Anniversary Take One

Congratulations! You have been putting up with my all over the place blog for a whole year! I wish WordPress would send you all the anniversary badge that they sent me, because you deserve it. Thank you for taking your time to read my blogs, to respond or reply, and to become my friends.

My first blog was  The Secret Things. Boy did I have a lot to learn. (And I still do. I am surprisingly not really considered a techy kind of girl).

I had so many ups  A Homeschooling High and downs Living Forty Decibels Up. (Like a roller coaster!) You encouraged me so much! I was way too emotional Another Day Lost, and sometimes just silly Sunbathing in the Throne Room.

My topics were certainly diverse. I talked about my walk with God Help! I’m at church!, homeschooling The “I Have to Teach What?” Meltdown, parenting Coming Out of the Parenting Hazes, writing Coffee Break; Cream, no Sugar, sexual abuse Flashback, publishing sexual abuse and publishing, philosophy Coffee and Meandering Life Philosophies, stories The Bull, the Apple Tree and Me and my new job with VIPkids A Fun New Job and This Time I Get Paid.

This year I also got serious about poetry, which is the biggest way I have worshiped God Look Up, worked through sra and ptsd There Is a Child, and my personal favorite  There is a Line.

You have shared so many aspects of my life, and I appreciate your great support. I also learned about so many of you and about your lives. Sometimes you have even been gracious to allow me to share your work on my site Guest Vision Sharer and one of my favorite blogs redheadmom8.wordpress.com written by Shelly.

I entitled my blog “God is Good” because it is the one thread throughout all of the different topics I have addressed. It shows that no matter what I go through in life, God is a part of it, and that He is good. Simplistic maybe, but deep always. I see that He is good in each of your lives as well  God Really is Good.

It will be interesting to see where this new  year will lead. Thank you, again. You have been great and I appreciate your continued friendship and support, likes and comments. You are as much of a part of this blog as I am :).

 

 

 

It’s About The Journey

The jourey may be exhuasting, but eventually you will arrive.

She shifted around over and over and over trying to find the spot of the least pain. You would think with modern technology they would have invented a more comfortable donkey. She shouldn’t complain, at least for the 68.9 miles she was riding, but she was pregnant, and very pregnant at that. Seriously, out of all the times there could have been a census it had to be now? And what was wrong with Joseph, the audacity to be born so far away? She shifted again and the baby gave a strong kick into her bladder. And now another of the already hundreds of restroom breaks! She knew that this baby was divine and all, but the pregnancy was anything but! When she got to heaven she was going to have a little chat with the Almighty about this…

We always assume that Mary was perfect: quiet in her sufferings, sitting poised even though a little hunched over on her donkey, having sweet conversations with her husband…. But we really know nothing of her jouney to Bethlehem other than she went, went into labor, and found no vacancies at any hotel… Why Was there No Room in the Inn?

What we can focus on in the birth of Jesus, is that it was  journey for Mary and Joseph. They had a road to follow, a destination to get to. God had a plan, but it was not easy. In fact,  I can guarantee you it took every ounce of emotional and physical energy that they could muster. God never gives more than you can bear, but Mary and Joseph were pushed way beyond what they thought they could bear.

Last night was Christmas Eve, and Patrick and I made it to bed by midnight. We reminisced over the years of trying to get toys together and eveything wrapped, food prepared, and everything ready for whenever our four excited kids decided to wake up. It was exhausting. We rejoiced in not having to go to bed at two or three or four in the morning. Then I said, “Phew, we survived another one!” Then I started thinking about the journey.

Christmas is not just a labor of love for a week, but for many weeks. There is money to be saved or credit cards to be charged, there are lists of gifts for loved ones, planning meals, throwing Christmas parties, attending parties, participating in the church outreaches, practicing and performing in the Christmas contada, and on and on and on. Our donkeys are uncomfortable, we get stressed and short with the loved ones we are trying to bless. The 68.9 miles seems longer and longer every year.

Such is the season, and we walk it over and over and over because we have an expected outcome. Mary’s journey led her to Jesus, cradled in her arms with the soft glow of the star resting on his little perfect face. Our journey also leads us to Jesus. Mary was crazy tired and sore from her journey, as are we. The parallels go on and on, and are a fun rabbit trail to discover.

