Thursday, February 28, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Finally, he stood up, reached his hand for the number and so I gave it to him. He crumpled it up and threw it in the garbage can as he asked, "How can I help you?"
I just laughed as I said, "That was pointless."
Arguing, he said, "No ma'am that is how the government keeps track. How may I help you?"
Keep track of what????
I just smiled. Asked my question. Found my form.
Then pushed my way through the crowd to the exit door.
Aren't you so happy that when we have a question for God, we aren't asked to "take a number"? And if anyone had the right to ask us to stand in line and wait, it would be Him.
Glad it's G-O-D and not I-R-S we have to turn to on a daily basis!
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Last week I went shopping and bought 3 pairs of workout pants. Not having the proper clothing has been my excuse for staying immobile. As I've shared before, I'm in First Place which is a weight loss program that is Christ centered. Last week, when I stepped on the scale, it revealed that Lelia had gained 2 pounds. Yes, gained. Or as dictionary.com says... I happened To manage to achieve an increase of.
That was last week and I still haven't made it to the gym. I have worn my pants though and I've thought about going and that in itself made me tired. Am I subconsciously determined to gain another 2 pounds this week or what? The class' weekly goal is to lose 2 pounds a week, not add for goodness sake! Bottom line, is...I can wear these workout clothes, but the weight will not drop until I move my body. I need to walk on the treadmill, lift weights, play basketball with my son, anything. I just need to move. Otherwise, the scale is going to keep going up and I'll be sad and eat.
Same thing in our walk with God. We have to move to grow. We need to be in His Word daily, we need to be listening and talking when we pray, we just need to be learning more about Jesus Christ. Our relationship with God is something we can never allow complacency in. He's just not something to get bored with.
As wearing workout clothes won't make me skinny, neither will just calling myself a Christian. We have to move to be able to be different. No matter what is going on in your life, keep walking with Him. When I used to workout on a regular basis, and I found myself getting bored I would change up my routine. If you're stuck in a "routine" with God, change it up. For example, I could do Beth Moore studies one after the other, but a few months ago I did Max Lucado's study Experiencing the Heart of Jesus and it was incredible. Change it up, just make sure to draw close instead of apart from God.
Like my son Aaron wrote down...
"Draw near to God and he will draw near to me."
Join me this week in making this the prayer of your heart.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
As he was packing his bag I went through the checklist with him ...
About an hour before departure time the youth pastor called us and said Aaron was going to be the only guy going due to some last minute cancellations. The pastor told us that Aaron could invite a friend for free, but the friend he wanted to take was sick. I'm a firm believer that sometimes God arranges our schedule and pencils Himself in. This thought excited me as I pictured God and Aaron having one on One time together with no distractions.
As we pulled into the church parking lot, I told him I'd be praying for him. He smiled and said, "Mom, if I were you...I'd be worried. I'll be the only guy this weekend. I look good, I smell good and I'll be alone in the woods with girls." He laughed as he tried to wink at me. I laughed and slapped him on the back of his head, kissed him goodbye and sent him off. What I saw as a "no distraction weekend", he was viewing as a "no competition weekend".
This morning I got to thinking about and praying for my Aaron. Even though I know he was just teasing me, I thought of how often I do that. God works it out to have me all to Himself and my mind is just not on Him. I wondered...what have I missed out on?
God wants your undivided attention and so when He clears your schedule and writes His name into the empty spaces, don't miss your appointments with your King.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Well, a few weeks I got a new cell phone and the guy tried to transfer all of my contacts for me, but had no success. He told me to try the other store, so I did.
The fresh out of high school, very happy hostess greeted me and asked me if she could help me. Trying to sound equally joyful, I told her what I needed as I handed over both my old and new phones. On my new phone I had only programmed in the numbers of my family, knowing I'd be getting the rest transferred soon. On my old phone I had roughly 140 numbers programmed.
