Friday, April 27, 2012

The Dream

I am running from the enemy.  I hide in a craggy mesh of brittle branches, knowing the cover isn't sufficient enough to protect my hot pink tennis shoes from showing.  They find me!  I bribe them with food, steal their gun, and keep running.  I enter a school that I have never seen.  The halls are currently empty.  I try to find an exit, but I am met with a brick wall.  I turn to the left and find a huge metal door.  Pushing it open, I gasp and find a deep cavernous river that I would never be able to enter.  Frustrated, I turn the other direction, find another door, and am met with the same turquoise water.

Gun still in hand, I turn to find that the children are mingling in the halls.  I never wanted this gun, I just wanted it to never be used against me!  A teacher spots me.  Then the gun.

I bolt awake.

What do you make of dreams?  Are you a dreamer?  Do you remember your dreams?  I think dreams have been given a bad rap since the days of psychiatrists Freud and Jung.  But, why does the church seem to have dismissed dreaming?  I think God can speak to us in our dreams!  We see him do it through Biblical characters such as Joseph, Jacob, and Daniel.  We are just as much God's children as the people in the Bible, so if God wants to speak to us in our subconscious, we should welcome it!

I think like in so many other areas, Satan sneaks in, takes a Godly thing, and corrupts it because he wants to share in the glory of the Most High.  He is the counterfeit, and culture has told us that dreams are either nonsense or too connected to the inner psyche.  If we refuse to pay attention to our dreams, then we just might be missing out on a huge blessing from God.

What if dreams are another way that God speaks to us?

About ten years ago, I needed clear direction from God concerning an issue.  I felt pretty certain what we were supposed to do, but I needed further assurance.  I asked God if he would allow Eric to dream and remember the dream...and that God might provide a message through that dream.  I knew it would be from the Lord because Eric can rarely remember his dreams.  At the time, I was afraid to ask that I would be the one to dream, because I was terrified of manufacturing an answer that would be biased.

The next morning, sure enough, Eric remembered his dream.  The details of the dream confirmed in my heart what I knew was going on.  It gave me the assurance that we needed to leave a certain part of our lives behind.

The world of dreaming is such a vast expanse and I don't pretend to know everything about it, but the prophet Joel tells us that in the last days, God will pour out His spirit on all flesh and the young men will see visions and the old men will dream dreams.

We are in the last days, people.  Do you have visions?  Are you dreaming?  I have a friend that has had a beautiful vision.  I have another friend that dreams prophetically.  There is nothing she can do to prevent what is about to occur, but she is able to cover that person in prayer for what is about to happen.

The book "Something More" by Catherine Marshall gives some guidelines on this thing called dreaming. First, you shouldn't go to sleep without asking Jesus to provide his power, direction, and protection.  Second, the dream material is almost always about the dreamer and not someone else.  Third, consider writing down your dreams immediately upon waking and asking the Holy Spirit if he has anything to speak through the dream.

So, back to my dream.  I am running, hiding, and met with either a wall or a cavernous river.

What is God saying?

Opening to the Light

Flowers know what it takes we humans a lifetime to figure out.
Opening to the Creator, the very Light
is their only hope
their only life
their only beauty...

will you open up to the Light today?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Accuser

I see myself start to look like the one I so desperately try not to look like.  It almost always come in the form of accusing.  I shouldn't be shocked at that.  The verb form of the Hebrew word satan is to accuse.  When I accuse, I am anything but Godly.

Such a slippery slope it is unless caught early.  Something silly or major refuses to go my way and I am off to blame the first thing that comes into my, husband, dog, one is immune to the accusations of the mind.

And, then I realize how tricky this Master Adversary can be.  He can even tempt us to start accusing ourselves.  This leads to condemnation, despair, and all things ugly that war against the soul tenderly created in the image of the Holy.

Here are a few things about the enemy...

