Monday, December 28, 2015

Another Post About Books

I love reading.  It makes me happy.  Goes very well with "thinking" I believe.  :)

Here is the lot of books I recently finished.

Billy's been talking about this for years, and even uses it in the DESIGN class he teaches, but I'd never taken the time to get into it.  The original book on the subject of developing your strengths versus trying to fix all your weaknesses was Living Your Strengths, out of print for the past couple of years.  2.0 has a short description at the beginning, but isn't meant to stand alone.  Soooooo, the way you want to do it is go to the Strengths Finder website and take the short test.  Your results will be your top 5 "strengths".  Mine were Connector, Intellection, Relator, Discipline, and Restorative.  And, well, it's so interesting and useful I made most of my family take the test as well.  You can then use the book to read about your strengths, how to use them in various situations, etc.  I highly recommend.

Finished yet another book by Neta and Dave Jackson.  My family rolls their eyes and shakes their heads in bewilderment at my adoration for this series.  What can I say?  I like cheese from time to time.

Currently, I am half way through this.  Easy to understand - a great read.  A side trail here:  We have made a few HUGE financial mistakes in the past 20 years.  Not things like forgetting to pay the utility bill, or not saving for back to school, or taking a vacation on a credit card.  WE'VE MADE BIGGER MISTAKES THAN THAT. Looking back though, they weren't mistakes out of ill intention or even selfishness so much as they were mistakes made out of ignorance.  The "right" thing to do, simply wasn't a thought in our consciousness.  I have come to believe, therefore, it's wise to learn about financial things beyond tithing, giving offerings, and saving.  Wise to have a smart head as well as a right heart.  And wise to be prepared for financial surprises that may happen from time to time. 
(For example, if you win the lottery, did you know you should never spend a large, lump sum of money?  You should invest it to make more money.  And, well, I've never played the lottery but there ya go).

LOVED this very short book.  Easy to read in a day.  Fresh, deep reflections on Christian leadership.  Go.  Read.  It.

Currently on my side table...


Almost through this book.  Loving it.  If you have a sense that you are transitioning (and I am), it's a
good word.

We were graced to have Juli come and speak at a MOPS meeting this past year.  And, I decided that while I'm "transitioning" to mentor mode, I want to be a woman who has wise answers, especially concerning hard topics.  I want to have more than canned Christian answers.  I want to say 'I don't know' less often.   And, at 41, I feel no need to impress younger women with my use of slang.  So...I'm skipping around through this topical book which I'd highly recommend.

Next up on my reading list......

My friends keep telling me to read it.  My kids keep telling me to read it.  So...I'm gonna read it.

Finally, on the topic of marriage and family, one of my biggest areas of advice for young marrieds is to learn about GREIF.  Life is full of it, and will be full of it for your spouse and children as well.  Learning to grieve well is one of the healthiest things you could ever do -- and allow your family members to do as well.  Plus, it's C.S. Lewis.  :)

As always, I'd love to hear what you've read in 2015 that was meaningful to you and why it was meaningful.  Lots of your favorites end up on my side table and bless me - so share away!

Many blessings,

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fall Playlist 2015

It's no secret.  I've blogged about it for YEARS in fact. 

My crazy that comes with transitioning from one season to another.  You can read about here.  And, here.  And, here...

And, well, anyways....

Why do I do this?  Because my introverted brain (that part of me so many of you like to tell me doesn't exist) resists change, ironically, like clockwork

Since I can't live in the land of eternal summer, I've kindly helped myself transition up until now (in physical and metaphysical ways) by doing household projects, planning imaginary vacations, running races...and all sorts of other things.  This fall, I have family on the brain.  I miss my college kids.  I'm ready to go home and see my extended family.  And, therefore, not a single household decorating project made it on my want-to-do-list.  Unlike years past, I also surveyed my family and incorporated their wishes too.  They can thank me later. 

So, without further ado, here ya Fall Play List 2015.

Put some freezer meals away (because fall is the perfect time for this).
Finish the Couch to 5K app.
Get lost in a corn maze with thermoses of our favorite hot drinks. (Check!)