Congratulations! You made it to Christmas 2016! Now we look at the birth of Jesus and ponder the gift that he was to the world. We may have family to spend our time with, or solitarily feel alone and abandoned with the “familiness” that everyone else seems to have. But regardless, we have all made this journey. And we will do it again next year, God willing.

The important thing to know about a journey is that there is always an end. Be it Christmas or some other journey God has you on, remember that you will get there eventually. So shift around on your donkey, try not to bite off the head of the people around you, and revel at the expected end that God has given you.

Merry Christmas! Thank you all for joining me in my blogging journey this year!

God’s Homeschooling Glue

The perfect homeschooling study of “The Screwtape Letters”.

Yep, you read it correctly: God has glue. I can personally attest to the fact that God brings my lesson plans together in ways I hadn’t even considered. (It even works in non-teaching areas in life.)

My Laura is in 9th grade and is crazy fun to homeschool. This may have something to do with the fact that I graduated out my oldest three kids so I can just focus on Laura, but that is a whole different post altogether.

C.S. Lewis wrote “The Screwtape Letters”, an amazing book of a demon writing letters to his nephew to strategize how to keep a human from getting right with God. This book was a life changer for me in college, so I wanted to share it with Laura.

We are also studying logic fallacies. This is where we get some glue: logic fallacies started with the devil twisting God’s truth.

Another drop of glue is the course we studied last year that involved reading classic literature and then attempting to write in the style of the author. (I am very sad that Laura did not delve into my love for Dickens, sigh.)

So here is the beauty of what God does:

We start with one letter each morning, and have a great discussion about God, demons, Christianity, culture… We then start recognizing and naming the fallacies (“that’s a red herring right there!”). One day we looked for our culture’s fallacies on sexuality; a sadly numerous amount. Another day we identified logic fallacies in religious piety. Again, the list goes on and on.

One day the writing assignment hit me: write the angelic version of the letters in Lewis’s writing style. It was genius enough that I never would have thought of it on my own. Thank you, God!

I wanted to include Laura’s writing assignment so you can see how seamlessly this all came together. This is how God provides the glue to hold everything together as we homeschool. Enjoy!

Laura’s essay on the angelic version of C.S. Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters” written in Lewis’ voice:

My dear Gabriel,

It is so, to my knowledge, that your child has been falling from Our Father Who Art in Heaven. I have heard that he has been wishing to become ‘of the world,’ much like his friends whom he was sent to minister unto. But, as tragic as this is, Our Father would not wish for this to go unused.

Do not misunderstand what I am saying to you; for man has come to see ‘using’ something as a term of ludicrous intention. Our term of ‘using’ is much more amicable than many perceive. For our version of this term is a means of spinning a tragic sin in the way of Our Father.

Now, with that disclaimer upon this parchment, let us commence our conversing of what is. Your child, being that he has been a member of The Kingdom practically since his infancy, has refrained from consuming spirits. As admirable as it is, he has recently succumbed to the peer pressures of the world, and consumed a staggering amount. Though he only proceeded to become what man calls ‘tipsy,’ it is still more than is allowed. I understand that he has felt remorse for this, but he has not repented, nor is he plainly sorry. A tragic picture indeed. He has not regretted it for it was wrong, but for the scorn of his saved loved ones.

How might this come to Our Father’s favor you might ask? He has not known scorn from his family, for he has been extremely habitual in his obedient nature. He has never spoken out against his parents, lest it was for their sake, nor has he been what man calls a ‘trouble child.’ Altogether, he has been good, and a good servant to Our Father. He has never known his family’s scorn, nor has he known how much he cared for them before this time. Though this may seem like only a small lesson, it will come to effect his relationship with his family in the near future for the better.

But your child is not the only one who will learn from this mistake. No, for the family has never known scorn towards others. They have become cold and fearful for their son’s and brother’s soul. Now the story it is well to remind them of, would be “The Prodigal’s Son.” You needn’t hear the story again, for you know it well. They will be reminded to let their son and brother find his own way, and not long after, return to them a better, and humbler man than before.

But I am afraid it will not be easy to help your child come to the epiphany of remorse as we may wish. Our enemy has enticed him with the fruit of his nefarious tree. And once a child has been tempted, and given enough into that temptation, our enemy has a chance to cloud his mind.

