Day 355

Here is another question from a 10kreasons reader that I have been meaning to answer for months but just haven’t had a chance to.

“I enjoy waking up to read your blog and am always like, I want that. I want the knowledge and understanding of these scriptures like you have.  I have to ask what are you doing differently? I’m reading through the whole bible with my church. So I am reading it, but it’s like reading a foreign language so it never really clicks for me. Any advice would be very much appreciated.”

I’ve totally been there before.  I have always been a good Christian girl that reads her Bible and has scriptures memorized and there were even certain scriptures and passages in the Bible that I had some great revelation on, but before I started to read and study to write for this blog the Bible was mostly just the book I read every night before bed because I knew it was good for me.

I would highlight favorite scriptures, but I never went beyond that.  A highlighted scripture is great and all, but what I’ve learned over the past year is that if I want that scripture to stand out in my life and not just on the pages of my Bible I have to meditate on it and to do that I had to change my whole Bible reading routine.  Instead of reading at night when I was absolutely exhausted I started to get up and read in the morning.

I set my alarm for 6:00 a.m. to ensure myself plenty of time to get in the word before my two early risers wake up and when it goes off I pour myself some orange juice, spend some time in worship, some time in prayer and then I ask God to speak to me as I open up His word.  I usually read and study for 30 minutes.  I don’t follow a Bible reading plan, because I don’t feel like I absorb as much when I am trying to read a certain number of chapters each day, I simply rely on the spirt of God to lead me to a chapter, a book, a story, or a verse that He would like to share with me that day.  If you are quiet for a few minutes you will usually hear a still small voice showing you where to get started.  For instance, you might think of the word “angels” and then you can spend your morning looking up scriptures about angels.  Or you may think about a verse you saw someone post on Facebook and feel led to study that.  I just read wherever the spirit takes me.

Once I begin to read if a verse stands out to me I dig into it.  I use the Blue Letter Bible app, which is free to download on your tablet or smart phone, to do my digging.  Within the app you can type in a scripture reference and then find commentaries on that scripture, find other scriptures that relate to it, compare it in several different translations, look up the original Greek and Hebrew word meanings in the concordance, and get Biblical definitions of the words in the verse.  It is an awesome all in one study tool!  I also love, where you can search your scripture reference and view more commentaries and related scriptures.

After my 30 minutes is up that doesn’t mean that my time meditating on what I’ve studied is up.  I continue to think on it and let it roll around in my head for the rest of the day.  I chew on it and chew on it and chew on it until I get revelation of it.  God will show me a picture or use my kids or something that happens in my day to reveal His word in a way so that I will always remember it.  Revelation you get for yourself is always more memorable than revelation you get from a pastor, teacher, friend, or writer, because you have to put more work into getting that revelation.

Once I receive a revelation and I get what God wanted me to get I write it down.  I have retained so much more of what I’ve studied over the last year than I have in all of the other years I’ve ever studied combined and I know it’s because I took time to write about it.  Get a notebook or open up a word doc and put to paper what God put in your heart.  Also, share what God reveled to you with someone else.  Your kids, your small group, your spouse, a friend, your mom, or whoever will listen.  Explaining to someone else what God has explained to you will also help that revelation and understanding to stick.  You may get even more revelation as you are explaining it.

Most importantly, you just gotta practice.

Hebrews 5:13–14 (VOICE) No one who lives on milk alone can know the ins and outs of what it means to be righteous and pursue justice; that’s because he is only a baby.  But solid food is for those who have come of age, for those who have learned through practice to distinguish good from evil.

“Milk is what you get from someone else, like a baby from its mother. Meat is what you get when you hunt.” – Bill Johnson

If you want to get some meat when you study the scriptures, you’ve gotta commit to the hunt and when you commit to the hunt God will begin to open the eyes of your understanding like never before.  The Bible will become your favorite book instead of one that seems like it’s written in a foreign language.

  1. The Bible is full of good meat!
  2. When we commit to the hunt God opens the eyes of our understanding.
  3. Blue Letter Bible app.
  6. You Version app
  7. David Guzik, Matthew Henry, Gills Exposition, Jamieson-Fausset-Brown, Vines, Spurgeon.  Learned so much by reading commentaries and sermons from those great resources.
  8. I’ve learned how to chew and chew and chew until I get revelation.
  9. I have all that God showed me over the last year in writing and will be able reference back to it for the rest of my life and I can share it with my kids and grandkids.
  10. Awesome, rainy, and sleepy sabbath day morning.
  11. The kids had so much fun playing with Josh in the tent that he built them.  He is a way better tent builder than I am.
  12. Loved just being at home and being lazy and letting the kids play and make a huge mess with tons of their toys while I watched from the couch.
  13. Listed some items I’ve been wanting to list on e-bay this afternoon.
  14. Took a great nap on the couch.
  15. I can sleep hard!  Josh said I slept through all kinds of army men noises coming from Gus who was playing just a few inches away from me.
  16. “Turbo” movie afternoon!  Super cute movie.  Both of the kids loved it.
  17. Beau has become a movie going pro this summer.  She’s been to 4 already and she’s done great at all of them.
  18. Good batch of Sour Patch Kids!
  19. 40% off sale items at Gap.
  20. Found a perfect “little sunshine” onesie for Sunny!  It’s going in the hospital bag for sure.  Can’t wait to see her in it.
  21. Got a cute new maternity shirt!
  22. Got Beau and Sunny some great little shorts for next summer and they were super, super cheap.
  23. Beau will just bust some moves in the middle of a store if a good song comes on.  “Moves Like Jagger” was doing it for her while we were at The Gap.
  24. PB&Js for dinner courtesy of Josh.
  25. The strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries we got at the grocery store this week are extra delicious.
  26. “Heavy Weights” movie night with Josh.  I loved that movie when I was 10 and it was still pretty awesome at 28.
  27. Stayed up late to spend some more time hanging out with my very favorite.  Making the most of the short weekend!

