Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dealing with Anxiety: For People Will be Heartless

Don't forget to tell me your story!

I have mentioned dealing with anxiety a few times on this blog. Some, is probably the norm. An anxiousness about flying, or performing infront of people (i.e. singing, dancing, acting), etc. Other forms of it, I believe develop over time and are not as common. For example, a “friend” of mine used to argue and scream at me in the car almost every time we rode somewhere together. It was so horrible and stressful for me and there was no escape…I was trapped there. Over time, I became distressed anytime I got into a vehicle…any automobile with anyone.

I sometimes say, “It is amazing how much damage one person can cause.” On a grand scale we can look at individuals like Hitler and other tyrant dictators. On a smaller scale, unhealthy relationships can cause all kinds of issues close to home. Last Sunday, I spent most of the day trying to figure out why I have been waking up between 2:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. Some nights I felt like I had severe heartburn. Other times it felt like a panic attack. And, the most recent felt like pressure on the left side of my chest. An EKG was ordered just to rule out any heart matters. A friend suggested being tested for any thyroid conditions, etc. The doctor chalked it up to anxiety and heartburn brought on by stress. I have to agree and know EXACTLY from where it comes. It is NOT school or moving to Texas related. It is because of the “toxic relationships” (for lack of a better description) in my life I am working so hard to remove.

I do not feel my words are adequate enough so I will quote scripture:
1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. (2 Timothy 3:1-5. ESV.)

I look to David who fled when it came to his attention Saul meant him harm. I look to God’s word for an answer. Lord, what should I do regarding the individuals in my life who mean me harm?
Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. (2 Timothy 3:1-8. ESV.)

I CANNOT wait to get to Texas! I would go tomorrow if I could! I am sad I am going to also be leaving some AMAZING people but I know our relationships will withstand time and distance! I honestly wish I could take them with me! But, I understand God has placed them here and this is where they are growing and thriving. My heart rejoices in that I got to meet them and know them! And, the best part is, we will share eternity together!
24A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
(Proverbs 18:24. ESV.)

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Reggie's Story

This is Reggie. His story was done by "The Film House" and was brought to my attention by a friend of mine. Each of us has a story. What is yours? I want to hear it! Please leave a comment or email me at Matt5verse6 at yahoo dot com. Thank you SO much if you have already shared with me! I am thankful to hear from you.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Please Tell Me Your Story

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
(James 1:19-27. ESV.)

The above scripture spoke very loudly at me, today. Many times I wonder to myself, “What can I be doing better?” And, being “quick to hear and slow to speak” is a big one, I feel, for me. Do I listen close enough when people talk to me? I love to hear their stories! I really do! Further, I think it is so much fun when we find we have something in common. I love it when I hear myself say, “Me too!”

So, today (and everyday following), I want you to leave your story here, for me to read! I will be sure to link back to this post after each one succeeding to remind each reader to please tell me your story in the comment section! Or, you can email it to me at Matt5verse6 at yahoo dot com. PLEASE! I really want to hear from you!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

People for God from Every Tribe and Language and People and Nation

Can you see my heart when I write? Sometimes I do not think people can hear my heart when I speak. I cannot change hearts. I cannot force individuals to love God, Jesus, or me. When I love, it is with my whole heart…every bit of it…deeply, passionately, faithfully. It generally takes me a long time (many years) to understand when/if a relationship is an unhealthy, toxic one. One where no matter what I say or do, the other person is not going to love me and is going to continue to say or do hateful things no matter what. My hope is always, “Things will change,” and/or “Next time will be different.”

If I feel a loved one is in danger, I tell him/her. (I.e. “It’s not a good idea to ride around with someone driving who does not have their license. They might not know what they are doing and cause an accident.” Or, “Please don’t drink and drive. It is not safe.” Or, “Please do not use your propane oven for heat all night long while you are sleeping. That does not seem safe.”) An illustration I have heard a couple times is if a house or a building is on fire. One would not leave them there to die but rather help them get out of the burning structure.

I once saw a video of Penn Jillette (a proclaimed atheist) talk about how after one of his shows, a man gave him a pocket version of Psalms. And, Penn’s telling of this on the video touch me because he said,
“If you believe there is a heaven and hell and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, or whatever. And you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward. And atheists who think people shouldn’t proselytize, (just leave me alone, keep your religion to yourself). How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? I mean, if I believed without a shadow of a doubt that a truck was going to hit you and you didn’t believe it but that truck was baring down on you, there’s a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.” (Jillette, Penn. “Penn Says”.
Now, there is probably more to the video I am not seeing but if I take that right there, just by itself, I have to agree.

I am exceedingly thankful someone told me!!! I was not born knowing about heaven and hell! So imagine my heartache and pain when I told someone (a couple people, actually), out of love, and was met with hateful, hurtful, venomous words in return. Stuff like, “I hate you,” “You cannot shove your religion down my throat,” “Why do you teach [your young children] that crap?” Etc. For years those two individuals hated me…they still might. They most likely would if I mentioned heaven, hell, and eternal life, again. And, I do not understand. Why could they not hear my heart?

