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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer Break

It seems I have taken the month of July off from blogging.
I wish I could say it was intentional.

Summer has simply gotten in the way.

God is showing me great things. I want to share them with you. I guess I need to get better at recognizing a changing season and adjusting my schedule and expectations accordingly. Its not like I didn't know summer was coming. I did. I just didn't know all that summer was bringing with it, or rather I didn't realize the time and energy the things summer was bringing would take. I knew some of them would be "lots of work" but I didn't translate that into hours invested. I tried, but I need much more practice.

I planned lots of time to write. Time for projects, maybe getting ahead for when we start back to homeschooling? Oh no, it was not to be so, at least not the way I planned it.

God has been pouring into me this summer. The pouring in and the processing are not quickly coming to a finished product.I wanted to keep posting on my One Word, Dream. I seem to be stuck there though. All my other projects and processing hasn't left me time for study about my word.I am doing a great Bible Study with a wonderful group of women. I'll be telling you more about it in September.
How has your summer been?  What you expected?
What are the blessings?
What are the struggles?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Are You Listening?

When I am seeking God for an answer.... Well no that is not quite right.
When I should be seeking God for an answer.... I am often seeking an answer, not God. I am often trying to solve a problem and hope God will barge through my thoughts. I am thinking , pondering, analyzing from every angle. The thoughts fast, furious, and stressed.

Last week I slowed down and realized He was speaking, I just wasn't paying attention. His still small voice will not drown out the barrage of my thinking. I have to do that.

I was out in the field where I help my friend garden. Thoughts were racing through about schedules, friends with cancer, relationships, finances - life. In the midst I kept signing the words to the chorus of a country song. "That's my job, that's what I do. Everything I do is because of you, to keep you safe with me. That's my job you see." I was getting pretty annoyed. I wanted answers, solutions.

Back to pondering and trying to figure things out. After a couple of hours my thoughts had run out -part of why I so enjoy working over there.

Then I heard the still small voice. "That's my job, that's what I do. Everything I do is because of you, to keep you safe with me. That's my job you see. I have been signing this to you. I will take care of you, it's my job. Everything will be okay. Better than okay."

I thanked Him for continuing to speak until I finally listened. I thanked Him for taking care of me and all that concerns me.

The song was no longer running through my head. A new song was there, Kentucky Rain. I guess you can tell I grew up on country music! I was singing it wrong I learned, but I believe I was singing it right from the Father.

The words I sang the rest of the day were "Love keeps pourin' down like the ol' Kentucky rain." My husband found it on YouTube later. The song is about a lost love. The singer is pursing their love even out in the dark, cold rain, vowing not to stop until they are found.
I bask in the knowledge that God did and still does pursue me the same way.

How do you hear from God?
Are you willing to listen for Him to speak in new ways?
I would love to hear from you about how He encourages and directs you.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Everything Is Going My Way

And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose,...No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! Romans 8:28, 37 NET
 As I watched Brian drive away this morning I looked around. The words to a song came "Oh what a beautiful morning. Oh what a beautiful day. I've got a beautiful feeling every thing's going my way."

While it is a beautiful morning, overcast, but the sun shining through, green, growing, peaceful- beautiful, I do not have that wonderful feeling of everything going my way. Quite the contrary if I look at things. However, I have something better.


I have the promises of God. Romans 8:28 was the first to come to mind.  "And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose," (NET) We really should read on. All things working for our good is a wonderful promise, but there is more. Verse 29 tells us we are predestined, planned out ahead of time, to be conformed to the image of Jesus.

Meditate on that for a wonderful feeling! To be assured of being conformed to the image of Jesus! Verse 30 says we are called, justified and glorified. That is quite a package. God is doing it all.
  What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 NET
Who indeed? Not that we won't have opposition, we will. The more favor God shows us the more opposition will rise against us. It won't do any good though. God Himself is for us! I don't know about you but I need this verse burned on my heart.

