The Right Way To Eat Pizza (not just about pizza)

Everybody knows the right way to eat pizza.

pizza

Pepperoni with parmesan.

The first bite is out of the side by the crust, right?

No.  The first bite is the pointed part, of course.

Why do we think this?  Because it’s how it’s “supposed” to look?

Or is it better as a supreme pizza with meats and vegetables?

Extra cheese.

Only cheese.

Two pieces together.

Or just folded in half.

With ranch dressing?

Or pizza with ham and pineapple.

Or what about an all vegetable pizza?

What about 3 day old pizza on the desk in your dorm room?  Perfect!  Right?

Pizza is a serious thing and people get kinda passionate about the right way to enjoy it.

Maybe NOT having pizza is the right answer.

The thing is – none of these are wrong and none are right.

They are just different.

Mission work is the same way.

When we do work for the Lord, haters, skeptics, and critics come out of nowhere.

When we start telling people we feel God is calling us to do a specific work, we hear more, “You’re doing it wrong,” than anything else.

Maybe it’s not wrong at all.  Maybe just different than someone else thinks it “should” look.

When we ask God what HE wants us to do instead of doing what WE would like to do every day, life begins to look different, WE begin to live differently, and spiritual warfare happens more than usual yet peace is more apparent at the same time.

When you stop looking around at other people, and you start looking UP to God and asking His direction, that’s when most amazing things start happening.

I pray for peace for people reading this and for all people to find God’s plan for their lives because He has one for each of us.

~~~>  When people are focused on what God’s planned for their own lives, there won’t be time to be upset about the jobs God’s got others doing or upset about the way He’s showing them to do the jobs.  <~~~

Some people believe you must do mighty things to actually get visible results. But God’s got this. He once had people march around a city and the walls fell down. Can you imagine the things that were said to them and about them and the way people mocked their faith? March around a city? Blow horns? What?! Such nonsense, right?

But the walls fell all the same.

Obedience matters.

~~~>  Sometimes God said things that really seem strange. “Cast your nets on the other side.”

What??

Does God not realize how completely silly that sounds to human ears? (I’m sure He does.)

I mean, when you think about it, the water underneath the boat was all the same water, right?  <~~~

But He said to obey and when they did, the nets were full of fish.

It is about obedience to His Calling even when it looks silly to other people.

For our family, we believe God is calling our family to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen center.  Unless you have walked in our shoes, you wouldn’t understand how this fits every experience and test God’s put us through.

Some say, “God doesn’t lead us like that today.”

No?

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, right?
So since He’s the same…
He led people before the Bible was written, right?
And we know He led people during Bible times.
And He leads us now.

And how does that look for each of us?  I believe it may look just as different as each example in the Bible.  It looks as different as each “right” way to eat pizza.  What if all the ways are right enough?  When we look at the Bible examples, there are so many ways God led and so many different jobs He gave people.

God leads our steps when we ask Him to – and I’ve noticed over time that He was leading me EVEN when I wasn’t paying as much attention to my life. That’s pretty cool to think about.  My past is messy (just like many others’ lives are messy.)  And IF my life and past did nothing but bring me to spend the rest of it speaking blessings over people and telling you that YOU MATTER, all the junk I’ve been through was worth it to get to this place.

You are SO valuable. And if you forget, ask me and I will remind you a thousand more times. You are worth something. Maybe someone didn’t notice this about you. That’s unfortunate. Your life matters and your story matters.

It is so great that we each have different ways of learning, living, speaking, listening, different talents, and different ideas. What a boring world it could be if we were all exactly the same.

Sometimes when we do work for God, I have to wonder if He sees it as we do when our children do jobs we ask them to do.

Example:  Your young child washes a window.  She’s proud of the work she did.  You see the effort and also the places of the window she missed.  You’re still proud of her for trying.  You (hopefully) do not tell her what an awful job she did but instead, praise her and also help teach her gently how to do a better job as she tries next time and the next.

When we do work for God, we are proud of the work we did (sometimes a bit TOO proud and forget to thank and honor Him for the talents to do the jobs in the first place) and I’m sure God sees all the spots we missed.

He’s STILL proud of us for trying.

Ask God what HE wants you to do.  Try this for a month.  Follow the tugs on your heart and see how He will show you His plan for you.

[Note:  Our family would love to hear how God’s using your life and story.]

[Another Important note:  We would love to hear about the right way to order and eat pizza, too.]

 

 

 

 

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Comparing Sins

A woman committed adultery. Her marriage may be over. She’s broken-hearted. She cries, “How did I get here?” She needs someone to talk with.

