Sunday, October 27, 2013

One Way to Measure Your Leadership Skills in Your Home.

Once a year, my mom and I plan a mother-daughter get away. It is one of my favorite times of the year.  For the past two years, we have been going to see Christian bible teacher, Beth Moore.  Now, I know this might not sound like a good time but don’t knock something unless you have tried it yourself.  By this time ever year, I’m ready for a little adventure with my God and my mom.  It rejuvenates me so I can continue to be a better wife, mother and friend to the people around me.  Also, encourages me to continue working on my ministry. 


Before the conference began, my mom signed me up for some leadership classes.  I know this might sound weird, but I LOVE WORSKHOPS.  I love learning and meeting new people.  As I sat in these classes, much emphasis was talked about building your team.  Of course the emphasis was placed on ministry but it applies to your own business or workplace. 


What was not talked about was taking these same principals and applying them to your own home.  Maybe they do at different events not just at this particular one.  Before we take leadership principals out into the world or even the church, we should look at our own home life first.  How are we as women leading our children?  Are we allowing our husbands to lead our families?  I understand this is a hard question to swallow for many because you might look at your husband as a total slacker. (If you do, don’t worry you are not alone. I had good reason though I thought until God slapped me around.  This is another talk for another time.) If you are a follower of Christ, this is important.  If you don’t believe in Him, you can still take these same principals and apply it to your marriage, if you want your relationship to thrive. 

How do you know if you are being a leader in your home?  Can your husband and kids function while you are gone?  Have you taught your children and allowed them to take on responsibilities inside the home?  Do you have to leave a detailed note before leaving and call and check on them every hour? Now, I’m not saying you don’t leave any directions or call and say goodnight, I love you or just to see how their day is going because you care.  My husband does not stay at home with the kids full time like I do.  He needed a little help with what to do in school, kids schedule and what was on the list to make for dinner.  However, we have the same goals for our family.  We talk all the time and he is actively involved in the lives of his children.    I only needed to leave a few notes to help not because I didn’t trust him or wanted to nag him to death or expect him to do everything the way I like it. Guess what,   He didn’t do everything according to my plan either.  He had a blast with the kids and bottom line is that is all that really matters.

Here is when you know all your hard work during the year is paying off.  My husband was just amazed how the kids are self sufficient.   Marcia and Marie because they are younger need more help with school but the kids even knew what to do in the house.  He said the kids were awesome.  They helped their dad too. The best part for me, I walked in and the house was cleaned and looked even better than when I left. 

They were able to function without me.  I know many times moms want to have the control, feel needed and take care of everything.  This is not a true leader.  I’m not saying I’m all that and a bag of chips, because I’m not. I’m not saying our husband and children don’t need us because they do.  Moms are the heartbeat of a family.    What I am saying is we need to be leading in our homes in a way that they know what to do not just when you are with them but when you are away or not looking.  Isn't that what we want for our children.  To one day leave our home and have the skills to live successfully on their own.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Should these be the conversations parents have with their children and each other?

Over the years, some of the conversations I’ve heard among parents have baffled my mind. The conversations seem to be centered on education--what college the kids will go to, and what they hope will be their future career. Of course, there isn’t anything wrong with these conversations. We want the same for our children. We want to equip our children with the skills it takes to go out into this world and be successful. However, it all depends on what you define as success.

Our definition of success looks just a little different. Scholastic education is important to us, but it is not our top priority. Grades, classes, and colleges don’t impress us. What does impress us is character, and when children know how to respect authority, each other, and themselves. Our focus doesn’t revolve just around books. This might sound like an old school mindset to you, but on top of character building, we are training up our children to be wives and a husband.  We want them to have the skills they need to excel in their marriages.  They need to know what it takes to have a healthy marriage, raise a family, and be wise with money. They need to have good people skills, and respect for parents.  They need to know how to have goals and dreams, and know what it takes to make all of them a reality.  We want them to know how to build healthy relationships, and most importantly, we want them to know the living and one true God.   Everything else tour children will pursue will stem from these principles.

I know many people long for the same for their children.  Maybe they are afraid to have these conversations or don't know how to go about it.  Anyone can get another career or education, but think how hard it will be for your child if they don’t know what to look for in a spouse or how to be a good one.  My husband and I struggled in the beginning of our relationship and brought so much baggage into our marriage. I don’t write this blog because I think we are perfect.  It is written because of the heartache, shed tears, and lessons we have learned along the way.  If we had continued living the way the world expected us to, we would be on the road to divorce.  

