Laundry Mat Ministry (Journey from Texas to Alaska)

I’m about 2 weeks away from not owning a washer or dryer or a dishwasher…

And I am SO excited about it.

Our family is moving out of a 2,100 square foot house into a 33×8 foot camper (and truck.)

God has called us to move to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen center (not yet in existence.) Our prayers are to drive away from the house we live in on June 1st (Of course everything is in His timing and all that.) Prayers are always welcome and needed here.

Sometimes when we have jobs to do we focus more on the actual job and forget that there’s a bigger picture and God is in all the details of all our lives and the people you see through your days may not ever be the same people I see. We are Called to make a difference for Christ in the lives of others. Please do this. People NEED YOU.  You are the very right person for this job.

Doing laundry may not seem like much fun, but many things can be turned into ministries and I think unfortunately we miss moments to share our faith every day with people who cross our path.

If someone would have told me that I’d be excited about NOT having a washer and dryer I’m not sure I’d have believed.

We are going to have a Laundry Mat Ministry (a mini ministry along with the Alaska Homeless Teen Center ministry God has shown us.)

We are going to paint faces, speak life, and share Jesus with people He leads us to along this journey from Texas to Alaska. We will give the girls crowns of flowers because they are princesses of The King and we will give the boys necklaces with “EPH 6:16” on them and teach them about having a shield of faith and that we are all warriors for Christ.

Ephesians 6:16 says  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

And we also are praying to have extra money with us at each laundry mat we visit for when we feel God moving us to give to people who may need a little financial help.

We are going to celebrate people who may not have felt much reason to celebrate lately.

A friend I met online said it well when she said this. Stephanie said, “What if changing the world was as easy as loving somebody that has never been loved before?!?”

It IS this easy.

My oldest daughter was giggling and said we should make t-shirts that say “Jesus Makes You Clean” on them. (We may just do that.)

~

If you feel called to give to any of this mission, please do. Your support of any kind is very appreciated. May God take your donations, break them and multiply them just like He did with the fish and the loaves. May He make the donations more than enough for this ministry.

May He use each of our lives in such a way that everyone watching cannot help but see Him!

Donations are accepted via PayPal and more of our story is found here.

https://itisallaboutfaithblog.wordpress.com/alaska-homeless-teen-center-stuff/

Laundry Mat Ministry

 

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It Will Cripple You. It Is A Trap. (Pornography and stuff like that)

If we see someone playing in the street who may not realize the dangers and we don’t run to him to warn him, are we part of the problem?

“Well, yes, we know he’ll be crippled by this but since he didn’t ASK for help, we didn’t help.”

What kind of logic is that?

Some say, “People already hear too much of what the church is against and not enough about what we are FOR.”

Okay that’s true.  And let’s do a better job at that.

So let’s say it THIS way:  CHRISTIANS are FOR good, healthy, yummy, fun sex.  God is the one who created sex and He made this to be a good part of marriage between a man and a woman.  Like many other things, we humans sometimes mess good things up.

When we see someone walking into a trap or a street full of cars that we know will cripple him (or worse) for maybe the rest of his life and we don’t do anything, are we at fault at all?

There is a movie people are talking about seeing that we KNOW will cause more damage to people’s views about sex, life, and relationships.  Actually there are MANY movies and tv shows that are “programming” us to view life a certain way and we have to keep speaking out by saying it’s just not okay, NOT spend money to support or promote this so-called “entertainment,” and help each other avoid traps that satan sets for us.

Since You [Lord] are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of Your Name lead and guide me.  Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for You are my refuge.  Psalm 31:4

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10

The movie (MANY movies, tv shows, advertisements, magazines, books, etc.) turns something God made that was and IS good – in fact, VERY good – into something that is ugly and depraved.  (And this is not limited to sex but it definitely includes sex.)

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.  Genesis 1:31

When we promote or watch junk that fills our minds with things that are not good, isn’t that part of the problem?

We cannot UNsee stuff.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.  Philippians 4:8

Is it that we don’t want to bother anyone because we sometimes feel like it’s none of our business and because it will make someone mad and we’re supposed to be peace “keepers?”  Actually the Bible says peace MAKERS.

Blessed are the peaceMAKERS, for they will be called children of God.  Matthew 5:9

What will make you stand up for good?  What is the right thing to do?

The good news is that we do not have to be fighting battles alone.  God is our ever-present help in trouble.  (And God has already won the war.  We know that satan and evil lose.)

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Psalm 46:1

EVERY one will answer to God.

EVERY knee shall bow to Jesus.

It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.'”  Philippians 2:10

This “every knee” includes each person in the “entertainment” industry, each of the leaders of the whole world and people who create, promote, and consume stuff we’ve become numb to and call “entertainment.”

~~>  And this includes you and me.  <~~

Absolutely, as Christians, we DO want to tell the world what we are FOR – and we are FOR GOOD SEX.  Sex, the way God designed it, was and is GOOD.

When we see a trap and do nothing, isn’t NOT saying something making us part of the problem?

 

[It may not be common knowledge that Christians are FOR good, yummy, healthy, wild, incredible, exciting, crazy, fun sex!  As long as you both consent and it’s ONLY you, your spouse, and God, and there is never another person or any other living, breathing anything* involved in any way, then pretty much your imagination is the only limit.  (*No person or anything living or dead… although it seems that wouldn’t need to be said… there are some who aren’t sure of this so it’s included here.)]

“One thing I like about you is…”

Relationships are important.

A marriage relationship is important and tough (probably tougher than any other relationship ever in the whole world, in my opinion) and totally worth the work.

I’m always looking for simple ways to help relationships be as close and as healthy as they can be.  My husband and I have just started doing a few new things for our marriage and we’re noticing this one could be helpful in possibly any relationship.

Here is one experiment we’ve just started a couple weeks ago (and we’re both loving it!)

Every morning we have decided to say (out loud to each other) something good we have noticed or something good that we like about each other.

“One thing I like about you is _____________.”

We get too busy in life sometimes, ya know?  With work, school, church, kids, housework, bills, finances, volunteering, rough times, health problems, and a billion more things we can forget to nurture important foundations and critical relationships.  It’s not that we mean to; but it’s just that life happens and sometimes we let moments go by that need attention.

(Sweet note: The look on my husband’s face as he speaks is so beautiful and something that’s been hiding for a little while.  It’s really nice to see the thought behind his words as he says something kind about me and to me.  Sometimes he’s just remembering good things from the past and those are good to hear also.  I can’t help but think he may be feeling the same way as he hears me speak good things about him, too.  It’s heart-healing.)

This is proving to be a great idea.

One thing it does is it helps us THINK about the positive things during each day (and night) because we know we need to tell each other something we like about each other every day.

(And the negative stuff seems to constantly already be lurking around and threatens to remind us of things we DON’T like about each other… Not sure about you but we’ve had ENOUGH of that!)

Another important result of this experiment is that we’re BOTH getting to HEAR some positive words in the morning.  (Yes, it must be genuine and yes it can be something from the past or present.  Actually, it could even be something positive we see in the future.  Getting to hear blessings spoken over you is powerful.)

Our kids just told us they’d like to be included in this in the evenings.  Good stuff can be contagious!

We ALL probably hear WAY too much negative stuff about ourselves (even from our own thoughts) and this is damaging to our brains, hearts, self esteem, and probably in a hundred other ways I’m not thinking to mention.

If you have a great marriage, that’s wonderful!  Maybe this can just be icing.  (And maybe you’re already doing this.)  But many of us have a tougher time in marriage and my husband and I know this can help lots of people so we wanted to share this idea.

