Monday, June 30, 2008

Quotes from Kurt

Kurt just finished reading his bible reader for the day. He read the story of when Jesus fed the 5,000 with loaves of bread and fish. The last sentence read, "There were twelve baskets of leftovers!"

Without missing a beat, Kurt said, "I think my dad could eat all those leftovers!"

Bearing falsely

Okay so confession time. -deep breath- The reason why that passage [from previous post] was so convicting to me is:

A) I bear false witness against my children. I really try not to but when I am frustrated with their behavior (which of course is usually a result of my/our parenting) I vent and talk about them instead of wisely praying for them.

B) Same is true of my husband. Although I do not usually bear false witness against him to people. I have and still do bear false witness against him to GOD. My "prayers" are more complaints. God's grace is huge towards me.

C) Everyone else fits in this category. Are my prayers for blessing in someone else's life or are they "why don't you fix 'em Lord" prayers of judgment on my part?

I am comforted to know that at this moment of repentance, I have already received God's grace and He is not accusing me and I do not need to bear false witness of myself. I too am positionally pure before God. May I walk in it today and each day.

Bearing False Witness

My "right-before-bed" devotional is Jon Courson's A Pillar By Day. Last night's reading was so convicting I thought I would share. I was going to paraphrase but I don't think I could do it justice. So here it is in it's entirety.

June 29
Thou shalt bear false witness against thy neighbor. Exodus 20:16

The biblical viewpoint of bearing false witness is not confined to the telling of bold-faced lies, but also includes being tricky with the truth. In one account where the phrase "false witness" is used in Scripture, we see individuals falsely accusing Jesus of threatening to destroy the Temple when, in fact, He was speaking of His own death (Matthew 26:59-61).

Because he is the Father of Lies, Satan is the ultimate false witness, accusing us day and night before God's throne as he points out our failings, our shortcomings, and our sins (Revelation 12:10). Jesus, on the other hand, is the faithful and true witness (Revelation 1:5; 3:14), our Advocate, our defense lawyer.

Are you a true witness or a false witness? If the person sitting next to you is a believer, he or she is righteously robed, heaven bound, Spirit-filled, positionally pure. Speaking anything less of them is bearing false witness. Oh, you might give the right information, but in so doing, do you convey the wrong implication? You might say lots of nice things about them, but do you add a "but,..." a "however,..." an "I don't know if I should share this, but..."? If so, you're a false witness because, although you might be telling the truth, you're not telling the whole truth. You're failing to factor God's estimation of them.

If you're prone to bearing false witness, consider the following remedies:

Say less, for as Solomon so insightfully declared, "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise (Proverbs 10:19).

Pray more. "Remove from me the way of lying," David prayed (Psalm 119:29).

Think again. Before you say anything about anyone else, THINK:

T: Is what you are about to say the whole Truth?

H: Is it Helpful? Will people be edified?

I: Is it Inspirational? Will God be praised as a result?

N: Is it necessary?

K: Is it Kind?

The best way to keep from bearing false witness is to simply say less [about other people], pray more, and think again.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Heat Relief

We knew it was going to be hot today.  I don't do heat.  So how did I fare?  Very well!  I invited our family over to a friend's house.  They have a neighborhood pool, air conditioning, children our children like to play with, a dog AND a puppy, a wii, and a hubby/daddy that can cook like all get out and a wife/mommy who a) entertains seemingly effortless b) makes me laugh, and c) is one of my very best girlfriends.  If it's gonna be hot, invite yourself over to the home a good friend where the food is delicious, the laughter abundant and the love unconditional.

Thank you Mark and Holli!

Oh and they had both sugar and cake ice cream cones!  

Introducing: Nana

This is my mom.

Almost everyone nowadays calls her "Nana". And she is a very, very good Nana.

Since my parents live next door we eat at least our evening meal together. Often it's breakfast and lunch too.

