“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Me, Myself & Lies: What's In Your Closet?

The Summer Siesta Bible Study has begun! We had our first group meeting this week and started digging into our workbooks. Wow!

Jennifer Rothschild addresses our self-talk. How we tend to "put on" whatever is in our "thought closet." If we think we are insignificant or unworthy or unloved... when we reach into our thought closet... we have easy access to these lies. If we know by reading God's word that we are precious to God or significant or wonderfully and thoughtfully made... we can reach into our thought closet and pull out the truth... God's truth.

I love this analogy about a thought closet... it has made me think about what is in my clothes closet:
My prom gown from my senior year of high school
My graduation gown from my college graduation
My great-grandmother's coat which is probably about 100 years old
A gold sweater that I've never looked good wearing
White sandals that hurt when I wear them
... these are all items that I will never wear. Yet, I keep them with the clothes that I wear everyday. Why is that?

I shove them to the back of the closet... so I can't see them, but they are still there. Right alongside the jeans that "fit" (LOL) or the purple sweater that accentuates my eyes or my all-American white t-shirts. What is my reasoning for holding on to these items?

And what is truly my reasoning for keeping the lies in my thought closet... right next to the truth that I read in God's word?

So, over the next few weeks, I think I will be literally cleaning out a couple of my closets. Purging those items which I will never wear. And it will be a reminder to me of the need to clean out my thought closet... so that there will be plenty of room for all of the thoughts that my heavenly Father thinks of me.

And so... how about you? What's in your closet?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth...

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.

Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 The Message

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

...make me a fork

"Blogging isn't only about writing;
it's about inducing other people to respond,
either on one's own blog or in another blog.

The macrologue, the big blogging conversation,
encourages bloggers not only to participate
but to hope for an influential role in that conversation
and compete for it." - quote from dummies.com

“Father, make of me a crisis man.
Bring those I contact to decision.

Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork,
that men must turn one way or another
on facing Christ in me.”
- Jim Elliot

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What's on My Bookshelf?

My current read:
Be Sweet by Diann Hunt. So far... so fun. A book about two sisters... Reminds me of Sisterchicks...

Which leads me to my next read... in the wings...waiting to be read: Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes by Robin Jones Gunn. Yeah! I didn't even know that a new one had come out... and I happened upon it at Powell's Bookstore at Cedar Hills Crossing! Anita, thanks so much for introducing me to this series!

A timely read:
Earlier this month mentioned that she had just read Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry... and how she loves "a good children's book." It peaked my interest since some of my travels this summer will take me very close to Chincotegue Island which I had visited as a little girl.

I had made it through Chapter 7 when my sister (who did not know I was reading it...) informed me that she was given a copy of Misty of Chincotegue by a close friend... who happens to be part of the true familial lineage of the family in the book. Coincidence? I think not!

Today is the day that I start my new Bible Study: Me, Myself and Lies by Jennifer Rothschild. When I was ordering the workbook off her website, I noticed her highly recommended book and decided to order the audio version. Lessons I Learned in the Dark: Steps to Walking By Faith, Not by Sight. Let me just tell you that this gal is anointed!

Just finished reading:
Anonymous: Jesus' Hidden Years... and Yours by Alicia Britt Chole. Truly life-transforming book which details the integrity and authenticity brought out of the unapplauded or obscure times in our lives. I'll need to read this book again because I keep needing this lesson over and over... will I ever learn?

So, what are you reading this summer?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Early Bird Gets the... Mezuzah

Congratulations to Patti from Emersyn Grace, Our Biggest Little Blessing! She was the first person to comment on the previous post... and she wins a Mezuzah charm purchased in Jerusalem.
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Patti is a precious young woman that I have attended church with for over 14 years. We met the the first summer I arrived in Portland. I volunteered to teach VBS and Patti joined me as a co-teacher. I was impressed with her heart immediately when I realized she was in her early teens... taking time from her summer to teach the younger children.

I recently asked Patti about why she started blogging...

I started a Xanga blog back in 2004 when I started real estate. It was essentially an online journal of sorts, a place for me to talk about my house listings and also what life was like as a newlywed.

I started my REAL blog back in April of 2008 when we found out we were expecting a baby girl. I originally started it as a way to document the remainder of my pregnancy, and then a way to let my friends and family watch Emersyn grow up via pictures and updates.

But since then I have become an avid blog reader and have been inspired to make my blog much more then a show and tell of my sweet daughter. It is almost a visual way to chart the progress towards becoming a better woman. I have goals and am able to share them and then show how I am working towards them.

