Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday's Voice - Vietnam

Wednesday's Voice is a place where we can pray for each other and for the persecuted church.  After the weekly prayer for the martyrs, I  will be adding a linky prayer request list.  Many of us are hurting and struggling through our own trials and longing for a place to go for prayer.  I am hoping that this will be a safe place.  If you place a prayer on the list, I would ask that:
1  You pray for the person above you;  and
2  You pray for the weekly persecuted church
 I know that our voices will be heard in praise and prayer for each other and for those who cannot speak on their own behalves. 

Christian worshipers brutally beaten by police in Vietnam
Source: International Christian Concern

A violent attack against minority Degar Montagnard Christians in the central highlands of Vietnam took place in July, leaving 16 Christians severely injured. One Christian man remains under arrest, his condition unknown.

On July 7, at approximately 8 p.m., Vietnamese security forces and police descended upon a worship service in the village of Buon Kret Krot, Gai Lai Province, and began kicking and beating the attendees. Security forces threatened the villagers, stating: "If anyone worships like this way, we will return to arrest you all and put you in prison for five years." Of the Christians attacked, 10 men and two women were beaten to the point of unconsciousness.

Pray the Lord will bring swift and complete healing to those who were injured.

Pray for the release of the believer who was arrested. Ask the Lord to strengthen these believers.

Pray Christians in Vietnam will continue to meet together in spite of the opposition. Pray for the perpetrators of this attack

Monday, August 29, 2011

What's up with the Youts?

A few months ago, I wrote a few posts (post 1/post 2) on community in the church.  These came out of things happening in the church we were attending.  We have now returned to our old church.  When we returned, we were saddened to see that some of our friends had left.  The reason - "not enough for the youth to do."   I'm troubled by this trend because it's not the first time I have heard it.  It has been something I have heard since becoming a Christian.  It is also something happening in the world at large.  

Our world seems to revolve around our kids and their needs.  Keeping them occupied and entertained through sports, music lessons and clubs.  We are either chauffeuring them around or they are spending too much time in front of the tv.  Where does this allow for family or devotion time?  I used to balk at Dr. Kevin Leman's advice to not put kids into extra-curricular activities or only 1 per child.  However, I soooooo get this now that I will be having 2 kids in school.  The last 2 years, the princess was in rhythmic gymnastics.  Taking her, even once a week, threw a curve in our sechdule.  I cannnot even imagine if I had had her in more or if all the kids were of an age to be in 2-3 different activities each.  I think I'm going grey now?? (LOL)

The church has also taken to the youth orientated culture.  A question I keep hearing is: "How can our services be relevant to the young?"  Many services are geared musically to a younger audience and "tried and true" hymns have been given the "ol'heave hoe".  I sat in a meeting once where the worship leader said hymns "were boring and long."  Now I won't disagree that some are long, but reflect on the words and see the great lessons in them.  One of my favourite hymns, Great is Thy Faithfulness, is a terrific reminder that no matter what He is faithful.  The words breathe His faithfulness.  I find hymns as relevant today as they were when first written.  Of course, they may not have "a good beat", nor could you probably dance to them, but church is not a dance club.  Do not get me wrong though, I'm not saying you cannot dance in church.  I love clapping and moving around, but this is a place to worship in community with young and old.  It is a place where we should be teaching our young people how to respect their elders who have a lot to teach.  It is not a place where our elders need to compromise their faith to accommodate another's needs.

Titus 2 is generally thought of as the scripture passage where the old women are to mentor the young women.  But if you look at v. 2, it talks about teaching the old men to be reverent, as well.  Through watching our elders lives and listening to their wisdom, we will learn.  I am glad to be a part of a church with strong elders.  I love seeing my children learn and build relationships with people who have been through war, famine, death, depression, marriage, raising children, raising grandchildren, etc...  In fact, in some churches I have attended, the people who welcomed me the most were the seniors.  I have enjoyed getting to know them and spending time with them.  

