Monday, November 22, 2010

The REAL First Thanksgiving

Is it okay to change the part in history where it says Thanksgiving originated with pilgrims and turkey and other stuff(ing)? The REAL first Thanksgiving happened not hundreds, but thousands of years ago…

There were two brothers, two offerings and two very different responses. The Lord was looking for the men to realize who was God and who was not. So, He invented thanksgiving by asking them to bring an offering of praise to Him.

At harvest time Cain brought to the LORD a gift of his farm produce, while Abel brought several choice lambs from the best of his flock. The LORD accepted Abel and his offering, but he did not accept Cain and his offering. This made Cain very angry and dejected. “Why are you so angry?” the LORD asked him. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you respond in the right way. But if you refuse to respond correctly, then watch out! Sin is waiting to attack and destroy you, and you must subdue it.” (Genesis 4:3-6)

Well..what’s a family holiday without a little bit of sibling rivalry? We could speculate all day about why God rejected Cain’s offering, but one thing is certain; this thing didn’t go down - in this way - because God hates peas! Cain was not rejected because “meat” is a better offering than “garden veggies”. There was definitely a heart issue with Cain that didn’t set well with the Lord. Abel gave his offering with a grateful heart.

Cain’s thanksgiving was like wax fruit in a bowl. It looked real on the outside, but in reality it was fake and useless. Abel on the other hand, remembered that every breath of air he breathed was a gift from God. As a response, he brought his best to the thanksgiving table.

This week we reflect on life and respond with being thankful. Let’s not forget that God cares very much about the heart behind our thankfulness, and He is not fooled when it is merely wax fruit in a bowl--set out to look pretty, but good for nothing. True and heartfelt thankfulness recognizes that every good thing in our life is directly from God's hand. It gives us hope and turns our eyes on Jesus.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What's So Bad About the Desert?

Recently I took a 4-day trip to Nebraska with Chloe. The plan was to reconnect with my favorite teenagers, friends and mentors. While on the plane I took some time to reconnect with God too. I pulled out my Bible and said, "God, tell me something."

In 1 Kings 19, I read about a victorious man who had hit a wall, and was ready to give up. I've been there. There are moments in life and ministry, when I am discouraged and giving up seems like the easier way. Elijah had just defeated a slew of false prophets. He went home, and was getting ready to chill out on the couch with a Diet Mountain Dew over crushed ice. Just when he begins to revel in his victory, word is sent to him that Wicked Lady Jezebel is planning to kill him. (Who hasn't been kicked in the knees right after a great success?)

Fearing for his life, Elijah ran a day’s journey into the desert, sat down by a tree and said to God, “That’s it! I’ve had enough.”

Elijah was done. He prayed for death.

Exhaustion. Defeat. Fear. Simply ‘over it’. Have you ever felt like the combination of everything that’s going on in your life is just too much? I’m a wife, mother, daughter, friend, housekeeper, tutor, potty-trainer, volunteer, get it. Sometimes it’s all just too overwhelming. I don’t even have a job outside of the home to add to that list, and there are days that I just feel TOTALLY incapable of doing it all. Maybe you identify with me, or maybe you have stress at work, issues with finances, questions about the future, conflict in relationships… realities of life. Possibly, just like a cherry on the sundae (but not as delicious), a crisis tops it all. Talk about a time to collapse.

That's what Elijah decided to do...collapse in the desert. Fast-forward a bit in his story and we read about Elijah's amazing (and literal) mountaintop experience with God. It’s totally awesome! The mountaintop is great. It feels good. But does that mean there is nothing to gain from being in the desert? Many times I’ve heard people say that they are “in a desert, a dry place, not hearing or feeling God”. They are just waiting for, and anticipating a mountaintop moment. Don't forget, God’s presence is in the desert too. It is possible that in a desert we can get strength for the journey back from collapse, strength for our trip to the top of the mountain.

Here are some tips from Elijah’s time spent in the desert:
Elijah prayed. Yes, he asked God to take his life…but it still counts! Elijah slept. Rest is important in order to maintain strength. Elijah was touched by an angel. God sent messengers to encourage and minister to Elijah. Recognize the messengers God is sending your way. Elijah ate, and then he ate again. Wow! I love to eat. The angel of the Lord provided a cake of bread and a jar of water. This angelic fare strengthened Elijah for his 40 day/40 night journey to the mountain.