At least three times she repeated which phone she was transferring the numbers from. Big job in the hands of the young hostess. Did I mention she was happy?
A few minutes later, numbers successfully moved over, she returned and handed me my phones. I thanked her and back to her hostess podium she happily went.
I started looking through my contacts on my new phone. All five of them! Okay, maybe the other 135 are still camping out on the old phone. Flip open that one, check the contacts. Five contacts. Wow. Blood pressure rising.
I started to say something when I remembered that Miss Lelia decided to pray for not only patience, but I had decided to pray for my tongue. See, it's very sharp. As a matter of fact, this description I found on the web of a Ginsu knife describes my tongue perfectly: Ginsu Knives are legendary for their ability to cut through just about anything and stay sharp.
Until God sent happy go lucky Sprint girl my way. Oh, how I wanted to tear into this little girl and burst the happy bubble she was enclosed in. Like I said before, she confirmed minimum 3 times which phone she'd be transferring numbers from and to; so I was in a little disbelief when she did it wrong. Had she been distracted by greeting someone else and multi-tasking isn't her strong skill? In her defense, both phones are black. NO, there is just no excuse. All I know is I had no numbers, except for my loved ones. Not a huge crisis at all, but a frustrating moment in Lelia's world.
As I made my way to the nearest exit, the happy Sprint girl noticed me and asked "Is there anything else I can do for you?", as her voice went higher with each word. I just smiled and sweetly responded, "No honey, you've done enough. Thank you." And as I made my great escape, she threw in one for the road..."Have a great night!!"
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
To my granddaughter on her way they'll be whatever she calls them.
Monday, February 18, 2008
I say I want to make changes, but my everyday actions don't see eye to eye with my verbal goals. How then when I stand on the scale, can I be disappointed at the number that glares back at me? Any sane person knows she can't sit on the couch day after day eating ice cream and expect any positive results from her choices. Too see the changes I desire, I have to change the way I do things in my life.
This morning I had an awesome time in God's Word. I'm currently doing the Beth Moore study, The Beloved Disciple. One thing she said this morning was exactly what my heart needed to hear. I've been struggling the last few weeks with having consistency in God's Word and during those dry spells is when I get hit the hardest by the enemy with things from my past. Here's what God had me hear this morning...
Right now I'm in First Place, which is a Bible-based weight loss program that meets weekly. Now, do you think I want to attend my meeting on Thursday nights if I haven't done what I need to do throughout the week? I back off from wanting to go to my meeting because I know the scale is going to tell me the truth.
Same thing in my spiritual life when I'm not in God's Word. When I flirt with the enemy I will back away from reading God's Word because as we know, God is a teller of truth. When we are fooling ourselves the last thing we want is to be told the truth. The times that I choose to be idle instead of exercise and eat nothing but junk, I don't dare ask my husband if I look fat in something, because I've learned that he will sweetly tell me nothing but the stinkin' truth.
My sweet sisters in Christ, may we make the time everyday to dive face first into His Word and breathe in His holiness, soak in Him and allow His Living Word to fill us up. When we seek Him daily, THEN we will begin to see the changes within us that we could've never imagined possible.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
I've been asking God to help me with patience as it's been running as thin as melting ice these last 2 weeks. I'm fully aware that regular doses of strong pain meds, heat, ice or an abundance of his favorite foods has not brought My Man even an ounce of relief from the intense pain he's feeling 24/7. The MRI revealed 3 bad discs, so in March he'll have a procedure then possibly surgery unless God does some healin'!
So, why is it that when I'm trying to cook, clean or write, does his request for a glass of water sound worse than the screeching attempts of a horrible violin player? I took Beth Moore's advice and started to pray for what I lack---patience. In no way do I want My Man to feel like My Burden, because Lord knows, through having babies and a severe sprained ankle, he's had his fair share of playing caretaker to me.
