Tuesday, November 16, 2010

leaves are falling

We took advantage of the 70 degree days last week to clean up at least some of the leaves that have fallen. Fall leaf clean-up is always a battle around our house, because the kids want to make a big pile to play in and Dad just wants the leaves cleaned up.

Kids won this year!

The kids wait as Mackenzie rakes up a big pile.

When Constance got dropped into the leaf pile the first time, she sank to the bottom and we had to go in after her. We all thought it was pretty funny, but...

she was not as amused as we were.

She got over it, though, and like with all other things her siblings do, she was right in the middle of the action.

Elijah takes a flying leap

Mackenzie dives in headfirst,

and ends up with a bunch of leaves down her back.

Bath night for everyone.

The big kids were getting a little rambunctious in the leaf pile for Constance, so she took a ride on the the mower with Daddy, and in five minutes:

We did get a lot done that evening. I really enjoy when we all work and play as a family. The bummer is that one week later, you can't really tell we accomplished anything. The leaves just keep falling...

Luke 18:16-17

This morning I read But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Luke 18:16-17

I was thinking about that today, and especially with gift-giving season upon us. Children receive gifts so enthusiastically. They don't get hung up on if they deserve the gift, if they should have to earn the gift or if they have anything to give in return. They just love being given a gift.

The kingdom of God is a gift. We try to earn it, deserve it or repay it, but we never can. The only way we can enter the kingdom is to receive it the same way a child receives a gift.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Luke 16:15

This morning I read in Luke 16:15, "What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight."
I've been thinking about that all day. What is valued among men? Wealth. Power. Beauty. Fame. Influence. Strength. Education. Intellect. Charisma. Rank. The list could go on and on.
I've often thought that God does not care about such things, but this verse tells us that these things are not just unimportant to Him, but detestable. That's a strong word. I think it is probably because the time and energy we spend pursuing them should be spent in pursuit of Him. It really makes me consider what I value, in myself and in other people. Is what I value detestable to God? Or do I value in people the things that resemble Christ? Something to think about...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Luke 12:34

It's been a great day-lots of birthday wishes from family and friends, no cooking, beautiful weather...very nice indeed.
I was reading in Luke ch. 12 today, and verse 34 is one of my favorites: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Where is your treasure? That will be a good question for me to ponder this evening.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Exodus 14:14

I was reading in Exodus chapter 14, and verse 14 just made my heart soar:
"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."
We need to fear no enemy, either mortal or spiritual. Our Almighty God will fight for us. We need only to trust him. Amen!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

jack o' lantern

Pumpkin carving is a favorite tradition at our house. Dad is the designated carver, so he sets the rules, which can pretty much be summed up as "keep it simple." I am always impressed by the incredible artwork that some people are able to put on a pumpkin. We don't even try. It's the same every year: two eyes, a nose and a goofy grin with maybe a tooth, but we have a blast anyway.

Admiring our finished project.


Once the pumpkin was done, we toasted the seeds, made caramel apples and watched the "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." Good times.

Fall Fun

A few weeks ago, we spent an afternoon at Hog Wallow Farm near Dana, Indiana, enjoying a perfect fall day and some pumpkin patch fun.

Katie is driving, of course.

Elijah & Eleanor led us through the corn maze.

Throughout the maze, there were markers with trivia questions.

Very odd trivia questions.
With poor spelling.

There were a series of these questions, specifically concerning pigs, chickens, sheep, turkeys, rabbits, calves, and so on. While the answers were never posted anywhere that we found, some of the other signs did spell "slaughtered" correctly, so that was a relief.

While the older kids puzzled over the quantity of livestock killed in our country, Constance enjoyed drinking everyone's cider that they left on her tray.

Petting Zoo

Hog Wallow Farm has a great playground area with several big and unique slides. Constance was not sure about the slides at first, and there was a bit of tongue clucking as she watched the other kids.

But as usual, once she saw them doing it, she decided that she was up for a ride down the slide, too.

Signing and saying "more"

Constance even got brave enough to go down the big slide alone.

Mackenzie would take her to the top, and then she would wait until Mackenzie got back down to the bottom to catch her.

Here's the proof:

My eighteen-month-old adrenaline junkie.

Just before it was time to go home, Eleanor helped us pick out the perfect pumpkin for our family jack o' lantern.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Luke 8

This morning I read Luke chapter 8, and there is so much wonderful in it that I had a hard time choosing what to write about! I am always moved by the scene where the woman who had been bleeding for years touches Jesus' cloak and is healed. What she did was so incredibly bold, and also in her culture very offensive. Jesus was on his way somewhere else with very important people, but instead of chastising her, he calls her "daughter."
We don't have to be afraid to bring our brokenness before our Savior. He has the power to restore us, and will never turn us away.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fall pictures

As I have for several years, I took advantage of the beautiful fall colors and dragged the kids out to Centennial Park for an amateur photo shoot yesterday. Katie wasn't with us because she was busy carhopping at the Frostop. Constance was with us, but managed to fall on piece of playground equipment not five minutes after we got there, bruising her head and ruining her mood to have pictures taken. So, pictures of Katie and Constance to come later...