So what did God say to me in that airplane, soaring over the clouds? In short...
1. I'm not the only person who has felt like giving up.
2. Time spent in a desert can be uncomfortable, but God is working there too.

The next time I feel like everything in life is stacked against me and I'm ready to collapse, I'm going to run a day's journey into the desert.

Monday, July 19, 2010

God Talks on Mondays

Warning: First paragraph transparency level, 7

Last week stunk! Yesterday was Sunday, and I woke up feeling exhausted and annoyed from the drama of the previous week. I wasn't looking forward to gathering for worship at church. I just wanted to get it over with. (I'm human, acknowledge and move on.) The 'stinkiness' didn't end at church. Chris and I were both frustrated, resulting in a ruined lunch. Can I just say, "Aaagh!" I wanted to come home, and drown myself in some mind-numbing television. Chris wanted to watch Golf--so I guess we both won. Things are looking up! Honestly, by the end of lunch, we had said our apologies and we moved on from the frustration of the day. :)

Thankfully God speaks on Monday mornings too.

"Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30

What a lovey-dovey passage of scripture. It sounds so encouraging and "comfy". THEN...the going gets really tough. Things in life are pushed so far it is difficult to trust that walking with God will give us a life that is free and light. In the toughest of circumstances we are left with the question: "What in the world do you mean by easy? Because I'm with you God, and it doesn't seem true as far as my eyes can see!"

When we read God's word, we realize that there is no promise that following him was going to be an cushy life. In fact, if we do some 'not too in-depth' character studies, we soon realize that God is forever asking his followers to do hard (if not close to impossible) things.

Abraham, leave your home and family. I'll tell you where you're going later. Also, don't forget "sacrifice your son Isaac".

David, take three small rocks and kill the giant.

Esther, approach your husband the King without being summoned, even though the results often lead to death.

Hosea, marry that prostitute woman and redeem her with your love.

Jesus, give up your glory. Live among the wicked. Let yourself be tortured and killed.

God's ways seem anything but easy and light. We see over and over again that he asks his followers to live dangerous, risk-filled lives! Could it be that your job, your family, your crazy situation has been purposefully placed in your life for a grow you, or to reveal God's glory. So, how do we rest in him, through the risk and danger? Or, how do we trust him during the challenging circumstances that we face? How do we exchange our worry, weariness and burdens for Christ's peace, joy and rest?

The answer is simple. We need to stop picking up our old yoke. I wonder if sometimes we think Christ's easy yoke just feels too light and awkward. Our's is heavy and painful, but we've been trained so long under it, that it feels like a fit. So, we make the choice to carry our burdens around with us when Jesus offers a renewed life.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28-30, The Message

So, there ya go. That's what God said to me today. I'm with Him and my difficult, risky, sometimes impossible life is easy and light.

(Side note: I know there is a lot more theology behind the yoke and how it relates to the rabbi's, and their additional rules and regs for people to follow. But, that was not the topic of this blog. Rather, the practical aspect of the weary and burdened finding rest in Christ.)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Today the little girl turned two. She did not like her birthday candle.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

new shoes

Bought a new pair of shoes today. Now I'm asking facebook to tell me if they're too much like granny shoes. I'm embarrassed.

Friday, February 5, 2010


When Chloe was a newborn, she wanted to be a thumb-sucker so bad. She would put her little hand to her mouth and suck until finally one day she found the thumb and in it went. I let her suck on her thumb long enough to take a picture. From that moment on, each time she went for her thumb at nap or bedtime, I removed her tiny finger and replaced it with a pacifier. My thoughts were..."I can take a pacifier away later, but I can never take away her thumb."

Tonight Chloe went night-night for the first time without her ducky. She is going to be two in just a week. I probably let her keep it as a comfort for longer than I should. But she had that sweet nickname for it, and just loved so much. When i would show it to her, she'd smile. When we'd talk about naptime she'd say, "blankie, ducky!" with such excitement.

Anyway, I feel like it's time to go...but it's kind of sad. So tonight I braced myself for the sadness, crying and screaming. I hid the duckies, and then got Chloe ready for bed. When she said "ducky" to me, I looked at her and said, "I don't know? I'm not sure where it is." (I guess that's pretty much a lie.) But she looked at me and said, "oh". So I laid her in her bed. I told her goodnight. I turned the light off, and walked out. I haven't heard a noise from her. Hmmm...I will miss the ducky. It's a tiny symbol my baby is growing up.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Commentary- My Assignment

Hmmm…didn’t I just wipe down that counter? Wait, don’t use that toilet, I just cleaned it! What? It’s mealtime AGAIN? Let’s just eat over this napkin…

In all honesty--there’s a part of my portfolio that I dislike. I mostly love what I do, but I am included in the 59% not actively engaged at work when it comes to the laundry. And I’m definitely a part of the additional 14% that is actively disengaging from their job when it comes to mopping the floors!

