Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Downtown Lights

We love love love the downtown lights in Fayetteville.  It has particular sentimental value that I'll tell you about sometime.  After eating some Tim's Pizza, we enjoyed the lights before the 40 degree temperature drop!  Tomorrow I'll tell you about something that only one person in our family has ever done!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

You Know It's The Monday After Thanksgiving When:

  • You wake up realizing you get to pay that doctor a visit today
  • You decide to never ever again schedule a doctor appt. for the Monday after Thanksgiving since your weight is up after all the food you devoured over the last 5 days
  • While in the shower, you decide it might be best to shave since you are seeing that doctor and then you start to run out of hot water
  • You dress your son like a cute cowboy and then with 3 minutes before heading out the door, your other son tells you that today is the 29th and not the 30th, and therefore, not cowboy day
  • You frantically change the cowboy into his school uniform
  • You exult at the chance to finally start on your Christmas shopping only to realize your $15 coupon expired two days ago
  • You realize this while at the checkout counter
  • You look outside and it is dreary and rainy
  • You just want to cry
  • You bypass the Starbucks counter because you can't justify spending the $4 when you didn't get to save $15
  • You go home to realize it is only 9:50
  • in the morning
Well, hello there Monday after Thanksgiving.  Glad to only see you once a year.

(Due to the nature of this semi-gripey post, I am sending you to Kelli's for a good laugh.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful in November: The Traditional Thankful Post

This is your typical "wrap all that you are thankful for" into a few words post. 

So, I shall do it in bullet points.  Cause it is more fun that way.

  • thankful for grace and mercy and propitiation and sanctification
  • thankful for Eric
  • thankful for three boys
  • thankful on a daily basis that those three boys aren't in the ER for any random boy reason
  • thankful that I have taste buds
  • and a treadmill
  • thankful for a shower that gives me the perfect temperature of water at any time of day I want
  • and faucets
  • thankful that the water is drinkable and safe
  • thankful for my friends
  • who pray and laugh and study the Bible and encourage and also have taste buds
  • thankful for heat when I'm chilly and A/C when I'm smokin' hot
  • thankful I am smokin' hot all the time
  • just teasing
  • thankful that God reveals Himself in new ways
  • and that He is never boring
  • thankful for our dog who has been the best family dog ever
  • thankful for my pillow and face cream and good smelling shampoo
  • and Christmas lights, strong coffee, and chick flicks
  • thankful that we have no debt other than a mortgage
  • thankful that we have never once gone hungry
  • thankful for Amelia and Kirby
  • that they love others and are good lights for the Kingdom
  • thankful for Mom and Dad
  • words will never suffice for how thankful I am for them
  • thankful for the family I married into
  • they are precious...each one
  • thankful for my blog that allows me to reach down deep and express a part of me
  • the part that is hard to sometimes put into the spoken word
  • thankful for you, my reader
  • thankful that God has given me a new word to pray for concerning 2011:  joy.

happy thanksgiving you all.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Guest Writer: The Shoe

When I walked into the store the other day and saw this beautiful red ornament, I knew I had to have it.  Every "shoe-themed" thing I see reminds me of Kiley.  It has been that way for a long time...even years before she died. 

Knowing that I wouldn't be able to put into words the significance of the "shoe" like her friends could, I asked her friend Stephanie to be our guest writer today!  She gracefully obliged and I even learned things that I didn't know.  Which is always a treat.
 Here is Kiley, Steph, Libby, and Mandy.

"At the beginning of our senior year of high school, God decided to bless four girls with a friendship that has withstood time, distance, and changes in our lives. We formed a lasting friendship on a foundation of faith, laughter, and love.

During one such bonding activity during our senior year and at an appropriate location for Northwest Arkansas, Wal-Mart, we began discussing whatever a teenage girl longs for…..her prince charming. And in keeping with this quest for Mr. Right, we needed a code word for potential candidates so we could discuss them openly at youth group and school without giving away our secrets. (Also it was too easy to keep the overzealous guys guessing when trying to figure out how the female mind worked.)

