Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Time Out

There are times, I'm sadly realizing only now in my late 20's, that I find myself spinning out of control ...or into some hidden, vast resevoir of anger, bitterness, and maliciousness. While I know that I've seemingly always been tempremental and battling with anger, I reached a point very recently that gripped me even stronger than those tendancies -long enough to sober me to the importance of actually defeating & overcoming this "demon" I've called "a temper" for so many years. I hate that one of my biggest faults brought me face-to-face with one of my worst fears.
I am searching out ways to begin the final war upon my "demon" called Temper. It will be a war because I have fed it, excused it, ignored it, pardoned it, fostered & exercised it for at least 2 decades now. But my marriage, family, and relationship with God are truly "on the line" here.

Friday, November 18, 2011


I love it when I get the writing/brainstorming/planning urge. ^_^ It also greatly helps when I actually have a computer to record it. ~_^ That being said, I took close to 3 hrs. yesterday, creating a document I'm calling "MOTIVATIONS" It is a compilation of all the things I'd like to do for each member of this family. I broke it down by cost, estimated time, supplies, ect.  I was quite thrilled to see it all on paper! The unexpected benefit of doing this made me realize how much TIME it would take to do them all. I've been doing pretty good at keeping up my new house, our children, and being a wife... but I realized that it could quickly become nothing more than routine with nothing else to look forward to than grocery shopping, cleaning up messes, waiting for the newest movie to come out, or next family vacation time.
The next step of my "MOTIVATIONS" list is to total all the costs and time. I also need to do some "time tests" of the normal, day-to-day, week-to-week tasks. After which, I'll have to do the math of what is actually feasible from week-to-week. I called it "MOTIVATIONS" simply because I need the motivation to keep finishing the dishes, laundry, vacuuming, sweeping, and general up-keep. Getting to do something on my "MOTIVATIONS" list then becomes my reward.
I'm growing up, but in some ways, the good-old "chores/reward" system still works for me right now.... perhaps it will help those things to become so second nature that some of the "MOTIVATIONS" list will become traditions and my children will adopt them as their own... and I can add non-family driven motivations to that list... things like charity, hospitality, mission trips, reunions, and possibly home-business things?
I'd love to incude such things now, but I truly believe God wants me to focus on the 2 little, blossoming lives unfolding & seeking foundation from me; as well as, the be reminded of my blessed role as helpmeet to my lifelong, chosen love & partner, my husband James.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

And the mind lists begin

James has work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am proud and excited beyond what my heart and mind can fully comprehend in one day... hence the reason for taking to long to process and share all the details.... alas, this entry will not be that particular entry. :-p But I will say that the lists of things to do, wish lists, things to get, etc. is in overdrive! :-)
I am currently with the inlaws again until the $$ comes in for us to select a house/duplex/town home. I asked J what I should do in the meantime... because this time of waiting is different from all the previous ones. I know that it won't be indefinite. I know that he's doing everything in his power to get us reunited, with making himself indispensable at his workplace. He's motivated. I'm motivated. You can feel the anticipation and expectation in our kids. We know that the next time we get on an airplane or take a long road trip, it's to move into our own little place to call "Home."

He suggested that I plan. As I so frequently use to do. Make lists. As I so naturally did in the past. Do research as I have grown to practice in the last 5 years. 5 YEARS! I can hardly believe that we are reaching the 5 year mark of our distinct journey together as "one."

With so many "close calls" to jobs in the last 4 months, I've been so scared to plan. to make lists. to "just tasting" consistency, ownership, and sanctuary. My treasure and true home are truly nowhere near this planet or in the material trappings of this current residence called earth.  I've been living the nomad life and learning lessons some very important life lessons about people, Christ, the Church, Scripture, and especially myself. I can't say that I'm now "completely ready to take on all the responsibilities of running my own home" but I can say that I'd like to step into it now that God has seen fit to bless us with it. =)

Some of the initial goals that started knocking around in my brain last night:
Our home must be a sanctuary where we want and can return to to rest, recuperate, renew, and rejuvenate.
But I also want it to have an "open door" policy where other soul-weary travelers of this world can taste the riches of God's blessings and rest to us.
And somehow also encourage each of its members to go back out into the crazy, noisy, hurting world to share the love and hope of Christ, as well as offer healing, help, and fun! =)

Want to research:
What flowers/fauna do or don't grow in the NW (hibiscus? gerber daisies? orchids? palms? mock orange hedges?)
What seasons to plant veggies?
Best places to get paint, furniture, yard deco., and outdoor gear?
Churches, daycares, preschools, libraries, children's theater and choir organizations, swimming lessons, bike paths, hiking trails....

And call me crazy, but the whole 5th anniversary has got me thinking a renewal of vows ceremony for our 10th anniversary:
Colors - red wine, plum, chocolate&coffee, sunshine yellow, and cream
Maids - Hannah, Dayna, Julie, Bethany, Virginia, Megan
Photography - Josiah Dasher
Videography - Chris Rhoades
Music -  Clair de Lune
Location - ??????? CO, HI, WA, OR ????????

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hanging in His balance

My life is in such a transitional time right now, it's hard to justify joining a women's Bible study or getting the girls involved in a program that requires more than a monthly commitment. The library reading times and programs fit the bill pretty well, but don't fill the relationship gap I feel now.
Our family is facing the growing possibility of a 12-18 month deployment next October. I am petrified. I knew it was a possibility, but when my inability to breath was followed by weeping after my husband left for his annual 2 week field training this weekend, I started to panic. We have no place to call “home” - no sense of normalcy, security, direction, or family purpose. We've been like leeches everywhere we've lived since we moved out of our duplex after the birth of our oldest child. The thought of then being alone with two preschoolers for a year or more was more than my brain wanted to comprehend. ...not that I wanted to be living off of yet another charitable, loving family/couple either.
My panic finally subsided when I realized that I would cross that bridge when it came and it was my job to get my eyes off of myself and back onto the current issues (my daughters) and more importantly on becoming more like Christ. He sacrificed His life WILLINGLY and His Father gave it back to Him eternal-fold. But here I am clutching “my life” with every ounce of will and felt control I had. It's a terrifying thought that if I keep insisting on continuing this control-maniac way, my life will eventually be taken from me -unfulfilled and self-centered; on the other hand, I can release all my fears and concerns, focusing soley on what else God wants from me in the moment that somehow, He will return it back somehow, someway, and apparently infinitely better than I could ever as or imagine.

Back in the habit?

