Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Eye Masters Miracle

This week we needed to buy our girls new glasses. We did our budget, figured out what to expect during the next month, and of course we were short. That’s just life with a family. We set our limit for the glasses, and off we went.

To make our grand budget plan work, we needed to stay below a certain amount for each frame. So the girls looked and tried on and squinted their way through the small choices available to them. Of course nothing was right. So we began figuring out little ways to flex… “Well, we haven’t spent all of your Christmas money yet, how about making this part of your gift?” and “OK, you can go up $10.00 to the next group of frames.”

A long, agonizing time later, we finally found two frames that worked. We were spending more than we wanted to, but everyone was happy. As we began to ring up the frames, we realized that one of them was an adult frame that had been left accidentally in the children’s section. This ruined the entire deal, so we had to go back to the drawing board.

By this time we’re exhausted, hungry, and tired of the whole thing, and the salesperson feels the same way. We’re laboring under this stifling budget boundary. Suddenly Will decided that we could flex, and go up $10 to the next category of frames. The moment he did, everything lifted. We immediately found the right frames-they were better than the first pair.

As we rang up the new frames, we were mentally adding up the costs. We expected to be about $50 over budget. But when we were given the total, it came to $1.00 less than our original limit. WHAT? One of the pairs was mispriced. We exchanged glances, said, “Yes, thank you very much!” and left in amazement.

So what did the Lord teach us? That he is in charge of the provision. We have to flex, and not be legalistic and religious in our effort to make sure there is enough. He allowed us to stay within our boundary. He blessed the girls with the frames they wanted. But it wasn’t until we let go of the rigid grip on the provision that He could work his plan.

We call this our miracle at Eye Masters because the Lord was saying, “Look! See that I am the master of your provision! Relax and let me bless you.”

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hannah Montana

Our kids watched Hannah Montana with the Petersens, and so I got another DVD at the library. I sat down and watched a couple of shows with them, and, surprisingly, I liked it! I didn't know what anyone knows...that the show is about Miley Cyrus who is also Hannah Montana, but most her friends don't know. Anyway, we found a bunch of Miley Cyrus music on playlist, and I actually like some of it! All this time I've been scoffing at the Hannah M underwear and tee shirts at Walmart, and no, I still won't be buying them, nor do my girls want them. But, she's actually a good singer! I've put two of the songs I like on my Playlist.

Without a TV, I usually catch on to pop trends about 3 years late, which I don't mind. More noteably, I also recently got season 1 disc 1 of 21 Jumpstreet, which I never watched in High School. So I'm almost 20 years late for that one. Will never watched it either, so now we're having an 80's/90's flashback along with pre-Pirates/Demon Barber Johnny Depp. More of an Edward Scissorhands/Gilbert Grape experience.

Friday, October 16, 2009

While the cat's away

Tonight the Petersens came over for an early dinner, and then William and Darren went to church for the Issachar conference this weekend. Meanwhile, the kids watched Camp Rock (cheesy) and played, and then we pulled out the jumbo marshmallows.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama's Prize

When I heard that Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, I immediately asked the radio announcer, "What for?" What was funny was that the two NPR announcers who talked about it during the next segment seemed to have the same question. One even listed off all the things that Obama hadn't done...Guantanamo is still open, the two wars are in progress, and Afganistan is growing, and a few other things. Then, on MSN there was an opinion poll, and like me, 63% of those who answered agreed that he didn't deserve the prize- he hasn't done anything yet. Later when I went back to the poll it was gone.

As I thought more on the subject, I realized the political problems with accepting the prize. If he does a lot of great things, he'll be OK 10 years from now. If he bombs out and his big ambitions aren't accomplished, the prize is going to look like a joke. I think that if it were me, I'd say, "Thanks so much for the honor, but I need to decline so that history can play out first."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Happy 13th Madeline!

Exactly one week late, Madeline is finally going to have some celebration of her Sept. 20th birthday. On the actual day we were deep in the midst of the Head of the Year Conference, and so we weren't able to do anything much. The Petersen's have a policy of celebrating the kid's birthday on the exact day, no matter what day that is, and it's a great idea. That way you don't end up making multiple cakes, and dragging the whole thing out, and losing the specialness factor.

