Come Rest

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Ha!  See I KNEW naps were a good thing!

No, seriously, God commands us to rest.  One of the big 10 is to set aside a day for quiet.  To come alongside Christ, to pray, to renew, to well….rest.  We cannot go at a breakneck pace all the time and expect to be at our best.  We cannot shine a clear, bright light.  We cannot use our lightning power for good.

I don’t know about you, but when I am tired, I am cranky and I screw up twice as much.  My first day on vacation, before I really had some true quiet and rest, I hit my head on a table, tried to take my pills with a hot cup of coffee, lost several things, dipped my paintbrush in said coffee, put my clothes on wrong, couldn’t get a sentence out straight to save my life and more.  I painted, I walked, I napped, I read a book, I chatted with my parents and enjoyed the view.  I prayed.  And I was so much better off.  I need that rest.  God knows this.  He planned it.  I just have to obey.  All of His commands are for my good.

So how about you?  Are you good at taking the time to refresh?  To be quiet?  How do you do it?

 

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Houses #4

IMG_0006-003Do you say bedtime prayers?  I am more likely to pray in the morning.  I spend most of the time I am walking/jogging praying–gratitude, intercessions, for God’s leadership and wisdom.  We pray before our meals.  And I do pray most nights with the kids before bed.  (Sometimes they out last me and Jeff tucks them in, there are some nights I completely crash.)  I grew up saying Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, Jesus Tender Shepherd, and the Lord’s Prayer.  I say those with my kids.  But lately I have been saying a special prayer for each of them.  Each child gets a variation of this:

Dear God, Be with **** tonight.  Fill their dreams with wonderful ___ and help them feel safe.  Help his/her body grow tonight and be healthy…without hurting (because lots of growing pains lately).  Thank you for keeping **** safe all day and be with them tomorrow.  We thank you for ****’s special talents______.  We ask you to forgive them for ____ and help them do _____ better tomorrow.  Fill his/her brain with ____, the heart with ____, and their day with _____.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.  We are usually asking for patience, compassion, wisdom, love, all sorts of things.

It has been great.  Each child really responds to this kind of individual, personal attention.  I still think learning the other prayers are important, but I think they feel a closer relationship to Jesus this way.  What songs and prayers are in your home?

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Houses #3

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I have been blessed to be surrounded by my blood family.  So many people are not.  I created this for a family that works with foster and adopted kids.  I pray for those families who cannot care for their own children, I pray for those children looking for homes and families, I pray for the people who choose to bring those children into their homes and share their family.

This is one of God’s commandments:  to care for the widows and children.  To care for the lost.  To show them the path to Him, to love, confidence, acceptance, salvation.  To be a light.  Maybe right now we are caring for our blood family, maybe we are bringing people into our homes, maybe we are providing for children in other places.  Blessed is all of that work!

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House week #2

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Currently enjoying the hearts and homes of my family.  Iowa is definitely HOME.  The rolling hills of the southwest corner, the quilt of all the different fields connected by white gravel roads that sparkle like diamonds in the sun.  Yes, this pulls my heart strings.  I have lived many places, and still this is what I crave.  There is a wholesomeness to Iowa, a welcoming spirit, an acceptance that I feel here.  It is not perfect by any means. It would not be the right place for everyone.  But I long to be back here more and more.  Plus, it is totally nice to be around family.  🙂

My parents and my sister are in the process of selling homes they used to live in.  I had friends who recently moved across the country, and some across the globe.  It all reminds me, that it is not the houses we live in.  It is the hearts of our loved ones that make it home.  I have struggled with my current location of residence in Illinois, it is not a place I would have chose.  But it is where we are now.  And we have been able to make it a home through some of our dear friends.  And it is where my husband and children are.  It is my heart, and therefore my home.  It may not be my favorite environment, but it is a shelter for our love.  And that is what is important.

 

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Rock Building

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My faith is grounded in Jesus.

We are on the road in Iowa, and actually today  (June 30) we had a crazy storm…3 inches of rain in 30 minutes and a tornado passed just a few miles north of us.  No major damage at my parent’s acreage, but just north of them a lot of trees are flat, creeks are fast moving rivers, crops are flattened.

I know that my faith is one of the reasons storms don’t scare me.  I know that no matter what happens, my faith will carry me through.  The rock of Jesus will help me face anything that comes along.  That is comforting.  Faith is not an easy thing, that is for sure.  Faith does not mean that storms won’t try to flatten me, knock me from my solid ground.  Faith means that another layer of bedrock is added with each challenge.  Faith is confidence that the sun will shine, I will continue to have loved ones, that I can persevere to share God’s love.