Think about this, being in a broken marriage is more devastating than it is to be at a job you don’t like.  A job you can change.  It really doesn’t affect anyone but you.  Yes, financially it may hurt, or you might have to move your family, but those are temporary problems.  More money can be made and people adapt to new places. However, a dying marriage not only affects you, but everyone in your family. Yes, people do survive through divorce.  And please know that this post is not intended to make anyone feel guilty or bad if you have had to make those choices.  But don’t we want more for our children?  Don’t we want something different for them?   

I understand one of the reasons these conversations don’t happen is because the majority of people don’t know how to rescue themselves or their marriage. They were never taught.  Instead society has made a joke out of the union between a man and women, when it was designed for so much more.  

So, if we want more for our children, what do we need to do?  We need to become a people who are not afraid to be open, honest, and real. We need to heal our relationships and ourselves, and teach our children that though we live in this world, we don't have to be of this world. That means that we don't have to go along with the crowd, we can stand out and be different. I understand that these are scary thoughts, to have to move from surface-level conversations to getting real.  However, it is worth facing the fear, or else history will repeat itself.  Our eyes must be open, and we must do something different.  These are the conversations we as parents need and should be having with our children.

Grades, universities, and careers may sound great right now, but I’m sure you know many smart people who lack character.  They lack the skills it takes to build a strong family.  They may have the dream job, but are still living a life they regret, married to a wife they hate, and have kids they don’t even know. Don’t you want more for your kids?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Walking Zombies

People.  We are complicated.  We are all uniquely made, yet at the very core of our being we are the same.  We are filled with dreams, aspirations, and excitement. Many have a spirit longing to live an adventurous life or dare to try something new and risky.  You know these people.  Maybe, it's you.  The room changes as people like this walk in the room.  The spark found in their eyes twinkles as if it will never go out.
And yet, somewhere on the journey of life, that spark begins to flicker.  The person who was once filled with ideas has slowly been filled with disappointment, hurt and loss.  When you see this once vibrant person walking down the street, his or her step has lost that bounce.  The voice has become dull and lifeless.

You cry, "Why?”  Maybe it’s you, or maybe your heart breaks for what was lost.  The person you once were has disappeared, even though you are physically still here. You have found yourself numb.   You find yourself searching, asking how did this happen?   Maybe it's not you, but you see this person walking aimlessly in your neighborhood, at the grocery store, on vacation, or in your church. This once hopeful person resembles a walking zombie, going through the motions, but completely lifeless.  Many people, even Christians, build their life like a house of cards.  At some point that house will fold, and it will all come crashing down.   

Here is what I've learned. Don't build your life on people.   Marriages can break, children will leave your home, people die, rejections laughs in your face, dreams fail, and friends may hurt you.  Some people suck, for lack of a better word, and so can life, if you do not build your life on Christ.  
Disappointment will eventually happen, and death will one day knock on your door.  Living a life among the walking dead does not need to be your reality.  Life can still be full--dreams met, families healed, friendships mended, failure turn into success--if we learn this one simple lesson:  build your life on Christ.

“These are the ones along the path where the word is sown:  when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word sown in them.  And these are the ones sown on rocky ground:  when they hear the word, immediately they receive it with joy.  But they have no root in themselves; they are short-lived.  When pressure or persecution comes because of the word, they immediately stumble.  Others are sown among thorns; these are the one, who hear the word, but the worries of this age, the seduction of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.  But the ones sown on good ground are those who hear the word welcome it, and produce a crop: 30, 60, and 100 times what was sown.   Mark 4: 15-20

Is your life built upon good ground?

Friday, October 18, 2013

A few reminders for moms or anyone who feels a little stressed out at times.

Over the years, I've had many women, mainly moms, say the following things to me:

1.        Do you ever get stressed out, especially since you homeschool and now have four kids?

2.       You must be so patient because I could never do what you do.

3.       Must be nice to have a perfect life.

4.       If you homeschool your kids, you must be really smart!

5.       How do you do it? 

First of all, those questions or comments are not true.  To be honest, it makes me laugh inside, and sometimes, right in someone’s face!!  Remember, I’ve been married for 15 years, and I homeschool 4 kids!! To be honest, having a healthy marriage takes work.  In my opinion, it is much harder being a wife than it is being a mother, which is another topic all together.
There are times I get stressed out and lose my cool.  My life is not perfect.  I’m definitely not some super smart person. However, I love God and my family.  This is the fuel that keeps me going.  I know my role in this family is to support my husband, and to guide and train our children to find their purpose and live it out loud.  Knowing this keeps me focused and excited, and I try not to focus on the things we can’t control.  I can list all kinds of things I can’t do, but why spend time focusing on those things when, really, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me? (Phil 4:13).   