She helps me carry the burden of cooking for at least seven people each day and she has a self-appointed nickname of "Kitchen-Aid". This is a well earned title since she rarely skips over an opportunity to wash our dishes and clean our kitchen. Although I had often told her otherwise, I believed she was trying to make up for all the cleaning I did as a kid in her place.

You see I was once a latch-key kid. My mom worked full time and I learned to be very self-sufficient very early. She was very strict (of which I am very glad about now) and so I usually stayed home.

Since I was home I was expected to do a lot of housework. By the time I was nine I was doing my own laundry, making simple meals, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, and dusting after I got home from school and on the weekends. Although I was proud of the work I did and see so much value by being entrusted with it, she sometimes feels bad.

But a lot of things have changed since I was a kid. My mom has come to realize just how much she missed out by working outside the home during our childhood years. She told me that she doesn't help with my kitchen and with the feeding of my kids because she feels guilt over not being there for me.

She does it because it is so gratifying to her.

She realized that not only did I miss out on a full time mommy but she missed out on tremendous blessing by not being apart of the simple things of everyday life.

I'm sharing this with you today because she was so cute this morning and I couldn't just start talking about her without an introduction. That would be rude.

Anyway, I did not grow up in a bible reading, everybody praying, following Jesus home. We were Catholic. Sort of.

We were often the "Chreaster" variety. We showed up to Christmas and Easter mass and called it good.

But I came to know Jesus as my Savior in 1995 and it wasn't too many years after that she invited Jesus into heart, and most importantly into the driver's seat of her life.

She is 61 years old and is learning things about the Lord and the bible that my children take for granted. But she is such an eager learner and she is so proud of verses she memorizes and things she understands. It is soooooo cute.

She be-bopped over this morning all dressed up because she was going to a birthday party. But before she went she just had to come show me!

With the biggest smile on her face she started to recite, "Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, etc..."

Last night she couldn't sleep because of her asthma medication so she stayed up and memorized all the books of the bible!

I told you she was so cute.

She said she almost called me at 2:30 am to tell me because she was so thrilled.
I'm thrilled too.

How the Father in heaven must have been smiling at her last night.
She is a wonderful example of how it is never too late to do things that are good, right and true.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Our Last Experiment

Our last experiment for Antarctica and the school year was about penguin fat! Yea! The demonstration was to show the kids just how much the layer of fat protects the penguins from the icy waters of the Antarctic.We placed the kids' right hand in an ordinary Ziploc bag. Then we place their left hand into a doubled up bag with a layer of Crisco in between. We molded the Crisco to form a mitten around their hand.
Then they plunged their hands into very icy water.

Okay I know this experiment sounds totally simplistic. But I have to tell you, the temperature difference between hands was incredible. The left hand felt actually warm and cozy while the right hand quickly turned red and bone cold.

As Kurt had his hands in the water (we all took turns) it occurred to me that the Holy Spirit does this for us.
With Jesus, we are protected from the harsh realities of the world. We can be in the world but not of the world.
We didn't tape the Crisco mitten on our hands. We had to choose to keep it inside.
Jesus lets us choose too. We have the free will to slip our hand out of it's protective mitten and plunge it into the icy waters. It's up to us. I've plunged in enough to know I don't like it in there. My heart desires to stay nice and toasty in the covering and protection of His everlasting arms.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Good Word

Thursday is our church's mid-week study. We just got back and I had to share the good Word we received tonight! We are currently studying through the book of Genesis on Thursday nights (we are in Matthew on Sundays). We have been studying the life of Abraham. We finished chapter 21 with Abraham planting a grove and calling on the name of Lord, the everlasting God. From here we jumped over to the book of Isaiah Chapter 40:26-31. Verse 28 says, "Hast thou not known? has thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding." Verse 29: "He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. v.30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: v.31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

Our God is a God of power. Our God gives us Himself. We are being conformed to the image of His Son Jesus, our Lord and King. He gives us of Himself so that as really hard and run around like a chicken with our heads cut off? Ahhh, no. As we wait upon the Lord we... might, maybe, someday if we're lucky, renew our strength? Ahhh, no.
As we wait upon the Lord we shall renew our strength, mount up on wings like eagles, running without weariness, ah, but here is the kicker: (drum roll please) WALK and not faint.