Here are a few of my favorites of Mackenzie, Elijah and Eleanor:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Luke 6:20-26

Reading in Luke chapter 6, verses 20-26, Jesus outlines what what is a blessing to us and what is a woe. He tells us we are blessed when we are poor, hungry, weeping, hated and rejected for his sake; and woe to us when we are rich, well fed, laughing and spoken well of by men. This totally contradicts what we would usually think, but how often do the things we think of as blessings actually distract us from our relationship with God. Our Heavenly Father has more in store for us than we could possibly imagine. In this life, we are blessed when we live a life fully dependent on him.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

new posts...

I have added some new "old" posts. They are some of the thoughts I have shared with the dear ladies in my email accountability group. My purpose in doing this is two-fold:

First, this is the closest thing I have to a journal, and I want to be able to look back and see what the Lord has been teaching me. Secondly, if by some remote chance anyone ever read this blog, I would be glad if he or she were encouraged by my humble musings.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Exodus 4:13

Today I read in Exodus chapter 4, where God appears to Moses in a burning bush. How often have I wished that God would speak to me in a burning bush and tell me so specifically what he wants me to do! But even with all the assurances and signs that God gives Moses, he makes excuse after excuse, and finally in verse 13 pleads "O Lord, please send someone else to do it."
I suppose I am really no better than Moses. God may not speak to me in a burning bush, but he has revealed his will through his word. If I am honest, I think often when I claim I don't know what he wants of me, the truth is I just don't want to do what I know he wants because it seems too hard. O Lord, please send someone else to do it!
I pray that I will become more of a Mary than a Moses!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Luke 1:38

Today I started the books of Exodus and Luke. I love the book of Luke because it has the Christmas story in it! Today I marveled again at Mary's trusting servant heart when Gabriel told her she would conceive and bear a child. No excuses, no complaining, no demanding a sign, just "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." Luke 1:38
How I hope someday to mature to a faith like that!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Genesis 50:20

I finished both the books of Genesis and Mark. In the last chapter of Genesis is a verse that has been very significant to me. After Jacob dies, Joseph's brothers were afraid he would seek revenge against them for the way they had treated him in the past, although he had already expressed his forgiveness. When the issue came up again, he answered them, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:20
A few years ago, we were very hurt by some family members whose actions cost our immediate family dearly. I grieved our loss terribly, and my heart broke as I saw the pain that Dan and the kids were going through. It was so very hard to forgive, but as I look back now I can see that where we are now could not have been without going through that trial. It has been a huge lesson in forgiveness, in trusting God in all circumstances, and remembering that He is in control of all things. Even when it appears that the wicked are winning, nothing is accomplished outside of his perfect plan.
On to Exodus and Luke...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mark 14

This morning, I was reading Mark 14, and was particularly moved by the scene in the garden where Jesus is praying, "Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
How many times have I prayed "take this cup" when faced with a trial? (and usually the trial is a situation of my own creation) But Jesus, when faced with the worst possible fate-the wrath of God against all the sin of mankind-is able to say "not my will, but your will" because he loved us that much.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Surfer Girl

Constance was very timid around the ocean at first. She liked digging in the sand, but the surf coming at her was a little troubling. The first couple of days she spend a lot of time running from it and "clucking" her tongue at it, which is something she does when she is scared or upset. It was much better to have Eleanor fetch her water in a bucket and pour it on herself than to get near the waves herself.

She liked watching her brother and sisters on their boogie boards in the waves. And since she thinks she's as big as they are, and anything they can do, she can do...

but then again maybe not.

But finally, the day before we left, she got wet. Once we finally stopped trying to convince her to get in the water and just left her alone, she got brave enough to let it touch her and discovered that the ocean is, in fact, quite enjoyable.

And since the ocean was not scary anymore, she thought she'd give surfing a try. No kidding.

As you can see in the following video, I was not initially convinced that putting an eighteen-month-old on a boogie board in the Atlantic Ocean was good parenting.

I have to say, however, that after I watched her ride the surf over and over and over again, it may not have been good parenting, but it sure was cute !

My brave little surfer girl.

