Ice Cream And RGT

So, do you ever want to eat your cheesecake with ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream and almonds ALONE, but your big kids keep coming in- even though it is 10 pm at night!!  Do these kids ever go to bed??  It’s almost like when they were infants and we held, rocked, nursed, walked around…held, rocked, nursed, walked around…and held, rocked, nursed and walked around AGAIN, only to have them still wake up when we placed them in their crib for bed.  Apparently, I need more than just ice cream…I need a weekend away, with Jesus.

So I did just that!  Raising Generations Today THRIVE Conference 2017 was one of the best ever.  Over 300 precious, godly, amazing women gathering in worship in Painted Post, NY to celebrate THRIVING as women, mothers, employees, daughters, aunts, cooks, teachers, business women, friends, and many, many more things.  We CAN do it all- in Christ!  HE is our source.  Jennifer Kindle said “Create Space for the Holy Spirit!”  Listen up, ladies, it’s time to thrive in Christ!   We were made to thrive, and in order to do that we need to make time for God.  These busy schedules seem to crowd out our time with the Lord, but we CANNOT allow it.  Setting aside some breathing space for the Holy Spirit is critical to our survival as moms and daughters in Christ.  Time with Him is even more precious than time with our little, needy, whiny ones. As we move into the “most wonderful time of the year,” strive to thrive in time set aside with your best friend, Jesus!!! 8372A63E-7842-40C5-81C6-9E161485A599

Advertisements

Beach Blog: Is it okay to be different?

IMG_5043

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

As I ponder the power of the ocean, the eclipse of the sun, the water over Niagara Falls, and, most powerful of all, the conversion of a heart at salvation, I am struck by the true power of the Holy Spirit.  I recently recognized the conflict between my belief system and that of a family member.  We simply did not see things the same way.  I saw grace, and she saw condemnation.  I saw inability for peace, she saw compromise to avoid conflict.  I saw unwillingness to change, she saw no need for change.  These things showed me how truly different our perspective on life was.  And in recognizing this, she felt judged and convicted that I didn’t agree with her.  But I just saw how different we were.  I didn’t feel condemned by her, I just accepted that we were different.

Is it okay to be different?  As follows of Christ, we will inevitably be different than others.  We are called to be different than the world.  Sometimes this means different than immediate family members.  As our kids get older and form their own beliefs and worldview, it may even mean that we are different than our kids.  Scary, but true.

So as I move forward in this family relationship, I am looking forward to the conversations that establish our differences.  I don’t hope for conflict, but I do hope for opportunities to share a CHRISTIAN worldview with my family members and friends.  I don’t feel it is condemning them, but it is educating us both.  I plan to use the Bible as my guide for my beliefs and worldview.  I hope to discuss the interpretations and misconceptions out there, change my view if God reveals truth in a new context, and revise my worldview as the Holy Spirit reveals himself.  I do not see as the world sees, but I trust God in faith to show me truth from His Word.  I need to be diligent in studying it, so I can share lovingly and accurately the Biblical truths that it contains.  May God’s grace be ever present in these conversations and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, not the condemnation of man, be the true worldview changer in myself and my family.  Glory to God!

It Is Well…Really?

Can I really say, “It is well,” when SO many are hurting?  I am finding that sometimes I simply cannot say it, sing it, feel it, or really know it.  There are moments of truth when there is so much doubt in my heart that things are well, that I cannot come to grips with that saying.

I heard a story once that the hymn, “It Is Well,” was written by a man while he sat on the dock looking out to the ocean.  He was admiring the mighty seas and writing to the God Almighty after losing his family in a shipwreck.  What a testimony!  If this is true, and he penned those words in the heartbreak of his loss, then certainly I should be able to say them in the midst of my struggles and worries.  Even if I have friends and family member facing cancer, wasn’t his situation even worse?  Is what I say dependent on my circumstances?  Or is what I say dependent on who I believe in?

The writer of Hebrews records in chapter 11 verse 1, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  If we choose to believe the word of God, then there it is.  What I say is dependent on who I trust, not how I feel.  It is dependent on who is in control, not how little I feel in control.  It is dependent on the mighty God of the universe and what HE says is well.  If HE says it is well, then

 

IT IS WELL.ocean_waves_ventura_california_usa_20120704

Give the Weight (or Wait) Away

This is short and sweet.  It’s not just that it’s all I have time for, it’s that it’s all I need time for.  I’m burdened to pray for all you moms today, this special Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day beautiful, godly, moms!!!! I had a rough day on Friday.  So overwhelmed with the weight of grading, finals, illness, taxi-driving, grumpy kids, and grumpy me. The Lord clearly showed me that He would take the weight if I gave it to Him. I prayed out loud to give it all to Jesus, and He strengthened me. I discovered that I was attempting to carry other people’s burdens as well. Today is, of course, so much better. So continue to cast your cares on Him, beautiful moms! Because sometimes those burdens are heavy, and serious, and worrisome, but He will take them!  So whether you’re worried for yourself, or a friend, or waiting on a decent job, a baby, or a timely phone call, be encouraged!  May God get the glory as we give, give, give (isn’t that just what we do, ALL THE TIME?) and then remember to give it to Jesus.  Love you all so much.