So I've had a forced sabbatical from this blog the last month or so. I've either been busy being a mother or wife or simply had limited Internet access. Crazy thing though, God hasn't stopped talking and I don't want to forget those lessons... I thought of this blog when I realized that I'd forgotten one of the key ways I'd found to thrive as a person -walking. The church I've attended the last 2 Sundays truly has the Spirit of God residing there. The pastor preaches with no reservations, no pretty words, or presumption that he's above or even equal to what he's preaching. Last week I was challenged to truly repent in some way to Christ. I took the step to remove all the extra apps on my iPhone. I realized after talking with my husband, that I struggle with treating games and social media as a privilege. When I was growing up, movies and computer use were not regulated. They were our source of relaxation along with entertainment. When I returned home, I watched them use movies, TV, Internet, and video games as an escape from lives that they really weren't all that satisfied with. I was challenged to realize that once I became independent, that I decided that part of being an adult was to indulge or just normalize the constant use of such things. In recent years, I'd turned it into procrastination and eventually evasion of all responsibilities till the last minute. I was keeping up with all the people that I wanted to, but was barely interacting with the people who were physically in my day-to-day life. I invested hundreds of hours following deals and status' of people I had no on-going reciprocal relationships with -no one that I could feel comfortable just calling up when I had needs or just wanted a friend to hang out with.
So I gave up mobile social media for a while. It's now back on my phone, but now I am actually Aware of my lack of discipline and weaknesses. It's humbling and frustrating, but emancipating, too, knowing that I can so easily be sucked into sacrificing whole days worth of time to things like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And just to clarify, it's not that I don't still use them and use them quite often... it's that my weakness is to allow them to define and control me. I use them justify my lack of “being transformed into the image of Christ” and avoidance of being an “unashamed, approved workman rightly dividing the Word of Truth” or “seeking after wisdom like fine jewels or pure gold.” I allow them to fill the empty, boring, or simply slow parts of my day that used to be filled with the “still quite voice” of my Beloved, my Shepherd.
Now, more than ever before, is when I MUST seek to know what it means for God to be my Husband. Now, before my soul is too calloused or numb to care... or I find something more temporary but instantly gratifying... before my prayers become an abomination in God's ears and He is no longer my LORD. I think my new for of “dying to self” is to keep the social media and games on the phone, but exercise restraint, self-discipline, and sacrifice (shallow thought it may be right now, it's still quite real).

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Letting between?

Another perspective change has been knocking on my heart recently, too. What am I willing to let "come between" my relationships -with my husband, my daughters, my in-laws, my friends, etc.? For instance: I have always held going and being on=time to Sunday School in high importance. But two Sundays ago I had to ask myself if "getting onto" my husband or getting "worked up" about being late or not going at all is truly worth the straining of my relationship with him? While it may be a personal value of mine, the value that I want to hold even more clout in my priorities is LOVE. It is not loving to hold an account of perceived "wrongs" against him, or to let a root of bitterness grow in my heart. I want to be at peace with him and others as much as is in my power. So hard to do sometimes, as my pride and stubbornness gets in the way a lot of the time. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My deceitful and wicked heart

I am human.
Yes, I already knew this fact and claim no deity-like powers. I was recently faced with my own weakness and wickedness. The crazy part is that I'm still here. Still married. Still a mother. God is still in control, is still the holy and righteous judge, and is still crazily and insanely IN LOVE with me!?!? As He promised: what you reap you shall sow -but I still have my life and my precious salvation in Christ. Now I just silently scream at myself: Why the HECK did you have to go and "sin all the more that grace may abound"?!?!
I desperately need Him in my life! I desperately need Him day by day. Clichéd as it may sound: moment by moment. Or in this case, choice by choice.
I look back and see where the root of my failings occurred. I gave into the lie that God doesn't want me to be fully satisfied or even happy, which of course, is my complete and total "right." I wasn't getting what I thought I deserved or needed and so I justified my choices to succumb to self-gratification and selfishness. heart truly IS deceitful and desperately wicked above all things... who indeed can heal it? (italics added)

I am in my Lord's debt for His forgiveness yes, but even moreso for His tender-loving, everlasting love. Right now I have to figure out how to forgive myself for my sinful decisions. I know, strangely enough, that Christ is able to and will help me with that process, too. He somehow takes my sins upon Himself, suffers MY punishment, and gives me HIS clean robes and perfection in the sight of His Father.  Praise and honor and glory all to Him!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


"Life isn't fair" I've told myself this many times... I suppose it was my attempt to cauterize my bleeding pride and "American" sense of "rights" when denied or stripped of something I wanted, expected, or even needed. 
I have to wonder if my meter of "fair" is based on all the blessings that I have already received up to a certain point. little or abundant, I have been given enough -including my very life- to be grateful for... and that's just for starters. I live in a place and time where I can choose to put myself "out-of-my-comfort-zone." I live in place where I truly can replace all the physical necessities of life and there are always people to meet and things to learn. 

Some times I just need to be reminded of these facts... especially when self-pity or petty irritations threaten my attitude and interactions with other people or my even my relationship with God.


This word frustrates and agitates me. I want so much to believe that I have it, until I realize one day that I just don't. If I could have this one characteristic mastered, I truly believe that so much of my life would make more sense, be more productive, and be overall more peaceful. I guess I figure that if I understood and practiced self-discipline that I would be able practice my priorities so regularly that they would truly define me, not be words I like to mentally "hold to."
I have lost count the amount of times that I have thought these very thoughts (sometimes multiple times a day):
"If only I would get to bed earlier..."
"If only I remembered to pray as soon as my eyes opened..."
"If only I could keep on a set reading schedule of the Bible..."
"If I could only figure out a meal plan that I could stick to for the rest of our lives..."
"I need to have set days for chores like laundry, cleaning the bathroom, and all those chores I hate..."
"I need to create a curriculum for the girls..."
"I haven't done a blog entry in 2 weeks!!!"
"I need to pray about this..." (and then I get distracted)
"I've got to time myself on ______ (Facebook/Twitter/Blogs/iPhone)..."
"I wish I could have 'grocery days', 'craft days', 'cooking days', etc...."
"I shouldn't watch so much tv or so many movies..."
"If only I would keep up my walking with the girls every morning..."

"If I was only self-disciplined enough, I would have time for: ___________!"

Perhaps it's been short-circuited from all of our moving and current lack of steady work and house... but I only believe that that reality can only be taken so far. According to Scripture, I HAVE already been given all that I need for godliness and righteous living. (Not sure where I gathered that thought just yet...) Could it be that I am falsely assuming that a self-disciplined life is synonymous with righteous living? I don't think so.... after all, Proverbs has nothing good to say about the slothful, lazy, or wasteful person. 

I don't think I am ALWAYS a lazy person, not slothful, and definitely not intentionally wasteful... but still I look around every home that I have ever lived in and I always seem to reach this point of utter chaos and mess topped with an attitude of defeat and apathy. :-p My conclusion: I have no self-discipline.

Would a truly self-disciplined person ever reach the point of apathy?
Would a truly self-disciplined person complain as much as me?
Would a truly self-disciplined person constantly battle thoughts of failure and inadequacy?
Would a true follower of Christ be as undisciplined as me?

These are my musings, not necessarily my convictions... though it is what I am currently struggling with. I welcome your thoughts and prayers...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Repeat Visit in an Unexpected Place

Death has visited part of my family yet again. In 6 months, my beloved Auntie Leti passed away from malignant breast cancer. My amazing Grandpa Sammy passed away from prostate cancer. Aunti Leti was just 2 months shy of her 50th birthday and 5 month short of her youngest son's high school graduation. Grandpa Sammy had celebrated his 85th birthday just 3 months before, but did not get the joy of seeing any of his grandchildren actually get married. He had always talked about throwing a "big wedding" for my husband and I, and how he wanted to "get the officer's club for the reception."  I love and miss them both so much.
This time it was someone whom we hadn't even met. It was almost like having a miscarriage. My mother and father-in-law were adopting their 12th child from China. They had named her and and just received the travel dates to China, when the call came this morning. Josie had passed away. My heart about stopped when my sister read the post made by my sister-in-law. The adoption agency they were going through had called with the news and the promise to look more into what happened.

How many times, God?!

They hadn't even met her! They didn't even get to say "hello" and now they have to say "goodbye" to a girl who had an entire (big) family ready to love and provide for her every need. They only had a few pictures of her... That's why I compare this loss to a miscarriage. You only have a few ultrasound pictures to grow attached to, and while you don't feel the child growing within you, you've experienced the daydreams of holding her; the pains of financial sacrifice, pages of paperwork, countless phone calls and appointments, etc. You've prepped your children and dreamed with your spouse... you've purchased clothes and toys, and shared your hopes and dreams with family and friends...

