Thursday, April 29, 2010

you'll find me in the garden

I have gardened in the following attire:

Nice work clothes
Nice dress shoes

A dress

My Underwear

(And very rarely, a t-shirt and shorts)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

a mouthful of resolve

I'm doing the Beth Moore Bible study "Daniel" with a group of girls right now. Now, before you sigh or roll your eyes and say "Beth Moore again?" like I know some of my friends may do (as I used to do myself), just hear me out. I am really glad I got off my high horse and gave Beth a chance, because she is rocking my world and the way I think. This lady knows how to dive into The Word, and I mean DIVE IN!
I'm only three weeks in the study and I feel like this Daniel character is a person I've barely met despite all those years of firey furnace & lion den story tellings. While I wish I could pour into you all of the information I have been internalizing with this study, the only way for you to do it is to do it yourself. Still, yall know I like to offer my 2 cents, so I am.
In week 1, we took a glance at what it might have really been like for Daniel and his friends to be removed from their homes and taken to Babylon. Babylon was the very place that God had removed His chosen people from, scattered them, & told them never to return to. Talk about earth shaking! Not to mention, God was delivering the Israelites into the hands of the Babylonians because of the way they had chosen to live.
Long long long long long story shorter. . .
Beth made some really valuable points (I'm only going to highlight a few):
1) The enemy wants to return us to places God called us to leave.
-Aint that the truth? Think of all those dark roads in your past (but don't stay there too long, because God did redeem and deliver you). Just think about how much Satan tried, or still tries, to take you back there. Boy could I write a whole blog just about this.
2)Captivity can seem friendly and even be friendly when those places we aren't supposed to be take us back so willingly, but friendly captivity never stays friendly.
-I'm just gonna let your own heart ponder on that point
3) Without RESOLVE we WILL LOSE our identity and our integrity.
Daniel 1:8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine. . .

King Nebuchadnezzar wanted the youngest and the fittest to be trained up, educated, well fed, and indoctrinated in order to use them for his benefit in his nation. Daniel denied pleasurable food and treatment because he refused to commit himself to friendship with the Babylonian culture. He refused to defile himself and we would be fools to think this was done easily. It took incredible resolve.
resolve is the firm determination to do something

Okay, obviously the study doesn't end there, but I am going to link it to what I have been studying in my daily devotional time. I am trying to read through the Bible in a year and I'm following the order from a Life-Journaling reading plan so it isn't just Genesis-Revelation. Anyways, the readings for the 18th and 19th were: 1 Samuel 20-22, Psalm 34, 17, 35, and Matthew 5-6.
Normally I am drawn to the Old Testament readings. I am so intrigued by the stories and the powerful ways God made Himself known and the ridiculous ways His people failed again and again and again. How am I any different, right? Anyways, the scripture that stood out to me on the 18th was Psalm 34:13
Psalm 34:13 Keep your tongue from evil & your lips from speaking lies

On the 19th, it was Psalm 17:3b
Psalm 17:3b ...I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.

Our culture is so obsessed with talking about everyone else. It is so tempting to say ugly & judgmental things about other people & all that does is reveal the ugly about us. I have been burdened, heavily burdened, over the last several months by the amount of negative things people say about other people. How are we supposed to live in community as The Church, as God designed it, if we don't resolve to speaking only out of love. There are people in my life right now who only ever have negative things to say about anyone who comes up in conversation. They sound haughty and mean, and while I love these people very much, it makes me fully aware that I do not want to be anything like that. Have I ever been like that? Yes, I have. And at times, I am sure that the enemy tries to drag me back to that place.
Our mouths are powerful tools and deadly weapons. The incredible ability and gift to communicate should be used only for building others up. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
In James 1:26 it says If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight reign on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.
I encourage you today to take great resolve in this matter and to resist the temptations to speak unkindly about others. I wonder how our lives would be different if we would commit just one week to that age old golden rule, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Take me out to the ball game

The other night after umpiring some baseball games Lee came home and demonstrated his preferred pronunciation of words such as "STriiiiii", "Ouu", and "ball" and the coordinating choreography to go with them. It was very insightful and, needless to say, quite entertaining.

So Lee is having a great time as an official at the baseball games and I have always loved baseball & softball so I enjoy going to watch just for the fun of it. Except, you know how some angry parents can express their aggression to the guys in blue? Right. About that... well, nothing has happened yet, because obviously Lee is a very honest official, but he is bound to make an honest mistake here and there and well, parents, coaches, and teams are not always the most understanding of mistakes made by referees, umpires, or other various official positions.

I've been thinking about it a lot lately. In so many sports we put our "trust" in the officials to make the right calls. Now, we've all been to high school or maybe even college games where we've wondered if the official was either blind, incompetent, or flat out bias. Those instances truly suck. Still, what about the times when the official just makes an honest mistake. The ball was a little outside but he called it a strike. Or the ball totally beat the runner to the bag but she called it safe. The officials of any sport can take some serious heat for honest, human errors. The eyes can play tricks, right? And sometimes from certain angles things really do look differently.

