Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A *Sweet* Weekend

This was my first trip to Hershey, PA. Six ladies from my Community Bible Study class went to the CBS Leadership Conference and stayed at the Hershey Lodge. I saw nothing else in Hershey, PA, but the lodge did not disappoint. We were given a Hershey chocolate bar upon check in and every bit of the room decor was kisses--including the sheets on the beds! There was chocolate scented shampoo, lotion, and soap. Every meal was served with a choice of chocolate butter for on bread. We were definitely in Hershey even if we didn't see the chocolate factory.
 This morning for opening at CBS those of us who went to the conference were asked to share our thoughts. I was going to edit it to fit the blog format better, but I've decided to just put it here in its entirety.

Going to the CBS Leadership Conference as a prospective leader gave me an opportunity to be a “fly on the wall” so to speak, to catch the vision of CBS and experience CBS on a broader scale.

Ladies, we have been told over and over that we are part of an excellent program, but I'm going to tell you again. God is using CBS to transform lives through His Word. We are part of an amazing organization that is MUCH larger than what is happening here in Salisbury. The mission of CBS is to provide in depth Bible Study for ALL—two new things I learned that impressed me—when a Bible study is translated into another language, it is not just directly translated from English. It is rewritten to be relevant in that language and culture for which it is written. I knew about international, mens, childrens, teens, young adults, women, and prison studies, but did you know that there are CBS Bible studies written for adults with disabilities? Bible studies are written at a level so that adults with cognitive disabilities can study the Word of God. Isn't that awesome? Or being in Hershey we would have said-- Isn't that SWEET?

The CBS Executive Director, Kim Carr, is a woman led and directed by prayer. On Friday evening she shared some of the newly developed goals for CBS. What got my attention was their process for planning. At some point in the process she gave the group of leaders each a journal, told them to pray for 60 days and write down everything the Lord told them during prayer. When they reconvened each person would share what was in their journal and only what was in their journal. Kim and the CBS staff didn't want to hear what each person had to say, they wanted to hear what GOD was saying. They looked for themes among what was shared and that was how their goals were developed. I think we can be quite confident that what is happening in CBS is from the heart of God Himself.

Friday I was thinking “this is nice.” I'm not sure what here is going to apply to me. I'm not a CBS leader. (God has told me to wait on that.) As my brain was trying to discredit my attendance at this conference, God let me know that I am a leader. It might not be at CBS, but I have other leadership roles and really all of us are called to be leaders either at home, at our churches, in our community, or any number of other places. With my confidence in place that I am a leader and determined to apply everything I was hearing to every aspect of my life—not just to CBS—Saturday morning arrived.

Matt Chandler is a pastor and leader of the Acts 29 Network. He presented the first session on Saturday morning via video. I want to share the gist of his teaching because 1. I still remember his 3 main points and  2. I think it applies to all of us.

(The following remarks are taken from my notes for Matt Chandler's sermon. The links above reference where the sermon can be purchased. Many of Matt Chandler's sermons can be found on YouTube)

“The strength for our calling comes from our unity with Jesus. (all of us are called!) So what keeps us from unity with Jesus?

1. Failure to believe in justification by grace alone through faith alone.
This is a failure to believe that forgiveness through Jesus' death and resurrection is enough for entrance to heaven. By our actions, thoughts and words we still think that we need to DO something to earn favor, to earn forgiveness, to do a more complete job of washing away our sin. The TRUTH is that Jesus is enough. His death and resurrection paid the price. We can't DO anything to make him love us more or forgive us more.

2.We have an aversion to suffering and struggle.
We seem to think that if something is difficult or painful that it couldn't possibly be God's will. God did not promise us a smooth sailing life or ministry. He promised us trouble, pain and suffering. Sometimes God's greatest gift to us is to wound us because when we are wounded, in pain, suffering we find out that underneath it all GOD IS ENOUGH.

3.We fail to understand the doctrine of adoption.
We can grasp the judicial component of God—you are forgiven. But the adoptive component is that you are chosen and loved. The idea of God delighting in us and finding joy in us. Even more joy and delight than we find in our own children. “If you believe that God delights in you, you would run to him more often in prayer and digging in His Word.” Do we? Is my heart pulled to prayer because I know that God delights in me and finds joy in my company or is it on my to do list? I don't think we find unity with God by crossing him off our to do list.

The strength for our calling comes through unity with Jesus. Unity with Jesus is knowing that we are justified through grace alone by faith alone, knowing that no matter what God is enough, and embracing God as a Father who has chosen us and delights in us. If I GET those things I will run to Him in prayer and and when we are connected to God through prayer, then nothing will be impossible for us--as we learned last week in Matthew 17.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Winter Swimming?!

