Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Using My Grumpy Voice

Ever had one of those mornings? Of course you have...At least 4 times during our drive to Omaha this morning, my precious daughter reminded me that I was using my "grumpy voice." Bless her heart...she stopped and prayed for me every time. Nonetheless, it was a rough start to my day. I feel lately like I'm barely keeping my head above water, and I can't seem to get ahead. I'm feeling overwhelmed at work, at home, at church...My house looks like it's exploded...this morning, I couldn't even find a place to sit and do my Bible Study, so I sat on the floor in front of the couch.

Where do you turn in the Bible when you're trying to keep your head above water?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Urgent Prayer Needed

I read about this on a friend's blog this afternoon. Honestly, our society would be outraged if these acts were being committed against animals. Yet, we're strangely silent when it happens to children. Please, please, please take a moment to read about the plight of these orphans in Sierra Leone, then get on your knees and ask the Father to intercede on behalf of these children.

You can read more about this situation firsthand here.

As my friend posted:

Psalms 12:5
"The Lord replies, "I have seen the violence done
to the helpless, and I have heard
the groans of the poor.
Now I will rise up to rescue them,
as they have longed for me to do."

And the Football Just Gets Better

This is in honor of Nebraska's 300th consecutive sellout in Memorial Stadium...the third largest city in Nebraska on game day.

A Beautiful Friday Night

Picture it with me...small town living on a Friday night in September. The rain is falling intermittently. You can smell the burn piles in town on this crisp early autumn evening. Everywhere you look, you see a sea of blue and white. You find a seat, brush the water off the bleachers and snuggle up with your family of three in a space meant for two.

It's Homecoming night in Ashland. The band is playing the national anthem, slightly out of tune. It's a small town band, and the damp weather is wreaking havoc on their intonation. The band itself is made up of people in marching uniforms, dance team costumes and cheerleading skirts. You see, in a small town, these kids are involved in many, many activities.

Now you hear a whoosh of air as a hot dog is launched from a hydraulic cannon into the stands. Dinner consists of hot dogs, nachos and a candy bar (surreptitiously hidden from a four-year-old who doesn't need it as much as her parents do.)

This same four-year-old sees her eight-year-old friend and very politely asks permission to sit with her friend's family (yes...we're letting her wander from us at an early age...the letting go was a little hard.) From our vantage point, we catch glimpses of these precious girls sharing a bag of gummy worms (so she does get a sugar kick, after all).

Shortly after halftime, the young-ish family of three walks nine blocks home. Along the way, we are instructed to play "Dora" (let me tell you...Daddy makes a pretty cool "Swiper.")

Honestly, could a Friday night be any more perfect than this?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

All I Need

I had a bit of a scare on Monday at school. I was called to the principal's office (not usually fun for a teacher.) Apparently a parent had called earlier in the day reporting that her son told her I picked him up by the ear in class the previous Friday. In that brief moment, I pictured being escorted out of the building with questions asked later (something that very likely could have happened with previous administrators I've known.) I must say, my principal handled it beautifully, and in the next 30 minutes, she, the parent, the student and I got to the bottom of it all. Long story short, the child changed his story, the mother believed me, and all is well.

Still, in those moments, I pictured a career I have worked for since I was 5 years old...a passion more than a career, really...slip out of my grasp. In those moments, I lost all control (as though I ever had any) of the future events of my life. And yet, in those moments, this teacher who is prone to anxiety and panic attacks felt a complete peace.

Because I know that whatever may be taken from me, I will always have my Lord. And He is enough.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Friday Night Frenzy

Last year, the Wilsons started a tradition called "Friday Night Frenzy." In essence, it's a way to spend time together as a family while spending as little money as possible. Ideas have included camping in the backyard or in the living room, having "Backwards" night and reading books from the end to the beginning (Dr. Seuss is particularly funny) and playing Candyland while starting at the Candy Castle.

Last Friday, we introduced Dayna to her first Black & White movie and watched "Heidi" for free online through Netflix. Typically four, Dayna was on and off the couch many times and had a difficult time paying attention. But, when Heidi and her grandfather went to church (a pivotal moment in the movie), Dayna jumped off the couch again and exclaimed, "Mommy! They love Jesus, too!"

Later that night, while tucking Dayna into bed, she prayed and thanked Jesus for making Klara better so that she could walk again. "And thank You that Klara loves You, too, 'cause that's the most important thing!"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

While You Were Out

Dayna had a few messages for Daddy while he was gone.

