Thursday, August 27, 2009

We're home...

...but this was our view last night from our king-sized bed! LOL

Pulled in driveway at 5:30pm - and had to be at DaHubby's school for an award presentation at 6:30pm! LOL Busy day and busy night. "Talk" to y'all in the morning!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Here's hopin' that the sunrise I see in the morning will be as beautiful as this one from 2003.

For more WW, go here or here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday Tip Jar

As I'm typing this, it's Thursday and I'm schedule this post for next here's praying it all goes smoothly! LOL

My tip for this week - my "baking soda rotation" method. LOL Since I use baking soda and vinegar to clean the toilets around here, I go through a fair amount more than I used to. LOL

I also keep baking soda in the freezers and fridge to reduce smell/taste problems.

I used to have separate systems for their supply and rotation and I thought last month that that was silly so I combined them.

I change out the 3 baking sodas out of the freezers and fridge every 3 months. Then, fresh ones go in the freezer/fridge and the used ones go under the bathroom sink. When it's time to scrub the toilet, I have multiple boxes to choose from. And, at the rate I used them, they seem to run out just as it's time to rotate new ones into the fridge.

Simple but sanity increasing. So, for more TTJs, go see

Monday, August 24, 2009

Changing Personalities

Something's been bugging me lately. I seem to have gone from an extrovert to more of an introvert.

Everyone has been taking those Myers Briggs personality tests lately on Facebook. I'm not saying that those particular ones are the most reliable tests around but those that I've taken recently seem to suggest that I'm now scoring at the opposite end of the spectrum than I used to.

I don't know why this bugs me so much. I first noticed after DaHubby and I got married. I used to be the one at every party talking loud, making a scene, and gathering attention. But, now I'm mostly uncomfortable in situations like that. I'm more aware now through my reading and research about my ADD social awkwardness and tendency to blurt out whatever is rattling around in my head at the time. But, I'm more than happy now to stay outta the limelight and let DaHubby be the social butterfly. And, oddly enough, nowadays I'm more direct and more comfortable being up-front yet have more trouble making friends than I used to.

I've worked in customer service/civil service type jobs most of my life - today the thought of returning to those situations stresses me out to no end. Too much conflict, negotiating, distractions, etc. Sometimes it's hard for me to imagine I ever worked in law enforcement. LOL

I'm pretty much still self-centered and get self-absorbed dealing with my distractions and work each day...well, I'm just bein' real. But, the skills I've garnered in the last 10 years seem to have completely changed how I am scored in those personality tests.

One constant - though I'm not surprised - is my teaching. Every gifting evaluation, every test, every quiz points to my love of teaching. I've consistently scored in that area/skill set since I was young and can remember saying obnoxiously "there's NO WAY I'll EVER be a teacher!" LOL

So, is this just the maturation process? The self-awareness process? It worries me that I may have been "acting" all those years. Was THAT the "real me" or is THIS the "real me"?

While I'm working my tail off harder than I EVER imagined I would be raising the Vikings, I'm happier and more content and feel more myself now than ever.

That's a good sign, right? LOL

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Safe Travel

If you read this Sunday before noon, DaHubby, the Vikings and I will most likely be en route from Alpena to the Upper Peninsula. Prior to leaving, I scanned my concordance for Bible passages about safe travel and found none that fit my mood.

Then, I searched the net and stumbled across this. I don't know who to attribute it to (I found the same prayer on a Greek Orthodox site) but it's *just right* and exactly what I was looking for. Wanted to share it:

Lord Jesus Christ my God, be my Companion, guide and protector during my journey. Keep me from all danger, misfortune and temptation. By Your divine power grant me a peaceful and successful journey and safe arrival. In You I place my hope and trust and You I praise, honor and glorify, together with Your Father and Holy Spirit now and forever and ever. Amen.

Lord Jesus, You traveled with the two disciples after the resurrection and set their hearts on fire with Your grace. Travel also with me and gladden my heart with Your presence. I know, Lord, that I am a pilgrim on this earth, seeking the citizenship which is in heaven. During my journey surround me with Your holy angels and keep me safe from seen and unseen dangers. Grant that I may carry out my plans and fulfill my expectations according to Your will. Help me to see the beauty of creation and to comprehend the wonder of Your truth in all things. For You are the way, the truth and the life, and to You I give thanks, praise and glory forever. Amen

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Favorite Vacation Spot - Revisited

This is a reposted excerpt from a piece I published on 5-16-07.