Day 353

An important part of eating healthy is portion control.  If you are trying to lose or maintain your weight it’s going to be much easier if you are aware of how big a serving size is and how many calories are in that serving size.  You’ll have way more success if you snack on a pre portioned 100 calorie packs of chips instead of eating directly out of a family sized bag.  People have made big bucks on portion control plates, which have specifically marked spots for fruits and vegetables, starches, and protein.  Each spot on the plate follows the My Pyramid serving size guidelines.  Fast food restaurants however, have made big bucks serving combo meals that don’t follow those guidelines at all.  Just the other day I ordered medium french fries from Wendy’s and could not believe how large they were.  They seemed super sized to me, or I guess at Wendy’s it’s would be referred to as “biggie sized”, so I shared them with my husband. I’m sure much of the weight problem facing our country today can be traced back to portion distortion!

Deuteronomy 32:9 (AMP) For the Lord’s portion is His people;…

We are the Lord’s portion.  We are His inheritance.  We are the one thing in this fallen world that has been redeemed, nothing else is worthy enough to be His portion, and we wouldn’t be either except by the shed blood of Jesus Christ that washed us white as snow!  He could have made gold his portion or diamonds, or angels, but what He has His heart set on are the human beings He created in His image.

What an honor, a privilege, and a big responsibility it is to be the creator of the universe’s portion!  It’s important to be mindful of that truth, because if we aren’t we will suffer from portion distortion.

When it comes to portions of food, it’s better to go with a small size instead of a super size, but when it comes to God’s portion of us it’s always better to super size.  He wants more than just a palm sized portion of His portion!  He wants more than a few servings of you a week.  He’s not interested in sharing a spot with other people or things in your heart.  He’s doesn’t want you to structure your spiritual life with a portion control plate that tells you if you pray twice a day, go to church once a week, and pay your tithes every two weeks that He will be satisfied.   He wants ALL of you for ALL of your life.

Luke 10:27 …You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind…

Your love for Jesus should not be controlled!  You can never give Him too much of you!  He chose you as His portion, because He cares about and loves you more than anything else in all of creation.  He set you apart for His reward so indulge Him everyday by living your life to bring Him glory.  Throw portion control out the window!  Strive for more of God in your life, and strive to give Him more of you!

  1. For the Lord’s portion is His people… I am His portion!
  2. I have been redeemed and made worthy to be the Lord’s portion.  Thank you Jesus!
  3. HE can’t get enough of ME!
  4. He is my portion!
  5. Family breakfast at McDonalds.
  6. The cooler overcast morning.
  7. Beau was so excited to get to spend some time with her daddy.
  8. Gus & Beau made some new friends and played Ninja Turtles with them in the play place until it was time to go home.
  9. The upstairs shower.  I feel like I’m at a hotel when I use it.
  10. Really bad storms blew threw Tulsa yesterday and a huge tree came down on my oldest sister’s house.  So thankful she was protected.
  11. Reading our latest Highlights magazine this morning with Gus on one side, Beau on the other, Sunny in the middle.
  12. Got an extra blog written this afternoon.
  13. Gus looked so cute in his big blue Wacky Week shirt.
  14. Wacky Week day 2 was even better than the first day.  He had so much fun and wasn’t as overwhelmed with all the awesome activities.
  15. I got to sit in on the service and it was powerful.
  16. Got to see the David & Goliath cartoon that Josh wrote.  It was so great!
  17. Pastor Josh Hall’s testimony about how God healed his arm when he was little.  Couldn’t wait to share that with Gus.
  18. Hundreds of little voices singing “Whom Shall I Fear.”  I could not hold back the tears.
  19. Beau sat through the service with me and did a really good job of being quiet and sitting still.
  20. Great dinner at Kenny’s with some of the children’s ministry team.
  21. Beau’s fake laugh she does when all of the adults are laughing and she doesn’t know what they are laughing at.
  22. Both of the kids were tired going into dinner and they both behaved so well.  Little troopers.
  23. My friend Jamie emailed me to let me know Gus did great today in her group at Wacky Week.  So nice to hear!
  24. My childhood friend Maria is celebrating her birthday today.  We had some fun times, took some awesome pictures together at Moto Photo, made some classic school projects together and she has one of the best laughs of anyone ever.
  25. My friends Sayra & Clint are celebrating 14 years of marriage today!
  26. Josh helped me put away all the clean clothes and vacuum the rug.
  27. Hearing Gus sing little songs that got stuck in his head today at Wacky Week.

Day 352

Take 12 junior high cheerleaders, 1 cheer mom who wants be the “cool” mom, a Friday night in Tulsa, and a trip to the grocery store after midnight and what do you get?  If you are junior high boy who happens to live nearby you get toilet papered.  You get to wake up early on Saturday morning and clean up your front yard which has been covered in the cheapest T.P. available for purchase.  Plus you get griped at by your parents for something you didn’t do!  Ahhh, the joys of being a junior high boy.  I realize now that someday my boy will be in junior hight and because I sowed bad TP-ing seed, I’m sure one morning I’ll be waking him up and telling him to get dressed, grab a trash bag, and start cleaning up after the girls at school who think he’s cute and decided to let him know with toilet paper.

In Genesis 26 Isaac is dealing with some annoying neighbors.  Much more annoying than teenage girls with rolls of 2-ply.  He had successfully harvested 100 times more grain than what he had planted and he became rich.  He was rolling in wealth, sheep, and cattle.  The Philistines that lived nearby were jealous of him and his success, they wanted to do something to mess with him.  They didn’t put pink flamingos in his yard or throw eggs at his tent, instead they filled all of his wells with dirt.  This was a pretty big offense.  Wells produced clean drinking water and without clean drinking water Isaac could not survive.  If that wasn’t enough to spoil Isaac’s Saturday morning the Philistine king told Isaac he needed to move, to go somewhere else, because he had become too wealthy and too powerful.

So Isaac packed up all of his wealth, sheep and cattle and moved to a valley and the first thing he had his servants do was dig wells.  They found a great fresh water spring while they were digging that they were pretty excited about, but some shepherds that lived nearby claimed it for themselves.  They argued over it with Isaac’s servants until they won.  Isaac named the well, argument and moved on.

