Mar 11, 2014

Shoes, shoes and more shoes!

From the time I was a little girl, shoes have always played an important role in my life. (I think I owe it all to Cinderella.)  Oh how I loved getting my brand new, white, little, Easter shoes!   I'd slip them over my pudgy feet, and click around the kitchen floor, just staring at my perfect "Mary Jane" shoes, and occasionally bumping into a wall or two.  When I sat down, I was very careful not to cross my ankles, because that always made a black scuff mark. (Cinderella didn't have scuff marks on her glass slippers.) If my worst nightmare did come true, and a black scuff mark should appear,  I'd rush to the linen closet, grab a face cloth, and rub that meanie out until I practically wore a hole in the side of my shoe.  I wanted my shoes to stay perfectly white.  I think every little girl's favorite part on Cinderella is when her tiny, flawless foot slips into that perfect glass slipper. Everyone cheers, and we're all convinced that the perfect shoe really can make a "happily ever after."  There is something so magical when the right foot meets the right shoe. 

Sadly, not everyone knows that feeling.  As a matter of fact, not everyone gets to experience the feeling of the perfect shoes, or any shoes.  In America, the perfect shoe makes the outfit.  In Uganda, the perfect shoe keeps the "jiggers" out.  Jiggers are tiny sand fleas that live in the ground.  As children run along the dirt roads, these jiggers attach themselves to their unsuspecting victims and then the awful nightmare begins. The jiggers burrow deep into these precious feet and lay their eggs. These egg sacks need to be removed. If they aren't, the infection and pain multiplies. The saddest part...all this could have been prevented if these children just had a pair of shoes... not perfect, white, Easter shoes, just any pair of shoes!

Sole Hope was born out of the hearts of Dru and Asher Collie. (fyi -These people are my heros!) They simply could not see this as "someone else's problem."  Instead, they made it personal.  They took seriously Jesus' call to "treat others the way you would want to be treated."  Sole Hope's mission is to,
"offer hope, healthier lives and freedom from foot-related diseases through education, jobs and medical relief." I love what they're doing!  I think you will, too.

 David Livingston, missionary to Africa, once said,  "Sympathy is no substitute for action."
-Sole Hope agrees.

To see how you can make a difference in the lives of these little ones, please click here.

"How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" -Romans 10:5

Feb 6, 2014

"Losing it" isn't always a bad thing

Jesus said, "He that loses his life will gain it." I read the words over and over again.  How do I purposefully lose something?  Our little Emma sat next to me as I read my Bible. My mind began whirling in a million different directions, trying to make sense of what I just read.


She looked up at me wide-eyed.

"How do I lose something?"

"You lost something?" she questioned.

"No, I didn't lose it, but I want to."

"Well," she said matter of factly, "whenever I lose something, I just put it behind me, and don't think about it."

So simple, yet so profound.

Put it behind you. Look ahead.  Lose your life, and find the life that Christ meant for you to live.

PS  If you'd like Emma to speak at your church, please contact me. :o)

Jan 30, 2014

Great Homeschool Convention

So guess what everyone?!  I'm going to be speaking here......

GHC Registration



You there?

I'm a little nervous....alright fine.... I'm A LOT nervous....Like, run away to Joppa with Jonah nervous!!

-Rabbit trail -
Did I ever tell you about the time when I was registering for my college classes, and found out I had to take speech class?  I asked my advisor, "Sooooo, ummm, like,  do you offer any majors that would not require me taking a speech class?"  I stood there nervously wringing my hands.  The advisor stopped writing and stared at me blankly, "Only the two year secretarial program."

"Sold!  Sign me up....I like typewriters."

I can't tell you how bad I want to say "just kidding" after that last story, but I'm afraid it's the dead honest truth.  According to Wikipedia,  I have Glossophobia - fear of public speaking. The word glossophobia comes from the Greek word, blah-blah-glossa-something or other, meaning "tongue and fear or dread."  That! my dear Wikipedian friends, is a massive understatement! Allow me to offer my own definition...

"Glossophobia - you know you've got it when, three nights in the belly of a whale looks like a five star hotel."