And a special "welcome home" gift, too.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Missing Him...

Dan just left for a 3-day business trip. It seems weird that I miss him already. I truly do miss him, but I wonder how much of this is a little bit selfish that he's not around the next few days to help hold down the fort. Then I think about how incredibly selfish that really is when I think of my friends whose spouses are deployed for undetermined amounts of time, and they spend months holding down the fort with limited contact.'s to my military friends. I love you, and thanks for serving, whether you wear the uniform or not.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Still Brings Tears to My Eyes

After eight years, I wonder if it will ever get easier.
I hope it never does.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Stone and Flesh

My summer reading took me in some interesting directions. I'm still plugging through the One Year Chronological Bible, which found me in Ezekiel a few weeks ago. For more in-depth study (since BSF is out for the summer), I found myself digging into the book of Revelation. Some of the personal applications and challenges I jotted this summer include:
  • How can I wait in expectancy for Christ's return?
  • I need to be more faithful about writing and journaling the things God is teaching me.
  • When our passion for Jesus wanes, our passion for His people wanes.
  • How can I be an encouragement to a suffering Christian?
  • What wrong belief or teaching am I following, and how can I replace it with truth?
  • What wordly influence is turning my eyes from Jesus?
  • He who overcomes will have his name forever in the book of life and be acknowledged before the Father and angels.
  • Where do I need to persevere?
  • Jesus still has complete authority over the church. He has not changed. The church is a living organism today. Likewise, He still has complete authority over my life as part of the church.
  • Today I will meditate on Christ's magnificence and turn my heart toward His holiness and worth-ship.
  • Pray with expectation, worship Christ as the only One worthy, turn my focus from myself.
  • Thank God & pray for those who serve our country in war to bring right and justice to others.
  • God's judgment is sure - I need to continually pray for the softened hearts of _____________.
  • Today I will thank God that He chose to soften my heart and call me His child.
  • I'm trying to imagine the incense with all of our prayers rising before God. His judgment silences the heavens and earth. The "mini" judgments now don't silence people...they add fuel to the fire.
  • God means business! Will this get the attention of those left behind?
  • I praise God that nothing can touch His redeemed without His permission. He is in control - even in chaos and destruction.
  • The more you refuse to repent, the bigger the judgment becomes, and the harder your heart.
  • Revelation may taste sweet because God is victorious, but His judment should give us all indigestion.
  • Thank you, God, that nothing can harm your children unles it is allowed by You.
  • Jesus is established on His throne to rule forever.
  • Satan will fight hard for us, but we are overcomers in Christ!
  • How easily our world is led astray - even now - by powers of evil. God, give me discernment and a heart that only worships You.
  • Lord, help me to not be deceived by imposters.
  • God gives another chance to hear the gospel of grace. Why is it so hard for me to give _____________ another chance to experience grace?
  • Hell is eternal and conscious. Why do I find it so hard to care? God - give me Your eyes and heart for those perishing around me.
  • True praise to God is timeless - from Moses to Revelation.
  • God, soften my heart toward those who have hardened their hearts toward you.
  • Our pride is so great that we rail against God and are blind to our own sin.
  • Our world is filled with blatant, horrible sin. Why does that surprise me?
  • I do not understand all I read, but this I know: GOD WILL WIN THE VICTORY!!!
  • God has announced His judgment - it is sure. But, He also warns His children so they can escape judgment.
  • God brings down the proud. What we value above Him will be rendered useless.
  • Thank You, God, that You tell us how the story ends.
  • Eternal torment waits for those who defy God. I pray for the urgency to share with others about salvation.
  • All will be judged for actions and fall short. Only Christ's blood gets you in the Book of Life.
  • No matter the odds, God will always win! "Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just." (From 4th verse of the Star Spangled Banner)
  • How I long for a day with no more goodbyes.
  • God made all this for us, so we can dwell with Him forever.
  • Finally, the curse of sin and death is broken! Praise be to the Lamb!

I have a couple of days left to finish chapter 22, but as I reflect back on some of these notes, I see the grave sin of apathy and grudge-bearing. I'm being brutally honest with myself here. There are some people I just flat-out struggle with in my life. No matter how I pray for them, I just find myself hard-hearted toward them...even to the point of not caring about their eternal destiny. "They've made their choice" is the attitude of my heart.

This brings me back to Ezekiel:

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (36:26)

Please join me in prayer that God would soften my heart first.