The servants dug another well, and they got into another argument.  Isaac named that well, hostility.  He was not having a whole lot of luck with this well thing.  Finally, in Genesis 26:22 he get it’s right.

Abandoning that one, Isaac moved on and dug another well. This time there was no dispute over it, so Isaac named the place Rehoboth (which means “open space”), for he said, “At last theLord has created enough space for us to prosper in this land.”

Isaac had to move on.  He had to leave behind arguing and hostility to get to the wide open spaces that God had set aside for him to prosper in.  If the shepherds had not opposed Isaac and argued with him about the first well, he probably would have tried to settle there, but it wasn’t where God wanted him to settle.  Again, with the second well.  If he wouldn’t have faced any hostility he would have had no reason to move on.

After the “open space” well had been dug Isaac settled in Beersheba and the Lord appeared to him and let him know that He was with him and that He would bless him.  And He did.  More and more wells were added to Isaac because God provided, just as He had promised.

God used conflict and hostility to get Isaac where he needed to be, and He will do the same for us.  He wants every situation in our lives to be a win-win.  He will take a hostile situation and use it to get you to move on so you can be right smack dab in the middle of His will.  Don’t let confrontation do what what the devil designed it to do- discourage you, get you off track, or get you to give up- let it do the opposite.  Let it inspire you to move forward into a wide open space where you and your family can prosper like never before.

  1. God will use arguments and hostility to move us into open spaces!
  2. Studying this today made me think about how many times God has used conflict to move our family forward.
  3. God was with Isaac and promised to bless Him, God is with us and has promised to bless us!
  4. My mom never tried to be the “cool” mom.
  5. Slept great last night.
  6. Got to get back in bed in cuddle with Josh for a few minutes before the kids came and took over.
  7. Gus got to go to Wacky Week, our churches incredible version of VBS, for the first time today.
  8. The church was completely decked out in awesome candy decorations.  Very impressive!
  9. All of the volunteers that served today.  No way we could do an event like this without lots of helpers.
  10. Got to chat with lots of great ladies today in between dropping off and picking up the kids.
  11. I got to take a little nap today while Beau was napping.
  12. Beau felt like she got to be apart of Wacky Week because she got to walk around and see all the cool decorations.  Her mind was blown!
  13. Gus had an overwhelming, yet fun first day.  I loved hearing him talk about what songs they sang and that he learned about praying.
  14. My friend Sayra was there looking out for Gussy and he got to be in the group as his best buddy Alex!
  15. He got a new Wacky Week shirt that he can’t wait to wear tomorrow.  He wanted to sleep in it tonight.
  16. Josh helped Gus win a prize from the claw machine.  It totally made his day.
  17. The claw picked up two toys, so Beau got a little stuffed toy too!
  18. Hot & Ready Little Caesars for dinner.  Too hot to cook!
  19. Pastor Jan sent me some contact info so after the blog is finished I can get in touch with someone who can guide me down the path to writing a book!
  20. Our back yard is perfectly shaded by the house so the kids can play after dinner without it being unbearable.
  21. The option to send them outside and let them run wild, knowing they are safe and fenced in.
  22. My husband looks cute in skinny jeans.
  23. Gus wrote a new praise song.  “Jesus Will Help You!”  I love when he tells me he’s got a new song.
  24. My FB friend Krista had her little boy Gabriel today!
  25. Josh got home just in time to kiss the kids and tuck them in for the night.
  26. Pastor Jim Jarman.  He is one of the nicest people on the planet.
  27. Rainier cherries.

Day 351

This morning I read that a 78 year old man has been sleeping on a bench outside of St. Mary’s hospital for the past 12 nights in hopes that he can be at the front door when the duke and duchess come out with their new baby, Britain’s future monarch and head of state, wrapped in their arms.  He would like to give them a card and even dreams about holding the royal baby.  Seems creepy to me, but to each his own I guess.

On a day like today when so many people around the world are awaiting the birth of William & Kate’s baby, I can’t help but think of the birth of Jesus and how simple and understated it was.

There was no pomp.  No ceremony.  No media coverage.  No hashtags and No stay at home moms glued to their television sets.  It was the most important moment in the history of the world and it was totally hype free.  No one even knew it was happening, except of course Mary & Joseph.

Once baby Jesus arrived and had been swaddled and put to sleep in a manger, God wanted to announce it… like a new dad who has family waiting in the waiting room after his wife delivers their baby.  He can’t wait to call them and tell them the baby is here and he’s perfect and mom is doing great and that he weighed this much and that that’s him crying in the back ground.

God wanted to call some people and tell them that His son was here.  He didn’t call ABC or NBC or Zion 7, He called some shepherds who were working the night shift.  He sent an angel to tell them this,

“Don’t be afraid!  I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.  The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”

This was something to celebrate!  This is still something to celebrate!  Not just every year in December, but every day.

Luke 2:20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

Those excited shepherds spent their lunch break going to visit the new baby and then they had to get back to work, but they didn’t just go back to work, they went back to work and began to glorify and praise God for all they had heard and seen!  They knew what the angel had told them earlier was true.  The joy bringing savior was here!  They had no idea what all Jesus would do during his time here on the earth.  They didn’t know he would heal the blind, raise the dead, cast out demons, or give his life away for them, yet they knew he was worthy to be praised, and so there among their flocks, they praised!

I wonder how many people waiting outside that hospital in London today hoping to get a glimpse of the royal baby realize that 2,000 something years ago THE royal baby was born and 33 years later He gave His life for them.  His mom wasn’t a fashion icon, his father wasn’t a former heart throb, his birth was overlooked, but he was indeed royal and he went to the cross so those who wanted to be apart of his royal family, could be.

1 Peter 2:9 (ESV) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

If Jesus is your King, you don’t have to spend your nights sleeping on a bench in hopes that you can be apart of something royal for a few seconds of your life, because God has made you part of His royal priesthood.  You are a part of a royal family that will reign throughout eternity.  Glory to God in the Highest!