So yesterday, while driving, I'm stopped by a school bus. I start to tap on my steering wheel in frustration as there are no kids exiting the bus. Just waiting and wasting my gas and time. "COME ON kids, hurry up and get off the bus for goodness sakes!" Doesn't this bus driver know I'm a busy woman with things to do? It's freezing outside and I want to get back to my warm house! I don't have time to wait for this bus. I can't believe traffic has to stop for this. HURRY UP!!
That's when I saw who traffic was stopped for. Through my instant tears, I watched a young teenage boy with such a look of determination on his face as he wheeled himself off the bus. I wondered if he was cold as I waited in my warm car as he wheeled up a ramp. I wondered if he noticed the rows of stopped vehicles waiting on him. Was anyone inside to greet him as he opened the front door and rolled over the threshold? All I could do was muster a pathetic apology to God as I was now the one holding up traffic as I watched until the front door closed.
Patience. God will give us what we want, it just may not come to us the way we want. He's not going to just hand it over to us, He wants us to learn it and will be patient with us until we cooperate. If we pray for God to give us patience, we'll find ourselves in a situation that requires us to be patient. As we mature, we'll recognize the moment and eventually sieze it with the right response.
A few hours later, minutes before bedtime I hung a calendar on Alivia's wall. I had bought her the cutest Max Lucado's Hermie calendar earlier that evening. I left the room..
"Mom, why does Lincoln have a birthday?" (We live in Lincoln, Nebraska)
"What are you talking about?"
"My calendar says Lincoln's birthday on it."
"Oh, that's the President Lincoln honey, it's his birthday, not our cities."
I come back into her room, we say prayers, I love you's, kisses, hugs, and a tuck. Then I turn and see the cutest Max Lucado's Hermie calendar hanging on her wall with circles. Five of them. Big and sloppy. In green marker.
"Alivia! Why did you do this? Look how messy your new calendar looks now!"
Untuck, sit up and innocently looks at Mom with no patience...
"I wanted to circle all of the important dates."
I wanted to tell her that she doesn't even know what Ash Wednesday is, but then the young determined boy wheeled across my mind and I just couldn't.
"I love it Alivia, it's beautiful."
I love you's, kisses, hugs, a tuck and away No-Patient Mom goes.
Okay, Lord. I get it!. You're just going to keep pitching to me until I hit the ball, right? Ugggh!
And to think once I get patience down He'll probably want to work on love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness. Maybe He'll let me skip self-control...
Enjoy your new book written by Lysa TerKeurst called "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God". If any of you haven't visited Lysa's blog before, please go now, come back, but go visit her. You'll feel like you've known her forever as God has blessed her with the gift of making any sister from any walk of life feel comfortable. You'll laugh, sometimes cry and any desire you have to know Jesus will increase after spending time with her, for she is one contagious woman of God!
So, congratulations Emily on being the winner of my 1st bloggy giveaway! Send me your e-mail so I can get you Lysa's book, the hand lotion and the Lip Appeal sooner than later.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
What woman in her 30's wouldn't want to smell like that? I could hear my friends...
Okay, for Valentine's Day I am having a give away!
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
In 2004, I was listening to a program on Family Life that her husband Raymond was on talking about a book he had just written called "Changing for Good". It sounded like something I needed in my life so I ordered it that day. A few days later I went and picked it up at the bookstore and literally, couldn't put it down. I was working the night shift that week watching over a man in the hospital, so while he slept I read for a few hours. I started reading it Monday night and by Thursday night I was finished. (This is a book I HIGHLY recommend.)
That Friday night my husband and I attended our first Family Life Weekend to Remember conference. I was flipping through the program book looking at the bios of who our speakers were for the weekend and couldn't believe it when I saw the names Raymond and Donna Causey. I had just read this guys' book after listening to him on the radio and now I was going to hear him and his wife speak for 2 days! Little did I know what God had in store for me.
