Monday, August 31, 2009

Yes, I Did

I know you are wondering if I finished Do You Think I'm Beautiful by Angela Hunt since I was dragging you along, chapter by chapter until I dropped you stopped posting about it. I admit that I found the first few chapters more profound and applicable in my life - perhaps I haven't applied the early truths well enough to fully appreciate the end of the book. Let me know what you think after you read it.

What? You've not purchased your own copy yet? Never fear, it will be available soon in the church library. Stacy asked to borrow MY copy - not sure if she was hoping for juicy margin notes, a quickly available read or no late notice if she keeps it over two weeks. :D

Newest news: The month is no longer in question because THE DATE HAS BEEN SET! The church has been reserved. The PERFECT DRESS has been FOUND & ordered. The Mother of the Groom's dress has been viewed & approved. No, I'm not getting a new one but I will want some new shoes. Shooooooppiiiiiiinnnnnnnnng.
Plus I have to dress my handsome hubby, 2 groomsmen & a maid of honor - not to mention the Groom himself, but I'm sure the bride2B has a good idea what she's looking for there.

Clarification: She's found what she's looking for, just gotta choose his duds.

The 2 mothers with their 2 daughters will be meeting for lunch later this week to discuss "what our kids have been planning".


I forgot to mention the date? Oh, you must not be on Facebook!
May 8, 2010
Mark your calender!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Life is Zooming Along

Missed me?

Education is officially (meaning we are now doing the recordkeeping) well underway in our home-school. Caleb & Rachel are zooming along in the FLVS classes they started in July. Rachel is 25% completed & still has a 100 average in keyboarding. Caleb is also doing very well in Web Design & is ahead of pace.

Last week we added in a new subject or activity each day, everything but science. With all the wildlife living in the house, science is hands-on every day. For example, on Sunday, Andrew procured for Caleb a female bearded lizard (in my mind the bearded lady - Can you believe that he didn't think "Lady" was a good name?) for whom he had to build a habitat & research a menu > we dug maggots out of the compost bin. That sounds like science to me!

Current critter list: 3 cats, 1 dog, 1 bunny, 2 parakeets, 1 tarantula, 1 bearded dragon, 6 snakes (3 rat, 2 corn, 1 rosy boa) BUT two of the rat snakes showed up just within the last week - one in my foyer, yes (sigh) another home invasion, & will not be permanent in-house residents. I'm taking them to visit a friend's home today to see if one will be adopted by her son. The other will be returned to the wild after being instructed to stay away from ceramic tile floors.

Half of my kids head off to college today - leaving home about the same time but headed in opposite directions. PTL they are commuting & not yet moving away, although Jacob & Maryn have been discussing the "M" word and are much closer to setting a date. Yes, I realize that would most definitely involve a move rather than a commute. :-)

For those of you anticipating the "M", they are examining the pros & cons of August vs. May in relation to college, college funding and Big Creek Missions which may or may not be a part of their next year. Can YOU imagine being married & sleeping at the opposite end of the gym as your new spouse-i-poo for 3 months?

So the questions I leave you with are these:
Will the little rat get adopted & live a life of luxury?
Is August or May the better "M"onth?
What adventures will be experienced this school year?

I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Or the Older Sister?

Chapter 6 in Do You Think I'm Beautiful by Angela Hunt makes personal Luke 15: 11-32, what is commonly referred to as the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

I will have to agree with Wendy who said at the Prayer Retreat, "I always thought I was the prodigal son then found out I was the elder brother!"
BTW, another prayer retreat/book connection. God thinks of EVERYTHING!

Believe it or not, being the elder brother can sometimes take us farther from
God's heart than being the prodigal.

There is something inside us elder-brother types that believes if we can
just keep all the rules, make wise choices, and live sacrificially, that's it.
That's what God requires and, boom, we're in the club. He must surely approve of
our efforts. He must be more pleased with us than those scalawags who come and
go. We are as loyal as the day is long. We're proud of our humility and service.
We don't quite understand why everyone can't choose as we have.

Gross. describing my elder-brother tendencies makes me feel queasy. It's
uncomfortable when these truths hit so close to home.

The prodigal knew he was a sinner BUT the elder brother could
not see his own sinfulness.
The elder brother thought the Father loved him because he was
so hardworking and faithful.
Because the elder brother had not known grace, he was not able
to extend grace.
The elder brother was bound by unforgiveness. > You and I
will never be asked to forgive someone more than we have already been forgiven
by God. Kind of puts it all in perspective, don't you think?
The elder brother didn't know that he had always possessed the
riches of his Father.
The elder brother didn't hear the music with his heart. He
didn't know he'd been invited to the dance.

