His promises to you.

  1. God wants to communicate with us.
  2. When we listen to God and obey God we will see His promises fulfilled.
  3. We can have a real relationship with the creator of the universe.
  4. Our alarm system.
  5. By 7:30 a.m. I had finished by quiet time, made my grocery list, and made eggs and toast for breakfast.
  6. Josh got the trash out just a few seconds before the trash truck came to collect.
  7. Mobile check deposits.  So handy!
  8. Enjoyed our play date with the Schlegel’s this morning.
  9. Full pantry and fridge.
  10. Power nap to help me recover from grocery shopping.
  11. I remembered to buy kitchen trash bags!  I’ve been using huge lawn bags the past two weeks.
  12. Gus spent all afternoon coloring quietly.
  13. Josh home in time for dinner.
  14. Taco night.
  15. Yummy guacamole.
  16. Listening to Gus talk about all he learned about baseball at the game he and Josh went to last week.  He knows his stuff.
  17. Nice night in the shaded backyard.
  18. Josh & Gus got to play some baseball.
  19. Beau got to play at the water table.
  20. I got to sit in a patio chair and watch my sweet little family enjoy life!
  21. Locust sounds.
  22. Popsicles to help make Gus’ busted lip feel better.  Pitcher is a dangerous position to play when dad is batting.
  23. Found my missing check card.
  24. My sister Mindy and bother in law Tommy are celebrating 18 years of marriage!
  25. Beau let me hold her and sing “How Great Is Our God” with her before bed.
  26. I am on track to have a completely cleared desk, inbox, and voice mailbox when I leave for vacation on Friday.  Feels so nice being so caught up.
  27. My Dyson vacuum.

Day 322

1 Corinthians 9:26 (NLT) … I am not just shadowboxing.

Shadowbox –  to box with an imaginary opponent especially as a form of training.

Wii Boxing is a favorite game around our house.  My five year old Gus will take off his shirt and play until he’s worked himself into a sweat.  He faces each imaginary opponent with crazy amounts of intensity.  He starts throwing punches into the air as soon as the match starts and he doesn’t stop until the match is over.  It’s pretty entertaining to watch.  His form is terrible, but it doesn’t really matter because the guy he’s up against isn’t real and neither is the Mii he created to represent himself.  It’s  an imaginary fight… more for fun than for anything else… except maybe a good elbow workout.

The fight Paul was in was not imaginary.  He wasn’t up against someone who didn’t really exist.  He wasn’t throwing punches into the air.  He wasn’t just putting on a show.  He wasn’t just shadowboxing.

He was up against a very real opponent, the same opponent we are all up against.  Satan.  Weather you want to believe it or not, he’s real, and we are living in his world as of this moment.  The good news is Satan has already been defeated.  Jesus took the fight against Him and won.  Sin has no power over us, death has been defeated and we have been given authority to overcome all of the power of the enemy.  Yet, we are still in a fight.  We have to contend for the victory that Jesus won for us.

We are not called to shadowbox.  We need to be taking real shots at our real enemy.  We can’t afford to stay in training mode forever, we have to start actually hitting something other than air… using something other than our fists.  We gotta fight this fight with everything in us using God’s word as our weapon.

Isaiah 55:11 (NLT) It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

The word of God is powerful and sharper than any two edged sword.  It packs a punch-  a real punch, a punch that will knock the enemy off of his feet.

After we delivered our son stillborn last year I was devastated, but more determined than ever to take aim at the enemy and beat the daylights out of him everyday with the word of God.  I threw real punches directed right at him and the fear, doubt, sadness, confusion, and darkness that he was trying to take me down with.  He’s resilient.  He would get back up and try again, but as long as I kept telling him what God said he had to flee.  He became more and more worn down and it became harder and harder for him to stand.

Whatever you find yourself up against today- infertility, loss, fear, sickness, discouragement, stress… realize that the enemy behind what you are up against is real, and to take out a real enemy you need to throw real punches.  Don’t just throw some positive words up, say a little half hearted prayer or gripe about what’s going on- you’ll be wasting your energy punching the air.  You need to fill your heart and mind with God’s word and strike some serious blows against him.  Real, hard, perfectly aimed, forthright, and intentional blows that leave you standing in the center ring, Jesus holding up your glove, Satan T.K.O.’ed.