What in the world is so remarkable about walking? Nothing. Nobody stops in their tracks to admire someone pushing their cart through a grocery store. There are no headlines for walking across the room to throw away a diaper. Unless you have been seriously injured, you don't train for hours every day to walk through your life. You mastered it at the age of two most likely and haven't given it much thought since. Walking is at best thoughtless, at worse boring. In other words, incredibly ordinary. It's the ordinary that drives me crazy and makes me restless. Get up, shower, feed the kids, wash the dishes, turn around feed the kids again, wash the dishes again, start planning for cooking... again, wash more dishes, fall in bed exhausted. Do it again tomorrow. My days haven't looked like this recently. But I remember the "trenches" days. Life when we had three children ages four and under. It's exhausting. It's hard to see the big picture and to keep being faithful to the ordinary, little tasks God calls us to perform as if unto Him.

But God honors those seemingly insignificant sacrifices mothers offer up all day long, all across the globe. Sacrifices of time, sleep, sanity. Sacrifices of prayers, heartache, compassion. When we call upon Him and wait for Him, He renews our strength and gives us what we need to "keep on keeping on".

When He gives of Himself to us and we experience His profound reality we can be as the psalmist and "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100:1-5

Books That Bless Me

•Holy Bible KJV or NASB

•Christ Indwelling and Enthroned by J. Oswald Sanders

• The Ministry of Intercession by Andrew Murray

• A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola

• Experiencing God Through Prayer by Madame Guyon

• A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller

• A Day's Journey by Jon Courson

• A Pillar By Day by Jon Courson

• He Shall Be Called by Robert J. Morgan

• Humility by Andrew Murray

• My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

• The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis

• Anything by Francine Rivers

Family Favorite Read Alouds

•Any from Christian Heroes: Then and Now by Janet & Geoff Benge

(We especially love Clara Barton, George Mueller, Lillian Trasher, Nate Saint, George Washington Carver, Eric Liddell... they are all so good!)

•Daughter's of Faith Series by Wendy Lawton:
The Tinker's Daughter,
Almost Home,
Shadow of His Hand,
Courage to Run,
The Hallelujah Lass &
Ransom's Mark

•The Rag Coat by Laura A. Mills

•Patricia St. John's:
Treasures of the Snow, Rainbow Garden, Star of Light, Three Go Searching, Twice Freed & The Tanglewoods' Secret

• Little Lord Fauntleroy by Francis Hodges Burnett

• Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan

• Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat

• Maria by Maria von Trapp

• Rufus M. by Eleanor Estes

• Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

• North of Danger by Dale Fife

• Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard & Florence Atwater

• The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

• Hill of Fire by Thomas P. Lewis

• Annika's Secret Wish by Beverly Lewis

• The Bronze Bow & The Witch At Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

• Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Household Tip #1: Squeezy bottles

This has been my favorite tip for awhile. I buy a pack of squeezy bottles from Cash N' Carry or a local bakery supply shop like Decorette Shop (because they carry food grade bottles) and use them for just about everything.

For those with High Efficiency washers that have itty bitty little detergent cups, filling is a breeze.

We have a FisherPaykel dishwasher with a tiny detergent cup so I filled one of those squeeze bottles with Cascade and cut the tip off to increase the opening. Now I can fill the cup and not make a huge mess because I can aim the tip right into the cup.

I started using the bottles when I was doing Weight Watchers recipes. Everything had to be measured and trying to pour oil into a tablespoon measurement was killing my shoulder.

I filled up a bottle and I could, again, fill and measure without dripping and making a mess. And it wasn't so heavy so I didn't irritate my hurt shoulder.