Psalm 71:18 says:

Even when I am old and gray,
   do not forsake me, O God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
   your might to all who are to come.  (NIV 84)
If we continue on the trend to ignore our seniors or balk at their ideas or even to push them aside for something newer and cooler, we disallow God to work through them in our lives.  We are not created knowing everything.  We need to learn from those who have been "around the block a few times."   And remember, you will one day be those seniors that are scoffed at today, tomorrow.  How would you like to be treated?

I'm linking up today with the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood at Finding Heaven.

Messy Mondays- The Reminder.....

Messy Monday's where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life.  It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow.  It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy.  It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us.   

If you have been following lately you know that I have been suffering through the moving blues.  There have been days where I have wallowed in it.  Days were I literally have to kick myself and get moving and doing things.  Among these days have been some good days.  Times spent with family.  Times spent catching up with old friends.  There have been glimpses of hope in the darkness. 

The first week we were here, I was especially out of sorts.  I was surrounded by boxes.  I felt literally trapped.  One afternoon, my husband and I took the kids to the park at the back of our house.  We let the kids run around while we watched them.  It was a beautiful summer's day.  It was sunny and hot.  The kids were laughing.  The feeling was light.  I started slowing coming out of a grey mood, when I saw him.

He flew around me and landed on a tree.  He even posed for the picture while I scrambled to get my Blackberry ready.  He reminded me that even through what I had been going through, that God was still with me.  That I wasn't alone.  That He was watching and overseeing so much more than I knew. 
Friday, August 26, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - I'm On the Outside Again


I was a social loser in high school.  Many people I now know are shocked when I tell them this.  They think I'm strong and confident.  They say I'm a leader.  I'm organized.  I have it all together.  That may be (ok, I really don't have it all together), but I was still a social outcast in school.  I was a member of the Library Club and fringe member of Student Council (I was one of the lackies).  I played Mrs. Lynch in our school's version of Grease.  I was a member of the Health Squad - a group in support of healthy lifestyles in our school.   Ironically, all my friends were smokers.  I had good grades.  I did not hang with the cool kids, nor did I dress like them, nor did I go where they went.  I went my own way.  I tread through the path less travelled and it was difficult.  I was tormented and ridiculed.  Because I chewed gum - a lot - the cool boys decided that it would be great to call me "Chewy" and not in a nice way.  In fact, a few years after high school while walking down the road, two of the boys referred to me as that.  It just goes to show that girls really do mature faster than boys. 

Now that I am adult, I pretty much am a leader.  When I struggled to find a Bible study group, I roped some friends into starting one.  When I wanted to do Big Cook, I again roped some friends into one.  I don't care what people think of me (ok, not too much).  I pretty am "a what you see, is what you get" person.  I'm loud and outgoing.  I'm a social butterfly.  I love to be part of a group.

Now you may be wondering where this is going.  I've become the outcast again.  No, no, not because of the move.  Even though until the fall, I have felt out of sorts here in town.  But on Twitter.  I have 131 followers (25% of which are probably people just wanting me to do business with them), but yet I can post a tweet and have no responses.  When we first moved, I suffered from depression for a while.  I tweeted that I could use prayer as I was struggling.  Only one person responded.  I'm not asking for a million responses, but I thought I had more twitter friends than that.  

It seems to me that I'm also an outcast in some respects because I don't homeschool, but send my kids to school.  I don't think this is a conscious division.  I have many homeschooling friends who I love to chat to.  But many of the tweets I see all have to do with homeschooling, or curriculum or organzation.  These are great things and I'm glad for my homeschooling friends.  My husband and I have made the decision that the kids will go to school.  I'm sure that if we homeschooled that we would do quite well.  I don't think, however, if we homeschooled that someone wouldn't get hurt by the end of the day and it wouldn't be me.  My children are just like me - independent.  They do very well when being taught at school and thrive in that environment.  It also allows me time to get things done around the house and spend time with the Tormentinator.  Once he's in school, I'll have to figure out what to do at that stage.  