 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Romans 8:33 NET


Do you avoid God because He must be so tired of you messing up? I do. I get lost in focusing on my mistakes and don't love or accept myself so how could a perfect God? I don't have to know how. I must take it by faith. I can explain it to you, but I need it real- where I live from- to be changed.
Who is the one who will condemn? Christ is the one who died (and more than that, he was raised), who is at the right hand of God, and who also is interceding for us. Romans 8:34 NET
I often feel I disappoint Jesus. I don't walk in the freedom and authority He died to provide. Verse 34 clearly tells me He is not condemning me. He is praying for me. Jesus Christ the perfect Son of God is praying for me. Praying for you, too. Once I get through the weight of that- what a beautiful feeling!


As I said, with all this favor here comes the opposition.
35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we encounter death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” The opposition will come and it will come to nought. 37 No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! Romans 8:35-37 NET
Complete victory! Complete victory over any opposition because Jesus who loves us took care of everything.

 Jesus is praying for me. God is conforming me to the image of Jesus. I have complete victory through Jesus who loves me.

Have a beautiful day! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Asking the Wrong Question

I have spent much time over the past months- no years, wondering what God’s dream for me was. There have been times I knew, times I thought I knew, and times I had no clue beyond the most basic “I exist to bring God glory.” While it is true I exist to bring God glory it isn’t overly helpful in trying to determine what to do with my time, which ministry to pursue, where to focus my energy.

It was that realization that showed me once again I was asking the wrong question. Knowing God’s plan for me in all it’s glory and minute details appeals to the planner within me. Thinking if I knew the end I could make all the right choices along the way. That’s probably not true. Seeing God’s plan for me might make me run and hide. In myself I cannot do what He has planned for me. It also would remove the need for faith. Faith is trusting what we do not see. Without faith it is impossible to please Him, so bringing Him glory would be out then, too.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20 NLT
If it is beyond our ability to think it, it’s likely not a good idea to show it to us. How likely would I be to pull an Abraham and Sarah trick? Deciding God forgot what the plan was and needed my help to get it done. (Read their story beginning in Genesis 16) Way too likely! 

I can think of more than one project I had charged off into and made a mess of because He gave me a glimpse of my purpose. I set out to work on it right away. I’m enthusiastic about new projects. I work hard. Too often I work on my own, missing God’s provision and grace for the task at hand. I think often He is showing me a glimpse so I can pray and prepare, not so I can get busy. I don’t listen well when I’m busy. Do you?

Rather than ask "What is the dream?", or "What life will look like when I 'arrive'?" I need to ask questions like: “What do I do now? Right now?” “How can I love you today, Lord?”

I know God is big enough to have everything I do be part of preparing me for my future. I do not have to understand or see how it fits into the big picture. I do not have to see the specific dream, the detailed plan. If my purpose is to bring Him glory, obeying today will do that. So will obeying tomorrow and the day after that. Each day of obedience will bring me closer to the dreams and purposes He has for me.

Is there an area He has been asking you to obey? Have you taken a new step of obedience?

Trust Him with today and all your tomorrows.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Dream. Vision. Purpose. Destiny.
These have become buzz words in our culture and even in our churches. Good ideas are not always Biblical ideas. I have been trying to find the Biblical view. I am still working on it. Before I go on I thought I would revisit what I have learned. 