*He seeks to do his own will
*Aims to bind and blind men
*Takes himself seriously, can't bear taunting
*Wants us to live in darkness and hide
*Wants us to doubt and disbelieve God's word
*Works to make us ignore, disbelieve, or choose for ourselves what to believe in Scripture
*Pushes us to disobey God
*Urges us to use God for selfish purposes
*Tells us, "My body belongs to me"
*Wants sickness and disease
*Spares no effort to bring us sorrow and grief
*Desires our death
*Condemns and accuses us
*Pushes us toward self-contempt
*Fosters discontentment and grumbling
*Urges us to concentrate on the sins of others
*Wants us to hang on to resentment and bitterness
*Wants us, when we fail, to wallow in discouragement or despair
*Aims for always to wear a mask and act a part; be all things to all people
*Seeks steady procrastination
*Strives to have us preoccupied with what-ifs
*Urges us toward a lofty super-spirituality
*Labors for war...even in the home

{List from "Something More" by Catherine Marshall}

While we decorate our homes with new throw pillows and fresh paint, we must remember that we live on earth which is enemy territory.  There is a prince of the air and a whole spiritual realm that we should be aware of.  Our fight is always against the unseen world, but Satan would love for us to be blind to the true war and start fighting one another instead.  This often starts with one thing:  Accusations.

There have been some fiction books that have totally opened my eyes to this concept.  They are amazing and have totally changed how I pray.

This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti (eye opening!)
Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti (the sequel)
The Veritas Conflict by Shaunti Feldhaun (great story!)
The Influence by Matthew John Slick (bad writing, good theology)

I just want to tell you this...if you are dealing with discouragement right any area of your is from Satan.  He is accusing you and telling you that nothing will ever change.  I want to tell you that God declares all things new.  All things are possible with Him.  He can take those ashes and create something beautiful.

In the mean time, kick the Accuser to the curb.

Love you, sweet thing.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Moms and Muffins

Moms and Muffins is a day where our school honors Moms!  Our cute kids shower us with gifts, feed us muffins, sing us tunes and hug us to death.  What's not to love?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sacrifice of Praise

One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us,
is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable
to our inclinations.

Saint John of Avila

{Praise is often a sacrifice.  The more I fall in love with sweet Jesus, the more I realize this.
Lord, give us hearts that praise immediately, even when our hearts are crushed.
I know this praise that comes from the hardest and most painful recesses of our
craggy hearts is what brings you proves that we love and trust.}

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Vote on hair!

I am in a hair rut.
  I have had the same style for 4+ years.
What do you think of this?
Too short for my face shape?
I have an appt. for next Friday
so tell me what you think!!!

{This photo is of the cutie-pie Rachel McAdams
 which I stole off of Pinterest which they stole off of Google.}

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friends and a baby girl

Hope your weekend is spent with some good girlfriends
and maybe even a baby girl to snuggle.
We got to catch up with a friend who fled to Ohio. 
She finally got to hold the sweet answer to many prayers for a friend.
What a joy to celebrate heart's desires fulfilled with God-given friends!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Steer and the Transition

I was a mere 12.  My hot pink Wranglers were hot glued to my skinny legs as I refused to sidestep cow patties that splattered the aisles of the fairground.  The last thing I needed were all the guys around thinking I was a sissy.  This was my first year to show a real live steer.

I was a big girl now.

I had showed a heifer, Dolly, the previous year, but now, steers were a whole new thing.  The big boys played the steer game.  The steers brought more money if you made the sale at the local and state fairs.  So, pink Wranglers aside, I was on a mission.

Bogie was his name.  He was coal black and quite the gentle soul for a preteen to work with.  He was a beast and peaked early.  I was about to figure out the ramifications of exactly what that meant.

While showing, our three main fall shows included the Washington County Fair in Fayetteville, the Arkansas/Oklahoma State Fair in Fort Smith, and the Arkansas State Fair in Little Rock.  Each one progressed with competition.  Each one allowed a higher priced auction.  The auction was a way to reward the young kids for all their hard that included washing your cattle daily, breaking ice when the temperatures had dropped, mucking stalls, and feeding them.