The last reason that I feel like I'm an outcast is that I'm not going to Relevant 11 and I'm tired of hearing about everyone going.  Yes, it is pure jealousy.  When you see all the tweets about it, you can become resentful and feel left out.  I actually think this is regarding all the conferences that I miss out on.  I live in Canada.  We have one conference that I would probably want to go to - Blissdom.  This is held in Toronto.  The flight cost alone is almost $1000.  The flights to any where in Canada can get prohibitive.  It just is.  If there were a conference in the province where I live, I probably would go; but there isn't and it seems like most of the conferences I want to go to are all in the Southern States.  It is actually cheaper for me to fly to Europe than Eastern Canada or the Southern States.  That's it, we need to hold a bloggy conference in Europe and then I'll go.

I know I'm whining.  I really am not an outcast.  Twitter isn't how I value myself.  But I can see where social networking can lead to depression.  If you feel like being my twitter friend my handle is @lostinprairies.  That is if you can tweet with the social outcast I am. 

Come link up with your randomness today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday's Voice - Uganda

Wednesday's Voice started out as place where I could share my husband's aunt's tireless work with Voice of the Martyrs.  Each week she prepares and e-mails out bulletins asking churches to pray for those being persecuted for their faith.  I will be continuing this as I think it is important to pray for those who are being persecuted for that which we in the western world take for granted.  That simple right to gather and worship without fear of persecution.

I am going to add something to Wednesday's Voice from now on.  After the weekly prayer for the martyrs, I also will be adding a linky prayer request list.  Many of us are hurting and struggling through our own trials and longing for a place to go for prayer.  I am hoping that this will be a safe place.  If you place a prayer on the list, I would ask that:
1  You pray for the person above you;  and
2  You pray for the weekly persecuted church
 I know that our voices will be heard in praise and prayer for each other and for those who cannot speak on their own behalves. 

Ugandan Christian brutally imprisoned by Muslim father
Source: Compass Direct

A 14-year-old girl in western Uganda remains in frail health 10 months after her father tortured her for leaving Islam for Christianity. In March 2010, Susan Ithungu came to faith in Christ after an evangelist came to speak at her school in Isango village, Kasese district. A month later, news reached Susan's father that she had converted to Christianity. He warned her and her brother, Mbusa Baluku, against attending church or listening to the gospel message, threatening to kill them in broad daylight if they embraced Christianity. Susan was then locked in a room with no sunlight. Her brother was warned against telling anyone of her imprisonment, but would secretly bring her food and water.

>In October 2010, Mbusa finally told the neighbors about his sister's situation. They then reported the case to the authorities and police freed her. Susan was extremely weak and unable to walk or talk. "Her hair had turned yellow, she had long fingernails and sunken eyes, and she looked very slim, less than 20 kilograms," said one pastor. Her father was arrested shortly afterward but quickly released. At last report, Susan was still struggling with her health -- unable to walk, but able to talk and eat soft foods. "The great news is that Susan is still strong in the Lord Jesus Christ," the pastor said. "She needs prayers and support, so that she can resume her education soon."

Thank God for Susan's rescue and pray for her continued healing.

Pray many Christians will be emboldened by her story of persevering faith and confidence in Christ (Hebrews 10:32-39).

Pray for safety for her brother. Ask God to bring her father to repentance and that he, too, will come to know Christ as Lord.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Who am I reflecting?

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 NIV'84
 A few weeks ago during the Imperfect Wives show on submission, this verse came up in the discussion.  I have heard this verse.  I have read it a few times.  But until that show, I never really thought about it and the implication it means to my life.

I go through life just doing and usually not with a great attitude.  I often start out the day with full intentions to live life the fullest.  I have a "rosy" attitude.  By the end of the day my glasses are "fogged over."  I am stressed.  I am angry.  I am frustrated.  I am probably not a very nice person to be around.  I snap.  I argue.  I have even been known to "shut down" and hide out in a book.

But this verse changes that.  It is not about me and how it is going to make me feel.  It is really about HIM.  Am I doing everything I do with the thought about how it makes me feel or look or about how it makes God look?  We are but a reflection of Him.  Everything we do should be done to make Him look good.  If my attitude is bad, how am I reflecting God to my husband or my children?  Does it help me to build them up or encourage them?  When I whine and complain about my life to my friends, how am I showing them I trust God?  I am not saying you have to be a "shiny happy" Christian all the time.  But if all we do is gripe, complain and give up then how can we honesty acknowledge that what we are doing is for Him?