To date, I have mentioned the following event twice in my blog. I was reminded of it, again, last week and still feel it is a situation which so accurately describes that about which I am talking. It was written by Michael Card, is quoted by John 
Piper in his book SUFFERING AND THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD, and goes like this:

One day a Masai Warrior named Joseph was walking along an African road when he met someone who shared the gospel of Jesus with him....The power of the Spirit began transforming his life; he was filled with such excitement and joy that the first thing he wanted to do was return to his own village and share that same Good News with the members of his local tribe.

Joseph began going from door-to-door, telling everyone he met about the Cross of Jesus and the salvation it offered, expecting to see their faces light up the way his had. To his amazement the villagers not only didn't care, they became violent. The men of the village seized him and held him to the ground while the women beat him with strands of barbed wire. He was dragged from the village and left to die alone in the bush.

Joseph somehow managed to crawl to a water hole, and there, after days of passing in and out of consciousness, found the strength to get up. He wondered about the hostile reception he had received from people he had known all his life. He decided he must have left something out or told the story of Jesus incorrectly. After rehearsing the message he had first heard, he decided to go back and share his faith once more.

Joseph limped into the circle of huts and began to proclaim Jesus. "He died for you, so that you might find forgiveness and come to know the living God" he pleaded. Again he was grabbed by the men of the village and held while the women beat him reopening wounds that had just begun to heal. Once more they dragged him unconscious from the village and left him to die....

Again, days later, Joseph awoke in the wilderness, bruised, scarred--and determined to go back.

He returned to the small village and this time, they attacked him before he had a chance to open his mouth. As they flogged him for the third and probably the last time, he again spoke to them of Jesus Christ, the Lord. Before he passed out, the last thing he saw was that the women who were beating him began to weep.

That village is now a Christian village. Why blog? Because, I love you and I want to tell you about Jesus!
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6. ESV.)

Let the Nations be Glad by John Piper

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Protected by the Power of God

On this chilly (36 degrees Fahrenheit) California morning, I am reminded of 1 John 4:9-10 which says,
9In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (ESV.)

I feel this is always a great reminder! No matter what I do. Regardless how good or lacking my “works”. Despite my best efforts or those that fall short…God sent His Son to the cross so I (we) may have a relationship with Him and salvation. God is not Santa Claus. My children and I do not have to “behave” to get the greatest gift one could ever receive. “God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.” There is no need to pass GO or collect $200! There are no “exchanges” or “refunds”. God does not take it back. When I (we) stand before Him, He sees His Son. That alone makes me smile. He sees His Son! How weighty is that? To Him, I (we) look like the most precious being to Him. In His sight, I am the most beautiful, sinless, unstained, treasure, ever! Does that not take your breath away?

Further, He is only a whisper away. When I cry out to Him, pray to Him, sing to Him…he hears me. It is just me and Him. I can shout as loud as my voice will allow or mutter, softly. I can even sit, quietly in weakness, and the Holy Spirit groans “too deep for words”.
26Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27. ESV.)
Is that not mind blowing?

I have to be honest, there are times when my anxiety tries to take over. Other moments, it is my pride. And then there is my, “I’m too busy for God right now,” occasions. I’m like the adolescent or young adult who continuously takes his/her loving parent for granted. God, I do not want to be that way!
29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30. ESV.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

When God's Patience Runs Out by John MacArthur

I am hoping to get to go see Pastor John MacArthur before I move to Texas (TX). We'll see if it pans out.

Who Are You, O Man, to Answer Back to God?

13You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13. ESV.)

Have you ever sought after something? Maybe you wanted it so bad, it consumed your thoughts? Perhaps you prayed to God and begged Him to let you have the desire of your heart? I know I have. And, I learned greatly from it! I feel this lesson is a tough one to teach my children, though extremely important…God does not give us what we WANT. Rather, He gives us what we NEED. We need Him! Also, His word and the body of Christ.

There has been a lot of talk, recently, about Louis Zamperini. Have you heard about him? A book was written about him that was turned into a movie, “Unbroken”. I guess the movie does not cover his whole story, though. I hear it leaves out the part where Mr. Zamperini was saved…after being an Olympic runner, prisoner of war (POW), and alcoholic. I am almost tempted to buy his books (the one about him and the one he wrote). Though, I cannot quite find the interview for which I was searching, I did come across this one that tells a little bit about what happened in his life after he returned home from the POW camp.

I was going to go workout, this morning, but then I became so engrossed in finding the interview with Mr. Zamperini about which I had heard and really wanted to see. I cannot help but wonder how old Mr. Zamperini was when God saved Him (after he had returned home, got married, and went to the Billy Graham revival). Further, admittedly, I am curious why God saves some and not others. But, I know the answer. God is not all about saving individuals. He is about being glorified. That may sound harsh or terrible but I do not mean it that way. His word says,
14What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
19You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25As indeed he says in Hosea,
“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”
(Romans 9:14-26. ESV.)
Even Christ Jesus said,
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:34-39. ESV.)

