Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Working on me with Him!

I blogged a little last week about a rush of things I had going through my mind that morning. I have been going back to that post to try and find where I was really going with it, or more so, where the Spirit was leading me with it. I am reading some really great books right now and it's funny how they all start to wind together and give direction. I am choosing to live life on purpose and with intention. I am choosing to ask the Holy Spirit into my life so that believers, non-believers and the unchurched see God's love and work through me. This is going to be a process because let's just face it.....I'M A MESS!
I have decided I am going to have start with lots of prayer and take it one step at a time. I am the queen of rushing in to things and wanting a plan "right now". Sometimes we have to be still in His presence, know that He is God and WAIT! That was my prayer and focus last week. To just be still and know! Sometimes when I read the Bible the stories seem so short that I never really took the time to realize how many years passed in, what seemed like, a short story. For example, I always felt like the story of Abraham in Genesis was just a quick glance at his life. Then someone helped me put the rather quick read into a time line. One thing I noticed is how much God made Abraham wait. God called Abram to leave his country and his family all the while promising a son to him and Sarai (who was by all means too old to bare children). Abram listened and left his land to go where God sent him, but once he got there God was silent for ten years. Ten years?! I would go crazy. Remember I am the queen of right now! How hard that must of have been. That's just one example but I would encourage you next time you read to really pay attention to time.
This week I want to focus on being quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. I am pretty much the opposite of this and it's not one of my finer qualities. I am so opinionated and I really need to learn to sit back and take it all in, PRAY ABOUT IT, and then respond. It's not just with things that effect me, I'm the same way when it comes to giving friends advice. (guess i'm not such a great friend after all) I want to bear witness to others and let the Spirit speak through me so I really need to practice some self control or let Him take control. Mark 13:11 ..."don't worry about what you will say. When the time comes, say what's on your heart-the Holy Spirit will make his witness in and through you". The key part of that verse for me is WHEN THE TIME COMES! I need to wait for His time. Die to myself so that He can show me His desires for me.

prayer for the week: Lord I just pray that you fill me with the Holy Spirit so that others see your love through me. Help me to be a better listener and give advice that is directed by You.
motto: be on purpose! be intentional!
what i'm really enjoying: "Forgotten God" by Francis Chan, early morning chats with Jen, spending time with Isaiah and Jason, doing life on purpose with the groupies, having my besty loon Karen back home!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Isaiah's Special Day

A few weeks ago Gigi and Pete came to visit. Isaiah was so funny the first night, I think he just stood frozen for about 5 minutes trying to figure out who had just shown up. He is so silly about warming up to people. Guess I won't have to teach him stranger danger. hahahah
We had a great time just hanging out over the weekend, watching football and celebrating Isaiah's first birthday a little bit early so Gigi and Pete could see him open presents and enjoy a little birthday treat. Thanks for coming to visit!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

On my mind.......