However, this year, poor Madeline was not given her rightful dues. A sign of her growing maturity, though, she really didn't feel bad about it. Except for the fact that the Petersen's bought some Ding Dongs and Zingers to take to lunch with us on the 20th, and we sang to her at the restaurant, and the waitress hurried over with a cup of tres leches cake with whipped cream and a cherry when she heard our 11 voices raised in enthusiastic song...at least it was something. And then I bought her some mint chocolates and lip gloss while at World Market a few days later. And she got birthday money from loving grandparent's and aunties. But you can see that from our end, this has been kind of pitiful.

Last night I made her the cake of choice-chocolate brownie cake with chocolate frosting, and then she got to decorate it herself....but still, not enough.

So this morning, Will and I had the brilliant idea (stolen from the Petersens) to get her a cell phone. It's only a little more a month on our plan, she gets to call us for free, and we can actually allocate the number of minutes that belong to her per month. And we're already set up with no texting, so we don't have to worry about that phenomenon. Until last night, I had felt like it was an unnecessary luxury for a child to have a cell phone, and I've always loudly said that they can have a cell phone when they can pay for it. So think of what a surprise she'll have when we unpredictably turn tail and change our minds. And, what a great rite of passage...Abby won't get one until she's 13, and that means that Madeline gets 22 months of having a privilege that Abby doesn't.

What usually happens in our family it that we say "no" until the bitter end, and then we change our minds and Abby gets IT at the same time that Madeline does. This summer there was much gnashing of teeth because Abby got to read the Harry Potter books at the same time Madeline did. And I told her the sad sad story of how I had to wait until I was 11 to get my ears pierced, and my parents caved at Sears and got everyone's ears pierced, so Erin and Gretchen only had to wait until they were 9 and 6. How unfair is that??? I remember complaining to mom and dad about it, just as Madeline complained to me.

Madeline is also going to have a party with friends, and that will be next weekend. So, this is a three weekend birthday, and that's OK.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

End of A Season-Heidi's Version

Most of you have probably already read Will's blog about the end of the season....I heartily agreed with everything he said, and really couldn't have said it better myself. But I still have to say something.

Our 14th anniversary is coming up on September 30th. I am amazed at how God works with numbers, which is a big focus of Glory of Zion, as we pay attention to the Hebraic year we are in and all that. But whether or not I knew it, God has been using significant timing in my life all along.

For the first seven years of our marriage, we had our three kids, and lived with a variety of unhealed wound issues, and the problems they created. At about year 7, I began to cry out to the Lord to heal our issues, so that they don't take us out later on. He responded, and in the spring of year 7 1/2 we transtitioned from working at Plymouth, to living with the DeHarts in Agua Dulce.

At the same time, I got Rheumatoid Arthritis, and we moved from our traditional understanding of what our life with the Lord looks like to a more unpredictable Holy-Spirit led, tounges speaking, dream dreaming way. I knew I was supposed to pray for healing for the RA, which I began to do. For the next year we underwent an intense time of counseling and deliverance. For me, the RA was a catalyst of pain that drove me to question all my foundational beliefs about God, suffering, healing, love, forgiveness, prayer and marriage. The Lord told me that I was to get prayed for at every opportunity, so that's what I did. I went to our little church healing team every week after church. And, most the time the RA wasn't the main point. It was something in me emotionally or spiritually that the Lord wanted to heal.

Over the last seven years, the Lord has completely stripped me down, and rebuilt me from the foundation up. My basic way of viewing the world has changed. Two weeks ago, at our Wednesday noon prayer meeting at church, Chuck told us that we were to invite the Lord in to dine with us, and we were to serve him. We had two different wines to choose from as we took communion. One was called "Hope", and the other "Full Circle."

I was waiting to find out from the Lord what I was to serve Him while I took communion. I knew that "Full Circle" was the wine I was supposed to use. As I waited, I began to realize that everything I have-my body, my truth, my voice, has been torn down and rebuilt. So, I offered Him myself. That's all I have to offer, but it is a new me. A me that has been crushed, and is reborn. He has done the work, and I praise Him!

On the Rheumatoid Arthritis level, I have been steadily improving for the last 4 years. When we came to Texas 3 1/2 years ago, I went off the methotrexate because going to a doctor was just too expensive. But I did start going to the healing rooms at our church, like the Lord had told me to do. I used Ibuprophen a couple of times a day to manage the pain and swelling. In the last 4 months, I havn't needed Ibuprophen very often. I don't take it if I don't notice that I need it in the morning. And I've had more energy and have been feeling really good.