Originally, the code word was salsa because it came in so many different varieties and temperatures, but during perusing the aisles of Wal-Mart we decided that this term was too ambiguous and really who could really love salsa that much? So, during this shopping trip our fashion and bargain guru, Kiley, managed to steer us to the shoe section to show us her latest finds and to usually help me become a little more fashionable.

It was in this section and later discussions that we decided that shoes would become our code word for guys because you always needed two to form a pair and be complete. Plus, what girl, teenage or not, could not help talking about cute shoes, and then there was the play on words with solemate instead of soulmate.

From that time on, the four of us managed to carry on many fun but covert discussions about our latest crush or boyfriends while in a public setting. The shoe has become a symbol for our friendship that has endured time and left each of us with an inordinate amount of shoe decorations through years of gift giving and decorating. (Thank you Hobby Lobby for fueling this addiction).

Libby is the best with keeping traditions and bought each of us a shoe Christmas ornament our senior year with each of us to receive the other shoe to make a pair on our wedding day. Mandy was the first to marry her solemate and receive her other shoe. Then Libby and I followed in Mandy’s footsteps and married the shoe that completed our pair.

We still long for our ultimate soulmate though, the Bridegroom who is perfect and has died to make us an unblemished bride in His perfect time. Kiley got to meet Him first and I can only imagine the bling that she managed to place on her wedding shoes. Knowing her she probably found them at the dollar store, but made them look priceless."

It is good to remember the simple things.
And it is good to have that word hope carry us through this week.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful in November: He Can Exchange Anything

Today I am thankful that God can exchange anything.

He can exchange mourning for gladness.
He can exchange famine for feast.
He can exchange a new name for an old name.
He can exchange wilderness for Eden.

 This verse has been so sweet to me:
"For the LORD comforts Zion; be comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song."  Isaiah 51:3
 He can exchange my desert for the garden of the Lord.
 Spurgeon says, "He is always slow to anger, but He is always lavish of His grace.  Se here, then, God will give His people an overflowing joy, an inexpressible joy, a sort of double joy, as though He would give them more joy than they could hold-joy and then gladness-thanksgiving and the voice of melody."
 I am ready for more joy than I could possibly hold.
How about you?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Little Indian

I love my little Indian.  Love his potty mouth, too.  Today he told Eli he was going to put his a** in the grass.  He had apparently heard it on a movie.  And he used it correctly too.  Which made me want to bust out in laughter.  But I chose the discipline route.  Because I am a good mommy like that.  And now I am telling everyone the story.  Because who doesn't want a chance to say "a** in the grass??"  It is way too fun.  I am 33 and am milking that phrase for all it is worth...can't blame my 5 year old for it either.  But lucky me, my behind isn't getting spanked for it.  Yep, love that little Indian.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thankful in November: Promises

Do we embrace His promises?

“Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed."  Joshua 23:14

I am so grateful that God's every word is true.  Dependable.  Trustworthy.

What if all of His promises towards us weren't supposed to happen while we are living on this earth?  Just a thought..."All of these people were still living by faith when they died.  They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.  And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth."  Hebrews 11:13

I know the above references those who were looking forward to the Messiah, but didn't live to see Him come.  It didn't lessen their faith or their blessing for believing.

What are you welcoming from a distance that you might not fully experience until you are home

I found myself on my bed the other night with my Bible sprawled out before me.  Begging for how to proceed on an issue.  He didn't give me any specific ten step plan, but He did tell me He would lead me with cords of kindness. 

I can rest in that.  It is His word.  His promise.
He is a consuming fire.  He's jealous over me...burning away what doesn't bless the socks off of our relationship.  It is nice to know He never loses affection over me.  He will always fight for our intimacy.

He promises me that.