But, my love for the squeezy bottle has been renewed since Liesl has started cooking. We have a huge bottle of real vanilla that our friend Marna brought back from Mexico. I pour a little in the squeeze bottle so she doesn't have to try to wrestle with a bottle that's almost as big as she is while measuring a teaspoon. Now making "Wookie Cookies" is a breeze.

For Costco shoppers, I buy big bottle of shampoo and conditioner for the kids. But if they don't have a pump dispenser, I, guess what?

I put it into a squeeze bottle and the kids can easily pour out the shampoo, body wash, etc... and not risk a big, heavy bottle slipping out of their small, wet hands and smashing their toes!

So really squeezy bottles can practically save your life (clear throat). Okay maybe not life saving but really helpful in our Costco-sized world to make everyday household supplies more manageable.

For more good stuff check out WFMW at Rocks In My Dryer.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Will of God

Liesl and I were sitting here at breakfast listening to David Jeremiah teach on Judges Chapters 6 & 7.

The title of his teachings are "How not to find out the will of God."

He pointed out that in the story of Gideon, Gideon preludes his fleece laying with these words in Judges 6:36 & 37, "And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said [emphasis mine], Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said [emphasis mine].

Gideon already knew the will of God. Gideon wasn't looking for the will of God so much as he was looking for the courage to obey the will of God.

Aren't we the same way? We know what the Lord has laid on our heart. We know that it is in line with what scripture teaches yet we have not decided we will obey.

John 7:17 says, [Jesus speaking] "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether, I speak of God." Translation: If you make up your mind to do the will of God FIRST, you'll know that you know that you know that you are operating in His will and you will not be discouraged when it's hard.

I call it "dropping anchor."

If I know that I have received direction from the Lord and my husband and I are in perfect agreement and it lines up with the Word of God, I make up my mind that I will do it.

I have found that when I do this, when it gets hard to obey, and the testing of my resolve and desire to do the will of God is challenging, it passes quickly and God grows my faith in the process.

But when my heart and mind haven't decide to follow God no matter what, when it gets difficult, I end up feeling like a small boat in a large, stormy sea. I feel beaten and battered.

Thankfully His grace covers me and He is quick to strengthen me when I call out in repentance.
So where does that leave us for today?

Psalm 118 "O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because His mercy endureth for ever.(1)

I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place (5)

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? (6)

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.(8)

We never have to be sure of ourselves (putting confidence in man, or woman in this case) because we can confidently be sure of Him.

Bottom line:

We can trust God because He is good, He loves us and He desires only good for us.

Monday, June 23, 2008

What's Up with the Nightstand

My nightstand seems to be the place I dump my brain, heart and life at the end of the day. If you want to know where I'm at or what I'm into just peek at my nightstand and you'll know.

I always have these lofty ideas of the things I'm going to read in bed. But lo and behold as I soon as I lay down in that soft, warm, cuddly place BAM! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

So much for good intentions!

Now, what's on your nightstand? hmmmmm

I think we'll make Monday "Nightstand" day. Why not?

Warning: Sappy Sentiment

The Lord has been busy in my heart lately. I lot of old things are falling away.

I believe that we all carry what I call "puzzle pieces" around for each other. And at the right time, when the Lord has prepared us, He has someone give us a puzzle piece to help complete our puzzle.

I've been handed several puzzle pieces lately. A few from Tia, one from Kimberly and a few that I've been carry around for a long while from my sweet "sister" Jenni.

I didn't know what to do with all these pieces. So I sat at the kitchen table with my dear hubby this last Saturday and rambled until they all fell into place. I sobbed uncontrollably as I realized what it all meant.

You see, I have never been very good at ONE thing. And all my life I've believed that was bad. Often I just brush it off and say,"I'm the substitute teacher of life." But inside it has always bothered me. I used to always apologize for being me.

I stopped doing it so much out loud. Oh, but I didn't realize how much I did it internally.

I have never been okay with me.