What I've learned:
  • It's not all about me, it 's not about me at all really. It is about God, his purposes, his ways, his Kingdom.
  • It is about me. God designed and knew me before the foundations of the earth. He chose for me to live in this time with this family with every strength, weakness, talent, gift and personality trait I possess. Jesus suffered and died for my deliverance, so no weapon formed against me can prosper.
  • I guess what I have learned is that I need to focus on God and He will focus on me. That is a great trade, if you understand who God is. If the thought of God focusing on you makes you a little queasy, nervous, or think "I'll pass, thanks" you don't know how God thinks when he focuses on you. I strongly encourage you to find out what he is really like. I am certainly in the process of moving my knowledge of him from my head to my heart so I truly believe instead of just knowing how good he is. That is the focusing on him. Look in his word. Listen to his voice. Be willing to let go of what you thought or felt that does not line up with scripture.
 Okay, back to what I have learned.
  • A dream can be an idol, even if we think we are pursing God's dream for us.
  • How we process hurts, failures, and disappointments from the past impact our ability and willingness to dream in the future.
  • Dead dreams stink.
  • Dreaming takes faith.
  • The hope must always be in God not the dream or the anticipated results.
As I continue on I still have two big questions: "What is God's perspective on dreaming?" I feel like I have the idea, but not the scriptures. And "What specific dreams does God have for me?"

Do you have any questions about dreaming? Any insights to share?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A god Called Destiny: An Example

Christ is the source of everything we need and the giver of all good gifts … but in telling people about Him, it’s possible we’ve sold them on a solution for life’s problems and not life itself.
What if we as girls had learned early on that having Him was everything, not a means to the life we think He would want us to have.
If we had learned we don’t abstain from sex because we’re “waiting.” We abstain because we love Him.
If I’d had on my bulletin board, “Fall in love with Jesus.” That’s it. Bottom line. That’s everything you need to know, to work toward, to put your hope in.
If I’d learned who He is, what He wants, how to give Him everything, not “wait” so that one day I could give my everything to someone else.
If I’d learned that it’s not bad to pray for a husband, but that my greater prayer should be for Him to spend my life as He chooses for His glory.
Quoted form Grace for the Road, I don't wait anymore posted February 3, 2012

This week I was struck when I read this young woman's post. She eloquently highlights my point in A god Called "Destiny". how the goal, the destiny, the desired outcome replaced God. 

It is subtle. Deception is sometimes hard to find. 

She voices the disillusionment and confusion that comes from having the order reversed, focus on destiny then God, whether it is intentional or not. 

How easily, how slight an adjustment can take us off course, or get us back on. 

I encourage you to read her well written post. 

Ponder whether there is somewhere you are seeking the gift, the outcome, the goal, the dream instead of the Giver Himself.

Are we giving our children the correct message? 

God is not the means to a desired end, though He throws that in the deal. God is the end. He is everything.

“Fall in love with Jesus.” That’s it. Bottom line. That’s everything you need to know, to work toward, to put your hope in.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A god Called 'Destiny'?

Isaiah 65
11  But as for you who abandon the LORD and forget about worshiping at my holy mountain, who prepare a feast for the god called ‘Fortune,’ and fill up wine jugs for the god called ‘Destiny’ –     
12  I predestine you to die by the sword, all of you will kneel down at the slaughtering block, because I called to you, and you did not respond, I spoke and you did not listen. You did evil before me; you chose to do what displeases me.”     
13  So this is what the sovereign LORD says: “Look, my servants will eat, but you will be hungry! Look, my servants will drink, but you will be thirsty! Look, my servants will rejoice, but you will be humiliated!     
14  Look, my servants will shout for joy as happiness fills their hearts! But you will cry out as sorrow fills your hearts; you will wail because your spirits will be crushed.  
I did a search for the word destiny in the scripture. Most of the time it is used referring to the destiny of the wicked or fools. Isaiah 65:11 really caught my eye. The people of Israel sound like Americans today. They have left the holy mountain, true and righteous worship, and now pursue a god called "Fortune" and a god called "Destiny".   The Hebrew word (meniy) translated destiny in
several versions is actually the word for a god of fate the Jews worshiped in Babylonia!

A god called "Destiny".  

I have been guilty of being in that camp. I have spent far more time pursuing a dream, not even working at accomplishing something, just trying to get the idea of the dream just perfect. 

I am not saying dreaming is wrong,  nor do I believe fortune is wrong. It is a matter of priority and purpose. There is no doubt God has purpose and plans for each one of us, good ones, too. However, neither the dream nor the fortune can be more important than pursuing God, listening for His voice and responding to it.  