Another friend of my is suffering from loss and pain, too. After getting engaged and picking a wedding date for this year, she ended her 6 year relationship with her fiancée. While I only know the pain of a partial breakup that only lasted 2 months after less than a year of courting, I still vividly remember the suffocating pain of not wanting to get out of bed, not wanting to leave the house or take care of myself, much less continue on with classes and schoolwork. I think the only thing I really looked forward to (and that was just barely "looking forward to") was my custodial job in the evenings. I sang my broken heart out like I never have before (past and present) while cleaning empty bathrooms and classrooms. Prayer-filled, inspired songs to God poured out of my lips and helped to numb my pain. I weakly avoided even my roommate, housemates, friends, and family. Thinking was dangerous territory because I would easily fall into deep, immobilizing sadness. The thing my friend and I did/do have in common is the power of God in our lives. We both wanted God's will and direction in our lives. We both could go to God with our hurts and expectations, our disappointments and fears. She fears her ex-fiancées' mental state and reaction to her choice to end the relationship altogether. And simply forgetting or erasing the time spent with that person isn't necessarily wanted to be forgotten. There are reasons why were were in the relationships were in existence in the first place. I feel for her as she voices her frustrations of the lack of practical, realistic advice and direction in approaching dating, relationships, engagement, and marriage when she got in the relationship in the first place. It's probably one of the reasons why I have such a high opinion of Authentic Beauty and want to do one in whatever church we end up in as a family.

Well, I think I've dwelt on enough loss and sadness in this post, but I will close with the promise that God is still in control and that we will see those who have gone on "home" before we have. May God grant us who remain here on earth the grace to continue on in ways that bring Him glory.

Friday, May 13, 2011


I HATE it. As much as I love organizing and making things fit, packing makes me stressed and agitated like very few things in this world. Even after I do pack in a timely manner, I have terrible flashbacks (visible and emotional) of the end of my first semester in college:
I had been packing all week long, but the pathetic reality was that I completely and totally underestimated the sheer amount of stuff I had acquired in just 2 semesters! Now there weren't any charges for check-in luggage yet, but even still, I was only allowed 2 check-ins. It was literally 2 in the morning when I had the first nervous breakdown of my life. My stuff was half packed and half in piles waiting to be packed... and I had to catch a flight to Hawaii @ 8AM! (being there 2 hours ahead WAS in effect as 9/11 had only occurred 2 years before. In absolute and humiliating desperation, I called my mom (~midnight their time) weeping about not getting it to all fit and not having a clue what to do with all my JUNK! In the end, my beloved roommate agreed to pack the remaining items into a box that she would mail to me in Hawaii. =( My roommate had to finish packing for me! Talk about being incompetent and humbled!

I've since learned to let go of things that I don't need and what my necessities truly are. I've learned that, yes, I AM a "pack-rat" to a certain extent. I've learned to keep a few key things in my purse or carry-on that I'd really rather not go digging for later. I've learned that no matter how neat you fold or lay clothes, they will get wrinkled and smashed -oh an recently: alway, ALWAYS put liquids, gels, and even facial scrubs into a new ziplock bag -especially in your check-ins. For short trips with the kids, put all their "sets" of clothes/diapers in individual ziplock bags. It helps to keep from over or under packing. Truly be brutally honest about how much you NEED to bring... especially in the area of shoes and jackets.

As far as this upcoming trip, I have to figure out what/how to get all the extra gifts and toys that we acquired back with us, if possible. I suppose it will help that the girls have both grown out of some of the clothes we originally came with... but eventually I want to bring those back, too, just in case we have another girl OR my mother-in-law would like them for their newest daughter.

I KNOW that it must be done. I've tried to break it down each day so that I'm not left with the horrible, naive-college-girl experience all over again. In fact, the trip from CO to OR went really well and smooth. I didn't have everything in storage like I had hoped, but it was packed and ready for my in-laws to evacuate when they were ready to have their room back. I had even cleaned out and emptied our vehicle for others' use in our absence. The girls had their own manageable carry-ons, toys and snacks included. My necessities were packed and ready, book and gifts included. All of this with a day to spare and yet, I started to hyperventilate and get nauseated with the stress that I'd forgotten something or something horrible just HAD to happen. My husband and sister-in-law did their absolute best to reassure and calm me down that everything would be fine. Our move from OR to CO was still fresh in my memory... while most everything was packed, I'd again underestimated how much time it would take to clean a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment "by myself." Thankfully, we had such a loving, sacrificing church family that they took that burden upon themselves and cleaned the whole place - with their own cleaning supplies no less!  I just went back and added " " to the by myself part... at that point, I DID have the loving, patient support and help of my husband. Perhaps that makes a difference?

Well, now I'm faced with packing again, but this time I have a PRIZE waiting for me after all my trials! Not to mention that if I DO forget anything, it'll keep @ my family's until I can send for it. ;-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Buildup and Sleeplessness

Okay, so I've had A LOT going on in my head the last week that I wanted to journal about, but never got around to writing out... unfortunately, some of it must have "spilled out" of my head and the rest of it is so compacted together that it may take a while to get it all out in a comprehensible way. It also doesn't help when the only reason I am able to write right now is that my kids are watching a tv show. :-/

You know God's teaching you something when a certain phrase keeps coming to your mind and finally the day comes when you realize that it's no longer a challenge AND you've got a completely different outlook. For instance, up until the last week or so, I've been struggling so hard with the concept of getting enough sleep -ever since I got pregnant: over 3 years ago. :-p  I've always "understood" the reasons for getting 8 hours of sleep and suffering the consequences of getting less than at least 6 hours at night. I guess I took it so literally that it was causing me to become bitter against my children, cross with those I lived with, and to live with a sort of "chip on my shoulder" against the world that I was not getting my "entitled" amount of sleep. Then I came across a passage while attempting to curb my anger/frustration attitude:

2 Corinthians 6: 1-10
And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain - for He says, "At the Acceptable Time I listened to you, And on the Day of Salvation I helped you." Behold, now is "the Acceptable Time," behold, now is "the Day of Salvation" - giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.

The fact that the Scriptures mentioned sleeplessness as something that we would have to endure was of GREAT encouragement and motivation for changing my attitude. ...the funniest outcome of this is that I've found myself waking up after only 6 hours of sleep, regardless of what time I went to bed or the amount of times the girls woke up in the night/morning. I'm fully rested (though I can sleep more if possible) and am completely accepting of the fact that I am "enduring sleeplessness" to the glory of God! My "calling" right now is to raise the children that He saw fit to bless me with, and with it comes the times of sleeplessness.  In fact, the verse later says to be "always rejoicing" knowing that we are being listened to and helped by God of grace. All praise be to Him! =)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Test... a few tests

So I've learned to say that "I'm glad that emotions aren't everything." I'm being put to the test yet again to see if I will put my trust in the truth and hope of my Lord Jesus Christ, instead of my fears of insecurity, inadequacy, and the unknown.  Anger, sadness, hopelessness, pain, vengefulness, jealousy, frustration... even happiness and pleasure cannot be the driving force in my quest for truth, healing, peace, love, purity, joy and maturity. I guess this whole time away from my husband and role of "only" parent have forced me to put aside my reactive emotions and even the deep seated ones... Where they come in appropriately is now so confusing. I was beginning to just tell myself that they get in the way and shouldn't play a part in my parenting or marriage. I feel split right now. I want to divulge in my emotions and satiate them with my questions and accusations.... but then I despise how they momentarily control me -mostly through anger- and wound my children, my family, and ultimately myself. I don't know how to trust myself. I want to trust Christ, but I find it very difficult to believe that I won't "take over" and "lash out." I've been slowly denying my flesh in some ways and fighting to place The Word and Christ in it's void. It's been such an uphill battle. Just when I think I've given over a weakness of mine, something/someone triggers my emotions like a knee-jerk or a backhanded slap across the face. I catch myself better now, but I'm still finding that I indulge in the emotion (negatively). I give in to laziness. I give in to apathy. I give in to anger. I give in to my "self." Lord? Is there anyway out of this vicious cycle? Am I actually getting anywhere in my relationship with You or anyone else? My brother is coming to me for advice and I keep thinking that I have something to offer all the single women here, but am I just being completely presumptuous and "full of my own understanding and self"? Can I actually completely die to myself this side of heaven?