Turned out that Raymond had a conflict in his schedule and couldn't make it, but his wife Donna was able to keep her commitment. She spoke to the woman on Sunday morning and I'll never forget meeting her afterwards. I introduced myself and I said, "I just finished reading your husband's book." Suddenly my head lowered so quickly in shame that my chin was resting on my chest. The tears started to flow as I shared my why of reading her husband's book and what I desired about me to "change for good".
She took my hands in hers and said, "We need to talk. Come find me after the conference." As I looked up, I saw so much sincerity in her eyes that after the conference I went to the back where she was. We sat and talked for over an hour while my husband took a siesta on a couch in the lounge. We talked like we were old girlfriends catching up. I poured out my heart for the first time to anyone and she listened. We laughed, cried, hugged and prayed. Just like women of God do. Since that spring day in '04 we have been listening, laughing, crying and praying with and over one another via phone and e-mail.
We've not seen each other since the day we met, but we have formed a close friendship that will last forever. Just the other day we talked for awhile and rejoiced at the changes going on in both of our eldest daughter's lives. Her daughter Kimya is getting ready to be married the end of this month and my daughter Alyssa is due to have my granddaughter this April. New beginnings that we are both trusting God with.
Just the other day Donna said, "You know, I believe that God didn't have Raymond at that conference for a reason because I think you would have just talked to him about the book and our friendship would have never happened. I believe that."
Me too. God knew we needed to form this friendship and made the path clear for me to approach her and made her so approachable.
One of the many things I love about Donna is she is about as real as they come. She is a woman of God that will listen to what He wants her to tell me and then just tells it to me like it is. I just e-mailed her after we hung up the phone the and I told her...
"I love that God always gives you what to say to me because you always hit the nail right on the head. BUT sometimes, when my flesh doesn't feel like hearing the "truth", I wish you'd just miss hitting the head of the nail and smash your thumb!"
When we were talking on the phone she asked me about a certain area of temptation in my life that pops up out of no where at times. I told her I was having a tough time and she asked if I knew what triggered it. I told her in all honesty that when my face isn't buried in God's Word, I can expect a full blown attack. What she said to me next was so incredible...
"When we do not fill ourselves up with God's Word then we are starving ourselves and when we're hungry, we'll eat anything. We would rather sit in a corner and eat a dead rat and drink poison than starve. We HAVE to be in the Word daily and let God fill us up and satisfy our hunger."
I have no idea what you're going through in your life, but don't starve yourself of being in God's Word on a daily basis. Read it, cry over it, memorize it, sing it, shout it, love it, speak it, share it and let it fill your heart to the fullest. Don't find yourself like I did this week sitting in the corner feasting on a dead rat. His Word is alive and meant just for you today. Get in it and see if you aren't changed by Him. He is crazy in love with you and whether you're married, divorced or single He wants to be your everything. He wants to be your year-round Valentine.
When temptation hits you...get in His Word.
When you don't like your spouse much...get in His Word.
When you can't pay the bills....get in His Word.
When you're so lonely...get in His Word.
When you're young kids are misbehaving...get in His Word.
When your teenagers are impossible...get in His Word.
When you're feeling depressed...get in His Word.
When you feel disorganized...get in His Word.
When you feel like you don't need to read the Bible...get in His Word
The great I AM is just waiting for you to get in His Word
so He can get in your heart.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Much more than what I thought until the other night. I was with our 13 yr old son, Aaron & Miss Alivia, who is 6. As I pulled into Pizza Hut's parking lot, out of the blue, Alivia informed us that she was NOT going to have a baby. As Aaron was exiting the car to go get our healthy dinner, he non-chalantly said, "Livvy, you don't even know where babies come from."
Alone with her, she confidently responded to her big brother through the glass of her window seat, "Oh yes, I do."
So, I asked her "Really, from where?"
"OH, I am NOT telling you."
Arms folded, she sat in the back seat looking out her window watching Aaron wait for the pizza.
"You can tell me Liv. Where do you think babies come from?"
Giggling, she then starts to point to her private parts.