Here are a few reminders on how to have a “successful” life.  It is simple, but not easy.  I realize you may already know the answers.  Maybe you just need a little reminder.   These are just a few examples on how I live my life. 

1.     I put God first, and I've learned that His voice is all that matters.  When I follow Him, everything else falls in place.  When I begin to feel a little stressed, I realize I’m depending on my strength and not on God. 

2.       I work on myself, learning new skills, and I surround myself with the right kind of people. 

3.       I keep my mindset in check: what you think and speak about is what you create in your life.  This doesn’t mean you won’t have hard times. However, you can’t let your circumstances control you.

4.       I focus on the moment while keeping the bigger picture in mind. 

5.       I keep my priorities straight, and I know what my purpose and plans are as a daughter of God, a wife, and a mother. And I am able to say NO!

The bottom line is this: if you have been given the gift of motherhood, it’s the biggest blessing you could ever receive.  I know we say this, but at times it can get lost if we don’t realize that what we do every single day when nobody is looking matters.  One day, all your hard work will pay off.  If you keep your eyes and heart open, you will see it already has. The biggest blessing for me is watching my children fall in love with Christ, and not be ashamed of their faith.  Seeing them want to worship Jesus in everything they do, not because of what I say, but because they know Him and have developed their own relationship with Him.  

Maybe you don't believe in God. There are so many other examples that could apply to you.  How about when your kids wake up, or kiss you goodnight, and say they love you?  When your kids make the right choice, without you being with them?  When you see them reach their dreams, or have a healthy marriage because of your influence in their life?  Or when you experience the birth of your grandchildren?  The list can go on and on.   

Yes, the world wants you to think you don’t matter and that you are missing out on something when you choose to put family first.   I’m not saying you can’t have dreams, or want to do more with your life.  I will tell you this--there isn’t much more that you can ask for than being a mom.  This season in life will go fast. It is over before we know it.  Trust me, the laundry, noise, constant reminders, disciplining, driving, whatever it may be, you will miss. 

If you find that you are not enjoying being a mom, or you are extremely stressed out, reach out to someone and ask for help.   Don’t just go through the motions.  Learn how to become the mom you have always wanted to be. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Being Free to be you

The hope for this blog, facebook, and twitter page is HOPE for anyone who needs support.  It is for anyone who needs to know that he or she is never alone.  My hope is to be real and honest, and to keep my messages simple about the life lessons God has taught me. If you don't believe in God, I want you to feel safe coming to this place, and I hope that you learn a few principals to help you along in life. (Yes, that is right.  I love Jesus, but I don't judge you if you don't.  I love you anyways.  You are free to be you without condemnation on my part.) 

Even though from the outside everything in my life looked hunky dory, I was once a hot mess. Nobody knew, and when I did begin to share my heart, I felt attacked or even judged.   When I needed to talk, most of the time I knew the answer, I just needed a place to be real. Besides my mom, I really didn't have anyone. (There are times you need people just to listen and then there are times you need to be smacked in the face. It's important to know the difference between the two.)  The more I tried, the worse off my life seemed to get.  But you know what? God is so good, and he knows exactly what to do to bring someone closer to him.  It doesn't always look the way we think. He brought some amazing people in my life and took me pretty much around the world in order for me to open up to him.

I would get advice from others like, if you would just believe in God everything would be ok. Are you kidding me?  I did believe in God, and my life was a hot mess.  God doesn't say anywhere in His word that life will be easy.  As a matter of fact, he says the complete opposite, especially when you decide to follow him.  However, He does promise to be with you every step of the way.  Believing in Christ is everything, but it drives me crazy when Christians offer this advice, especially when you look at their life and there is absolutely no fruit! Now, I know that is judgmental, because I'm sure God has changed this person to some degree.  But, you know what I mean.  They are miserable and there is nothing about their life that I would even want!  I remember thinking, God, I don't want to be like those people.  I love you, but their life sucks.  I want more.  I'm not underestimating Christ.  Don't get me wrong, believing in Jesus IS everything.  It literally is a choice between life and death.  However, many people who accept Christ as their Lord and Savior may be able to quote every bible verse you can think of, but they have never fully allowed him to heal them and take their spirituality to the next level.  They don't allow Christ to move them from point A to point B.  It breaks my heart when I see people who love Jesus, but are stuck because of religion, or because of the walls that they have built in their lives.  They refuse to let Christ knock the walls down because the pain is so great. 

