To Read on the Journey

Thursday, July 29, 2010

(Pre) Occupied...part 4

"But you walked away from your first love- why?  What's going  on with you, anyway?  Do you have any idea how far you've fallen?  A Lucifer fall!
Turn back!  Recover your dear early love."
 Revelation 2:4-5a The Message

dear blog friends, i want you to know this is all being unveiled in the past few weeks. even as i type i am glimpsing the reality of who i've been... and i am seeing who God has been.

He has been wonderfully Jealous for me.
He has been Faithful.
He has waited for me to return to him.
He has whispered in my ear countless times (yes, i've heard him) to "return to Him, my First Love."

For now, God has lead us to a different church (40 minuets away).  each week as i enter worship,  i hear Him say "return to your First Love."  each message seems to rekindle the intimacy God and i had in those first days.  He is romancing me. wooing me.
i don't deserve it.  i feel as one who has been unfaithful. i am having a hard time receiving his affection, so unworthy...but still, He romances me.

God gave me this image a few weeks ago- of a room filled (preoccupied) with the church (my idol).   little by little that room was cleared out. and then it sat empty.

empty is where i am now.

God is gently showing me that empty is good.

And this is why, there is more to the image- after the room sat empty, this bride longed only for her Lover and One True God.

And He came...


and He changed the sign on the door to read "Occupied."


so what does a believer preoccupied with Christ look like?
what does a wife and mother preoccupied with Christ look like?
what does a member of the body(church) of Christ look like?


My God I want to live a life that glorifies you.  Cause me to long for You, God. I want you to be my only Lover, my only God.  Be the One who occupies my heart, mind, and soul. Heal me through and through. Thank you for the ways you magnify Your mercy on me, Continue to  tell me, show me how you are madly in love with me.  Show Yourself to me. Show me the way to Your heart.  Sanctify me.  Make me one with You. in Jesus Who Saves and Redeems my life, amen.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Preoccupied...part 3

 i tried for the last year to get out of the adulterous relationship i have had with the church while remaining at the church.

i was intentional about guarding my mind, not entertaining thoughts of "could be."
i backed away from leadership, put my passionate self in time-out.
with michael i weighed my motives, and was careful with the steps i took and conversations i had.
in all these areas i didn't always succeed, but you can't know how desperately i tried...

and i was miserable.

because secretly i longed for a great romance with the church. 

my trying was a spiritual adulterers attempt to satisfy the needs of my first love, while longing for another.

i treated God like a voodoo doll god, who would see my attempts at humility. approve.  then, exalt me in the church (instead of with Him) in due time.

 then God had enough.  He tenderly asked us to leave our beloved church.

you can't imagine how painful this was.  how painful it is for our family... how painful this is for a girl from an earthly family that was broken more times than i can count to leave a family, a home.

but "whoring around" on God causes a greater pain.

a pain which caused me to be unrecognizable to me.

 i was disgusted with myself.

i know now that is a beautiful place to be. 

"Am i willing to reduce myself simply to "me," determinedly to strip myself of all my friends think of me, of all i think of myself, and to hand that simple naked self over to God? Immediately I am, He will sanctify me wholly, and my life will be free from earnestness in connection with everything but God."
When i pray-"Lord show me what sanctification means for me," He will show me.  It means being made one with Jesus.  Sanctification is not something Jesus Christ puts in me: It is Himself in me." 
Part 4 & conclusion tomorrow. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Preoccupied... part 2

Hosea 2: 5a-8
"She said, "I will go after my lovers,
who give me food and my water,
my wool and linen, my oil and my drink.
Therefore I will block her path in thornbushes;
I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
She will chase after her lovers but not catch them.
Then she will say, 'I will go back to my husband as at first,
for then I was better off than now.'
She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold-
Which they used for Baal...

like Hosea's wife and the Israelites, i have been a spiritual adulterer.
(gulp, those words are hard to swallow).

i have given myself over to something other than God.
i have gone after it, seeking to find my sustenance in it (my worthiness and purpose).
i have been romancing it (something other than a kidney stone, which yes, i still have); prettying myself up for it emotionally and spiritually, persuading it to delight in me.
i have chased after it, and have been FIXATED on it.

i have been cheating on God... with the church.

i made the church my idol.   

the church has been what my identity is found in, and what i've lived for.