We have dealt with cases like this before, but the child was unsaved to begin with. It took long and strenuous effort, but he is now a part of The Kingdom. You know the enemy’s methods, so it is best to set reminders of your child’s Christ-filled life before his eyes. Though his memories are peaceful, joyful, and frivolous, our enemy finds ways to spin them, placing them under his pernicious umbrage. So, go deep into his past, and recover a memory so full of mirth, so vigorous, so pious, so laudable, and so long forgotten in the constant flood of memories, that nostalgia will overcome him, that he will be impelled to return, not due to force, but pure remembrance.

This should be no perilous task; for all that is needed, is a year-old child, lighting his or her first menorah or spinning a dreidel, and his old memories of his favorite time of year will all come flooding back, overwhelming him, giving him a childlike countenance. Our Father is pleased to see such reminiscence in His children’s heart, for he loves their joy. It is wise to learn from His love.

Now, it is simple enough to remind him of the merriment of childhood, but it is what comes after that is the true challenge. The enemy will find ways for your child to maintain the idea that joy such as that is no longer attainable by the simple things, but through sin. Do not let this wretched wool be pulled over his eyes. This trick has been used too many times for to work. Instead of giving the enemy a moment to execute his plan, give the year old child a spurt of joyous laughter, making the parents notice your child, causing them to converse with one another. But I fear this will not be all he needs to find his way back under Our Father’s wings.

The enemy will rush into his head, causing him to find fault with the parents of the year old child. Perhaps the father is wearing, what man calls ‘an ugly sweater,’ or the mother has a piece of lettuce stuck in her teeth. The enemy will then compel him to make judgements which he has no right making. This is also an overused trick; which means we know how to catch it. Make him remember the ugly sweaters his favorite grandmother used to give him, and how amused he was with them. Then make him see a picture of the woman he is fond of, sitting across from him at a wedding, when he goodheartedly pointed out she had a piece of meat stuck in between her teeth, and she got it out, laughing. This will make him warmer towards these parents.

Now once all of this has played out, the problem is keeping him at this reminiscent state of mind. If he so happens to see one of his ‘worldly’ friends inside of a pub, this could mean the beginning of his downfall. No, this mustn’t happen. Reroute his daily walking routine into the park that he so loved to play at as a child, and suggest to him that he might sit down. He has never turned down the thought to take a rest in a beautiful place. Let the wind blow the leaves ever so slightly, and perhaps let a red cardinal find its way atop a snow covered pine tree, or let a squirrel run across the white ground to find its nut. This will bring about the thought of how nature was made. Yes, he knows, but the thought will help him to see how he has been going against Our Father Who Art in Heaven.

Do these things, and your child will be back in his family’s arms in no time at all. Be sure that you remember this for future reference, for many have gone down this path, and have not come back as your child will. If there is any more trouble with him going astray, write to me again; it is not wise to try and accomplish reinstatement into The Kingdom by one’s self.

Your Loving Brother,

Michael

 

Take a Walk

God walked with me today. The day was not special and we chatted about nothing deep, but just spent the time enjoying each other’s company. I love spending time with Him. I love learning about Him and drawing closer to Him. Each day I want to find ways that I can get ever closer to Him.

I am never satisfied with how close I am to Him. My heart is on a race toward the throne room. I want to bow down right in front of Him and be able to see His toes on the floor. Today I did get closer to Him, just by spending time.

I love to tell Him how beautiful the trees and mountains and birds are. I tell Him how amazed I always am His creativity. Seriously, how long did it take to figure out gravity just right so all the planets and suns didn’t collide together? With all the solar systems and galaxies, it surprises me that the spheres up there aren’t colliding like billiard balls.

I thought through all the miracles, grace and mercy God has extended to me over the years. I thanked God for our new paid for and installed water softener. I thanked Him for my family and friends. I thanked Him for our wonderful church and amazing pastor and his lovely wife. They have such a passion to love on people and point them more and more toward God.

I also enjoy talking to Him about things I disagree with. mosquitos, dirty dishes and time continuums. Or ask about what was up with the platypus. Or why don’t I have a panda bear and slide when I want one so badly. I’m sure He laughs at me a lot, but I really do talk to Him about these things.