Continue Praying

J is back from the mountains early. It wasn't something I was expecting, but I'm glad that God got to speak so clearly that J had to respond sooner than later. Sometimes He does answer our prayers "quickly."

We got to talk about an hour after I read a letter he sent me about the things God showed him and told Him he needed to do. It was good. I prayed for good things to come from this time and the beginning of good things came. It looks like the "good" parts will have to come after some very challenging, difficult, and even painful times first.  While I hate pain, every time I've experienced it, I've learned that I can first wallow in it till I carry a "chip on my shoulder" or become immobilized OR I can be brutally honest with God and a few trusted people and learn to lean and trust in God again. The "pain" of my break from my parents has taken around 5 years to bring me back into a healthy, growing relationship with my parents, but more importantly with God.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 3

It's interesting what even partial fasting does to the mind and heart. I realize that all the points and "resolves" that I had from my Bible study were starting to "wear off." :-( It's kinda discouraging, but in the same thought, God saw fit to place them back into my frontal memory at this time. Praise God!

Some of the things that I can immediately recall:
~Being mindful of my thoughts when I go to sleep
~Filling my mind with His Words first thing after I wake
~Reading stories of those who have lived "set apart lives," too
~Keeping the mindset that God is literally next to me at all times

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day 2

Second day of "fasting." I type it in quotes because fasting in a very uncontrolled situation, with guests and visits to other family members is pretty much impossible. After successfully fasting most of yesterday, I had an unexpected guest arrive in time for dinner. It would have been strange to feed my guest and then sit there and watch her eat. Today I made it through breakfast and almost through lunch, until we had to pay a visit to my dear Grandma's home where turning down food for any reason is considered rude. :-p
I've come to the conclusion that I am fasting from one meal each day and tomorrow I will fast from dinner. I'm still learning a lot and sending up a prayer for God's love to pour out onto my husband and His protection around him every time those hunger pangs (or thoughts of food) enter my mind. I'm learning to drink more water, to deny myself of simple little pleasures of sweets, 2nd helpings, and constant nibbling. 100% juice and milk help to "hold off" hypoglycemic reactions to the lack nutrients from my meals.
I noticed that J "liked" Pure Desire Ministries International, which is the book he wanted to finish so much while in Portland. I'm assuming that with all the time he's had today, he's mostly finished the little book.  I still have a few chapters to go. Perhaps he's highlighted and made notes, too... I'll be able to see them since our Kindles are still on the same account.
Praying for God's guidance in knowing how to handle my anger-prone eldest child. I had to put her in the car-seat again while we were at Grandma Joy's house. She got angry over a simple apology and simply screamed bloody murder when asked what was wrong. I could not get her to calm down. I spanked her hard, twice. It made her temper tantrum even worse. The only thing I could think to do was to remove her from everyone and keep her from hurting herself: the car-seat.  The last time I had to use this form of control was at AWANAs when she refused to keep her shoes on. She sat in the car screaming while her classmates were singing, getting rewards, enjoying snacks, and free-playing. By the time she calmed down, most of her friends had been picked up by their parents or were leaving.  It was a hard, but extremely powerful lesson in learning to obey and practicing self-control -or the lack thereof, resulting in temporary isolation and deprivation of blessings/relationships.
This time, I hope, was just as effective, because she returned to apologize and quietly sniffed that she "Never want to be alone in the car by myself ever again. I was all by myself and I didn't like to be that way. I wanted to be with everybody. I need to obey and say I'm sorry and not screaming anymore...."

We also dropped Dad off at the airport for his personal vacation time to visit family and friends in CA until Mom and #1 brother join next Wed. for sister's birthday a week from tomorrow. Wow. My baby sister is graduating from college at age 20. O_O Very proud of her though, as most of her friends still have at least one more year to go, if not more.

I miss talking to J before dinner, but I know that something much more important is happening. I'm praying that he is being comforted by Him and conformed to His Word. I'm praying that his soul is finding rest and shelter, as well as living food and water. I'm praying that I would be a better mother and a the type of wife that I would want to be married to. I'm asking the Lord to help me to die to myself and to change my natural ways of thinking and reacting.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day 1

Had a good conversation with J on his drive up to the cabin. He really just wants to spend time with God. He doesn't want to have an "agenda." He just realized that he hadn't been spending time with God, regularly or continually. I know how that feels, and yet my challenge is to make Him more important than anything else... to literally fight for why He is everything to me. In my mind and slowly in my heart, He is taking control, but my temper and cravings are my battles, no matter where I go.
I've started fasting today. I had breakfast, but stopped eating food after that. Since then I've had some juice. It's crazy! I'm realizing how much I use food to pass the time along. I eat with the girls, I eat their leftovers, and make food for others and snack on the broken off pieces or crumbs! Aaahh! I didn't realize how much food occupies how I order my day and move my thoughts along -or just plain stop them. My thoughts go idle when my mouth and tongue and stomach are working. While I claim to not be picky or "don't eat much", I'm realizing how much I snack throughout the day or use meal times to plan out what is going to happen next in the day.
If this is how I'm dealing with it all -food everywhere, preparing meals for my girls/family, electronics at my fingertips... I have no idea HOW J is going to handle 3 days of it! I have responsibilities. I have places to go, and things to fill the sound of my grumbling stomach. He has NO responsibilities. He is doing this of his own free will. Granted he does have the splendor of creation, the peace and quiet of nature (and lack of other people/places), but even that may not compete with a mind that is use to constant information, interaction, and busyness. He's at a COMPLETE STOP. He's not going to a conference. He's not meeting someone for a prayer meeting or Bible study. He's going to intentionally meet with the Creator of the Universe whom he's somewhat ignored for the last few months.
Lord God, please protect him! Anyone seeking you is promised to have trials, temptations, attacks, and supernatural challenges. PLEASE put a wall of protection about him as he seeks You. May he be leaning on You to lead the way and to protect him from the enemy's snares -especially the ones from within.
Most of all, Lord, please just answer his prayer to meet with You. Reveal Yourself to him in Your time and way, and may he recognize You and find You! Make me the mate he needs in this life! Mold me and direct my prayers and thoughts. Be my strength and wisdom as I raise these girls. I surrender their training and teaching to Your will and plan. I'm not doing so well on my own. I'm tired of resorting to screaming, yelling, threatening, and punishing... I don't know any other way though. Neither of the girls seem capable enough of remembering the lessons I tell them every day. I repeat myself as if I'm talking to dogs who are cute but really don't care or know how to process and keep the information that I'm giving them. *sigh* I am exhausted and out of "creative ideas" to get them to obey me and to love each other. Plus, I'm fighting my own battle of laziness, cockiness, self-righteousness, anger, apathy, unfaithfulness, and insensitivity. Please show me the battles that are ours, the girls, my husband's, and the family's.  I want to hear from You again!
Love your fickle,
Amy Joy