Visit Happy Apple Farm and make homemade apple sauce.
Take Billy to a Broncos game.
Buy tickets to take my family to a Christmas Play.

Send college kids a Fall Care Package  (Check!  Did that!)
Take popcorn and apple cider and enjoy a local outdoor concert.
Play at least (1) board game with the kids. 
       (Admittedly, one of my LEAST favorite ways to spend family time)

Have a smores party with friends and flannel blankets (buy flannel blankets).
Have a cooking date night.
Cuddle by a fire and drink hot drinks while we read a book together.

Fly kites on a windy day. (Check!)
Make Caramel apples.
Have a marathon party, stay in bed and watch a whole season of our favorite show.
     (Get a favorite show)


Buy Nitros Circus tickets for B's Bday  (Check!  Done.)
Visit Manitou and a restaurant we've never tried.
Go bowling with friends.

Explore a local Famers Market or Art Fair.
Golfing date.
Spend a date night at the bookstore.

Go see the leaves.
Go to the movies for V's birthday.  (Check!)
Mini Golf with Eli.

Bring a pizza to the park and toss a Frisbee or football.
Watch a football game with my boys.
Take family photos.

Go see my family in Alabama on Tgiving - make them do Tgiving Mad Libs.
Spend Fall Break with Liz and Friends.  (Check!)
Cut down our own Christmas Tree.

Now, don't play all or nothing.  We won't do all of those things either.
But, having the intention - and doing some of them will bring me joy enough.

Tell me, what are you going to do? 


Saturday, June 27, 2015

In other words....

“Have you really read all those books in your room?”

Alaska laughing- “Oh God no. I’ve maybe read a third of ‘em. But I’m going to read them all. I call it my Life’s Library. Every summer since I was little, I’ve gone to garage sales and bought all the books that looked interesting. So I always have something to read.”
― John Green, Looking for Alaska    
And, thus why I LOVE summer!

“One benefit of Summer was that each day we had more light to read by.”
― Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle
There are actually LOTS of things I love about summer - this summer in particular.  In the last month, we've had parties, surfed in Hawaii, taken a road trip, driven ATV's, kayaked, long boarded, cliff dived, hiked, jumped waterfalls, planted flowers, soaked up sunscreen, took a helicopter ride, and played in the pool.  But, there's something delicious about having more time to quietly read a good book too, yes?  Even better if it's on the beach, but I'll take it lying on the grass just as readily. 

What I just finished reading....
I love the work that Lisa does both in and out of the church.  I think, in fact, that all churches would benefit from the authoritative voice of a mother pulled up around the table assisting the fathers in leading the family, metaphorically speaking.  Whereas this isn't a book about women in church leadership, Ladies, if the title jumps out at you, go ahead and read it.  Consider it deep calling to deep and all that... 
This is possibly one of the most interesting things I've ever read. Very well researched and in my opinion, a game changer.
This I picked up from Family Christian on the $1 rack and read it in 1 day.  Written by a pastors daughter, the story was essentially about her disdain for tradition without substance, phony church and fake family, and her journey of falling in love with the actual Jesus -- and back in love with the actual church -- and deciding to keep and love her actual family...all while over coming a serious eating disorder.  I related to the story deeply, and it was actually so good.  :)
I have read this before, and even written about it.  However, I picked it up one day just to "re-enjoy" a chapter or two -- and just ended up reading the entire book again.  It's my current favorite gift to give as well.  Each chapter reads like an episode of the Food Network.  You'll want to bake Blueberry Crisp even if you hate baking and dislike blueberries.  I already have, twice.
Currently waiting for me on my side table...
I know.  I know.  EVERYONE IN THE WORLD HAS ALREADY READ THIS BOOK AND TAKEN THE TEST.  But...I haven't.  I find myself in a time of transition these least inside my own brain.  I've wrapped up (so to speak) a few "core personal projects" kids graduating and moving out.  Young kids moving into highschool and needing a little less of my time (just a little less, not much).  A husband happy and thriving in his career.  A body that is FINALLY healthier than it's ever been.  And, I find myself sometimes wondering 'what's next'?  And, I am interested in preparing for 'next', so...I'm taking the test as a very first step.
My "dream job", despite what others think, isn't actually "teaching" (even though I believe I'm an experienced, and good teacher).  My dream job is owning real estate.  My kids look at me like this is the most boring "dream job" a person could possibly come up with.  But...I'd like to eventually own the building my business will reside in. 
I'd like to own house(s) around the world and send minister's families on surprise vacations. I envision calling it...get ready for it...SnowDays.  And, if you've ever known the joy of thinking you had to go to work/school AGAIN on Monday morning, but wake instead to a yard glistening with white snow and a banner going across the TV alerting you of a surprise SNOW DAY...a surprise VACATION DAY...well you know why this is fitting.   
My tag line will be "Because the Pastor's family deserves to go to Disney World Too."  :)
And, then there is this.  Yes, yes, is soooooooooo cheesy.  But I've read everyone of their cheesy fiction books.  And, sometimes I just want an easy, fast, lay on the grass and eat it up, cheesy read.  So, there ya go.
As always, I'd LOVE to know what you are reading as well!  Mostly, so I can go buy those books too!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