Everyone can walk with God. Everyone can talk to Him. Take Him along with you tomorrow, and just chill. You will get closer to Him than ever and have a lot of fun. I’m sure you will make Him laugh.

 

Arrows

Arrows that hit their mark.

I have lived my past
In constant terror
Pain and anguish
Devilish horror

Why twist it
An arrow create
Straight in my heart
Dead center fate

If you wanted
To deeply hurt
You can witness
Blood on my shirt

Do you rejoice
At what have done
Relish the victory
Claim that you won

Conquer you have
Gloat if you must
You have violated
All of my trust

I have to face
All over again
How I fail now
How I hurt then

I would never
Have believed
So much evil
You could heave

I must talk less
Engage no more
An emotional ball
Left on the floor

By Lisa M Meister

Daybreak

A twinkle of light
The promise of day
Sparkles of thoughts
With the first ray

The trill of a bird
The croak of a frog
Nature wakes up
And burns off the fog

I stand in awe
As the day dawns
God’s big dislplay
Turns the day on

The sky turns to pink
To purple and blue
White fluffy clouds
Float in my view

The colors fade
As in comes the sun
I am amazed
At all God has done

He wrapped for me
This day in a bow
I am at peace
At God’s big light show

I turn my heart
To my great God above
Who has already wrapped
This day in His love

My Bible on lap
I focus on God
He draws me in close
I give Him my laud

The litling peace
Fills up my soul
This day I will spend
God’s plan is my goal

Living Forty Decibels Up

Upping our walk with Jesus.

I closed the door softly as I cautiously stepped into the hall. My sandals scuffed against the commercial rug. I walked slowly into the elevator and pressed the lobby button. A ping thundered out and I almost hit the roof.

This was my day, and it only got louder from there. Keys jangling, doors slamming, muffler-less motorcycles speeding by and the loud rustling of my Micheal’s shopping bag were all greeting me in completely fascinating ways.

Today was the day that I got plugged into hearing aids. Having lost around forty decibels of hearing, I was at the line between the mild/moderate hearing loss category. Those lilting words gave the impression of not a big deal, but let me tell you, it is LOUD! The loss has apparently been slowly creeping up on me over the years, and I just didn’t notice it.

I wish it were as easy as a hearing test to find out the deficiencies in my fervor in loving the Lord. It is so easy for our Bible times to become shorter, missing a Sunday here and there turns into more theres, and our prayer life becomes a laundry list of needs more than a conversation with our Heavenly Father.

As I try to figure out how to navigate this louder world, we need to all take the time to take a good heart check. King David did it in his famous verse about God checking to find if there was any wicked way in him. As we do this, our heart becomes closer to God, our time becomes more about Him, and the cries of the unsaved in the world that need God becomes noticeable to us. I think we can all ramp up our relationship with God about forty decibels.

I Don’t Have to be Smart for God

There is a great mystery that nobody understands, and that is: Why does God choose the people that He does to do something big for Him?

In the Billy Graham/Joel Osteen age, we think that they were special, extra close to God, specially called, famous or just plain smart. We know that God used people who had moral failures or weaknesses in the Bible, but we kind of have the sense that it stopped there. We sit in the pews each week and have a heart of great love for God, but feel inadequate for God to use us.

Then I read the story of Samson and Delilah in the Bible’s book of Judges. God gave Samson great strength and he was never to cut his hair. So Samson went about killing Philistines with whatever around him he had handy, like the the jawbone of an ox. Then he goes to a harlot and stays for quite a while. Every night she asks him the secret of his strength, every night he tells her if she ties him up with this or that his strength would be gone. Every night she ties him up with whatever he tells her and he breaks it easily. Finally she nags him to death and he tells her about the hair cutting. So she cuts his hair, the Philistines capture him, and from there the story goes downhill real fast.

I must admit that usually I skim over this story because it’s just plain disturbing no matter which part you read. But this morning I was having coffee and reading my Bible with no one else around. I slowed down and really paid attention this time and realized that ole Samson wasn’t really that bright.

