Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Outside Reveals the Inside

I tend to be a woman of extremes.  I am either extremely dedicated to my husband, children, homeschooling, and home OR I am terribly distracted by something that has captured my attention.  To be honest, I often end up feeling very schizophrenic after I have been in one of those self-indulgence stages.  I am there right now.

 I think it actually started up again when I went back to Facebook in order to post my blog entries.  I had great purposes for this new blog.  I still plan to try and build it up. . .someday.  But I wanted to try and drive traffic so I started posting on Facebook again.  All that ended up doing was sucking me into posting stupid things that most people really don't care to read. It's a waste of my time.

The next catalyst was when a couple of friends on mine introduced me to pinterest.  I have a love/hate relationship with pinterest.  I love being able to pin the things that I find but can't do anything with it at that point.  But like FB, it will suck you in so that you are spending wasted time looking through everyone else's boards to see what neat things they have pinned.  After spending WAY too much time searching through the home organization boards, I just felt depressed.

So these two things have sucked me back into a media storm several month ago.  I haven't been able to climb out of it.  In fact, it's drowning me.  See the extremes?  I am either all with it and I just throw it all to the wind and run head long into the self indulgences that leave me feeling so empty.

And empty I feel.  This morning I just felt the overwhelming urge to cry out to God for help in climbing out of the this state that I am in.   As I prayed I had this overwhelming impression that this emptiness I am feeling, the disorganization of just about every area of life right now, the frantic pace of the life, and the media addiction are an indication that my heart is not being filled with my Savior.

I failed to mention one of the others things that has drawn into the schizophrenic state.  HUNGER GAMES!!!  Yes, I am have been reading it.  Normally I do not allow myself to get sucked into the pop culture type books.  But Underdog told me they were really good.  He really wants to see the movie.  In keeping with the family rule, I can't see the movie until I read the book.  So I started reading and I was hooked.  I read the first book at a fairly good pace, although I was probably staying up a little later than I needed to.  I did not like the ending.  I decided that it probably wasn't a good idea to move straight on into the next book though.  So I moved on. . .until about 5 hours later when I realized that I can check the book out for free with Amazon Prime.  I caved. . .quickly.  Right now I am halfway through the book and really ready to be finished.  I wish I could speed read the last book so I can just put the stupid serious behind me.

Which brings me back to the state of my heart.  I am empty because I am filling me heart with everything that is not my Savior.  Whether I like to admit it or not, this is how I have been living for several years now.  Oh, don't get me wrong.  I have had great moments in these years where I am growing in the Lord.  But I can't and don't sustain it.  I know that everyone has times and peaks and valleys.  But this is different.  This isn't a valley because of something specific the Lord has allowed in my life to sanctify me.  No.  This is a valley of my own creation.  And I have been here for a LONG time.  My house is a reflection of the state of my heart.  My school is a reflection of this state.  My relationships are a reflection of this state.  

This morning the passage that I woke up with on my heart came out of 1 Corinthians 13.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  (1 Corinthians 13:11 ESV)

I am still acting and living like I am a silly, immature child.  I have made life all about me.  When I am on top of things and living life "well", it's really only my attempt to impress the world around me.  I think a lot about what I can blog to receive kudos for MY great work or some great FB post.  It's sickening just typing it out.  When life is not going "well" I dive into the media and numb myself.  I don't want to face what I created with poor and immature choices.  When I was a child. . . . .

But when I grow up and become the woman that God intended me to be. . . . .  Oh to dream.

I am a little late in decision but I have decided to do some fasting this month.  Mostly, it's a media fast from the areas that drag my heart away from my Savior.  Facebook, pinterest, and anything else that isn't going to push me into the arms of Jesus are out for a while.  I have certain foods like wheat, coffee, and pasteurized dairy (I know, that pretty specific but I have an experiment I am doing with raw dairy right now) are all on my fasting list.  The farmer's market opens this weekend so I have some very yummy and simple plans for our diet this month.