What is to be learned from this? Yeah, I'm asking myself the same thing. I just think it is a good reminder to be patient and understanding with people when they make mistakes and to not always be jumping to conclusions about other people. And in the meanwhile, I'll do my best to build up enough poise and class to control my temper when some hot headed ma or pa gets to yellin' at my baby daddy on the field. . .

Wednesday, April 14, 2010




Two nights ago I finally felt the little one moving inside that growing bump. Funny how much more attached the little 'muscle spasm-like' feelings have made me. I have finally begun to 'nest' at least a little bit. I went with a couple girl friends to shop for maternity clothes and start our registry at BabysRUs! So that was lots of fun and definitely got me in the 'nesting' mood. The only problem is now that I am totally stumped on baby bedding and I feel like I can't move very far with the whole 'nursery' part until I get that figured out. Of course, this wouldn't be AS difficult if we knew what gender we were having, but Lee & I can't help it--we love surprises!

God has been working in my heart so much lately. I can really only attribute it to the power of His Word and not to any of my own human abilities or discipline. I have been in the Word on a daily basis and it is truly transforming me, my perspective, my world view, and life at large. When I first found out that we were going to have a baby I felt like I saw my dreams for a career go up in smoke. I wasn't sure how to process the conflicting desires I always knew would one day hit me square in the face. I wanted to stay home with the baby when it came, but I was battling with fears of boredom and dissatisfaction. Since returning from Mexico, however, The Lord & His transforming Word have totally changed me. I'm not saying I don't want to pursue a career someday--I still have dreams I know The Father has given me and I know He is not finished with His work in me.

Staying at home has taken on a new and wonderful blessing form. A few days before we left for Mexico my 'long-term sub' position I had been in unexpectedly ended. As disappointing as it was, it was truly a blessing in disguise. I came home from Mexico and had time to myself to put our house in order, get settled back in, and have a great friend visit for the week while she was in town for work. I have also been getting all my homework done in advance! This has been a huge stress relief & blessing. My days at home have been productive and have even been successful in the areas of cooking and cleaning! Can you believe that!? Now if that isn't a testament to the life-changing power of Christ then I don't know what is. ;)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Guadalajara, Mexico

Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news...
Our time in Guadalajara was absolutely incredible. We saw God show up in a real and active way as he took what little we had to offer and used it for His Glory. Registered attendees for our sports camp started with a mere, but wonderful, 2 on the first day. It grew to 6 by the fourth day. However, we had nearly a dozen of the individuals from the RETO Church Youth Group come to help translate and play games with us. So, we ministered to them, as well! And truthfully, they ministered to us just as much.
Lee would say he went to Guadalajara and saw true joy in the face of an Angel. Which he did. Angel, 13 years old, attended every day of sports camp with his younger brother Alex who is 12. They were so much fun! Alex had the chubbiest cheeks and you'd think his smile was a glimpse of heaven itself.

We had the opportunity to work with some amazing missionaries and followers of The Lord. We didn't have a revival of the local neighborhood or even have one child create a new relationship with Jesus Christ as their personal savior, but we loved! Boy did we love! And God blessed us.
He reminded all of us of the vital importance of bringing our lives under the authority of Christ--all parts of our lives--and we learned a great deal about true Christian community when we saw God unify a demographically and ethnically diverse group of individuals on a small outdoor basketball court in Guadalajara.

Lee & I had the amazing opportunity of witnessing God at work in the lives of Will & Isaias (juniors at Reedley High School and on Lee's football team) and Alexa (a helper with our jr high and a freshmen at the community college in town). The Lord challenged each of them and they responded eagerly to The Holy Spirit at work in, among, and around them. God is so good! Lee & I have every intention of continuing to nurture the relationships we developed there and help our young friends to remain accountable and sensitive to The Lord's spirit.
While in Guadalajara we spent each day life journaling and Lee and I have committed to doing this on a daily basis here at home. We read all of Judges and a good portion of 1 Cor. starting at chapter 10 on our trip. If you're in need of some good material, I recommend starting there and just seeing what The Lord has to reveal to you. We are loving being in the Word and it is truly transforming us and our marriage.
Our team still owes $1880 for our trip, but we are confident The Lord will provide. MBMSI has been gracious on granting us the extra time to raise the funds. Our tax return should help! :)

Some powerful scriptures I encountered during my time in GDL:
Judges 5:31b ". . .may they who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength."

Psalm 41:12 "In my integrity You uphold me & set me in your presence forever."

1 Cor 16:13 "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men and women of courage; be strong. Do EVERYTHING in love."

2 Cor 1:12b "We have done so not according to worldly wisdom, but according to God's grace."

Of course I recommend reading the associated passages for fuller understanding of each of these tiny excerpts.

God's blessings on all of you. Thank you for your prayers during our time away.