Mother's wifely input

Today J leaves for Praise Mountain. =) As I said before, I am very proud and excited about his decision to do this time of personal reflection, renewal of faith, and fasting from a few key things (food and technology). Last night was a Tuesday. On Tuesday nights my family has their dinner and "family devotions" on a local beach. There is also a time of sharing prayer requests and praises, which are prayed for by each member (if time permits). I shared about J's retreat coming up: requesting protection from the evil one, renewal for his spirit, insight and strengthened belief in who and what Christ means to him, and possible direction for his life and our family. lol... it wasn't nearly as well asked, in fact i remember actually saying that I didn't really know what exactly to pray for. i did mention the protection and possible direction for our family.
After sharing, my mom said something that I think was very important and that I will take to heart. "You should fast with him, too. Just focus on the girls and pray for him. It will help you to be connected." I realize that I could just pray for him like I have been this whole time, at mealtime and before bed... but the more I think about it, it could be VERY helpful to ask him ahead of time what he plans to focus on, what questions he wants to search out, and what he hopes to gain from this time.  Every time I go to put food into my mouth or feel those hunger pangs, I can remember what J is doing and pray specifically for the things he shared with me.  I can ask God to focus his mind and to also draw myself to Himself... asking Him what He would have me to learn and grow from during this time, too.  While not together, we can make it a shared experience of dedicated time to listen and learn from God.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May Day

I missed the chance to post on "May Day" this past Sunday... it was a bit crazy. J and I decided that this separation time needs to be done and over with ASAP.  How that was going to come about was the root of the weekend craziness. I found that all tickets to the mainland were "decent" up-till the week of Mothers' Day (May 8-14).  I then realized that my sister's graduation from college happened to be that Friday (yes, the 13th). So, I proceeded to make it work where I could get to LAX and attended the graduation, and then continue on to DEN. Dozens of calls, complicated overnight stays, and mini discussions, I was unknowingly "riled up" and rather unnecessarily stressed out. Half way through the decision making process, we were also offered 2 buddy passes with Delta. I wanted to please everyone in some way -parents wanted me with them as long as possible, my sister wanted me to meet her friends, my husband wanted to pick us up from the airport... while everyone's desires were legitimate and understandable, the flights, transportation, and lodgings were not lining up. I finally agreed to a plan largely concocted by my father... which I thought would be "the end of it." Then my husband questioned my plans and I erupted. Literally. Like a volcano. Remember how I said I was "unknowingly riled up"... yeah. I messed up BIG TIME in my communication with him. :-(

In so many ways, it was the confirmation that the two of us apart any longer was NOT a good idea.  When he was at training, his mind was only on training. My mind was only on the girls and the family I've been living with. I call it my "survival mode." If I think too much about not being with J cripples me to immobilization. I can't process, can't make decisions, can't take care of myself, I barely take care of the girls, I cry, I sleep, I eat too much or too little.... so I adopt a "single-mom" mindset, with the hope that it is only temporary.
He on the other hand has almost too much time on his hands now. He's not directly providing for a family, though he IS very actively looking for a job. He doesn't need a babysitter to watch the girls or to even wait for me to "get ready" to go anywhere. He just goes. He does what I've been doing all this time and talks to his family about his thoughts and hopes and aspirations and disappointments. He probably tells them what his plans and hopes are before (if at all) sharing them with me.... it makes sense. they are THERE. they ARE his family after all.... but then he starts making decisions and opinions and choices based on such conversations and interactions (just like I have all this time) without me understanding where he's coming from (and vise versa).
I assume. He assumes. I don't trust he has our best interests and respond defensively, questioningly, and disrespectfully. He responds defensively, questioningly, and injured.

To bring this post to a close, it looks like I'll be flying (as directly as possible) to DEN on May 19th. =) He moved on in the relationship after I apologized and talking needed to resume for planning and children's sake. I don't deserve this man I call my husband. Without saying a word, I know that he's forgiven me. And I hope he believes me when I say that I've gotten better at controlling my temper and tongue... it just might show better when we're not thousands of miles and 4 hours apart. :-/

Friday, April 29, 2011

"Face Time" with God

Words are in adequate for the feelings of joy and peace and promise of spending one-on-one time with God. Uninterrupted for days and disciplined in fasting is a whole new level of dedication. This is what my dear husband is undertaking from Tuesday to Saturday (May 3-7). It's almost unimaginable what will happen when a focused, driven young man decides to examine his life, the Scriptures, the life of Christ, and his relationship with His Savior.  Granted, he experienced the lack of fellowship and community at AIT for a few months, but now he's going to be on his own, looking and listening to God and pouring out his heart. It may take a few days to get anywhere more than "I'm so hungry" or "I wonder what's going on 'out there'," hence the 5 days.  But as his wife, I anxiously await to see what emerges from this time of solitude and focus. As the mother of his kids, I have hopes of what our children can look forward to. There will probably need to be some time of questions and healing. But I pray he can be uplifted, renewed, inspired, blessed, and touched by our God and Savior. Perhaps God will answer some of our questions of direction and family purpose? Maybe instill beliefs and form philosophies of life? Above all, I pray that the God of hope will meet him there and that J will remain to hear what He has to say and hide it in his heart.

Praise Mountain

Leaving and Cleaving

One thing that I must say I've learned WELL during this time of living with family. When God said that a man (and woman) are to leave their parents and cleave to one another -it was MEANT to be that way. It is a GOOD thing to have your own house and home as a married couple. I'm not saying that a couple can't still learn from their parents, but in many ways it allows each couple (the parents and the children) to see each other from more objective views... the physical proximity and the challenge of authority and values in the home are not there to threaten the relationship. Again, I'm not saying that the parents no longer have authority over their offspring, but it allows the adult children the freedom to see and learn from their parents as other couples can... not with the expectations of the immediate obedience of a child, but the carefully weighed, loving consideration of an adult gleaning from those who have gone on before and learned lessons that life brings.
My time of living with family has taken me a long time to learn some things. I've been a poor example to my children about respecting other people's time, rest, space, and belongings.  While I really just wanted them to feel relaxed and free to express themselves without fear, I've excused too many things and lost my temper when situations could have been prevented. Just waiting to to asked to help isn't acceptable from someone who considers themselves a child of God. I was trained to work hard and to serve others... but the one thing that I struggle with is initiative.
Cleaning up when it's not my mess and wasn't asked.
Being forthright in my needs and expectations, but also considering, without getting offended or "touchy" about conflicts or differences or others' expectations is constructive to relationships.
Taking care of my things better raises my care of other peoples' belongings (this also applies to time and rest/space).
There are others but these are the ones that have really "hit home" and didn't want to forget.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Neighborly Advice