I know that our second 7 year cycle is coming to a close, and this one has been one of healing. I am so grateful to the Lord for answering my prayers and rescuing us from our sin and wounds. I a excited to see what the next seven years holds for us and our family. Being completely surrendered to Him is the best possible life, and I wouldn't trade a moment of the trials and pain that I've endured if it meant that I had to give up the freedom and joy I have now.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Head of the Year 5770

The Jewish year 5770 started this last Friday, and our church had a big conference this weekend celebrating the Head of the Year. We met on our new land, and because it's just a vacant 31 acre patch, we had to create the entire facility from the ground up. We had a huge tent that seats 2000 put up, and tents for the bookstore and concessions.

The week before the conference began, it started to rain. It rained all week, and the land was mostly mud. We had gravel trucks bringing rock for roads, but the parking area was a muddy mess. So, on Monday we scrambled around and found busses and vans to shuttle the 2000 guests from parking lots nearby. At the beginning of last year, 5769, we learned that one of the meanings of the year had to do with dealing with mud and mire. So....we hadn't had any yet this year--I guess we needed to do that before we moved on the next one.

Lisa and I are in charge of orchestrating concessions for the conferences, so we've been very busy for the last few weeks. We had water delivered, ice delivered, and found some catering trucks to come in and sell breakfast and lunch. My favorite was Karla's Catering, who brought in a smoker and made grilled chicken, fajitas, tacos and burritos. It was good. We also had three van loads of food to sell. We've gotten good at making sure we have enough coffee available, so that went smoothly, and the breaks were good for business.

The amount of work that went into the event was crazy, and it took lots of people to pull it off. But we were able to provide true hospitality to the visitors, and that was worth it.

I spent most the time that I was there in the concessions tent, but I did get to attend the First Fruits service on Saturday night, and William called me to come in and take communion this morning.

I thought it would be fun to include a video and some photos to share the flavor.

Monday, August 03, 2009


Madeline needed three immunizations before we could send her back to school. So today, I took the kids to the Denton County Department of Health where each shot costs only $10.00. In reading about it online, I also learned that the maximum charge per family per visit was $30.00. So, any other shots would be free.

The ramifications of this didn't quite make it home to me until I was standing there doing the paperwork, and I realized that Abby and Sam might need immunizations too. Fortuantely I had thought to bring their immunization records along. I mentioned to Abby that I was going to have the lady check her records too, and she immediately began to freak out. All of a sudden she went from the lucky sister who didn't need shots to Danger. After a minute I told her she needed to go sit in the waiting area.

As it turned out, Abby didn't need any shots. But Sam did. So, now he went from the smug little brother to a quivering mass of panic in a split second. He began to cry, and fell to the ground, and for some reason the whole thing struck me funny. It's sad to be laughing while your children freak out, but I just couldn't help it. Maybe it was the drama, maybe it was just the publicness of the whole thing, but I really couldn't keep a stright face. My children accused me of cruelty, and I giggled. I tried to convince them that I was sorry for them, but you know, I was so pleased to be getting that fourth shot for free. My time and money were being maximized. And I really didn't want to have to come back for as long as possible.

So Madeline, who had held it together beautifully this whole time, volunteered to go first so that Sam could see how it wasn't that bad. That was a mistake. As he watched the first, the second, and the third needle sink into her arm, he completely lost it. He began to scream and cry and clutch the door. I tried to reason with him, and pick him up. But he was irrational and getting louder all the time. I began to giggle helplessly again. The nurse offered him a sucker. It didn't help. So finally the nurse stepped in--she's done this thousands of times I'm sure--and began to talk to Sam. He was jolted from his panic by her voice, and asked quaveringly what the shot felt like. She said, "a pinch" and he asked her to pinch him to see what it was like. It wasn't bad. So I sat down on the seat with him on my lap, we counted to three, and the shot was over. He didn't even cry.

We left, and got slushies from Sonic (for half price, hee hee) and went on our merry way. I won't have to do that for at least another year. Whew!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer so far

Well, I just realized that it's been about 7 weeks since I blogged. Sad. Since that time, we've finished the school year, and moved into summer. This summer is going to be pretty relaxed. We got a water park pass, so we can go up there whenever we want a beach-like experience. They have slides, and a lazy river. It's almost a date, because the kids can run around without us.

