Friday, April 24, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Hide

Some days there is the urge to hide. To stay under the covers and away from the world.

The world. It just seems so much, too much.  It brings trouble, anxiety and fear.  It brings that urge to hide.

What good does it do to hide?

When finally we emerge, the world is still there.  Hiding doesn't make it go away. Hiding does no good.

We have to learn to find refuge in Him.  He will lead us, guide us, comfort us, protect us.  He goes before us.  With Him, there is no reason to hide.



Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living 
Just because He lives.


With Him, there is no reason to hide.




Thank you for stopping by. I hope you are joining in with your Five Minute Friday post.  It is time to write for five minutes. No over thinking. No editing. Just writing.  Head on over to katemotaung.com to get started and read some other amazing posts.



Oh, and don't forget to find out about the first ever Five Minute Friday retreat.  I am soooooo excited about it. I still can't believe I am going!



Saturday, April 18, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Tomorrow

It's tomorrow, Saturday, and I am finally getting to my Five Minute Friday.  That's ok though. I lived yesterday and didn't go by timelines and schedules other than knowing my son had a baseball game and spending time at the ball park.

I am not worried about tomorrow.  Sometimes, though, I put things off for tomorrow, and yet, never get to them.  Do you do that?

I don't do things because I'm chicken. I am fearful.  You know, I don't even pick what's for dinner because I don't want to be responsible if it's gross or we have poor service.

What does that have to do with tomorrow?

I have to remember not to put things off. Not to be fearful. I have to remember to live and take chances and try new things.

My husband has been encouraging me to register for the Five Minute Friday Retreat. I told him, "I've never done anything like that before."

He responded in this way....."And I had never gone to Afghanistan before either."

He knows how to put things in perspective.

He is so much braver than I am, always willing to take a risk and try new things.  I wish I could be more like him.

We are not promised tomorrow. I can't live for tomorrow. Now is the time. Now is the time to live and try and experience...



I'm excited to tell you that I did it! I registered and I couldn't be happier.  I have NEVER in my life done anything like this, but I am super excited to be able to attend the first ever Five Minute Friday Retreat. 

Thank you for stopping by this lovely day!  Enjoy your weekend!  


Friday, April 10, 2015

Living A Love Song

Last year, I "met" Kori Yates through a study of her book Olive Drab Pom Poms.  Shortly after that, she launched an amazing online ministry called Planting Roots.  This ministry is geared toward reaching military families with the Gospel.

I have had the privilege of having Kori and her team of amazing women share a couple of my blog posts.  My most recent one is called Living a Love Song.  I hope you will head over to Planting Roots to read it.



How Our Children Became Military Children

April is the Month of the Military Child.  The life of a military child is unlike that of any other.  Some are born into military families and others "join" with their families.  To celebrate my own military children, I'd love to share with you how they entered into this journey.

When Jeff and I first got married, not once did it cross my mind that we would become a military family.

As adults, we make choices for our futures and our families.  Jeff and I don't make any decisions without considering the effects they will have on our children.

Needless to say, making the choice to become a military family was one that took lots of thought and prayer.

When the decision was made, our oldest boys were 3 and 6 years old and our youngest was still in the womb.  He was the only one that was born into the military family.

We are not an active duty military family.  Therefore, some people may consider us to be "not really a military family."  We don't live on a military post, but live in the same house we've lived in since my oldest son was born almost 13 years ago.  We have not been relocated, but we have experienced much of what the military has to "offer."

When my husband decided to enlist in the Army Reserves, he was to become a Chaplain.  To do this, he had to attend seminary and take about 96 hours of masters classes.  He attended CH-BOLC which is basically basic training for Chaplains.  He was gone from June to September of 2010. My youngest son was just 3 months old when he left. During that time, we saw him during the Fourth of July holiday and then reunited at his graduation.  Still, he continued to take his masters classes.  Finally, after what seemed like forever, my husband received his masters in divinity and was officially a chaplain.  He attended his annual trainings and monthly battle assemblies/drills.  Then deployment. We were fortunate enough to have a short deployment, 6 months.  In that time, my boys did extremely well.  It was great that we were able to Skype with their daddy and talk with him on the phone as much as we did.  We had our routines. They had school and church and sports.  Time passed as quickly as it could when a family goes through deployment.  My husband was home just in time for summer vacation.  We were able to travel and just enjoy being a family again.