I want my blog to be somewhat of a biography of me in a sense when Emersyn is grown up. I want to be a well rounded woman for her to be inspired by. I decided to include more content on my blog, such as a new weekly recipe, new hobbies (like growing tomatoes this summer), etc. Having the blog has challenged me to create more substance in my life.

Through reading other people's blogs and leaving comments, I have inherited some readers who were strangers and now I feel like I have gotten to know them through their blogs. I have several "blog friends" that have kids that are almost the exact same age as Emersyn and so that is fun to see.

I love going to church and having random people say that they read my blog and love seeing Emersyn's pictures. I have some non-Christian friends that read my blog and comment on how "positive" that I am and I hope that can be a witness of God's love and light.
Patti, may God's word always be upon your heart! I am so encouraged to see your love for God, your husband and daughter, parents, family and friends!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My 300th Post

Hear, O Israel:
The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

Love the LORD your God with all your heart
and with all your soul
and with all your strength.

These commandments that I give you today
are to be upon your hearts.

Impress them on your children.

Talk about them when you sit at home
and when you walk along the road,
when you lie down and when you get up.

Tie them as symbols on your hands
and bind them on your foreheads.

Write them on the doorframes
of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NIV

It seems hard to believe that a year has passed since this picture was taken of me in Jerusalem. Time is inevitable, isn't it? I am standing at the gate to the Western Wall (Wailing Wall) by a Mezuzah.

A Mezuzah is a small case which hangs in a doorpost ("Write them on the doorframes...") and contains the verses from Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21. As you pass through the doorway, you kiss your fingers and touch them to the Mezuzah as a sign of expressing your love and respect for God and His commandments.

My favorite purchase when we were touring the Sea of Galilee was a Mezuzah charm necklace that I am wearing in the photo. ("...to be upon your hearts.")

When Anthony returned to Israel last week, I asked him if he would purchase another Mezuzah for me. He found a beautifully ornate Mezuzah with amethyst inset. This one will hang in a doorframe... I'm still deciding in which one I will hang it.

In our Christian culture we often stay away from having icons in our homes. I suppose it comes from a time when people would worship the icon and not Who it represented. When using icons became more of a routine than out of reverence. And by removing icons that we would return to a more simpler faith... and only be dependent upon God and His Word.

But sometimes I wonder if it went too far. That perhaps a little routine might keep us more engaged. Perhaps a symbol that reminds us to keep God's commands... or to teach them to our children... just might not be a bad thing.

To celebrate my 300th post, I am giving away a Mezuzah charm (similar to my necklace in the photo) purchased in Jerusalem. Please leave a comment on this post and I will pick a name randomly on Saturday. (No purchase necessary!)

So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul-then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil.

I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. Then the LORD's anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce,and you will soon perish from the good land the LORD is giving you.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

Deuteronomy 11:13-21 NIV

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Remembering: The Lingering Garden

I love being able to look back on my blogging... to see where I've been... and where God has brought me.

This was originally posted on June 4th of 2007.

I'm not sure what has come over me lately. I am not a gardener at all. However, our backyard has been quite the sanctuary for me this spring. Last year due to illness it went neglected entirely. Now, it causes me to linger. To want to be outside. It is as if the Lord wants me to be gardening.

Psalm 126:6

He who goes out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him.

What a promise! There's been a bit of weeping with the school year closing out (new school next year)...but what a promise...there will be a harvest!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

those seeds should have known that they needed a pole...

Been out in the garden. We're growing pole beans this year. Never done it before. Now that the plant starts are maturing... they are sending out their tentacles to hook on to something... whatever they can find... even themselves. What they really need are poles... to grasp on to, so that the beans are able to grow off the ground. That's where I come in... I'm their trainer.

Each morning as I walk about my garden, I stop by and visit the pole beans. If I find a new growth of tentacle, I gently lead it over to the pole... sometimes gently wrapping it around the pole. Next time I visit, it normally has gotten the idea... and it does the wrapping itself. And then I won't even need to help it... but for now I do... and I visit daily... and I train. Gently. Enjoying their growth... and soon I won't be as necessary... until they bear their fruit... and then I get to share in their harvest.

No one faults the beans for needing a little extra help. Actually, the seeds came in a package with directions that I would need to provide for their growth if I expected them to produce as shown in their picture on the front of the package. I don't mind helping them. I actually enjoy it.

So when the plant is starting to send out its shoots, I don't think to myself... those seeds should have known that they needed a pole... why didn't they plant themselves by a pole? They were made to be dependent. Now, I can't make the seed grow into the plant... it does it by itself... God has created it that way. But coming alongside... offering what I can... a pole, water... and then it is ready to do the rest.

