Thursday, February 28, 2008

Refinement Isn't Optional

(Written for the Northwood Women's Mentoring Program in December)
Psalms 12:6
“The words of the Lord are pure words;
as silver tried in a furnace on the earth refined seven times.”

I read Psalms 12:6 this evening, hoping to draw close to the Lord. Since the cold month of December began, my life has been filled with busyness, change and movement. My once cherished, silent, peaceful times with the Lord have begun to fade like a far off memory and mundane duty and routine have taken it’s place. As I sit quietly this evening, begging the Lord to draw me near, I opened to Psalms 12:6. This verse jogged another verse I read recently in Malachi 3:3 about the Lord sitting as a refiner and purifier of silver. Sometimes the Lord allows me to glean valuable messages through repetitious verses. So here I sit, fingers typing away meditating on purity and refinement - - the precious words of my Father. Anticipation grows as the jumbled thoughts slowly come together - the painter begins to draw upon the canvas – clarity begins to take shape and I see - my Father is in the refining business tonight. Tonight is a night to again relinquish control and be changed.

Abba; a closeness I long to have with You,
Your cherished words from the Book of Life I aspire to my memory,
Your laws of love, written for all humanity, preserved with a promise,
the pathway to Your heart.
Your love letter to all people, the refining words – life changing, sharper than a double edged sward, mighty, yet meek just like My Savior.

Why do I take your pure words for granted?
Why do I forget their power?
Why can’t I remember the verses I examined just yesterday?

Oh,, You are in the refining business!
To capture thoughts and expressions and wisdom takes precious time,
Time I have been too busy idly wasting away,
Tonight I will capture your words, commit them to memory,
For tonight I am being slowly refined, slowly crafted for an upcoming day.

Master Silversmith, the days have arrived,
you are holding me over the hot flame,
Refine Me.

Watching my impurities fall like drops of sand upon the sea shore,
Holding me tight, watching me closely, so I will not be destroyed by the flame,
Abba, you will begin to see Your image shining through my face,
On that day You will call out “well done” and I will sing for joy!

What refining is yet to come – a problem in my marriage, a sickness with a child?
Father, I want you to know I will be ready, I will give thanks, I have given you complete control of my life.
Your Word promises hope and life everlasting.
More struggles will come and I will give thanks, for you are using them to refine me.
Refine me into a healthier mother, wife, friend, disciple, and cultivator of souls.

Refine me, my hearts desire is to be crafted into your image of pure Holiness,
I long to look like, respond like, and model Your everlasting love,
Set my life apart from this dark world.
Allow my life to mean something for eternity’s sake,
Draw me close, refine me, and use my life for Your glory.

Do you have something you aren’t relinquishing control over, afraid to give it to the Lord? Are you in the middle of a trial, discouraged and broken? Be encouraged, the Lord’s in the refining business, give thanks and find joy in His eternal promises.
I pray you too will be encouraged!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Leap of Faith

(Faithfully Studying)

Change... it is inevitable! There are many changes that are or will take place in our family this coming year. Change is good, it gets us out of our comfort zone and makes us depend more on God.

Personally, I hate change; my first recollection of change took place when I was about 7 years of age. We moved from small town H. C., population 2,000, to the big city of Beaverton. We had to leave behind the only home I remembered, friends, grandparents, and our beloved dog Jack. I remember hating my parents for making us move to a small dinky apartment and a new school with kids that hated me and a teacher that chastised me in front of the class for not knowing the answer to 7x6.

Change is Good; I just didn't realize it until I matured a little. In case my parents read this blog, thanks, you were right! Moving was the best thing you could have done. If we had stayed, I probably wouldn't have found the Lord, or married the man of my dreams (who lived in Beaverton). Instead I would have been pregnant at 16, unmarried, and on drugs, like many of the friends I once knew who stayed in that town.

So, here is to change! As an act of faith, John is moving to part time at his current job. He will spend the next 4 months substitute teaching, observing classes, and studying to pass more exams. We are praying he passed the High School Science portion from this past Saturday – John is “cautiously optimistic!” This summer he is taking a 5 week long class to get his Texas teaching alternative certification done. I am so excited for him! He is also going to start volunteering with the youth at our church to gain more experience and some additional references.

As for me, I'm excited to see what God has in store! I am also excited about my new look. I went in for a normal hair trim yesterday and the lady radically changed my look. I watched as she did weird uneven cuts silently wishing all my hair back. God must have known I wouldn’t change my hair style by myself!. I am also eager to shed some excess pounds from baby #2! I started Pilate's tapes last week and my abs are killing me. I did these tapes after Drew was born and don't remember hurting so much!

Our fast is about to end, but in reality it is just beginning. John and I have come to realize that we can live without extras, it makes us appreciate the small things and cherish the bigger things like family and a strong marriage. We are also more generous because we have extra just waiting for a need. Also, I've learned so much about the very nature of God this fast; I am constantly being shown just how much God loves me. Our Team was studying Ephesians 1 the past few weeks, just look what God says about those who have asked Him to be Lord over their lives, we are:

  • blessed with all spiritual blessings in heaven (vs 3)

  • chosen and sealed in Him (vs 4)

  • holy and blameless in Christ (vs 4)

  • adopted into God's family (vs 5)

  • sons of the King (vs 5)

  • redeemed (vs 7)

  • forgiven of ALL sins (vs 7)

  • God's inheritance (vs 18)

  • sealed with the Holy Spirit (vs 13)

What an awesome God I serve! So, here is to change! I have such faith knowing that God is in these changes and will work them all out for His glory. It is so peaceful knowing Who Hold Our Future.