I believe absolutely EVERY person could benefit from hearing something good every day that someone notices about him or her.

Here’s one from me to you today:  One thing I like about you (yes, you) is that you’re beginning to realize your value; you’re a very worthwhile person and you matter.

Someone Will Probably Be Offended

I kind of hate arguing. But it happens. I’m not afraid of confrontation but at the same time it’s just not fun. It’s not a fun way to spend time.

Recently I’ve been reminded of some times of my life that are so pain-filled that it’s hard to sort through thoughts. I know some people understand what I’m saying when I say this.

Sometimes you don’t even realize how hard something will “hit” you until the “hit” actually happens.

When I feel led to write something, I spend time praying to try to not offend people but the truth is this;

~~> No matter what someone says, someone else will probably be offended. <~~

I realize it’s hard to sort through my own thoughts and feelings when something bad happens in life but it’s probably always harder to try to explain everything to another person.

Maybe if we could open our minds and download the memories into other people’s minds then they’d actually be able to understand where we’re coming from, why we’re who we are and more about how we got “here” wherever “here” is (because “here” looks different for every person in the whole world.)

SO many arguments happen because of one word;

Misunderstandings.

In my experience, there are so many times we argue -but at the end of it all- it’s obvious that SO much of this fighting could be avoided if we could just understand each other better. (I’m not talking about marriage but yes, in marriage, FOR SURE!)

There’s this Guy who will never misunderstand you. He KNOWS your heart. He knows your motives. He sees the good in you EVEN when you can’t see it in yourself.

He’s God.

When you talk with Him, He just “gets” it, ya know?

You don’t have to REexplain it all again and again because He’s witnessed everything til now – and actually knows everything about your future also (but it’s still always okay and good to talk through everything with God.)

Sometimes He’s the last one we talk to

but

WHAT IF we chose Him to be the FIRST one?

~~> What would that even look like in your life if you talked to Him FIRST about everything instead of (or at least before) anyone else? <~~

I know there’s peace and clarity there that just can’t come from anywhere or anyone; not my husband, kids, friends, church, or anyone else.

Maybe we’re not supposed to completely understand each other.

It’s probably a good thing we can’t download memories to each other. I mean, if it was something God wanted this way, He could have easily done it. There must be a good reason He didn’t create us with this ability.

I guess the thing that would help in every situation – no matter what – good or bad – is just that;

Talk with God first.

I mean… what if we did?

 

More Than Bathroom Signs

Just because something feels right or good doesn’t always mean we should follow it or do it. It may be good to ask for more direction or read the signs before moving forward.

For example:

When you walk down the hallway where the bathrooms are at the nearest Chili’s, which I’ve done a hundred times over the years, the women’s restroom is on the left and the men’s is straight ahead.

But when you walk down the hallway marked “Restrooms” at Jason’s Deli, the one on the left is NOT – I repeat – NOT where they keep the women’s restroom.

It may be best not to ask me how I know this. Let’s just say I pay more attention to signs than I used to. (I may – or may not – have been in the restroom when I witnessed, through the crack in the stall door, a man washing his hands in what I thought was the women’s bathroom.)

If you’ve read this blog before then you know I’m talking about more than bathroom signs.

One time, about 3 or so years ago, I sat in my house and shared a fear with a teacher from church that I felt God was leading me to speak on stage one day and I was kind of afraid and didn’t really want to do this. (Give me a room full of 2 or 3 year olds and SURE I’m great and love teaching but a room full of adults; Yikes!)

Without hesitation he said, “Yeeaahh, but if He’s not…”

And I quietly repeated that I really feel He’s showing me (and He has been tugging on my heart for some time) this is something He’s doing with my life.  “But I think God’s doing this with me.”

Again, ALL he said was, “Yeahh, but if He’s not…”

That doesn’t seem like a very wise response when someone tells you that she feels God is leading her to something (whether she’s afraid or not.)

You’re probably already thinking there are at least 20 better pieces of advice or responses that could follow that.

~~> I believe the very best advice may be this encouragement when people open up and share with you what they believe God is doing in their lives; “That sounds amazing. Ask for more confirmation. I’ll be praying, too.” <~~

The problem I had with this experience was that I listened to a man (and someone I respected at the time) over what I kinda already knew to be true. And I believed that I probably “heard” God wrong for a few more years.

The only reason I can see to tell people they’re wrong about God Calling them is jealousy or maybe ignorance about the truth that the Holy Spirit actually does what God says He does in the Bible and that He actually DOES live in us and He actually DOES guide us every day. He actually interprets for us when we talk to God and aren’t even sure what to pray.

If you feel God is leading you to something, please pray for more confirmation and ask other believers to pray with you, too. I believe many of us miss out on Supernatural and Divine work that God’s got for us simply because we are listening to other people tell us it’s not possible that God actually works in ways He says He does.

God can take things we think are impossible and make them completely 100% possible and real. And He does this with everyday people like you and me. Believe His Promises.

Think about this:

If people tell you God only uses teachers, preachers, and Bible scholars, then maybe they’re missing the fact that Jesus chose regular people to walk with Him and perform miracles. He could have chosen anyone, right?

God’s got a plan for your life no matter who you are or what you’ve done.

Ask Him for more confirmation. And I’ll be praying, too.

 

Everybody is broken.

Some people want you to believe that they are totally okay; that they have it all together.

(They don’t.)

Being broken isn’t a bad thing. God says He can use you when you’re broken.

EVERYBODY is broken in some way. God is the ONLY One who can repair the brokenness.

It would take a long time to understand why people react to stuff in life the way they do since each of us is broken in a different way.

Think about it.  If we were whole, with nothing at all ever wrong in our lives, we could always 100% of the time react in a healthy way.  But we’re just not always okay.  And so stress (even good stress) can affect our responses (even when we don’t really want it to.)

If you take time to look around you’ll see some of what it may look like in everyday life and a way you can help because you CAN help (whether you realize it or not.)

You can have a plan already in mind to be kind ~ ANYWAY.  Watch for moments because they’re sure to show themselves.

When your boss is moody – show a little more kindness and enthusiasm at work.

When your teacher is upset – turn in your assignment early if possible.

If mom is feeling overwhelmed – do a job or 2 that she didn’t even ask you to do.

If dad seems angry – take a few minutes to remind him how much you appreciate him.

When a student comes to school late or is disrupting class – use gentle, encouraging words (and remember she may not have heard any recently.)

If the checkout guy is slower than you’d like remember it may his first job (just like once upon a time it was your first job) – be more understanding and speak softer.

When your wife meets you with an icy look – be a little more gentle and help melt it.

When your husband grumbles – make him a snack and remind him of a specific thing you admire about him.

If your employee is having an off day – tell him you’re glad he’s there and he’s valuable (which may be perfect words to lift his energy.)

Even though God is the only One who can do the repairs, WE can STILL be people who help (INSTEAD of rolling eyes, stomping off, making a smartalecky comment, or all the other ways that are NOT helpful…)

Just because someone’s outsides look okay doesn’t mean the insides are okay.

If we’d quit trying to hide all the broken pieces, we’d begin to heal a lot quicker.  Jesus is The Answer. And everybody needs more kindness and love.

 

Stuff God’s Been Teaching Our Family (Without A Car) In 2014

We lived without a working car for 6 months (on purpose.) God has taught us A LOT. This is some of what we learned.

~

My kids learned:

-We don’t need a car to live.

