Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Novel

I've always wanted to write a novel.  When I was 17 I even dug out the old typewriter and started typing.  I didn't get past the first paragraph.  It wasn't that I lacked a vivid imagination, it was that I lacked the words to express that imagination.  I didn't know where to begin.  How to start.  I also admittedly at that time lacked patience to sit there and focus on writing.  Now you may say that was because I was 17, however, its something I still struggle with.  I have many studies where I started them and have never finished them.  I'm a Martha and have to be doing rather than sitting.
Last week at Babes, one of the questions posed by Beth Moore in the study guide of  David - Seeking a Heart Like His, was: 
Imagine a book recording the history between you and God - things you have been through together, seasons you've experienced.  You don't have to know Him long to have some kind of history with God.  What would be the title of the book?  List the name of five chapters. Moore, Beth. "A Great Celebration." David: Seeking a Heart like His. Nashville, TN: LifeWay, 2010. Print. 
I loved this question.  It spoke to my imagination.  My writing juices started flowing (ok, raging).  I immediately started thinking of songs that I love or have loved about love and relationship.  About longing and lost.  About hope and despair.  These songs, though many reflecting about eros love, reflected my love of God.  My relationship with God.  My longing for Him.  My running from Him.  My embracing Him.  I have always expressed myself in song through my life.  Music is often the mode of expression that I use to praise God.  I've used it in prayer, in worship, and in teaching.   While reflecting more on the question, my "book" started taking a  life of it's own, just as my relationship with God did.
My title would be "After All."  My relationship with God has been a continual dance with God.  On again and off again.  I was first introduced to God formally as a child when my family moved to a small isolated military base.  My mother decided that we should all go to Cathecism at the local Catholic church, although we never went to Church.  In the turmoil of the my mother's marriage to her second husband this actually was a blessing.  It introduced me to the peace and sanctuary that God provides.  I would go to church and sit with my friend's family.  I actually often beat the Priest to Church.  Now reflecting on this, I wonder what He thought of this little girl.  I wonder if he ever wondered what would lead me to church that early on a Sunday morning so enthusiastically.  I loved being part of this community.  It was embracing.  It was joyful.  It was a great introduction to God.  After a year and a half of living in the tumultuous household I was living in, I returned to living with my grandparents who did not attend church at all.  

Therefore that would be the beginning of the first chapter "The Continual Meet and Greet" (I couldn't find a song to express this).  When I moved back with my mother a few years later, again I found sanctuary in the Church.  However, this congregation was not as uplifting of me as I needed.  When I think back, I think this is where I experienced the hypocrisy of the Church body - the bench warmers, the judgers, the know it alls.  This was the beginning of my teen years, which are so formative and of which I could have used God's truth, love and grace to get me through.  The Church failed and I floated away.....
When I was in my mid twenties I met my husband, who was a Chrstian and attended Church.  This lead to my "Formal Introduction" to God.  I started attending church with my husband and his family.  I even attended a Franklin Graham Crusade.  I still wasn't ready to accept, but I was open to hearing more.  
My next chapter would be called "Getting to Know You".  Can't you just hear Deborah Kerr singing in the back of your head to all the children of the Siamese king in the King and I.  It was like that.  I was getting to know about God through Alpha.  I had left Christianity and looked in other places, specifically Wicca.  I was as you can say "Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places."  I know I need to stop.  I tried to fill the emptiness of my heart with sex, alcohol and wrong beliefs.  The me was more important.  Through Alpha, I learned about God and His love and ultimate sacrifice for me.  I learned that I was loved and forgiven no matter what I had done.  That I was recreated.  I was clothed in new clothes.  The more I got to know about God the closer I wanted to be with Him.  It was at that time that I accepted Him as my Father.

However, once the honeymoon period was over, I started to float in my faith.  I tried to do it on my own.  I wanted to be in control.  I was "On My Own."  I ran ahead of God.  I didn't follow where He wanted to lead me.  I wanted everything promised the easy way.  As many of you know there is no easy way.  There is only His way in His time.  So I floated.  I did do some studies, but it was not a time of deep relationship with Him.  God was kept at an arms length not within me.  

I finally came to place where I had to admit that I needed God way more than He ever needed me.  I had to acknowledge that I needed to immerse myself in His word so that He could teach me where I should be go.  I had to allow Him to take the lead.  I was finally back where I belonged, "Back in His (Baby's) Arms" (I know cheesy song).  I was home.  I was with my Father and He wanted me there.  Not that I haven't strayed or tried to play out in the world, but He is always quick to draw me back in.  