I hope that your rock is solid.  I pray that your faith gives you confidence.

And I ask you to pray for the farmers who lost crops, for those who deal with storms.

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Onions, really

IMG_0019-001I have spent the last few years dissecting my own psyche.  Coming back from the brink of a breakdown and re-energizing your faith will bring that on I have learned.  I have studied my past–from my viewpoint, and have tried really hard to look at it from other people’s viewpoints.  I have looked really hard at my present–how the past affected/is currently affecting my current actions and choices, and how I need to move forward with this knowledge.

And really, it is like an onion.

Just when I think I have it all figured out, I peel back another layer and find an even deeper understanding.

I have realized my role in how things played out with my family, my in-laws, my friends over the years, my career, my faith.  There have been times that I blamed a situation on others.  Because I had my truth, and I was only going by that.  I wasn’t taking into account other viewpoints, and what is their truth.  And the more I find myself standing back and thinking, “How did s/he see this?”  The more I am understanding all of our reactions.  All of the assumptions we make.  And I am learning soooo much about myself, layer by layer.

We are human.  We react to our own thinking.  That saying, “Walk a mile in his shoes” or whatever it is, is HARD to do.  No matter how hard we try not to be, we are selfish.  We assume we are right.  We assume everyone is coming from the same thinking (even when we KNOW that is not the truth).  It is a huge part of natural, human survival.

But being able to peel the onion, being able to dig deeper, it is so rewarding.  It is filled with strife, but also peace.  At least for me, it is.  I am learning.  I am re-categorizing.  I am assessing.  I am growing and becoming a better, stronger person.

I highly encourage it.  🙂

 

 

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Rejoice for He has heard you

IMG_0009Not super happy with this finished work.  Looks better on the computer actually.  But I still like it enough to share with you and to start your weekend.

Do it people.  REJOICE!  Sing!  Because our Savior and Creator rejoices over us every single day.

You should see me walking the dog recently.  I decided I am totally cool with being the crazy lady of the neighborhood (right behind the lady who puts her dog in a stroller to take it for a walk, and the over-exerciser who does 50 laps a day and weighs 60 pounds, and the old man who paints his fence and turns his mulch every single day).  But I digress, I put on my headphones plug into Pandora and I belt my favorite Christian Rock songs because I cannot hear myself and I wave my arms and snap my fingers (too hard to clap with the leash–that didn’t go well) and sometimes I even close my eyes and let Belle lead me, until I end up in a bush.

Okay, maybe craziest lady.  Maybe you shouldn’ t do that.  But you should sing and rejoice with God.  Just saying.

 

 

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Talking praying

IMG_0024I ran across this verse last summer.  This is the second time I have illustrated it, and I may do it again.  This has become a guiding verse for me.  Because really?  We all know I am talkative.  And I have the tendency to beat an issue into the ground.  and so now, I just STOP, refocus and PRAY to God about it.

I am like, “Jesus…this is bugging me and I cannot wrap my head around it.  I have talked about it, gathered opinions and information, but I have not done the one thing I needed to:  give it to you.  So it is yours now, I am handing this over, and I know that you are the only one who can give me the right answer.  I know, I know, shoulda come to you first.  Shoulda, coulda woulda.  But you know, I am human and all.  I am here now.  I am recognizing you and your power.  Help me, guide me, love me.  Amen”

Here is the cool part:  IT WORKS!  HALLELUJAH!

You should totally try it some time.

 

 

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Streets resound

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Enjoy this weather people!  Summer has arrived, the sun is shining, the grass is green, the rain is warm.  Get out there and praise God for he does wonderful things with his creation!  Just keep it legal.  🙂

 

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memorial Day

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This weekend the local VFW was selling the little poppies at stop lights here in Lockport.  Every time I went through on my way back and forth to baseball I got one.  And a whole flood of memories came back:

I remember making the crepe paper versions with my grandmother and her passing them out.

I remember going with our family to put iris, peonies or other flowers from her garden on the graves at the Fontanelle, IA cemetery.

I remember the full size flags lining the walk.

I remember playing my trumpet for the Grimes, IA services growing up.  And going to Girls State in Cedar Falls.

I remember the few stories my grandfather Max (Pacific WWII) and Jeff’s grandfather August (Europe WWII) told.  And the stories of my grandfather John (US WWII).