Now that I was a big girl, I was a tad nervous about the Arkansas Oklahoma Fair.  I had my eyes set on the Arkansas State Fair which was only a few weeks away.  The AR/OK Fair had a certain rule that didn't set well with my not-so-grown-up mind.  If I were to make auction, then my steer would be headed straight to slaughter and I wouldn't be able to show him anymore.  Now, Bogie was my pal and I still had big dreams for us, which included the State Fair.

So, imagine my surprise when I won my class and then headed back into the ring for the slapping of the Grand Champion.  Dad had forewarned me of the rule and told me that he would leave the decision to me.  If I didn't get chosen as Grand, then I would have the freedom to leave the ring and we would still be able to head to the State Fair later on.

I remember it like yesterday.  My stomach was in knots.  I wasn't one to make a show, but I knew I couldn't let Bogie get chosen that day.  My little mind couldn't conceive of the fact that it just might be the end for him.  Our plans included the State Fair and we were so close!

The judge slapped another steer as Grand, and I hightailed it out of that sawdust covered ring so fast you would have thought they said "BOMB!"  Dad asked if I was sure, smiled great big, and defended my decision against every single soul that came into my path and grappled with my decision.  Apparently, the Judge was going to name Bogie as Reserve Grand Champion and he wasn't too happy, either. 

But, Dad stood by me.  He gave me the freedom to make the decision and he never doubted my decision after it was made.

The State Fair came and went and Bogie didn't do as well as I had hoped.  As I said, he peaked early.  His time to shine was the AR/OK State Fair, but I couldn't wrap my around that as a 12 year old. 

To this day, Dad has never questioned my decision.  He was a smart one, I think. He wanted me to transition from obedience to taking responsibility.  He wanted me to learn to make a decision and then stand by it no matter the outcome.  He was instilling courage into me that day 22 years ago.

I am reading a book called "On Becoming Preteen Wise" by Gary Ezzo and I think my Dad just may have cowritten this book.  It talks about the importance of parents making the transition from one of Authority to one of Influence.  Somewhere between the ages of 8-12, a child must start to see you as the encouraging coach.

We want our children to start to do the right thing not out of obedience, but out of responsibility.  We want to usher our kids into owning the principle behind the right thing to do.  Obedience is a required conformity but responsibility is a voluntary conformity.  We want our kids to choose the right thing on their own so that they will be better equipped for this thing called life.  If we are constantly telling our kids what to do, then it robs them of making their own decisions.  It robs them of growing up.  Once a child makes his own decision, he is able to go back and evaluate whether it was the wisest thing or not.

I am thankful Dad gave me that chance.

Monday, April 16, 2012


I am trying this new fancy thang cause Blogger is telling me that my blog is no longer supported by Blogger.  Everything looks different.  I hate different.  Change has never been my friend.  I would still be stuck in the 80's with Reagan as President and poms on my socks if I had my way.  Was that decade simpler because times were simpler or because I was a whopping 3 to 13 years old and didn't have a care in the world except whether to choose peach or strawberry oatmeal?  I guess I will never know.

Speaking of a desire for the simple, we are entering into anything but.  Three boys are playing a total of four sports and just in case you forgot, there are only two parents...and one of those sometimes travels.  I wish it were me on the beach, but, ahem, well, I can wish.

Just this Thursday night, we have a baseball practice, soccer practice, baseball game, and another baseball game...and all have start times within 2 hours of one another.  HUH?  How does this work exactly, this new sports Mama-role that I am trying so desperately to figure out?

Sometimes, I would go back to rocking my babies and getting up with them in the middle of the night in a heartbeat.  No one ever told me those were the simple days.  At least I could stay home, ha!  (I am a tad introverted and a home-lover for sure!)

Hope from August Rush is singing in the background.  Her voice is pure and makes me cry every single time.  The movie makes me cry, bringing back memories that I thought had been stuffed down.  I guess hope is like that.  Sometimes you have to enter into the remembrance to recall what you are passionately waiting for.