When I was younger I was too skinny, talked too much, got too sick. As an adult I was too opinionated, still talked too much, and was still way too sick. Recently I was too chubby, too tired and too scattered.

I knit but I'm not great. I play piano just alright. I play the drums a little. I love the idea of sewing but my completion record is poor. I write when I'm in the mood. I sing off key-loudly.

All these things just kept building in my head. I kept trying to figure out who I am and what I'm about.

I know I belong to Jesus and I was made for a relationship with Him.
I know I am Karl's wife.
I know I am the mother to Leisl, Brigitta and Kurt.
I know I home school.
But was that it? Something seemed to be missing.

I knew if I could just pick ONE thing and focus on it I could be good at it or maybe even great at it. But what ONE thing was it?

Karl looked at me across the table and said, "Honey, if you could only do ONE thing, it would kill you." He was right. He told me he loved that sometimes I'm sittin' and knittin'. And he loves when I'm in a pie making mood and make a different pie everyday for a week. He said it was okay that I sew one week, get into gardening the next and then practice piano like crazy the week after that. For the first time in my life I felt like it was okay to just be me. Without apologies!

He was doing the bills today and asked me about a receipt for Jo-Ann's. I told him it was my attempt at sewing. And he said, "Oh so it's miscellaneous." I asked if we should make a special category for all my crazy pursuits and he said no that miscellaneous is fine.

So then, being a wise guy (you know that talks too much) I said, "I am miscellaneous."

And then it hit me-- miscel-LAINIE-ous.


I couldn't stop laughing. I'm miscellaneous.

And it's okay.

And if I can be okay with me, a sinner saved by the grace of God, just doing the best I can with what I've got then, maybe I can be okay with my husband when he is less than perfect (which is rare).

Maybe I can be okay with my kids and know that they are learning and growing and don't have to be perfect all the time.

Maybe I can be okay with people and just love them, in a small way, like the Lord does.

He knows we aren't perfect. It's why He died for us. He knows we'll get there. When we see Him, we'll be like Him. But until then all He asks is that, "Beloved, Let us love one another." 1 John 4:7 and I say "Amen" to that.

Current Read

This is my current read.

Tozer is one of my favs and tonight I couldn't sleep. So I came down stairs and picked this up.

He starts each chapter with a prayer. I just had to share the prayer on Chapter 3/page 12:

"O Majesty unspeakable, my soul desires to behold Thee.
I cry to Thee from the dust.
Yet when I inquire after Thy name it is secret.
Thou art hidden in the light which no man can approach unto.

What Thou art cannot be thought or uttered, for Thy glory is ineffable.
Still, prophet and psalmist, apostle and saint have encouraged me to believe that I may in some measure know Thee.

Therefore, I pray, whatever of Thyself Thou hast been pleased to disclose, help me to search out as treasure more precious than rubies or the merchandise of fine gold:

for with Thee shall I live when the stars of the twilight are no more and the heavens have vanished away and only Thou remainest. Amen."

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Quotes from Kurt

Liesl suggested we post quotes from our dear little Kurt. I thought that was a dandy idea.
Here is our most recent recorded quote.

(While standing on the lawn, holding a stick and eating a taco) "Hey look Mom! I'm Moses eating Taco Bell!"

Not sure really...

Welcome to my latest distraction. There have been many recently. Not sure why. Hormones? Too much coffee? Probably the adrenal fatigue but could be spiritual warfare. Pray for me.

Thanks for stopping by! On any given day you may find:
a) spiritual encouragement
b) household tips
c) unsolicited medical advice
d) something to do with knitting
e) funny stories about my kids
f) resources, insight or general cheer leading for home schooling
g) me frustrated that I don't really know how to sew.
I fake it pretty badly.
h) a glimpse of my nightstand
i) lots of improper grammar and/or occasional typos
j) honest ponderings
k) art work
l) sappy sentiments (I'll try to limit these)

Looking for something??