Then in a serious tone, as if we were talking woman-to-woman she says...
"But I'd much rather purrfer to have a baby that way then have my tummy cut open."
I just nodded as I thought, always good to know these things ahead of time. Way ahead of time.
Okey dokey...guess I better monitor what Alyssa & I talk about a little better than what we
I can only imagine what she's taught her friends at school during recess.
Who knows what the 1st grade girls are "purrfering" now adays.
Friday, February 8, 2008
So, Saturday night you will find me along with my fellow teammates from 20+ years ago in the gym at Lincoln Christian School getting applauded by current LCS parents and students for our accomplishment. It's so nice, but at the same time if they knew what was put into earning that trophy, they'd throw us a full blown weekend of festivities...parade and all!
Even though we had put many hours in the gym together, my teammates & I have gone our separate ways. I still correspond with a few of them, but I'm close to just one teammate out of ten. Even 20 years later, the relationship I have with Sheryl has changed. When we talk now our conversation is still about boys, but it's about her 4 sons and my one. We still talk about other girls, but it's about my 2 daughters and one granddaughter on the way. Things have changed between us for the better. I am so thankful that God never keeps us where we are in relationship with Him too.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
With a hint of disgust in her voice she said, "No they didn't clap or cheer or nothing." I started laughing at the visual of her friends actually doing that. "Do they normally do that when you walk into the class room?" I asked her.
"No, what I mean is that they didn't leap for joy."
I probed no more, for clearly she was disappointed at her fellow classmates lack of enthusiasm at the sight of her.
One thing I adore about God is what it says about Him in Psalm 118. Verse 1 says, his love endures forever and then again at the end of the chapter the last line of verse 29 reminds us of how his love endures forever.
To me that's so sweet to know that if we wander away from underneath God's shelter & try to live life on our own that when we finally can't stand the pit of misery and come back to our senses, the angels join our Savior in clapping, cheering & I would assume He even leaps for joy at the sight of us.
In Luke 15 when the prodigal son returned home, his father threw a party; no a huge celebration. He provided the best of the best to rejoice that his son was back home. I heard a speaker ask "why did the psalmist start & finish Psalm 118 with his love endures forever?" Her answer: because he knew if anyone could exhaust the love of God it was him, and he couldn't because of the King's enduring love.
When I look back at my walk, I'm sad at the many times I've turned my back on God, but I am more thankful that I have a Father who celebrates me when I collapse into His awaiting arms exhausted from the ways of the world. A Father who claps, cheers & leaps for joy when I call on His name. I am thankful, yet undeserving of His enduring love, but I can't imagine not having it.
Thank You Jesus for welcoming us with everlasting, unconditional love when we walk into your arms full of grace & mercy. Thank You for celebrating us.
Maybe Mrs. Anderson's 1st grade welcoming comittee needs a lesson on showin' some lastin' love! Lol...
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Monday, February 4, 2008
So, I prayed about it and early Friday morning I told the kids to pack their bags because they were gonna hit the road. My hesitation was out of protecting my parents' sanity. See, Mom & Dad's ministry is foster care. They currently have three siblings in their care-7 year old Alicia, 4 year old Joe and 2 month old Maddie.
Everytime I thought of how much I'd accomplish in my kid-free weekend, I would get a vision of Mom & Dad driving down the highway for 5 hours outnumbered by kids. Two little girls who both like to be "the boss", a 4 yr old boy who loves the challenge of seeing what Grandma won't notice in her rear view mirror, a newborn who sleeps during the day and is cholic at night and a 13 yr old man-child who doesn't like any of the kids I just mentioned.
So Friday morning I had our 18 yr old daughter, Alyssa take the younger kids to Grandma & Grandpa's for me so I wouldn't have to feel guilty watching my folks try to pack 5 children plus their baggage into the SUV. Kisses planted, hugs squeezed and many I love you's spoken in my driveway and off to work I went...guilt-free.