-Fast food is NOT what people want when they are walking everywhere.

-When I give food to homeless people it will be something healthy.

-People feel like they have an obligation to offer a ride if you’re walking. It’s a pity thing. (It shouldn’t be.)

-The way people look at you when you’re walking is pretty rude.

-Homeless people are probably stronger than anybody thinks they are.

-Employers are unsure if they should hire you when you don’t have a working car. They wonder if you’ll get to work.

-I learned we can do stuff even without a car.

-We can walk farther than we think we can.

-Any place is in walking distance if you take the time.

-You buy less things ’cause you have to carry stuff home.

-People eat a lot more than they need to.

-Walking is a work-out and it builds muscle.

-You feel better when you walk.

-We were blessed with 2 legs and 2 feet to be able to walk places. Some people aren’t.

-If you’re willing to help someone there needs to be a genuine love. Don’t just do it to check off the service hours on your list. Attitude matters.

~

What my husband learned:

I don’t NEED a car.

God provides what we need.

A car can add stress. (Also not having a car can add stress.)

~

Stuff God has been teaching me:

-When you’re walking places there is less of a hurry. It may take 30 minutes to walk some place when it takes 5 minutes in a car. (I love NOT being in a hurry!!)

-We are too busy …and we’re kinda selfish.

-Most people don’t really want to be bothered by other people’s needs. I was doing that, too. I liked MY schedule. I liked MY life. MY day. MY hours. MY time. MY whatever. But that’s not how we’re called to live.

-When I help someone, take time for them. People are worth taking the time to get to know. They will bless your life or you will bless theirs somehow. (I mean, besides the transportation factor.)

-When I do feel called to give someone a ride I will NEVER, EVER (EVER) have a look on my face like, “OH OKAY. I GUESS I can put myself out to give you a ride!”  Just… NO.

-Wait on God and His timing. Ask Him to be involved in EVERY part of life and trust Him (even when buying – or not buying a car.)

[VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: Please DO NOT pick up someone if you feel you shouldn’t. It’s okay to pass by if you feel worried or have that feeling in your gut that it’s not a good idea. God gave us that feeling for a reason. Listen to your body and trust yourself.]

 

Train Wreck (aka Me)

When I see the pain in the world and the choices people make heading in the wrong direction it’s just too much for my human heart to handle. I’m so glad I don’t have God’s job because there’s no way I could do it.

I remember a sweet friend, years after we’d met, describing to me the way she used to see my life back then. She exhaled, “It was like watching a train wreck.”

She just lived life with me and she didn’t hate me. She loved me and was my friend when I needed her most.

I had no idea she saw my life and the things I was doing as a train wreck. I just knew she called me her friend.

People are hurting. Everywhere. Every day. People are hurting at work, school, maybe in your own home, in your neighborhood, church, and think about all the people we sometimes overlook like when you’re just out running errands; at the bank, checking out at the grocery store, getting coffee or lunch, or maybe in the car beside you at the stop sign.

What if you prayed over each person connected to your life every day?

What if you did?

In the morning say a prayer over your day asking God to touch and bless the lives of all the people you see, talk to on the phone, and even your online acquaintances (and don’t forget your enemies.)

They just need you to be kind and pray for them and ask God to lead them out of the dark tunnel (and everyone has dark tunnel times.)  They don’t need you to hit them over the head with a Bible. They need to know what love looks like in every day life.

Just call or text. Send an email when they come to your mind. Just tell them you were thinking of them. Take them coffee or chocolate. Just say, “I love you; but not in a creepy way. I love you with a Jesus kind of love.” Or you could say, “I love you more than cheese.” (Because that’s A LOT!)

It’s not like people go around with a sign saying, “Hey, I’m missing something and you know what that is. I need Jesus but I don’t really know Him and because of whatever reasons you aren’t sharing Him with me so I’m still stumbling all over myself and crashing into everything. Please stop staring at me and talking about me and start lifting me up when you pray. I need help.”

It’s okay to need help.

Jesus never, EVER said to live this life on your own. He says to lean on Him, follow Him, speak His name and He will be near you, fix your eyes on Him, and that He loves you no matter what.

Praise God He’s bigger than problems, broken relationships, the world, and life, itself.

1 Peter 5:7  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

 

People who told you that you didn’t matter were wrong.

Maybe they didn’t say it with words. Maybe it was an attitude or the way they treated you when nobody else was around.

Maybe it was how you trusted someone with all your heart only to have it stomped all over because your lover had an affair and turned your world upside down.

Maybe a friend lied to you and you are having trouble continuing the friendship even though you know you’d like to remain friends.

Maybe your dad or Father-in-Law spoke damaging words over you – or didn’t even speak at all – when you desperately needed to hear confirmation that you are good at something.

Maybe your Mother-in-Law or even your own mom, while to your face is kind, behind your back speaks and does things that are not in your favor.

Maybe your own child feels some hatred toward you and you’re not even sure why. (Many gentle conversations with an open mind and ears may need to happen.  And many prayers, of course.)

Maybe it was someone at church or work who meant well but couldn’t have been more harmful with what they did or said.

Maybe somebody told you that you’re not worth it.

But the truth is that you actually are quite important.

You matter.

Every day.

All the time.

You are very worth it.

 

Wednesday Letters

Wow! I am this week’s recipient of my youngest daughter’s Wednesday Letter! She brought tears to my eyes. It is a very sweet letter.

It’s due Wednesday morning but she turned it in early. I was surprised to see “Mommy” written on the envelope today.

My oldest daughter is a few letters ahead (but that isn’t a free ticket to miss next week’s letter.)  I still would like them both to turn in a Wednesday Letter every week. Extra letters are always okay.

“Wednesday Letters” is something I prayed about when we began homeschooling and feel God led us to start.

My oldest had had an assignment when she was in public high school where each student was required to write a note to each person in class each week.  This was something I was reminded of when deciding how our homeschool would look.

My kids pray over who they should write letters to and a letter is due every Wednesday morning from each of them.

The letters need to be uplifting, thanking someone for somehow touching their lives, maybe speaking life, or just, “Hey, I noticed when you….”

The reason they are due Wednesday mornings is because if they need to be mailed, the letters may have time to get to the recipients by the weekend (but even if they get there Monday, it’s a pretty cool way to start the week.)

The letters may be emailed, texted, mailed, but written is important. (IF for some reason they cannot be written though, then speaking them to someone on the phone or in person is still a great idea. We don’t want anything to get in the way of getting an encouraging message to anyone.)

This may seem small but it’s turning out to be one of my favorite things (and it’s not just for homeschoolers.)

I am praying this becomes something very big because we ALL could use more encouragement and more noticers in the world.

Being the recipient of this today has made me realize Wednesday Letters may become much more than it seemed at first. It’s truly touched my heart and made my week better knowing my daughter prayed and God put my name on her heart.

I pray this spreads like wildfire. The world is starving for all the blessings that have been left unspoken.

If you decide to write some Wednesday Letters we’d love to hear from you.

Everyone is invited.

 

Please Stand Up.

Praise God there is not a score card or report card saying how we’re doing spiritually based on our age! (In fact, I’m not sure why life should be a race academically either – but that’s for another day.)

I can’t imagine someone saying these things to others yet sometimes even when we don’t say them we kinda act this way.

 

“You’re 25! How come your faith isn’t up to par yet? Why are you still struggling?   We are going to hold you back a year so you can catch up!”  (That would be quite damaging.)

