Tea and Cookies

A neighbor invited us to have tea. This was not on the list of things that needed to be done this particular day if we had written a list. (Remember this.)

A few years ago my oldest daughter was serving in youth ministry. She felt God put it on her heart to invite the women of the congregation to a tea party and the youth groups (middle and high school) would serve them dinner. She felt moved to help bring the older generation into conversation with the younger generation. Perhaps we can choose not to make some of the same mistakes if we will listen to each other’s past. Every age has some important wisdom to share.

We had been to a ladies’ event at another church building where they served several delicious salads. We were praying for these salad recipes. These wonderful recipes would serve many people for a low cost and seemed to be just the right food for this Christmas tea party. Every time we tried to get them we were not able to. The church office was closed, or the people who had the recipes weren’t returning the phone calls, or we couldn’t get to the right connections, or we ran into other problems. It just wasn’t happening. (Remember this.)

We had so many things to do to get ready for this dinner. Stopping for tea seemed maybe not the best choice in the middle of this mission. It didn’t make sense to do this when there were only a few days left to get this work done.

But we prayed again and left the prayer there; in God’s mailbox.

At the same time this was going on…

My youngest daughter loves getting to choose what she will study. We have been in public school many years, a couple years in private school, and now she’s been homeschooling for a few years. Since she learned how to speak she’s always been interested in criminology and forensics. When she was a little girl I would ask what she wanted to be and her answer was that she’s “a brave, strong knight.” When she played on the playground she would find other kids who would spend the recess time creating a team of private investigators to help others solve their problems.

Before we had left Texas when she was twelve she had called the police station and asked for a field trip. She got to go into the police forensic lab and learn how fingerprinting was done. We were praying for how God will lead her to learn more about this kind of work she’s always been interested in since she was a little girl. (Remember this.)

We prayed about answers for her school work and left it in God’s mailbox.

(A little background: We had traveled from Texas and in God’s timing we will serve in Alaska. I’ve had many visions and dreams about this. When we got to the edge of Canada I knew in my spirit it was important to stop in Washington for a while. So here we are. We pray asking God what He wants us to do each day. He’s been teaching us a lot every day. As we wait in faith we stay in prayer.)

The time came to go have tea with the neighbor.

There were so many things that seemed to need done but this felt kind of important also. Though it wasn’t getting any work done for the ladies’ dinner (but it does count as Social Studies for homeschooling,) we stepped into the life of these new friends for some tea and cookies.

The neighbor was very kind and her husband was sharing in the conversation. Even though the prayers were hanging as if on pause in the back of our minds, we were present in the dining room while we shared about waiting on The Lord to open doors for this homeless youth place God has placed on our hearts. And the neighbors shared some about their lives.

God hears and He also answers.

– After talking a little while my oldest daughter mentioned about the ladies’ event she’d been praying over. The woman of the house said her daughter-in-law is the one who had been in charge of these salad recipes for the event we had recently attended.

AND (as if that’s not enough of an answer to prayer…)

– Her son is a police officer in the area and she invited my younger daughter to speak with him to learn about a group of young people called the Police Explorers where youth get to learn about police work.

Having tea and cookies in that dining room with this couple was exactly where we were suppose to be this day. Even if it didn’t make sense that it should turn out to be something so important we did what God had laid on our hearts to do anyway.

BOTH of our questions got answered when we stopped leaning on our own understanding and did what we felt led to do through prayer.

God was in the middle of it all. We just had to stop long enough to hear Him.

We just went where we felt we were suppose to be for the day. It’s pretty simple.

When I took time to think about it I realized through the past several years there are over a dozen times we got jobs, received answers, and were led exactly to the people we needed to talk to when we prayed and then waited and went about life just serving and being wherever we felt God was leading us through each day.

Are you praying and waiting, listening for answers?

Are you just doing whatever and making your own schedule?
Is your heart satisfied with how life is going?

It may seem like your story goes all over the place but maybe that’s just how it goes when it all comes together to make some kind of sense. If we could see the intricate tapestry God is weaving in our lives how much more content would we be to listen to The Holy Spirit’s prompting every hour?

Where are you supposed to be today?

Maybe you need to stop for some tea.

Missed Birthdays and Broken Holidays (Faith)

Some kids don’t get birthday parties.  Some kids get forgotten.

Some families don’t feel the “Holiday Spirit” and don’t have hope that anything will ever get any better than it looks right now.

Our family is going to go bring hope and Light to some kids and families.

We know this isn’t just with our power (and we also know God is calling more people to do this work with us.)  God renews us every day.  We trust that He will keep doing this so that we can help others and then they can help others, too (and so on.)