I've been trying to walk regularly for the last 3 months. It's been more or less successful, especially when my dad asks me "are you going walking today?" ;-) We've learned a lot about the layout of my childhood neighborhood and also a few neighbors. The girls and I are learning to be polite and engaging to everyone that we see or come in contact with. One day I saw a big cage next to the wall of one of the homes we passed. Inside this cage were literally dozens of turtles! I had to show the girls and soon the owner and his wife were chatting with all of us. We now pass their house at least once a week and I chat with the Mrs. while the girls watch the turtles do their thing. =)
Today, I had been really struggling with wanting to make the process of getting back together with my hubby -to the point of finding the best priced tickets! I realized that I was -if not already had- taking things into my own hands and not laying it before my "Prince." As I walked, I chose to give over my desires and very deeply felt needs. I found myself, tears streaming down my face, weeping out a prayer of wanting and hoping and then denying myself along with my honest pain and fear of waiting even longer. K noticed my tears and did her absolute best (as only she can) to comfort me and get me to stop. :-p I then got to explain that just like people get angry, there is another emotion called sadness. Neither are bad. It's okay to feel them, but we have to be careful what we do about them.... and how we treat other people because of those feelings.
We made it to the "turtle house." This time the Mrs. came bearing Asian crackers for the girls and greetings at seeing us again (we hadn't passed by her house for over a week because of weather and busy schedules). She thought that we had left to be with the H already. She was struggling with emotional troubles of the future, just I had been. Unfortunately, she'd dehydrated herself to the point of hospitalization. I shared about how my parents didn't understand my need to "just be with my husband." While she understood, she said, "Oh, you can't blame parents though. Now, I know that I have a huge blessing that I have all 4 of my kids here on the same island. But not all my grandkids are even in the same country ...but I'm glad to have all of my great-grandkids here though."
That first statement along with what we discussed at our final Authentic Beauty Bible study last night sank into my mind and heart as I realized: I've been so caught up in being misunderstood by my parents but being understood by my husband that I'd lost the primary identity and purpose of my life -the one with my Prince- to fall by the wayside. 
If I do have to stay with my family for another month, I need to change my outlook.  So here goes:
If I were staying at any other older couples' home where their two adult sons were still living, how would I handle myself? They've been together for a long time and have dedicated their whole lives to ministry. They have adult kids and 3 of out of 4 of them have/will graduated from a Bible college. Their house is small and somewhat crowded. Their schedules are full and busy. Both have Bible degrees and were teachers of various ages. I can go on, but this is something to start with.

Dear God

I want to pray for my brother right now. He's under such spiritual oppression and blindness right now. He thinks that because all his expectations and dreams didn't happen, God doesn't care about him. He's so lost in himself that he's lost all sense of his Creator, his upbringing, his Savior, and his Lord. He's drowning in despair and self-pity. He wants to please everyone and do everything the right way to avoid pain and rejection. He's scared of everything and has premeditated answers as though there are no other possibilities.  He's boxed himself in and is letting the devil take root in his heart. He's extremely needy and pessimistic.  He's lost his hope. Please, give him Your hope, Your peace. Break down his self-made walls and show him You are here, close by, and You love him faults and all.
in Your Son, Jesus Christ's name,

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Being in such a trying time right now is testing one of my greatest weaknesses: patience.
Even as a child, I knew that patience did not come easily. It continued into my teens but as I got older, I thought I'd "dealt with it." I thought that, while 9 months would be hard away from my husband, I could "be strong" and just be fine. I forgot to weigh in being a mother of two toddlers by myself, and yet not completely by myself. I'd have to humble myself and take suggestions and direction and "rules" from the people I'd be staying with in those times.  While my in-laws are not demanding at all, living with my parents again brings all the childhood and teen irritations that I had when I was completely under their authority.
Christ is the hope of freedom no matter what the circumstance, no matter where you are. I don't know how a non-Christian, single-mom can survive in this world! Not having a reuniting date with my husband is driving me a bit stir-crazy. How can a person without the hope of life in heaven after death keep pushing on in such an oppressing, sinful world?! Anyways, analyzing single-parenting, world-views, and immediate family issues was not the point of this post.
If I am going to survive this time and future times, I need to have an arsenal of thoughts (verses) hidden in my heart to keep from attacking those I love and disgracing the beautiful name of Christ.

2 Corinthians 6: 1-10
And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain - for He says, "At the Acceptable Time I listened to you, And on the Day of Salvation I helped you." Behold, now is "the Acceptable Time," behold, now is "the Day of Salvation" - giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.

Galatians 5: 16-18, 22-26
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.

2 Timothy 4:1-2
I solemnly charge you in the presence of god and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

1 Peter 2:18-20
Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a persons bears up under sorrow when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? but if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Applause of Heaven

the following is an excerpt from Authentic Beauty by Leslie Ludy (the study that I've been attending since January) p.196, 200-203

By realizing the reality of our Prince within us, we are never bothered again by the fact that we do not understand ourselves, or that other people do not understand us. The only One who truly understands me is the One who made me and who redeems me... It is a tremendous freedom to get rid of every kind of self-consideration and learn to care about only one thing - the relationship between our Prince and ourselves. 
~Oswald Chambers

It is all too easy to become consumed with trying to understand ourselves, with trying to figure out who we are and what our purpose in life is meant to be. And it is all too tempting to become obsessed with wanting the world to understand us and validate our existence. In this day and age of self-consideration, our society exhorts us to have plenty of self-esteem... ...and yet the same society that encourages us to believe in ourselves also holds up the unattainable standards of physical perfection... Our culture breeds insecurity while heroically parading a message of self-esteem. And whether we listen to the one voice and constantly compare ourselves against unreachable standards, or give in to the other voice and spend our energy trying to feel better about who we are, both scenarios cause us to focus on ourselves. 

Practical Steps for Delighting in Our Prince
Here are some great practical questions to ask yourself: Am I wholeheartedly aware, on a moment-by-moment basis, of the continual presence of my Prince? Am I able to speak to Him and listen to His voice no matter where I am or what I am doing?  

Getting to the place of delighting in our Prince throughout the day takes focused effort. We live in a culture that specializes in creating one distraction after another for our minds and our hearts.

Someone once told me that I could determine the primary focus of my life where my thoughts went each night as I lay in bed, drifting off to sleep.

Developing a Quite Mind
Having a quite mind is not a question of choice - if we are to go on at all, we must have a quite mind. All to many Christians break down, not because of their circumstances, but because of a weary, fretting spirit too rushed to dwell in peace. 
~Amy Carmichael

My next step was to discipline my thoughts in the mornings, just after I woke up. Instead of immediately making a mental checklist for the day... I decided to try starting out my day by worshiping my Prince. ....usually it just meant taking a few moments when I first awoke to kneel by my bed, focus on Him, and thank Him for His incredible love and faithfulness to me. When my Prince became the first thing my mind dwelled on in the morning and the last thing I thought about before falling asleep, it was far easier to continue to focus on Him and communicate with Him throughout my day.