A friend of mine from way back has a piece of property in Northern Michigan that is right on the St. Mary's River just south of Sault Ste. Marie. His cabin is on Neebish Island. I had my first invite up there around 1993. I have since been blessed to visit several years in a row and, most recently, I have introduced the place to DaHubby, Flicka, and Pojke (then in utero *wink*). It was and is an absolutely perfect slice of heaven.

So, when I saw a call for submissions from Michigan History magazine back in 2003 because they were putting together a special edition in tribute to the "Islands of the Great Lakes", I knew I had my writing assignment cut out for me. But, how could I describe this place in 300 words or less!? This is how:

"It was so little but has had a powerful effect on me.

One little island. One little cabin. Everybody running out on their docks when the distant rumble of engines reaches their ears. At that point, the St. Mary’s River seems almost narrow enough to swim across yet upbound thousand-foot freighters glide by effortlessly several times a day. A single freighter is well worth the drive from downstate.

Neebish Island seems to be the wilderness sister to its neighbor, Sugar Island. Everything about it says “shhhh, don’t tell anyone.” The ferry is harder to find. The signs are harder to notice. It seems quieter, greener, and full of hidden roads, paths, and treasures.

I first arrived at Neebish around 1993 thanks to a dear friend whose family has had a cabin on the island for decades. The wall space over the desk is covered in photos documenting the generations of this family that have used, appreciated, and added on to this piece of property.

Almost everybody along this stretch of beach are distant relatives of the same family. Yet, they are considerate and welcoming of strangers and guests. That includes the unofficial welcoming party of often more than a half of a dozen dogs, well trained and well mannered, who wander freely and play for hours on the beach.

The adopted motto for those using the cabin is “a rainy day at Neebish is still better than a sunny day downstate.” Cell phones are turned off. There’s no television. Only a radio. It takes a day or two but you get on “Neebish time”: eat when you are hungry, sleep when you are tired, read a lot, and visit the rest of the time.

I have been so blessed by this tiny slice of heaven. It is a magical place."

I was selected - as were DaHubby's photos! It was our first published pieces! And, it made my love for this place all the sweeter....

Saturday morning, when this is scheduled to publish, the Vikings and I will be heading north to pick up DaHubby near Big Rapids, then off to Alpena for the night, and then up to Neebish for some family time. We will also make it into "DaSoo" aka Sault Ste Marie - DaHubby's old stomping grounds.

Friday, August 21, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

As I opened my Bloglines account recently after a week of neglect, I found over 350 blog posts to read. Many are my frugal sites with lists of deals, coupson, and freebies. But, I have been incredibly fortunately to stumble onto some really gifted writers that make my "mommy brain" stop for second and reach for something more, the bigger things, on things above.

So for my 7 quick takes, here are seven of my favorite bigger-than-my daily-stuff blog writers:

Jen at Conversion Diary (and the host of 7 Quick Takes) - despite having left the Catholic Church of my youth, she talks about God, her conversion, and her interactions with her faith with the enthusiasm of a Pentecostal! LOL

Anita at Ask a Lutheran - she talks doctrine like no one I know. She's knows her stuff better and is better at explaining it than pastors I've met!

Karen at Growing in Grace is honest, open, transparent as a believer, church worker, and homeschoolin' mom.

Carmen at In The Open Space - she's thrills my English teacher heart by pulling the best "God talk" out of modern media.

Heather at Not a DIY Life - she inspires me to put more God into my everyday things. Her faith is intertwined in all she does and it shows.

Pam at Without Fear - she also inspires me with her daily walk and her thankfulness.

L-Jay at My Little Norway - a fellow Scandinavian adoptee through marriage! LOL While I married DaHubby (a Yooper of Swedish descent), she went even farther and married a full-blooded Norwegian and moved to Norway! LOL Her blog is a delight of photos and insight of learning and living a new culture.