The past few days have been haunting.  I have missed Kiley terribly.  How is it that 2 years and 9 months can go by as if it were a day? 

There is a particular promise I won't receive while walking on this earth.

But it is coming.
I see it from a distance.
I welcome it.
I will still be living by faith when I die.
And then my faith will become my eyes.
I won't have to cry over the song Come for Me.
Instead I will rejoice because He has taken me away.

Not one of your promises has failed, Lord.

Kiley is alive.  And I am going home to live with her forever.

One day.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thankful in November: The Legs

I married him for his legs.  That is what I tell everyone when they ask me why I married Eric.  Yep, it was all for the legs.  So, today I am thankful for those legs, cause, you know, I may not have married him if they were any less awesome. 

By the way, those legs are making my heart swoon more and more as he has taken up running.

Let me get my heart back to a normal beat and try to proceed with this post.


In all honesty, today I am thankful for the man that God gave me to share life with.  He has been a true spiritual leader (which came in #1 on my priority list, legs inching in at a close second) but he hasn't taken that leadership role for granted nor abused it.  My heart has been safe with him these 12 1/2 years of marriage.

And I have no doubt that my heart will continue to reside in a safe place.

Eric is a joy to spend my days with.  He loves to laugh and cut up.  He is easy to please and not demanding.  He doesn't over analyze what I spend money on but he also is involved in our budget...if that makes sense. 

I guess one way to sum up our relationship is this:  freedom.

He has the freedom to go hit golf balls with his brothers and Dad.  I have the freedom to go on a girl's night out.  Or weekend.  He is cool like that.

There is freedom to share what is bothering us and to ask for counsel on how to proceed.  There is freedom to share responsibilities in raising these boys.  There is freedom to pray together and ask God for blessing on our lives.

When I was in the pit of grief, he gave me the freedom to remain there as long as I needed to.

He is cool like that.

He has been a chest to sob into, a warm and familiar hand to hold, a comforting scent to wake up to, a discerning mind to bounce ideas around with, and a constant reminder of God's grace on my life.

God knew exactly what I needed in a man and soul mate.  And he graciously gifted me with him.

God is so cool like that.

And I must say, the legs were a nice little bonus.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thankful in November: These Three Boys of Mine

Today I am thankful for the three rowdy and irresistible boys that God has entrusted to Eric and I.  When I became pregnant with our first born, I lived in a fairy tale world where everything went according to plan.  People didn't have a hard time conceiving and they certainly didn't lose their babies.  As I have gotten older, I have grown-up, so to speak, and have become even more and more thankful for these little men.

Eric and I always marvel at how complexly different they are.  They are as different as the pictures below.  And yet, they complete our family somehow.  {Sam doesn't feel like our family is complete because just this afternoon he was begging for a baby sister.  He told me he has two brothers and really needs a sister now.  He told me he will name her Nabie.  Baby Nabie.  Now isn't that cute?}  OK, back to the post at hand....

Cade makes my heart proud.  He has the gift of seeing something that needs to be done and stepping up and getting it done.  Besides his amazing detail for remembrance, he is always very tender towards his brothers and classmates.  His math teacher even suspects that he sometimes lets the other kids win in the math competitions.  I simply couldn't ask for a kid to be more obedient or respectful.  We'll name the holly berries after him because he loves organization and for things to be in nice groups.
 Next we have Eli.  Eli brings me pure delight.  In a family that can be too hard on themselves, Eli brings in grace and laughter.  He is the splash of vibrant red and he isn't ashamed of his favor among people.  He also doesn't take advantage of people or become manipulative when people are drawn to him.  He is extremely creative and loves to write down stories and make up jokes.  We'll name the Japanese Maples after him because he always seems to be full of color and life.
 And finally we come to Sam.  He is the evidence that things can be done a different way.  He shouts yellow when everyone else says red.  He is content to play swords with crayola colored pencils for hours.  He will sit and fill up blank white pages with all sorts of creations...from robots to swing sets.  He reminds me that God doesn't always do things in the way that I would expect him to...and that good things come in the unexpected.  He isn't afraid to push the boundaries...he is asking for a baby sister when that is not the norm of this family.  I have a special place of tenderness for this child in my heart.
Thank you Lord for these boys.  I am overwhelmed at the responsibility of raising them to be Godly in such an ungodly culture.  Set their hearts apart for you and your glory.  I pray they would love you with all that is within their beings.