I've changed my work schedule to 3 days a week from 9-4. That way I don't have to leave the house on Friday. It makes a big difference in that summery feeling, and I get to spend more time with Will and the kids.

Our whole family went to camp with the elementary kids from church. Will and I were counselors. It was a good time. We were focusing on hearing from the Lord via the Holy Spirit. One boy had swimmers' ear, and couldn't hear anything out of one of his ears. During one of the sessions, the teacher said, "OK everyone, lets' turn on our listening ears!" When he did that, all of a sudden he heard a bunch of gurgling and clicking and his ear was healed! So that was a prophetic picture of what the Lord wanted to do with us--open our ears to hear him. We spent some time on the last day practicing hearing and seeing what the Lord was saying. It was very powerful to see the kids in action, and good practice for me, too!

Right now Will and Madeline are on the middle school camp trip. It's also been a great time. So far 13 kids have been saved, and there is still another night ahead of them.

Last night I got to go to a benefit dinner for a hospital in Israel. The keynote speaker was Dennis Prager. It was really interesting to hear him talk about Jewish/Christian/American issues. He is very thought provoking...I haven't followed him much, but have heard him a few times.

I'll stop there, and hopefully do this again soon!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Leonard Cohen vs. Mamma Mia

I've been wanting to see Mamma Mia! for quite a while...I like musicals, because it's always interesting to see how the music fits and moves the story along. I also like seeing current movie actors sing. Its always kind of surprising. For some reason I don't expect actors to be able to sing, which is kind of silly, since most of them probably have other skills besides acting. Hugh Jackman was a big surprise...but I digress.

Anyway, I was disappointed by Mamma Mia. I just had no point of connection with the entire foundation of the movie. The story...a young girl getting married finds her single mother's diary, and learns that there are three men who could possibly be her father. She invites all three of the men to her wedding without telling her mother-hoping to learn who her father is, and fill that dad shaped vacuum. Lots of dancing and drama later, the mother marries the man she loves the best at the wedding that was to be her daughter's, no one knows who the father was, and the girl leaves with her fiance to have adventures in the big world.

In stark contrast is my gut-wrenching indentification with Leonard Cohen. I posted about the concert earlier, and what an amazing experience it was. How is it possible to be so completely drawn in with one artist, and so completely outside with another artist? Nathan mentioned that he's been listening to "Closing Time" by LC a lot lately. So tonight I went online to listen to it. And what was funny to me was that the song starts out a lot like Mamma Mia--women dancing in a bar, everyone having fun. But then it shifts to a much deeper reality/pathos as it progresses. That second half of the song is what Mamma Mia was totally missing. I couldn't help being struck by the obvious contrast, and how I am so clearly on one side of the fence.

Friday, May 01, 2009


I went to the healing team to be prayed for last Wednesday. Before I came in, they prayed to find out what the Lord had for me that day. One of the pictures a lady got was of me trudging slowly up a hill like I was carrying a big burden. So she said that she thought I was carrying a burden that I wasn't supposed to be, or doing something that I used to have grace for, but didn't anymore.

Casting my mind about for what that could mean, I realized that the only thing in my life that made me feel that way was the laundry and housework. Its just never done, and whenever I ask the kids to help, not much happens. A couple of weeks ago I had a dream where I was telling the kids to do chores, and they just turned around and wandered away. I woke up really mad.

The ladies didn't really think it was about housework. I guess most moms feel overwhelmed. However, when I told Will about it, he said immediately, "It's about the laundry!" Ah! I was right in the first place. So he proceeded to confront me on my lack of delegation with all the household chores, and told me some stories about how bad his chore load was at age 11. Bad.

I have something in me that believes that the kids should have fun, and not have to work. But on the other hand, I definately don't want to raise a bunch of entitled mess makers. So, I got to work on a chore chart. I made a list of all the things I don't like to clean, and places where other people make more messes than me. I assigned each girl three jobs per day, and Sam two. Everyone helps unload the dishwasher, and then each girl has to help either before or after dinner. Then all three have one other job per day. I've got the girls cleaning their bathroom, mopping the kitchen floor, doing their own laundry, and tidying and vacuuming two main rooms per week. Sam has less demanding jobs, but they still meet a need.

So, this week was the first in the new regime. On another chart, I have money value attached to each job, and some others as well, so that everyone can fill in squares when they do their work. At the end of the month they count up their money and get their allowance.