She calls her friend to talk.  Then her friend calls more people and spreads the word, “Can you believe SHE did THAT?!”  Or she brags, “At least I didn’t do THAT!”

Are you aware?

That’s called gossiping.

Gossiping is a sin, too.

To those who would point fingers or throw stones at someone for whatever sin, I’ll say this again.  I believe God put these words on my heart after praying and spending time with Him:

Do you really think that sins we THINK are “smaller” drove the nails into Jesus’ Hands any more gently?

This is what we’re doing:

“YOUR sin swung the hammer REALLY hard! But MY sin was only a tiny tap on the nail!  MINE didn’t hurt Jesus as much as YOURS did.”

Really??

Do you hear yourself thinking that?

Do you realize we DO that – every day – with each other?

Please stop.

They are ALL sins. And a sin is a sin.

Matthew 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

Just because someone sins ~~> differently <~~ than you do does not make them any less worthy of Jesus’ gift of salvation.

I picture Jesus hanging on the cross, looking at us all, shaking his head, saying, “Father, please forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”

He’s talking about US.

You and me.

He’s not just talking about the people back then who were watching and literally nailing Him to the cross.

Romans 3:23-24 – for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and ALL are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Please pick someone up. Please be careful what you say to – and about – people.

I have a challenge for you this year. Every day please purposefully look for one person (or more) to lift with your words. Be genuine.

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Somebody needs YOU to speak life into her.  I believe you are the very right person for this important job.

An Open Letter to Divorced Parents at Christmas,

Hi. I’m Chloe and I’m 16. Divorce happened in my life when I was one year old.

This is the first Christmas I’m looking forward to. Any other year I couldn’t care less if tomorrow was Christmas and to be honest, I learned to dread all holidays.

Today I will be a voice for the four year old who doesn’t understand why this Christmas Mommy is not at Daddy’s house to open presents.

Little kids may not be able to speak out yet so I will for them.

I dreaded picking whose house I wanted to be at and dreaded the stress of hurting someone’s feelings that comes with it.

I also dreaded being forced to go to either house when I didn’t want to go.

My feelings matter.

Half a day here and half a day there is not fun. (And thankfully my parents did not make me do this.)

I dreaded presents I wouldn’t like but was told gift cards are tacky to ask for. They are not. Gift cards are okay to ask for.

I dreaded time with people who made me feel unwanted.

Divorce changes a family but not many people think of how the kid was affected.

You don’t “have” me or “get” me for Christmas.

I “get” chicken pox.

I “have” a rash.

I “have” to “go.”

I “got” a broken arm.

“I have my son for the holidays.”

What? You don’t “have” him like you have a rash. You’re blessed to spend time with him this Christmas. And if you’re truly blessed to spend Christmas with him, then treat him like it.

And don’t let him feel the divorce was his fault. Don’t be fake, either. You’re the grown up and if you want your kid to be part of your family, too, then act like it and take the first step.

While I understand some kids with divorced parents act like they don’t care because they’re getting extra presents, some place underneath it all they actually do care and they’re hurting.

Most of the time I couldn’t care less about the presents because hurt and sad memories were attached to them. Because every time I see the game that was at the top of my wish list, I remember the tears of missing my mom, and of brokenness that went along with this present.

A lot of us feel hurt that Christmas isn’t “normal” (whatever normal is.) Or kids are sad that their family is broken. Or they feel like a bother because Christmas family vacations aren’t whole. Or they feel left out of family events. Being a kid is hard enough. Please don’t add stress of your divorce to my life.

The divorce was not my fault. And I should get to hear that. Often.

Contrary to what many kids from divorced parents think, I know it wasn’t my fault. But I still feel stuck in the middle – because I AM.

I’m stuck between Mom and Dad and words like “biological” and “step.”  (I’m SO done with the word “step.”)

I’m stuck between two homes.

I’m stuck between feelings of brokenness and extra love.

I already feel torn and broken that you guys aren’t married anymore so please don’t add to that by forcing me or guilting me into coming over. I didn’t ask for the divorce and I’m not the grown up.

I’m the little kid who is learning that happily ever after isn’t always true.

Just talk to me.

Even as little kids we understand a lot more than you think we do. Talk with me WITHOUT trashing the other parent. It is okay for me to love Mom and Dad and I can even love new parents and new siblings. God doesn’t limit or divide our love. He increases it.

I get it. You’re grieving. I need time to grieve, too. Something died and it’s okay if I’m upset. Tell me it’s okay that I’m upset. I lost something too. I lost Christmas the way I wanted it to be.