More Books....

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you'll be when you can't help it."  Oscar Wilde
This is a GREAT book on marriage, except it's not really about marriage.  "Jesus was right. We have it all backwards.  The way to have a great marriage is by not focusing on marriage."
Intriguing?  Before you judge it, read the book.  If we don't get the #1 thing right, all the marriage advice in the world won't help anyways.
(Side note:  Our 19 year old bought this read for herself, and I gave it to our 18 year old for Easter. When you have a good read, pass it on to your kids!)

Speaking of passing a good book along to your kids...I read this last year.  Twice.  Clearest, most basic teaching I've ever read on the Holy Spirit.  Stirs so much awe, thankfulness, and reverence on the inside.  This year, I decided to go through it chapter by chapter with my 8th grader.  Parents, do this.

So often, I talk to women who are depressed, discouraged, lonely and frankly...bored.  A lot of the time, a heavy dose of self focus is the blame.  That's not judgmental, we all find ourselves there from time to time.  This book focuses on the AIDS epidemic in Africa and Shayne's involvement in advocating for a sick, hurting people -- all while dragging small children in tow.  Very powerful.  A great read for anyone looking for inspiration to DO something -- anything.

Warning:  Strong, opinionated author.  And, if you are easily offended, you'll miss out on a fantastic read.   She makes some strong statements -- and as long as you can take what's for you, and leave the rest -- you'll get a lot from it.  The chapter on Intercession and Prophetic Decrees is something I wished I written myself.

Well, frankly, I underlined the entire thing.  Enough said.

I just LOVE their books.  I've read at least 7 of them.  They are light hearted and fun.  And, my life is so serious, sometimes I need a dose of light hearted and fun.
Next on the docet....
Finishing up this powerful read......
And starting this.....
Would love to hear what you are pouring over these days?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

My 2 Year Gastric ByPass Surgerversary and Other More Important Things on My Mind

The past 90 days have been crazy full stupid full insanely full  unusually full, but our calendar isn't to blame.  It's been full of "other" stuff.  The stuff that comes up that's not on your calendar.  Ya know, real life.  People, please tell me someone else knows what I'm talking about?

Awards we could have actually won in the last 3 months....

The "We Got This Far Without Killing Each Other" Award.

The "If There Was Candy Within 10 Feet of Me, I Ate It" Award.

The, "We Yell At Each Other Too Much, LOTS of Forgiveness Going on Around Here" Award.

The, "We're Living on the Least Amount of Sleep Possible" Award.

The, "I Listen to 80's Rock at Very High Volumes When I'm Stressed" Award.

The, "I Don't Know Where the Kids Are, But We're Going on a Date Any How" Award.

Life NOT on my calendar the past 3 weeks...

- My business got an unexpected phone call that our building had been sold.  Must be vacated in 30 days.  Huh?