I planted new flowers and herbs today.  Sweet basil, thyme, marigolds, and petunias now accompany my precious yellow gerbera daisies.  The entrance makes me happy, total-non-green-thumb that I am.  While buying my coloful peat pots, the gardener told me everything had been watered perfectly the night before, thanks to Jesus.  She said He could do it better than she ever dreamed, this watering...this business of rain.  I smiled, thankful for a reminder of gardening and rain and thankful that she tosses Jesus's name around without shame or fear.

Baby boys' third tooth popped out this morning.  Well, actually, he pulled it, because he has a fear of anyone else touching his teeth.  That is, unless he is propped on the pediatric dentist's chair, then he is all grins.  Could have something to do with the tv mounted on the ceiling and the earphones that drown out all the fancy tooth-cleaning gadgets.  The dentist told us last week that he will be in braces.  Soon.  As in, he will be in braces more than once.  As in, all three of our kids will probably be in braces soon.  At the same time.

Beans and cornbread, here we come.

Sam also told me in the car that I was to don a costume tonight while being the tooth fairy.  He said he really needed to see me in costume. Goodbye childhood.  Goodbye to you all.  Sniff.

And with that random post, I bid you goodnight.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hog Heartbreak

Well, it is a mess down here.  If you aren't from Arkansas, then you probably don't care.  And that is fine.  But to us, living in the south and being without a football coach is kind of like walking into a fine dining establishment without a bra on.  It is embarrassing and a tad revealing.

I am not one to write about social things.  I don't delve into politics or the latest CBS ticker.  I try to write about Jesus mostly.   It is hard enough getting to the truth about Him and for crying out loud, He is always true.  I figure with most other situations, I don't know all the facts so I try to sit back and let God be judge.  He'll be more merciful about it than I ever could.

But, when your eleven almost twelve year old tween storms into his bedroom after finally hearing the news after a long practice, I decided to say a little.

I look down into his stormy blue-green eyes as he bellows out, "There go our chances for a BCS title!!!"  All he cares about is winning and I suddenly remember that I was no different at that age.

I grew up absolutely loving Razorback Basketball.  My childhood was during the good ol' Rollin' With Nolan days, the 40 Minutes of Hell.  Nolan Richardson knew how to win basketball and at the age of Cade, that was all I cared about as well.  I clearly remember sitting on my bed, trying to read Moby Dick while watching the NCAA game that gave us a national title.  The game beat the whale, hands down.

I didn't understand the controversy of Richardson leaving the program when I was younger.  I still quite don't.  I know it had to do with racism and people blaming people.  All I knew then was that if he was fired, we would stop winning.  That didn't sit well with me.  Our basketball program has never been the same since.  When leaders don't lead with integrity, programs suffer.

So, what I want my son to know is that integrity trumps winning.  Whether in leadership or not, doing the right thing will lead to blessing.  Sinning and trying to cover it up will always come out in the open.  It will always create a huge mess.

Besides the obvious, Coach Petrino chose to lie to authority and lead his fans and football players astray.  He chose to benefit himself.  His deception was deep.

I have to commend Athletic Director Jeff Long and his speech.  Being in a position of authority can be a hard and heartbreaking place to be.  Long was barely able to make it through his speech.  A call to righteousness sometimes leaves behind a broken man. 

A call to righteousness may even leave behind a broken football program.

But, integrity is always the right thing.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Day I Always Want to Rush...

The Saturday.  The In-Between.  The day that all crushed hopes came bearing down on the believers when they awoke that morning.  Or, perhaps, they never slept the night before.  Grief does that...strips the ability of the body to function in any normal manner. 

Whatever the day before held for those that dared believe, this was a new day.  A new day of shock and throwing up and despair.  There minds weren't capable of making any decisions so they just sat huddled in numb silence.  Had they been absolutely duped?  Was Jesus who He said He was?