Just love me today and spend time with me today. Pray over me. Remind me it’s okay to love Mommy AND Daddy and all the rest of this messy family – because it IS okay and I should get to hear that.

I will be okay and you will be okay.

I will love you BOTH and anyone else I choose to love – and you need to be okay with that.

I am blessed to get to spend time at Christmas with two parents, even if at separate houses, who love me and are nice to (and about) each other.

A Note from Chloe’s Mom.

Sometimes there are things that we never would have thought of before divorce that are now real life for us.

Celebrating on “the actual date” doesn’t matter anymore. You celebrate when you can and with the people who can be there.  And that’s okay.

You learn to accept that life looks different now – and that is okay. Even if other people don’t understand everything, that’s still okay.  We know that every situation is different.

You pray over your children and encourage them to enjoy time at the other parent’s house. Sure. Let them know you miss them but more people to love and care about any child in a healthy way is a good thing. It is okay for kids to enjoy Christmas at either house. I KNOW it’s rough. I spent many hours crying because holidays didn’t feel whole anymore. In fact, I spent many hours crying over just missing regular, everyday life moments.

If you’re a single mom or dad, we know it’s tough. We’ve been there. A lot of presents aren’t necessary. Your time just hanging out and listening to your kids matters more. If the other parent can afford more presents, that’s okay. If not, that’s okay, too.

We will be okay and you will be okay.

We wish you a peaceful and stress free Christmas – however that looks at your house.

Love, Kerri and Chloe

 

[Note:  Unfortunately, there are many times a child should not be in the care of someone.  Please do pay attention if something seems unsettling.  Everyone involved in a divorce can probably benefit from counseling if needed.]

 

Please Stop Shaming People and Start Helping People

It’s a trap. Sin is a trap. Make no mistake; the enemy is very clever. The sins that trap you are tailored just for you. It’s what satan does.

We get it. We know you didn’t realize what you were getting into when you started down this road. If you had known how it would bury you like this, you wouldn’t have chosen it. I believe that’s the truth.

Now, you may have “felt” like you were not worth enough NOT to head down this path.

THAT couldn’t be further from the truth. You are VERY worthwhile.

That’s another way that satan tricks people. That old devil tricks people into believing they don’t deserve to enjoy this life in healthy ways. Some people have told me they went back to something that wasn’t good for them BECAUSE they felt they deserved less. That breaks my heart.

YOU ARE VERY WORTHWHILE. (You don’t have to take my word for it. Jesus says so. He died FOR YOU.)

Pornography, for example, is a trap and the very nature of its design is to hook you and hold you, deaden your senses to beautiful sex the way God designed it, and keep you afraid to speak.

It is OKAY to ask for help. It is NOT weak. It actually takes courage to ask for help. <~~~ Think about that.

It may take talking with several people about a problem before you find someone who realizes we are not strong enough on our own to help others. We can help others BECAUSE of Jesus.

Personal story: When I was a little girl, someone molested me for years. Why didn’t I tell? I think I felt special. But he was treating me anything BUT special. It was ugly. And wrong. Now, some would argue that it’s not “fair” or “Christian” that I won’t let my children be around this person because we are called to forgive. I do forgive. But to let my children be around him would be unwise and would not be using the sense God gave me.  Because this was a crime against a child, I believe it would be bad idea.

I tell you a moment of my story to include that there ARE consequences to sin and that’s life in this broken world. Turning the other cheek doesn’t mean being unwise. God gives us senses for a reason.

I’m frustrated when well-meaning Christians shame someone by saying, “Well you should have known better. Too bad you messed up so badly. You’re going to hell.”

No. That’s NOT okay. And if you’re wondering if I’m talking to Christians, I am. I am especially talking to Christians. The world is looking to US to make a difference and to give them hope. Please do it. Speak life; not death.

What if, instead of shaming, we said, “Yes. That was wrong. I’m very sorry that happened in your life but God uses EVERYTHING. This time was NOT wasted. I expect more from you now. I know you can overcome this because Jesus is real and prayer works.  I will be praying over your life. You pray about it, too. God will use this part of your life to help someone else.”

It’s time to help pick each other up and stop shaming each other when we mess up.

We KNOW what we’re doing is wrong or else we wouldn’t feel the desire to HIDE it. Just like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, they knew something they did was wrong and they hid.

God knows what you did. AND HE STILL LOVES YOU.

This is where repentance comes in and it very much matters.

The world is crying out for help.

Please, PLEASE stop shaming people and start helping.

Please stop gossiping and start loving.

EVERYBODY sins.