Mostly, I want to press into the Lord.  I am hungry to know my Savior in a deeper way.  I am desperate for more of the Spirit.  As we finish up our series at church on spiritual gifts, I greatly desire to know mine.  I had a sense this weekend of what He might have intended for me, but my human mind cannot wrap itself around it right now.  So I am just waiting patiently as I wait for further understanding.  Mostly, I just want to be closer to Jesus.  I want him to cleanse my heart and bring order to it.  Something tells me if I will stop focusing on the outside and what it looks like, the inside will begin to grow.  As my heart grows more in love with the Savior, I suspect there will be more order in my home.  I want my motives for bringing order to my domain to be all about the Savior and not me.

I have no idea what this looks like going forward.  I am dedicating myself to praying a lot over the next several weeks.  I have a race to prepare for at the end of April so that will give me plenty of time to listen our past sermon series and simply just worship God as I run for His glory.  I really do feel His pleasure when I run.  :)  I am excited about what this will all bring.  I am excited to grow to know my Savior better.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A couple of good quotes from Martin (Luther)

"Riches are among the most trivial things on earth and the smallest gift God gives to a person."

When Luther thought he was dying, he wrote:

"My dear son and my dear Kate. I have nothing [in worldly goods] to bequest to you, but I have a rich God. Him I leave to you. He will nourish you well."


"Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Our Mission

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.  (James 1:27 ESV)

This is deep on my heart right now.  It's the essence of Living Little! Giving Big!  We want to follow the command to live out our faith by taking care of widows, orphans, and much, much more.   To open our hearts and homes to those with nothing.  To give in faith above what might seem reasonable.  To go against the grain in how we manage and spend our money because our first world emergencies are not nearly as bad as the third world emergency of starving and orphaned children.  To deny ourselves so that we don't have to deny a child their next meal.  To give of ourselves until it hurts.  Isn't that what the Savior did for us?  He opened His heart and has led us home.  He had faith in His Heavenly Father to go to the cross despite what He knew was there.  He didn't have a place to lay His head at night in order to be an example to us and what the opposite of excess looks like.  He denied Himself.  He bore the cross for us.  He gave until it hurt.  I want to be like my Savior.

The following DVD preview is a reflection of the changes the Lord is making in our lives and the heart for the orphan He is growing within us.  We have such a burden for the orphan.  I often feel so frustrated and overwhelmed by how massive the population of orphans is and how I can barely crack a dent in the surface.  I heard a statistic recently that said that those who proclaim to be Christians out number the orphans in the world.  I was blown away.  How can that be when we are clearly directed to take care of children?

Perhaps not all need to be adopted.  The mission of Jesus in Haiti is to keep the children in Haiti in the loving homes they currently have.  They give them food, shelter, and make sure all of them are educated.  The hope is that these children will grow to love their country and be able to take their faith to the people as well as use their education to possibly make the changes necessary to bring Haiti out of the pit.  God is the Father of these children but we need to giving up alot of Starbucks to make sure those children have their next meal and can go to school tomorrow.  (Remember, when we take care of the least of these we are taking care of Jesus.)

What of the orphans with no hope?  What of the children abandoned because they are sick and mom can't afford to take care of them?  What of the children whose parents were crushed under the buildings in Haiti over 2 years ago?  What of the thousands of abandoned girls in China whose mommy and daddy could not keep them because of the cruelty of a dictatorial regime?   What about the over 10,000 children in the state of Texas alone that are moved from home to home because they were emotionally and sometimes physical abused and abandoned?  Who will love these children?  Isn't this our call?

Christians, let us rise up.  Let us take the reins and begin to move into this sphere with the genuine love of Christ.  Pray about your role in taking care of widows and orphans.  I do not believe that all people are called to adopt.  But I do believe that it should at least be a conversation between a husband and wife.  Why do we think we aren't called to adopt?  Money?  Space?  Popularity or reputation?  Isn't God bigger than our bank account?  Isn't the size of our home a first world problem that God can move on behalf to solve?  Do we really want to worry more about what people will think of us in this life time or the questions our Father will ask when we face Him and have to answer for why we didn't do more?  All of our fears and doubts can be overcome.  Just ask the many numerous people who have begun to more into this realm and are seeing God perform miracles on their behalf.