An inner tugging says they know, they just know He was for real.  They recall miracle after miracle.  They remember taking the bread and the wine.  They see the unearthly compassion in His eyes.  Their spirits bear witness within, "Yes, He was real.  He was Messiah."

So, what were they do to with it?  Their long-awaited King of Kings was wrapped in linen awaiting decay.  What happened to the promise of Him coming to make all things right and to rescue them from governmental and foreign abuse?  Had they read more into the situation than was necessary?  Did they not comprehend what they thought were promises?

So, they return to the Holy Scriptures.  They pour over Truth and find Jesus all over the pages.  They know the promises are real and they know that Jesus is as dead as can be.  How can both be real?  Are they losing their marbles?

So, they stay huddled in numb silence because their finite brains simply cannot make sense of this predicament.  They staked their lives on this truth, Jesus is Messiah, and now they don't know what to do with it.  The Truth is dead.

They don't know that Resurrection Sunday is only hours away. 

I think we as current believers go through periods like this Holy Silent Saturday.  We are in-between the promise and the realization.  All circumstances point the contrary and Satan whispers that Jesus didn't really speak truth or that we heard incorrectly.  We are filled with doubt, insecurity, and hopelessness.

We sit huddled in numb silence because our finite brains simply cannot make sense of our predicament that was coupled with a promise.  We have staked our lives on Jesus being Messiah, but now He seems dead.

When stuck in confusion between the promise and the actualization, we must choose to believe what He said.  We must flex our spiritual biceps and choose faith no matter how ridiculous faith in that moment seems.  Waiting isn't always a bad thing.  One thing I know, Resurrection is on the way.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Choosing to Remember

I wake up, sleeping too long and yet not ready to get up.  I wonder why we call this day Good.  I wonder what Jesus was thinking as He tried to get out of bed that morning.  It is a Friday that took the Most High, gave him an unfair trial, and hung Him up to die.  Calling this day good always wigs me out a bit.  And then I remember that God's definition of good doesn't always match up with my own.  Thankfully, we can call this Friday Good because we have the knowledge of what happened in just two more days.

Hindsight is 20/20 and we know Resurrection is on the way.

But, still I let myself remember.  I don't want to forget that He was willing to surrender and drink from the cup His Abba had handed over.  I want to remember the rejection of His closest friends.  I think of Pilate saying over and over again that He finds no basis for a charge against Jesus and how he tried to sway the mob's opinions, but finally caved. 

I choose to envision the flogging, beating, prickly crown of thorns piercing his scalp, and robe clinging to his fresh wounds.  I can see the sign that Pilate had fastened to the cross that read Jesus of Nazareth, THE King of the Jews.  I can see the hatred in the Jewish mob's eyes as they try to get Pilate to change the sign.

I read it fresh this the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden.  I think of gardens and God as Master Gardener and how His pruning and scattering seems so harsh and yet tender all at the same time.

And then I laugh as I see Mary Magdelene's eyes fall upon the risen Lord and think He is the gardener.  Of course, He is the Gardener, I muse.

I reflect on some of His final words to those who saw him after the resurrection, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."  I marvel at His grace in allowing me to allowing me to be blessed.

My heart soars when I read in John 15:11.  "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."  "Full" in Greek is "pleroo" and said something like play-raw'-oh.  It means to cram.

He came to the earth, gave up his own life, and rose again to restore us to the Father.

To cram us up with joy.

God sent His Son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal and forgive
He lived and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I have been thinking some about God and how He deals with us.  I think He wants us to know Him so deeply and passionately that He will take us down the same path til we get it.  Til we get Him.  So many times, we think to ourselves, man, I was just here.  The circumstances may look a little different, but it seems to be the same story of the heart.

Lately, I have thought about how I cycle through periods of not hearing God.  It never fails....He simply goes mute.  It shatters me each time, but I think I am coming to some maturity with the issue.  When these periods would come years ago, I would go into some sort of depressive funk, convinced that the Holy of Holies was mad at me for some reason.  I figured I had ticked Him off and He came to His senses and realized I wasn't worth the effort.  The funny thing was that I would repent of sin and He would still remain quiet.  Trying to figure Him out proved futile.