I am NO more perfect than YOU are. Zero percent more perfect.

~~~> YOU are zero percent more perfect that someone with different sins than yours. <~~~

EVERYBODY needs Jesus. When we ACT like we can “do” this life on our own we are not giving thanks or recognizing what Jesus’ sacrifice was even for; to redeem us.

He doesn’t call us to fight these battles on our own. We do NOT have to fight alone.

You don’t have to wonder if someone is already praying over you. I am.

God, please touch the life of this reader in ways he or she sees is You and Your Love. Please give the Peace that ONLY You can give. Please send very real help in times of trouble when satan is up to his old – or new – tricks. Thank you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. – Ephesians 6:12

 

Because of Stephen (a very special kid)

God calls us in different ways.

Lisa was one of my roommates from college. She was called by God.

God gave her 3 healthy kids, 2 miscarriages, and Stephen. Because of her experiences she can help people in ways I can’t even begin to know how to.

Stephen is a very special kid with very special needs. He’s been diagnosed with multiple disabilities due to severe brain damage from birth because of preeclampsia; He is deaf, blind, epileptic, has a feeding tube, a shunt for hydrocephalus, non-ambulatory (meaning he can’t walk or sit or feed himself,) and Cerebral Palsy.

~~> When God calls you

it usually turns your world upside down. <~~

People are in their house all hours of the day (and sometimes night.) There’s no privacy.

Some of their house has been turned into a hospital ~ for Stephen.

People stare at him because he’s… different.

He’s a very beautiful “different” with a contagious laugh.

He’s here for a reason. God did not make him by mistake.

God has connected many people together because of Stephen.

If Stephen wasn’t Stephen, the nurses, doctors, therapists, and hundreds more people wouldn’t have been connected with Lisa and she wouldn’t have had this opportunity to share her faith with them.

She COULD have cursed God. But she didn’t. She COULD have said, “No. God, this is too much for me.” (…Because sometimes it feels that way.) But she didn’t. She accepted the assignment that she was called to be his mom as a gift and she loves him.

She accepts help from people she doesn’t know (medical and personal help) because caring for him is a full time job.

I cannot comprehend the faith and energy it’s taken her and Kevin to learn all they’ve had to learn to be his mom and dad. And I praise God for all the people who have been there to help love on Stephen and get to know his family.

I’m writing this ~ because of Stephen.

The truth is we ALL have special needs. Jesus is the answer to them all.

~
Notes from Lisa.

8 1/2 years ago my world was turned upside down. Fear was the theme for the day. I was afraid for my life as well as my unborn child’s.

It was too early, but apparently, it was time.

Some in this world would say it was a tragedy. I call it a true gift. It has brought unimaginable joy, heartbreaking pain, laughter, tears, patience, and humility.

Stephen Sanders was given as a blessing not just to me, but to the world. I would move Heaven and Earth to change things for him, but I would never change him for me.
~
I am thankful for my children in general.

David for being friendly and outgoing.

Micaiah for being willing to work hard even when she doesn’t really want to.

Stephen for teaching me patience by throwing me into the fire.

And Nathan for giving me a fresh look at the world.

God, bless my children as they walk their paths through this life and please take care of my two babies who are already in Heaven with You.
~
Monkey, You are such an amazing little boy. There aren’t words to describe how much I love you. Your strength inspires me to go on when I am worn down. The smile on your face makes me laugh through the tears. And the way you tell me you love me without uttering a word reminds me of what true love is really about. I am so blessed to be your Mommy.

 

3T7B1491 2 website

This is a deal breaker.

I read so much and hear differing opinions on many things – ESPECIALLY since being online for the last 10 months.  It’s a strange world.  Not being on social media until I was 44 has let me see the internet in a way many may not see it if they’ve been “more social” for 20 years.  I wasn’t online because I was afraid because of stuff that happened in my life when I was younger (and that story is found in other places here and I’ll write more as God leads me to write.)

It’s not like I didn’t know HOW to be online.  I just wasn’t.

Something I’ve noticed – People just get SO offended and SO very easily!

People (yes, even grown ups) seem to get so offended when others don’t like the same traditions or if others ask the question, “WHY do people do this?” Culture? Bible? Is this going to matter in 50 years?

God made us each different and this is how He chose to create us. He could have done things any way He wanted to and He made us this way. So being different is okay and having different opinions is okay.

It is even okay to TALK about our differences WITHOUT getting offended.

If God decided to make us different ON PURPOSE, then why do we take it upon ourselves to treat others as if what they say does not matter? Why do we huff and puff and “unfriend” people?

Please stop this. It’s what the enemy wants for us. Are we not divided enough without getting offended at the very nature of who we are? We are different and that is a God thing.