  1. THE royal baby.  God’s only son who left His home in heaven and put on flesh so we could become God’s family.
  2. I am part of the royal priesthood.
  3. God had to tell someone His news that night.  How sweet that he chose the shepherds.
  4. All that the shepherds heard and saw was just as the angel said it would be.
  5. “He will bring great joy to all people!”
  6. Zion 7.  Used to love it when we got to watch those at church on Wednesday nights.
  7. Nice, hot shower to clear out my head this morning.
  8. Didn’t sleep very well last night, so we had a movie morning.  The kids watched Madagascar 2 and I slept through Madagascar 2.
  9. I felt much better after my little nap.
  10. My eye doctor had a pair of contacts to tide me over until the rest of my order arrives.
  11. I let Beau walk through the grocery store instead of riding in a car since I only had one thing to grab and she was so sweet holding my hand and talking to me about all the stuff she saw.  I don’t get the terrible twos thing… she is so fun right now!
  12. Butterfly and dinosaur shaped sandwich cutters make PB&Js way more exciting.
  13. Happy hour at Sonic and the kid’s first slushies.
  14. Got our vacuum cleaner back from the repair shop!
  15. The guy at the repair shop loaded the vacuum in the trunk for me.
  16. The kids did really great on the 30 minute drive to and from the shop.  They were content to just look out their windows and sip on their slushies.
  17. We made it safely to the shop and did not get lost!
  18. AC!  AC!  AC!  Super hot in Texas today.
  19. Yummy taco salad for dinner.
  20. The kids had so much fun running through the sprinkler together.  I loved watching them play while I cleaned up the kitchen.
  21. Beau singing “Your Love Is Deep” and doing all the motions that they do in her class at church.
  22. The kids laughing the hardest they’ve ever laughed at a book while we read “Olivia and the Missing Toy” before bed.  They were literally rolling over Olivia’s baby brother.
  23. Big day yesterday on 10kreasons.  So glad God led me to share on shame.
  24. Made $47 on e-bay this week!
  25. Gus got a sneak peak at the Wacky Week decorations.  They looked awesome.  He’s so excited about tomorrow!
  26. Two more months until the first day of fall!
  27. Sunny is going to be a fall baby!  Looking forward to having a new baby around during my favorite time of year.

Day 350

Last July when I found out the baby I was expecting in November was going to have be delivered stillborn I went through a wide range of emotions.  Shock, sadness, confusion, anger, and one I haven’t talked much about, shame.  I felt inadequate as a woman.  I wondered what was wrong with me.  How did I mess this up?

I remember experiencing the same type of shameful feelings when we were trying to get pregnant with our first born.  We tried off and on for about a year and a half and my body was just not cooperating.  It’s a bit hard to conceive when ovulation is not occurring on a regular basis.  I felt like less of a woman because I couldn’t do what women are supposed to be able to do… make babies.  Glory to God, I finally got pregnant with my sweet little boy Gus!  My confidence was back.  I no longer felt like I had a defect… until that day at the doctor’s office last year when we found out our third baby’s heart was no longer beating.

I not only felt like I had failed as a woman, but as a Christian.  I was embarrassed about having to tell people that we lost a baby.  That something terrible had happened to us.  I wondered what people would think.  I worried they might assume we had done something bad to open the door to an attack from the devil.  I didn’t want to be a smudge on God’s goodness masterpiece.  I didn’t want people to doubt Him, because things didn’t go according to plan for me.  I was ashamed.

I took a few weeks off from serving in the kid’s classes at my church and the first weekend back I was nervous that some of the parents who aren’t friends with me or my husband on Facebook and had not heard the news were going to ask about the baby.  And rightly so.  Several parents that day who had no idea what had happened, saw me and were excited that I was back and excited to hear about the new baby.  I hated having to tell them the sad news.  I felt like I was letting people down.  My very wise, very wonderful husband came by to check on me and to see how things were going and he could tell I was having a hard time.  He told me this was my chance to show people how good and gracious God has been.  He said when someone asks, tell them we lost the baby, but tell them how God is miraculously healing our hearts.  Give God more glory than the devil.

His little pep talked worked.  I felt different.  Instead of hoping no one asked me, I was hoping that if they did that I would be able to answer in a way that magnified God.  I got my focus off of myself and what I thought people may think of me and fixed it on God and what I wanted people to think of Him.

Psalm 34:5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

When I stopped looking at me and started looking at Him, shame left.  None of it’s shadows darken my face today.  I don’t feel embarrassed about what happened, I feel like sharing my story with as many people as I can, because God changed it from a sad story to a happy one, and there are people all over the world who are in the middle of their own sad story and need to know that God is a finisher and that He loves happily ever afters.

Whatever is causing you to feel ashamed- a miscarriage, unemployment, divorce, bankruptcy, an abortion, a weight problem, etc., look to Him for help.  He will cause your face to be radiant with joy, instead of darkened by shameful shadows.  Purpose to give God more glory than the devil.  Purpose to get to your happy ending.  Purpose to let God use what once caused you shame to help other people.