I know my book isn't finished yet.  There is still a lot to learn and God continues to lead me to places where I'm not comfortable.  However, He doesn't just drop me there without any supplies or help.  He is there with me, through all my joy, through all my pain, through sunshine and pain......did you think I wouldn't end with a song. 

What book are you and God writing together?  What songs are the two of you singing together?

I am joining in with Jen at Finding Heaven for Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood.
Friday, February 18, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

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I want to first apologize to all of you.  Last week you all lovingly linked up your randomness.  I had plans on reading the blogs during the weekend and comment on each of them.  Sadly I didn't.  When I finally found the time, linky was being upgraded.  So I did not get a chance to read your blogs.  However, thank you all for linking up faithfully.  It is a joy to see all your smiling faces each week and to read your words.  Many times they are a blessing to me more than you know.   

I'm sitting here writing this and listening to David Bowie's Changes.  I think this will be my theme song for the next few months.  Cindy at She Sparkles wrote about her theme song, so I'm claiming this as my song.  


I love the lines :   Turn and face the strange // Just gonna have to be a different man.  They apply to my life.  Last year at this time if you had told me that my son was autistic, I would have fought you on it.  If you had told me that I would be making appointments with autism services to get him assistance, I would have told you you were crazy.  If you had told me that my little guy was anything less than perfect, then I would have taken you out back and well all you momma bears know what I'm talking about.  But these are things that I have had to realize and had to process these last few months.  It's a lot to take.  The little boy that I had so many dreams and plans for is not the little man that I  have.  Not that I don't have dreams and plans for him, just new plans.  I have had to look at things differently than I did a year ago.  

There have been many glimpses of hope these last two months as well as glimpses of defeat.  We have an assessment date which I have embraced and rejoiced for.  Answers to questions are coming.  I know there will be many more questions, but there will be direction for them.  We've also begun to start the battles.  Which organization will be assisting us.  Yes, we can decide that our son isn't ready for kindergarten.  As I said, it's the beginning of the battle. 

We know what we want for our son and we're willing to fight for it.  The middleman deserves everything possible.  He deserves the best that we can get him.  In that, our family is making a huge life decision.  We have decided to move back to where we moved from.  The province we originally came from has some of the best funding for autism.  The city we are looking at has so many services and support groups compared to one in the city we are living by.  

This is a hard decision.  It is not one we have taken lightly.  We have made many dear friends in our little town.  I will miss my Babes who have lifted me up in prayer, strength and faith when I needed it and while I still need it.  I will miss my little town who has given me such peace.  We are also separating Nic from her friends that she has grown up with for the last 4 years.  This decision has been hard.  But I know it's the decision that we have had to make and that God has lead us to.  There have been too many coincidences and I don't believe in coincidences.  I believe they are things that God shows us where He wants to lead us. 

God has been working within me these last few years.  Teaching me to rely on His strength alone through difficulties and trials.  Guiding me along paths that I did not want to go, but knew I had to take.  Leading me to where He needed me to be.  He has been changing me these last 4 years and I am a different (wo)man.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

3 in 30 Check In - Week 3 - February 2011


Hi everyone.  I am alive.  These last two weeks have been busy and things have been changing here in the Prairies, but more about that tomorrow with Caffeinated Randomness.  

A reminder of my goals :
Goal #1 - No yelling.  I started off really well.  Then this last week I've been yelling again.  Most of the time at the baby to get off the table and get out of the toilet and get out of the....you get my meaning.  Having a toddler sometimes makes it difficult NOT to yell and after I've yelled at him, I've been noticing then I'm yelling at everyone.  This week, however, I plan to get back on track.  I have noticed a change  in the house when I wasn't yelling with the other children and when I do yell.  They seem more scattered and ignore me.  When I wasn't yelling, they were listening and attentive and we could actually have conversations.  This is important to me.  I don't want my children to remember their childhoods living with a banshee.  As well, I don't want to support their yelling at each other. 

Goal #2 - Scrapbook 1 Hour/Week - This has completely failed.  I've partially finished my Executive Homemaking Binder and Thomas's Doctor's Binder.  I have a layout ready for a page for Nic's book.  I know there have been times this last week where I wasted time watching TV on the internet.  I'm realizing that if I want to get serious about this I'm going to have to start actually prioritizing a time to do it.  Similar to my treadmilling time (don't even ask me about that this week).  I did discover Picnik though last week and am starting to realize the benefits of digital scrapbooking. 