I don't pretend to know all the answers.  I can only offer what God has taught, and continues to teach, my husband and me.  We are living proof of what Christ can do. I can teach you biblical skills that I've learned and applied to my life from people that God has used to transform my life.  I can offer encouragement and support.  But what I want the most is for you to know that you are not being judged.  This is a safe place. I write about marriage and strongly believe in the covenant between a man and a woman.  However, I don't live in your shoes, and will never know what goes on behind closed doors.  Even if one day you say it's enough, I just can't do it anymore. You will still be loved.  People can offer all kinds of words of wisdom, but at the end of the day your life and decisions are between you and God, not you and everyone you know.  At the end of your life, you will be the only one besides Christ facing God. You will have to answer to him.  As long as you continue to love him with all your heart, no matter what mistakes or choices you may have made, and ask to be forgiven, he will accept, love and welcome you with open arms.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”" Deuteronomy 31:6

No matter how much I write, please know this:  I hear you and sometimes the best advice is to say absolutely nothing.  To remember no matter what decisions in life you make, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friend." John 15:13  We must love our God with all our hearts, and love our neighbors as ourselves.    You can be real, and if you take everything I've written and throw it out the window, you still are loved by me, but most importantly by the God who created YOU and the universe!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Do you ever feel like you are dying on the inside?

I've grown up always believing in Jesus.  However, I wasn't always living for him nor did I know him like I do today.  I hope in another year from now, I know him even deeper than I do at this very moment.   When my husband and I decided to get married we both wanted God to be in our life. However, it was under our rules.  We wanted to tell God when and where we wanted him.  This, my friend, is a major problem!!

I remember sitting in church in the beginning of our marriage.  We were young and having the time of our lives, though we thought.  Half the time we showed up for church we were hung over from a party the night before.  I would be lying if I told you we were not having fun because we were having a blast.  However, sin works like that.  In the beginning it looks like all fun and games.  Slowly, it begins to tear you apart and taking everything you have with it. 

I would sit there, and every few weeks, Matthew 16:24 would be talked about. "Then Jesus said to his disciples, "if any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross and follow me."  I remember talking to God and saying not just yet God. I love you but I'm not ready to give up everything.  Little did I know what I thought I would be giving up would be nothing compared to what I would be gaining. 

Fast forward 10 years later, when God finally grabbed on to my heart and showed me what life would be like fully devoted to him.  He showed me how the life I was living was not what he intended for me.  As my husband and I both gave our hearts fully and rededicated our lives to Christ, we were finally set free.  I experienced a freedom I never had before.  However, within a few years, I was wrapped up once again in bondage.  I felt like I couldn't breath.  The person God redeemed was slowly dying on the inside. 

Why?  Because I was trying to please people, especially Christians.  God forgave me, made me new, but yet I was still begging him to make me different.  I desperately wanted to be the quiet wife that said nothing.  God isn't about pleasing people, religion, or man-made rules.  It's not about saying the right Christian words, dressing a certain way, or becoming someone that God never intended you to be. It's not about volunteering and being so busy inside the church that your home life is then neglected.  It’s not about being legalistic and not being able to enjoy a glass of wine with your spouse or friends.  It's not about trying to be perfect.   It's about knowing who you are in Christ.  If you can relate to this blog, just know this: keep your eyes fixed on God.  He is the creator of the Universe.  He is much bigger than the four walls of a church building.  Get in the Word of God, and allow the Holy Spirit to transform you the way God wants, not allowing people and their opinions to become your master. 

I've had to learn the hard way.  Yes, I'm going to mess up, and people are not going to agree with me at times or maybe even like me.  I'm ok with that because my God loves me.  And He and loves you!  He will make our crooked paths straight. He will take our mess and use it for HIS glory.  He will protect us and never leave us.  He will be the only one that will give you the peace, purpose, joy and FREEDOM your heart is searching for.  God is much bigger than anybody's opinion of you. He has a bigger purpose for you and me. Time is ticking.  What are you waiting for? 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

When Sex is the last thing you want to do, try SEXERSIZE!!!

My husband is a genius.  The reason I say this is because the other night I was exhausted and sex was the furthest thought from my mind!  Unfortunately, it was on the top of my husband’s list.  How do I know this?   For one, he is breathing and awake.  Second, all he had to do what look at me and I knew what he was thinking.  Before I could wiggle out of it and look for any excuse I could find or hurry up and fall asleep before he came to bed, he said, “let’s sexersize!” 

Now, someone reading this might think how stupid!  Before you do, you better check yourself, as my husband would also say, before you wreck yourself!  Yes, I know we are dorks!!  The person making fun probably has a lame sex life. 

Anyway, he knows I really HATE (and I don’t use this word much) working out.  I do it so to stay healthy and its fun to do with my husband.  If I can find something else to do and burn calories without going to the gym, well, I’m all ears!!