One other small exciting change.... Gabe slept in his crib today for the first time - he cried 25 minutes and then fell into a deep deep sleep. ! I actually had to wake him from his afternoon nap after 3.5 hours so we could go on our walk. As I am typing away I just realized that he didn't cry when I put him down 45 minutes ago... not a peep the whole time I've been writing! Bye Bye swing, baggy eyes and midnight feedings.... hello sleep and being able to use my walk in closet again! I can actually turn on the light to pick out my clothes!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Our Week

Well, this week has been so exhausting! Gabe decided that sleeping through the night wasn't very fun, so he has been waking up at least 3 times each night. I was so tired last night and really needed a full nights sleep. So, I gave Gabe 2 oz of Pedialite and 2 oz of formula around 11:00 pm. It did the trick! The heaviness of the formula kept Gabe asleep until 7:00 am! What a difference a good night sleep makes; I feel like my energetic self again! Gabe is growing up way too fast! He is always ready to give us smiles and watches his surroundings. His personality so far is very relaxed, he only complains when he is hungry or his plumbing is stopped up! Gabe just moved from his 0-3 months clothes to 3-6 months; it was so sad boxing up the smaller size.

I spent this week writing my posts for the interactive Bible reading. I learned so much about the life of Jacob and Joseph. Take a look at the Interactive Bible Reading to the right! Our new season of mentoring is starting this Tuesday night, I am so excited for the new mentees!

I am very anxious for Spring, I can't wait to buy dirt and see all my 100+ bulbs sprout in the backyard! The grass is still very dead, the green lawns will be a welcoming sight!

Our fast is going well, but I can't wait until March 1st! We saved a lot of money and spent time together, but I've been home bound most of the month which is really getting boring. It's too cold to go out to the park most day and most of the places we visit there is a temptation to buy things. We did manage a walk to the pond yesterday which Kitty enjoyed. Drew, Gabe and I froze and were all crabby when we returned home. All three of us took naps! Our freezer is now clean but we still have a ton of meat left. We've only spent 150.00 of groceries this month which is really good for our family of 4.

Drew is now a boy! He gets bumps, scratches, and bloody scrapes on a daily basis. Yesterday he tripped and fell while clibing up steps, he put his hands down to catch himself and whacked his head on the step above. He has a nice black eye.... sshh... don't tell Nana! We are working on letters of the Alphabet with Drew and just signed him up for 3 day preschool next year. Drew loves his school and is learning a lot. Drew can now count to 13 and knows basic shapes (except Rectangle and Square, he likes to mix them up!) Drew loves to ask us "why" and enjoys reading his books and riding his bike. His favorite toys are his race cars!

I posted new pictures and video's!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Fasting Lesson #2

Our fast is going so well! This fast we are working on plumping up our savings to 3 months living expenses. I am so excited to see the only expenses in our checking account are bills! John laughs at me because yesterday I looked at our savings account balance 3 times just because I loved the large numbers! It also helped that we received our tax refund; for once we didn't have other expenses to pay! We should have our 3 months living expenses complete by the end of May. I am so excited!
John has been doing super on his goals for this fast, he has prayed with me every night before bed which we are both excited about. Drew has only watched TV once and that was when he had his ear infection and felt crummy. It is a tradition that when Drew is sick he can watch a DVD on the portable DVD player. The nice thing is that Drew doesn't even ask to watch anything. He has been using his imagination a lot, playing rocket ship instead of asking to watch it on Tv.
My fasting is going well, I'm up on my reading and have been doing devotions with Drew every night. We are reading the most awesome book: The Jesus Storybook Bible , it is so precious. Each story points to Jesus! I love the writing and personally am enjoying all the stories as much as Drew. We are about 50% of the way finished and will start it all over again!

My lesson from this week has been about getting me out of my comfort zone. Just because I am not good at certain things doesn't mean I should do them! I've been pushing myself to conquer some of my fears, like public speaking. I will also be talking about fasting at my Mom2mom group this Thursday so pray for me! I’m still praying more and enjoying quiet times with the boys when we can all pray together. I’m also more determined to memorize people’s names, I’m terrible at names and don’t take the time to remember them.

I was really tempted to cheat today when we went out to see some friends. We drove by so many Starbucks and I was so tired (Gabe decided that he wanted to wake up 3 times last night)! John was in the car with me and held my hand through it all! Oh, I posted some pictures of his new workbench that he just finished. It is beautiful! Well, I have some other writing I need to get back to!


More Pictures!

John's Beautiful Workbench! It is too nice to use.

Our Boys are Growing Up - 3 months and 3 years!

Mat and Natalie had their little girl: Evie!