And so, we are encouraged... or even more so... given the charge... of training the "younger" women. There is a world out there that thinks that loving a husband or children, being self-controlled, pure, busy at home, kind, and subject to a husband... well, it should just come naturally. Innate. Or perhaps we think... that was someone else's job... their mother's job. She was to train up the daughters. Well, sometimes... things just don't work out that way...

Is there a young tender flower near you? Perhaps you didn't plant her, but you could give a little guidance? A gentle nudging? Just until she grasps hold? Maybe you need to direct her to the Word of God? Fellowship with other women? Be a listening ear?

For me... this is a compulsion. I am compelled to do so... because, I know what it is like to not have a gentle gardener direct me towards the right direction. By the grace of God, I happened upon it... after years of wrapping the tentacles around myself... and often wonder what it would have been like if only someone would have taken the time to...

...train the younger women

love their husbands
and children,
to be
to be
busy at home,
to be
and to be
subject to their husbands,
so that no one will malign the word of God.

Titus 2:4-5 NIV

Monday, June 8, 2009

Involuntary Integration

"To keep me from becoming conceited
because of these surpassingly great revelations,
there was given me a thorn in my flesh,
a messenger of Satan, to torment me.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord
to take it away from me.

But he said to me,
"My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness."

Therefore I will boast
all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ's power may rest on me.

That is why, for Christ's sake,
I delight in weaknesses,
in insults, in hardships,
in persecutions, in difficulties.

For when I am weak, then I am strong."

2 Corinthians 12: 7-10 NIV

In the Mitford Series by Jan Karon, Father Tim declares that the thorn Paul speaks of in 2 Corinthians 12 must be diabetes. I, on the other hand, think it must have been Thyroid Cancer or depression. Paul never shares with us what the thorn in his flesh actually is... and so each of us can come to this passage and apply it to our own situation.

The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.

The Good News. My endocrinologist said my TSH levels are "good"...

The Bad News. I am hyperthyroid.

The Ugly. I must learn to adjust to my current level of "normal"...

The Best News. Because of this inability to have complete control over my emotions, I have to lean heavily on the Lord. On His Spirit which lives within me. No more Voluntary Quarantine. I have to be integrated back into society with my warts and all, I'm relying on His power. His sufficiency. His grace. His perfection.

And I don't say this lightly. And I know many will not want to read this, but... this is an answer to my prayers. After the Lord had brought me through the deepest depression I had ever known, didn't I ask Him to not let me lose the sweet communion I had with Him during that time? For Him to truly be everything I need?

And I even wonder to myself... how could I possibly admit this? What in the world would bring someone to be grateful for a thorn in their flesh? How sweet could that communion with the Lord have been? Couldn't you just encounter sweet communion with the Lord without pain?

And yes, you can encounter the Lord in depth without pain. Thank God, you can! And remember that I did not pray for the pain... but for the communion.

And that is where I am at today... Thanking God for the relationship I have with Him. My need for Him. My need for Christ's power to rest on me.

Dear one, do you have a thorn in the flesh? Literally or figuratively... what is it? By all means, plead with the Lord to take it away from you just like the apostle Paul did three times. And God may do that! Praise God! But if it remains... remember, like Paul did,

"Because of the extravagance of those revelations,
and so I wouldn't get a big head,
I was given the gift of a handicap
to keep me in constant touch with my limitations.

Satan's angel did his best to get me down;
what he in fact did was push me to my knees.
No danger then of walking around high and mighty!

At first I didn't think of it as a gift,
and begged God to remove it.
Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it's all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen.
I quit focusing on the handicap
and began appreciating the gift.

It was a case of Christ's strength
moving in on my weakness.

Now I take limitations in stride,
and with good cheer,
these limitations that cut me down to size—
abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks.

I just let Christ take over!

And so the weaker I get,
the stronger I become."

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 The Message

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sitting on the Ledge


Looking unto Jesus
the author and finisher of [our] faith;
who for the joy that was set before him
endured the cross, despising the shame,
and is set down at the right hand
of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 KJV

During my Voluntary Quarantine one of the worst things I can do... is trust my feelings. For most of my life I thought that my feelings were facts. That's how I was raised. It was some hard lessons for me to change that mindset.

I'm currently listening to the book Lessons I Learned in the Dark by Jennifer Rothschild. She was discussing how Jesus had human emotions. How He struggled with human emotions. In Hebrews 12:2 it says that Jesus despised the shame.