I do look at all of the challenges the military has brought to our family and how it has affected our children.  I say they have handled things well. My oldest son loves all things military and even speaks of joining when he is older. My middle child doesn't say much about it at all.  He is not one to express his feelings much and internalizes things.  This worries me because I am a feelings type of person.....just let it all out and express yourself.  My youngest is a bit different in the fact that this is all he knows.  He is definitely a Mama's Boy and I wonder if it's because he is the baby or because his daddy has spent a lot of time away during his 5 years.

Regardless of what we've been through, my children are proud of their daddy and his service.  They have a strong since of patriotism and honor.  They support their daddy and what he strives to do with his service in the military.  Please join me this month as we honor all military children.  They serve and sacrifice along their service member.





Five Minute Friday: Relief

This morning, I checked Facebook before I ever rolled out of bed. An acquaintance of mine had posted one of those Timehop photos of her and her husband at the airport the day he was deployed 7 years ago.  It took me back to the day I took my husband to the airport for his deployment.

My chest hurt.

My heart raised.

I couldn't breathe.

I couldn't talk for fear of crying. I had promised myself I wouldn't cry.  I would be strong for him, our children, and his parents.

It was hard.

The months he spent away were very difficult.  Especially the night we were Skyping and his compound came under attack.  There are no words to describe that feeling.

We prayed and prayed and prayed.

Then one night at 1am, he called me and told me he had just landed in Bangor, Maine.  What relief that brought! I could breathe a little easier.

The best moment of all.....being reunited at the same airport where months earlier, I was filled with anxiety and fear.  I no longer had lingering fears of his safety. He was back in my arms, back with our family, back where he belonged.  The relief that comes with holding your Soldier for the first time after war.....well, there's no words for that either.  The tears come.  The praises for God's provision come.  The thankfulness.  It's all overwhelming.


Thank you for stopping by on the Friday.  I would like to add this final thought even though my five minutes are up....Jesus was the source of our strength through this deployment.  I got so many comments of, "How do you do it?"  The truth of the matter is, I didn't. Jesus did.  I don't get through one day of my life with Him.  All too often people look for relief elsewhere....gambling, alcohol, retail therapy.....but true relief comes from Christ.  We were never promised an easy life, but Jesus promised He would always be with us.


Be sure to stop by www.katemotaung.com to read some inspiring thoughts from some other writers.  Happy Friday!

Monday, April 06, 2015

Where Do We Go From Here?

Easter Sunday is over.  At my house, the baskets are piled high with candy that will never be eaten. Our Sunday church clothes are piled in the clothes basket waiting to be washed.  Our bellies are still full from the Easter ham, sweet potato casserole, and macaroni and cheese. The milk chocolate bunny is staring right at me saying, "Do it! Eat the ears first."

So, now what?

What do I do now with the message of Resurrection Sunday?



First, I can choose to be like the chief priests who tried to cover up the resurrection with lies and bribes, knowing it really happened, but choosing to cover it up due to fear. Yes, it can be a scary thing when Jesus comes in and wants to change your world.  We can deny Him to the end, but we are only hurting ourselves. I almost laugh thinking that these officials seemed to think that if they denied the resurrection then Jesus would be like, "Oh, well I'll just quit now since they are bribing each other to deny me."  Today, people do the same. They seem to think, "If I just deny Him, then it won't matter. God is loving so, well, whatever. It doesn't matter."

Another thing we can choose to do is be like Thomas. Thomas chose to doubt.  I think one reason why was because he wasn't as strong has the other disciples (purely my opinion) for the simple fact he wasn't there when Jesus first appeared to His disciples behind locked doors.  I have no idea where Thomas was.  It doesn't matter.  What matters is that to me, it seems like Thomas wasn't fully following Jesus.  I'd compare him to those Easter and Christmas church  attendees.  Our names may or may not be on any particular church roster.  They know the ins and outs of the Christmas and Easter stories, but are never around to get more out of having a deeper, real,  life changing relationship with Christ. They doubt Christ more than other Christians because they haven't spent time getting to know Him.  Like Thomas, they have to have that physical proof that Jesus is really who He says He is.