And anyway, what?! Catch up to what?  Your race is just you.  There is nobody to your right or left, in front or behind.  It’s just you – and God sure is patient.

~

“You’re 60! How come you don’t have more grace for others?!” (There’s no “grace” in that at all…)

I know many girls would ask, “What does that even mean?” SO many have not been taught what this looks like.

Ladies, please stand up and teach our younger girls how to be women of Christ! Please stop the gossip and please start teaching girls how to be beautiful from the inside out! Take a look at what the world is teaching them. They NEED you to speak life and love over them!

~

“You have a grown up man’s body! You need to act more like a ‘man’ now!”

HOW? He hasn’t been taught how to do this.

Please, men, stand up and teach our younger boys how to be gentlemen of God! The world truly needs you! Teach them how to stand tall in a world full of hatred and racism.

And boys (and men) desperately need to learn how to treat a woman in the way God says to treat a woman. Love her. Love her as Christ loves the Church.

~

There is honor in helping each other; not in stomping each other into the ground.

Life is NOT a competition!

Please stop arguing who is “righter” and start caring for each other “right where we are” in faith, grace, honor, life, (and academically.)

 

Let Them See You In Us

God, as we do work for You every day please always remind us this is about You and not us. Please keep us humble and not try to take the spotlight off You. Please remind us that the work we are doing is to lift You and only You. If we forget and start to like attention please take the attention and turn it back to You. Please do not let us get caught up in how the world and culture think life should be but let us remember who gave us our talents to do these jobs in the first place.

You are our Father and thank you for loving us as a good Father does. Thank you for Your Son because as a parent it’s really amazing to know You gave Your only Son as a sacrifice for our sins. How could You even do that? My mind can’t comprehend this. Thank You, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit for guiding us, never giving up on us when we turn to You, and for Your perfect love for each of us.

Please give us words to witness to others in the way You would bless it and want us to witness. Please give us courage when someone stands against us and please give us words to speak and know when to be silent. Please give us wisdom to know when we are in the wrong and please lift our faces to look at You to find truth again. Please forgive us of our sins.

Thank You for Your Angels watching over us and thank You for making our paths straight. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

This Little Light of Yours

This little light of mine.  I’m gonna let it shine.

Hide it under a bushell? NO. I’m gonna let it shine.

Wait. What’s a bushel? (I think it’s a basket.)

 

Okay – now –  let’s try this in more modern words.

This little light of mine.  I’m gonna let it shine.

Hide it at my kid’s ball game?

Hide it at the board meetings?

Hide it in P.T.A. meetings?

Hide it when I’m at the gym?

Hide it when that girl walks by?

Hide it when I disagree?

Hide it when they cut in line?

Hide it when my wife’s upset?

Hide it when my husband’s angry?

Hide it when no one’s watching me?

Hide it when my kids mess up?

Hide it when a wrong number calls?

Hide it when I go to school?

Hide it ’cause I just feel grouchy?

Hide it when the world’s on fire?

 

NO!!

 

–>This little light of yours. NOW is time to let it shine.<–

Let it shine ALL the time.   ALL THE TIME.

Power

Sometimes God is leading and directing us and we’re not even aware of it. When we ASK Him to make us aware of what He’s doing in the valley times, He does this.

Sometimes I think also that satan sees our power – like what God will be doing with us – and he trembles in fear. It’s like he tries to knock our feet out from under us.  (Maybe that’s a good time to kneel.)

Many times he succeeds.

All the time we spend NOT doing the most important things God’s calling us to do is just THAT, in my opinion. It’s just satan playing games with our time and lives.

(And I don’t mean the “spiritual whitespace” or the “down time” to be alone with God or with our spouse, kids, friends… that is necessary and I do believe it’s part of what we need to be doing but the world has taught us to kinda believe that if we’re “still” then we’re doing “nothing.” Sometimes we NEED to be doing “nothing.”)

I know He has a plan for each person and when Jesus shines so brightly through some people, sometimes others are; dare I say it? Yes, I will. Afraid. Afraid because they know somewhere in their souls that Jesus is very real so the power they see and the way we look different makes them step back. That’s okay. It’s a seed planted just when it needed to be. God will nurture it and it will grow how He plans for it to grow.

Those Jesus Freaks. They’re just freaky. Yep. And unashamed of Him.

Just stuff I like to think about.

A question that has been following me lately…

Would you rather

A) hear all the good things everyone thinks about you?
B) hear all the negative things everyone thinks about you?
C) hear both the positive and negative stuff people think about you?
D) not hear anything people think about you?

You know, I used to feel strongly that I’d want B- hear all the negative things everyone thinks about me because then I could decide where to spend my time trying to clear up misunderstandings. That would take a long time. And the truth is that nobody is going to like me all the time or even understand where I’m coming from because nobody has walked the life I’m walking.

Then later in life I decided that C- hear both positive and negative stuff would be best because some negative (spoken in love) would be good to help me know what I needed to change about me – and there are certainly things I work on every day to be a better mommy, wife, friend, and leader. And I’d also get to hear the positive things because sadly most of the time we ALL (and I rarely use the word ALL but in this case I believe it fits) don’t speak blessings over each other often enough.

For a little while I thought strongly about A- hear all the good things everyone thinks because possibly that would help with how I think of myself. – Or would it make me conceited? Don’t know but I don’t think so.

Someone shared a story about being deaf and not hearing what people say about you and that maybe not knowing would be best because you don’t hear the “noise” and the haters. – I believe deaf people do hear clearly some things that “hearing” people do not.

I think I will choose D and not hear what people (who do not know me) think of me. I will concentrate on what my Jesus thinks of me above anything else.

Just stuff I like to think about.

And I haven’t told you today that I’m glad you’re here in this place with me so I will now. I’m glad you’re here. You matter. I pray blessings over your life so big that you can’t help but see Him.

100 Good Things About You

We went to a funeral today. It is always a beautiful thing to hear about someone’s life.

Consistent with the nature of all funerals I’ve attended, it made me think about when I die.

If God calls me to Heaven before you go, do something for me? In my honor, please say OUT LOUD to 100 different people something great that you like about yourself. It can be 100 different things you like about yourself and it can be to 100 different people at different times or all at the same time like in an auditorium or something. But this is my wish in case you outlive me. Deal?

If you will do this please leave your name or a note here as your agreement. (You could even include some of the good things about you now. You don’t have to wait until whenever I’m gone. I’d love to hear about you.) This blog post is just the official way to let you know I’m counting on you to speak life into you and good things about you – OUT LOUD.

I know there are a thousand great things about you. I’m just asking for you to speak 100 of them about yourself to others. They’ll hear it and you’ll hear it also.

You’re worth so much more than you may realize.

Believe it and speak it OUT LOUD.

Here’s a sample to start this conversation: (And you should totally start now and not wait til later because you deserve to hear yourself think and speak -out loud- good things about you already.) “Hey, I’m Kerri and I’m fulfilling a wish for a girl I read about on a blog. I said I would say 100 good things about me to 100 people. Something I like about me is …”

This IS the time of your life.

We talk about “spending” time.

“How did you spend the time on vacation?” “How much time did it take to finish that project?” “The time you took to repair that issue was time well spent.”

You can spend money
and you can get more.

But not time.

We each have a specific number of minutes, hours, and days.
When our time is up, where have we spent it?

We CANNOT get more time.

What is wasting your time? Did you hear how we say that?
“YOUR” time? Like it’s just a casual thing…
but
Where did your time come from?