The elder brother...feels like the victim and wonders why the prodigal
seems to be getting a break while he stayed home and can't seem to get anywhere.
His self-righteousness is fueled by fear, pain and sorrow; not trusting
motives of the Father.

Have you ever wrestled with God?
(Wendy brought this up at the prayer retreat also when talking about Jacob. !!)

The all night wrestling match that I remember most vividly dealt with this issue of trust, succinctly put, "How can I trust You with my children knowing first hand that you let bad, painful things happen to Your children?"

We forget that He understands. Angela reminds us of these verses:

Isaiah 53:3
He was despised and rejected by men,
a Man of Sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.

4 Surely He took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered Him stricken by God,
smitten by Him, and afflicted.

5 But He was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him,
and by His wounds we are healed.

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on Him
the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet He did not open his mouth;
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so He did not open his mouth.

12b For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

Whether you find yourself as the prodigal or the elder brother, the answer is the same. Take everything that keeps you from His arms to the cross and leave it there.

Keep taking them there until they are no longer yours.

Grace is the hand of God that reaches into the fire and rescues us from above. Grace is the reason [we] can hold up our heads and return to the Father.

Grace is having been the prodigal or the elder brother who is coming home empty-handed, surprised to find that God runs, scoops you up into His arms, looks into your eyes, and still calls you beautiful.

"Lord, show me when I'm having elder-brother or prodigal tendencies. Remind me of Your grace. Keep me in step with You in this life dance."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Prodigal Daughter?

Chapter 6 in Do You Think I'm Beautiful by Angela Hunt makes personal Luke 15: 11-32.

Everytime I have started writing this posting, I've had to get off the pc for some reason - which gave me more time to look over the chapter & pray about my position before my Father God. Perhaps this was an area in which He knew I needed to meditate awhile.

I have read this parable, heard sermons (a couple in the past month) & riviting personal testimonies, seen amazing artistic renderings, cried during the beautiful song and have taught the story in Sunday School BUT never have I so severely applied it to self.


What has the Father given to us? Our share of His estate is the wealth of His
grace, mracy , wisdom and peace. Our riches come from His great love, patience,
forgiveness and strength poured out to us. There have been times when I have
chosen to take His riches and squander them on selfish desire. It's a willful
choosing in spite of a "knowing better".

When I remember some past
choices, it's like watching a video of myself packing it all up, leaving the
dance, and driving off to a place where I am apart from God. I can watch that
video now and think, How stupid was that? But the girl in the video
looks happy. She's excited and curious. She's whistling a tune from teh dance.
She's too smart to be so naive. She thinks her life in the distant land will be
even better, or that a little adventure will surely be fun.

Then, there she is, trudging through the swine-flavored mud.
This mind picture is almost funny > pig wrestling < until I consider that she was the princess at the ball in all her finery, not at all prepared for nor desiring this porcine closeness.

Angela equates modern day addictions of all kinds - any habitual sin outside of God's will that is keeping us away from "the dance", to living in the pigpen.
It's easier to see yourself there now, isn't it?
I love that the prodigal can come to her senses.
The son said to Him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against You. I am no longer worthy to be called Your son."

Let's just nail something down right now. We are not worthy. We never could be
even when we thought we might. We are not able on our own. We are not good
enough and never will be. Never have been and never even had a shot at trying.
That's the reason we belong to Jesus - because we are not worthy.
Praise the Lord!

"Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain!"

How amazing that, unworthy as I am, because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, when I am a repenting prodigal returning to my Father God, He runs to me.

Click here to enjoy a beautiful video set to Phillips, Craig and Dean singing "When God Ran".
I'll share my box of tissues.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Whispers of Unbelief Meet Noise & Clutter

Chapters 4 & 5 of Do You Think I'm Beautiful by Angela Hunt seemed to be written just for Mardy's Leaders Prayer Retreat. They address lies that we believe (in other words, not believing His truth) which effect everything we think & do then explain how to move from bondage to those lies swirling around in our head to hearing & seeing God's wonderful truth.

Mardy's "Magic Formula" for the Christian Walk:
1. Call on God, cry out to Him.
2. Be still & wait on Him.
3. Listen to what He says.
4. Do it: OBEY.

Many bog down in items two & three; then don't have a solid number four to act upon. Isn't that awful? Fully half of what's necessary is not happening and one fourth is based on potentially shakey information.

PTL we have the truth in His Word to guide us but we must be listening!

Book snippits:

If we can't get past our unbelief then we will absolutely never know the joy of
the dance. We'll continue to live around the edge of life, never truly entering
Mark 9:23-27
v. 24 "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief."
Let the truth of God's love be the exclamation that silences the muttering
in your head.