For more Quick Takes, stop by Jen's bloggy home.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday Thanks Tank

I'm getting ready to go up north for a few days with DaHubby and the kids so my mind is wandering to all the pluses we're anticipating...

I'm so thankful for the 17 years of friendship with a former fellow University of Michigan public safety officer who now dutifully and excellently serves the fine people of Colorado as a state trooper.

I'm thankful that he saw fit to allow me to keep keys to his family's cabin in the Upper Peninsula.

I'm thankful for the cabin's remoteness...the lack of running water is nothing compared to its peacefulness.

I'm thankful for its location which is "coincidentally" about 30 minutes from where DaHubby grew up and 25 miles from the Soo Locks. And, as a result, it provides us with endless entertainment as 600-1000+ foot Great Lakes freighters and "salties" make their way by upbound to various points of refilling.

I'm thankful that the Vikings get so geeked about making that last turn on the southern part of northbound I75 and scream "THERE'S THE MACK-NEE-AW BRIDGE!"

I'm thankful that DaHubby will get a couple days of "guys-only" enjoyment and relaxation before we all head north.

Finally, I'm trying to be thankful for what will turn out to be 8+ hour drive...LOL

For more TTT, stop by Pam's bloggy home.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

OK, I just vented at Mickey Mouse *sigh*

I just got an email asking for input on an article for Family Fun about all-inclusive vacation spots. As part of their "reader panel", they wanted to know what places I would suggest for a future article. Since I use their magazine often to spend LESS money, I was a bit irked. In a fit, I just hit "send" on the following:

"Are you serious? In this economy? All inclusive vacations? Who has money for those?

I live in Michigan and my husband works in the manufacturing field. Our county is in the top 3 for highest unemployment rates in the state. My husband's hours have wavered between 24-40 hrs/wk since January - a cut of 2/5 of our income. He's in school full-time as well (covered by a full-ride grant/scholarship) for a career change/retraining so he cannot get a 2nd job nor watch the kids so I can go back to work. If we hadn't had some savings, we'd have lost the house in April. I'm feeding four of us on a $65/week grocery budget.

We haven't been on vacation for longer than a 3-day weekend in nearly 6 years. We've cut up all our credit cards so it would take us YEARS to save up enough to take a vacation like that. We have Chicago an hour away and South Bend 45 min away and we hadn't been to either in over a year. Michigan Adventure and Great Wolf Lodge are within a half-day drive and we have NEVER been to either.

I understand your parent company is Disney but c'mon!"

Why do I get the feeling I'm gonna have Mickey Mouse show up at my door in retribution now? LOL

Wordless Wednesday: Sand Angel

For more WW, go here or here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday Tip Jar

I read about this idea somewhere online - I believe a mom was using it to help her kids countdown 'til their active duty dad came home from overseas. So, I thought I'd try it with Flicka's back-to-school, starting-kindergarten countdown. But, it could be used for anything...

I counted how many days until school started and made a simple paper chain with that many links. Each night, Flicka rips one link off. When they're all gone, school will start the next morning.
It's makes time passing somewhat more tangle for the younger concrete thinker.

For more TTJ, stop by Blogmommas today.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Kindergarten prep Viking style

This is a post which makes me feel very conflicted. I had every intention of homeschooling Flicka for the first few years of elementary level schooling. However, due to the shakeup around here due to DaHubby's full time work with full time schooling, and due to his occasionally cut back hours which made us feel I might be going back to work this fall, I reluctantly enrolled Flicka in kindergarten.

I deliberately picked a kindergarten via Michigan's school-of-choice outside our current district. While our district is ranked in the top fifty districts in Michigan, we just didn't feel it was a good fit for us or for Flicka at this time.

That all being said - I still want Flicka as prepared as possible just like any other mom would. So, with a little research and with pulling out some homeschooling resources, we're having a mini-preK skills review the next three weeks.

I made up a calendar for myslef with the countdown and a list of skills. I also made a countdown device (which I'll share tomorrow for my Tuesday Tip Jar) and each day we will review a skill as was recommended on a handful of sites.

Yesterday, it was counting and numbers. We had Flicka counting everything we could find. For example, while we were waiting in line to eat after church, she counted the clean trays at the deli - up to 16 without assistance.