It seems to be working. I like spending time with one girl per night making dinner. I get to teach them about cooking, and they get to chop things. Or stir things. Or empty the trash. The house is cleaner than usual, and the laundry isn't out of control. Pretty nice. Now I just have to enforce it all. I told them that if they complained they wouldn't get paid for the job. The burden is lighter. Thank you, Lord! You make my path straight-not uphill!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Charlotte's Babies

Every Spring, there is a foolproof sign that Spring has sprung. It is the presence of thousands of baby spiders floating through the air on their little strands of web. When I go outside, I end up with at least two or three draped across me, and the little spiders are somewhere on my person. The street lamps and signs have web caught on them; they're all over the place.

I immediately think of Charlotte's Web, where her babies are born at the end, and they all float away. But I've never lived in a place where it happened to me before. Our house is in a neighborhood that is set in the middle of open land. I love it, because I love being out of the city. And, apparently, floating baby spiders are part of life in the bigger outdoors.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Resurrection Day!

Today is the day that we Americans celebrate Jesus' resurrection from the dead. This year we are actually probably right, since Passover was Wednesday...and three days later he came back to life. And it's William's birthday. Happy Birthday William!!!

Since switching our focus from the Western calendar to the Hebrew calendar, we've had an aversion to celebrating Easter. Resurrection Day, yes, Easter, no. I've always wondered why a bunny and eggs were so central to our celebration of Jesus' resurrection, but now I realize that they really have nothing to do with each other. Bunnies and eggs celebrate the Greek goddess of fertility. Yes, we can make a connection by saying that we are celebrating new life, and Jesus' resurrection gives us new life.

However, William feels quite strongly about this, so he really can't do the egg/bunny thing in good conscience. The kids like to hunt, and like candy, so that's what they are sad about missing this time of year.

With that background, here is our funny story for today. We went to lunch after church (which was a great celebration of Jesus' resurrection) to say "Happy Birthday" to Will. While at the restaurant, an employee with a very similar build to William wandered the floor with a giant white bunny head on. He was passing out chocolate eggs. And we all got some. I thought it would be very ironic if the Easter bunny would come sing Happy Birthday to William, but along with the Easter Bunny, William is also horrified at being the public spectacle at a restaurant on his birthday. So, to bless him we kept his birthday a secret. However, it seems that fate had conspired for our children to receive chocolate from the Easter Bunny today anyway.

Then, when we got home, we opened a gift that a friend from Germany had sent us. She stayed with our family over New Year's for our big church conference. And, imagine this, it was full of German chocolate. Woo hoo! So, forces beyond our control apparently decided that we needed a blessing from the Easter Bunny, and a whole bunch of chocolate today.

William and I decided that maybe we just need to say that on Passover we celebrate Jesus' death and resurrection, and on Easter we celebrate chocolate. Minus the bunny.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My Big Picture

I just have to share something I've been mulling over a lot lately. It has to do with becoming delivered from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they gained the ability to make distinctions between good and evil apart from God. Before that, they didn't even know about good and evil. They were naked and unashamed. And God wasn't worried about letting them know that yet. Perhaps He would have taught them how to see with Him next to them. But when they gained the ability to do it on their own, they had a foundational shift that made all their perceptions sinful.

This thing is the essence of what separates us from God. We look at people, and situations, and ourselves, and we decide what is good and evil. We can do this all by ourselves. And perhaps we are right some of the time. But the big problem is that we are doing it apart from God. I was really good at looking at things and deciding what was good, and then doing it. But that just led to me being proud and self-righteous, and being good at "being good." I had to repent for my radical disconnection from God. I was horrified when I realized the edifice of self-righteousness that I had built over the course of my life. But then I got to turn around, and walk away from it. Whew!!!

When I read the Bible, I see that God is righteous, and He makes statements about right and wrong, like the 10 Commandments. But there are so many places where He doesn't offer the same commentary that we do. For instance....Tamar dressing up as a prostitute and getting pregnant by Judah, her father-in-law. In that story, Judah was the problem. How about Rebecca, manipulating like some kind of nightmare to get the blessing put on Jacob instead of Esau. God doesn't offer any commentary on that either; instead, His plan and prophecy are advanced. How about Rahab....what were those spies doing in her house in the first place? It is so tempting to offer our own commentary on these stories so that we feel better about our (and God's) morals. And yet, we have David being convicted by Nathan for killing Uriah and committing adultry with Bathsheba. And Ananias and Saphira getting killed for lying about their tithe. Obviously God is not a relativist. But He's also not as judgemental as we often think.