Or I can be Paul.  Paul, like me, walked in darkness.  We mocked other Christians.  We chose to deny Christ.  But one day, Christ revealed Himself to us.  We had a choice as to what we were going to do with that.  Well, you know Paul's story.  Paul, whom was originally called Saul, gave up the life he knew and chose to live for Jesus.  He chose to walk in light and help others know the Jesus he knew.  He had his thorn in the flesh, something that he wanted to rid his life of, but he knew that God's grace was sufficient.

When Jesus revealed Himself to me, I admit I was scared.  In fact, I walked away from Him and denied Him that first time.  He kept after me, calling to me, desiring me.  One day, I'd had enough of darkness, and I opened my heart to His light, His love....to Him.  Needless to say, it hasn't been all mountaintop experiences since that day 11 years ago. However, whatever my thorn in the flesh has been, I have learned that God's grace is sufficient for me.  Whether it was sick children, job changes, lack of finances to pay bills, deployment, miscarriage, or anger, God was there for me. He walked beside me when I needed it. He pushed me when I needed it. He held me in His everlasting arms when I needed it.  He has covered me in grace and mercy.  He has given me strength.

I'll be the first to admit that being a Christian is scary.  Sometimes we are fearful, but I do have to remind myself that God hasn't given me a spirit of fear. That comes from Satan.  When God calls me to do something, He will prepare me for it.  So many people choose not to serve Christ because of fear. If that's the case, we will all be pew warmers and there would be no discipleship.

When we hear God calling, whether it is that first time that he is convicting of us of our sin or calling us to teach a class or go on a mission trip, we have to truly believe, and not doubt, that He will prepare us, He will guide us, He will be there with us.

As a Jesus lover, I choose to follow Him.....every single day.  Yes, there will be days I totally blow it. I will embarrass Him. I will not spend time with Him like I should.  But.....Here's where He redeems me.  He will open His arms to me and say, "I know. I am not surprised by your imperfections. I know you better than you know yourself. After all, I did create you.  Regardless of your flaws, I love you and I can and will use you. You need only be still and trust Me."

That's what I choose. I choose to trust Him and live for Him every day, not just Sundays.  I am committed to Him.  And you know???? I owe it to Him.  I owe Him my praise, my worship, my thankfulness, my life.  It's that whole John 3:16 thing....For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.


And that is where I go from here....serving Christ. Living for Him. Devoting my life to Him. Where do you go from here?


Friday, April 03, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Good

I anticipated this week's word to be FINISH, but I was wrong.  I'm ok with today's word.  It's really good.

There is so much wrong in the world. So much negative. I loathe watching the news. Hate it with a passion.  There's never anything good.

Recently, I wrote a blog post about a bad week I was having and then making the choice to focus on the positive.  Each day, that is what I will try to do when things don't seem to be going my way.

Why?  Well, because of Jesus.

You see, I have this relationship with Him.  He has been so good to me, and I owe it to Him to be the best I can be....for Him.

He loves me.

On this Good Friday, as I read scripture with my children, I am reminded that, although brutal, Jesus' death was good.  It had to happen. It was in God's plan.  Had Jesus not died for me that day, I would have no hope.

For me, looking for the good, having that hope, is a way to honor Jesus. It is pleasing to him. When I can praise Him in my storms, that can show others that my faith, my hope is in Him.  Jesus is my all in all.  He made the ultimate sacrifice for me.  The least I can do is look for the good and help others to see that regardless of what's wrong in the world, that there is still hope. There's still Jesus.



Thank you for sharing this Good Friday with me.  I pray that you and your family focus on Jesus. If you don't know Him personally, seek Him. And remember. A lot can happen in 3 days.



Friday, March 27, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Break

Happy Friday, Friends!  Thank you for stopping by for my Five Minute Friday post.  This is the time that I get to join in with writers everywhere for 5 minutes. We start off at katemotaung.com to get our writing prompt, then we write for 5 minutes about that prompt.  No over thinking. No editing.  Just writing.

And here we go!

"Be careful! Don't break that!"

I have found myself saying that over and over again.  I am the mama of three boys. What do you expect?

Kids break things.  I break things.  It happens.

Carson decided one day it would be a great idea to drop kick a ball through the bedroom door.  When he did, the ball hit the squirrel that has been on our wall for 12 years. It belonged to Jeff's grandmother before that, one of the cherished things he kept after she passed away.