Today, it's practicing her name - knowing the letters, their sounds, and forming them. So, I typed out her full name in Comic Sans, blew it up to about 60 pt font, centered it, and copy/pasted it 6 times on a sheet of paper.

So, much of it is self-driven or opportunistic learning but the more the better to prepare for the big change of formal, structured, government school learning. LOL

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Block Party Success

With about a 33% turnout for the first mini-block party in 8 years on this street (and the first since DaHubby and I arrived in 2005), I'm declaring it a success! I also have two new friends on Facebook - two of my neighbors! LOL

Some meet-and-greet at the beginning...

In the shade with my house in the background...

The dinner spread...

Thanks to everyone who pitched in - especially those that brought the tables and chairs and everyone's AWESOME food!

Thank you Dr. Peet and family for hanging out with us (one of the doctor's offices on the corner) as well as some neighbors on the street where our block ends.

And, we will be visiting one neighbor where she works (the children's section of the public library the next town north os us) probably sometime before school starts!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday Thanks Tank

Better late than has been one of those days. LOL

Today I am thankful that... family member who had major surgery Monday is home, in her own bed, and (as far they can tell during the operation) now cancer-free!!!


...I live where I do. Lately, I'm just falling in love with my new hometown all over again.

...I ran into a few friends from my high school years at an event in my original hometown last weekend.

...for safe travel to and from the Detroit area last weekend despite some awful weather and some questionable drivers. LOL

and...for the Vikings good health. There have been so many sick kids being prayed for on the blogs, on Twitter, and on Facebook that I am so thankful the Vikings have never been to ER or the hospital (other than their births) and have been to the pediatrician primarily for well checks and ear infections.

For more TTT, go see what Pam's talking about this week.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Weigh In Wednesday

Supercritical : (Physics) pertaining to a mass of radioactive material in which the rate of a chain reaction increases with time.

A term I learned helping DaHubby study for finals...

And, one that would describe my eating habits this weekend as we traveled to the Detroit area. LOL A chain reaction that increased with time...

Not only did I NOT keep my exercise goal (with the library videos) due to the traveling, I also gained 3 pounds! *smacks forehead*

So, back to the drawing board...back into the saddle...pick your metaphor but I am SOOOOO NOT gaining any more weight! Ya hear me? No more weight!!

Stop by the Sisterhood for everyone else's update today as well...

Wordless Wednesday

This was my second favorite pic from the weekend...and this is my first:
For more WW, go here or here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesday Tip Jar

Another of those thing I thought everyone did but found out maybe not! LOL

Gearing up for a block party this coming weekend and DaHubby and I will be smoking some chickens for out part. Smoked (or baked or crockpot'd) chickens mean lots of "guts" with which to make chicken stock.

Pouring water, dumping in the leftovers, boiling and seasoning is the easy part - but getting the fat strained off afterward is sometimes a pain.

So, as you are putting the broth into the fridge to cool, place a piece of wax paper cut to the shape/size of your pot on the top of the broth. As the fat rises to the top, it clings to the wax paper. The next morning - off comes the wax paper and with it all the fat!

For more TTJ, stop by Blogmommas today!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Daddy Daughter Finale

My second favorite pic from the weekend...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Contemplating Simplicity

While browsing through one of DaHubby's favorite magazines, I found this book listed in a set of recommendations from the folks who generally read it.

Voluntary Simplicity was originally written in 1981 and apparently was considered quite a landmark for those looking to step back, simplify, and work towards less consumable and more sustainable lifestyles.

Now, I've made the stereotypical and generational swing from liberal young person to conservative older person. I was very interested and followed Sierra Club and Amnesty International and the like in college. I was a moderate "tree hugger" in terms of the environment. As I have (hopefully gracefully) aged, my beliefs and political leanings have changed dramatically. And, as we can see in any given day in the media, there's still MUCH polarization between the two extremes of the political spectrum.

But, while this is written from a definite "tree hugger" mentality, I think it is a very well balanced middle road and also very relevant now as our economy is shuddering from the results of overconsumption.