So have you ever had one of those mornings where you have a million things on your mind and it TOTALLY interrupts your sleep? Welcome to my morning! I have been reading some new books and trying to implement some new things into my life and routine so that I can become better equipped to share the good news with others. Most of my life I have sat back and let other people do the work. You know, the "qualified" people. The "good" people. The "chosen" people. I never felt like that was my calling. Why would anyone want to listen to me? Even if they wanted to why should they? I am a sinner. I have a list of faults that go on and on and on. Let's see: I am sometimes jealous of what other people have, I am insecure, I worry what other people think about me, I love to hear the latest gossip, I sometimes talk about other people, I judge other people, my priorities are often out of line, I depend on my husband way too much, I am quick to anger and quick to speak, my attitude stinks, I am not the best wife, mother, daughter, sister, or friend, and I put my desires ahead of His desires. I could really go on and on (but for the sake of not completely ruining my self esteem this morning I will stop, hahahaha).
You see, we live in a society where people hold "Christians" to a different standard. If you profess your love and belief in Christ and try to go out to be salt and light to this world then others expect all of those nasty qualities and habits to disappear. Christians are often expected to live differently. "Did you hear him cussing at that football game? I thought he was a Christian!" "Did you hear what _______ said about ______? I thought she was a Christian!" God created all of us (people) the same. He put us all into a world filled with temptation. We are driven by money, status, sports, clothes, Hollywood ideals, fitting in, etc. Christians will sin just like non-believers will sin. Now, I'm not justifying sin. All of those bad qualities I listed about myself are things I am working to change. But will I ever live a life free from sin? Probably not in this lifetime. Does it mean I am not a daughter of the king, a bride of Christ, a princess warrior? NOPE! It means I am human. It means that Christ came and died for ME so I can have eternal life with HIM!
I am learning that we are all called to minister to the world. Not just the pastors, priests, nuns, missionaries, deacons, etc. ALL OF US! And guess what, those people I just listed: they are just people. Just like me and just like you. They are going to sin. They are going to have bad days. But they have a special calling. They put themselves on the front line every day. It's what they do for a living. Even other Christians forget this fact sometimes and hold them to a different standard. These men and women serve the Lord and want to be a vessel in this broken world. Instead of judging them or making assumptions when you don't have all the facts: support them. When we start turning on each other the devil starts to win.
I don't really know the BOLD statement I was probably attempting to make when I started this entry. This is just what the Lord has on my heart this morning. I am nowhere near perfect. My life has changed a lot since January of 2010 and I hope that it continues to keep changing for the Lord. I want to show others the love Christ extended to me. I want to help non-believers become believers so that we can kick it in eternity together. You see what I really want people to know is that if God loves me (nasty, stinky, sinful me) then He deifinitly loves you. He wants to know you and have a relationship with you.
My motto this week: I will be still and know you are God.
My readings this week: the book of Esther (Bible), Forgotten God (Francis Chan), Jesus Calling (daily devotions: Sarah Young), and Esther: It's Tough being a Woman (Beth Moore study)
My prayer this week: Lord I ask that you calm my spirit when the days get hectic and gently remind me that You are God. Help me to rest in your presence and just breathe in the Holy Spirit. Help me continue to work on my nasty habits so that others will see you work through me.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Party in the Park!

Little Miss Ellie turned 3 in August and we celebrated at Barnett Park. The park overlooks Lake Mirror and has a water park and playground for kids. We had a blast. Here are some pictures from our fun and hot day!
Isaiah and Jason had a blast in the water with their Dads. (yes, i forgot to bring a swimsuit for my child so he ran around in a swimmer)

Girls just wanna have fun!

Fun in the Bubbles!

Birthday Girl Fun, Hello Kitty Style!

I was talking to a friend the other day about all the different seasons in life. We talked about the season we are in now, the seasons behind us and the seasons ahead of us. In high school every friday night you looked forward to football and bonfires. College revolved around Thursday night fun and early morning tailgating on Saturday. After college you move in to wedding season. Here I am living my season of baby showers and birthday parties. I LOVE IT! What fun memories we are making. (here is my confession: i truly miss wedding season! i love to see two people comit themsleves to one another before God. that day is filled with so much hope and excitement for the future. and let's be honest, the receptions usually ROCK)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why the Pain?

Have you ever been in a situation (or watched someone else go through a situation) and you just wondered, "God, why is THIS happening?" I know I do all the time. The death of a child or a loved one who was just too young. The loss of your parent(s) or a child(ren) before it's "their time". Cancer. Alzheimers. Car and motorcycle accidents. Natural disasters. Countless other diseases that we have no control over. And sometimes you see a person take hit after hit after hit. It's like the saying "when it rains, it pours"! This question has been heavy on my heart for a few months but especially so in the last month. I have two very dear friends who are dealing with some tough stuff with their moms. One just found out her mom has breast cancer and started chemo today. The other found out her mom has about a year to live. Both will have to watch their first caregiver suffer. Although God is the only one who knows the final outcome, the pain is sure to be there. I also am a "blog stalker" and I read so many blogs about families who have lost a child. That is a pain that I don't think anyone should ever have to face, but God did. He sent His son to die a tremendously painful death so that we could live with Him FOREVER. This Sunday one of our guest pastors shed a little light on pain, suffering, faith and God. I was truly enlightened by what he said and I felt a tug on my heart to share it with all of my "blog stalkers". hahahaha

There are 5 reasons (supported by scripture) that God sends pain and suffering.