  1. My very wise, very wonderful husband.
  2. No shadow of shame darkens my face.
  3. I am radiant with joy!
  4. God can take what used to cause us shame and turn it around in such a way that it brings Him glory.
  5. God loves happily ever afters.
  6. I enjoy sharing my story now that I know it’s not a smudge on God’s goodness masterpiece, but that it brings out details in the masterpiece that people might have overlooked.
  7. Contact lenses.  I threw away a pair last night thinking I had one more pair I could use before ordering a new box… I was wrong!  Had to wear my glasses all day and I really, really missed my contacts.
  8. Glasses.  If I didn’t have a pair of glasses I would have not been able to go anywhere or do anything today.
  9. Got to teach the 4 year olds at church about how God can take bad things and turn them into good things.
  10. Get to serve with some of the sweetest girls every week.
  11. Our preschool team is growing!
  12. A little boy was touching my baby belly after church while I was talking to someone and I heard Beau yell at him, “You stop touching my mammas tummy!”  She’s feisty and I love it.
  13. Sunday afternoon nap.
  14. Cuddling and watching Ninja Turtles with Gussy.
  15. Chicken Express satisfied my mashed potatoes craving.
  16. Our key card to the neighborhood pool would not work so my friend Cheri told us we could use their neighborhood pool.
  17. Gus & Beau loved being at a different pool!  They had so much fun.
  18. Pretty much had the pool to ourselves.  It was very relaxing.
  19. Josh got home in time to eat dinner with us.
  20. Bubble Guppies.  My kid’s new favorite show.
  21. Sunglasses.  I really missed mine at the pool!
  22. Left overs for dinner.
  23. Beau said “ew, ew!” when she found out it was my night to read to her.
  24. Cuddling with Josh and watching some Food Network Star.
  25. Ice cream… in honor of ice cream day of course!
  26. Josh had me laughing so hard tonight I couldn’t breathe.
  27. Feeling sweet Sunny move around as I write this.

Day 349

A young girl sitting in her 8th grade English class is gazing out the window while her teacher talks about subordinate clauses.  She is present in the classroom , but her mind is elsewhere.  She’s not hearing what her teacher is saying, instead she’s thinking about the smile her crush gave her at the bus stop a few hours ago.  Her teacher calls on her and asks her to give her an example of a relative pronoun and she can’t.  She is told to get her head out of the clouds.

To have one’s head in the clouds is generally frowned upon.  People, especially teachers, don’t like it when you aren’t aware of what is going on around you because you are somewhere else in your head.  It’s much better to be “down to earth” than it is to be “in the clouds”, at least according to the world’s definition of the two phrases.  These verses makes me think differently,

Colossians 3:1-2 (NLT) Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.  Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.

According to that, the best place our heads could ever be is in the clouds!

Our physical bodies live in the world, but our minds should be set on things above.  We have been assigned to this classroom, but it’s okay for us to gaze out the window and think about the things of heaven and tune out the things of the earth.  In a spiritual sense we don’t want to be “down to earth” people.  We don’t want to live at the level that the fallen world lives at, we want our heads to be in the clouds with our risen savior.

We shouldn’t ignore the things that are happening around us- abortion, sex trafficking, violence, racism, sickness, and loads of other messed up stuff, but our minds should not be fixed on those things.  Our minds should be fixed on the One who sits at the right hand of God and the fact that He redeemed us from the curse of the law when He went to the cross and hung there for us.  He didn’t redeem us from the curse so we would sit around and be consumed by it’s effects.  It’s overwhelming to watch the 6:00 news and see all of the wickedness that takes place around us everyday, but if we set our sights on Jesus, we can walk in peace.

How can you set your sights on Jesus?  Read His word instead of the newspaper when you wake up.  Load your phone with podcasts from your favorite churches and listen to message on the way to work.  Listen to praise and worship more than you listen to sports radio or Carrie Underwood.  Spend more time talking to Him than checking your Facebook.  Go to bed reading more of His word instead of watching re runs of “King Of The Hill.”  It’s simple really, just value Him and things that draw you closer to Him more than you value the things of the world.

Isaiah 55:9 (VOICE) My thoughts and My ways are above and beyond you, just as heaven is far from your reach here on earth.

Take time today and everyday to get your head in the clouds.  Focus more on the things of heaven than you do on the things of earth, because as you know, earth will not be your assigned classroom forever!

  1. I have been raised to new life with Christ.
  2. I’m encouraged to have my head in the clouds and my sights set on Jesus.
  3. I am redeemed from the curse of the law.
  4. Earth will not be my assigned classroom forever.
  5. It’s easier than it has ever been before to have praise and worship, your bible, and church messages with you to read/listen to wherever you go.
  6. My husband gave me the idea for this blog… and God gave the idea to him while he was running a few days ago.
  7. Lazy and relaxing Saturday morning.
  8. Josh picked up more fruit for us and washed it all… and I didn’t even have to ask about either.
  9. Josh voluntarily unloaded the dishwasher and loaded it back up with all the dishes that I had piled in the sink.
  10. I stayed in my pajamas until 5 minutes before time to leave for church this afternoon.
  11. I got to listen to a great message from Trinity Fellowship in Amarillo while I did my make up.
  12. Gateway’s North Fort Worth campus got to be in their new building for the first time tonight.
  13. Sweet worship at Gateway Frisco tonight.
  14. Love seeing the kids dressed in their “church” clothes every weekend.
  15. Dave Ramsey really encouraged me to start saving more seriously for retirement and the kid’s college during his message tonight.
  16. Pastor Robert returns next weekend!
  17. Chicken bacon ranch pasta waiting on us in the crock pot when we got home from church.
  18. Left over pudding and an Oreo from the boy’s worms and dirt for my after dinner snack.
  19. Beau and Gus playing hot wheels together before bed.  Lots of “vrooming” coming from upstairs.
  20. Beau running around in just her little panties.
  21. Gus was excited about spinach pizza for lunch and side salad for dinner!  I’m glad he likes his veggies!
  22. Josh just finished Ken Burn’s War documentary and was saying he wished my grandpa was still alive to he could ask him about his time at a tail gunner in the war.  I remembered my mom gave me a DVD of an interview he did a few years before he died about his time serving.  So we watched it tonight.
  23. So sweet to hear his voice.
  24. He enlisted for the war on his 18th birthday.
  25. He talked several times in the video through tears about how God protected him while he was there.
  26. God did protect him!  And I’m hear because of that!
  27. He had on a classic Grandpa Wagner outfit for the interview.  Little cardigan and button up shirt.  Adorable.

Day 348

Wednesday, my niece Courtney sent me this text message:  “I am so thankful that your leaf never withered under the flame!”

