Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Singing At Midnight

Photo:  Courtesy Library of Congress
Midnight sun in Advent Bay, Spitzbergen, Norway

This week I have been discouraged.  I was spending time with the Lord this morning and here is what He showed me:

"But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were unfastened."
Acts 16:25-26

You may be familiar with this story from Acts.  Paul had just called out a demon from the slave-girl whose masters were profiting from her fortune telling.  The men, whose profits were gone as a result, seized Paul and Silas.  Without a public trial, they were beaten, imprisoned, and placed in stocks.  There was nothing fair or right about what happened.  Paul and Silas were doing the work of the Lord.  They were pursuing righteousness.  Following the course set for them, they were arrested and thrown in prison after being beaten.  I rather imagine, they endured it quietly, without hampering their witness.  However, at the end of the chapter, in verse 37, the truth was known.  They knew where their strength came from; Paul had just utilized the power of the Living God when he called out the demon from the slave girl.  

When they were bound in prison, surely their share of doubts came.  God, why don't you get us out of this?  Why are we in here Lord?  Don't you care?  You are the One that told us to come to this city and now we're in prison.  Do something.  Those would be my questions.  But we see something distinctively different in this story of Paul and Silas.  We see them praise at midnight.  They were keenly aware that while they were chained, they were surrounded by the Living One and True God.  They were not forgotten, they were not bound because of past sins (remember Paul's past), they were not bound because of something they did wrong.  In fact my friend, they were bound to glorify God.  The Lord God accompanied them to this place of imprisonment.  He led them there.  He called them to this place for this very hour of praise.  For with the stocks came praise at midnight.  The Lord shook the foundations of the jail and their chains were unfastened, but none left.  As a result, the jailer was saved along with his household.  Glory to God.  
Whatever has your feet in stocks, wherever you are imprisoned, praise him.  Praise Him, PRAISE HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Praise him at midnight when the hour looks its darkest.  Praise him when you don't see His hand working.  Praise Him when the circumstances look like the exact opposite of what you are praying for.  Praise Him because He is the One that shakes the earth...Praise Him when the hour looks darkest.  You are surrounded by a heavenly host resounding the Sweet Name of Jesus.    Join in the singing and my friend, at midnight we'll be singing together.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Life is Richer

One of Tonja's precious sons giving her a rose on her last performance night.  Pretend it is a clear picture.  Although, blurry is how we all saw it there because we were crying. :)

Meet my friend, Tonja.  
If you know Tonja, you are smiling.  If you don't, you will smile by the end of this post because she has that affect on people.
She has just lost her cheerleader, her friend, her mama.  Her heart is heavy, sad, and weary.  Now, Tonja is one strong lady.  She can look adversity square in the eyes, smile at it while remembering that she is the Tonjanator(what Ben and I call her) and kindly ask it to move over.  Her sweet faith is strong and trusting in her Savior; that is why adversity doesn't scare the T-jator.  She knows where her strength comes from.  It doesn't mean there isn't hurt or pain, but there is assurance.  
She and I have a wonderful time working together!  In fact, when it was time for me to go back to work and the boys were having a hard time with it, Tonja explained that we are all part of a family and that each person in the family does what they can to help the other people in the family.  She just knows how to explain the things in life that aren't easy.  I saw on her blog, a friend said they accidently wound up being friends and her life was richer because of it.  
So, my dear Tonja, it is through tears that I say to you that my life is richer for knowing you.   The Lord is working for your good.  Your smile warms my heart and your shoes make me dance.  The Lord smiles over you and loves you!  Your life adds music to those you are around!  Thank you for making me sing and not look to see who is watching.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

To My Most Uncommon Hero,

*Please click on the song Uncommon on the playlist in the box to the right(it should begin automatically) and make sure your volume is on, hopefully you'll be encouraged as well by the words.*

Dear Ben,

Today we celebrate our eighth anniversary.  You are so many things to me.  I listened to the song yesterday Uncommon and you exhort me to strive for this.  More importantly, you are uncommon.  Your life is different.  Your life speaks volumes.  You have so much character.  You are pursuing things in life that count.  That last.  For eternity.  You take the road less traveled.  I am along for the ride.  You remind me to trust, to let go, and to feel the very presence of God.  What a sweet breeze to my soul you are.  
I know I often resist letting you into my heart.  That is such a scary place for me.  I am thankful that as I have opened up, you hold my heart and soul gently.  I know I often retreat back and put up walls.  I guess that is what love is.  Un-guarding.  Oddly, we spend so much of our life learning to not trust, to not let go and then I met you.  Trustworthy, faithful, loving, forgiving, and most of all, safe.  I think a gentle breeze is the best way to describe your affect on my soul.  
I know you are not perfect, but I can honestly say you are amazing.   I am more proud of you today than ever.  My love has truly grown and grown.  You are leaving a legacy. One our boys will be proud and honored to say is Uncommon.
Today, I celebrate our love, our commitment, our covenant.  I am so thankful for you; you have my heart.  All of it.  For as long as we live.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Blame Game