Lately when I have asked my 8 year old to do minor chores (ie. pick up toys; brush hair; make bed; etc..), I have been getting the rolling eyes; the stomping of the feet; and a bit of griping.  I have been calling her on it, but really she has been taught by the best.
Now is the time to be transformed and renewed.  It is the time to change my attitude and glorify God in all I do - even doing the laundry.  It won't be easy.  It will be worth it. 

I'm linking up with a great bunch of ladies at the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood at Finding Heaven.

Messy Mondays: My New Anthem

In the air of some changes going on in the prairies, I have been lead to get back into regularly posting.  I've done a few different meme's on Mondays.  I tried to do my own Martha's Monday, where I wrote about how I organize my life.  It was fun but once I let everyone know what I do, I had nothing else to write about. 

Last year I participated in Music Mondays.  I also participated a few years ago in a meme called the Sacred in the Ordinary.  These meme's allowed me to look at the small things that God does in my life, whether it was a song or a first tooth.  I find that too many times I'm too busy looking at the big picture.  I'm a visionary.  I see the big things and can plan big things.  It's the little things I either tend to ignore or forget about. There is something sacred in being able to see God in the miniscule and not just in the grandeous.  It's looking through all the messiness that life throws at you and still being able to see Him through it all. 

Every Monday I will be sharing what God has been showing me through the messiness of life.  It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow.  It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy.  It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us.  

Recently I found an anthem to how I long to live my walk with God.  A song that inspires me to push through the messy and focus on what God is calling me to do.  It's also a song that makes me want to crank up the volume in the swaggin wagon and drive around town like a true cool soccer mom.  Ok, maybe it's not that cool, but I have driven around town with this song blaring.  It's infectious and I hope that it inspires you as it inspires me.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness: Taking a Stand


I've let this go on for long enough.  I've been languishing on what to do and when to start.  When I do get ideas, I sit on them and don't do anything further.  Yes, I'm talking about my blog.  It has been sorely ignored and taken for granted.  I notice the difference in my life between when I blogged full time and when I've put it on the back burner.  

This isn't even about followers.  I've never been one to count.  I'm grateful for all who stop by and actually read my rants, confessions, sermons, and other silliness.  This is about me and my ministry and how I've taken advantage of God's love and grace and put Him on the sidelines.  When I blog, I'm inspired by the things I see, read, meditate on or hear - all gifts from Him.  I was really good at blogging this stuff when I was close in relationship and in obedience to God.  I was inspired by everything and it helped that I found memes that encouraged this inspiration.  Then some of the memes stopped.  People changed focus and I didn't think I could continue, at least that's what I told myself.  I became discouraged.  Then I went through a period of depression and attack that I'm still working through.  My blogging took a back bench.  God most of the time took a back bench.  I "allowed" myself to become apathetic and watched the world float by.  NO MORE.

God calls us to be obedient.  He calls us to go when He calls.  He is a God of action.  No lying by and letting the world go by.  So I'm coming up with a plan and doing things I should be doing because He has been whispering it to me.  Lately, I've heard Him yelling at me.  I'm getting scared that He'll just get tired of it and walk away.  I'm done just living.  I want to live.  I want to share what God has been sharing with me.  I hop you will join me on this journey and see what God and I have and will be doing.

Come join in this week and share your randomness this week. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wednesday's Voice - China

House church leader sentenced to labour camp in China
(source: ChinaAid Association)

The deputy chairman of the Chinese House Church Alliance, Pastor Shi Enhao, has been sentenced to two years of "re-education through labour," an extra-judicial punishment that is handed out by police and requires no trial or conviction of a crime. He has been charged with "illegal meetings and illegal organizing of venues for religious meetings." This charge stems from the fact that Pastor Shi's large house church of several thousand members meets in various different sites around the city.

Meanwhile, the police's Domestic Security Protection Department has ordered Pastor Shi's church to stop meeting and has confiscated the congregation's car, musical instruments, choir robes and 140,000 Yuan (approximately $20,900 CAD) in donations.