But, now, coming out of another round of silence, I am beginning to see differently.  I think He kept bringing me to the quiescent place in order to keep giving me a chance to behold Him in a new way.  I reflect on how He did this with Elijah in 1 Kings 19.  Elijah had run away from Jezebel and was in quite the emotional state.  God appears to Elijah and asks him what he is doing there.  Elijah goes into a spiel about how he has served faithfully but now people are trying to murder him.  It is a pity party and for some reason that gives me comfort, knowing that Elijah was very much a man just like us.

God decides to graciously offer a beautiful demonstration of Himself to Elijah. He gives a show of powerful wind, earthquake, and fire, but He wasn't found in any of it.  He grants Elijah the gift of His still small voice and gives Elijah a chance to answer differently.

What are you doing here, Elijah?  Elijah missed the point.  He didn't grasp who God was in that moment and he answered the question the exact same way.

When God says that He came in the sound of a low whisper, the Hebrew is literally "a thin silence." One commentary described it as a "still, gentle rustling."  He chose to reveal Himself not thru powerful displays, but through the quiet.

Such grace it must take to hear Him when He is practically silent.

So, what if God chooses to allow us to cycle back to things until we finally get it and see Him in a new light?  Or finally hear Him despite the void?  We need ears to hear!

I read this in "My Utmost for His Highest" and it beautifully takes on this idea...

"Has God trusted you with His silence— a silence that has great meaning?  God’s silences are actually His answers.  Just think of those days of absolute silence in the home at Bethany!  Is there anything comparable to those days in your life?  Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking Him for a visible answer?  God will give you the very blessings you ask if you refuse to go any further without them, but His silence is the sign that He is bringing you into an even more wonderful understanding of Himself.  Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response?

When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible— with absolute silence, not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation.  If God has given you a silence, then praise Him— He is bringing you into the mainstream of His purposes.  The actual evidence of the answer in time is simply a matter of God’s sovereignty. Time is nothing to God. For a while you may have said, “I asked God to give me bread, but He gave me a stone instead” (see Matthew 7:9). He did not give you a stone, and today you find that He gave you the “bread of life” (John 6:35).

A wonderful thing about God’s silence is that His stillness is contagious— it gets into you, causing you to become perfectly confident so that you can honestly say, “I know that God has heard me.” His silence is the very proof that He has. As long as you have the idea that God will always bless you in answer to prayer, He will do it, but He will never give you the grace of His silence. If Jesus Christ is bringing you into the understanding that prayer is for the glorifying of His Father, then He will give you the first sign of His intimacy— silence."

I had never considered His silence as GRACE.  The next time I cycle into the hush, I hope I remember that.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Dogwood

I don't know if it is fact or legend, but the story of the Dogwood tree always makes me pause and wonder.  Right now, the dogwood blossoms are falling like rain, covering the ground with pure white grace.

"The dogwood was the tree chosen to construct the Cross that would be used to take the body of Jesus. Even though His body may have been taken from this earth, His spirit remains and every spring we are blessed with a reminder of the events that unfolded on that fateful weekend. The blooms often appear in the shape of a Cross with holes in the tips of the pedals signifying the nails that were driven into the Cross. If you look closely at these holes you can notice a faint red stain representing the Blood. In the center you will find a green bloom symbolizing the crown of thorns placed on the head of Jesus. After the Crucifixion, God proclaimed that dogwood trees would never grow large ever again. This is the reason the trunks of dogwoods are skinny and often branch off low on the trunk. The dogwood is more than a tree…it is a representation of life. With every spring we are reminded of what God did for us and given the chance to be reborn and start a new life as “children of God”. (John 3:1)”

Praying for time this week to ponder Christ's Crucifixion and Resurrection.  Everything I believe in is grounded in those words.