The flame she was referring to was when I had to deliver my son still born last July.  I thought about how to reply, I knew I couldn’t take the credit.  I knew I couldn’t text back “thank you!” because it wasn’t something I did on my own.  I didn’t keep my leaf from withering, the grace of God did.  So I texted back, “And I am thankful for God’s grace!  Couldn’t have done it without Him!  Love You!!”

Psalm 84:5-7 (NLT) What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs.  The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.  They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.

The strength I had to stand up and recover from such a devestating blow came from the Lord.  I knew there was no getting through my valley of weeping without Him, so I set my eyes on His eyes and my heart on His heart, and before I knew it that valley of weeping was transformed into a place of refreshing springs.  A place where my leaf not only avoided withering, but was watered and grew bigger and healthier than ever before.

In 2011 Disney came out with a new Winnie The Pooh movie, that was an absolute treat from start to finish; even the short, “The Ballad Of Nessie” that played before the actual movie started was superb!  Nessie was a sweet monster who lived in a small pond that was just the right size for her and her little rubber ducky.  One day their pond was taken over and turned into a miniature golf course.  Nessie was left homeless.  She searched everywhere for a new place to live, but all of the other ponds were already occupied.  She felt hopeless.  She sat down and began to cry.  She cried and cried and cried, until she had no more tears to cry.  When she opened her eyes she saw her rubber ducky bobbing up in down in water.  Her tears had filled the land around her and a great loch had formed.  Nessie’s weeping had turned into a place of refreshing springs, a new home for her and ducky.  The lesson she learned that day was “Don’t ever be afraid to cry.  It really is okay.  Sometimes it’s through our tears, we find a better way.”

When you walk through the Valley of Weeping, set your eyes and heart on the Lord and he will turn your valley into a refreshing spring.  He will give you the strength you need to get up and get through and cause you to grow stronger along the way.  He’ll do what only He can do, turn something heartbreaking into something that revitalizes you.

When God is in you and before you, your leaf will not wither.  His grace is more than enough.

  1. God turned my valley of weeping into a place of refreshing springs.
  2. My leaf did not wither, but grew stronger and healthier.
  3. God’s more than enough grace.
  4. We go from strength to strength.
  5. Sweet Courtney!
  6. Psalm 1:1-3
  7. “The Ballad of Nessie” what a sweet little short.  One that I’ll never watch again without thinking about how God turned my tears into something refreshing.
  8. Winnie The Pooh.  I have always loved that silly old bear.
  9. Got to sleep in this morning.
  10. My wake up call was two little Jedi’s coming in to show me their light saber moves.
  11. My eye doctor appointment was only $10!  I thought it was going to be more like $100!
  12. I left for my appointment without my glasses but wasn’t very far from the house before realizing it.  I’m so glad I went back to get them or  I would have been waiting in the waiting room for 45 minutes without being able to see, since they had me take my contacts out right when I got there.
  13. My appointment took way longer than I thought, but when I got home Josh was already fixing the kids lunch and taking care of business!
  14. Free trial contacts.
  15. While Beau was napping me and Gussy played some Donkey Kong Country together.  I had so much fun hanging out with my little buddy and doing one of his favorite things with him.
  16. Josh got the lawn mowed.
  17. Got a whole tub of Gus’ baby clothes 6-18 months sorted through.  Some to keep, some to sell, some to give away.
  18. Gus was one blessed little guy.  He had so much cute stuff to wear when he was little and I can remember how he looked in almost all of it.
  19. A storm rolled in right when we were on the way to the pool, the kids weren’t happy about it, but a trip to the McDonald’s play place made it better.
  20. Friday family dinner at Kenny’s Burger Joint.
  21. The amount of joy a little cup of ice cream for dessert brings to the kids.
  22. Beautiful weather tonight at the park.
  23. “Being Elmo:  A Puppeteers Journey.”  What a captivating movie.  Josh and I both loved it.
  24. God will put desires in peoples hearts for what they are supposed to do with their lives at such early ages.
  25. The movie reminded me how important it is for parents to be supportive of their kid’s interests.
  26. My parents were always supportive of whatever I was interested it.
  27. Being able to rent movies without having to go to Blockbuster, which is not easy with a two year old who likes to take every movie off of the shelf.

Day 347

Almost every year since my husband and I got married 10 years ago, we have traveled to Anaheim, California to vacation at Disneyland.  We usually fly in from DFW to The John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana.  John Wayne was a pretty big deal in America, but especially out in California.  He appeared in nearly 250 movies, holds the record for the actor with the most leading parts, in 2001 Americans polled by Gallup voted him as their favorite movie star of all time, in 1968 the republican party asked him to run for president, he had a sweet nick name (The Duke), his face has been on a stamp, and he was cool, really, really cool.  I mean, you don’t get an airport named after you unless you are somebody pretty special.  There is even a big statue of him near the baggage claim, a memorial to one of the greatest actors to ever call California home.

In 2 Timothy 1:3 Paul writes to Timothy from his prison cell to let him know that he is praying for him.  He knew Timothy was going through a difficult time and he wanted to encourage the younger disciple.  Here’s what he put down on paper,

“I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day.”

At first glance it looks like Paul is just saying, I haven’t forgotten about you, I remember to pray for you every day and every night, but the Greek word for “remembrance” tells us that he was doing more than just not forgetting to pray for Timothy, he was building memorials of Timothy’s life before God in heaven.  He was reminding God that Timothy was someone special, someone worthy to have an airport named after them.  He reminded God of Timothy’s devotion, his servants heart, his desire to build the church even with the threat of persecution looming, his faithfulness.  Everything Paul could think of that Timothy had achieved for the Kingdom of God was laid out in front of the Lord through Paul’s prayers.

“Paul prayed so much for Timothy that he filled the throne room of God with pictures, images, statues, and memorial of the younger man.  Everywhere God looked, He saw an image of Timothy!” – Rick Renner

This gives us a great blueprint for how to pray for others.  When you are brining someone else’s need before God, bring their accomplishments as well.  Build a memorial in their honor right next to God’s throne.