It is only when the waters are perfectly still that they can reflect the glories of the heavens.
~Eric Ludy

Only when our minds and hearts are resting fully focused on our Prince can we become reflections of His strong, steady, and unshakable peace.  Take notice of where your thoughts go when you are alone during the day or when you are lying in bed at night. Ask Him to assist you in conversations, guide you in decisions, and help you reflect His lily-white likeness no matter what you are doing. As you learn to speak with Him continually and open your heart to listen to His voice at all times, you will be amazed at how completely you will begin to delight in your Prince all day long. For in "in [His] presence is the fullness of joy" (Psalm 16:11, NEB)

A Thought to Ponder

I take my girls to the local library on Mondays for children's story-time.  They have a hard time sitting through the whole session (~30min.), so I purposefully come later, so as not to disturb the other library patrons with running, squealing, crying little girls. After the reading time, there are two tables set up with crayons and coloring sheets. I think the latter part of the "library time" is my oldest's favorite part. She's gotten significantly better since we started attending back in January. The younger sister prefers to "hiding" between the rows of short bookshelves, as well as "inside" the standing, rotating, 360 shelves clustered together.
I meet new moms every week and have short, 411 conversations about our kids' ages, names, interests, and challenges. Today, I talked to a mom I'd seen before but not actually conversed with.  She was curious about my youngest's name: Selah. One thing led to another and I learned that she's been a teacher for a while, has 5 kids (the oldest being adopted... a nephew, in fact, if I heard right), and is a Christian. I found myself asking her a question about toddler development and discipline issues.
She had quite a few things to share that I found interesting and somewhat helpful, but it was her last piece of advice that brings me to the title of this entry.
"You are a believer, right? So even after I read parenting books, I realize that a lot of what I 'use' in my parenting comes from what I've been reading in the Scriptures. After all, you are the best parent for your child, right? We believe that God doesn't make mistakes. He'll show you what to do as you spend time with Him and bring your questions to Him." 

It was the "you are the best parent for your child" statement that got me. Am I REALLY the best parent for Kathryn and Selah? Just because I carried and bore them, I'm the best training and upbringing that they can expect in this life? And she based it off the statement that "God doesn't make mistakes."  I don't completely understand why the reasoning doesn't seem to fit as perfectly as she made it seem at the time. Perhaps they are the best children for me? (A different way of seeing the relationship?)
The part that I am pondering though is the great responsibility that I have to rise to the occasion of teaching, training, disciplining, and loving the children placed in my daily care and protection. I am daunted and intimidated by that thought... I have no clue where to start. But then she gave me the answer to that, too: the Scriptures and time spent asking my LORD do have the answers in some form, I just need to be seeking them.

Strange how the obvious and past-proven answer isn't my first "go-to" or second nature, yet. :-/ I need to put some disciplines into my every day to insure such practices.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Take My Life

by Cindy Morgan

Who can say
When life is over 

The silver cord breaks
Our breath returns to God

Will we walk through fields of clover
Or soar up high through valleys deep and wide

I cannot know all that's waiting there
But until that day this is my prayer

Take my life
Take away all the shattered dreams in me
And give me love that will last forever
Take my life
Give me the love that makes me free
'Cause I believe that 

Your Love can save even a wretch like me

This race is not just for the runners
Some of us walk, while others barely crawl
We make our way through spring and winter
Leaning on strength that strengthens all

And when the sunlight fades from morning
You'll still be burning in my eyes

Take my life
Take away all the shattered dreams in me
And give me love that will last forever
Take my life
Give me the love that makes me free
'Cause I believe
That Your Love can save even a wretch like me

And when the sunlight fades from morning
You'll still be burning in my eyes 

Take my life
Take away all the shattered dreams in me
And give me love that will last forever
Take my life
Give me the love that makes me free
'Cause I believe
That Your Love can save even a wretch like me

In light of my last post, I wanted to share the song that started it all.  I had no idea what sign language of any kind was, no training, no incentive or request made to me. I simply heard this song and the dance was born in my heart. I would dance it before my LORD alone in my bedroom at least a year before I was introduced to ESL and did some of my own research of ASL.  It was even more years later still until I actually "performed" it before anyone but my God.  
My senior year of high school/first year of community college, I took the leap to go on an international missions trip with a team from a sister church of ours.  I didn't know most of the team, but when the time came to put services together, the question was asked, "Does anyone have a song/songs that we could use?" I was somewhat hesitant because mine was a solo and I did not want to appear "full of myself."  I ended up sharing it with them and when the song was finished,  was met with... dare I say (?) awestruck, almost dumbfounded looks of praise and approval... and not of my "performance" but of the love of God (at least that was how I was choosing to see it).  I did get to share it in Thailand and later in Brooklyn, NY, (another missions trip) and Portland, OR (my college choir). 
I can choreograph to most songs when asked or needed, but only a few have truly been "born in my heart" like this first one.  Most of the time, it's completely up to God to plant the seed and grow it at the rate it does in my mind/heart. Below are the others that have equally special places in my heart and memories.

Come As You Are by Jaci Velasquez (this one was for a good sized group)
In Christ Alone (no particular artist) 
My Life, My Love, My All by Kirk Franklin
Wonderful, Merciful Savior (no particular artist)
Lord Most High (no particular artist) (not choreographed by me, but touches me the same way)

Arise, My Love

by NewSong

Not a word was heard at the tomb that day.
Just shuffling of soldiers feet as they guarded the grave.
One day, two days, three days had past.
Could it be that Jesus breathed His last?

Could it be that His Father had forsaken him?
Turned his back on his son dispising our sin.
All hell seemed to whisper
'Just forget Him, He's dead.'
Then the Father looked down to his son and he said..

Arise, My love.
Arise, My love.
The grave no longer has a hold on you
No more death's sting 

No more suffering love.

The Earth trembled and the tomb began to shake,
and like lightening from Heaven the stone was rolled away.
And as dead man the guards they all stood there in fright
As the power of love displayed its might
Then suddenly a melody filled the air
Riding wings of wind, it was everywhere
The words all creation had been longing to hear
The sweet sound of victory, so loud and clear.

Arise, my love.
Arise, my love.
The grave no longer has a hold on you.
No more death's sting
no more suffering

Sin, where are your shackles?
Death, where is your sting?
Hell; has been defeated.
The grave could not hold the king.

Arise, My love.
Arise, My love.
The grave no longer has a hold on you
No more death's sting
No more suffering

I LOVE to choreograph with all the forms of dance and sign that I have picked up since I was a young teenager. It's been a while (years in fact!) since I've used that creative side to put anything together. Being back in my childhood church these past 4 months has helped and  finally given me a chance to re-use those skills... which is bringing back so much of the joy I found when I was doing it regularly. For this Easter week, I was asked to help with what I call an "interpretive sign dance" (or in this case, more like a interpretive sign poem?). It inspired me to ask if there was a need for a solo for either service. Within one night, I'd selected a song and the next morning had it all choreographed (roughly) with mentally visualized props and all. A talent perhaps? I don't know about that, but what I do know is that there are few things that get me so invigorated and excited as well as draw me closer to God than choreography... even more than "performing" (I like to think of it as "sharing") it with other people. I find myself crying for joy when I get to use this "gift" God has given me...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lilly white feminine mystique

I've been attending a women's "Bible" study based off of the book Authentic Beauty: the shaping of a set-apart young woman by Leslie Ludy.  While its focus is on the single young woman, it has been by far the most influential study I've ever been in to learn about being a woman, encouraging manhood in men, and living for/loving the True Prince of humankind. It's been shaping so much of my thoughts towards God and femininity that it would be almost dishonest to not post some things from the book.
Also wanted to say that I believe in this book so much that I've been convicted to hold my own study of this book wherever the next church we call home may be (and beyond).