Thankful in November: Song

Today I am thankful for song.  What an incomprehensible gift.  Can you imagine a world without music?  What if the birds didn't sing and the leaves didn't rustle?  What if we couldn't express our most deepest gratitude to our Redeemer through our voices?  I am so thankful that when sin entered the world, song wasn't forced to flee.
 I love it when the chords of music charts combine with the lyrics written on the pages of our hearts and a huge explosion of gratitude to our Beloved results.
Old hymns that were precious at one time become even more dear after you have lived the lyrics as your own personal testimony.  The song of another's heart becomes the song of your own.  It becomes a love song to the Savior shared between people who have fallen head over heels.
 Did you know song was on display by the angels when creation was being brought about?  Did you know at the end of days, song will be on display as the Bride is being announced for her Bridegroom?
Jesus is our song.  {The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.}
Did you know the above statement is used at least three different times in the Word by three different people?  He is your portion as well and you can proclaim the same thing.

When others see and hear the new song of praise you offer to God, they will put their trust in the Lord.

How beautiful of God to give us the gift of song...that the sounds of our days wouldn't be bleak and boring...that we can emotionally worship Him in a way that fulfills like nothing else...that our song offered in faith will allow others to put their trust in Him...and that He offered His only Son so that we could sing.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thankful in November: We Have the Opportunity to Stand in the Gap

Today I am thankful for intercession.

I am thankful that God allows us to be a part of His big plan. 

We have been given a gift.  We get to boldly enter the throne room of God and plead for good things for those we love.  We can plead for righteousness.  Favor.  Mercy and Kindness. 

We can stand in the gap. 

"I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none."  Ezekiel 22:30

What if your prayers prevented destruction in another's life?  What if you stood in the gap?

Do you know someone caught in a web?  What if your prayers set them free of entanglement before the great enemy wraps so tightly that death is inevitable?

You are powerful.  Your prayers are effective and fervent.  They are very powerful.  They avail much.  {The enemy will tell you that your prayers aren't powerful because you can't always see the results, but I assure you, they are working.}

I heard this definition of mercy by Tozer and I can't get it out of my head:  actively compassionate.  The blind man in Luke 18:38 begged Jesus for mercy because he knew that mercy would move him to action.  We don't just need a savior who will pity us.  We hunger and thirst for one who will look down on us in remembrance and do something about our plight.

Jesus is that Savior.

The Hebrew word for intercession is "paga."  It means to entreat, encounter, meet, reach.  It is a meeting with an outcome.  I like that.

Every time you and God meet on behalf of the good of someone else, there is an outcome.

Remind God of His Word.  All of the promises of God are yes in Christ.

"God's promises are to be our pleas in prayer; for what He has promised, He is able to perform." {Henry}

Today I am thankful for intercession because it makes me less selfish.

And I need all the help I can get with that.

Bonhoeffer would phrase it this way...Intercessory prayer is a purifying bath in which we slowly scrub away the selfishness that keeps us from being like Jesus.

Will you stand in the gap today? 

Thankful in November: There is Always Hope for New

Today I am thankful that amidst the dying leaves and shades of brown, new life is emerging in my backyard.  It does a soul good to see that not everything is always in a state of dying.  Sometimes when one thing dies, new life from another thing is just around the corner.  
 What is God starting to bring about in your life?
 Is He starting to answer your prayers for something "new?"
 Keep praying and hoping...
There is always hope for newAnd our God is always faithful.