A god called "Destiny".  
What follows is a stern warning. Death by the sword!  Those who do not listen and respond are condemned to die.  
The Lord requires that we listen and obey. His servants will eat, drink and rejoice! "My servants will shout for joy as happiness fills their hearts!"   His servants are defined as those who respond to his voice. They obey His commands.
I have seen in my own experience how holding the dream or vision of destiny too closely, esteeming too highly, causes a crushed spirit. It is God alone who can satisfy. 

A shift in focus is needed. The resources I have directed to seeking my destiny must be redirected. The resources must be used to learn to hear and practicing to obey. Fulfilling my destiny will be a by product. He will lead and direct me to learn skills, build relationships, make career moves, whatever is needed to have me in the place He most wants to use me. I will eat, drink, and rejoice along the way.   It takes so much pressure off finding a dream and calling, my 'destiny'.
I only need to hear Him calling.
I often think I need to see the big picture, what will it all look like, where exactly am I going in my life. (What is my destiny?) I realize now I need a far bigger picture than that. I need an eternal picture. I need a God big enough to trust with the next step one step at a time. A belief big enough to step out whether I can see the step or not, mush less miles down the road.

I will listen and obey today. I abandon the god called 'destiny'.

In our purpose driven world today have you slipped with me into have 'destiny' be a god instead of a tool?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Questioning: Who Am I?

Who do I want to be?
Who am I made to be?
What are my passions?
What are my talents?
Where is my voice?
What is my purpose?
What does it look like?

I can remember doing sketches like this one since junior high. I can picture specific ones, even a college art project full of questions. At first this was not a happy thought. I was quite discouraged to be swimming, maybe wallowing, in a sea of questions, again. Some of the same questions, still.

At almost 40 years old I'm seeing for the first time that perhaps questioning is just part of the way I am. I'm a thinker. I'm a planner. I've always felt wrong for all my questions I've always felt I should have the answers. I guess like question were bad if I didn't have the answer. I wouldn't be much of a thinker or a planner if I didn't see things that needed answers, would I?

It's not bad to have the question and no answer. It's wrong to dwell on the question without seeking the answer (wallowing - which would be why I was discouraged? Have been over the years?).

I thought I personally needed to supply the answer, like it wouldn't be okay to find the answer or get help with finding answers. Of course there is no way I can have all the answers to the questions I ask. I have God given resources all around, and within me. I am not enough by myself.

Seeing this thinking about questioning being wrong, needing to have all the answers written out it is obviously wrong. Having it within me I hadn't even seen it.

Jesus said "I am the way." The way where? Well to heaven, to eternal life. So much more than that, too. He is the way to answer my questions. He is the answer to my questions. He created me. He has plans for me, good ones! If he has plans that would be the answers I'm looking for.
Holy Spirit has sealed me and lives inside me. He knows all the plans for me. He is always communicating the Father's thoughts to my spirit. I have to learn to listen, choose to listen, chose to respond.

I believe seeing questions and seeking answers as part of my make up is another part of knowing my identity so I can pursue God's dreams for me.

Is there something about your personality that has frustrated you? Ask God about His intentions for that trait. Satan loves to twist our God given strengths and gifts to our destruction. Brought back under God's plan they will be part of reaching our destiny.

I'd love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

This post is part of my One Word 2013 series. To read more search Dream on this blog.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Looking at Family Relationships

Strong people skills is one of those things that I have always said is a priority in educating my children. It is also a priority I feel I am falling short of all too often.

Today we started a project to evaluate our family relationships. The idea came from Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes... in you and your kids by Turansky and Miller. 

Each family has more relationships than we may realize at first glance. 5 family members is not 5 or even 10 relationships.

We began by putting each family member's name on the white board. To make it a little more fun everyone got their own color. We included God, so we have 6 people in our relationship map.