"I don't know how to describe it."
"Can you try?"
It's like there are a lot of voices in my head.
It's loud in here. I wish I could turn it

"You are not alone.
A lot of people tell me it's noisy inside their

"Really? This is normal?"
"Yep, perfectly normal, but incredibly

Then Angela described the "regular pandemonium" in her head which ranged from life noise all around (she has 4 kids too) to the lists of things to do & remember THEN hit the REAL noise - the "unanswered longings, lies we've believed, fears we've embraced, choices we've made":

You mean this is all there is to life? I've wasted so much time. It's all my fault. Who have I become and who is the real me? My sin is too big. My life doesn't count for much. My scars are too painful. I'm an embarrassment. Somebody get me out of here. Time is running out; hurry up and do something.

The solution to noise? Quiet time in prayer, listening for God's truth. Mardy's items number two & three.

Then there is the clutter.

Soul clutter is the collection of emotional, relational, and spiritual
issues that we have been stepping over and ignored, thinking we'll get around to
it eventually. Realize that you might have to get messy to get clean, and it
could take awhile to get it all sorted out.

Clutter happens when an issue begins to get in the way, when the steps of
your soul are stacked with piles of emotions, thoughts and relationships that
need attention. Maybe you've been tripping over them for years now.

Steps for dealing:
1. Acknowledge the mess.
2. Realize that you may have to call for help.
3. Pray and seek prayer covering.
4. Expect this season of reconciling, reordering, and repairing to take longer than you think it will.
5. Journal.
6. Allow God to lavish you with His grace.

Psalm 103:8-14
v. 14 for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.

Yep, that's me. I'm a beautiful little dirt person.

So are you.
Believe it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Other Lovers

No, this is not a confess-all. I know you are disappointed but don't be 'cause it's chapter 3 in Do You Think I'm Beautiful by Angela Hunt.

"We can become distracted from [God's] invitation [to dance] because of the other lovers."

I am so blessed with the relationships God has placed in my life - family & friends keep this walk lively & entertaining, yet, they are only "appetizers intended to make you [ME] want more."

Angela calls them "vessels of God's love". Doesn't that sound wonderful? Sounds like a song - "make me a vessel of God's love to someone today".

expecting other people to fill that empty God-sized hole in our soul will leave us unfulfilled and demands more out of a relationship than people are capable of producing.

You know the other lovers:

the man, who wasn't made to be enough & can never make us whole. He is JUST a man, so let him be who he is & let God fill the depths of our souls.

the other man, the dad. "No other man will be able to fill what your father never gave. The only Person who can give what you have missed is God.

the children, precious as they are, they cannot fill the place that was designed for God.

the friends. "If I wanted to ruin the blessings we enjoy, all I'd have to do is begin to expect her to fill my soul. She'd feel the pressure. I'd be disappointed. We'd grow distant. > That place is reserved for God."

the stuff, which was not even made to be a vessel of love. Stuff can be enjoyed BUT our "need for love can never be filled by the pursuit of stuff." It has nothing to do with our soul.

Can you imagine trying to fill God's place in someone's life?
How draining a thought.
And yet, I know I have done this.
"Please, Lord, help me never to do it again. Fill Your Spot in my soul with Your Holy Spirit."

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Wallflowers R Us

Chapter 2 of Do You Think I'm Beautiful by Angela Hunt is entitled "The Wallflower Who is Asked to Dance".

Being a life-long Southern-Baptist who danced mainly in gym class that one semester and NEVER danced a complete dance with a partner of the opposite sex, not even my husband, I figured I would not relate well to this topic. At all.

Plus there's my two left feet and I've always been comfortable as a wallflower.

Do you know what the dance is? The dance is your life. The dance is
you in the arms of God gliding around the center of the room, becoming the woman
He thought of when He dreamed of you. To dance is to say, "I can do that," and
then to magnificently step out into the strength of God's call and shine. to
dance is to grab hold of what you were made to be and then let Him show you how
to become.

Since beginning to dance with God and getting the hang of following,
I have been learning more and more of His love for you & me. In His arms
I've found permission to ask all the questions that have rattled around in my
soul. "Do You think I'm beautiful?" seemed to capture the essence of my
longings, but more questions have since spilled out:

"Do you notice me?"

"Is anyone listening to me?"

"Will You rescue me?"

"Do You really love me?"
Sometimes we taste this love in our lifetime... parents... husband... friend.
But here is the catch about the design of our souls: the love we will know here
on earth will never be enough. We have been made by God for God. To
operate with only the taste of love we get on earth will leave us incomplete.
That's by design.
The cup of our soul will never be filled apart from the love of God.