So, my point is that God doesn't think like me, and my job is not to be the one labeling everything so that I feel righteous. My job is to stay in relationship with Him, and do what He tells me to do. Obviously, I might end up with a morally similar looking lifestyle, but when I'm listening to Him, I'm not getting puffed up with pride over my own greatness at doing the right thing. It's a whole different focus. And, I no longer have the pressure on myself to always know the right answer, or have an opinion about everything I encounter. I get to go with God, and relax in Him.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Leonard Cohen

Doing errands yesterday, Fresh Air was on, and I was just riveted by a poem being read. It turned out to be Leonard Cohen reading A Thousand Kisses Deep. I vaguely remembered that he was going to be in concert in Dallas, so I checked online, and lo! It was that night. Calling Will, I found out that he had heard on NPR that morning about the concert, and had thought he wanted to go. After some frenzied phone calls, we had a babysitter and tickets.

This is the first time in my married life that I've really wanted to go to a concert. Will and I have never been to one together. I don't know why, I think there just hasn't been anyone we've wanted to see that bad. So you can see how amazing it is that we both wanted to go, and without talking about it. We call that a God Thing.

Leonard Cohen is 75. He looks old, but definitely spry, and his voice has gotten deeper with time. I think his age added a lot of poignancy to his performance. I was amazed by the prophetic significance and weight of a number of his songs--so powerful. And of course his poetry is amazing. I really don't have words to give any kind of justice to the experience, except to say that the first song had me crying, the second was like a thunderbolt, and I just sat there amazed most the time. I think that because I haven't listened to a lot of his music, I had the best possible experience; hearing old songs for the first time ever-live.

I really didn't know what to expect, but one of my curiosities was who the audience would be. I'd say the average age was 50, with a smattering of younger people like us, and some older. It was a very spiritually awake crowd, if that makes sense, but not the ones you'd find in a church. I've been thinking a lot about how God is in the business of Reality. What I mean by that is that hiding from truth because it's painful creates distance from God. God can handle the truth of who we are, in all it's good and bad. I think that there is a weakness in Christian culture where there is a need to look good, because we are "righteous." This audience felt to me like it was on the verge of embracing The Kingdom--and I'm making a big distinction here between The Kingdom and mainstream Christianity.

Leonard Cohen speaks from a very honest place, and that resonates with reality. It's a voice that cuts straight to the heart of the matter. His song "Hallelujah" is like this, but so often when I hear other people covering it, it lacks the "anointing" that Leonard Cohen has when he sings it. The same is true with "Everybody Knows" which I heard for the first time by Concrete Blond years ago, although that one is good.

I came away feeling like we couldn't have done anything better with our time or money last night. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Today is Purim: the celebration of the Jew's deliverance from being wiped out by Haman. Our kids were in a Purim play this last Friday, and you can watch the webcast on demand via the Jr High website. Just click on this link.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Speed the Spoil

At church lately we've been singing a new song, "Speed the Spoil, Hasten the Booty." You can listen to it free for the next 6 days or so.

Of course there are numerous jokes and word plays because we now talk and sing about booty regularly. But the content is taken from Isaiah 8 and part of 9, where Isaiah prophesies that the land of Judah and Israel would be plundered by the Assyrians because of their unrighteousness. God's judgment was coming on them. Chapter 9 starts out with "Nevertheless," and goes on to prophesy the coming of Jesus.

So, the concept that we're working with is that plunder is part of the spiritual reality we live in. The Israelites always plundered the conquered people in war, and were plundered when conquered. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. We live in a plunder, or be plundered spiritual reality.

One connection I can make with this passage is the God allowed the Israelites to be plundered by their enemies because of their sin. I've figured out that sin is kind of like a gateway that opens me up to the enemy. Sin is part of life on earth, but repentance closes the gate, and stops the plundering. In conjunction, God restores that which has been taken from us. So, not only do we get to close the gate to being plundered, but we get to take back, or plunder the enemy as we defeat his plans. Emmanuel, or the presence of God, is the key to our plundering the enemy.