“Spend” some of “your” time, the time that God has gifted to you, talking to Him. Just stop a minute now to speak to Him. Your conversation is something He wants very much. He is jealous for YOU.

Just For A Minute

Everyday schedules.

I have to get this done.

The kids need that.

My husband wants me to remember to…

Oh, I need to stop by the store.

Then maybe we can have lunch together.

Wait.

The car needs gas.

Okay time for that appointment we keep putting off.

I wish we could hurry up and get these other things done

so we can get to what we want to do;

So we can get to the “important stuff!”

 

At the optometrist’s office the other day,

it seemed like just one of those errands that needed done

but

if we open our eyes (and hearts) God uses SO many opportunities we sometimes don’t even notice

that we could,

JUST FOR A MINUTE,

plant a seed,

share our faith,

or speak life into someone’s day.

 

We almost overlooked an opportunity placed right in front of us at the eye doctor appointment.

 

We mentioned we are moving to Alaska and why.

“Oh, you kinda feel called?”

“Yes we do.”

“Yeah, the universe does that.”

“God does that. It’s pretty amazing what He’s doing.”

 

Everywhere we go there is a minute to minister to someone.

The way we speak to people matters.

…the check-out guy at the grocery store,

the server at a restaurant,

when we check in at a hotel,

to the new employee trying her best to learn how to do her first job,

to the office staff at the eye doctor.

 

It doesn’t take an hour long “Bible study” to plant a seed.

Sometimes it can lift and change a person’s day if we’re watching for those times God places a perfect opportunity right in front of us in our everyday lives JUST FOR A MINUTE.

 

Answers to Prayers or Just Coincidences?

There are so many times the very answer to a question I’m asking God about only in my head “happens” to show up in my life, whether online, from a stranger at a store, a Bible verse shared somewhere, etc.

I love when that happens. Always!

People could argue that they are coincidences… but I have a hard time believing that.

At what point would they NOT be called “coincidences” and start being called “answers to prayers” or “confirmations?”  Because this happens often after I’ve asked for answers or more confirmation about a specific something.

After 25?

50?

100 times?

Or 200?

One time after my divorce I was walking in a parking lot with my baby daughter walking beside me. I was praying and deep in thought and my stomach was twisted in knots.

I didn’t speak a word.

A man walked straight up to me and answered the very questions I was asking God. There’s no way anyone could have answered the very words that my heart was asking God about, right? I didn’t know that man and I never saw him before or after that. It was a very cool experience.

I mean that man could have said, “Hi.” He could have said, “It’s a nice day, isn’t it?” People speak to each other often as they pass.

But this guy wasn’t passing me. He walked straight to me, said whatever exact answer I was wrestling with in my heart, and walked away.

For a long time I remembered what the words were and I should have written them to keep. Now I can’t remember them but every once in a while I ask God to bring those words to my mind if He will so that I can write them down.

It’s funny now that I think of it from that man’s perspective. Like God was urging him to walk over to me, say these words and walk away. I wonder if he was like, “Um, God, what if she thinks I’m crazy?” Or if he simply said, “Okay, God.”

Many times when stuff like this happens, it’s not like I’ve said anything to anyone but God and only in prayers to Him.

And I just love it ~ every time!

 

Do you have an answered prayer story to share?  I’d love to hear it.

 

The devil is afraid of YOU!

This is SO on my mind. It helps me remember where the battle really is.

You want to make this a fight of flesh and blood. But it’s not. It’s spiritual with the powers of darkness.

The enemy is AFRAID of what YOU can truly become. -the movie King’s Faith

Check that out!

The devil is AFRAID of ME!

And he’s afraid of YOU!

 

Get that through your beautiful head today. The devil is AFRAID of you!

 

WHAT would your today look like if you lived today in this confidence?

Stand up and look up.  Ask the Holy Spirit to cover you, ask God what He wants you to do today, and go do it.

I remember being a kid we had tarantulas all around our yard. Scary! But I remember hearing that they were more afraid of ME than I was of THEM. Hard to imagine!  But I kinda believe it’s the truth.

Knowing satan is AFRAID of YOU and what YOU can BECOME… just think of it!  This is why he works tirelessly year after year to keep you down.  YOU are important.

We have strength knowing that God is on our side and fighting battles for us ~ and some battles we probably don’t even know about.

We have so much power we don’t seem to use often enough.

There is power in the Word God gives us.  God SPOKE and created the world and everything in it.  SPEAK what the Bible says.

 

Check it out!

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder. James 2:19

Read this – out loud – because the enemy trembles at the sound of the name of Jesus.

 

~The Armor of God~

Ephesians 6:10  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

~Helmet of Salvation~

Ephesians 6:17  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Isaiah 59:17  He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

1 Thessalonians 5:8  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

~Breastplate of Righteousness~

Ephesians 6:14  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

Isaiah 59:17  He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

Philippians 3:9  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

1 Thessalonians 5:8  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

~Sword of the Spirit

Word of God~

Ephesians 6:17  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

John 6:63  The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.

~Shoes of the Gospel of Peace~

Ephesians 6:17  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Isaiah 52:7  How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”

Galatians 5:15  If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

~Belt of Truth~

Ephesians 6:17  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

John 14:8  Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

~Shield of Faith~

Ephesians 6:16  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

1 John 5:4  for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

Nothing.

IMG_2798 iiaafb nothing

See this picture?

It’s a bunch of “nothing.”

It’s a bunch of dead autumn leaves soaked by rain.

They may LOOK like nothing but when the leaves break down they become part of something bigger and help other things grow.

I may have felt like “nothing” but I have a Jesus Who says I’m VERY SOMETHING (even when I’m broken down.)

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YOU CAN!

Be careful, little mouth, what you say.
How powerful are words?

I know a Guy who spoke the whole world into existence.

Your words matter.

Matthew 12
34b “…For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

You meet people every day someone else will never meet. Nobody has the same path you have. People God leads across your path NEED YOU to speak life about them and TO them.

When we’re tempted to grumble about people (which happens, like, every day)…

that driver who cut us off in traffic,

the person who cut in line when we only have 20 minutes for lunch,

when the kid at school makes fun of our kid and our child comes home in tears,

the mom who has a bad day and desperately wants to know all this work she’s doing matters,

the dad who works hard and knows his wife and kids want some of his time, too, so he spends the evening playing “catch” when he’s wanting time for himself,

…take a breath.

 

And maybe instead of the first (possibly crushing) words that come to mind,

turn it around and speak a blessing over them instead.

Speak life and love.

You can do this. You got this! I believe in you.

 

I’ve Been Burned

I won't hide it. This will be my ministry. Genesis 50:20

I won’t hide it. This will be my ministry. Genesis 50:20

When I started asking God what HE wants ME to do every day instead of showing HIM that MY stuff was so important and my “to do list” was more important than whatever He had in mind, do you know what He did?

He has been giving me everything I need to do the job He’s asking me to do. He’s been leading me and equipping me every day.

One thing He’s done is that He gave me confidence.

WHO can give the gift of confidence? I can’t. You can’t. I mean, we can help lift each other but to actually GIVE the GIFT of confidence? Who can do this?

I can only think of ONE.

I haven’t had confidence since it was stolen from me. I have not had confidence since I was 9 years old and playing Hide and Seek with my cousins then my uncle decided to lift the sleeping bag and tell me, “Hide under here!”

WHAT a great hiding place!  They’d never think to look under here!  Thanks uncle.

Or maybe not.

I didn’t move. I knew if I moved then they’d find me and then I’d lose the game of Hide and Seek.

That’s how innocent I was.