Men, I don’t mean to burst your bubble.  The majority of the time we are just having sex to make you happy. I know you want to believe that your wife just can’t stop thinking about you and finds you so irresistible that she can’t hold herself back from you.  If this is you, stop living in a fantasy world!! Don’t get me wrong.  I love my husband.  I think he is sexy and I still have the hots for him!   There are days when I’m just taking one for the team!!  

Mark has found that on the days I want nothing to do with sex, but just inhaled ice cream and a few cookies, sexersize doesn’t sound so bad!!  You can please your husband and get a workout all at the same time without having to leave the comforts of your home! 

If you don’t believe me, Google it.  Here are some of the health benefits.  I’m all about healthy living, even though I just talked about eating cookies and ice cream!  Everything in moderation!!

·         Sex lowers blood pressure and stress

·         Sex boosts Immunity

·         Sex burns calories- 30 min. of sex burn 85 calories or more depending on what you are doing, or how hot and heavy you make it.  Even if you do nothing, you are still doing something!!!

·         Sex improves heart health

For all my married friends, the next time your husband gives you that look, or won’t leave you alone, think about all the snacks you may have had during the day, or the gym membership you just haven’t bought or used yet, and remember SEXERSIZE!  You lose weight and have a healthy marriage all at the same time!!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Why should you care?

Haiti. For many, just hearing the name of this island, located in the middle of the Gulf, Caribbean and Atlantic Oceans, brings to mind visions of poverty, corruption & destruction. However, if you allow your heart to open and swim past images you’ve been barraged with, I promise you this: your eyes will be opened to the beauty, love and hope the people of this island encompass. If you do begin to wade just that much deeper, than those first predisposed notions, I promise: you WILL begin to understand the suffering & pain of the men, women & children, woven into that very same beauty. I promise: it WILL stir up an urgency to do something to help these beautifully broken people.

Founded in 2008 by Yonel Ismael, a young Haitian man who was at one time an orphan himself, Gradec Orphanage is located in the heart of Port Au Prince, Haiti. Yonel has partnered with Pastor Wilson Lindor and his wife, Madam Claudette, who live at the orphanage and care for fifteen children. Currently, Gradec Orphanage attempts to survive without regular support from churches or organizations.

Yonel and Pastor Wilson work two jobs & donate their income back to the orphanage. Their combined income, along with donations to the orphanage that are few & far between, is barely enough to allow their doors open & the children off the street. At this point, you may be wondering, “
How can I help?” To be honest, your thoughts may be more along the lines of, “Why should I care?” You may be thinking, “There are enough problems in my own family, in my own church, in my own community. Why should I be willing to care about this orphanage so far from home?” Well, to be honest, your belief in Christ is why. If you believe in Christ, & take his words to heart, you will begin to discover there is room for your heart to begin to open to the needs of the children of Gradec Orphanage.

 As a matter of fact, throughout the Old & New Testaments, the God of the Bible commands us to take care of widows and orphans. Proverbs 21:13 says, “If a man shuts his ear to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.” James 1:7 states that, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” The children of Gradec Orphanage need our help. God placed a big vision on the hearts of the founders of this little orphanage. In order to keep this dream a reality, Yonel, Pastor Lindor & Madam Claudette need our help to pull them from the water and keep them from drowning. I am writing to request your assistance in raising $3,000 US dollars for an entire year’s worth of rent. We need your help to raise these funds by September 29th, or the doors of Gradec Orphanage will be closed and the fifteen children currently residing there will be homeless.

  We can’t do this alone. I am writing to request that you prayerfully consider opening your heart and donate. I promise you that 100% of your donations will be going directly to sustain the orphanage. I promise, you will not regret doing so.

Friday, August 30, 2013

What you can't forget while preparing for school this year.

Preparing for the school year can be so much fun!  Getting new curriculum and school supplies, organizing the house, and planning out our goals for the upcoming year while keeping the bigger picture in mind is exciting, not just for me, but for the kids too. We reevaluate what worked last year and figure out what changes need to me made for this school year.

As important as planning and preparing are for anything in life, if there is no commitment, then everything else will fall apart.  I’m not saying that things in life don’t change.  Of course they do. This is why goal setting, and reevaluating where you are in life, is vital.  We need to be flexible, versatile, and adaptable!  Just because something may not work out the way you intended does not mean that you have failed.  As long as you keep trying and never giving up in life, you have succeeded. 