ANYTHING can become our idol if we are not cautious; worship, church leadership, motherhood, a job/purpose, education, blog, facebook, self-image, money... (these come to mind because they are what i struggle with most).  

thankfully our God is a jealous God who wants us entirely for himself

Hosea 2:14
Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will speak tenderly to her.
Hosea 2:16 and19-21
"In that day," declares the Lord, you will call me husband... I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.  I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the Lord."

Have you ever cheated on God? 

our church's steeple- photographed by michael.  

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Preoccupied... part 1

"it's sin" i told him, as we walked into the restaurant.  
"it was intended to be pure, holy, good, but i've held onto it so dearly [for dear life] that my entire being is dependent on it.   
what is good can become sin if you desire it more than God."

we sat at the table with partially eaten french toast. the distance between his heart and mine decreasing as his spirit embraced my broken spirit.  safe with my love i sobbed, "i miss God."  
looking not at me but through me, he spoke tenderly, "i see that... i've seen that for sometime."


i came up for air, and whispered, " i don't want to miss God anymore."


Friday, July 23, 2010

backtracking...i mean packing

two weeks ago michael, noah, emilie, and my cousin sean, went back packing to lady lake in the ansel adam's wilderness.

this was sean's first backpacking trip.

they all had a wonderful time together taking in God's magnificent beauty.

i am so grateful for the memories they made.

i won't bore you with any more talk. i think the pictures say it all. 
backpacking #1
backpacking #4
backpacking #7
backpackinng #2

backpacing #3
backpacking #5

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


me and you
and you and me
no matter how they toss the dice
it has to be 
the only one for me is you 
and you for me
so happy (in my mouth) together.

fries & soft serve

watermelon & salt

popcorn and lawry's

what are your b.f.f. food combos?

p.s. i'm still "stoned," which might explain the food cravings
(trying to keep my sense of humor here).

Monday, July 19, 2010

Romancing the Stone

after 36 hours of flu like symptoms 
(which began early a.m. on emilie's birhday),
accompanied by excruciating pain...
pain which was not dulled by trips to the dr. and shots of morphine, 
but was only controlled by a delicous cocktail of i.v. pain meds,
i am now home,
heavily medicated, 
and in labor with...
a kidney stone boulder!

please leave sympathy and "get well" comments. 

oh and just because i'm "stoned" doesn't mean i've lost my sense of humor. 
here were other possible titles for this "feel sorry for me" post:
Stone Age
Rolling Stone
What to Expect When Your Expecting

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


dear emilie, 
i like you.
i like that you are tender, compassionate, and love people out loud.  you are intentional about relationships, the words you use, about details.

i watch how you bless people- i see the way you delight in and love others (especially your sister and brother).   i ABSOLUTELY LOVE that about you!!

i wish i had your energy, diligence, motivation, and enthusiasm to attempt new things.
your so brave.
emilie 11 #2collage
you are so pretty, but even more you are beautiful with the type of beauty that comes from the inside and causes you to be radiant on the outside!

i've loved watching you be intentional about Jesus. i see you growing in your own relationship with him. i see you seeking his face and his heart.

i think about when you were born 11 years ago (7 weeks early). i'm reminded of that scary week in the hospital with our premature baby. at one point daddy and i were told how your heart was beating rapidly, and that your breathing needed to regulate.  we stepped out of the nicu and stepped into the throne room to pray, and there we laid our request before our Father.  we asked for him to place your head on his chest, that you would listen to the rhythm of his heart, that your heartbeat would beat with his heartbeat.  moments later we returned to the nicu and were told that your heartbeat and breathing had regulated.  our response to the nurses was, "i know."  
emilie, your heart still beats with his heartbeat (tears).  
you live to the beat of his heart.
emilie 11collage

you inspire me.

i love you my sweet emilie.

hApPy BiRtHdAy!