When God first put it on my heart that He was using our family in this way, of course I wanted to know more.  Who wouldn’t?!  This is the most amazing experience of my life; knowing He’s working in us and through us.

God has always led people and since He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever, we can know He still leads people today.

Think about this.  How do you “know” something?  I mean, some women “know” they’ll have 2 kids.  Some “know” they’ll have 10.  Some people “know” they’ll never be married and some “know” they will be.  I’ve heard some people, after a young person died, say, “He always ‘knew’ he was going to die young.”  How did he “know?”

Sometimes we take our knowledge, gifts, and talents for granted.  We just “know” how to draw or how to invent things.  Sometimes we don’t even give credit to God because we have the ability to easily remember things or to do math in our heads, and we forget or don’t think about where this comes from.

Sometimes you just “know” stuff.  God put that in us.

We “know” He’s moving our family to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen center (not yet in existence.)

~~~~>  The funny thing is that when we started packing boxes last year, waiting on His timing to move, the very first box I packed was full of mismatched tea party pieces.

I was blessed to have a roommate from college helping me pack.  I asked out loud, “WHY am I packing a tea set to move to Alaska?!  What a SILLY thing to pack!”

She looked right into my eyes and smiled, “I can’t WAIT to see how God manifests this tea set!”  <~~

Some kids are forgotten and some never had a birthday party.  Some got a black eye instead of a present.

Since that time after packing the tea party stuff, we’ve collected many sewing patterns (new and on sale.)  I wondered “WHY?”  “WHY am I collecting this many patterns and different kinds, too?  I mean, I do like to sew but haven’t really taken the time to so why would I be gathering this many patterns?”

Then God put this on my heart.

Some kids are homeless and have only the clothes they are wearing.

Oh, wow.  I hadn’t thought of that.  Not only will WE sew, but we will teach teens how to sew their own clothes and teach them job skills and share Jesus’ Love with them.

Then there’s this:  20 years ago I started collecting art supplies.  WHY?  I never really got time to paint, stamp, sew, or create like I wanted to so WHY have I had these supplies?

WHY did we pack decorations, hair cutting supplies, make up, and photography equipment?

It’s simple.

Homeless people aren’t trying to decorate for parties (or even go to any,) or visit the salon, or get family portraits done.

We are going to do this for them.

We believe God is moving us to Alaska to bring hope and Light and to celebrate missed birthdays and broken holidays with teens and families who haven’t had much light or hope in their lives.

We’re going to paint fingernails, cut hair, and donate our photography skills to people who otherwise would not have these luxuries.

At first I was like, “God, this may sound kinda silly to people.”

So I didn’t tell anyone that I believed He was doing this with us.

But it’s really not so silly when you think about it.

Celebrating someone’s birth and existence is a pretty routine thing for many people.  I know I was blessed to celebrate many birthdays with parties and friends.  You probably were, too.  Getting hair cuts, nails painted, family pictures, and going to the salon are things many people take for granted.

But when you have been neglected or overlooked or forgotten, moving our family to give hope and just to love on people is actually not such a silly mission at all.

So…  I said it.  Finally.  We’re going to Alaska to celebrate people who haven’t been celebrated much in their lives and who haven’t seen reasons to celebrate.

Prayers, donations, and support are always welcome here.

It’s all about God’s Power.

It’s up to us to obey His Calling (even if it looks silly to some.)

Cool fact to think about:  We don’t have to have all the answers right now or know how God’s doing this with us.  We will just have faith that He can and He is.

God opens doors that no man can shut and shuts doors that no man can open.  We have faith and will keep asking, seeking, and knocking since He’s put this dream in our hearts.  Your prayers, good thoughts, well wishes, support, and donations are welcome as we step out in faith to do this work in His Name.

 

[Note:  There are many stories about how God led people – and it looked kinda silly to others when you think about it.

– There was a guy, Naaman, and God showed him he was to go dip in the Jordan river 7 times and his leprosy would be healed.  Silly?  He was even mad that there wasn’t some amazing, grand thing that would cure his skin.

But it was simple.

Obedience.

Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.

Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.  2 Kings 5:10-14

– And what about that whole “March around Jericho and the walls will fall down” thing?!  Um, okay.  That would have been something to see!  (And God spared a prostitute and her family.)  What?!  But it happened.  Joshua 6:3-17

– And Noah?!  Are you kidding?  There had never been rain and He built a what?  A boat?  Um… yeah… right.  Can you imagine the jokes he endured?  What did the neighbors say?  Certainly he was mocked for his faith.  Genesis 6:9-22

We know.  We know.  It may sound silly to some.  Take this mismatched tea party set and have parties with people.  We are okay if it sounds silly.  We will still follow as God opens doors.

We expect that some people will mock us for believing God is doing this but the thing I didn’t expect was for so many who call themselves Christians to be among the ones laughing.