This is just a simple reminder to me and to anyone who may be new to homeschooling or maybe even a veteran.  It’s not easy.  We may feel like we are not qualified (trust me, there will be plenty of people you will come across who will help feed that lie). You will face resistance from your children and experience more than a few meltdowns along the way. And believe or not, many times you will be the culprit. There will answers you don’t know and math problems that resemble a foreign language.   There will be days when your house looks like a disaster, and school may be put on hold so you can get to the doctors, the dentist, or just the grocery store so everyone can eat!

School is not just studying the books, it’s teaching your children about life. But whether you are homeschooling or not, remember, in life we need commitments and we must quit when life gets hard.  As you start your school year, remember why you are doing this and who you need to get you through the day.  When you feel like giving up, fall on your knees, and He will be the one to pick you up and give you the strength to keep moving on.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Phil. 4:13
"My grace is sufficient for you.  For My power is made in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Confessions of a wife and her husband's fantasy!

An endless dripping on a rainy day and a nagging wife are alike.” Proverbs 27:15

As the family cleans up the kitchen after dinner, the faucet on the kitchen sink has been accidentally left on.  There is this dripping sound, which nobody seems to be paying attention to.  Her husband gets up from the dinner table and quickly runs to his computer.  His wife notices, but continues cleaning the rest of the crumbs left behind.  She catches a glimpse from the corner of her eye, is he texting someone? It seems odd to her because he is not someone who talks on the phone, let alone texts. He is smiling and laughing as he receives a response.  She begins to feel a little left out.  She yells a comment from the other room, to which he responds, but only half-heartedly.  It is obvious he doesn’t want to be bothered at the moment.  He is so preoccupied, he even turned down his favorite love language. Are you serious?  Could it be another woman?  How did this happen?  Did her husband find a new love?  Suddenly, she is brought back to her senses and realizes it not another woman, it’s FOOTBALL SEASON!

You could be thankful that it’s only his fantasy football league he is focusing on.  However, you begin to get upset because you feel he is spending too much time preparing for this ridiculous football draft.  As you take your jabs, the kitchen sink continues to drip. However, the sound becomes noticeable.  Your jab becomes punches, and soon your husband can’t take it much longer.  As he gets up to leave the room, he stops at the kitchen sink to turn off the dripping faucet. However, because it’s been going on for so long, there is now a flood and a simple turning of the knob just won’t work.  

I don’t know your husband, or what he enjoys to do. Perhaps he likes fantasy football, hunting, or NASCAR.  Whatever it is, we must not sound like a dripping faucet and nag our husbands to death about their hobbies. I learned this years ago.  Remember, there is an enemy that wants nothing else but to kill, steal, and destroy your family.  Working on your marriage is something you have to do daily.  It’s easy to let something small turn into something much bigger, if you are not careful.  God had to remind me to focus on all the good my husband does. He seriously is a rock star.   Focusing on the negative only creates jealousy and selfishness, bringing destruction to what God has built in your marriage.   

I went over and turned the faucet off before the dripping turned into a huge flood that I couldn’t fix.  I ask God and my husband to forgive me. Now, I can’t promise I won’t make jokes about his fantasy football leagues, especially with my girlfriends, but I do promise to love and support him just like he does for me!  If this is what he enjoys doing, then I’ll pull up my big girl pants and put up with it for  yet another season!!

 “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.  But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”  James 3:16-17

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What about Miley Cyrus?

If you haven’t heard about Miley Cyrus performance on MTV’s VMA awards then you must live under a rock or definitely not connected to social media!  By the sounds of it she could of made Lady Gaga blush!  Now, I think that last comment was going a little over board but you get my point! 

I’m sure there are people and especially some of her fans think that people like me are being to judgmental, ridiculous or even old-fashion.   These same people are saying I thought you are not supposed to judge?  Some are probably saying but my generation grew up with Madanna!  Yes, we did and I will admit I even liked her as a young girl. However,   It doesn't make it right.  I was to young and stupid to know better. ( Thankfully, my parents tried their hardest to keep me away from listening to her music.  Unfortunately, I was rebellious and didn't always listen.)   I’m not judging Miley but I am judging her actions.  Come on these entertainers are put on display for the world to see and this is the crap we get?  Yep, because we have allowed it.  For everyone who is accusing me of  judging you are darn right I am.  I'm not judging her per say, I am judging her actions.   Iff we as parents don't stand up and do something the world will eat our  children alive.   Her actions on stage (and many other so called performers) for the world to see are something that needs to be talked about. ( But as we do, we can't forget to look at our own lives.)  Turning our cheek will only give the impression to our children that behaving in such a way is acceptable. 