- Next day, took a trip to Tulsa with 3 oldest kids.  Determined not to think about business.  Tell myself to be all present.  Maybe the man on the street corner would want to buy my business for $1.  I ask B to get out of the car and ask him.

- Niece comes to town for Spring Break.  Spends 2 weeks going back and forth from the Springs to Denver to confirm a genetic disorder SO RARE she'll never met another person who has it.  Say what?

- Realize Spring Break will be our last chance to see Elizabeth before she spends a month in India.  The last time?  I felt ok about this, until another well meaning mom says, "This is the hardest trip the kids take.  Seriously hard.  They come back so exhausted".  Hmmmmmmmmm, I contemplate if I should worry.

- Vocal Chord Dysfunction.  Well, it's a real thing and I guess we've ignored it long enough.  And since Elizabeth is tired of her vocal chords cutting off her breathing, we finally found a professor who specialized and treats it at the University of Tulsa.  I suppose it would be good for Elizabeth to be able to breath in India.  Yea, she agrees that would be good.

- Discouraging news comes for our other daughter.  I mean, an answer to prayer, sure.  Just not the one mom wanted to hear.  Blah.


- There were 3 trips to DIA.

- Are Billy and I still married?  Billy who?  We plan a weekend away on the calendar.  Smart.

- Why does the hot tub say 105, when it's really 55?  Dang.

- Who broke the dishwasher?  Who broke the sink?  Who broke the..........

- Finally got a day off!  Wait.  Spoke too soon.  Son decided to break his arm.  5 hours at the ER.


So....where am I going with all this....

TODAY, I realized that it's my 2 year WLS anniversary.  2 years!  And 15 months of that in maintenance.  Crazy.

I realized it at Total Body Workout class.

I was laying on my back, on the step...holding my feet off the ground doing flys with 5 lb weights...looking at the ceiling...keeping beat with Kelly Clarkson blarring....

And I had the thought, "Shanna, you just walked in here as easy as pie.  You weren't scared.  You didn't have a single thought of 'I can't do it' or 'I wish I could do it'.  You ARE doing it." 

And, in that moment, I literally cried.  Right there on my back.  In a room full of strangers.  Because it still feels like a miracle to me.

I would tell you more of my thoughts about WLS and what it feels like to be 100 lbs healthier...but...there's all that "other" stuff that's been on my mind.

Today, I hear God saying to my tender, overly sensitive heart...

I will supply all your needs -

Shanna, what do you need?

Sometimes, it takes a while to get to the heart of what you really need, what you are REALLY asking God for.  Like when you write 1,000 sentences to get to that 1 sentence that expresses what you are REALLY trying to say.  (Then you are suppose to erase everything else.  I didn't do that here.  Sorry).

At the root...I want to hear God tell me that there's a greater meaning to my work than looking for a new store front, and signing a new lease.  That it's more than just teaching a few kids how to play an instrument.  I still need His reassurance that I am in the right place, doing the right thing.  That my life work matters.

You are where you are suppose to be -

I made career compromises in order to have a large family.  Truth be told, 20 years ago, I didn't have a single thought about what I wanted to do with a degree in Performance Music.  What I had vision for was raising the next generation of Christian leaders.  I KNEW God was calling me to do that to my core.  And, I still do.  I will die not having done everything on my bucket list, but I will also know that I spent my time doing what was most important to me. 

Even when it doesn't feel like it, I  am for you, not against you -

Yes.  Shanna, breathe that in for the millionth time, why don't ya? 

Speak life over your situations -

This is a hard one for me.  Especially when I want to voice my disappointment and fear.  But once I've made myself miserable enough, I decide to submit to the Holy Spirit's leading.  I WILL COMMAND MY SOUL TO BE STILL AND KNOW THAT HE IS GOD.


Rest in My presence -

If I'm honest, I've spent the better part of 20 years trying to figure out what exactly that means. 

Mostly because sitting in God's presence with my emotions doesn't feel restful to me. I end up saying, "Lord, what do you want me to DO?" 