That was the beginning of many years of satan convincing me I was nothing. That little devil was busy at work to make me believe his lies. I must have been quite a threat for him to work so long on me. Maybe you are a threat to him, too?

God allows bad things to happen to people. I don’t blame God. We all have free choice to eat the fruit the same way Adam and Eve ate it.

And we all have the same free choice every day NOT to eat it.

I have even forgiven my uncle and I am still not going to have my children around him. That would not be wise. (I’m not arguing this point with anyone.) This is my choice because I am my children’s mom and God does expect us to use the discernment He gives us.

See this picture of our table? There are many names on it. (Maybe I’ll write about why we let people sign our kitchen table in another post.) This can represent my heart and people who have come and gone through my life. Some have faded and some are bold, still.

They ALL are written there for a reason.

Now let’s talk about that big, black, burn mark in the middle of the table.

That burn mark is something that everyone sees or senses… but many of us don’t speak about it in our lives.

If I don’t talk about it because that’s uncomfortable or it would make someone else feel uncomfortable (especially at church because unfortunately that’s usually frowned upon and people are often gossiped about when we DO have courage to share our stories) then quite possibly the pain, and the wisdom I’ve gained through this pain, isn’t being used to help others.

I’ve been burned, right? God takes those very ashes and makes them into something beautiful that He will turn back around to glorify Him. He will use my pain and not waste it. I have peace in this.

You can have peace in your pain, too.

What God has been leading me to do (well, part of it) is to be online (which is more than a few zip codes out of my comfort zone) and speak blessings over people, challenge them to ask themselves “WHY” they believe and do what they believe and do, and then the bigger one of moving to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen place.

I could not do this on my own. Ever. Period.  Any of it.

For the past 6 months every morning before my feet touch the floor, I pray, (sometimes silently and sometimes out loud) “God, what do YOU want me to do today?”

One day a couple days ago when I woke up, (or rather when God allowed me to wake up ~ and we may all do well to remember this about life when we open our eyes in the mornings) I thought to myself, “What if I STOPPED asking God, ‘Hey, God, what do YOU want me to do today?'”

UM, THAT’D BE A QUICK, “NOPE. I’m not going there!”  There’s no going back.

Submission to God’s will and plan for our lives can actually be a fun thing. It’s very exhausting and trying at times and sometimes it’s lonely. But this is so worth it. It’s fulfilling my soul in a way that’s never happened before.

God will use YOUR pain for His glory.  Your pain will not go to waste.

I hope you choose to try this.  It’s simple. (I didn’t say it’s easy though.)

Ask God, the Creator of YOU, the Creator of all your talents, of all your likes and dislikes, what HIS plan is for you today.  He KNOWS you.  He LOVES you.  He’s got wonderful plans for your life.  Do you have the courage to just ask Him to show you those plans?

I know you do.  He will make beauty from your ashes.

That’s what talents are.

I don’t know math. I don’t know geography or enough about politics to argue or lie my way into office. (And not every politician lies.)

I don’t know how to save the animals from extinction or how to stop child molesters (though I intend to do my very best at putting an end to it and at helping people heal from that kind of hurt.)

I don’t know about how to build a car or the best way to create a generator. I don’t know the best way to grow a tomato and I’m not sure how to tell schools that good grades in school are NOT the most urgent thing in life.

Those things are all very important.

But I wasn’t given the talents to take care of all those things.

I DO know about relationships, people, words, and faith. So I speak about what I know.

That’s what talents are.

Talents are the things that come more naturally to each of us. Use them. Ask God HOW He wants YOU to use them. Life is so much better this way. You don’t have to believe me. Believe the creator of YOU. Ask Him what you’re supposed to be doing.

Sometimes we are not even aware of all our talents. It’s always okay to ask God to make us aware of the talents He’s given us.  He does this.

If you judge a fish on how well he climbs a tree, he will always fail (unless he is a tree climbing fish and climbs trees. We all know there are phenomenons so I don’t want to say always in case there is that amazing tree climbing fish somewhere out there that we haven’t heard of yet. Yay for the amazing tree climbing fishies. You guys rock!)

I don’t know who to give credit to for this tree fish saying but I’ve seen it online a few times and there is SUCH great truth to it.

Do what God’s called YOU to do. And don’t stress about everything else.

I sometimes think about what this world would look like if we each did the jobs we were called by Him to do.

You ARE on purpose. You are HERE on purpose and you are here FOR a purpose.

YOU MATTER.

Ask God what He wants YOU to do today.

Tattooed

I recently heard about people who tattoo poetry on their bodies in various places. Pretty cool idea. Those words meant SO much to them that they made them a PART of their body and life.

The thing is that when you simply HEAR words, they BECOME a part of you, tattooed in your mind, just because you heard them spoken.

Think about the WORST thing that someone has ever said to you or about you. That became a part of you whether you meant for it to or not. And it probably wasn’t even true. But you heard it and believed it. You took it to “heart” even though it was probably false.

The stuff you listen to matters. The stuff you think about in your own brain matters. Philippians 4:8. The stuff you hear and think about becomes words you speak to yourself and to others. Check out Matthew 15:16-20.

Now think about the BEST thing someone ever said about you… Sometimes it’s harder to pull those memories to the front of your mind.

Words get tattooed in our minds whether or not we intentionally want them there.

The music I listen to “because I like the beat but I don’t listen to the words.” Yes. I do. I do actually hear the words. The stuff you say to and speak about your kids MATTERS. They hear it and they believe it. Those words you speak to yourself about yourself… It matters.

Remember this as you speak TO and ABOUT other people.

THEY MATTER!

Speak words TELLING them that they matter
because
YOUR
words
get
tattooed
on
THEIR
hearts.

Where can we let off steam?

I’m not crazy. I’m a mom. And a wife and a leader and a servant and a taxi driver and a counselor and a nurse and a peacemaker and a teacher and a volunteer…

Where can we let off steam?

Where can we really say what’s bothering us? Where can we get support from someone and just be heard and not have someone call the authorities on us?
~
Church? Heavens no. Do we dare admit that we sometimes want to self medicate when they ask for prayers at church? (Or that we actually DO self medicate in whatever our favorite way is?) Oh dear. Not me! Right? I have to look like I’m on top of things. I have to look like I’ve got this all under control. My kids look perfect. My husband is presentable. My smile is on just right.

“Why, sure I can teach the 2 year olds and lead the women’s bible study and neighborhood prayer group.” “Of course I can make 300 cupcakes by Saturday and cut out 180 snowflakes this weekend.” “Yes, send me the documents so I can edit them for you by 3 o’clock today.”

Sometimes the answer needs to be “NO.” That is OKAY! When we take on so much and spread our love too thin we’re not that much help in anything we do.

~
School? Oh you must be talking about THAT mom who stood up for her kids when other students have been unkind for months and the teachers make sarcastic comments like, “Oh is she absent AGAIN? She’s sick ALL the time.” That does NOT help. That is NOT being a good teacher. I trust you daily to care for my child. Be someone I can trust who will speak to (and about) my child with respect the same way you want your kids to be treated.

THAT family where they’ve tried to help teach their child, “Ignore.” “Speak up.” “It’s better not to speak.” “Stand up.” “Be invisible.” “Stand out.” “Have courage.” “Jesus is with you.”

Then THAT family goes to the school for help and the school administration assures you, “That does NOT go on at THIS school!”

Either they are blatantly lying or are absolutely blind to the fact that it IS happening at THIS school. Kids are bullying other kids all the time. If my kid is part of the problem let’s talk about that. If not, then help me figure out a solution while she’s in your care.