It should also challenge us to think about what kind of memorial would be built if someone else were to build one on our behalf.  What would they remind God of?  “Lord, I ask you to help my friend.  She loves you with all of her heart.  She always puts you first.  She loves to share your love with others.  She has dedicated countless hours to serving on the praise and worship team at church.  She is a cheerful giver.  She is training her kids up to be followers of Christ.”  Or would it be more like, “Lord, I ask you to help my friend.  She’s a good person.  She goes to church.  She’s never missed an episode of “Regis & Kelly.”  She exercises like everyday.  She juices!  Her kids play club soccer and she’s super nice!”

I think the first friend’s memorial is going to be much more impressive up in heaven than the second friends.  Our faith is not about works, but we are called to build the Kingdom!  What are you doing to do that?  What kind of monument making material are you giving your friends to build with as they pray for you?

  1. We can build memorials for others when we pray for them.
  2. Other people can build memories for us when they pray for us.
  3. “Sparkling Gems” by Rick Renner or as I like to call it my big fat greek devotional.  365 day devotional and every day is awesome!
  4. God has entrusted us to build His kingdom.
  5. John Wayne and his airport.
  6. Josh to Gus with him to work for a little bit this morning and he was so excited about getting to play video games there and spend some time with his dad.
  7. Fridge and pantry are full.
  8. I have never heard my children scream and throw fits like the children I’ve heard screaming and throwing fits in Target the last 2 weeks in a row.
  9. Josh did the fruit shopping for us at Aldi.
  10. Josh washed and cut up all of the fruit he brought home.
  11. Picked up our new rocking chair!  I am looking forward to holding Sunny in it in just 21 weeks!
  12. I started my 19th week of pregnancy today!
  13. Feeling big, but feeling good.  I have been so blessed with such good feeling pregnancies.
  14. Frosty and french fries from Wendy’s.
  15. Josh grilled some really tasty bruschetta chicken for dinner.
  16. Josh is a much neater cook than I am.  The kitchen is always a lot easier to clean up after he cooks than when I do.
  17. Girls movie night:  The Swan Princess.  I loved having some one on one time with Beau!
  18. Boys movie night:  Star Wars.  Gus and Josh both had a great time hanging out together.
  19. I could hear Gus cheering at the end of the movie when the death star blows up.
  20. Beau’s little gasp when the prince and princess in the movie kissed.  Such a girl.
  21. Made worms in dirt for the boys movie snack.  Pudding, Oreos, and gummy worms made for one very happy Gus!
  22. Fancy cupcake for the girls movie night snack.
  23. Watched Beau give Josh a kiss and hug goodnight.  She hugs him so sweet and closes her little eyes while she does it.
  24. Got to paint Beau’s tiny toenails today.
  25. Having Beau around to remind me she needs her toenails repainted helps me keep up with mine being painted.
  26. Enjoyed my relaxing evening with Joh.
  27. 2 blogs written today, tomorrow we sabbath!

Day 346

A few months before my daughter Beau turned two she figured out how to escape from her crib.  We were downstairs one afternoon after we put her down for her nap when we noticed the sound of her fan getting louder.  We stopped what we were doing and looked upstairs to see her smiling little face looking down at us from the upstairs banister.  It was officially time for a big girl bed.  4 weeks later, after we changed her pink nursery into a pretty purple room, per her request, and had her new twin bed all set up, she spent her first night uncaged.  Her room is upstairs and our room is downstairs so we placed a doorknob guard on the doorknob in her room to prevent her from being able to open the door and wonder down the stairs in the middle of the night.  She did great that first night and in the morning when she woke up and discovered she couldn’t open her door she knocked, and she’s knocked every morning since then.

Around 6:45 or 7:00 a.m. every day you can expect to hear Beau knocking, letting the family know she’s up and she wants into the rest of the house.  If it takes me a second to get upstairs, she knocks louder.  She does not hesitate to knock and knock loudly because she knows that a very happy mamma, daddy, or brother will be upstairs to let her in/out when she does.

Different circumstances call for different types of knocks.  If you are locked out in the backyard and your husband is upstairs on his computer, you knock as loudly as possible, because you know if he can’t hear you, you’re going to be stuck outside for a while.  If you are trick or treating and the house you have stopped at doesn’t appear to be occupied, you knock softly, because if someone is home they probably don’t want to be disturbed.  The FedEx guy knocks loudly,  because he wants you to be aware of the package he just dropped off on your doorstep.  The neighborhood kids selling candy knock softly, because they don’t know you that well and they aren’t sure if you are going to be annoyed by their fundraising activities or if you are a sucker for World’s Finest Chocolate bars.

What kind of knock do you have?

Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you…

Jesus has given you permission to knock on his door.  He wants you to knock and knock loudly.  You don’t have to be shy.  You don’t have to be worried about the person that’s waiting on the other side of the door being annoyed.  You can knock with confidence, because Jesus said to.  Knock knowing that everything you need to have a blessed life is on the other side of that door.  Knock like you would knock if you got locked out of your house and there was someone inside that could open the door for you.  Knock like your life depends on it.

Every morning I wait for Beau’s knock and I look forward to opening her door and seeing her sleepy headed self ready to start the day.  I think God anticipates our knock the same way.  He’s listening and waiting to see who is going to knock on His door today.  He’s excited about opening it up and giving those who knock what they came for… more.  More peace, more joy, more wisdom, more rest, more health, more blessing, more of Him.

Matthew seven verses seven and eight both tell us what happens when we knock… it will be opened to us.  Not it might be, it WILL be.

If you want more from the One behind the door, knock and keep on knocking, there is a 100% chance that the door will open.