Monday, July 12, 2010

fun money $

we use to live under the dark cloud of financial debt. 

we were so strapped that i ate, drank, and dreamt about money we didn't have.

i desired money, and therefor worshiped it.   

you can read the story of how God lead us out of financial and emotional debt here, here, here, and here.

the goal now is to stay out of debt.

one tool i highly recommend for managing household finances is quicken.  quicken allows you to link up to your bank, download statements, create and manage a budget,  categorize spending, pay bills, and much more. 

i know many people who manage their finances by using the envelope system
with the envelope system, designated envelopes are filled with $ for the month.
once $ is spent it is  G. O. N. E.

those who use the envelope system commit to not grabbing the debit/credit card and swiping. little by little (in our case) they see savings (with a vehicle hobbling around on its last leg we really need to see savings).  

we've decided to use the envelope system.  
i made these zippered pouches (envelopes) to hold our budgeted $.

after being in debt ourselves we see the value of teaching our children to live in freedom in all areas, and especially in the area of finances. 
my next project is to sew three pouches/envelopes for each of my children.  
i hope having their own envelope system will inspire them to save and spend wisely, and to give generously

save, fun, give

praying for financial freedom for you and your families,

Thursday, July 8, 2010

why i wear painting pants

i figured you were all curious about what i had painted while wearing my painting pants earlier this week.

first, i painted the base boards in our house.  we have lived here 5 1/2 years, and i have probably painted them 10 times (you shouldn't be surprised, i've told you before that i am o.c.d.).   and i apologize in advance to any of you who after reading this post look at your own baseboards and feel the need to clean and/or repaint them.

i also painted these frames.
these frames were originally cream or white. i spray painted them green, sanded and stained them.
 (the pix on the left are michael's parents and paternal grandparents. the pix on the right are my paternal grandparents, and my 11 year old grandfather with his siblings in the Azores). 

giving the frames the same punch of color gives a unified look. i like the bold statement these frames make on this red buffet table. 

painting pants makes me recall a funny story from my childhood... 
when i was in second grade my mom threw me a surprise party.
i walked in the door to our little house, greeted by a small group of family and friends shouting, "SURPRISE!"
instead of greeting my guests gladly, i quickly hid behind the door mortified because the zipper on my pants was broken.
my mother gladly informed me that there was a new pair of "painter pants" on my bed.
however when she said "painter pants" i thought she had said "hanger pants."
being the ham that i am, i put on my pants, then proudly hung wired hangers from each of the loops.
i walked out and greeted my guests wearing my new "hanger pants."  
i was such a funny girl. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Because your dieing to know if i have any fashion sense, i thought i'd join in on my s.i.l., Lindsey's, "what i wore wednesday" posts, to show you that i have very little. 

As you can see from the photos i'm good to go in capri's, a top, and some flops. 
Although i do spruce things up a bit on Sundays... and paint days.


Sunday after church and again on Monday (yep, i'll wear it twice!)
wiww 2

My L.L. necklaces make me SO HAPPY (and help me to remember my kid's names).
wiww necklaces

Tuesday & Wednesday
wiww 3

Thursday & Saturday (after i changed out of my p.j's around 1p.m.)
i love my paint clothes. These pants could tell some great stories!
Wondering about my head?
Believe me, it was better left unphotographed
(sorry about the florescent lighting. ick).
wiww paint

Friday (get your own pleated poppy here).
wiww 4

And because your trying to make out what the sign above my head says...
wiww 5

Everything is fine...with a little lipstick!

What are you wearing Wednesday? 

Today i'm in jammies, and chances are i won't be out of them till 1:00.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July

4th of July was spent watching fireworks on Bass Lake with good friends.
4th o' july
  l-r; Michael, Spinner, Eric
The flag which inspired Fracis Scott Keyes "Star Spangled Banner"
Michelle, Me, Ginger 
Fireworks on Bass Lake  
Emilie, Noah, Olivia, Emma and Josie
emma's socks collage
We are thankful for our many freedoms.
oh no you  dii'nt collage
Especially Spinner, who exercised his freedom to wear his hair however
he wa-unts (South Carolinin accent).

How did you celebrate Independence Day?

Friday, July 2, 2010

bringing home the bacon

my mom worked as a waitress at a Cindy's Restaurant when i was young.

in my little girl opinion she had a fun job; serving hot cakes and coffee to early risers, carrying 20 plates at a time, and wearing the coolest uniform in all of Oakdale! 

i thought she was the prettiest when she wore her uniform; a white ruffly blouse, "Belinda" name tag, brown polyester wrap around skirt, nude nylons, waitress shoes, the whole ensemble made complete with her permed hair pulled back in a banana clip.

tips were the highlight of her waitressing job. helping her sort, count, and roll the change that jingled in her brown polyester pockets was a highlight of my younger years.  i believed we were wealthy when we took rolled coins to the bank, then drove off in our baby blue datsun to rent-to-own to make a weekly payment on our washing machine and dryer.