I haven't finished the book yet but I AM thinking about my responsiblities to my family and the earth and this book is opening my eyes up to other things we can do to simplify and enrich our lives without all the media, technology, and consumerism. And, how my heart was right about limiting all the comsumerism aimed at the Vikings.

More to come...

Saturday, August 8, 2009



Remembering my two angels lost too early to Heaven
Remembering God's greatness and goodness
Remembering all my life is in His hands

Friday, August 7, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

It just occurred to me as I was laying in bed about to fall back asleep that we're leaving in about 5 hours for a 3-day road trip and I have *nothing* packed and three blog posts to write to keep up with my one-post-a-day promise for August! LOL Way to wake a girl up!

So, I've been wanting to jump in with 7 Quick Takes with Jen over at Conversion Diary but manage to always forget. So, here's my first installment...

1. Last weekend, we took the kids to the Healthworks kids' museum in South Bend. Smaller than we expected but fun. What's better that 3 foot tall eyeballs to a preschooler? LOL We saw a display from these folks and can't WAIT to see what they have in store for their new installation at OUR local kids' museum's new annex to be finished next summer!

2. We're headed to the Detroit area this weekend for this event. My hometown showcasing her finest.

3. I can't stop looking at these photo albums here and here from my friend and her family who are co-serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators and Lutheran Bible Translators. I'm just fascinated with their lives and their work with a group in Papua New Guinea.

4. I'm being haunted by a KitchenAid mixer. I have a brand new, still in box, never been used Kitchen Aid mixer that I have listed on the local MOMS Club message board, Ebay, and Craig's List. Guess I should take it as a hint that this little baby wants to remain here in my home.

5. Have I mentioned the AWESOME deal I got on a used iPod? Yes, I finally gave in and swallowed my PC pride and bought an Apple product. My 3rd or 4th Handspring/Palm product in the last 9 years was starting to show signs of crashing. That is a VERY bad thing since my ADD allows me to NEVER keep the smallest detail in my working memory for longer than 3-5 seconds (LOL). Most of my information-keeping life is on that Palm.

Anyway, a non-techie mom in my MOMS Club group with a Apple-freak for a hubby had an 8G 1st generation iPod that she needed to find a new home for since her hubby upgraded her to an iPhone (a nice gift for someone who ISN'T a techie *eyes rolling* but it's all about the love language, ya know? LOL). So at about 50% the current list price, I have a brand-new-to-me iPod Touch! *squeal* And, what did I ever do without one?

6. Confession time - in the few minutes of "momma TV time" I get, I've been revisiting an old addiction...on! LOL Old episodes of The Pretender! I dont' know why exactly that show then and now captures my I-need-some-brain-candy-for-a-moment imagination but it still does! LOL I'm done with season one and working through season two now.

7. Finally, next week is finals week for the spring/summer semester for DaHubby. He had FIVE classes which were so hard that the college and his program agreed that it was too hard to jam everything they needed to know into the traditional 7-week condensed spring and then 7-week condensed summer semester so they took the courses the "usual" way over the 14 weeks. And, can I say...I am SO glad this semester is nearly over?! It has been (by far) the worst one yet. My poor hubby has been run ragged with job shadowing shifts, a capstone paper, and three additional classes in things I can't even pronounce all while working 24-40 hours a week.

Well, that's it! If you'd like to see more examples of 7 Quick Takes, stop by Jen's today!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thursday Thanks Tank

Gonna have to be a little cryptic because I've really haven't been given the go-ahead to share all the details but I have a very special TTT today.

Someone in the family has been diagnosed with cancer. This is the third person in 4 years. In this case, it is uterine cancer. While a diagnosis of cancer is not something my extended family takes lightly, I am still thankful for God's hand in the events so far...

Yes, it's cancer but there's two kinds of uterine cancer: one relatively easy to treat and one that's scarier. This person has the first.

Yes, she's looking at major surgery next week but if the cancer is contained within the lining - which her doctor anticipates it is - and no cancer has made an appearance in her surrounding lymph nodes, there will be no radiation and no chemo! Praise God!

So, we are praying for a good result, good findings, and a quick recovery from Monday's surgery!