I’m not saying I’m better than this girl.  I’ve done some shameful things in my youth that could make many people’s jaw drop including my parents.   I loved being center stage and thought acting in such a way was what you needed to do to get the attention from boys.  I was so wrong.  Thankfully, my parents never held anything against me and loved me enough to forgive me.  God is the same way.  I’m sure it breaks his heart to see His child acting in such a disgusting way.  She was given so many gifts not to bring herself glory or to sell her soul for fame and money but to bring Him glory. However, there is hope and it’s not found in the applause from man, money or from a Hollywood contract it's  found in Christ.  God is slow to anger and rich in grace and mercy. There is no sin to big that God will not forgive. If you have a repentant heart and ask Him to forgive you, He does.     I pray her eyes will be opened once again to Him and put back on  path that will only bring her life. I pray she allows God to change her heart and will bear witness for all the young girls to see.   When she does God will be waiting with open arms to forgive her, just like he did with you and me. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

After a stressful day with the kids, how does a forty in brown paper bag sound?

If you have children then you should be able to relate to this blog, unless, of course, you are superhuman! 

It was one of those days.  You know the kind of day I’m talking about, when your head is pounding because you have heard MOM repeated at least a million times!  You have broken up wrestling matches, called time-out, and had to go over the rules more in one day than any NBA, NHL or NFL referee has had to do in a given two hour game, which now has you feeling like filling out an application for some sort of professional referee.    Surely these franchises could use your expertise! Except you realize that you would probably be over-qualified!

You cooked, cleaned, and now dinner looks like dog food, probably because you were interrupted and forgot that the stove was on three times! The house resembles the aftermath of a tornado, or better yet, an earthquake.  Because you just need a break and get your sanity back, you decide to do the unspeakable.  You allow your kids to watch a movie! You break every TV rule you have, and close the blinds so the other mothers will not know!

Finally, after the day seems to be winding down, your husband notices that you have an uncontrollable twitch.  In desperation he realizes that if you don’t get some sort of break, the chances of him getting lucky are slim to none!  He doesn’t let you know he is thinking this, of course.  Instead, he suggests going for an evening walk, just the two of you.    You agree, and instead of putting on your ruby red slippers, you quickly jam your feet into the first pair of shoes you find and fly out the door. The last thing you are doing is clicking your heels and uttering the words, "there is no place like home."   You decide to walk to the nearest convenient store to grab a few things needed for home.  The idea of being able to walk to the store in silence is like heaven.  You didn’t have to go through any rules, reminding little ones how to act and what not to ask for. 

As the sliding doors open, something catches your eye. Could this be the answer?  This bottle never looked so lovely before!  The idea of quickly grabbing and wrapping it in a brown paper bag excites you.  This could be answer!  Now your mommy walks around the block could bring a whole new experience.  Your mind begins to wander as ideas of a new kind mom’s group begin.  Paper bag moms!  Nobody would know.  You could meet, walk, and talk, and drink until the edge is taken way and the happy smile kicks in! 

Minutes later, your dream is suddenly interrupted by your cell phone.  The kids want to know when you will be coming home.  You look at your phone.  Could it have been that long?  How long were you romancing about this new found love?  You look at the time and realize it’s been an entire 10 minutes since leaving the house! How dare you be gone so long!   Your husband grabs what is needed, and you head out the door.

You awake from your blissful fairy tale and are brought back to reality.  Christ is there, reminding you and me that HE is what will fill you up, and give you compete joy, peace, and rest. Everything is else is only temporary relief.  We don’t have to complain, talk about it until we are blue in the face, or tell a million people how bad our day was,  Nor do we need to drink it away.   We only need Him.  He wants to take your burden and make it light.  What are you waiting for?  Give it to Christ.  He is the one who sustains us and gives the grace and mercy to share with our family.  He is found in our weakness and reminds each one of us of the bigger picture, and how we are responsible to show our children His way by our words and actions.   The brown paper bag, as good as it may sound, will never bring what Christ has already died and given you.  Peace, joy, and rest.  It’s yours if you decide to take it. 

After you have your moment (which we are allowed to have), you walk in you front door, look at those little faces, and realize there really is no place like home!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Time to hit a homerun

I don’t know if you have watched the movie 42: The Jackie Robinson Movie.  If you haven’t, it’s a must see!  I knew the story before hitting play on our DVD player (which is another story all on its own!  Why do these TVs have to be so complicated to use?  I had to wake up my son because I didn’t know how to turn the dang thing on!).  As I watched the movie, Jackie’s story inspired me to keep fighting the good fight with integrity, class, and character.  Despite everything he had to endure, he continued to fight hard; he never gave up nor let the world beat him down. This movie only gives us a slice of what life was like for black men and women-- pain and suffering that most of us will never experience.  His manager and Jackie’s faith in Christ is what kept him in the game.  I loved it when one commenter said, “Jackie has guts.”  I hope one day someone will look at our life, what we stood for, and repeat the same words about you and me. 