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and when it was finally time to put the boogie board away and go inside, surfer girl was heartbroken.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Matthew 8:38

This morning I read "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." Matthew 8:38
It can be hard to live a life set apart for Christ, and to feel the scorn of others when we take a stand for what we know is true and good. But we should not be ashamed or embarrassed. On the contrary, we should be bold in declaring Christ in our words and our actions.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mark 1

I began in Mark this evening. I'm also still reading two chapters a day in Genesis, but find that my NT readings usually inspire me more. In the first chapter of Mark, it talks about how the demons recognized and obeyed Jesus. I think this is such a great example of Jesus' sovereignty. He is Lord of ALL. Not just those who willingly submit to his authority, but every part of creation is subject to him. We have free will, and can disobey because he allows us that freedom--for now. Some day every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess Him as Lord.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Matthew 28

I finished reading the book of Matthew this evening. There, at the very end of the last chapter is the Great Commission: "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."
That's what we're supposed to do. Go. Make disciples.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Matthew 24 & 25

I was reading in Matthew today, and in chapters 24 & 25, Jesus is talking about the end times. I confess to being totally confused on this matter. I really don't know what it all means. It certainly seems like these could be those days, but every generation has thought they were living in the end times. I like this verse: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." Matthew 24:35
Maybe it's now. Maybe he was talking about the persecution of the early church and it already happened. Maybe it won't happen for another thousand years. I don't know, but that hardly matters. We should live every day here on earth for Him like it is our last (because it may be) This is temporary--He is eternal!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Matthew 23

I am still reading in Genesis and Matthew. Tonight I read in Matthew 23 where Jesus rages against the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. They had the outward appearance of righteousness, but their hearts were wicked and proud. Jesus called them "sons of hell" and "whitewashed tombs."
I do not want to look like a Christian. I want to be a Christian--a disciple of Christ--for real.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Matthew 20:26-28

Instead, whoever wants to become great amoung you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave--just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20:26-28
This is a good reminder for me as I go through my days. I so often get irritated by the constant "Mom, can you do this?" "Erin, can you come here?" "Mom, I need this" in my day. A life lived for Christ is a life of service to others, and God has given me these precious people to serve.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Matthew 19:20-21

I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, "Move from here to there" and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 19:20-21
Some days getting the mountain of dirty dishes on the counter to move into the dishwasher seems impossible for me. Just like the disciples, my faith is often so small. But how I need faith just to get through my days: faith that God will take my feeble, stumbling efforts and use them to his glory.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Matthew 16:16

Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Matthew 16:16
May we rejoice in that truth!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Matthew 12:34

"For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." Matthew 12:34

Ouch. I've read this verse many times before, but it's always a reality check for me. My words are the overflow of my heart. So when my words are angry, ugly, hurtful or profane, I cannot excuse them by blaming stress, fatigue or circumstances. My words reflect the condition of my heart. With God's grace, may they always be kind, loving and edifying.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Matthew 11:28

In my reading tonight, there was a great verse for the first day of homeschooling:

"Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Amen and Amen!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sermon on the Mount

My NT reading this evening was from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. Wow. Such a beautiful call to righteousness that I can never attain. My best isn't and never will be good enough. Thank you, Lord, for grace!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Genesis 6:8

I have begun a new Bible reading "plan"--which is not really a plan at all, but rather a goal. By reading four chapters a day, two from the OT and two from the NT, beginning in Genesis and Matthew, I should read the entire OT once and the NT twice in about a year. So far, so good.
I was reading about Noah tonight. 6:8 says, "But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord." I am wondering about Noah, and what inspired him to be so different from the culture he lived in. If it is so hard for me, with the revelation of Christ, God's written word, and the blessed fellowship of other believers to walk a righteous and blameless life, how did he stand alone against such total depravity? I wish I knew.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

2 Corinthians 9:6-7

What a week this has turned out to be. Three funerals last week, and now three this week, spread out between the two funeral homes.

Still reading in 2 Corinthians-from chapter 9: 6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

I recently finished a book called "Radical: Recaiming Your Faith From the American Dream." It really challenges believers to escape our materialistic America-centered mindset and take seriously Christ's command to go and make disciples of all nations-with our material weath and with our lives. These verses help me to remember that God has not allowed any prosperity in my life because I've earned it or deserve it, or because he wants me to have the latest and greatest of everything Walmart sells. It's all his, and he may just want me to use it for someone else.

One final note, my friend Jennie died yesterday morning. Praising God that she is in Heaven, but missing her here already.

Monday, July 26, 2010

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I started reading in 2 Corinthians today. In chapter 4, I appreciated this passage:

16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Yes the funeral director's wife is pondering death again. One of my friends from church (a friend in her eighties) is home dying of cancer. We will be having her funeral soon, and I'm sad about it. These verses reminded me that while Jennie is wasting away outwardly, she is being renewed inwardly as each day she is closer and closer to heaven.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

1 Corinthians 15:54-57

What a week! We had two visitations and three funerals in six days. I am tired, tired, tired.
I finished 1 Corinthians this week, and a passage from chapter 15 really gave me comfort.