Josiah and Anna discovered that the ditch along our property fills with water during the winter. It looked a bit redneck!

By the time I got out there both of them were shivering. That didn't slow them down very much!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Joy Dare::January

3076. A new wall calendar all filled in (Jeremy is not so proud of my old fashioned ways!)
3077. No big resolutions
3078. Jeremy's eyes were still sparkling when he got home from work.
3079. Boy cousins riding bikes
3080. Cleaning up my computer
3081. A birthday and scrapbooking goodbye with Chrissy
3082. Being with my sister at her house three times this week
3083. Possibly a life time supply of Project Life cards gifted to me
3084. Cutting
3085. Smooth transition back to schoolwork (although Aliza said she cried when she woke up and remembered she had to do math)
3086. Aliza did some cleaning--her own idea--just to help me
3087. Children proud of themselves for working hard
3088. A whiter bathtub
3089. New book to study
3090. Our church building read to meet in
3091. A smooth trip--4 hours and not even a bathroom break
3092. Secret birthday mission accomplished
3093. Pedicure
3094. Sibling love
3095. First meeting in our church building
3096. An end of an era of friendship is the beginning of a new era
3097. Making time for prayer
3098. An opportunity for Aliza to participate in a choir
3099. Accepting where I am in life--it's joys and limitations
3100. Lunch around my Gramma's table
3101. Able to get Josiah's ear looked at quickly
3102. Isaiah is acting like himself again and sleeping well
3103. Successful in doing some exercise this week
3104. A catch up conversation with Meghan
3105. Homeschool review now only once a year
3106. Puzzles and game with Great Gramma
3107. Weekend nap after a busy night with children
3108. Snow covered trees
3109. My favorite--Tea!
3110. New Sunday School classroom with bright light
3111. Jeremy feeling so much better
3112. My girl in my dress
3113.  Huge confidence boost for Aliza
3114. Teaching the primary CBS class
3115. Seasons
3116. Anna needing extra snuggles
3117. Exploring in the snow
3118. These two are buddies
3119. That smile!
3120. Feeling very laid back today
3121. Isaiah snuggled up with Aunt Janell and was utterly heartbroken when it was time for her to leave
3122. Snow falling just slows life down
3123. Family movie night--special snacks included
3124. Something is happening in my heart
3125. Snow day=Family day
3126. New season of Duck Dynasty
3127. Blue sky and sun reflecting off the snow
3128. Snow time with Aunt Laura
3129. Good to be out of the house this evening
3130. Big balls of snow
3131. Making sure I don't make life too easy for my children
3132. Scrubbing a bathroom
3133. A friend of Aliza's joined choir
3134. Janell kept my 3 while I took Aliza to choir
3135. Lydia could have a "get better day" at my house today
3136. Putting essential oils to the test
3137. Intentionally wrote a note of encouragement
3138. Out of the (sick) house
3139. All of us together in the living room after supper
3140. Just enough encouragement for today
3141. So many of us with colds but still finding reasons to laugh
3142. Finding voice messages on my phone of the kids singing made up songs
3143. Stirrings in my heart
3144. Serious sister bonding between Aliza and Anna
3145. Isaiah slept in late on a Sunday morning
3146. Beautiful day for some fresh air
3147. Biggest bike crash we've had yet and it did not result in blood or broken bones

Saturday, January 30, 2016

2nd Round of Colds--Almost Over

I have refrained all week from writing a whiny post about how we are all sick and some of us are on round two of colds. It was kindof a long week where I felt like crying when we couldn't go to Bible Study on Wednesday. Today most of us are much improved. Josiah was even off the couch and eating; however, Anna just started the cold yesterday. She didn't have a fever so that in itself was an improvement over the boys' colds.

I wanted to giggle every time I looked at Isaiah yesterday. His hair looked like this ALL day. He had a bath right before bed the night before.

Monday, January 25, 2016

From the Very Edge of the Blizzard

Jeremy's parents and brother are buried under 40 inches of snow so our couple inches doesn't really count for anything. But we did get some snow, rain and wind on our edge of the blizzard. The snow started on Friday afternoon. The snow started accumulating to maybe 4-5 inches.
It was a cozy evening to have our Family Dinner Book Club. We watched the Paddington movie and had bear themed snacks--and hot tea.
The blew hard Friday night and the rain melted a lot of the snow. It rained all morning on Saturday. I actually went grocery shopping and it started snowing again by the time I finished shopping. I felt like I cooked all day on Saturday. Cookies are a must for a snow day and just when I cleaned up the kitchen someone was hungry for the next meal! We also watched the first show of the new season of Duck Dynasty.