1. To help us produce more fruit. (John 15:1-2) Bascially he described it like pruning a plant. To get out your shears and cut and slice away at a plant could be painful. God is the gardener and sometimes he has to hack away at us so that we can produce the BEST fruit.
2. To discipline us. (Hebrews 12: 6-7) Just as parents do with their earthly children, God does with His.
3. To keep us humble. (2 Corinthians 12:7-8)
4. To spread the Gospel. (Acts 8:1) There is a blog I stalk, I mean follow, that is a family who lost their daughter at 20 months. I see this trait in her. Through her pain, suffering, anger, anguish and coping she has found a way to glorify God. I do not know her personally so I don't even know if she is intentional in her blogs, but her faith it truly inspiring. Through one of the most traumatic losses a person can experience, she rests in scripture, talks to God, shares His truths with so many, spreads the good news (that one day she will be reunited with her daughter), and gives Hope to the hopeless.
5. To reveal His power and GLORY! (John 11: 14-15 and 40) We serve a MIGHTY God. He loves me, he loves you and He is waiting to send His son back to this Earth so that all those who follow Him can have ETERNAL life!

Friday, September 9, 2011

French Student

I remember at the beginning of summer writing a blog about all the happenings we had planned. I promised to post hightlights of them all and I must say, to my surprise, I kept up pretty well. This one is a few weeks delayed but I started my new "job" at the end of August and boy oh boy do TWO little boys keep you on your toes. It's fun and I love it!
On August 2nd we had a French addition to our family. Antoine came to stay with us for three weeks to learn a little more about American culture while taking in all the fun Tampa and Orlando have to offer. Most of their days were spent out and about doing fun activities like Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, outlet malls, mega malls, boat rides on the river, Gatorland, water parks, DisneyQuest, etc. At night and on the weekends the students spent time with their host families (that would be us)! Our outings weren't quite as exciting as the planned ones but we did take in a Tampa Bay Rays game, spend a nice afternoon on the beach, a day at the pool and Mike got to teach Antoine about a great American past time.....COLLEGE FOOTBALL! We have recruited a new Alabama fan. ROLL TIDE! Mike has told me that Antoine is watching the games on We sent Antoine home with his first pigskin to toss around on the beach in France! Here are some pics from our time with Antoine!
First Major League Baseball Game (it went in to extra innings. Antoine said "it was fun. But REALLY long)

Football, American Style! And dinner with friends. Thanks Dodges', Giddens', Antoine, Benjamin and Laura for a fun filled day!

Antoine and Isaiah

Friday, September 2, 2011

one of those days (or weeks, or months)

Have you ever just had one of "those" days where you needed a good laugh? There is nothing like laughing with your girlfriends. Even if you are in the worst mood, down in the dumps, whatever: once someone starts laughing its like contagious. I had a day like that this week. I was extra sensitive and really just needed some grown up time. My friend Steph had her baby in Orlando. So, Jen and I decided to ride out there together to meet the cute little guy. The hospital is about an hour from Lakeland (or an hour and half if you turn into rebels like us). We talked about happy stuff, sad stuff and in between stuff (yes i read lots of Dr. Seuss) but what I will remember most from our time in the car (well mostly the ride home) is the laughter. I think we both needed it. It was that deep in your gut belly laugh. Tears and all!
Jen, just wanted to say thanks for putting a smile on my face and lifting some weight off my shoulders. I love riding in elevators with you and cruising down closed roads through construction barrels!

He's Here! He's Here! He's Here!

CARSON MICHAEL LEWIS is finally here! I am so excited for Michael and Stephanie as they begin this new chapter in their lives. We have prayed and prayed and prayed for this sweet baby and I can't believe he is FINALLY here! Sometimes Decemeber seems like eons ago (because Isaiah had colic) but I will never forget the morning Steph announced she was prego! Our small group family is growing and I can't wait to watch this little fella grow up and see all the amazing plans God has for him. Mike and Steph are going to be GREAT parents. CONGRATS LEWIS'!