Sunday, April 17, 2011

To Remember

You (Amy) shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
These words, which I am commanding you (Amy) today, shall be on your heart.
You (Amy) shall teach them diligently to your sons (and daughters) and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
You (Amy) shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
You (Amy) shall write them on the door posts of your house and on your gates. (Deut. 6:4-9)

I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:38-39)

Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction. (Mark 5:34)

Return, return, O Shulamite; Return, return... (Song of Songs 6:13)

He cannot be happy without us... I dared not have said this if the Holy Spirit has not declared it, but it is true! Jesus must have us or He is a Bridegroom without a Bride... Oh, how He loves us! How He longs for communion with us! "Return, return," and will we not come to Him at once? ~Charles Spurgeon

And the LORD will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give you strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. (Is. 58:11)

Don't be misled. Remember that you can't ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow!
Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death.
But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.
So don't get tired of doing what is good.
Don't get tired of doing what is good.
Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.
Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters. (Gal. 6:7-10)


The last week has been interesting. I don't consider myself a counselor or even super "wise", but I am learning about the power, blessing, hope, and growth of Christ in my life. In my life experience, I have learned lessons on life purpose, grace and mercy, love and faith... I do my best to return to Scripture as my guide and how the Lord has "proved" himself to me and those in my life.
Is seeking out new relationships with people like my brothers or childhood girlfriends with the intent of being their friend okay? I care about their happiness and their relationships with the Lord (and other people).  I guess I feel that I do have advice to offer and that the Lord can "answer" their questions if they let Him. Not that He will take away all their pain and suffering right away, but that He gives Himself and it truly IS enough. But it's so hard to know what to say or not to say. Hard not to "tell" them what to or not to do.
While I know that I am married, my husband's occupation has taught me that the Lord has to be the person to give my life purpose. God is the one I need to seek to please above all else and becoming like His Son, Jesus Christ.  My daughters look up to me with even more expectation and less question than my peers did during my childhood and adolescence. But even more than that, my true joy is to be found in seeking after and knowing Him.
I'm not sure how to or if I should be sharing what I'm learning.... I don't dare claim to know all the answers or what they are going through.... I don't mean to be heartless and insensitive or to speak "christian-ese" at them.  I'm not always faithful or trusting in the Lord's goodness or purposes. I don't read my Bible daily. I find myself praying only when reminded, as opposed to constantly. I've made mistakes and tainted my reputation with most of them by how I courted and married my husband. And then there's that aspect of "the Asian culture." Are they being polite? Do they actually care what I'm saying? Do they care about what I have to say? Am I speaking for my own benefit or theirs and am I speaking the truth or simply my opinion? That last question is probably the biggest one that I have right now.
I've had 3 pretty heavy conversations in the last 4 days... and not just "one time" things. They have the potential and almost need to be followed up and "seen through" which equals: relationships.  Those take time and energy and resources and patience. They can reap great rewards but also drain many aspects of one's life.

God, please grant me Your wisdom and help me to sift out my understanding. Thank You for these opportunities. Thank You for these "second chance" friendships. Please be with these people as they struggle and hurt and seek You. I know You promise to, so I implore You to submerge them in Your love, peace, joy, and hope! Guide my heart and mind, use my mouth and arms as Yours! I love these people and want them to feel Your love and joy for them, too! =) Your humble daughter, Amy Joy.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

More thoughts from the yellow legal pad

As I wrote at the beginning, I have a habit of journaling in multiple places. Currently, I've been using a yellow legal pad that my dad use from his stash.  Here are a few entries:

~Innocence is worth protecting at any age
~Purity is true beauty and a true gift that is pleasing to God (also worth protecting and pursuing)
~Pouring out my life with all its desires -both good and bad- to God to do with as He pleases brings a beautiful fragrance before heaven and those who are seeking Him
~When life becomes only about me and my efforts and desires then I am missing the point of life which is: to lay it (my life) down for God to use and to make disciples for Him
~The comfortable, predictable life rarely brings as much glory and honor to God as the broken, unpredictable road (often times the "ministry" route)
~Rarely if ever is the painless, easy life a one that wins souls or experiences the deeper levels of relationship with God - those are usually tragedy riddled, persecuted (by all), ever-continuing, self-sacrificing, dying-to-self people who don't have time or money to decorate their huge dream house(s), purchase or wear the newest and stylish clothes or jewelry, etc.

What He likes... (based of of Genesis 1-5)
...what He has made
...being creative
...seeing and filling needs
...being relational ("one")
...gently correcting/teaching
...proper sacrifice 2nd chances
...blessing humans

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Sister's Closet Mirror

I am made in the image of God.

I believe in the sun, even when it's not shinning.

I believe in love, even when I don't feel it.

I believe in God, even when He is silent.

Not sure where she got these gems or if she came up with them on her own, but either way, they have been amazing plumb-lines in very tumultuous times. Written up on our ceiling-to-floor, mirrored, sliding closet doors, these statements are impossible to avoid when getting dressed, playing with the girls, or simply checking for hair fly-aways and clean teeth. Since I cannot take the doors with me when my time here is finished, I will take them with me here to reference and possibly replicate in my own home in my own way. Thanks Hannah! Love you!

Monday, April 11, 2011

I Need...

I need to be with You when I wake -
 ~even when laden with child. The child can learn that You will always be first.
 ~even when sleep deprived, for whatever reason. I learn to know my evening limits, see the gift of Your sunrise, recall my identity, and know my purpose, be prepared and armed for the day.

I need to move my body outside -
 ~even in poor or fair weather, to remind me of my place in the world, who created it all, those in need, and to keep up my strength and stamina to do His work

I need to feed my family -
 ~pre-plan meals that give them the fuel they need to do what they have planned for the day
 ~plan for sick days and special days; know each person's favorites
 ~understand the need for and practice of portion control
 ~know what I am putting in to their bodies and share why

Things I've Learned

Being a military wife for just a little over a year has taught me a few things. These things have become vital in my survival and growth while separated from my husband.
~Get plugged into something Bible related, weekly in addition to church.
~Get the girls plugged into something weekly, too, especially involving other children.
~Have a daily devotional handy and kept in the same place.
~Walk at least 30 minutes a day with the girls.
~Prevent unplanned lazy days with pre-planning.
~Fill my mind with Philippians 4:8-9 (don't just let things "happen").
~Sick days are inevitable: Plan ahead.
(and here are a few for when we are all together)
~Date night is essential: spare no expense to keep it even if it's simple.
~Plan Sundays (prepare) the day before.

for Always
Protect, like my marriage, this growing love affair with the Creator of my being. Enjoy life 'cause He loves me & obey 'cause it brings Him joy.

My Gift to Him
My life -with all it's possibilities:
I do.
I promise to love and cherish,
Forsaking all others, do pledge myself
Body, Soul, and Mind to be
Your bride both now in this life
and into eternity.
In sickness and in health,
For richer or poorer,
in doubt and fear,
in pain and pleasure,
I will put my trust and hope
in Him first.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Yes, Yet Another Blog

To anyone who chooses to follow this blog, a warning. I am terrible at keeping these things up consistently. I looked at the last time I updated my most recent one and it was almost a year ago.
I'm not going to try and figure out why, but in any case, I've been learning so much about life and Christ and values and marriage and parenting that I want to store them somewhere. I'm tired of trying to find the last notepad/notebook that I wrote in or if it fits with the "theme" of said book or blog. This will be the "catch all" for my sermon notes, lessons learned, values discovered, developing theology, mental questions, emotional tirades, paradigm shifts, and epiphanies.
I collected rocks and minerals as a child.  As an adult, I've started to fall in love with jewels -sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and my favorite even as a child: amethysts. I also accepted Christ as my savior as a child and formed a relationship with Him as a teen. As an adult, I'm starting to realize the practical sides to all the things I was taught -even in college. So, the raw material of the Bible has been placed in my heart like a hidden precious stone. Here are my discoveries and revelations of how those truths will clean and shape me, like a jeweler crafting a diamond or precious stone "in the rough." The finished product(s) will be refined through heaven's fire and presented to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords at the end of time.