I'll be in Greenville, SC at the TD Center on Friday, March 21st.  The session starts at 8:30 am
(Bring me coffee!)

May 9, 2012

Car Wash

Why is washing a car so much fun, but washing dishes is boring?

Maybe I should just bring my pots and pans outside?

May 8, 2012

Two Things I thought I'd Never Say

 "Boys, take the underwear off the dog and get to History."


Annie - "PEEE-U!!! The dog just 'fawted'!!!"

Me - "How do you know?"

Annie - "B,b,b,be-because I just smelled his butt, and IT STINKS!!!!"

Me- "Annie get off the ground, AND don't EVER smell the dog's butt again!!   Let's eat lunch."

Just another typical homeschooling day here.  -It's ok. I'm alright...really.

Apr 2, 2012

Lessons from a Snowman

Interesting weather around here lately, huh?  One week, there's snow, and the next week, it's 80 degrees.  Our summer clothes are half in and half out of the attic.  It's hard to know how to dress each day. I think it's safe to say that we've seen the last of the snow....I hope.

The other day, our munchkins headed outdoors to enjoy what appears to be, the last remnants of winter.

"Let's make a snowman!" one of them shouted.  Annie grabbed a small snowball and began to roll it through the heavy snow.  It was a warm day outside and the snow had begun to melt, creating the perfect snowy combination for our frosty friend. 

Matt began the work for the middle section.  He rolled that little snowball around the yard, packed it down, rolled and rolled some more.

When it came time to lift the snowman's belly, and put it into place, it wouldn't budge.  He could not lift it alone. One by one, each sibling came over to help him....

 "Ok everybody," Matt yelled, "On three!.....One....two...three!"  They grunted and groaned. Together, they maneuvered that big ole belly into place.

Matthew grabbed a shovel, and began chipping away at all the parts that didn't seem to fit.  Emma sculpted the other side.

Slowly, a snowman began to take form.

Isaiah 64:8 

But now, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.

 When God, our perfect designer, sees things in my life that doesn't fit, He will do the same.  Sin needs to go in order for me to take the form of Him. Jesus was completely sinless. As imperfect humans, how can I take the form of Him?

John 3:30 "He must increase, but I must decrease."  

The formula - MORE of HIM, less of me.  Isn't that the formula to change anything in our lives?  Want to lose weight?  More moving, less eating.  Want more money?   More working (or managing), less spending.  Want more time? More managing, less idleness. Want to change your life for God? More of Him, less of you. Let Him do His work, chipping away at the selfishness, anger, pride, impatience, gossip and all those time wasters that draw us away from Him.

Only by His strength can I be molded into a patient, loving, humble,  peaceful mamma.  I want more of "Mary sitting at His feet" and less of "Martha's senseless running around."(Luke 10:38-42)

I don't want to stand around with a plastered smile on my face, frozen into place.  Our Creator didn't just make us and leave us. He continues to lovingly chip away and sculpt each one of us into His useful vessel.

I love this...................

The Master's Vessel 
Author Unknown

The Master was searching for a vessel to use; On the shelf there were many - which one would He choose? "Take me", cried the gold one, "I'm shiny and bright, I'm of great value and I do things just right. My beauty and luster will outshine the rest And for someone like You, Master, gold would be the best!"

The Master passed on with no word at all; He looked at a silver urn, narrow and tall; "I'll serve You, dear Master, I'll pour out Your drink, and I'll be at Your table whenever You dine, My lines are so graceful, my carvings so true, And my silver will always compliment You."

Unheeding the Master passed on to the brass, It was wide mouthed and shallow, and polished like glass. "Here! Here!" cried the vessel, "I know I will do, Place me on Your table for all men to view."

"Look at me", called the goblet of crystal so clear, "My transparency shows my contents so dear, Though fragile am I, I will serve You with pride, And I'm sure I'll be happy in Your house to abide."

The Master came next to a vessel of wood, Polished and carved, it solidly stood. "You may use me, dear Master", the wooden bowl said, "But I'd rather You used me for fruit, not for Bread!"

Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay. Empty and broken it helplessly lay. No hope had the vessel that the Master might choose, To cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use.