  1. God’s word never returns void, but accomplishes the purpose for which it was sent!
  2. Sin has no hold on me.
  3. Death has no sting.
  4. All authority to be victorious against our enemy has been given to us.
  5. “Love Is War” by Hillsong United.
  6. Wii Boxing!
  7. Heard some old hymns on the way to church this morning… the kind my Grandpa Wagner liked.  Made me smile thinking about him singing in heaven.
  8. Nice Sunday afternoon nap.
  9. Great day for swimming at the pool.
  10. The amount of entertainment a pool noodle from the dollar store provided Gus today.
  11. The kid’s little tan lines.
  12. The elaborate list of games my dad has come up with to play at our family reunion this weekend.  Him and my mom always makes things fun and special.
  13. In one week Josh & I will be enjoying 75 degree weather, palm trees, shopping, and spontaneity!
  14. Tasty fish taco for lunch.
  15. My hard working husband pulled a 12 hour day today!  Man, I appreciate him!
  16. When Beau smiles with her tongue out.
  17. Left overs for dinner.
  18. Chili’s chips and salsa to go.
  19. The cute little puppies that kept the kids entertained while we were waiting on our chips.
  20. Driving around to some Little Praise Party with Beau singing and doing motions in the back seat.
  21. Pony tail holders.  I’m going to need lots of them the next few days since I decided to be lazy and not dry my hair tonight.
  22. Josh got home just in time to tell Gus goodnight and tuck him in bed.
  23. Food Network Star night with Josh!
  24. Sweet message from a 10kreasons reader.
  25. “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”  Beau chooses it every night for one of her bedtime books.
  26. Got a response to an e-mail I sent to someone a while ago that I figured had been forgotten!  Made my night!
  27. I read the baby can now hear voices in the womb.  I shared that with Gus & Beau and they had to talk to my tummy tonight before bed.  This little baby is already so loved!

Day 321

Yesterday, I wrote about Daniel’s do or die dream interpretation for King Nebuchadnezzar.  If he could correctly tell the king exactly what he dreamed and exactly what it meant he would live to see another day, if not, off with his head.  Daniel asked the king for some time to figure this out and during that time he prayed, but he did not pray alone.

Daniel 2:17-18 Then Daniel went home and told his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah what had happened.  He urged them to ask the God of heaven to show them his mercy by telling them the secret, so they would not be executed along with the other wise men of Babylon. 

Daniel recruited his friends, more commonly referred to by their Babylonian names, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, to join him in prayer.  He didn’t suggest the idea to them, but passionately urged them to ask God to help him.  What he was about to do was serious business and he wanted these friends to go to war with him until he received the answer to his request from God.

I was reading over that part of the story yesterday when God stopped me and talked to me about how important is it to have praying friends.  To have a small, close group of people that you can go to and urge them to pray with you when you need God to move.  I have friends that I know pray for me, but I’m not always great at sharing my prayer requests.  I am not one to call up a friend and let them know about things going on in our personal life that we could use prayer about.   I pray with my husband of course, but God showed me that as a couple, we need to be better about sharing our prayer needs with our closest friends so they can be doing battle with us.

“Praying friends are valuable friends; and it well becomes the greatest and best men to desire the prayers of others.  Let us show that we value our friends, and their prayers.”  Well said, Matthew Henry!  Well said.

A true friend will not be offended if you ask them to pray with you about something, they will be honored.  They will know that you truly value their friendship and their prayers.  When someone asks me to pray with them about something specific going on in their world, I never think less of them as a person, instead I feel closer to them and am impressed that they are able to say, “I could use some help, will you pray with me?”  To ask others to pray for you is to lay down your pride and realize that you can’t cover it all on your own.

It’s a wonderful thing to desire the prayers of others.  I’m praying for God to show me 3 close friends, the kind of friends that Daniel had, that I can share urgent prayer requests with.  I know I can do a lot when I pray alone, but I know I can do more when I pray with friends.

  1. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
  2. Daniel mentioned his 3 friends and how he employed them for prayer.
  3. God mentioned to me how big of deal it is to desire the prayers of others.
  4. We have a good group of family and friends to choose 3 prayer partners from.
  5. My new eye shadow primer.  Shadow Insurance.  Works great!
  6. Josh let me sleep in again!
  7. Woke up to a Beau modeling her new Jessie PJs.
  8. Gus and Beau played together in perfect harmony all day.  Yay!
  9. Bills paid!
  10. Upstairs office cleaned and organized.
  11. My E.O.B. that showed me what I would have had to pay for pregnancy blood work if I didn’t have good health insurance!
  12. Chicken pot pie for dinner.
  13. Pillsbury pie crusts.  Target was out so I went with another brand… never again.
  14. Mandolin veggie slicer.
  15. Hearing Gus laugh at his Lego Batman movie while I made dinner.
  16. Early to church and even had time to iron the kid’s clothes before we left.
  17. Horses, cows, and huge corn fields on our drive to church.
  18. Wild Sunflowers!  They are so pretty and all over the place right now.
  19. Gus found all kinds of clouds in the sky that he said Jesus made shaped like things he likes.
  20. Josh got a great picture of the kids posing in their Ninja Turtle costumes.  I love being able to capture their awesomeness on camera.
  21. Instagram.
  22. “Great Great God” +”O The Blood Of Jesus” at church tonight = powerful.
  23. Dave Ramsey taught week one of  Financial Peace University at Gateway tonight and he will be teaching the rest over the next four weeks!
  24. I’ve heard a lot of Dave Ramsey’s principles and practice a lot of them, but I’ve never heard him teach.  I loved how much he talked about God’s word and can’t wait to implement what we are learning.  He was awesome.
  25. Kids had a great night at church too!
  26. Every meeting that I have been needing to confirm for work has been confirmed!  Productive night!
  27. Leftover baseball peanuts.  Why are they so much better when you have to crack them open?