Next each person is connected to every other person. We drew their relationships in their color.

We are also in relationship with ourselves. That is 6 relationships per 6 people for 36 relationships! Give yourself some grace, that's a lot to manage!

We talked briefly about only being able to directly control your relationship with someone, not their relationship to you. We can influence another to improve their relationship with us, but not control their response.

The writing assignment was:
List everything good about one relationship. 
What needs improving in that same relationship?
What could I do to work toward making this relationship what I would like it to be?

We'll do one a day until we've gone through them all, including our relationship with ourselves.

My hope is we will each see insights into individual relationships by examining them one at a time. 

We'll have more discussion and hopefully set some goals of things to improve on while realizing there is good in every relationship, even if they sometimes hurt us or frustrate us.  With younger children simply talk through the concept. It's easy to see how we relate differently to each member of our family if we pause to look at it.

How do you help your children work on relationships?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dream Sketches, Sort of...

I went and overwhelmed my brain and my schedule this week.
Writing something worth your reading seems out of reach.
I'm sharing some sketches instead.
Being filled with courage. Having courage within. Encouragement.
Not really a sketch even, a thought in color?

How is your week?
Is there room for dreams? 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Let the Wind Blow: Revisit and Update

Maybe it the season. Maybe it's about dreaming.
I want to share this post again. The original portion was two years ago, updated a few months later.

A post about a storm in my life... (read the post by clicking the link below)
 Let the Wind Blow: I originally posted this in April. I really need the reminder today as the clean up continues. God is faithful, in him I put my trust. ...

April 2013
The winds of that storm rarely gust anymore. A great measure of healing has come. Most of the big trees survived and are doing well, some we're still loving and praying for recovery. I feel we're in a long winter. It's hard to tell about the flowers and the gardens. I long for spring. I long for big projects and improvements, but sense it will only be a season of cleaning, repairing, mending - being faithful in small things before larger things are revealed.

New winds are stirring. I pray for warm, encouraging south winds. I know there are cold, harsh north winds. This creates the whirlwind to transform me to His image.

While I long to see the end result I will choose to be content knowing I am on the Rock that will not be shaken though all else is shaken.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Disillusionment for Hope

I went to Webster to see what Daniel had to say about disillusionment. I found he had nothing to say. It was not a word in 1828. Well, he didn’t put it in the dictionary at least. One site online said it was first used in 1591, though Meriam-Websters site says not until 1855.  Anyway it now means “disenchanted” which means to free from illusion. 

This search is feeling like my search to find out that dream meant something that happens when you’re sleeping. Not really what I was after. I think what disillusionment means to me is confusion, uncertainty, and doubt - ultimately rooted in fear.

I didn’t like the definition of being freed from illusion because that would mean I had been foolish enough to be following an illusion. I think that’s exactly it though. Without meaning to or knowing it I was following the illusion of what I wanted my dream to look like. I was focused on the illusion of my dream instead of on the unchanging face of God, so when the dream dies I am disillusioned, and rightly so.

The first step to regaining hope is to lose the illusion. I tend to be very idealistic, which if I’m honest would mean I have illusions of what I think things will be like if my dream came true. I guess maybe I’m delusional? I have had illusions like:
  • being happy when this or that happens
  • I’ll be content when…. 
  • Fulfillment is in x, y, or z. 
  • if I could just get my act together...
This is hoping in the dream, or the illusion of a dream. Hope can only be found by focusing on the Dream Giver.   
There is hope because He is.
He is faithful. He is good. He is gracious. He is wholly unable to change or break a promise.
He is hope.

Have you been disillusioned?
What did you do?
Where do you find hope?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Trading Discouragement for Courage

 How appropriate that my journey into the word Dream has brought me to trading discouragement for courage. I have certainly been discouraged – this week even.  I need to focus on trading the discouragement for new courage.