Well, the ball hit it. The squirrel fell. It's big tail shattered all over the floor.

Carson's face was full of fear.

I calmed him down. Cleaned it up.  Then went to talk to his daddy.

Jeff handled it better than I thought.  He said he was upset, but he knew what Nanny would have said, "Oh, don't fuss at him. It's ok."

Breaking things can cause us to react in so many ways.  We can be angry, we can laugh it off, or we can talk about it and move on.

Stop.

I'd like to say that I reacted the same way when Colin broke something special of mine.  I didn't. However, I didn't fly off the handle like I had in the past.  I'm learning more and more that things are just things. We will have the memories that go along with them.  How I react to broken things will be remembered too. I want my children to remember that I treated them more importantly than my "stuff."  It was funny telling Carson's story to Jeff's cousin the other day when she wanted to know what happened to the squirrels tail.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Putting Things Into Perspective

I'll be honest.  It's been a crazy week. Ups and Downs and All Arounds.

I made the comment to Jeff a few weeks back about how that particular day was "the longest day ever." He informed me that the longest day ever for him was the day I lost our baby through miscarriage.

Hmmm. Kinda put things in perspective.

This week.....this week there were so many moments when I wanted to comment about how terrible of a day I was having.  More than once, "This is the day from hell" popped into my mind. I pushed it away each time, reminding myself that things could always be worse.  And it could, and I know that.

If you know me, you know how much I love words, especially God's Word.  He always knows what I need to hear.

This morning as I was reading my Readings for Lent and Easter, my scripture came from Romans 8:18-25.  Verse 18 says, "Now, I'm sure of this: the sufferings we endure now are not even worth comparing to the glory that is coming and will be revealed in us."  I was reminded that I'm going to have rough days, rough weeks, but I am empowered by God.  He speaks grace and mercy over me.  Because of my faith in Him, I have this amazing hope within me. In him, I have glorious freedom.

When I have a bad day, I try to stop and remember the good, the blessings. God's way of telling me to get over myself and see what good He has done.  So for me, in this moment, that is what I am choosing to do.  Instead of griping or listing here the things that went wrong this week, I want to share with you some things that went right:

We made an offer on a house and then accepted the final offer.

Carson has artwork at the local art gallery.

Colin pulled out a B in science when I thought for sure he would get that C.

Jeff bought me a dress just because he saw it in the store window and thought I would like it (and I do).

Jeff showed up in my classroom with Starbucks.

Hilarie showed up in my classroom with my favorite Route 44 drink.

My little boys still want me to lay down with them every night.  

One of my students at school did the Happy Dance when he found out corndogs were on the lunch menu.

I got to fill in for Leslie at church and hang out with the middle school girls. 

Makennah wanted me to be in the nursery with her.

A new couple joined the church.

We got to enjoy our usual Wednesday night Dairy Queen meal with our church family.

We've had some beautiful spring weather this week that allowed for some extra recess.

This is just a small list of good things from this week.  It was easy to pick them out, especially with keeping the positive in mind.  Mindset is a powerful thing.  I encourage you to pick out the positives when things aren't going your way.  Find the good in your day and dwell on that instead of the bad.



Friday, March 20, 2015

And the Winners Are......

First of all, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who donated prizes for my first ever Spring Fever Giveaway.  I really had fun putting this together. Secondly, THANK YOU to everyone who visited and entered to win. I really hope to do this again during the closer to fall.

But I guess you just really want to hear the winners.  I entered the number of entries on the random.org number generator and here's what we got:

Day 1: 
Monogrammed Hat from Barn Door Designs 
Christie Pickard

Day 2: 
Shakeology Starter Set from Christy Jasper
 Ashley Dixon

Day 3: 
Personalized Cup courtesy of Cindy Sopko
 Dixie Buesching

Day 4: 
Moments and Miracles of Grace: Inspiring Stories from Moms donated by author Nancy B. Kennedy
 Lesley Hall

Day 4: 
Locals Only $15 Pineapple Lily Gift Certificate
 Lori Stevens

Congratulations, Ladies!  Either myself or the prize donor will be contacting you soon to get your prizes to you.

Thanks again to everyone who participated.