Bet'cha Grandma would even join in in this dance!

What about you?

Friday, August 7, 2009

"Pretty is as Pretty Does"

which is Southern for "Well you are kind of homely, but try not to think about it."

My book has arrived!

I'm talkin' about Do you Think I'm Beautiful (the Question Every Woman Asks) by Angela Thomas - remember I mentioned it before? I perused through it briefly, having to leave it behind at the cabin in Blue Ridge since I chose not to steal it - always a good choice that - but knew it would be a good study despite the non-practical title.

If there is a question attached to the soul of a woman, maybe it's Do You Think I'm Beautiful? When God answers from the depth of His great love, it makes some of us feel like The Wallflower Who is Asked to Dance, but we can become distracted from His invitation because of The Other Lovers, Whispers of Unbelief, Noise and Clutter and because we are Sometimes the Prodigal, Sometimes the Elder Brother.
To return to the music and strong embrace of God requires A Desperate and Pursuing Heart. When a woman chooses to remain in His arms of devotion, God gives The Only Hope We Have, His Perfect Love and A Beautiful Crown.
God is enthralled by the beauty of a woman and calls her His beloved. He wildly pursues her heart with romance and intimacy to make her His Beautiful Bride.

I re-read the first chapter in my quiet time this a.m.
Psalm 45:11 "The king is enthralled by your beauty."

Snippets for you:
When you've learned never to ask, longing is banished. Living becomes more
comfortable when it's shallow; that way we can avoid the questions. it is easier
to keep rules than to grab hold of the grace that sets our hearts free to feel.

If the question "Do you think I'm beautiful?" came attached to my soul, then
maybe the answer wasn't ever meant to fully come from this world. Maybe the
purpose of the question is to take me by the hand and walk me into the presence
of the Creator... Maybe all that really matters is what He thinks of me.

If you want to read it too, a used hardcover copy (which is listed at $19.99) is available right here from Amazon for under $5 including shipping.

Yes, I've ordered one for the library but this copy is MINE.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Big Creek Missions Staff Return Home

We had all summer to re-do Jacob's room but it was a busy summer and PTL a wet one - I think we've gotten over 30 inches.

Which made it a little harder to get going on Jacob's room. Remember we started on July 23 by pulling up carpet & removing the baseboards. The kids did most of the painting while Stan & I ran some errands in town prior to my visiting the beautiful Blue Ridge in GA. Stan painted the ceiling while I was gone.

Then it rained every afternoon while he was home & could work on the floor until last Thursday. He dodged raindrops Thursday, Friday and Saturday but persisted!

Those cuts for the closet & door jams plus that small section to complete the wall required precise measurements. He did such a great job. See his saw horse set up on the porch?

Meanwhile, Rachel, Caleb & I worked on the baseboards; cleaning, sanding, re-staining and INSTALLING in the areas where the floor was finished. We re-hung the freshly washed curtains & blinds too. Have I mentioned that it was Saturday & we were picking the kids up Sunday a.m.? :-)

Everyone helped. Caleb was Stan's right hand man with the initial floor installation in the dining room & hall so he was right there to assist with the difficult against-the-wall pieces.

Stan placed the last piece of doorframe, reinstalled the door and the room was finished. Sweeping the floor clean prepared it for furniture which was carried in & reassembled.
All before bedtime Saturday night.

We watched their plane land then greated them with, yes, photos! and hugs. It was so good to see them. They had some difficulty outdoors missing the KY hills & speak of returning to Big Creek Missions next year.

Speaking of Big Creek Missions, here's the last summer update by my cousin, Kevin:

Friday afternoon posted ‎‎Jul 31, 2009 1:46 PM‎‎
by Kevin Rogers

Good afternoon, friends! Today, our teams are wrapping up their ministries for the week. The daycamp teams are currently hanging out with the kids here at Big Creek during the LiveWire services. This evening, the children will be presenting a mini-musical called, "GPS" at the park in Hyden.

Our construction teams are tying up all the loose ends and are helping close things out for the summer. Our next teams won't be in for about a month, so we're hoping to finish as many projects as possible.

This has been a fantastic summer, and God has blessed us in immeasurable ways. Our best estimates have over 100 people believing and confessing Christ as their Lord for the first time this summer. Glory be to God!

Thank you for your prayers and support. Without your prayers and support, Big Creek Missions would not exist. We are available to host groups on mission any time of the year. I hope you'll consider bringing a group during the fall and spring months to continue building the relationships that have been formed this summer!

We look forward to seeing what all God has in store for us . . .

Until Big Creek 2010 . . . . Go serve!