There are so many ways to get involved in orphan care as a church and as a family.  For instance, there are ministries that work with children in the foster system about to age out of it.  These children often have no where to go and no help getting there. Have a heart for these kids?  Find out from your state how you might be able to help mentor these young adults and get them off to the right start.  Better yet, open your home and adopt one.  One of my favorite adoption stories was from a family that used to be in my homeschool group.  She met a young lady working at Starbucks and found out she had no family to go to over Christmas.  So they invited her over.  Several months later, this family and the young woman signed papers with the state of Texas for her to become their daughter.  I get chills every time I think about their story.  This family has adopted all of their children.

I loved the quote in the following preview.  "God didn't say natural born children are a blessing.  God said children are a blessing."  That is a powerful statement.  We MUST take a stand against the current view of our world.  The vision of this world is that children are a burden and are to be discarded.  This is never the Holy Father's view of these precious creatures.  And He's got a plan for you, dear follower of Christ.  He's got a plan.  He wants to write your adoption story.  Will you seek Him to find it?  What does He want to

One final thing.  Underdog has been talking alot recently around the concept of how we cannot waste our lives.  Neither one of us really believe that we'll retire, at least not in the normal sense of the word.  His idea is that we live to the fullest extent we've got for the glory of Christ NOW and the true reward will be in heaven.  Isn't that a beautiful idea?  Adoption is hard, no doubt.  I have never experienced the process personally (not yet) but I have read the stories and heard the reports.  Scripture talks about how our lives are the grass of the fields.  We grow up quickly and then we die.  We can't fathom the idea of how short life is.  In the scope of eternity, we last but seconds.  What will be have to say in the end that we did with our lives?  How are we going to explain the excessive materialism that we daily spend our lives chasing?  How we will explain the daily $5 coffee from Starbucks when there are children who don't get to eat today?  How will we explain the lost opportunity to bring love into our homes in ways of which we never dreamed.  But God did dream. . .we just weren't listening?  Oh people, lay down your lives.  Die to yourself and all the fleeting excesses this of this generation.  Live Little!!  GIVE BIG!!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Truth about Difficulties

Thank you, John Netwon:

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.

‘Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“‘Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”

Monday, February 13, 2012


This is where I am going this summer, Lord willing.  We had a team from our church go to Haiti last year in June and Underdog went in August with another church.  So the plan was for him to take Jennabear with him.  I would go if the funds were there.  That, well, um, changed.  And I can only thank one of the coordinators for the team this year, Jason.  (Ok, so maybe I should give more credit to the Holy Spirit but I am not yet happy about this change so I am holding back my thankfulness at this point.  :)

Underdog was telling Jason that we may not be able to go this year because we're really trying to get some of our financial house in order.  We're taking Financial Peace University right now.  If you've ever taken this course, you know the upheaval it can have in your home.  "Hard" is not enough of a word to even describe the adventure that Dave Ramsey will take you on.  I highly recommend it.

Anyhoo.  Jason mentioned that this might be a great opportunity for us to do some fund raising.  Great idea!!!  I have blocked part of this conversation out because I am still mad at Jason.  (Ha!!)  He mentioned at some point in this conversation that it might be a great idea for us to do the fund raising but that maybe I should just go by myself if the funds weren't there.  I am sure it didn't go exactly like that but that was what I heard.  As I mentioned, I blocked a good portion.

I was NOT HAPPY.  In fact, my only emotion at the time was terrified.  Underdog has always been my protector.  I go everywhere with him.  He even told me that he wanted to go to Haiti first and then take me back so that he could help me work through some of the things I was going to experience.  He felt at the time it would be hard for my sensitive spirit.  Although Jason was simply giving a suggestion, I knew where this was going. . .and Underdog was probably not going to be with me.

I was up very early this morning giving a child a breathing treatment.  (We've got RSV.  Oh goodie!!)  After put her back to bed, I decided to stay up and pray.  The Spirit is working in other areas of my heart regarding the idols that I have built up in there.  I do have another post about that at another time.  I realized, though, that over the years I had turned Underdog into an idol.  I was horrible about this in the beginning of our relationship.  Why he ever married me I will knew understand?  I am so thankful for the grace that God has poured on me to change me.  I am not the same woman I used to be in college and early marriage.  But there are still areas where I am rely WAY too heavily on Underdog to lead me.  He should lead me.  He's my head.  BUT, I must also learn that the Father is my comfort and Underdog is not.  He is the One that walks me through the shadow of the valley of death and Underdog will not.  He is the One that pulls me out of the pit and upholds me with His righteous right hand, not Underdog.