Sunday brought blue sky, sun and no wind. We got just enough snow to cover the debris from the wind on Saturday. The children have enjoyed playing and exploring by the ditch creek. Earlier in the week it had been shallow enough that it didn't go over their boots. Sunday Josiah came in with sopping wet boots because it was deeper than he thought it would be.
Aunt Laura came over to play in the snow and build snowmen. Anna was her most faithful helper. Anna had so much fun in the snow--constant giggles and snowballs!

This turned out to be wishful thinking for Josiah. He wanted to see if he could ride bike in the snow.
Isaiah was less than impressed with the snow. There was not a single smile while he was out and the only place he was reasonably happy was in his Daddy's arms.

Sunday evening we went to my parents to watch football. It was really nice to have a change of scenery. I didn't realize that we were in so much need of that! We took some scrapbook things. Aliza sorted through her box and gave some things to Anna. Anna was quite thrilled.
Isaiah found a juice box and thoroughly enjoyed it. The mess was quite minimal for a first time juice box drinker. It was pretty funny when he could not figure out why juice squirted in his face.
Finally, today was a lot warmer and the snow melted a lot. Josiah and Anna rolled very large snowballs that they were proud of.

When my parents told us kids what new state we would be moving to, we always asked what the severe weather risks were. Dad picked well. The Eastern Shore of Maryland is a great place to live to experience each season without much severe weather.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Inside the Mundane

Snow flurries were expected yesterday, but having the ground and trees covered was a surprise. With today and tomorrow being exceptionally cold the snow is sticking around for a few days.
I didn't mean to be, but I was in a bad mood this morning--low on patience and snapping at the children. There were lots of snow clothes strewn over the kitchen and beyond and once I got the downstairs tidied up and swept, I felt a lot better. There is something about a tidy house. Even if I don't get to do any deeper cleaning, if the house is tidy, I'm ok.
Josiah and Anna went out to play for a little while. They had hot chocolate and decided to drink it in the living room and talk while they drank.
Learning about germs and handwashing--glitter was the germs. Anna was very enthused about this activity!
The main event of the morning was a trip to the library because Aliza has been without a book to read all weekend and she could not go another day--no matter what the wind chill was. We bundled up and headed out. The closest parking lot was closed for some kind of repair so we had to park in the parking garage. It's not that much farther, but it was windy cold and we had to cross the street twice. Poor Anna had to run to keep up with me. Aliza takes along her book lists so that she can make sure she gets the right book in the series; however, she has never referred to her lists in the library. She has them memorized. =)
This afternoon I added a few things to my cedar chest which always requires a bit of nostalgia. My Mom made this dress for me to wear for my kindergarten graduation and it looked like it was just the perfect size for Anna. Anna was thrilled to try it on and would have worn it for the rest of the day had I let her.
I also did laundry, folded it and put it away, completed school work and prepared school for tomorrow, cooked supper, washed dishes, supervised baths, snuggled in bed and read books to kiddos (had to referee a couple squabbles during the time), rocked baby and laid with three more kiddos until they fell asleep. Just when the last was falling asleep hubby drove in from work. How's that for a mundane day!!?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Mid January

This week I received my 2014 blog printed in a book. I started reading from January 2014 and realized that I could pretty much write similar posts for January 2016 and it made me laugh. You dear people who keep reading this little blog...!

I've pretty much hit the January doldrums:

It's cold and gray.

The oldest boy has way too much unspent energy and I lose my patience by evening.

Colds are going around. A couple in the household are being treated for sinus infections.

One of my closest friends moved a couple hours away this week.

A bright spot is that Aliza has the opportunity to be involved in a choir this winter. She had her first practice this week. Today she was much more positive about it. Sigh of relief. (I was going to make her do it even if she hated it.)

During Core Group this morning at CBS and our Teaching Director came in to share about the Children's Ministry--how two teachers have had to step down from teaching and asking members to prayerfully consider if the Children's Ministry is a place where you could serve. And tears start streaming down my face. A culmination of January dreariness? Maybe. This is what I've identified as going on inside my heart with CBS. I've seen the holes in help with the children. My natural instinct is to want to help, to be the one to keep going what has been so great for my children and me. I know that one day I will serve in leadership of CBS, but I also know that now is not my time. Now is my time to allow others to serve me and and my children, to speak life into our souls, even save us from each other at times. (I'm tearing up again writing this!) I need to be a gracious receiver of this gift. As I was praying tonight for teachers, I also found myself giving my CBS morning, my CBS community, my children's spiritual growth to God because this community we've found is a gift--it's not an entitlement.