Day 320

Daniel 2:5-6 The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “My decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made an ash heap.  However, if you tell the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts, rewards, and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation.

Talk about a stressful job.  King Nebuchadnezzar wants his dream interpreted and if the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans he’s brought in can’t do that, they will be cut in pieces and their houses will be burned to the ground.  I can’t imagine the amount of pressure these people must have been under.  I’m sure some of them were thinking okay if I can just come up with the most creative interpretation I’ll be fine, but then Nebuchadnezzar realizes that someone might be tempted to do just that so he decides to up the ante.  He commands them to tell him not only the interpretation of his dream, but what his dream was!  No way someone could make that up!

The men he brought in told him that was impossible and he had them all killed and commanded all of the other “wise men” who weren’t present be killed.  Daniel was one of those wise men and he didn’t feel like His time on earth was up yet, so He bravely asked the King to give him some time so he could try to interpret the dream.  The King agreed.  God revealed Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to Daniel in a night vision and God totally blew Nebuchadnezzar’s mind as Daniel described his dream word for word and interpreted each part.

There are Daniel’s words to God after God answered his prayer and gave him the night vision of the dream that saved his life.

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.
He reveals deep and secret things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him.

“I thank You and praise You,
O God of my fathers;
You have given me wisdom and might,
And have now made known to me what we asked of You,
For You have made known to us the king’s demand.”

It’s unlikely that you’ve even been in a situation like the one Daniel found himself in, but I’m sure you have gone through or will go through a time when the heat is on!  You have a decision to make and you feel like your future depends on it.  You need God to speak.  You need Him to illuminate the answer for you.  You need to know where to go from here and how to get there.  Your life may not literally depend on the decision you need to make, but it’s a big deal for you and your family.  You are to quote Queen, “under pressure.”

Take a deep breath and realize that the same God who showed Daniel exactly what he needed to see will help you see what you need to see in order to make the right decision.  Go to God like Daniel did and expect an answer… an answer you can stake your life on.  He will make Daniel’s words, your words.  You will be the one saying “I thank you and praise you, O God; You have given me wisdom and might, and have made known to me what I asked of you.”

  1. Wisdom is His!
  2. Might is His!
  3. He gives wisdom and knowledge.
  4. He revels secret things.
  5. Light dwells with Him!
  6. The same God who showed Daniel what he needed to see can show us the things we need to see.
  7. Josh sent me Daniel’s prayer a few mornings ago.  What great verses to confess every day.
  8. Monsters University day!
  9. Beau did great for her very first time at the big show.  She sat still the whole time.
  10. We know the ropes a lot better now than we did when we took Gus to his first movie.  I felt very prepared with my little popcorn cups for each of the kids, their own snack boxes, sippy cups from home.  Went very smooth.
  11. Mike & Sully mouth suckers lasted the kids almost the whole movie.
  12. My huge purse.  We can get a lot snacks in that thing and save a lot of money.
  13. We all really enjoyed the movie.  Thank you Pixar for another great one!
  14. Got a Gus & Beau guide prepared for Aunt Brookie and Nana & Papa since they will be taking care of them while we are in Santa Barbara!  I know we’ll miss them, but I’m excited for 4 nights just me and Josh!
  15. Laundry caught up!
  16. Soaked up some sun and watched the kids play in their kiddie pool all afternoon.
  17. Surprised Gus with a Bane Lego mini figure to go with his Batman.  He was elated!
  18. Josh spent a lot of his afternoon mowing the front and back yard which had turned into a jungle.  Really, really glad I’m not the one who has to mow.
  19. Josh was able to fix our weed eater instead of having to buy a new one.
  20. Breakfast for dinner.
  21. Wheel Of Fortune.
  22. Beau told me she loved me all the way to sky.
  23. Good prayer time with Josh.
  24. When you are praying and you know God is giving you the words.  He said some good stuff tonight!
  25. Good conversation with Josh.
  26. Date night at home with Josh.
  27. Sweet Zoe is celebrating her 4th birthday!!  I still remember the happy day we found out her mom was pregnant with her!