Goal #3 - Organize Kitchen Cupboards - I've actually been doing this.  I've finished 5 cupboards so far.  In fact, last week my chore chart from Motivated Mom had clean and organize pantry on the list for Wednesday.  This was the cupboard I was actually scared to start.   I decided to just start and get it over and done with.  It wasn't going to clean itself.  I pulled everything off shelf by shelf and threw out all expired food and 1/2 opened packages.  Now I have a nice organized pantry.  I've actually kept it that way more than a week.  I think that could be a record.  I now just have to face the plastic cupboard, but I do have a plan.  If it doesn't have a lid to match or if the reverse is true (container to lid), then it is going.  

This week I've been in a little fog.  I'm putting it off to the February doldrums.  It's been up and down weather wise.  Just when I think spring is coming, then winter blows in - yet again.  I have actually put off doing a lot of things and have been coasting in life.  I've noticed it.  My family has noticed it.  But today I read in my David study the following quote: 
He wants us to serve Him and honor Him because we want to.  Because it pleases us.  Because we chose to.  (Moore, Beth. "Serve Him With a Willing Spirit." David: Seeking a Heart Like His. Nashville, TN: LifeWay, 2010. Print.)
I need to stop floating.  I need to get out of the fog that is currently invading my home.  I need to reach out to God and start doing.  Start serving Him in my home in everything I do.  Even by picking up the toys in my basement without griping and grumbling and nagging, I'm choosing to serve Him.  Willingly.  Joyfully.  

I know many of us are struggling with our goals.  When I read your struggles I remember my word for the year.  Persevere.  Persevere in all you do.  Persevere even when your little one is wiping his muggy hands on your TV.  Persevere, even when you just want to wallow in self defeatism.  Persevere and remember, it's not about you.  It's all about Him!


PS:  I know many of you are wondering if you can still join 3 in 30.  Of course you can.  Go to AP Freewriting 101 and join in the 3 in 30 fun.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday's Voice - Ethiopia

Ethiopian Muslims warn Christians to convert, leave city or face death
(Source: International Christian Concern)

Christians in the Ethiopian city of Besheno are being harassed and physically abused after Muslims posted notices on the doors of Christian homes, warning them to convert, leave the city or face death. Three Christian leaders were forced to flee the city and two Christians have been forced to convert to Islam. In the Muslim-majority city, the entire evangelical Christian community consists of about 30 believers.

Evangelist Kassa Awano remains in critical condition after Muslims attacked him on November 29, 2010. A few days after the attack, nearly 100 Muslims surrounded a vehicle carrying Christian leaders on their way to negotiate for peace with Muslim leaders. Two men, Tesema Hirego and Niggusie Denano, were seriously wounded, and the other leaders suffered minor injuries. On January 2, Muslims assaulted Temesgen Peteros with a knife after he testified about the attacks on these Christians in court.

Christians in Besheno have been targeted by Muslims for many years. Unfortunately, the local Muslim officials of the city refuse to protect the Christians. The officials ignore their appeals for justice, declining repeated requests for the building of a place of worship and a cemetery.

Pray for the healing of the Ethiopian Christian leaders who have suffered for their faith in Him.

Pray that the Lord would make them strong to lovingly and boldly proclaim the gospel.

Pray that the persecutors will know Christ's love, forgiveness and blessing through the lives of the Christians.
Friday, February 11, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - I'm Up

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It's 6 am and I'm up.

Really. Can you imagine this night owl up?  I love the nightlife.  My tv shows are on.  My kids go to bed early (while not last night), so I can spend time with my husband in the evenings.  I can have friends over for a home party and still be able to clean up before bed.  I can get at the computer with little obstacles.  I love the nightlife.

Mornings are hard.  I'm woken abruptly by either my 21 mos old crying or playing his crib piano or by the annoying alarm on my Blackberry, which actually starts off nice and them explodes in some sound that should be at a nuclear power plant during a meltdown, not my home.  Then I have to wait for the coffee to brew (if I remembered to get it ready) or I microwave  yesterday's dregs and drink that (Yes, desperation calls for desperate measures).  Then I go down and get the 21 mos old settled, read some blogs or my current novel, maybe exercise or just veg in front of the extra tv.  During the week I get start getting Nic ready for school by 7:30 am and feed everyone breakfast.  On the weekends, sometimes I can actually sneak some extra sleep in before I get up and make everyone pancakes.