Dream Dreams, and THRIVE!

Setbacks fuel new dreams.  This was said by American swimmer Dara Torres.  What is your dream?  Have you given up?  Is there a new dream?  Is our life exciting, or are we bored?

My kids often say in the summer time that they are “bored.”  Well, my sons and daughter, boredom is an emotion, and I’m more and more convinced that we have choices about our emotions.  We can wallow in our poor selves and claim “boredom,” or we can take captive those thoughts and choose to THRIVE.  If we think we are bored, then we are.  If we choose not to be bored, then we are NOT BORED!  This Christian life is so exciting.  There are endless opportunities to explore God’s creation, encourage a friend or stranger, serve someone in the community, or make a phone call.  Remember phone calls?  Not a text…a personal phone call. Even if the person doesn’t answer it.

The next step to a closer relationship with God may be to claim our lives for Christ and really live the excitement.  He calls us to follow in his footsteps as ambassadors of the Gospel.  There are so many hurting that can be cheered by the hope we have in Christ.  The word of God speaks for itself, so no need to worry about what to say.  Memorize 5 hopeful scriptures.  These are your truths.  Spread these wherever you go and you will NEVER be bored.

IMG_0212

Fasting

Keep perspective even in the midst of trials.  Despite the difficulty, and even looming dread, we can remember that HE will lead us to green pastures and quiet waters to restore our souls.  Be still and KNOW that I am God!  Why do we doubt?

Recently, I learned that several friends are facing serious health issues.  In my limited mind, it seems unheard of that young moms would be facing such trials.  Where is God? What is going on?  What will happen to their kids?  Their husbands?  And how can we help? Is it enough to just pray?

I couldn’t help but feel pressed to do more.  It’s time to fast. The Bible calls us to fast and pray when we seek the Lord.  I feel called to be reminded by those  pangs of hunger to pray fervently…to pray continually for my friends’ healing.   There is no doubt that fasting reminds us to pray and seek God.  He is our source of wisdom and counsel.  I am hoping to fast to feel closer to God and hear from Him.

F – Find a food to remind you to pray.  chocolateMaybe it’s chocolate.  Not having chocolate reminds me to pray at least 20 times a day.  It’s amazing how much chocolate is in my life!  The kids are selling candy bars, there’s chocolate macaroons in the fridge at work, and everyone is having hot chocolate, chocolate milk, mochas or frappe!  Just fasting chocolate and desserts has freed up my mind and time for prayer.

A – Allow yourself grace. What if you accidentally eat something when you’re fasting?  There’s grace.  You are under grace and God will not condemn you for forgetfulness. Keep going and pressing in. You’ll be amazed what God is going to say!  Keep praying and listening for His voice!

S – Set scriptures around to remind you to focus on the Lord and His word.  Placing God’s word around the house and listening to Christian music helps us focus on the things above, not the world around us.  You may find that if you’re fasting, you have a few minutes to work on your Bible Study lesson or devotional.  It’s amazing what time we have when we’re not preparing breakfast!  It’s a few minutes to spend with the Lord that you might not have otherwise.  Use your time wisely!

T –  “Testing your faith produces perseverance, so let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  James 1:3-4.  We can embrace a trial as a testing of faith.  Maybe we do not really want to be tested, but it’s a sure way to get stronger through belief.  Lord, help my unbelief!  I pray that we would come out stronger after these trials.  Let nothing keep us from the faith that God would freely give us.

And in the midst of it all, remember God’s unconditional love. This is a time of reconciliation, redemption, and resurrection.  I pray that the cross will change us into women of faith, not doubt, and that fasting and praying will draw us into a closer relationship with our Jesus.

Great Expectations 2

More hope, less fear.  More love, less condemnation.  More power, less helplessness.  More joy, less worry.

I pray these things over my kids.  I expect that because they know the way to walk with Christ that they will have hope, love, and joy.  And I pray that when they get handed a flier announcing the “Coming Judgment and Wrath of God” that they will be confident of their salvation.  But WILL they know that they have hope against all odds?  WILL they know that their trust is not in riches, power, or politics?  WILL they embrace each day with joy, peace, patience, kindness, and love?

Recently, my college student received a tract from the boisterous evangelist on the Syracuse University campus.  He was visibly disturbed.  As he waited for us in the doughnut shop, he read the packet. When we came in, he said, “This is pretty awful. There’s a lot of bad stuff that happens.”

So true, so true.