In the New Testament, Jesus told the parable about the servants who were given talents by their master, and when the master came back, it was the servants who had multiplied their talents who were given more. The ones who had been faithful had been given more, and the ones who had not been faithful with what they were given were not given more. I was always kind of taken aback by that parable, because I felt like it wasn't fair. But I've also realized that Jesus isn't really worried about fairness. He's more interested in surrender and relationship.

I've been thinking about how in the world "Speed the Spoil, Hasten the Booty" applies to my life. (Beyond moving a little faster.) As I've considered this, I've realized that Satan would like to plunder my emotions, my money, my time, my physical strength. But I get to stand up and say, "No, you can't have that!" If I worry about things, I'm allowing my emotional resources be plundered from me. And actually I'm sinning, and opening up that gate to the enemy. If I am stuck in a day of aimlessness, maybe I really do need a nap, or maybe my time and energy are being plundered. Hmmm. That's a new way to think about it. Instead I'm going to bring them to Emmanuel, God with me, and see what He thinks.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Monday, Monday

Today is my day off...always a pleasure. Especially since I haven't actually been able to do anything normal since last Monday. Or make that the Monday before that. Two Wednesdays ago I figured out that we had lice, so that started off a boundary-less frenzy of "lice destruction" involving washing all bedding, coats, blankets etc. in the whole house. Then we had to do the fine tooth combing, which was great on Abby and Sam, but Madeline and her long hair was a nightmare. Then William had to comb out my hair. Then, a week later we had to do the whole thing all over again. I think we are good now...but the backup in housework caused by this unexpected mess is still with me, in the form of clean and dirty laundry in piles all over the place.

So, I think that is what I'll be trying to conquer today.

Then, last week we had two ice days, which was nice. But out of the routine. Then Abby was sick the next two days (Thursday and Friday), so I didn't even darken the door of my office at church all week. Saturday we were all home, of course, so this really is the first day in a week that I've had a day to myself. I shouldn't complain too much....William never has a whole day alone to himself.

Today, I washed Dolce first thing. That really needed to happen. Now she's outside getting grass and dirt all over her. But at least she smells good. I'm going to do laundry, and maybe listen to something interesting via podcast. I'm also hoping to make meatloaf, and run a couple of errands. And tonight I have the first in a series of weekly bible studies on Intercessory Prayer. That will be good.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

In honor of Homeschoolers

I've had two different people from church ask me this week if I homeschool my kids. I told them that I don't, but that I am definitely a "homeschool sympathizer." I've figured out that I'm just not a very good homeschooling mom. I'm not very disciplined, and I just would rather let everyone play than try to do something productive. I guess I like to waste time too much to be my own motivator.

I followed a link from Jennifer's blog, and found this Christian comedian, Tim Hawkins. I watched other some of his other You Tube videos, and found the following. But, in honor of all the homeschooling family and friends I know and love, I had to provide this link.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ahhhh....Happy New Year!

I'm just getting back into the normal flow of life after a busy Christmas and New Year. We had a great time visiting all the family in California, and then we came home just in time for our GOZ Starting the Year Off Right conference over New Years. I enjoyed having a few weeks off from my usual routine, but then the routine is more welcome when it starts back up. Which really is today.

It was so nice to be all together with my and Will's sisters and parents. We were able to spend some good extended time together, so we didn't feel too rushed. And, thanks to big family gatherings, we were able to see lots of cousins and Aunts and Uncles, too. And of course my grandmas and grandpa! What a blessing to have so many relatives!

Being in California during the winter is kind of surreal, because I've become accustomed to the brown of dead grass and dormant trees in the winter. I'm always surprised by the green lawns and green trees when I visit. I realize what I took for granted all my life, growing up there. But I also like the changes of season I experience here in Texas. The phrase "spring has sprung" now has meaning for me, because it seems like all the leaves pop out of the trees overnight and suddenly everything is green.

I think that January is one of my favorite months. I love getting out a new calendar, and thinking about what the year holds. I also love the idea (notice I said idea) of getting everything cleaned out and organized. It feels good to do it, although I'm not sure how much I'll actually get to do. Work takes up time I could spend organizing my closets...But hey, a little here and there is good. I enjoy the January edition of the magazines I get, because they focus on cleaning too. I just feel good about the whole thing. I'd love to overhaul my whole house, and spend a bunch of money I don't have buying new furniture. But probably I'll feel just as good if I attack the file cabinet in my closet. So, before I tire myself out blogging about it, I think I'll see if I can do just that today. Now there's an ambitious project!