Please pray the Lord will protect and sustain Pastor Shi, his family and his congregation.

Pray they will keep their eyes on Jesus, persevere in their faith, and not grow weary or lose heart (Hebrews 10:32-39; 12:1-3).

Pray for Pastor Shi's release and, in the meantime, that he will have opportunities to share the gospel in prison.
Friday, August 12, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - They Stink


When I was younger, my favourite bugs bunny character was Pepe Le Peu.  I loved him.  All he wanted was to be loved and find the love of his life.  I felt sorry for him that the closest thing he ever found to a female skunk was a cat with a white stripe.  Was there no one who wanted him for just being him.  Then there was Flower in Bambi.  A cute cuddly skunk.  You just wanted to cuddle with him.  Now that I think back, growing up on Vancouver Island, I had never seen a skunk, nor had I ever smelled one.  That could explain why I thought skunks as a whole were just misunderstood animals.  

My first experience with a skunk was driving the prairie highways.  A pungent odour permeated our vehicle.  I gagged.  I believe I asked "What was that? !"  A skunk.  Really, that stink was  from a skunk.  UGGGGGGGHHH.  How could I continue to love them, when all I wanted to do was stay away from them.  How could something so cute and cuddly looking be so smelly.

If you didn't know what he smelled like, would you want him for a pet?
 Oh, but they are.  I experienced it first hand once.  I was driving a friend home from BSF.  We were listening to a song on a Christmas CD that I wanted to sing as a solo on Christmas Day.  We were just coming in off the highway towards our town and I was jokingly telling her that my hubby would kill me if I ever hit a skunk.  Then all of the sudden on the road was a huge skunk.  I swerved to miss the huge creature, but it sprayed the car.  We smelt it all the way home.  My hubby took the car immediately to a car wash, it did not help.  It took 1 week for the smell to finally go away.  He had to drive the highway with his windows rolled down in November so that he wouldn't pass out from the smell.  He kept saying, and still maintains, that I hit the skunk.  I stick to my story and I have a witness.  

My daughter was 2 1/2 at the time and daddy taught her to tell people that "Mommy hit a skunk."  She still tells people I did this 6 years later.  When she turned 6, I found a skunk Webkinz.  I bought it for her from her brothers.  She immediately named him "Stinky."  He is one of the kids favourite Webkinz and they all fight to play with Stinky.

You may be wondering why I'm writing a post on skunks.  No, I am not getting one as a pet.  No, I didn't hit one.  Earlier this week I had a dream about a skunk spraying my home.  I woke to the dream to the dreaded smell permeating my bedroom from outside.  I rushed to the windows to see if there was indeed one in the backyard.  Luckily for us, no.  It must have been in the park off our backyard and gotten spooked by someone's dog.  I had to close the windows and it was a hot evening.  It took me a while to get back to sleep.  I was glad that when I woke up, the smell was gone;  but I didn't really have a great sleep because of it  Yes, I'm whining, but really.  Who wants to be woken up to by Ode du Skunk.  The only thing they got going for them is they're still cute or I would have to add them to my list of unnecessary animals.  Right up there with mosquitoes.

Share your Caffeinated Randomness today with some great ladies.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - Sometimes You Do Get What You Want, BUT...


Did you guys know that I am a very vain person.  No really.  I am very vain.  It may be because of my trying to live the perfect lifestyle (see Tuesday's blog for more information on that one.)  It may be because I was raised to be colour coordinated and always look good when you go out in public.  I try to go out in my yoga pants and all day dispair of how horrible I look.  I'm not saying that I'm gorgeous.  I would never think that.  In fact that is something I'm reminded of on a daily basis, Satan knows where to attack.  I may be tall, but I am not thin.  

I am going grey early which is a bone of contention with me.  This is due to hereditary.  My grandmother was completely grey at 39 and I'm only have two more years for it to spread.  It's 1/3 there already.  Thankfully, I HAD a great hairdresser who sympathized with me and was slowing working on making me blond.  I hate going in public unless my hair is good.  I've gone out on bad hair days but again, like with the yoga pants fiascoes, I dispair of how horrible I look.  