This is how my mornings used to be until January 28, 2011 when I read this.  I had already heard about Maximize your Mornings a few months before and in fact downloaded the book and perused it, but determined that it wasn't for me.  I even wrote about  how I wasn't one of those people who get early.  Then the baby started getting up between 5:30 am and 6 am.  I decided it was a God thing.  I decided to start using the morning time for prayer time.  It felt good to have that time alone with God.  Honesty though, this time still wasn't a regular time set out.  It was not intentional.  There were still many days that I wanted to do nothing, to sit in my morning mental wasteland.  

In January, when I started reading through my Bible in the 90 Day Challenge, I started to use that morning time to get my reading done.  I still struggled with time though.  Sometimes I got it done, more often or not I didn't.  Michelle's posts and Kat's book made me realize that I needed to intentionally set time out for God.  To actually get up and spend time in worship and prayer with Him.  Now that we're in the Psalms in the 90 Day challenge, I'm praying through them during that time.  I even have time to work through my David study I'm doing with the Babes.  

This time has become precious to me (I know it's only been two weeks).  Is it hard for this night owl to get up?  YES!  I'm not going to lie.  It's still a struggle and I still suffer from the morning mental wasteland, but I'm willing to sacrifice this time to spend time with God, which really shouldn't be a sacrifice anyway.  He has been teaching me many things during this time.  This week I even realized that I need to be more scheduled in how I spend this time so that I'm less distracted by things that beep at me (Oh, how I love my new blackberry).  I know some people would advocate that maybe I should go to bed early to make it easier to get up, but really, I'm still a night owl and there's always coffee!

PS:  Do you ever realize how when you kids are up late the night before that they are up earlier the next day?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday's Voice - Sudan

South Sudan secession nearly certain; continue to pray
(Sources: Zenit, Christianity Today)

The peaceful voting process of a historic referendum on Southern Sudan's secession from the North     came to an end on January 15. Early numbers of the vote indicate that the country may soon be divided, and Christians around the world continue to call for prayer for the nation and its people. Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of Tombura-Yambio, in the southern region of Sudan, says his people have strong "expectations of change for the better" and urged continued prayers worldwide for "permanent peace in Sudan." Many Christians have reportedly left the North and capital city of Khartoum for the South out of fear that President Bashir's regime will shift toward "radical Islamization" in the wake of the referendum.

Thank the Lord for a peaceful voting process.

Pray for the shalom of God to reign throughout Sudan.

Pray Sudanese Christians will continue to courageously proclaim Christ's way of compassion and love, even to those who seek to oppress them.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011

ME

Last week I received an e-mail from Tiffani from House of Belonging. Every week she hosts the meme Word Women Wednesday's. She challenged us in the e-mail to create art using words about a day of our lives. I've never participated in this meme but this challenge intrigued me. I started with a blank slate and started typing words and placing them in different fonts and different type sizes. There was no rhyme or reason. Just words. Words of how I see myself in a day. Words of how I expect the world sees me. Words of who I am in the world.

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After I completed the challenge I was excited.  I loved the work that I completed.  I loved how it looked.  I laughed at some of the words I would use to describe me and my day.  However, the more I thought of this the more I heard Him telling me that this is how I see myself.  This is how the world sees me.  But this isn't how He sees me. 
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1-2 NIV)
It's easy to focus on things about ourselves.  It's so easy to pay attention to how the world sees us.  It's easy to believe the lies instead of the truth.  We each have been raised, redeemed, set free on the cross.  Yet we continue to look around.  We continue to try to "conform to the world."  Mom, wife, sister, daughter, resident pot scrubber....this is the world view.  This is also the lie.  Because we aren't only these things, we are so much more.
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11 NIV
Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said: “Who am I, Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?  2 Samuel 7:18 NIV
Who am I?  This is a question both Moses and David asked God.  This is the eternal question we all ask.  Who am I?  Am I really only how the world views me.  Am I really only how I view myself?  Then I hear His answer to the eternal question.

I am His.  He created me.  He bought and paid for me with the ultimate sacrifice.  Why?  
For God so loved the world that He gave  His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16 NIV
He loved me, just because I am His.  Not because of who I am; what I do or do not do.  Just because I am His.  The world may tell me things about myself, but at the end of the day there is only one truth that I need to remember:  I am   


I'm linking up with Jen at Finding Heaven for the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood;




iFellowship at Seeds of Faith;

 iFellowship

and Tiffani at the House of Belonging for Word Women Wednesday,
Friday, February 4, 2011

3 in 30 - February Week 1 Check In


I'm writing this on the fly so that I don't miss the link up for 3 in 30.  

I started this week by writing my 30 in 30 Goals on my whiteboard.  I have it placed by my kitchen sink so that I am reminded of them.   This is espcially beneficial for my No Yelling goal.