Absolutely we [parents and school and church] should be teaching our kids HOW to stand up for themselves and that it is okay to fight back. Turning the other cheek does not mean let someone walk all over you and not stand up for yourself. Absolutely DO stand up for yourself and more importantly stand up for people around you who are being bullied.

What to do about it? I’m sure there is NOT just one answer for every case but maybe the first thing to do is just to admit there is a problem. Stop treating moms and dads like we do not know what is going on. Not everyone is going to try to sue the school if school admits they are not perfect.

~
Work? We go to work. We do our job. We take care of other people’s problems, possibly face a little sexual harassment, brush it off, stop by the grocery store to pick up spaghetti sauce for dinner, walk in the door to hear our kids say, “Hey, mom, I need $20 for the field trip by my first class in the morning.” “Here mom. Sign this please. The teacher said I’m going to need tutoring for a month or until I get this grade up or I’m out of sports.” And my sweet husband says, “Did you take the car to get the tires rotated today?” And I pretend NOT to notice him closing down something on the computer and wonder who he’s cheating on me with this time.

~
Home? What if we lose our temper at home? Mom’s gone crazy. She’s out of control. No. No she’s not.

Sometimes we don’t realize our kids ARE old enough to help at home (at just about every age.) Let them do dishes. Remember, if something accidentally gets dropped, to buy less fragile stuff next time. If a dish is more important than our kids learning service, responsibility and to take care of where they live (because they will ALWAYS need to take care of where they live) then maybe we should buy less breakable stuff from now on. Let them fold laundry. So what if it’s not folded the exact way we would fold it? Let them help. And praise them for it. It will build confidence.

Delegate a little of the housework to each person in the house, briefly teach them how to do it, and then LET them do it. Don’t step in. But DO tell them, “Hey I really appreciate your help. I love how you cleaned the sink.” “I’m having a tough time getting the floor clean in here. You have such great eyesight. Would you please clean to the edges when you clean the bathroom?”

~
Romance? Dates? Looking and feeling sexy as a woman? When do we have time for that?! I WANT that. I NEED that.

~
WHERE can we let off steam? Pretty much nowhere. NO WONDER we are under so much stress. I have seriously considered building a place where women can go and for a small fee they can take a baseball bat and smash stuff for 5 minutes.

On top of all that if we raise our voice to our families we feel like the biggest failure of the century.

THAT is a bad day. When I raise my voice to my family. Worst feeling EVER.

AAAUUGGHHHHHHH!!!!!! ENOUGH. I need a moment to breathe. I need a little silence. I need someone to realize that I am a person, too. I am very great at what I do and yes I can handle 217 thousand things at once and (yes, we all pretty much wear the title “super mom” but) just let me catch my breath.

~~> I need Jesus. He can fill me and give me energy and the strength I need to be the mom and wife I need to be. Ask God for energy and thank Him for it. He is THE answer. He doesn’t HAVE the answer. He IS the answer. <~~

~ And then we kiss the kids good night and do it all again tomorrow. ~

I want you to know that I am praying over your life. I am praying over your jobs, your marriage, your search for a husband, your decision to be single, your church, your education, your kids, your life in general, and your heart. Just know that somebody cares and in case nobody told you today… YOU MATTER.

This is a story about faith and moving to Alaska

Later we will write about all the things we’ve given up on this journey of faith because we do not want to forget and it’s worth sharing.

~
When I was a little kid in 6th grade, I noticed the funniest, cutest, nicest crush I’d ever met in my whole, entire life!

Well he was almost as funny and could make me laugh almost as much as my friend Terry Nishimuta. Terry was the silliest, greatest friend and he could make anyone laugh! I miss Terry. I hope you’re resting in peace in Heaven, crackin’ jokes up there and I just want to say, “Thank you, Terry, for making my school life fun!”

So this crush guy was almost as funny as Terry. He was so kind and nice and he never ever said a mean word to anyone. I loved spending any minute in his presence because he just radiated “friendship.”

Until 6th grade I never knew anyone thought I was weird.

I didn’t even know he thought I was weird. But now that I’m a grown up I don’t think there’s really another way to be. What kinda life is “normal, regular, worry about what everyone else will think of me?” It’s okay (and even envied by some) that we drive a free, somewhat beat up car, with NO car payment [Scratch that. The car’s been broken for over 2 months now so, yes, we’re the weird people with no car and walking most places we need to go.  The scale says I’m 5 pounds less. That’s cool.  Walking is something I WANTED to do but wasn’t doing with a working car.  I suppose we COULD have a car payment and then pay another payment to go to a gym but why?  So we walk a few miles each week for the past couple months.]  There’s just not room for negative energy from others (and thankfully, God has blinded us to some of the unkind looks and comments people have carelessly tossed our way.)

Okay back to Cute Crush David. He could entertain and make us laugh and it felt good to be around him. I’m sure everyone thought so. In all my life I’ve never met anyone as genuinely kind as he was to me way back then. He had the cutest, crooked smile and he said in a sweetest voice that he was going to call me Hee-Hee. OH the way he smiled as he said it! I think it’s cute that people who knew me from 6th grade through high school will still refer to me as Hee-Hee.

David VanBuskirk was his name and I think he was in the 8th grade. He was the kindest, cutest, almost funniest guy I’d ever met. And I’d like to thank him for the nickname, Hee-Hee. In fact, the first time any guy ever told me I was cute was Jeff Caruthers. Our senior year in high school he told me that some of the guys were talking and they agreed, “Hee-Hee’s gettin’ good lookin’.” THOSE were the sweetest words and least expected compliment I could have ever hoped for at that time!

So now… I’m a writer, artist, photographer, a mom of the 2 greatest girls in the world, and wife of a good, Christian man.

Hello, my name is Kerri, and I’m a Child of the One True King!

(Child of the One True King. Thank you, Jordan, preacher’s kid from Kentucky, for sharing your life’s story, and thank you, Matthew West, for writing this song because now THOSE words sing through my mind throughout the days! WHAT a relief from all the lies the enemy tries to put on my name tag!)

Anyway about 3 years ago I clearly had a thought hit me. From God? I think so. I believe God puts things on our hearts every day. So this voice or thought was telling me something like, “You’re going to move.” I was like, “NO WAY! I did not want to hear that! Let’s go on putting this laundry away and not think about that anymore.”

Well… it looks like we actually are moving. I need to move with my husband, 2 girls, a rat named Lancelot, (R.I.P. Sir Lancelot. Lancelot isn’t going with us now.) and a mouse named Charming (Charming won’t be going with us either. R.I.P. sweet Prince Charming) to Alaska.

Why Alaska? We believe God’s moving us there to do ministry work; specifically, moving us there to open a homeless teen center in Wasilla, Alaska.

So as I’m praying something like, “So, God, hey, where is the money going to come from to move to Alaska?” And as the few days go by since the realization that this is actually happening, this morning it hits me, “use the weird in you.” (This of course made me go back to 6th grade and look into David VanBuskirk’s, beautiful brown.  No blue.  No. Hazel? Whatever color those eyes were, they were CaaUUTE! I went back to 6th grade and unashamedly looked deeply into David’s eyes as he sweetly named me Hee-Hee.)

This morning I thought about that guy who took a red paper clip and traded and traded til he traded for a house. That’s kinda cool. (The Internet has a few videos about Kyle MacDonald and his trade of the One Red Paper Clip. One interview was done by the TV show 20/20 if you want to check it out.)