I finally did something recently that I swore I would never do.  I got artificial nails.  I met another mom through Middleman's preschool.  She did artificial nails.  I was a little cautious, but when I saw how pretty they looked, I had to have them.  I love having a french manicure and know that I had to have permanent looking ones.  They were so pretty at first.  Everyone was impressed.  They were simple, but elegant.  The only draw back was that I had to retrain myself on how to open things and how to type on the keyboard and Blackberry.  If you have artificial nails, you know what I'm talking about.  A few weeks later my nails look weird.  One half was the beautiful fake nail and one half was my real nail showing through.  I had my friend do a fill on me a few weeks before the move.  My nails again looked soooooo pretty.  I told you, I'm vain.

Here's were I started to realize how these nails were going to affect my life.  I had trouble cleaning some areas of the house because of the nails.  I had trouble helping move some of the furniture because of the nails.  It felt like they were going to rip of my fingers when they even bent a little.  I was starting to get irritated with my pretty nails.  

Now because we moved I no longer had a friend to do my nails.  If I went to a salon it was going to cost me a lot to keep up with my pretty nails.  Something I wasn't willing to do.  As well, I really just wanted to be able to do things I used to do with my hands before I got the pretty nails, like open a pop can with out any pain.  Now I'm waiting for my nails to grow.  Lucky for me they grow pretty fast.  I am 1/2 way to being able to grow them out.  In the mean time I have painted the nails a dark burgundy so that you don't immediately see the difference between my real and the artificial nails.  

Last night we had a break through, one of the fake nails came off with a little bit of pain.  I now have one of my real nails again.  I welcomed it back and was so excited.  However, it is my middle finger so I can't really show people the difference.  I'll have to wait until another pulls off.  One is getting close, but it is fighing to cling to my finger so it is a little painful.

The moral of this tale is go with your gut instinct and don't do it because everyone else it doing it.  It may look pretty, but it will be painful and inconvenient in the end.  

Come link up your randomness today.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Inside Out

This is how people see me:

No, really.  I have been told many times by some of my friends that I am one of the most organized people they know.  But as we all found out, not everything about Martha was a "Good Thing".

Before I moved, I had a great conversation with one of my Babes.  We were talking about an acquaintance who had told her that my house was immaculate; never dirty and she didn't know how I did it.  Wow, she should have been there when we were cleaning and moving furniture.  I hate to admit that there were some serious 4 year old dust bunnies hiding under some of the furniture. 

This is really how I look:

ok on the inside....

I have been going through some issues and struggles lately.  I've tried to persevere in faith and I've headed out on my own expeditions.  You can easily guess which one was better.

There have been a lot of changes in our lives, as many of you are aware.  The most obvious being the move and what that entails.  But there has also been the loss of dreams and the awareness of what autism means for our family.  I believe God lead this move to strengthen our family, but sometimes I get into my own pity party where I just question and cry  out "WHY ME!"  I was the one people came to.  I'm  the one they think of as strong.  I'm the one who people see as having it all.  Do you see the problem?

Is it about God or is it about me?  This weekend I was hit with it by our Pastor's sermon on the 7 woes in Matthew 23.  I've been too consumed at what others see of me - my family, my friends, my church, the world.  I've let everyone see my facade, my white washed tombs. (Mt 23: 27-28), but I haven't shown them my authentic self.  I've even tricked myself in believing that God sees the facade.  Unfornately for me, He sees to my heart.  

But there is hope.  Hope for me.  Hope for all.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Matthew 23:37

He still wants us.  He is longing to gather us and care for us.  He wants us to come to Him and let go of all of our facades.  To be messy and authentic with Him.  To humble ourselves to His will and let Him do His good work in us. 

I'm linking up today with some very authentic women at Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood at Finding Heaven.

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Alberta, Canada
I'm a 39 year old (oh yeah I'm telling you my age) Stay at Home mom. A former Bad Girl now reformed sinner, I'm married to my Y2K guy and raising 3 great children from God. Proudly Canadian, however, missing the West Coast, I currently live in the prairies watching the farmers fields produce as I learn how God produces the fruits in me.

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