Thursday, July 28, 2011

Confession 197: Seeds of Faith Thursday

I'm posting over at Seeds of Faith today, but I have to confess that I've been very lazy and just re-posted from my blog last week.  It's terrible, I know, but I'm just having blogging issues at the moment!  But, I'm going to work on getting back in the routine.  I've sort of been living and breathing my business at the moment, working toward building it up.  I've done 39 facials in the past month and sold about $1200 in retail.  So, it's going well, it's just very time consuming.

It's funny, because although I've always cleaned and moisturized my face, I used to think make-up itself was somewhat trivial.  What I failed to realize is that when used correctly, make-up actually brings out the natural beauty God has given each of us in our faces.  It's true design is to enrich, not to reinvent.  And I'm okay with that, as long as it's about me bringing forth God's best in me when I step out of the house and not about me trying to impress others or be someone I'm not.  For as Proverbs 31 reminds us, "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."

Blessings and Peace,

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Confession 195: Parenting Advice From the Pro

The more I read about Susanna Wesley, the more I realize what an astoundingly brilliant mother she was.  I mean, she did raise up John and Charles Wesley, the founder of Methodism and a prolific hymn writer, respectively.  As the mother of about 100 kids (okay, 19), Susanna Wesley had to be organized and efficient, making the most of both time and resources. 

According to reports, each of Susanna's children got to spend one hour alone with her per week, engaging in whatever activity they so chose.  When Susanna Wesley needed some quiet time she would sit down in a chair and throw her apron up over her head.  When the kids saw Mama hiding behind her own apron, they knew to leave well enough alone!! :-)

I recently came across Susanna Wesley's rules for raising children.  Though written some 300 years ago, these rules are completely relevant for raising children today.  As parents, it is important that we actually engage in parenting, and Susanna Wesley did this phenomenally.  So, I'm taking these rules to heart.  Let me know what you think!!

Blessings and Peace,

Susanna Wesley's Rules for Raising Children

1. Allow no eating between meals. (Working on this.  It does make dinner a more pleasant experience!)

2. Put all children in bed by eight o'clock. (We try to stick to this.  We need some child-free time to restore our sanity!!)

3. Require them to take medicine without complaining.  (My boys really like taking medicine.  I'm a bit concerned.)

4. Subdue self-will in a child and thus work together with God to save his soul.  (This is where I need Susanna Wesley to come over for coffee and give me a few tips!!  It's hard to fight that battle day in and day out with stubborn children!)

5. Teach one to pray as soon as he can speak.  (We do this before meals and at bedtime.  There is nothing sweeter than sitting and listening to your children praying.  I guess God must feel the same way! :-))

6. Require all to be still during family worship.  (We use the nursery every Sunday.  And yet, I wonder, is that the best option?  Does anyone practice a family worship time?  What does that look like in your house?)

7. Give them nothing that they cry for and only that which they ask for politely.  (My youngest daily tests me on this!!)

8. To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed and repented of.  (Absolutely brilliant and gives your children a first-hand experience of grace.

9. Never allow a sinful act to go unpunished. (I'm guessing there's a difference between a fault and a sinful act.)

10. Never punish a child twice for a single offense.  

11. Commend and reward good behavior.  (This is so basic, but I forget it all the time.  I sometimes give more notice to the negative behavior rather than the good.)

12. Any attempt to please, even if poorly performed, should be commended.

13. Preserve property rights, even in the smallest matters.  ("Garrett, that's Stephen's Mater.  Give it back to him, please."

14. Strictly preserve all promises.  (If you don't, they'll remind you!!)

15. Require no daughter to work before she can read well.

16. Teach children to fear the rod.  (I think I need to invest in one of those!! :-))

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Confession 195: God Sustains

To say my boys have been a little wild lately would be an understatement.  Having moved into my parents house for the week while foundation work is being done on our parsonage, the boys have taken complete leave of their senses and seem to have left their ears back at our house!  They are loud, destructive, mess-making creatures who bring chaos with them at every turn.  While visiting my grandma in her assisted living facility yesterday the boys were running up and down the halls and around the dining room playing cars with legos.  My grandma, loving every minute, laughed and asked me, "Are they like this at home, too?" 

"ALL THE TIME!!" was my response.

Now in all fairness, my boys are generally pretty good.  They have wild moments, as any boys do, it's just that with all of the change this week their wild moments have become the norm and not the exception.  I was thinking yesterday that I was going to have to drive the 240 miles to my in-laws and drop the boys on their doorstep! :-)  (My parents are in Canada doing mission work this week.)  And then, as will happen, God spoke with me this morning from the prophet Elijah.

Elijah says to the Lord, " I have had ENOUGH, Lord!"  ...he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.  All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat..."  The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you..."
1 Kings 19: 4-7

Interestingly, or maybe I should say, humanly, Elijah spoke those words to God shortly after God had displayed his power on Mount Carmel, exposing the priests of Baal as frauds and demonstrating once again to the nation of Israel that Yahweh is the one, true God.  Yet instead of being full of confidence, of recognizing that he, Elijah, served the Most High God, Elijah took Jezebel's threat to end his life seriously and headed for the hills.  Even though God had shown Elijah firsthand his power, his glory, his might, Elijah still said, "I have had ENOUGH!"