 In the wake of dying dreams I have been disappointed and discouraged-even disillusioned.  I've had some really big dreams die. This week however it was a small thing that had me discouraged. I had an event that didn't turn out like I had hoped. I'm not sure why a few people not coming to an event would make me question everything about my writing. For a while it did though, a failed event meant I was a failure in everything, in every way. That's discouragement.

DISCOURAGE, v.t. discourage.

1. To extinguish the courage of; to dishearten; to depress the spirits; to deject; to deprive of confidence.

The great trade is that God always has courage to offer - His courage. After a much too long pity party yesterday, today I set out to find new courage. It takes courage to dream again. There are a lot of questions and hurts when a dream dies. In my pity party I was lamenting to my husband about where I should put my time and how much time I should put into marketing my books. Lack of courage reared its head when the most obvious solution was to personally contact churches about my books. "I can't do that." "I don't know what to say." "What would I present?" I was disappointed and discouraged. Courage had left me. "I'm not good at small talk." "I hate cold calls." "I hate feeling like I'm trying to sell myself or push my product." Somehow the fear makes me forget that I have a valuable tool to offer. 

 I'm in need of courage to revive my dream of selling books. I'm in need of courage to revive dreams for my future. Where do I start?

COURAGE, n. [L., the heart.] Bravery; intrepidity; that quality of mind which enables men to encounter danger and difficulties with firmness, or without fear or depression of spirits; valor; boldness; resolution. It is a constituent part of fortitude; but fortitude implies patience to bear continued suffering.

Courage that grows from constitution, often forsakes a man when he has occasion for it; courage which arises from a sense of duty, acts in a uniform manner.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

The explanation after the definition reveals a truth. We can take courage because we will to but how much greater when the courage comes from God. We’ve read His word we’ve heard His voice so we are full of courage.

Courage comes from remembering who I am and who's I am. I guess dealing with disappointment restores courage too. I have to change my thinking to be courageous. I also need to change some actions. There are skills I can practice and acquire to give me courage. I can put together a presentation and practice it. Being sure I'm putting my time and effort where God wants it to go will give me courage.

 I know I can have courage because scripture repeatedly tells me to have courage. It's a choice - my choice. I can look at the mountain or I can look at the God who moves mountains. I will learn to be courageous.

What do you do when you lack courage? Are the helpful or hurtful?
Do you have any new ideas to try to gain courage?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blessed Holy Week

I am taking a break again this week. Easter is About Jesus: Family Devotions for the Easter Season is in it's first season and I was not as prepared as I thought I was.

At church on Sunday we had an inspiring teaching about Holy Week. I'm sharing the link with you.

The Centrality of Our Holy Week - Sondra Markwardt

She has been studying Jewish history and culture, it brings such a richness to the Easter story. There is a bit of "family" business at the beginning, wonderful things God's has done in our house, then the teaching. I hope it will bless you in your meditations of Jesus this Holy Week.

It's all about Jesus! I hope to get notes up, too. If I do I'll add a link here.

Check out Focus on Jesus for devotions and activity ideas I've posted this season.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Vocabulary Spelling City Review - Part 2

I accepted an offer for a month free trial of full features of Spelling City. We’ve been using it for about 3 weeks.
The Toolbox is full of great features. I can manage students, create lists and assignments, and track the progress of each child.
I have chosen several activities that I want each child to do for each list of words I enter. I entered words from our reading curriculum. Words lists can be added one word at a time, in a batch, or cut and paste from another document. Not only can you save custom word lists you can save sets of assignments. This makes getting ready for next week simple.
One activity requires them to write sentences with the word list. They can have their sentence read back to them by the computer to see if they typed what they meant or left any words out. They can edit their sentences before submitting them. They go to the writing section in your Toolbox for you to grade.
On the vocabulary side they can play games with lists you make or lists already in the system. There are math, science and geography lists ready to go.
Besides the online games you can print many of the activities for off the computer use.
They also offer lesson plans and a wealth of language education related articles and links.
At just under $30 a year for 5 students it’s a great value.