I remember the service of  family members:  Jim –Jeff’s dad, Doug–my cousin, Jason–my brother-in-law.

More family members;  Kathy, Dick, Jay, Lee, Kenny, Guy.  And all of the others who were before WWII.

I remember when we lived in Flushing, MI (in the cemetery basically) they put a small flag for ever single service member lining their driveways.  It was overwhelming.  There were graves from the civil war in that ground.

I remember when I saw the names of friends/classmates who deployed to Afghanistan.

I remember going to the Memorial Day parade and service with Mom and Dad in Elgin, IL.

I am so proud to be an American.  As I get older I realize, understand and appreciate the gift that it is to live here.  The gift defended by so many.  Each of those men and women is a GIFT to each of us.  Thank you for your service.  Thank you for our lives.  Thank you for our freedoms.  Thank you for protecting so many others and freeing others the world around.

Please, if you would like, add the names of others in the comments as we remember their service today in gratitude that they can be recognized by more.

 

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In truth…

So here is the truth.  I THINK I am totally thoughtful, thankful, generous.  All that jazz.  But, yeah.  Not so much.   I lose cards on my desk constantly and send them weeks late.  I don’t remember to donate.  I completely forget to put “it” on my calendar.  I think to call people when I am going to sleep at night all the time.  Don’t do it.  I have some big ideas people.  Will they ever leave the cobwebs of my brain???  25% chance, maybe slightly better.  Pretty much like the weather man on tv.  Yep.  Just being real.IMG_0014

 

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Be grateful for trash

 

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Everything on that list is a bummer, annoying, things that make me angry.  But really, if I have those things, I am blessed.  It means I have excess, freedoms, advantages.  Things we take for granted in the US.

We have been watching the PBS Nature series on Africa.  It is really good for both the kids and me to see that these people are happy, that they have a good life with families, fascinating rich cultures.  They may not have the standard of living we do, but they have good lives.  Now…I will take running water, flushing toilets, and fresh food any day over some of the conditions.  But with it I have to take the cold showers, stalls in stores with no paper, and leftovers that I really didn’t like the first time.

It’s all about keeping it in perspective.  Yes?

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C Joybell C

I visited a dear friend this spring.  She was my neighbor in Cleveland and we have remained close despite our distance.  While we were there, she shared several quotes with me by a writer named C. Joybell C.  Her words are deeply emotional and poetic

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I find these quotes amazingly true.  I know I am in the process of letting go of some seriously heavy baggage.  And with every string I cut, I feel lighter–mentally, emotionally, physically.  I know that I will be able to move not only forward but up and beyond my current dreams.  I hope this art piece and quote inspire you to cut some strings and soar.

***Update March 16, 2017…in the process of editing the blog, I deleted several posts and am sharing all of her quotes here.  🙂  Three years later and I still love all of these quotes–I could delete the posts, but couldn’t keep from sharing the artwork.

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Beautiful destinations

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My family LOVES survival and natural monster shows.  I don’t even know the names of all of them they watch so many on NatGeo, History, Discovery, etc.  Nothing stops them in their tracks like somebody purposefully lost in a swamp, jungle of Costa Rica, or the forests of Alaska.  Seriously.  They love nothing more than seeing people eat bugs.

The cool thing is we see lots of beautiful places, learn some anthropology (River Monsters is actually excellent for this), survivalist techniques, geography, the scientific method, inventing,  and live vicariously through these people.  That is good tv.  And I really love when it coincides with something we learned in homeschooling.  Bonus!

I especially love the scenery.  It inspires me.  And the journey of it all.

I have been working on path/journey quotes for several clients recently.  In fact, four of my last major projects had this theme.  It makes sense, the journey of life is something that speaks to us all.

I have been writing about my own journey–and how my directions are all mixed up and I need to be centered again.  I love the above image because that is exactly what it shows.  A meandering path through a dry and desolate area, but it ends in the center of a lush green landscape.  A lot like the survivalists in the shows.  We all love when they catch that fish, find that civilization, or are even picked up by a helicopter.  Their faces are always joyous.    I know when I get my path figured out it will refill with joy.

Most of the survivalists do not have compasses to find their way.  They look to the sun.  To the light.  My light is Jesus.  He is my compass on my journey.  He will light my face with joy.  He is yours, too.  And whether they are faithful or not, He is guiding those survivalists as well.  Because, really we are all survivalists in this great big world.

Here’s hoping your paths are clear and destinations are beautiful.  That Jesus is lighting your way.  And that your suvival skills are honed in on Him.

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