– Check this out.
I like you and I like your heart.

Let’s be friends.  We have so much in common.

Wait. Did I hear someone say you don’t like cheese?! I can’t EVEN understand why you don’t like cheese! This is a deal breaker. I’ve gotta go.

What?!  What just happened here?  Please stop!

We get offended over some silly stuff in this life, do we not?

People are interesting and nobody – NOBODY – you meet is going to like every same thing as you do and it’s STILL okay to like them and talk with them (and not talk behind their backs.)


God, please turn us back to You and remind us what this is all really about here because You see the stuff we argue about that does not matter tomorrow. Please heal this place. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

[NOTE:  I’m not talking about Jesus differences. Jesus is THE WAY. I know people have other opinions and I will just keep sharing what He’s done in my life. We each have free choice to choose Him or not. In this blog post I’m talking about stuff like cheese and sports and everything ELSE in this life.]  #unashamed

Grace

Please stop being so offended when someone thinks differently than you do?

God makes things good.

The enemy tries to take good things and make them bad and destroy them.

God made us each different.

On purpose.

And this is how He decided to create us. He could have done things ANY way He wanted to, right? And He did it this way. So being different is okay. Having different opinions is okay.

It’s just one more thing satan tries to use to separate us from each other; to make us huff and puff and “unfriend” each other in person and online. The very differences we should appreciate about each other are the very things satan is using to create havoc.

Opinion.

Belief.

Choice.

Individuality.

Differences.

God made you different from anyone else in the world for a reason and His plans for your life don’t exactly match anyone else’s purpose.

AND THAT’S OKAY.

Yet as is his nature, satan sees something good and does anything he can to make it bad. In this case he has grabbed onto the fact that we are each made different on purpose and given it a name. The name that fits right now is “Offended.” Oh my word are people offended!! SO easily! It makes me sad!

“I like cheese. So therefore YOU need to like cheese or else I won’t be friends with you. There! I’m not going to play with you anymore.”

Stop it!

Please stop it?!

Don’t you see what’s happening? That old devil is up to his tricks just like he always does trying to destroy sex, family, marriage, service, and just everything!

The world is in chaos and confusion. Literally.

Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. He didn’t say there is some way or find the way.

He said HE IS THE WAY.

Keep your eyes on Him and don’t look away.

If you’re not sure how to find Him, ASK Him how to do this. “Jesus, how do I find You?” Just say it! Read the Bible. If you don’t have a Bible, buy one. If you can’t afford one, ask a friend to borrow his until you can get one. Ask church for one. If the church you ask says, “No,” then ask another church!

And it is okay with me if you don’t like cheese. I will still love you. I will still talk to you. I will still care about you.

Please, PLEASE find some grace and love for the people in your life!

On Purpose.

It’s offensive when people are so easily offended.

Am I living for praise from people?

Am I living for praise from God?

Sometimes they overlap and it’s great when this happens.
Sometimes not so much and that comes down to the true character in each of us.

It’s hard to lose friends when we stand up for something ~ but it happens.

Maybe the word “friend” is a little overused?

We CANNOT please everyone.  Why do people try to please everyone?

Not even everyone loves Jesus.  Think about this.  If every person does not want Jesus, then why in the world would we even begin to think that everyone should love everything about each other?  How much MORE are people not going to love us for standing up and sharing our opinions or even bigger and more importantly; our faith?

I’m not sure WE even love everything about OURSELVES.   So WHY do we think if we disagree on something, it’s a magnificent tragedy?  It seems being offended because someone views stuff differently goes against the very fact that God made us each different ON PURPOSE.  He did not HAVE to make us all different.  He chose to.

If you’re looking for someone who likes, agrees, loves, hates, and is impressed or not impressed with exactly the very same everything as you are you’re not going to find it.  Just love people where they are.  It’s really not so difficult to do this.

 

At the end of my life it may not matter as much if a person is impressed by how I lived but I absolutely, for sure, with every part of me, want to hear from God, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Rotten Apple Peels

I love how God gives each one of us a different purpose. Like what if we were all created to peel apples?  Then there would be nobody to make the crust or the sugar or the pie pans or the oven in which to bake the pies.

He’s God and has given us all these different jobs so we’re not all slipping on rotten apple peels. That leads me to think of trash guys and composting and planting the apple trees to begin with…. See what I’m saying?

How do you care for the stuff and the jobs God’s placed in your care?  How do you care for the people around you every day?

1 Corinthians 12:12-26

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.