My bloggy friend Jen at Finding Heaven  participated in a 30 day Challenge and deemed it No Yelling Month at her house for the month of January.  I was inspired to try it in my own home, especially after my daughter "screeched" at her brother to come play with her even though he was 1 foot away from her.  My husband actually thought I would break by 6:42 am Monday morning, since I get up at 6 am.   I have gone all week and have only had to raise my voice a few times so that a certain group of preschool boys could hear me.  I've been reminding my children when they yell that we are not yelling anymore.  I am finding my life more peaceful and the children have appreciated it as well.

I finished some Valentine Days cards for the middle man this week and plan on making some organizational binders this weekend.  I will take pictures of them after I've finished them.  So far I'm quite pleased with this.  I know it's not the scrapbooking I origninally imagined, but it is still very satisfying.  

I have started to organize my kitchen cabinets.  I started by moving my toaster oven where I kept my cookbooks and moving my cookbooks where I kept our medicine.  This meant that I had to organize our medicine cabinet.  I should have taken a before picture, but it would have been embarassing.  The after picture will have to do.  


I'm hoping to attack another cabinet this weekend.  I'll keep you posted.



Caffeinated Randomness - I'm feeling better

Sorry for the late posting.  I was sick with the stomach flu yesterday and have just managed to get out of bed.  I just wanted to make sure there was a link up for all you lovely ladies.  I will probably try to post something more later today. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wednesday's Voice - Somalia

Somali Christian killed (Source: Compass Direct)

A mother of four was recently killed by Islamic militants in a village on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia. On the morning of January 6, Islamic militants belonging to the insurgent group al-Shabaab arrested Asha Mberwa, 36, outside her home in Warbhigly village. According to one of her relatives, Asha was killed the next evening when the militants cut her throat in front of local people. Asha had reportedly been receiving threatening messages after al-Shabaab members monitored her phone conversations with a relative. One of her relatives had phoned her on January 5 to make arrangements for moving her family out of the area for their safety. Al-Shabaab militants were reportedly able to monitor the conversation and confirm that Asha had become a Christian.

Asha leaves behind four children -- ages 12, 8, 6 and 4 -- and her husband, Abdinazir Mohammed Hassan. Asha's relatives said that, at last report, Abdinazir had fled to an unknown location and a "good Samaritan" in Mogadishu was caring for the four traumatized children, who "continue to weep and cry out for their mother."

Pray that all those in mourning for Asha will find peace in the everlasting love of the Lord.

Pray for comfort and provision for her children.

Pray for endurance of faith and boldness of witness for Somali Christians in an environment of severe persecution. Ask God to work in the hearts of those oppressing Christians in Somalia, convicting them of their unjust ways and drawing them into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Up, Down, Up, Out!

I was recently at a meeting where we were talking about worship.  One of the members of our worship team spoke about how she enjoyed practices more than actually Sunday worship as it was freer and Spirit filled.  Some others on the worship team agreed.  They actually stated that on Sunday's it felt like "a wall" between them and the congregation.  That corporate worship seemed to be "stagnant" (my words, not theirs).  There was no feeling, no connection.  At our church, we have a large senior contingent and our worship team is college and career age.  They have opposite expectations of worship, even opposite expectations of songs to sing. 

This isn't the first time I've heard people talk about this "wall" or even that  they "didn't really feel the worship today."    I remember when I was in BSF a few years ago and our teaching leader was speaking about our relationship with God.  She started talking about focusing our hearts up then  and only then can we focus out.  I think this applies for worship as well, we tend to focus out, but not up.  I think that's when the wall appears.  That's when we start focusing on how others are viewing us - am I on key, should I clap now, should I lift my hands, why is that person kneeling.  When we focus up, we focus on God.  We give Him all the glory and praise that He only deserves.  We give Him us - whether we're just standing there; sitting there; or raising our hands in praise. 

I think what confuses people about worship is how we give Him praise.  We all have OUR OWN expectations of what we view worship as -  hymns, praise music, dancing, clapping, opening our hymnals, etc...  These are OUR expectations.  God doesn't call any of us to these things.  He just wants our open and honest praise.    He wants us to focus on Him not on each other during worship.  He wants us to honour  Him with our voices and praise, no matter the music style. 

If you are feeling this "wall" when you worship, focus up, not out.  Worship isn't about a feeling.   It's not about us.  It's about God. 

 Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
   Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
   and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
   not one of them is missing. 
Isaiah 40:26 NIV

I'm linking up with Jen at Finding Heaven for the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood.  Come check out these lovely sisters in Christ.

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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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