My epiphany has most likely already in your mind with the brief synopsis I gave you. This is why he was stupid:

1. He went into the house of a harlot.
2. The first night that Delilah asked him his secret for strength and she tied him up should have been a red flag.
3. The second night she asked him about his secret and she tied him up should have been an even bigger red flag.
4. The third night… Let’s just say this went on for a while.
5. He supposedly did not wake up at night when she tied him up, but as soon as she uses her voice to tell him to wake up he does. At first I just assumed he was a sound sleeper, but this was a fighting man with a lot of Philistines trying to kill him. He would not be a sound sleeper. How would he sleep through the tying up and not through her voice.
6. We never hear of any relationship he had with God. God would move on him to do things, but that’s all we get.

Conclusion: Samson was a lunkhead.

So now we extrapolate to our lives. I think as we sit in the pews and watch our pastors and all the rock star tv evangelists, it’s easy to think we aren’t smart enough to be used by God. We are not special enough. I would argue that if God could use someone like Samson, he could use any of us. There are no prerequisites. There is no being ready. You just are.

The next time God taps us on the shoulder to do something, let’s jump in and do it. I bet no matter what, you will be a lot smarter than Samson.

Coffee and Meandering Life Philosophies

I love coffee. Sometimes I hold it close in cold hands and allow it to gently warm me. Other times I am hot and the coffee makes me sweaty and sticky. Every once in a while it’s perfect either way. But the worst is when I go and spill it all over myself. Coffee is supposed to give me a good start to my day, but if it stains my clothes (or burns me) it just makes me crabby and I mumble the rest of the day.

There has been lots going on in my life lately with which I have needed countless cups to figure it out, or not figure it out. Some things are so tangled right now that I don’t know which direction is up or down, which is bad when I have a cup of coffee in my hand.

I homeschool my kids, as many of you know. Well, at least “kid” because I am down to one. She is beginning 9th grade and I am getting more and more excited as our starting date comes up. We start when my professor husband and two kids go back to college at the end of the month. Otherwise it is unfair for Laura to watch everyone else getting their last bit of fun done before starting back and then she’d just be schooling. If that happened, I think she would take my cup of coffee and throw it at me.

I have also been dealing with BMV paperwork with our annual registration paperwork and fees. We have also finally retired our very tired van and bought a new for us car. My son also just bought himself a car. That means more paperwork, more money and me stuck on the computer trying to figure out how to do this all on a crazy government website. You are probably wondering what this has to do with coffee. It has everything to do with it because my epiphany came while I was drinking coffee: I will just have my Laura do it so that she can be “taught” how to do it for life skills. I think I could put that one by her, as long as she is not reading this blog.

My son, Jeff, has a girlfriend that he really likes (and who is godly and very sweet). This has been fun because Jeff will come and sit by me and ask all sorts of questions. We talk about manhood, responsibility, education, degrees, relationships, questions about how Patrick and I dated, married, and stayed in love over the years. This is all coffee worthy conversations and they are a lot of fun. Jeff is a big sweetheart, and if this girl ends up with him, she will be very blessed indeed.

A close friend of my kids just got engaged. This is a two coffee strain of thinking because if he can do it, then so can my kids. I’m not sure I’m ready for this, and when I sit, sip and try to think my mind just goes blank. I guess in this instance coffee has let me down.

Finally, I have been in a wonderful women’s Bible Study and we have been talking a lot about grace. I love the grace God grants me, but sometimes don’t want to give my grace to others. Okay, this time I’ll just get the whole pot…

Soldiering Up

It’s time to get tough and be who God wants us to be.

By Lisa M Meister

Sleepily
Tending my life
Evaluating
Where should I be

Sage questions of old
Simmering
Spinning question marks
Trying to grab answers
Out of the air

Philosophers’ pursuits
Poet’s muse
Who am I
To answer
What wisdom cannot

I flip through
The well known pages
In my mind
Kernels of truth sown
Wisdom will impart

God takes me where I am
Not where I should think
He wants me
Wasting time
Scouring my mind
He is enough

Yet still I struggle
Looking back at my path
So wobbily walked
Looking forward
Wanting a soldier’s
Confident march

Am I not God’s soldier
Fearless
Ready for anything
But I tremble
My armor creaks

Today be I strong
Or yesterday weak
I despise the extremes
May I walk Trusting Him
In the continuum

Lord make me
Consistent
As I have never been
Give me strength in my armor
Courage in my heart
Clear thinking
Tangled with your Word

Let it be said
Though I have been weak
I have been strong
Heart true to God
That no matter where
This battle takes me
I am His
And that
Is where I should be