She is ever so cute! I love all the pink!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Gabe and Drew and 3 Months

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Guess who started asking why today?

Why are you cleaning that mommy?

Why are you feeding Gabe?

Why do I need to put on my shoes?

Why, Why, Why?

Drew is also developing a creative imagination! Today while I was cleaning the kitchen, Drew took his little chairs outside and sat them next to one another. Then he came and invited me to ride the "cho cho train" with him. He then told me he was the engineer and was driving the train to see rocket, the Little Einstein ship. After our train ride, he climbed onto the pile of bricks and started patting and then yelled "Blastoff!"

Too Cute!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Week In Review

We had a fun week here in Texas, the weather was crazy cold the first few days and crazy warm the past few days. We visited the pond this week with Kitty; Drew loves to ride his bike all the way there and back! We also baked Valentine cookies and made a mess with pudding.

On Tuesday I took Drew to the doctor because he wasn't eating much and kept loosing weight. He also had a cold that was lingering. Turns out he had a double ear infection and the Doc pulled out a long strand of earwax and blood.... yucky! Needless to say it explained a lot - Drew poor attitude and clingy behavior.

Gabe is a sleeping boy this week - - sleeping 20 out of 24 hours. Last week all he wanted to do was eat! Gabe is still sleeping in his swing, now located in our walk in closet. He now loves to smile at us and is especially fond of watching everything Drew does. He is sleeping through the night 9:30 pm (I feed him at 11:00 pm) and then waking around 6:00 am, then he goes back to sleep until 10:00 am, wakes and eats again. He is getting more consistent with his bowels and has been consistently pooping through all his clothes twice a week. All the white onesies are yellow in the back! Gabe is still content to be awake about an hour and then he goes right back to sleep. He is turning into a very content and easy baby!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Fasting Lesson #1

Many of you may or may now know that every February and September our family goes on a consumerism fast - not because we are more holy or strong in faith, but because we are weak and desperately need a period of refreshing and rejuvenation. Between the hours of TV, stops at McDonalds, trips to the mall and thoughts of the next drive to Starbucks we seem to loose our vibrant and constant need for our "living water" - - our savior. John and I often don't listen to what the Lord is telling us because we don't make time. Our priorities waiver and we fall into a rut of being content with God instead of Alive In Him! We miss many opportunities to show love to our children, friends and even strangers. We ignore or miss discerning moments and our prayer lives become stagnant and uniform -- boring and ineffective.

For me, this current fast was much anticipated, I actually looked forward to taking a step back and really looking at the thoughts and activities that consume my day. Many well intentioned "I just need a break" or "I deserve this" moments filled a 24 hour period. Over the last three days I've been challenging my prayer life, the conversations I have with Drew, and the way I allow my mind to drift to negative thinking. God has already been showing me areas of growth that will increase my love for Him and those around me.

My first lesson learned is that my prayers DO matter to God! My prayers are to be real and authentic, not quick and repetitious. How appropriate that the first thing I learn goes hand and hand with fasting (the giving up of or doing without). Now, instead of watching tv while nursing Gabe: I am able to pray for those things most heavy on my heart – the salvation of our children, the nature or aroma of our home, strength for my husband, etc. There is nothing more important that a woman can bring to her home than prayer, “for the effective prayer of a righteous woman can accomplish much.” Roman’s 12:12 says that we are to “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Philippians 4:6 says “to be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

So, here as I journal, I give thanks to my God with joy in my heart: for this February month of fasting! "May I draw hear to You or Lord and may Your hearts desire become my hearts desire!”
I love these words from a Fernando Ortega song called "A prayer for our home"
May our home be a refuge for our love, A harbor for our deepest prayer.
May we come to flourish in the grove, Grow ever nearer to You there.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

We had a very exhausting week! I busied myself working and keeping up with the housework. I've been preparing myself for our 30 day fast which started on February 1st - no tv, Starbucks, spending money, or eating out. I am always amazed each time we do a fast how much I learn about myself. When we eliminate tv and the desire to run out for dinner I become much more disciplined and we grow much closer as a family. Today we frosted cookies and went to the pond with Kitty. Drew has been a little under the weather so it was nice to get out into the fresh air for a while.

John had back injection surgery on Wednesday, so far the tingling and numbness in his hand has gotten 75% better and his neck is just stiff instead of in pain. The shots come in a series of 3 and last around a year. So far he has had one set on each side. We are all anxious for him to finally be better. I really can't remember what John is like without being in constant pain. When we met he had lower back pain from the rhysotomy when he was young. Then when we married his foot developed a bunion while in the police academy and the bone in his hand was fractured causing months of physical therapy. Then in August 2006 he had surgery to correct his bunion, and that December he had a rysotomy to deaden the nerves in his lower back. Finally 100% pain free we went on our cruise and celebrated. Then, last February, 6 weeks later, John was hit by a city truck and developed a herniated and slipped disk in his neck. All of 2007 he spent in therapy. My poor sweet husband, he has had to endure a myriad of physical pain, and yet he is the most optimistic , humble, and joyful person I know!

(Gabe 2.5 Months Sleeping in his swing.... this is the only place aside from his carseat where he will sleep.)