We may not go down in history as a great baseball player like Jackie Robinson, nor face racism the way he did.  However, we still have our bases to run and homeruns to hit.  God used Jackie in the game of baseball to stand for something much bigger than a ball and a bat.  Every time he stepped on the field, he gave hope to the hopeless.  Every time someone came against him, when the world seemed like they would never embrace him, he gave friends to the friendless. His life was a testimony that people can change, as his team, and eventually the fans, embraced him.    Every time someone acted in his or her own flesh, or misused the word of God, he shined the light of Christ for everyone to see.  This black man in the 1940’s was a light in this dark world!  He wasn't a perfect man, but God doesn't expect perfection.  He was a husband and a man after God’s own heart. 

 I want people to look at my life, and the lives of my friends, and see that.   I want them to see people who are going against the majority, who are standing on the word of God, who at times feel like they are striking out.  I want people to see that despite everything against us, we decide to get back into the batter box, hold on to the bat, and not just point to the stands, but to God!   How I pray that I have the guts and the courage to do this.    If we are going to continue swinging our bats, we need to know who we are in Him.  Keep hitting those base hits, because one day it will be a home run! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Transforming your storm

The sun has been out and shining this past week in Michigan!  It has been a rough summer with lots of rain and cloudy days.  It’s almost like summer just passed us by.  When the sun is out, it makes me feel so much better.  I know that I’m much more productive when it is.  We need the sun.  There is no doubt that sunshine is healthy for your minds, bodies, and spirit. 

This crazy weather made me think deeper about God.  Everyone is happy and go lucky when the weather is just the way we like it, but we begin to complain and get crabby when it’s gray and gloomy.  

If we want to be successful and enjoy life, learning how to not let circumstances control us is key.  When life is dark, and when you are walking through the shadow of death, know that you don’t have to fear.  Although you may not see him, God is always with you.  Don’t give up hope.  Call on him, get in prayer, read his word, and know his promises.  He is the light in this dark world.  He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Faith in not seeing, but believing. 

Don’t allow the weather or your circumstances to steal your joy.  Remember, when you can’t see the light, know that the Son is there, walking with you every step of the way.  If you don’t give up, His light will shine once again, transforming the storm, wind, and clouds, until the most beautiful rainbow is on display for the world to see. 

Friends with simple reminders

The other night my phone rang and it was my friend Cory.  (I wrote about him a few days ago, if you want to read more about him.)  He was so excited to share with me what was going on in his life.  He said, “Kim, are you ready?  You are never going to believe what God has been doing in my life.  You are going to be so excited for me.  I can’t wait to tell you!” His love and pure innocence is so refreshing.  I couldn’t wait to hear his wonderful news.   He began to share with me how he now has 17 friends on his face book page.  He was so thankful.   God has placed on his heart to start a prayer ministry.  These are 17 more people in his life that God has trusted him with, and he gets the opportunity to pray for each one. 

I hung up the phone, looked at my husband, and said, "if we all had a heart like Cory, this world would be a much better place."  Cory simply reminded me once again to appreciate everything I have in my life and to enjoy the journey. How many things do we (including me) take for granted?  God is huge, and there is nothing wrong with having big dreams. But, we can’t miss what is right in front of our faces. Yes, we should have a bigger vision for our lives.   However, what I have learned in the process is, if God can trust us with what he has given us first, much more will be given.  This includes not only the big blessings, but the small ones, too.  It’s not about the quantity, but the quality.  Maybe you are in a tough spot in your life right now, and you just can’t seem to find anything to be thankful for.  Here is a reminder.  You are alive and able to read this blog!   Being able to read, using, and having a computer are considered a luxury in many countries around the world.  You, my friend, are blessed!   

Cory reminded me to be thankful that I have people who actually read and like my Bringing Light to the Matter Facebook page! Yes, I want this page to grow, but I must remember not to focus on the numbers, but rather stay focused on God.  I need to continue to be (and trust me I am) thankful for just having one person like this page!  Seriously, I’m shocked anyone would want to even read what I write!  So, if God brings more, great, and if not, I’m grateful and enjoying what I’m doing. If a few, or even if nobody decided to visit this page, it’s ok.  I’m doing this for His Glory, not mine!

Today, no matter what you may be going through, find your blessings.  Be thankful for where you are at, and as God can trust you, he will be the one to promote and give you more!  Thank you Cory for the simple reminders on life! 

Please click here, if you would like to follow!