Maybe if we all focused on the jobs God’s planned for each of us we wouldn’t have time to make fun of each other.

~~>  Got courage?  Aren’t you a little bit curious to know God’s amazing plan for your life?  He has one.  Ask God what He wants you to do.  And KEEP doing this every day.  Follow the tugs on your heart and He will reveal to you what it is that He wants for your life.  <~~

By faith…  Check out Hebrews 11.

Check out the last 2 verses in Hebrews 11.  (I’ve thought about this verse and how it may relate to my life, too. ~~>)  39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

So….. IF I get to the end of my life on Earth and the Alaska homeless teen center does not exist yet, then He can STILL bring it to happen and I will STILL know and have peace that my life meant something as I walked in faith, trusting Him to lead my family.

I will share my faith in God and I will share what He’s doing in us and through us.

By faith, I will follow Him.

As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.  Joshua 24:15]

Are you living every day feeling like something is missing? Maybe it is.

Nobody but God can qualify you for the work He has for your life.

Nobody can take away your job but God. If you turn your back on Him He may let you have your way though. But remember His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways. So what I know for certain is that if you walk away from your calling, you’re missing out on what you were created for which leaves you feeling pretty empty.

And as for people who do evil saying it’s in God’s name – all I can say is I’d hate to be standing in your place after this earthly life ends. I’m glad I won’t have to see what happens to you for claiming to be a Christian or using God’s name to steal, kill, and destroy.

Contrary to the way the world has taught us to believe, you do not need a thousand hours of college or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to do the job God’s got for your life.

A degree does not make you more valuable in God’s eyes.

You are valuable just because He created you.

I’m writing this because I know many people who feel held back and for many it’s because they didn’t finish college so their lives are passing them by because culture told them they were “less than” and they are believing that lie.

Believe it no more.

I’m not saying college isn’t important for some things. It is. Surely there are some good things about college but many times we’re just aimless young people who haven’t had people in our lives helping us discover our talents and guiding us in the path God has for us. (I do know many people who spend college years studying the art of partying more than other subjects. You can find anything you’re looking for in just about any situation whether it is sex, drugs, stuff, pain, or wonderful friendships and other healthy things.)

Do not write me a hundred pages saying I’m a college hater. I’m not.

I went to college.

I went to a Christian college.

That does not make me a Christian.

It does not make me better than someone.

It does not make me smarter than someone who did not go to college.

That means I can pay money to sit in classes and listen to teachers for many hours.

 

What I AM saying is that college did NOT qualify me for the calling God has put on my heart.

 

Your mom doesn’t qualify you for your calling.

Your dad doesn’t qualify you for your calling.

Of course they can encourage you (or, unfortunately, hold you back) but God qualifies you.

Teachers don’t qualify you.

Your best friend doesn’t qualify you.

Many times preachers or elders at church aren’t even realizing (or supporting) the talents you have or the calling God’s laid on your heart.

Your husband or wife can’t even qualify you but you can be supportive of each other as you serve God in the way He’s planned for both your lives.

Time and time again all through the Bible God does not call the “qualified” but He qualifies the called.

Are you living every day feeling like something is missing? Maybe it is. Ask God what’s missing. He is THE ONE to ask.

He restores what was stolen. In my life it was my innocence and my confidence one evening while playing hide and seek when I was 9 years old.

I did not even know my confidence had been stolen until He gave it back to me about one year ago. I lived about 35 years without my confidence. I know we can go through life missing stuff and not realize it. I’m living proof of this.

Ask God to restore what was taken from you. You may not even realize what is missing yet. He and only He can restore this for you.

There’s a great big world who needs you to do the job God created you to do. He will pick you up and give you a firm place to stand. He will give you all that is needed to do the job He’s called you to do and He opens doors that no man can shut and shuts doors that no man can open.

Is He calling you? You don’t have to wait for anyone else to validate you. Ask God what He wants you to do today. And keep asking every day. He will lead you.

 

 

Not right. Not wrong. Just thinking.

What if I poisoned you?

I didn’t poison you. But what if I did? You’d probably be pretty mad at me, huh?

No. Wait. What if I tricked YOU into poisoning yourself? What if I tricked you into poisoning yourself and inviting your friends to do it, too? And what if I tricked you into celebrating as you did this?

What if I made poisoning yourself legal? And what if I tricked you into paying your very own money for it that you spent so many hours working to earn? What if you worked all week hating your job and then on the weekend you were poisoned so that you could forget about the very job you’re working at to earn your money?