Jennifer Rothschild suggested that if you look at the original Greek word for despising it is kataphroneō which means "to contemn, despise, disdain, think little or nothing of." Contemn meaning "to treat or regard with contempt." Disdain meaning "the feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one's consideration or respect."

Jesus did not regard his feelings as worthy of His consideration. He did not esteem them. He trusted in the Truth. The promise. Joy was set before Him.

When I take my emotions and feelings as fact, I act upon them. My emotions and feelings easily sway and are quite torrential right now. I cannot rely upon them. I need to rely upon the Truth.

If I would act upon my feelings right now... I would corrupt the rest of the parents on Christopher's ball team. I would drink multiple Venti WHOLE milk Carmel de Leche Lattes WITH whipped cream throughout the day. I would stay in bed. I would quit blogging. I would leave my church.

The other day I had to call Anthony to talk me off the ledge. I was about to send a scathing e-mail to someone who had dissed a project that my friend had worked on all year. I begged him to tell me the truth because I was hot. And he did. He reminded me that my friend hadn't asked me to defend her. That she could defend herself. That this was not my predicament.

And... it worked. I had to write what he said on a posty and stick it up in my car, but it did work.

For if our heart condemn us,
God is greater than our heart,
and knoweth all things.
1 John 3:20 KJV

Even our own heart can condemn us. But if we go to God... and ask Him to talk us off the ledge... He is faithful to do it. He knows all things. He is greater than our heart. He is greater than our emotions. He is Truth.

So, no worries, my friends... I am holding my tongue at the ballgames... I am welcoming each new day... I will continue blogging... and I LOOOOOOOVE my church!

But about that multiple Venti WHOLE milk Carmel de Leche Lattes WITH whipped cream throughout the day thing? Well, one wouldn't hurt... would it?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Voluntary Quarantine

I've been overemotional lately. Even at this very minute as I type, I have tears in my eyes. I am oversensitive. Easily agitated. Irrationally angered.

I have decided for safety reasons to voluntarily quarantine myself.

Most people don't encounter this side of me. But here it is. And it is on a rampage right now.

Perhaps in a few days my blood test results will come back and indicate that my TSH is too low... and I am hyperthyroid. (Having survived Thyroid Cancer, I have to have my blood levels checked every year with potential for adjustment.)

So, I find it best right now to lay low.

I finally realized the other day that something was really wrong when I blew up over Christopher's baseball game running 45 minutes over. I was under the impression the game would be for an hour. The coach decided to allow extra innings. He had done this before. I was angry.

And then Anthony reminded me that I was team mom, a leader of sorts, and perhaps not setting the best example to the other parents. I knew he was right... but I was mad.

I stormed away. I tried to collect myself, so I could return and watch the game. I couldn't do it. I knew if I went back... I'd either start on my tirade... or start crying and apologizing. I went to the car. Forty-five minutes later when Christopher and Anthony got in the car, I started weeping uncontrollably. Hmmm.... something is very wrong here.

I find myself in a difficult situation. Trying to continue on about my normal day... without getting offended by minutia. But it happens... and I say more than I should... and then I have to go back and apologize after weeping uncontrollably.

I don't want to make excuses... although I have one. My condition is not contagious, but my attitude is... and for that reason, I find it my responsibility to voluntarily quarantine myself.

Soon, the blood test will come back... we'll make adjustments on my meds... and the roller coaster will end. Well, at least for a year.

But it is all a good lesson for me to learn... to be aware of how my reactions affect others... whether I feel well or not.

21So I find this law at work:
When I want to do good,
evil is right there with me.

For in my inner being
I delight in God's law;
but I see another law at work
in the members of my body,
waging war against the law of my mind
and making me a prisoner of the law of sin
at work within my members.

What a wretched man I am!
Who will rescue me from this body of death?

Thanks be to God
—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind
am a slave to God's law,
but in the sinful nature
a slave to the law of sin.

Romans 7:21-25 NIV

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More Details
Siesta Summer Bible Study:
Me, Myself & Lies

If you're interested in joining my small group for Me, Myself and Lies in Portland, you'll need to

1. contact me and
2. purchase your own workbook.

Then just show up at our first meeting which will take place on June 23rd.

Brief synopsis:
Homework starts on 6/23. 5 days a week format. 6 weeks total.
Meet four times. (approx. 6/23, 7/7, 7/21 and 8/4)
Basic premise of the study is to learn how to guard what we’re saying to ourselves and what we’re stuffing destructively into our minds.

See the LPM blog for all the detailed information about the Siesta Summer Bible Study. Here's an example from last year.

There's already three of us signed-up... so join the party!