I guess I'm not that great at resting.  So for now, I will consistently bring my heap of emotions into His presence.  And tell myself there - to be still.  And listen.  And, trust His peace to protect my heart.  And, well, adults, sometimes you just have to preach it to yourself.

This is my 2 Year Surgerversary...and this I know more deeply than ever...God holds my world in his hands as well as my life work - and regardless of what is happening or not happening He isn't taking it lightly.  He is my supply.  It is all His stage.  And like you, I want, I hope it all means something in the end.

In answer to the question, "What does the resurrection of Christ mean to you?", I say to a table of new friends today  RECUSE, HEALING AND FREEDOM.  I pray these things for my family every day as I walk my salvation out...that God would continue to recuse us, heal us, and set us free.  And, I'm so thankful that those things are as available to me today as they were when I first discovered them decades ago.  Grace.

If you are praying, searching, asking,'re in good company.  Keep going.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Gastric Bypass Surgery - 18 month update (3 months late)

In October, I passed the 18 month mark after having Gastric Bypass Surgery in April of 2013.  I have lost 99.5 lbs, and am holding steady 8.5 lbs BELOW my surgeons goal weight.

I saw my doctor for blood work and to make a long story short -- my numbers couldn't be more perfect.  I'm off all meds, and in the doctors words, "healthy".  She followed up with a sincere, "Shanna, you made it." 

I also saw the behavioral therapist for a quick check in.  I'm sure she's called something else -- a fancy medical name, but I can't remember what it is.  Regardless, she's nice.  And, I'm a fan of counseling.  A good counselor is worth their weight in gold in fact.  Everyone could benefit from having one in their life.

She asks me some questions on just how "worried" I am that I might gain the weight back.  Well, I say fairly sure, "The thought crosses my mind at least once or twice a day."  Therapist, "Do the thoughts you have cause you to not be able to function in your day to day life"?  Me, "Uh, no.  I have 5 kids and one is adopted and blind -- the rest are teenagers.  I have a busy husband, a relationship with Jesus...friends...I run a business.  I have people who work for me, people in training, accounts payable, receivable, kids going to sports, music lessons, play practice and poetry readings.  I occasionally clean my house."  I smile.  I say, "All that is just to say, my life REQUIRES that I function.  I'm pretty good at focusing my thoughts, telling myself the truth, keeping a good attitude, having faith, and persevering.  You know, FUNCTIONING.  I'm good at functioning.  At this point I'm thinking that 'non functioning' would be a little like a vacation, you know?"

She smiles and asks questions about my doctors take on my weight loss.  How I've determined my goal weight and what "wiggle room" I have according to how I know my weight fluctuates.  She asks about my families response.  She listens to me whine about the well meaning people who regularly tell me I could "weigh even less" or "be even smaller."

Me, "It feels like I've been on this wild airplane ride, and about now I'm looking for where I should land.  I guess that's my real question.  Where do I land?

Therapist smiles and says, "You don't land, you just stay on the journey."

She ends with, "No matter what happens, even if you gain weight back, you KNOW HOW to lose weight now.  You know the rhythm of food preparation, eating healthy, and exercise.  No one can ever take that away from you."

And, I breathe deep -- and leave her office to return to all my functioning.


This season has raised questions for me like when do you decide you like the number on the scale and are now free to enter MAINTEANCE mode?  For some, the answer is obvious, but when you've NEVER MAINTAINED ANY WEIGHT -- always gaining or losing -- the ground that answer lies on feels a little squishy. 

And, am I really free to decide that anyhow?  Or is there some secret obligation to let other people's opinions decide for me?  I mean really, honest question, is there?

Questions surface like, will there be those people  who just forever and always try to influence me to lose more weight?   Seriously.  Tell me.  WILL THERE BE CERTAIN PEOPLE WHO JUST AWLAYS DO THIS?  By "people", of course, I mean other women.   And, well, is this how all women who have healthy weights (and good numbers on blood reports) yet don't have perfect bodies feel all the time???  Does this exhaust everyone or is that just me?  I'd like to rest knowing that I'll eventually be able to shake all the YOU SHOULDS, YOU COULDS, IF ONLY YOU WOULDS off, but as I listen to others talk, I'm not convinced we ever do.  I hope we do.  I hope I do.  We shall see......