  1. Ask and it’s given.  Seek and you’ll find.  Knock and it’s opened!
  2. The One behind the door looks forward to hearing us knock.
  3. There’s always more of Him for us to get, we just have to be persistent.
  4. God reminded me today about some things He put on my heart and told me to keep knocking.
  5. Beau’s sweet little knocks.
  6. Beau and Gus are both excellent sleepers.  They go to bed every night at 8 without a fuss and sleep til 7.
  7. Another stellar sunrise this morning.
  8. Sweet moments with Beau before the boys woke up.  We tried on all of her jewelry and she kept saying, “Ew wa wa.” (Oh la la)  She melts my heart.
  9. First splash pad outing of the summer was a success!
  10. Frisco Commons.
  11. Splash pad is only a few minutes from Taco Bueno, so I decided to treat myself.
  12. Taco Bueno is celebrating it’s 46th birthday today.  So glad someone gave birth to my favorite fast food restaurant!
  13. Bueno’s bean burritos, beef crispy tacos, muchacos, mexi dips and chips, and chicken potato burritos.
  14. Disneyland is celebrating it’s 58th birthday today!!!  My family’s favorite place to vacation.  I have so many happy memories there.
  15. Indiana Jones, Alice and Wonderland, Monster’s Inc.  Some of my favorite Disneyland exclusive rides.
  16. My dear friend Sayra is celebrating her birthday today!  Seriously, so many awesome things to celebrate today!
  17. The very sweet Amy Everett is celebrating her birthday today too!  Her and her family are a huge blessing to our church and children’s ministry.
  18. Got my hair washed and dried this afternoon, so tonight I could just hang out with Josh.
  19. Homemade salsa.
  20. Taco bar night.
  21. Gus got to use his silly string he got for his birthday tonight.  Didn’t last long, but he thought it was pretty sweet.
  22. After dinner walk around the block.
  23. Adorable video of a little boy’s first year of life, one second at a time, everyday for 365 days.  Me and Beau smiled the whole way through.
  24. Movie night at home with Josh!  “Waking Sleeping Beauty” was great, I even stayed awake through the whole thing.
  25. Disney animation didn’t die with “The Black Cauldron” but came back just in time to make my child hood even better with “The Little Mermaid”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Aladdin”, and “The Lion King.”
  26. Feeling Sunny move around a lot during the movie.
  27. Sweet text from my niece Courtney.

Day 345

My two year old daughter Beau loves babies.  Her favorite Bible stories are the one about baby Jesus being born and the one about baby Moses floating in a basket.  Yesterday, she added a new baby Bible story to her favorites list.  The one about baby Isaac.  I read the story of Abraham and Sarah to her from her Bible.  We talked about how badly they wanted a baby, but they were both too old, so they had to trust God.  They waited and waited and finally their son was born, proving that nothing is impossible for God!  They were so happy about their new baby they named him Isaac, which means laughter.  In the video I showed her after that about the same story, they had Sarah quoting this verse as she held her sweet boy in her arms,

Genesis 21:6 (NLT) And Sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me…

It stuck with me.  Especially the last part, all who hear about this will laugh with me.  

I’ve heard about it and I’ve never laughed.  I’ve been amazed, inspired, and challenged by the story, but I’ve never laughed about it.  And I doubt you have either.  But I don’t think she was saying we would read her story and laugh out loud about baby Isaac, but that we would read this story and be able to laugh when we are up against impossible circumstances.

When Sarah first received word from the Lord that she would have a child she laughed because she didn’t believe that it could ever really happen, but now she laughs for a different reason.  She laughs at all the doubt and unbelief she battled over the last 25 years.  She laughs because now she has living, breathing proof that God is real.  She laughs because she knows that no matter what the future may hold, her God is greater, her God is stronger.  She laughs because God kept and always keeps His promises.

You need to read Sarah’s story and meditate on how faithful God is so when the enemy attacks, your response will not be panic, but laughter.  The big bad problem the devil dropped off on your door step is not a tragedy but a comedy.

Sarah was a virtuous woman, so it only makes since that the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 share some of her same attributes,

Proverbs 31:25 (NLT) She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.

Take time to laugh today.  Not just at your silly kids, your favorite TV show, or your husband’s funny joke, but laugh with Sarah at the greatness of your God and the smallness of your problem.

  1. While teaching my little girl a Bible story, I got ministered to too!
  2. We can laugh with Sarah… without fear of the future.
  3. Our God is so very faithful!
  4. Beautiful sunrise.
  5. Dollar movie with the kids this morning at a full price theater.
  6. I brought our own popcorn, drinks, and candy so we only paid $3 for our morning at the big show.
  7. My big, roomy purse.
  8. Gus was sad when he realized Josh couldn’t go to the movie with us because he had to go to work.  He has such a big heart.
  9. California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizza for lunch.  It was actually really tasty.
  10. Indoor picnics.
  11. Clean house!
  12. Our vacuum wouldn’t turn on, so I called Dyson and we still have 4 months left on our 5 year warranty.  So it will be fixed free of charge!
  13. Purchased a new rocking chair for our nursery and got an insane deal on it.  Usually a $1,175 chair before tax and I purchased it for $408 after tax!  That’s less than the slip cover we were thinking of buying for our old chair.
  14. Got a random 15% off coupon for PBK in my inbox this morning.  I’m so glad I waited until today to make the purchase.
  15. Our old chair.  I have spent countless hours in that chair rocking, feeding, and reading to my sweet little babies.
  16. Get to give our first rocking chair to my niece and nephew for their nursery.
  17. My sweet friend Becky is celebrating her birthday today!  She is one of a kind and I’m so glad she’s part of my life.
  18. Yancy aka as “Little Praise Party” around our house is celebrating her birthday today!  Awesome lady who has blessed my kids and kids all over the world with her praise and worship songs.
  19. Eggs, bacon and toast for dinner.
  20. My family loves my eggs!  All three of them told me I was the best egg maker that they know.
  21. Decided to go for a walk and a storm started to blow in when we were about half way home.  Right when we walked into our garage  it started to pour!  I’m so glad we didn’t leave a minute later than when we did.
  22. Josh let the kids play in the driveway in the pouring rain.  They had a ball!
  23. More rain… in July!
  24. My little boy is totally in love with his mamma.
  25. Josh gets into the nursery planning.  He came home with a few ideas he thought of while he was at work today.
  26. In bed by 10!!
  27. 345 posts written, 20 more to go!!  Can’t believe it!