Today, David was in the living room scolding me for playing the piano.  He can't stand it.  He gets his little finger and flings it around in the air while commanding a halt of the music.  I told him I liked to play the piano and that he needed to relax.   To this, he flung himself into the wall and proceeded to turn on the gas fireplace.  I quickly  stopped playing (gas over music any day) and now that I am typing this, I see his thought pattern.  Little turkey!  He knew I would quit playing if he turned on the fireplace!!!!!!   Unbelievable.  
Anyway, as Dona would say, I am spiderwebbing.  
I think I scared him as I yelled to never, NEVER, NEVER turn on the fireplace.  He tripped over my lovely candles I have on the hearth.  :(  
He ran and hid under the dining room chair.  His little head was popping out and he just watched as I picked up the glass.
I calmly picked it up.  I like to put out pretty things.  So, I put them out and if they break, so be it.  I am not one to put everything I like up out of reach.  Different strokes for different folks.  I teach the boys to respect our home, the contents, and when there is an accident, to take responsibility and help clean it up (not glass though).  Honestly, we have had very few things break.  It happens, but not too often.  There are no off limit rooms, however, we respect where we are and the behavior in the room needs to be appropriate.  
WOW!!!  I am getting way off the subject!!
So, David keeps repeating, "Lukey broke it."
I am not really paying much attention due to the annoying sliver of glass in my foot that is a cross between pain and an itch.  
After all was cleaned up, I found him in with the older two.  I asked him what he needed to say. All he could come up with was, "Lukey broke it."
When that one didn't work with me, he changed it to, "Jenamin broke it."
That didn't fly with me either.  So, he mumbled, "Sorry Mommy."  

It got me thinking.   How many times do I hear great truth and in the back of my mind think, "Boy do I wish so and so would hear this."   Or, read convicting passages in the Bible and instead of looking at myself and the sin that God is trying to show me, think of how much so and so needs to read this passage.  If I were focusing on the areas God is trying to deal with me, the application from the Truth, would fall on my shoulders and my eyes would not be so much on others, but on myself.  

Monday, July 13, 2009


This was Benjamin on the first day of K4

This little guy cracks me up with the things he says!

To Luke he chided,  "Luke, you sound like a whiny lady."

Last week as we were driving in the car. Our family was talking and apparently Benjamin became frustrated at the lack of attention he was receiving.  To which he replied, "Some people get all the love."

Benjamin climbing a tree (one of his favorite things to do) at Gaucho farms in June of 2009.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Rainy Day and the News

This is Uncle Daniel, Ben's brother.  I have some news!  He is getting married!  He asked Brooke(click here to visit her site) to marry him, and guess what?  She said, "Yes!"  Congratulations Daniel!    

About the new header:  
The hands are Benjamin's and Luke's on  glass doors we have going into our living room.
I was able to do some really fun editing stuff at this site (click here to try it out).

We have enjoyed our rainy day today.
We home schooled (we do this in the summer) this morning.  I absolutely love getting to teach them.  I know the time is so short and we will look back on that fondly.  

After that, we went and did a little (emphasis on little) work in my room today.
I always start to get excited thinking about the upcoming school year!!!!!

Then, we went to Barnes and Noble.  We had so much fun there, until it was time to leave.  

We enjoyed an indoor picnic at home today since it was so rainy.  How thankful I am for the rain!!!  Our little vegetable garden is smiling.  

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Conference, The Fountain Drink

I just returned from Samford University.  I am a graduate of Samford and have been blessed to attend a Summer Institute for Teaching Excellence with my dear friends and fellow teachers.  I am beyond thankful for our friendships that we have at the preschool where I teach-it really is a God thing!  
On my way home, I stopped at a Chevron on  highway 231.  
I was thirsty.  From singing.   That tendency can drive my boys batty.  The iPod was invented for people like me.  Now I can just sing any time I want to!!!!  And sing I do.  Aren't you proud Tonja?
So, the need to quench my thirst was great and I pulled into a nice clean facility to get a little gas and a GREAT BIG FOUNTAIN DIET COKE!  You know there is nothing better.
I had cash.
Apparently, cash is becoming like a thing of the past in America.
I kept pushing the help button.  To no avail.  
I pull up to another tank since I am now wet with sweat and REALLY thirsty.
I notice signs on all of the other tanks.  IF you have cash, pay inside.  Oh.  
I just wish the little lady inside would have used her little microphone to let me know I was looking like an idiot.
I headed inside to pay CASH for my gas and to purchase my icy, big, refreshing Diet Coke.
As I filled my cup, the cola ran out and was only the carbonated water-OH NO!!!!! I mention to the little lady the problem- thinking she would quickly switch the tanks.  Not so much.  She stayed where she was and said she would have to change it-her body language insinuated later as opposed to earlier.
Get this-I said,"Well here is my cup, I guess you just want me to throw it away?"
I said it like a question, but what I really meant was-sorry about the cup, I am not waiting for the Diet Coke tank change.
"No don't throw away that cup, it is my inventory.  I will just rinse it with a little Clorox."

Do you get what she is saying?

She was going to swish a cup that I handled, filled with some liquid and put Clorox in it and put it BACK OUT FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO BUY!!!!!

I looked at her in disbelief and said, " Ma'am that is GROSS!!!!!!"

photo courtesy of flickr.com