I got excited throughout my day when my to-do list ran through my head. Instead of basketball games, breaking up sibling fights and being a taxi cab for my son, I would be painting the basement, moving furniture, cleaning, doing laundry, catching a movie with my sister and just relaxing. So much to do in so little time. I stayed at work late Friday night since I had no kids to pick up from school and my husband Gene would be at his part time job late into the night. My oldest daughter Alyssa was at a basketball game and hanging out with friends afterwards so the night was all mine.
So what's a girl to do? I decided a movie and some ice cream that I like would be my first adventure. No Cookies 'N Cream this time; I was going to pick out the ice cream I wanted without hearing "that's gross" about my choice. So I stood in the ice cream aisle at Sun Mart trying to make my decision. What happened to just chocolate and vanilla? Peanut Butter Panic, Chunky Monkey, Bunny Tracks, Cappucino Fudge Blitz....then came the loss of vision.
Yes, tear filled eyes in the middle of the ice cream aisle. Suddenly I realized I was going home to an empty house. Could it be that I missed my kids already?? It was such a weird feeling. Oh this is ridiculous! Just pick out a flavor my mind screamed at me!
As I quickly re-grouped and tried to pick out some comfort food I saw the faces of all of my new friends in the weight loss program I just started called First Place. The faces I would have to be accountable to on Thursday and explain my weight gain to. Would they understand I was going to celebrate but then got overwhelmed with sad feelings because I missed my kids and my husband wasn't going to be home to console me? Sure they will, I thought as I quickly grabbed a cold carton of Starbucks Java Chip.
I started walking away and guilt got the best of me. Being aware that my actions have been caught on tape and the security guard probably thinks he's watching an episode of Guiding Light, I returned the ice cream back to its freezer shelf. I quickly wiped my tears and went and found a much better choice to indulge in. I chose Double Chocolate sugar-free pudding to drown my sorrows in. My First Place girlfriends will be so proud of my strong will!
As I pulled in the driveway and looked at my dark, lifeless house I drug my sad self up to the front door when suddenly I realized, my son's dog is awaiting a human face to lick! I couldn't open the door fast enough as I dramatically dropped my purse and the pudding and started yelling, "KANE, KANE! I'M HOME!!" as I ran to find him. (Note to self: tell the First Place girls you exercised before snacking.)
Clearly confused over my excitement to see him the equally excited canine peed all over my wood floors as I let him lick my face. Being aware that Kane probably just finished licking his private parts, I didn't even care as I was so desperate for his love. After I cleaned up the pee, took a shower, scrubbed my face and put on some comfy pj's I grabbed my pudding & parked myself on the couch to watch TV. No Hannah Montana or sports tonight...Lifetime channel instead. I even got a little crazy and flipped the channel to the Home and Garden channel!
I still missed the kids, but I accomplished so much this weekend. With my hubby working, Saturday I began to to check off my projects one by one. I even spent some much needed time with my sister Michelle. We stole my Dad's new Toyota Trunda for the day as we rode in style to a small town and hit all the ma & pa shops on main street. Back home, I cooked her a pasta dinner and we laughed together at the movie 27 Dresses that night.
So, that was my kid-free weekend. Mom and Dad returned the children with sanity intact, and a thumbs up for behavior. At my First Place meeting this Thursday I will tell them how I made the better choice of sugar-free pudding over ice cream and not tell them how I ate all 6 little cartons before hubby got home. As Grandma would say, Heavens to Betsy!
God punished me though for my glutton act as I endured a sleepless night thanks to the Double Chocolate diarrhea I had. So mark this in your mental file of what not to do when you're sad ..."Don't eat 6 cartons of sugar free pudding in 30 minutes" or you'll sit on the toilet as Lionel Ritchie says ALL NIGHT LONG!
*2/5/08: Check out a post I just read by Debbie at Chocolate and Coffee titled "Junk Food Produces Weak Christians". VERY GOOD word! Thanks Debbie!