I am camped out in Isaiah right now in my Bible study and this verse is so fitting to the lesson that the Spirit is teaching me right now.
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
                                           (Isaiah 41:10 ESV)
The lessons I have been learning over the past several months are simply that I cannot pull myself out of the pit that my sin has led me to.  I need a Savior even now.  I needed Him the moment He first drew me to Him.  And I need Him now.  The gospel didn't end the moment I prayed that prayer.  The gospel just moved to becoming central to my life.  I cannot save myself.  Period.  I sin daily.  I daily need the reminder of the sacrifice He made for me.  It is He who saves me.  And there must be brokenness involved in that realization.  Until we are all broken, we will never know the Truth regardless of how "saved" we are.  God can't work in people who aren't humble before Him.  I don't want to be like that.

My trip to Haiti will be another level of experiencing this grace.  It will be all about Him bringing me out of the pit and into living life FOR HIM.  I am scared to death of going to Haiti by myself.  Even more, my oldest daughter will be going with me if we can raise the funds.  Dad might get to go.  I suspect he's not going to work too hard to get there though.  He knows as well as I do that God is in this plan.  He knows that I have something to learn on this trip.  But the learning starts now.  I can already feel myself looking for excuses not to go.  Like my newest one:  Sunshine apparently has issues with mommy leaving for long periods of time.   The next day after I am gone, she has accidents all day.  The psycho-therapist in me has already boiled it down to the drastic cold turkey weaning I had to do with her when she was 10 mos old.  I guess it's time to stop watching Dr. Phil.

I feel like I have just stepped on to a train. I am headed on a wild adventure.  I don't leave for Haiti for 4 more months.  But it's started.  The wrestling has begun.  I will lose this battle.  I don't mind.  I believe that it's going to grow me closer to my Savior.  But apparently my sinful little heart isn't ready to go without a fight.  Praise God for the grace to cover even that.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Like to Run?

I love running.  Admittedly, though, I haven't run since last October (except maybe a few times with Underdog.)  My asthma started acting up again in August and my running just kind of went down hill from there.  Now that I know the trigger of my asthma I am ready to get back into it.  The weather was also beginning to warm up so I was ready. . .until this week.  Unfortunately, winter seemed to have return this week so I am questioning my sanity.  I HATE running in cold weather.  I would prefer to run on a 100 degree day than to run in 40 degree weather any day.  I don't get a choice now.  I am prepping for a run in April benefiting the Sudan.  We will be racing to raise money for Seed Effect and e3 Sudan.  From the Sudan Foot Race website:
The 2012 Sudan Footrace and walk supports both Seed Effectand e3 Sudan. Seed Effect and e3 Sudan trains, equips, and empowers the Sudanese people to transform their lives, families, and their entire communities. This transformation takes place through education, training, microloans, and the power of Jesus Christ.
Sleep InCan't attend the event but would like to show your support? Sleep in and receive a t-shirt! $30.00 registration
What a great way to spend your charitable giving dollars and your time.  The added bonus. . .fitness!!!!  Join us on April 28 in Dallas, TX.  If you don't like to run, you are welcome to walk the race.  Come as a family.  There are all sorts of ways for all levels of fitness to join in this event.  And if you'd rather sleep in, you can see above, "sleep in and receive a t-shirt!"  You can register for the race, sleep in, and still get a t-shirt.  Great opportunity to be a walking promotion for a great cause.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Do you like to have different ministries to send your money for charitable giving?  Do you like to wear stylish graphic t-shirts?  Do you need a first step in combating consumerism? is the place for you.  Each week, features a new charity for which they are working to raise money and awareness.  When you buy a t-shirt, you are contributing to the chosen ministry.  Plus, by simply wearing the t-shirt, you help bring awareness of this ministry to others who might not otherwise know about it.  Last week, Underdog and I bought a t-shirt benefiting Clothes4Souls that gathers gently worn throw away clothes and helps those who need them.  (And I have another post in the works that will feature this ministry. . .they are doing a lot of great work for those in need right now.)  So check out today and buy a t-shirt.  This week you'll be feeding children in Darfar through Relief International.  Check out the RI website to learn more about it.  Then head on over to and make a difference.