My big revelation of this season has been that losing 100 lbs hasn't cured me 100% of fat thinking.

This past weekend, we had enough CAKE left over from a piano recital to feed a small country.  B says, "Let's throw it away."  I say, "No, let's take it home to Benjamin."  So, innocent.  So stupid.

Bless my heart.

Fortunately, B followed up with, "No, let's throw it away.  I don't want it in the house."  Mature of him.  We went home cakeless.

Whereas I am pro eating for pleasure every once in a while, a recovering alcoholic doesn't keep margarita's in the fridge just for "everyone else" -- and frankly -- the family members of an alcoholic don't need it either.  And, I'm kinda like that.  And, so is my family.  A recovering food-aholic....sugar-aholic.  And, I know there's a difference between a piece of cake in my fridge and a box of leftover cake that could fill a VW bug. 

I sooooooo know that.  But, again, I'm not cured.

Keeping THAT in mind, is important in this stage of the game apparently. 

I am well aware that my best defense against gaining my 100 lbs back is too do the following, a short set of "rules" I have for myself......

1.  Keep my environment as free of temptation as necessary.  And, after the holiday months, "necessary" would mean COMPLETELY FREE OF TEMPTATION.  I need an environment at home where I can not fail.

2.  Avoid restaurants.  The food almost always makes me feel terrible, and well, it replaces the nutrition I could be putting in my body.  DEFENSE for eating food I shouldn't -- to EAT THE FOOD I SHOULD.

3.  Have convenience foods on hand.  For me this includes Advocare Berry Meal Replacement Shakes, Spark, Protein Bars, Greens, Diced Veggies, Avocado, and Cooked Protein.

4.  Move my body.  Bodies were made to move.  I am happier when I am moving. 

And, well, that's it. 


I don't always have time to prepare a week's worth of meals for my family of 7 on the weekends.  This weekend included my 41st birthday, 2 piano recitals, and 2 birthday parties.  Throw in errands, kids and church -- and I really just didn't want to stand in the kitchen for 2 hours cooking.  So...I didn't.

However, in order for my week to go the best it can -- I still needed to prepare SOMETHING.

So,on the way out the door to church, in the spirit of rule #3 above, I put a pork tenderloin in the crock pot with some lemon pepper.  I laid 1/2 of a spaghetti squash on top of the tenderloin and seasoned it with salt and pepper.  I wrapped a couple of seasoned chicken breasts in foil and tossed them on top as well. Threw the switch on high and let the machine do it's thing.

Later that evening, I shredded the pork and the squash. I browned 4 lbs lean beef that I'll use for chili and tacos later this week.

And, that's the extent of it.  Less than 30 minutes of prep this weekend.  But it will benefit me and my family GREATLY this week. 

Dinners are simple.  Shredded pork tenderloin and steamed green beans.  Chili with beef and beans...ladled over a bed of organic greens.  Sautéed peppers and onion, with sliced chicken over the spaghetti squash.  When the protein is prepared, it's easy to toss together a quick lunch.  And, well, snacks around here (for me AND the kids) are actually small meals.  Real food.

And, thus, my functioning.

And I'm so thankful for it.  Thankful the time has passed so quickly, healing has been so powerful and that all I've learned as been such a surprising blessing to me! 

I love that I've gotten the chance to do this, and I love walking along side others as they embark or just continue on their own journey towards optimal health and healing...however that fleshes out for them. 

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."  2 Cor 1:3-4

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Prayer, Fear and Letting Go

Recently, my sweet college kid wrote this blog on why she isn't afraid to go to India.  I am happy to say, I am not the "loving mother" she refers too that asked why in the world she'd even WANT too go -- and I am in no way surprised to hear her say she is more preoccupied with feeling COMPASSION rather than FEAR.

Compassion can make a person do all kinds of  crazy things.  Believe me, I know.