If we live apart from Christ, there is a lot of bad stuff that happens.  We face eternal death in the lake of fire designed for the devil and his angels, and we face separation from God.  To fear death is good motivation to trust in the one true God.  But is this enough?

As we discussed the packet and the in-your-face evangelism that the local preacher demonstrated on the side walk in Syracuse, I was reminded of a verse.

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 says, “Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?  The sting of death is the law.  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Death is real!  It is inevitable!  BUT WE NO LONGER FEAR DEATH! Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, we have victory over sin.  So we do not fear death.  We have the opportunity to live righteously on the earth knowing that our hope is in Christ.

So I continue to pray. I expect my kids to be turned to the Lord and embrace their walk with Him.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide them.  And I expect many, many discussions in the future about the scriptures and how it impacts them.  The love of Christ is manifest in many forms and verses.  I pray that ALL my kids would know the fullness of Christ and fellowship with Him, whether they are in college, school, home, or the community.  I have great expectations for them in Christ.

Great Expectations

The snow fell as we made our way to the Carrier Dome.  The air was crisp, and we hiked the hills with gusto with crowds of young, old, and in between, all dressed in orange.

The entry was simple.  Ticket ringer, security scan, and searching for a seat.  Higher, higher, and higher in the dome.  The seats were on the VERY TOP.  It made my 10 year old a little dizzy, but we savored the moment.  Just the three of us cheering, shouting, and savoring.  Soon, the rest of the family showed up.  The air in the dome electrified as students shouted during the basketball game.  Balloons flying, whistles blowing and fun cheering, “Let’s Go Orange!”  The Orange stayed ahead the whole game.  They pulled out a win, and the fans stormed the court. Next stop, the Mighty Oaks basketball game just down the street.

In the small school gym, we saw a great game between the ESF Mighty Oaks and the Vaughn college team.  The Mighty Oaks maintained a two to ten point lead the whole game…except the last 2 minutes.  Vaughn caught up, scored to get ahead, and forced ESF to foul at the end.  Final score: Vaughn 79, ESF 69.  Another loss.  However, next week our struggling student gets reinstated to the team.   According to him, if he had played… they would have won.  When he makes changes to his work and finishes a great essay, then he’s back on the court.  When his professor changes his grade, then he’ll be able to play again.  He’s learning his lessons and how to work hard.  He has great expectations.

We visited our college student today and saw him in his element.  He’s on the basketball team, he’s got a girlfriend, and he’s a “big” man on campus.  Our adopted son is growing up.  He’s seen the hard work needed to do well in classes, and the consequences of losing focus (probation with the basketball team), but he’s got great expectations.  There’s much more to come from this young star…

 

Another Healthy Recipe

iced-tea.jpg

Here’s to feeling good and something tasting great!  This recipe from Women’s Day Magazine and nourishsnacks.com is supposed to help get rid of achy joints and give you energy.  Try it!

Lemon-Ginger Cooler

Place a lemon-Ginger tea bag in 1 cup hot water and steep for 5 minutes.  Remove the tea bag and allow the beverage to cool in the fridge. Once cool, stir in 1/4 cup 100% grapefruit juice, 1 tbsp chopped mint and some ice cubes.

Pretty Pumpkin

pumpkin-1303772937kg0

Here it is!  Fall is in the air already!  The season for pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pie creamer, leaf decorations, sweaters, homecoming, and then…Thanksgiving.  The excitement is already brewing for that beautiful holiday that leads into our Christmas celebrations.  Time flies!  It’s enough to make us either stressed, hungry, or embracing all the memories.  One of my favorite memories is being called “Pretty Pumpkin” by my Dad. Whenever we would drive by Pumpkin Lane, he would chant “Pumpkin Lane” and give my leg or arm or whatever was within reach a tickle.  Pumpkins take on special meaning now as I think back to how special that made me feel.  My Dad made me feel special by complimenting me.  He made me feel “pretty” by calling me a pet name.  What things make you feel special?  It may have nothing to do with pumpkin!  What memories do you have that remind you that you are special to your Heavenly Father? Not everyone has an earthly father to give them compliments and provide for all their needs.  But we have our precious Heavenly Father who calls us “chosen” (Colossians 3:12), “beloved” (Deuteronomy 33:12), “treasured possession” (Deuteronomy 7:6), and the “apple of his eye” (Psalm 17:18.)  Let’s ponder some special memories and toast our pumpkin dishes to our Father who meets all our needs and calls us His own.

Now try this yummy, healthy pumpkin smoothie recipe!  Thank you Women’s Day magazine!

Pumpkin Smoothie

Blend 1 banana, 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (vanilla or plain), 1/2 cups milk (regular, almond or soy), 1/2 cups pumpkin purée, 1 and 1/2 tsp maple syrup, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon and 3-5 ice cubes until smooth and frothy.  Makes two servings.