What if I made movies where most of the “fun” looking parties and dates had red cups full of soda or spiked with whatever poison you chose? What if, instead, I made movies and shows letting you see people enjoying life without “the cup” in their hands? What if I showed you movies about groups of friends who went around and did good stuff for their neighbors? Would you believe that’s a pretty cool way to have fun? I think you would. If you have the courage to retrain your own mind you will see this is fun.

Movie and television guys have spent hours and years and millions of dollars to trick us. Why do you think it’s called “programming?” The culture and world have programmed you to think a certain way. Think not? What about a couple on their anniversary date in a movie? What do you see? A bottle of wine in the middle of the table? What if it was a pitcher of water instead?

And before you go write 1,000 words to me about Christians and drinking, let me tell you this:

I’ve been drinking alcohol since I was 21 so do not think I don’t know what I’m speaking about. I do. (And though I really like Dr. Pepper I’m not quite sure it’s that good to drink, either.)

And I’m NOT telling you it’s right.

And I’m NOT telling you it’s wrong.

Jesus turned water to wine.  Not sure when soda was made.

I’m not going to debate this with you. And I’m not sure that I will quit either completely or if I still will occasionally. After realizing this stuff I think I’m leaning a lot more toward the not any more side.

There are MANY stages in between being a soda or alcohol prude and sodaholic or alcoholic so please remember this when speaking to someone who does drink these drinks. Are you wanting them to listen to you as you ask them if it’s poison, or are you pushing them away from you as you speak? Usually it’s our own choice to or not to poison ourselves.

And as for water connoisseurs, yeah, some water may be better than others. I’m not writing this to argue with anyone.

I’m writing this because God’s put it on my heart. But I know that if you’re in the mood, there are many other people who will enjoy debating whatever good points you have.

And you absolutely DO have good points and opinions. (I’m just not going to debate them with you.)

Have a party without soda or alcohol. Ask God to show you how to have real fun. Teenagers have fun all the time WITHOUT these things. I’ve been in groups of 15 year old kids and they talk and laugh and enjoy each others’ company for HOURS and DON’T end the evening throwing up or with a hangover the next morning.

Ask God to lead you to a job you really like where you can use the talents He’s given you. In my opinion most people in the world are not laughing enough or enjoying their jobs in life. Ask God to show you and to open doors for you. God can open a door that nobody can shut. And God can close a door that nobody can open.

All I am asking you to do is to simply think about this with every sip of your favorite soda or alcoholic drink:

What if YOU poisoned YOU?

Let Me Tell You About My Mom….

Let Me Tell You About My Mom….
Mother’s Day 2010

I remember my mom making sandwiches for the men who dad was working with on stormy nights at the electric company to restore electricity for the families whose houses were hit with lightning.

I remember the fun slumber parties my mom planned for my birthdays. She let me invite as many friends as I wanted to. Mom let us invite one friend our age to the other sister’s slumber parties, too. That was cool.

I remember the most beautiful birthday cakes ever made were the ones my mom made for us on our birthdays…. The kind someone would pay lots of money for, but my mom’s tasted better than ANY store could make.

I remember my mom making beautiful wedding cakes.

I remember telling lot of kids that I was going to have a party and to get off the bus at my house, and they did. My mom didn’t even get mad at me for that. I don’t remember how she got them all home.

I remember mom driving the camper and picking up ALL the friends I wanted to invite to Vacation Bible School, and never complaining about it or making me feel that it was an inconvenience.

Mom makes the very best grandma bread ever. Everyone loves her homemade bread.

My mom made sure we went to church, even on vacations, and that showed me how important church should be.

My mom chose the names for our streets on the corner where we built a house when I was a kid. That was pretty cool.

My mom makes the very best tasting food and makes it look very beautiful. Somehow my macaroni and cheese or deviled eggs just don’t measure up in taste or beauty.

I remember my mom giving up her bed to let company sleep there while mom and dad took a less comfortable place to sleep.

I remember knowing that if I told mom something, that I better expect that she’d tell dad because they had no secrets, and that felt secure.

I remember that mom let us play in the basement and color in coloring books.

My mom taught me hospitality. If someone needs a place to rest, clothes, food, my mom was there for them. I was hungry and… Matthew 25:34-36

Mother’s Day 2010
(From my sweet husband to my mom)
Why my mother-in-law is the greatest

My mother-in-law is the greatest because she is always helping others.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she makes the best bread in the whole world.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she always makes me feel welcome.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she gives the greatest Christmas gifts.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she has never judged me for my past.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she had and raised the perfect wife for me.