it's obvious why at 10 years old i wanted to be a waitress. with my magnetic personality i was bound to have pockets full of my own jingly change, annnnnddd  i REALLY wanted to wear that cool Cindy's Restaurant uniform.

one hot august day while my mom was at work, i decided it was time i began working at Cindy's Restaurant too.  i didn't call and ask for an interview, i didn't fill out an application, i decided to take action, i planned on walking right in to Cindy's and going directly to the manager's office and asking for a job.  (i've always been the type to take the bull by the horns... maybe this is because i grew up in "the cowboy capitol of the world").

i believed i was old enough because i finally owned my first pair of high heel sandals. adding to my new maturity was the nude nylons i owned to wear with them.   nude nylons and high heels had launched me into adulthood, and would guarantee me a job for sure!

 i grabbed my only white ruffly top and paired it with one of my mom's brown polyester wrap around work skirts. then i pulled my permed-like-mom's-hair up in a banana clip, and finished the ensemble  with some of my mom's hot-pink avon lipstick.  in my 10 year old mind i had grown from 10 to 16 in minuets!
(photo of banana clips for those of you who sadly missed the opportunity to wear them in the 80's)

and then i waited...

waited for the baby blue datsun to pull into the drive way with my mom home from work. i knew she'd be thrilled at my enthusiasm to start bringing home some bacon too. she wouldn't hesitate to drive me down to Cindy's to ask her boss, Manny, for a job of my own.

i was devastated when she walked through the door, thought i was playing dress up, and refused to drive me to Cindy's. i was adamant about having a waitressing job of my own, and begged to walk to the restaurant on my own.  my mom agreed.

Cindy's was easily 10 blocks and 1 highway crossing away.  my mother thought i'd make it two blocks in the august heat and heals,  turn around and return home. however the thought of my own jingling change in my pockets kept me walking.    

i arrived at Cindy's, walked right in, past all the customers, and directly to Manny's office.  there i entertained him with my plea to be hired, and how he wouldn't be disappointed.  Manny was just promising to hire me when i was 16, when my embarrassed mother walked in (she had been driving the streets of Oakdale looking for me).  she grabbed me by one arm, and escorted me out of Cindy's, as i waved a proud goodbye to her paying customers!

by the time i was 16 brown polyester skirts and jingling pockets didn't appeal to me.  my banana clips were retired , as was my childhood dream of becoming a waitress.
Manny should have hired me when he had the chance.  

this post was written for flashback friday. 
to read other flashback friday stories visit 
together for good.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

burst my bubble

 i mentioned in a previous post that we have "taken a break from our church."

we love our church family.  next to jesus, i don't think there is anyone who could be madlier in love with them than me.

which makes leaving for any amount of time so so hard.

but God wants us to.  he keeps revealing this to us.  we have to be obedient, like it or not.
 in the meantime i count on him to know the bigger picture,  the bigger glory.

in his mercy he is showing us glimpses of his bigger glory.
bigger glory conversations;
after reading scripture together as a family the other evening, a conversation regarding faith ignited.  emilie (10) said to us, "even though it is hard to not be at our church, i can see that it is good.  i didn't know what faith was before.  i didn't have a reason to need to have faith and trust God before.  since we left our church, i need God.  i have been reading my bible and praying (she really has been).  i am understanding what faith is for the first time and i can see that is good."
noah commented that his faith is expanding as well.  he shared that leaders in his new sunday school class have shared their testimonies.  their stories of redemption and coming into relationship with Jesus is deepening his own faith.
 i can see that at this time, this is very good for our children. our family has up to this point, been in the safe bubble of church and home-school community that we have created for them.  everything and everyone is familiar and safe. 

God told me at the beginning of this "taking a break form our church" journey that he wanted to burst our bubble. 

as he bursts our jones bubble he is tenderly caring for our hearts,  taking me back to that faith i had in the beginning, nurturing and expanding our faith- and especially the faith of our children,  revealing his power to us, and causing us to fall madly in love with the BIGGER body of Christ.

 {each of our stories is tailored by God to wonderfully and mysteriously fit us. this is our story.  i am not encouraging you to leave your church.   i do encourage you to be sensitive to the Spirits leading in your own life, and in the life of your family.  i encourage you to be obedient to the Holy Spirit's leading in all areas.}