The truth is, there are situations in all of our lives where we decide to tell God enough is enough, despite the ways God has sustained us in the past and our knowledge that he will do so in the future.

But here's what I love...instead of telling Elijah off, commanding him to get up and stop being a baby and get the job done, God ministers to Elijah.  God comforts Elijah.  God sustains Elijah.  Do you see the love God has in his heart for his people?  Do you feel the love God has for you?  Elijah told God he had had enough and God responded with comfort and care, with empathy and compassion.  God said, "I know this journey is too much for you, so let me see you through."

Have you recently told God you've had enough?  I want you to know that God knows you've had enough.  He knows this journey is too much for you.  And, he loves you with a love so great, so deep, so wide, so high that he is bringing you nourishment that will strengthen you, sustain you, and see you through!!

Blessings and Peace,

Friday, July 15, 2011

Confession 194: God Has a Special Place in HIs Heart For Fools Like Me

Last Sunday I crashed a baby shower.  Don't worry, it was for a friend, but it wasn't the shower I was invited to. 

The shower I was invited to was 120 miles away and I was on my own.  I was enjoying some quality me time while speeding down the highway to make it to the shower by 2:00.  At 1:50 I pulled into the parking lot of the church where the shower was being held.  Grabbing my gifts I walked inside, only to find the church dark.  Hearing some voices, I followed them to the sanctuary--an odd place for a baby shower I thought, but whatever.  Walking into the sanctuary I was a bit surprised to find, not a baby shower, but a kid's dance troupe.  I started to get a little tingle of anxiety. 

"Um, where's the baby shower?"  I asked.
"Baby shower?" one of the kids replied.

Panic officially started to sink in.  You see, I hadn't actually looked at the invitation to double check the date.  But, as I told my husband in my frantic phone call, "I could have sworn the shower was today!  I wrote it down on my calendar!"  I could litearlly feel his eyes rolling from 120 miles away.  Shortly thereafter I received a text that read: "The shower is next Sunday!!"

Not to be deterred, I headed over to my friend's house.  At least I could drop off gifts and visit for a bit, right?  As I pulled up the drive her husband met me at the door.  She wasn't there.  However, I was pleased to discover she was actually at a baby shower (hers) in a town about 20 miles up the road.  I had driven 120 miles for a baby shower--what was another 20?  The problem, however, was that her husband was as sure of the location of the shower as I was of the shower date.  Just as I was opening the door to head out he told me that they had just purchased a red Sierra minivan.

So, I startred driving once again.  When I got to the street where her husband thought the baby shower was being held I breathed a sigh of relief.  Things were working out after all.

Halfway through my fourth loop of the street, I came to the conclusion that there was no baby shower taking place here.  I knew I couldn't call Chris again and tell him I couldn't find the baby shower I had now driven 140 miles to attend, so I headed down side streets looking for the only clue I had--a red Sierra minivan.  Low and  behold, a red Sierra minivan appeared in front of a house with a silver star balloon tied to the front.  Regardless of whether or not this was my friend's party,  I was going in!!  Walking up the steps, I took a deep breath, smiled, and pulled open the front door--the time for knocking had passed!

"Sara?!"  my friend said.  "Oh my gosh!  I'm so glad you're here!"

Whew!  The hostess and friends were very grateful and gracious at the sudden presence of a total stranger in their midst.  The shower was lovely, but more so was the opportrunity to visit with a friend, and to make new friends!  On the drive back home I kept thanking God over and over for looking out for fools like me!

Blessings and Peace,

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Confession 193: The Saleswoman

Well, it seems I have taken a little blogging break for the week.  And although I have missed keeping up with you all, I have a good excuse.  I started my own business!!  I am now an official "Independent Beauty Consultant" and am having a blast!  I've started wearing make-up on a regular basis, which might be selling out a bit as I've never been much of a make-up person, but it's really "all about the skin-care".  And, I've been using cleansers and moisturizers for fifteen years.  Anyway, I'm linking up to my website if you'd like to take a look.  I will be setting up a pay by credit card option within the next week.

I woke up this morning with the song "I Stand Amazed" stuck in my head.  It's an old hymn and the chorus goes like this:  (I often wake up with old hymns running through my head--I'm just weird like that.  I see them as little gifts from God to start my day!! :-))

How marvelous, how wonderful
And my song shall ever be
How marvelous, how wonderful
Is my Savior's love for me.

I think I forget how much God truly loves me.  It's unfathomable, especially on days when I don't really love myself.  But here's the reality:
Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, 
nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, 
will be able to separate us from the love of God.  Romans 8:38-39 

And finally, today is my niece's first birthday.  She's so cute she won the local news' baby of the week picture contest!!  Happy Birthday, Baby O!! 

Blessings and Peace,

My Family

My Family

My Family 2

My Family 2