"Ah! This is the vessel I've been hoping to find, I will mend and use it and make it all Mine." "I need not the vessel with pride of its self; Nor the one who is narrow to sit on the shelf; Nor the one who is big mouthed and shallow and loud; Nor one who displays his contents so proud; Not the one who thinks he can do all things just right; But this plain earthy vessel filled with My power and might."

Then gently He lifted the vessel of clay. Mended and cleansed it and filled it that day. Spoke to it kindly. "There's work you must do, Just pour out to others as I pour into you."

Feb 1, 2012

Proverbs 31 Woman or Superwoman?

(Let's not mention my last post, and the fact that I almost moved to Australia, ok?)

I've got good news!!!  I just found this out last night. I was laying in bed reading my Bible, and came across Proverbs 31:10-31:

 10 A wife of noble character who can find?
   She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
   and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
   all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
   and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
   bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
   she provides food for her family
   and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
   her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
   and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
   and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
   and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
   for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
   she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
   where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
   and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
   she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
   and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
   but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
I read that whole passage out loud to my husband. "So, let me get this straight...this woman of noble character whose worth is far more than rubies apparently stayed up late, serving and woke up early, serving. Her husband's needs were met in every way. He praised her, and had confidence in her. She had two business' going on.  -both real estate and sewing. (note to self: learn to sew. Duct tape can only hold a hem for so long) She made a profit from her business deals. She gave to the poor.  She always had the right thing to say. She was full of wisdom and kindness. She wasn't lazy or idle. She was a vigorous worker. She was the picture of health with her strong arms. She wisely instructed her children, who called her blessed.   She was a gardener.  She had seasonal clothes all ready to go for her family. (If anyone has an explanation as to why I just washed a bathing suit in the middle of winter, please send me an e-mail with a subject line of:  "Hey Loser Mom! It's winter! Try putting the summer clothes in a tote, so your kids don't have access to them."  -And, I will gladly never speak to you again.)

I continued to read that passage out loud, now with slight sarcasm in my voice, "Oh and look here!  Ms. Proverbs 31 made blankets for her bed....probably made her bed every morning, too!  She kept a careful eye on her household, and made sure everything was running swimmingly. She took care of herself and dressed nice.  She wasn't vain, but she was no slob, either. AND!! EVERYONE IN HER FAMILY AND IN THE ENTIRE STINKEN' COMMUNITY JUST THOUGHT SHE WAS THE CAT'S MEOW!!!" I put the Bible down in my lap, and looked at my husband completely exasperated. "WHO CAN ACCOMPLISH ALL THIS?????!!!!!!!! WHO?! WHO?! WHO??!!"  My chest was heaving. Beads of sweat were dripping off my forehead.  Joel opened one eye and calmly said, "Where in that passage does it say that she did all of that in one 24 hour period?"

-Light bulb moment!-

 My husband went on, "You're reading about her life's work."

"Oh."  -I curled up, and slept like a baby last night.

I don't know why that was such an epiphany for me, but it certainly was a glorious one!! I have read several books on the "Proverbs 31 woman."  I've attended ladies' Bible studies where we diligently dissected each phrase, and compared and contrasted her to today's woman.  I really did want to follow this woman's example, but she seemed so unattainable. I'd wake up with new found determination to put it all into practice, and after only a few hours, I'd feel exhausted, overwhelmed and defeated. (Australia ring a bell?) All this time, I thought she accomplished planting a garden, selling property, sewing clothing and blankets, feeding the poor, being Ms. Smarty pants, "Wife of the Year" and raising her kids up to call her blessed was just, "all in a day's work" for Ms. Proverbs 31.  Despite the fact that she did not do everything in a day, I still can learn much from this Bible heroine. She was obviously methodical in getting her work done, according to time and seasons.  She invested in people...real live people, not "Farmville." Her worth was far more than the price of jewels, because of her character, not because of what she could accomplish. My favorite part of all this is that "the Proverbs 31 woman" was human, not a Superwoman.
*huge sigh*  What a relief!  Now I can return that Superwoman suit. -It made my legs look fat. :0)

PS  I love him.