The snow was piled above our heads today in Colorado.  I woke early and said good bye to B in order to spend the morning in the studio.  Some people spend their days listening to their favorite musicians.  I teach mine.

During a mid day break - I ran some errands.  I'm not even sure how the old CD got in my car but it was right there -- Around Your Throne by Ross Parsley.  I put it in, and along with the prayerful lyrics, I began to pray for my family.

Sometimes, prayer feels dry.

But, not today.  Today, I am keenly aware of  some prophetic authority wrapping my words -- and I just know I'm suppose to be saying them out loud.  They are accompanied with a knowing that my faith is activating something that I can't even see, or explain.


My little family has stepped out this year to do some new things, and I've felt particularly sensitive to the need to be praying for each of them.  We feel more broken than ever before.  More hungry for God's presence.  More willing to trust Him.

We believe He's gone before us in these new endeavors -- at least we are all hoping that He has.

As I drive, I pray that the 7 of us would grow in wisdom.  I ask God to establish the work of our hands.

I pray that the love that Jesus had for others -- would be the same heart my family members have for the people God brings across our path.


I'm not just talking when I pray.  I'm listening.

Real life situations and conversations from this past week tumble through my thoughts.

My Spirit hears things like....

I am the God of the humble.  I chooses to draw close to the broken hearted, the hungry, the thirsty. I am a friend to the weak.

I compassionately wash the feet of the weary.

God's kindness continues to draw me in, and change me.  Makes me want to be like Him.


At this point in the conversation -- I pray that my children will have an apostolic anointing -- that the compassion of Jesus would MOVE them to action -- that they would be powerful women and men of God TODAY and be willing to GO where ever God leads them -- to whom God leads them.  Oh that they be sensitive to His leading.

In this moment of prayer, whether that be a public platform here in America -- or a hut across the ocean with a hidden ministry of intercession makes no never mind to me.  It's their hearts I want to see changed.

Do you know what it cost me and Billy to follow Jesus with WILLING hearts?  Everything.

Do you know what it will cost our children?  The same.


It's on the heals of a hundred moments, a thousands days over the past 20 years, just like this one  -- times that in MY WILLING SURRENDER, I SURRENDER MY CHILDREN TO GOD WHO CREATED THEM FOR HIS PURPOSE (You know, that thing we say about how they aren't really ours?) -- that one of my kids will blow in the door and casually say something like, "Guess where I'm going to lead worship for a month this summer?  India."

"If you fulfill your calling, your children will fulfill theirs."  Patricia Bootsma


If you don't spend time praying for your children, that's another conversation.  But, listen sweet parent, WHO PRAYS...

What is the point of praying that your child would have COMPASSION only for you to recoil when they invite their gay, lonely friend over for dinner?

What is the point of praying that they'd be OBEDIENT to what God calls them to do, only to say NO WAY when it's going farther away -- or is more costly to them (and you) than you thought?

What is the point of praying a rebellious child would COME TO THE END OF THEMSELVES only to continually cushion the blow so much -- they're never aware they hit bottom?

And, well, a thousand other scenarios.

This is a part of learning to cooperate with the Holy Spirit not only in your own life, but in the growth of your child as well.

When your children surrender, obey, trust, sacrifice -- there is no greater joy.  AND, it is also your opportunity to let go of MORE -- surrender AGAIN -- obey willingly AGAIN (even if your body trembles) -- decide to trust no matter what AGAIN -- AGAIN there is sacrifice.

This is not to say that I don't have emotions like yours -- that our greatest nightmares as mother are not all similar.  It's not naivety that the rain doesn't actually fall on the just and the unjust.  I'm certainly not suggesting it is easy.  The Bible uses words like overcome -- and persevere.  And last I lived, I didn't have to overcome or persevere something that was cake.

But, this is the process by which God grows in me -- and how God grows in my children.  How we as a family become more like Jesus.  It doesn't matter if you are 19, or like me, turning 41 this weekend.  I imagine it to be the same at 60 and 80.

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory
are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory
which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.  2 Cor 3:18

Keep praying friend,