54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
55"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?" 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

With our business, and especially this week, I probably think about death more than most people. I am so grateful that as believers we can face death and know that it is not the final chapter. The grave is swallowed up in victory!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

1 Corinthians 10:13

Still reading in 1 Corinthians this week. Chapter 10, verse 13 says "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

Thank you, Lord for being faithful. Thank you that even when I feel like I am facing more than I can bear, you are with me, providing the grace I need to stand against it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him."

So grateful that God chooses to use even foolish, weak, lowly, nothing me for His glory. I cannot boast of anything my own-it's all Him!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Philippians 4:7-8

Philippians 4:7-8 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

This is exactly the reminder I need this morning. Our life has been totally chaotic since we took over the Oakland funeral home, not to mention all the summer activities the kids are in. I feel exhausted and frazzled so much these days. I need His peace.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Another reminder to be so careful about what I allow into my heart and mind-along the same lines as what another friend wrote about a few days ago about taking our thoughts captive. I sometimes get so focused on the negative. Instead I should be intentional about meditating on those things that are excellent and praisworthy. He has given me so much to give praise for!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

How ridiculous that I ever attempt to get through even a single day without tapping into this source of power. All that I need to face every challenge of every day is right there in God's Word.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Multitude Monday

91. No training wheels!
92. phone calls from Afghanistan
93. emails from Iraq
94. Sunsets over the water (even if it is just a flooded park)
95. Summer evenings, country roads, windows down
96. rainbows
97. great neighbors
98. air conditioning
99. not waking up to an alarm clock

100. ball players in skirts

101. windchimes

102. being too busy to blog

103. being able to backdate blog posts

Monday, June 14, 2010

Proverbs 4:23-27

Proverbs 4:23-27 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.

These verses really challenge me to evaluate everything I bring into my home and my heart--television shows, reading materials, web sites, music...everything. I want to keep my eyes focused on Christ and I want every step I take to draw me closer to Him. The world and all its allure can only lead me away from Him.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Deuteronomy 12:28

My devotion today was from Deuteronomy 12:28: Be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you, so that it may always go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the LORD your God.

Oh, the weight of knowing that my words, my choices, my sins have such an impact on my children's futures. I cannot afford to be careless. I need so much more of Him, and so much less of me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

James 1:19-20

James 1:19-20 19This you know, my beloved brethren But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

When, when, when will I get this? It has been my biggest struggle of motherhood. :(
I may just keep this verse for tomorrow, too.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Matthew 16:24

I'm beginning to get a glimpse of what having two funeral homes is like. Busy, busy busy. But that's a good thing.

My devotion today was from Matthew 16:24, Then Jesus said unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Discipleship is supposed to cost something. It isn't supposed to be easy. I am such a creature of self-indulgence, not self denial. How many mornings am I loathe to even deny myself another thirty minutes of sleep to have time with the Lord before the kids get up? I pray this verse will be the first thing I think of tomorrow morning when my alarm goes off.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Psalm 19

This morning I read Psalm 19, which was also preparation for the Bible school lesson I gave at our church today to the little ones.

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.

The evidences of God's majesty, his power and his glory are all around us.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

1 Peter 5:7

My devotion this morning was very timely (don't you love how God does that?)-it was on discouragement, which is exactly what I have been feeling all morning! I literally have not been at home except to shower and sleep for the past nine days, and my house shows the neglect. It is a chaos of laundry, dirty dishes, mail, trash, and the bathroom...oh my. My oldest two girls are gone, and they are my best help. It is miserably hot up here because we have decided to go without installing the window air conditioners this year. And I have a headache, and I'm hormonal. Ugh.

"Cast all your cares upon him, for he cares for you" 1 Peter 5:7

I am so grateful for a God who loves me, who cares for me, and who willingly carries these burdens that I cannot bear on my own. My circumstances are not changed, but my heart is lighter knowing that he is with me through this day, loving me and sustaining me through it all.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Psalm 113:9

Today my devotion was from Psalm 113:9, He maketh the barren woman to keep house and a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.

How often do I let my busyness steal my joy in being a mother? Too often.

I pray that the Lord will help me to remember that raising my children is a blessing and a joy, not just another task for me to check off my list so I can feel productive. I want to slow down and enjoy the treasure that my kids really are.

Monday, May 31, 2010

John 15:13

The verse that has been in my head all day is John 15:13, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

I don't know that this scripture completely applies to soldiers, but Memorial Day always makes me reflective of the sacrifice that so many have given to preserve our nation's freedom and protect us from harm. Politics aside, there is evil in the world. I am grateful for the brave men and women who give up their comforts, conveniences, safety and sometimes so much more to keep some of those evils as far from me and my family as possible.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Multitude Monday ~ Memorial Day

87. Freedom

88. Brave men and women who sacrifice their own comfort and safety to ensure mine.

89. Government of the people, by the people and for the people

90. Memorial Day services