Yesterday was week 2 in our January Series My Life, My Mission. We focused on My Assignment. I'm an "at-home mom". You might have different job. Do you ever become dissatisfied? Maybe it’s mundane, or you’re frustrated with people. We learned yesterday that work is important to God. God worked. He created Adam and gave him work. Work is eternal. So even though we live for the dream of retirement in a warm place, by a beach, sipping an iced tea…it (work) will not be over.
So, how can I transform my perspective of work? The "easy" answer: stop viewing it as a curse, and start seeing it as an assignment. Sometimes I feel like my work has no value. No one notices that I picked up the house today, did some laundry, or organized a closet. Sometimes I feel like I’m not getting anywhere-just toiling. And I’m going to get to do it all again tomorrow! But a key statement from our talk yesterday was this,

“The value of your job isn’t the title or the assignment, but in whom you work for.”

That changes everything. “Whatever you do, do it whole heartedly as though you were working for your real master and not merely for humans.” -Col. 3:23

Now that I sense that the work that I do is a call from God, I gain new energy and purpose from the ONE who called me…and not from the job.

God, help me to embrace your calling and find joy in my assignment, as my life and my work is driven by a passion to honor you.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Got my skate on!

Today I took Juliana and Ryan rollerskating with Joy, Gabe and Aiden. It was lots of fun. The kids had a super great time for our first experience.

Wish I had some pictures, but I locked my camera in the locker and didn't have more quarters to unlock it and then relock it. So silly. :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Watched 2 movies today:

500 Days of Summer with Chris before the kids came home from school. Loved it, then I thought I was going to hate it, but I ended up loving it. There is something about Zooey Deschanel that is kind of strange and yet she is such a cutie.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs...with the family, after dinner. Cute movie. We all loved it.

Fun day.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

9 Blessings of 2009

I'm a little behind in reviewing the year 2009. I'm a lot behind in reviewing the decade (maybe I'll do that next, or tomorrow.) So this isn't really a full review of the year, just a few of the blessings our family experienced in 2009.

9 blessings of 2009

1. We brought a wonderful season of ministry at New Life Assembly, in Kearney, NE to conclusion in February. We were so blessed by our friends' words of love and encouragement to us and our children.

2. God gave our family safe travels to Arizona.

3. Wonderfully smooth transition for our children into their new schools.

4. God provided a beautiful home in a nice neighborhood, and gave us a wonderful Christian family with kids to play with...right across the street.

4. We found a great interim church for our kids to plug into on Wednesday nights. So thankful they are able to learn about Jesus with lots of other kids!

5. We've seen many new faces at Copper Mountain, including several young families.

6. I was able to take a trip to Rapid City with Chloe, to visit my mom, sister and brother.

7. I have been able to develop some meaningful relationships with women/moms my age.

8. I have been able to volunteer in Ryan's kindergarten class, I enjoy spending time with him in that setting.

9. We enjoyed a wonderful holiday season--especially watching Juliana and Ryan sing in their little programs at church.

If there's a hole, you might as well fill it.

Today in the car Chloe suddenly became very irritable, started crying and grabbed at her face/nose. This behavior was SO unlike her we immediately decided to just drive to the ER. I was certain she had put something in her nose.

The ER wait was short and uneventful. Finally they called her name. Chris took her in while I watched the big kids in the lobby. A few minutes later Chris texted me that the item which was lodged way high up in the nose was a Jolly Rancher wrapper.

Silly girl.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Must be a boy thing?

Last night we slept and Auntie Ann's and Uncle Tim's in Phoenix. We were there visiting for New Year...and celebrating Puccini Christmas.

So this morning I walked up to the loft where the kids were camped out. I was sitting with Ryan on the couch as he was still snuggled under the blankets and his head was on my lap. I was rubbing his face and said to him, "I love you Ryan."

Then, he sat up straight on the couch, looked at me, and punched me right in the nose.

I'm still confused about it.

Must be a boy thing.