And, praising God for the right doctors and the right circumstances that brought this all together!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Weigh In Wednesday

Well, I'm still working on that weight loss thing. Not really counting points this time but working on just being more active. I'm down 11 pounds overall but the folks over at The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans are starting a new challenge today.

It's only 3 weeks long - 21 days - and supposedly that's how long it takes a new habit to stick. So, I for once have a plan and a goal. LOL

Part one - in three weeks, I'd like to lose at least 5 more pounds.

And, part two, I'm renting workout videos from my local library and I am going to commit to doing them at least twice a week. This is in addition to the other more-active things I'm doing.

So, since I would NEVER publish how much I weigh at this point (*blush*), let's just say I wanna be five pounds less from here. LOL

If you're interested in joining us, stop by the Sisterhood and jump on board.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday Tip Jar

This week's tip is short and sweet.

I've stopped trusting how much soap/detergent portions that manufacturers claim I need to use. LOL Just like the car dealership telling you to come in every 3,000 miles for an oil change (at $20-40 a pop) when your manual from the automaker says every 5,000-7,000 miles (or more)!

I slowly cut back on the "cap-full" measurement of detergent for each laundry load until I reached the tipping point of cleanliness and I'm now saving nearly 1/2 a cap-full per load.

And, I've started cutting my dryer sheets in half. Yes, in half. It's works nearly year 'round - with Michigan dry, static-y winter months as an exception. So, instead of buying a box of 70 count dryer sheets about every 7 weeks, I am now doing it every 3.5 months!

I know it's just pennies but when I'm trying to keep us on a $60-65/week grocery budget, leaving off a $2.79 box of dryer sheets means I have nearly $3 to spend on more produce or one more dinner worth of meat.

For more Tuesday Tip Jar ideas, stop by Blogmommas today!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Divin' In

A thought struck me as I watched Pojke jump joyously into his swim teacher's arms this afternoon...

Am I plunging in lately? Plunging in for the things God has for me?

Abraham didn't focus on his own impotence and say, "It's hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child." Nor did he survey Sarah's decades of infertility and give up. He didn't tiptoe around God's promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. That's why it is said, "Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right." But it's not just Abraham; it's also us! (Romans 4 - The Message)

Am I plunging into His promise, His plan for me? Am I jumping in joyously? No fear - as Pam encourages? *wink*

I'm diving in
I'm going deep
In over my head I wanna be
Caught in the rush
Lost in the flow
In over my head I wanna go
The river's deep
The river's wide
The river's water is alive
So sink or swim
I'm diving in
I'm diving in
(Steven Curtis Chapman - Dive)

Only once in my life have I thrown everything up to Him because I was *that sure* I was heading where He wanted. Left all kind and all levels of security and things I knew to follow a new path that now including DaHubby. It was the scariest but most exhilarating time of my life. I'd had experienced nothing like it before..and nothing really like it since.

There is a supernatural power in this mighty river's flow
It can bring the dead to life, and it can fill an empty soul
And give a heart the only thing worth livin' and worth dyin' for, yeah

But we will never know the awesome power of the grace of God

Until we let ourselves get swept away into this holy flood
So if you'll take my hand, we'll close our eyes and count to three
And take the leap of faith
Come on let's go..

Anyone wanna hold hands and jump in again with me and see where it takes us?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

What's the Cost?

Are you a believer? If so, what has it cost you?

Yea, I know all the perks - I've been around one church denomination or another since I can remember. Grew up Catholic. Spent my college and post-college years Lutheran. And, then had a whole new world opened up to me when I married the son of a Pentecostal pastor.

Most folks know the upside of becoming a believer...even if they aren't all entirely true. Your sins will be washed away - true. You'll have new life - true. Your life will never be the same when you follow Christ - true. And, being in God's will is the ONLY place to be - also true.

Then there's the other perks that some believers and nonbelievers alike attribute to Christians.

"Oh, you'll be so happy all the time" - false. You can have peace, contentment, and joy but on-the-surface happy all the time? Not so much. LOL

"Your life will be perfect and trouble-free." Has anyone that believes this ever *really* read the lives of the apostles? LOL No, your life will NOT be trouble/sickness/challenge free but you CAN have the faith and peace and assurance to get you through those things and much more.