What a great idea. So I look through my house to see what I would offer to trade like that and I was led to a book. It has a picture of snow, snow dogs, a sled, a couple of people in warm coats, an airplane, ice and mountains.

WHAT? I’ve never noticed this before.  Looks quite a lot like Alaska.

[Quick fun fact: A few years earlier I had bought several old books from a garage sale for 10 cents each.  There were two books with the same title.  Interesting:  One of them has a picture of snow etc. resembling Alaska and the other book has a cover picture resembling life in Texas -which is where we live now.  Interesting coincidence -if I believed in coincidences …which I don’t.]

And the name of the book? Roads to Everywhere. Hmmm.  Interesting name.

Okay so what if I could trade this book and a few photo shoots to make enough money to move with my husband, 2 girls, and 1 rat (again, we miss Charming and Lancelot) to Alaska?

Hey! It’s worth a shot! If we try and fail to get a house this way, at least we tried! Try and succeed, or try and fail. At least TRY! Some will cheer. Some will boo. Some will laugh. That’s totally okay. Just be determined to try with 100% as our daughter’s teacher tells the students to do.

~~~~~ Since writing this we have made 3 trades (which is actually 4 things, total.)

We traded the book for binoculars.

Then traded the binoculars for a flowery, fruity, vintage chair.

Someone traded the chair for a Bose speaker set.  NICE!

Now we’re looking for the next trade; someone to trade the speakers for something bigger and better.  The trade can be new or old; doesn’t matter.  If you want to be part of this amazing story please send us your idea for a trade.
~~~~~
We sent Tony’s updated résumé out and we needed a new email address for his job search. We knew it was all about faith so… what to call it? As we sat together in front of the computer and talked, it came to us; itisallaboutfaith@gmail.com

Because you know what? Finding a job, enough money to move and live in Alaska comfortably (and by comfortably, I mean enough to pay all our bills and save, give, go on dates, and send our kids to college or online college, a car or 2 that will not break down with the right tires and no car payment, the right equipment and clothes to not freeze in 40-below weather,) and facing the looks and comments that people subtly (and some not so subtly) toss our way that we must be crazy, is ALL about faith.

By the way, I didn’t tell you yet that I’m TERRIFIED to be out in cyber world on the internet and put my life out there, up for criticism and hate mail, but again, this is a big step of faith. Something that millions of people do every single day without a care; put pictures of themselves and put their lives out in the wide, never-ending space of the internet; it is just something I’m NOT comfortable doing.

So… here I go, in faith.

Time to write.

Nevermind.

I can’t do this.

Yes, I can do this.

Okay, for real this time.

Here it is.

It is all about faith.

~

Thanks for all prayers, business, trades, and contributions!

Please share with other people who may support our Alaska movin’ family?

Be kind ON PURPOSE.

You do not know the stress someone else is under.

Be kind ON PURPOSE. Just be extra kind just in case someone needs it.

The other day I saw a woman be verbally and physically rude to a check out lady at the grocery store just because the equipment was not working at the self check out. There were other checkers open. There was nothing this worker could do to fix the equipment that second. She sweetly apologized to the rude lady. After the rude woman left and took her poisonous attitude with her I walked over to the check out lady and said, “Please don’t let that ruin your day.” She said, “I have a cancer screening this afternoon. There are bigger things going on in my life.”

I wish the rude person could have heard that. Maybe it would have changed the way she treated her. Don’t know. But maybe…

You do not know what someone else is going through. Just be kind.

When did we STOP cheering each other on?

What would your kids say YOU do?

So… sometimes our kids are the best people to describe who we really are. Sometimes the answers make us smile. Sometimes not as much.

What would YOUR kids say YOU do? Encourage people or mock them?

When did we STOP cheering each other on and start looking down on each other for trying do accomplish something?

The news is most of the time… I won’t even say the bad words that flash across my brain to describe the “news.” They make fun of people and “report” some of the very worst stuff. We’ve all heard it “AT LEAST three people were injured.” SERIOUSLY?! “At least?!” Like they hoped MORE were hurt?!!

When our kids are little and learning to walk we cheer for them (and even tell our friends to cheer) until they can walk on their own. We encourage.

Now, as alleged adults, we mock and some people secretly actually enjoy others’ failures. That’s a sad thing in my opinion.

Are we all so jealous of someone actually succeeding that we find twisted comfort in ridicule?

Sometimes it may take a few attempts before we finally get something right. Lots of inventors come to mind. I sure am glad they kept trying.

Do your kids see you encouraging other grown ups or making fun of them behind closed doors?

A little notice please? A little respect for the little people?

“Mom, Dad, I know I’m only two years old and if I knew the words to say I may be able to tell you why it’s frustrating when you don’t give me time to finish my work. Instead, since I don’t know the best words yet, sometimes I overreact by screaming or crying. I apologize for that. I’m still learning.”

What if someone picked YOU up right now from your computer and said, “Time to go!” No notice. No regard that you are in the middle of something very important.

How would we feel if WE were immediately removed from OUR work? A little screaming? Hmmm…

Our kids are busy, too. They may be just building with blocks. To YOU, it may seem like they’re just playing, but they’re actually doing their WORK. When we pick them up and say “Time to go!” without any warning, it can be upsetting.

I’m SURE we’d be upset, too. Think about it. You don’t get to finish your mascara so one eye has mascara and the other is naked. You don’t get to finish the email you’re working on to send to a teacher so an important conversation about a possible scholarship is not happening now. You don’t get to know how much longer til you leave so you can decide whether or not to start the next laundry load since you’ll be gone three days and if the dryer load is not dry all the way it can mildew. You don’t get to see the rest of the football game because someone just turned it off and commanded it’s time to go. Important stuff. All of it is.

And even when we tell kids they have a few minutes left, they may not grasp how long that is just yet. When my kids were little we used to measure time in “Blue’s Clues time.” (I think that was about thirty minutes for one Blue’s Clues television show.) So I’d say to my girls, “Okay, this will take three Blue’s Clues.” My kids could measure time better when I said it this way.

When they’re little they may be thinking, but don’t have the words or time to respectfully and boldly articulate, “Hey, mom and dad, what I am working on is very important to me. I was really busy with that and I wasn’t finished. Would you please give me some time to finish next time? You may be looking at the world’s next great architect.”

Also, when we do give them a five minute notice until it’s time to go, we need to remember to keep it at five minutes. If it changes, I believe we should apologize to them and say it’s a little longer than I expected.

I’ve been a nanny and child care provider for many years in the past and it makes me sad when parents tell their children they have five minutes to play while we talk then it’s turned into thirty minutes and then the parent talks to the child like it was their fault they didn’t leave when they meant to. If the child goes back to playing while they wait WHY is that not okay? Should they stand near you like a soldier awaiting commands? They are little CHILDREN. Cut them some slack.

There are LOTS of television shows and songs teaching kids how to be patient. Some teach them to make up a game of some kind when they have to wait. And let’s face it; our kids do a lot of waiting. Waiting on dinner, (they can help with making dinner or setting the table, by the way) or waiting on Mommy or Daddy to come read to them at night, waiting on the bus, waiting for their turn, waiting on the teacher to finish talking to another student when they really have to go to the bathroom but do not want to interrupt. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Maybe we need to show them a little respect by showing them that we realize their time is very important just like our time is.

It’s totally okay if you do not agree. I’m speaking what I know to be true through my experiences with very awesome kids through the years.

A voice for the awesome two year olds, Kerri.