But, has your belief in Christ ever cost you anything? Cost you in terms of "take up your cross and follow me" no matter what? Have you had to give *everything* to follow Jesus? Have you been made uncomfortable by having chosen to stand in your faith? Lost friends? Lost job promotions? Lost relationships with family? Lost your job? Know of someone who has lost their life for their faith?

The sermon we heard today was about the cost and challenge of discipleship. There is just no room (and no time) anymore for half-hearted stuff. The things that Jesus asked of the disciples are still things He asks of us. In this day and age, in this generation, in this era, we still need to put God before *everything* else - even our parents, our families, our spouses, and our children.

Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has [enough] to finish [it -- ] lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see [it] begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

It's not as radical as it might sound. He gave it all to you - your life, your spouse, your kids, your home, your gifts, your talents, your job, your "stuff", EVERYTHING. So, you have to let it all go and entrust it back to Him for this faith thing to really work. It's the only way to truly be in His will - which is, from my experience as well as dozens of testimonies I have heard, is the only place you'll truly want to be.

So, today it's been running through my head...what's it going to cost me? I've been fortunate that it's cost me very little so far. To my knowledge and as far as I can remember, it has cost me almost nothing. There have been tense conversations and explanations to family. There have been chuckles and rolling eyes from people who knew me before I got back to church. There are people who knew me back-in-the-day and are sincerely shocked to hear that I'm in church and a "holy roller" at that! LOL But, it hasn't cost me anything.

So, I'm also wondering today - is it because I'm not stepping out in faith as I should be? Am I not walking in my faith and walking my walk as I should?

Now, I'm not one to go looking for trouble but I am wondering lately how I "appear" to others - not in the "oh, what will the neighbors think" type of obsession but sincerely wondering how my walk reflects my faith. And, I think lately I'm due some real conviction in this area.

We've met people and just *knew* immediately they were believers without them speaking more than a few sentences. The peace of the Lord is just pouring off of them. But, I don't think that's the impression people get from us at this point. Not a whole lot of the fruit of the Spirit being harvested around here lately. LOL

So, another goal. Another thing to work toward. But, it's gonna cost me. If I need to put things back on track, I'm gonna have to give up something else. If the priorities are shifting, something's gotta go. So, what's it gonna cost me? I'm not sure yet but I'll let you know.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

What Has God Got In Store?

DaHubby often teasingly corrects me or the Vikings when we wish him or someone else "good luck!" He's says "no such thing as good luck." I know what he means - if God's in control of everything (and He IS) then there is no such thing as good or bad luck.

We also don't really believe in "coincidence" either. Again, if God is in control (and He IS) then there really isn't any coincidence.

Then, there's the family that we've now run into twice in 8 days. Before last Friday, we had never met them. When DaHubby and I went our for a date night last Friday, we talked about the family with five kids apparently all under 10 years old and how well behaved their kids were as we watched a community concert performance.

Then, today after lunchtime, we impulsively decided to jump in the minivan and go on a short road trip to South Bend. There's a relatively inexpensive kids' museum that we wanted to try. The weather was beautiful for a drive but was supposed to turn rainy before too long so we stopped by the ATM and off we went.

Later, we had spent 2 hours at the museum and then an hour playing at and wandering through one of the South Bend malls. By then we were all ready for some dinner. DaHubby and I picked Chick-Fil-A. And, who ends up sitting at the table right next to us? The same family from last Friday!

"Dad" is an engineer - like DaHubby. "Mom" is a former teacher who is homeschooling her crew - like my original plan with Flicka. She is from the east side of the state - like me. And, they attend a church - like ours - about 10 minutes from the house. As we chatted through dinner, it was like we'd known them forever.

Obviously, not believing in good luck or coincidence, this could only be from God. What are the odds that one family from our town with such similar background, training, and beliefs picked the EXACT day, the EXACT time, and the EXACT restaurant as we did in a town 45 minutes away from our homes?

As they left, I gave the mom my contact information and told her I'd love to talk to her about homeschooling, particularly since she's apparently the president of our local homeschooling group! LOL

I can't wait to see what else God has in store!