My goodness. What deep, deep pondering and meditation for a cold, winter morning. Yet, I see it. That is EXACTLY how it is. Let us take Mr. Zamperini’s story as an example. His wife was saved and he was not (for a period of time). What do you think it was like in that household? Mr. Zamperini was suffering, terribly, from (an) event(s) that occurred in his life and no one could help him…not even his wife. That must have been torture…for both of them. And, what if the span of that had been over several years…40, 30, 20? Mercifully, God saved him. Over and again, God saved him…physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

As His word says, who am I to “answer back” to God?

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Monday, January 12, 2015

How Beautiful Upon the Mountains: 50 Things I Am Going to Miss About California (#35-#34)

I am not even back in my university classes, yet, and already my weeks are filling up! Yikes. I enjoy writing on my blog, daily, but I am seeing my windows of opportunity close because of other things. I suppose I’ll go back to keeping a tablet on me so I can write whenever I find myself waiting in the car or spinning my wheels somewhere without my school books at hand. Not to mention, the days are slipping by leading up to our move. I know it is going to be here before I know it…as if being sprung upon me. I seriously need to re-due my schedule and work in some packing (and sorting) time…perhaps on the weekends. My school deadlines will impact things, greatly, so we’ll see what they look like, soon. Now, without further ado:

In celebration of our move from California to Texas, I am listing 50 things I am going to miss about this state. So far, I covered:
50. Earthquakes
49. Traffic

48. The freeways
47. The crazy expensive cost of living

46. The Oakland A’s
45. The Sacramento River Cats
44. The Stockton Ports

43. Disney’s California Adventure Park
42. Hiking to the Summit of Mt. Diablo

41. San Diego, CA
40. Los Angeles, CA
39. Long Beach, CA

38. The Redwood Trees
37. The Beautiful Drive Along Highway 1
36. Big Sur/ Carmel

Which brings me to the next TWO:

35. Boating on the Sacramento River, Lake Berryessa, Lake Clementine, and Folsom Lake
When I was a child my parents used to take us to Walt Disney World property (Orlando, Florida) where they would rent a pontoon boat and we would go out on the lake for the day to get some fresh air and sunshine. My mom would pack a cooler with lunch and drinks and we would either eat on the boat or find a beach area for a picnic.

In 2004, hubs bought a Larson, cruiser (I believe). It is a cute, family boat and was/is perfect for us. Being we lived near the Sacramento River, it only took about two minutes to get to the launch. We would spend whole days out there just drinking up the sun. Most of the time we would stop at Sandy Beach, Rio Vista and let the kiddos play in the sand and swim. Depending on the time of year, it was not unlikely to see a sea lion or two basking on the giant buoys. We lived near the Sacramento River for eleven years and boated on it for eight.

Before the Larson, however we used to go out on Folsom lake with hubs’ brother, on their tiny family boat (from when they were children). Our kids could go tubing, lounge around in the vessel, or frolic in the water. It was not unusual to return home completely exhausted and maybe even covered in sand or silt. Lake Berryessa and Lake Clementine were only visited on rare occasions. Lake Clementine is very small and only a limited amount of people can have access to it at any given time. Further, everyone has to move in a clockwise direction. There is also camping spots available along the lake, if memory serves me well.

These times spent on the boat made for some great, lasting memories.

34. Wine Country
It is no secret to those who know me (even moderately well) that I love wine tasting at the local (and not so local) wineries. Generally, when hubs’ friends invite us to Hollister for a dirt bike riding four day weekend, I and a few others sneak away to the wineries.

Our area is full of them. They are scattered throughout Lodi, Fairfield, and Napa…to name a few. The only problem for me is, I cannot afford the pricier wines. So, though I can “taste” them all I want, I rarely get to buy. (Sidebar: I, personally, like to rinse my glass from time to time so I do not mix any of the delicate flavors, at all. At one tasting, in Virginia however, I was advised not to do that because it “waters down” the next wine sample. A month or two ago, in California though, I was asked by a tasting room staff member if I wanted to rinse out my glass. So I am guessing it just depends on the preference of the taster. Similar to “cleansing the palate”, maybe?

We had the pleasure of attending a wedding at a winery a couple years ago. The outside venue was picturesque. The ceremony area was closed in and shaded. The reception space was open, delicately decorated, and whimsical. Inside the building was a large banquet room complete with fire place. For this particular wedding, the room was fairly empty with the exception of some tall bar tables and delicious hors d'oeuvres.

There are still a boatload of wineries I have not visited, yet!

7 How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
8The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice;
together they sing for joy;
for eye to eye they see
the return of the LORD to Zion.
9 Break forth together into singing,
you waste places of Jerusalem,
for the LORD has comforted his people;
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The LORD has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.
(Isaiah 52: 7-10. ESV.)

Yet Another 15 Things You Might Not know About Me

I have done this a couple times before (here and here) but figure it has been years since the last one so why not add onto the existing lists?

1. I am ambidextrous. I generally write with my right hand but I do all my heavy lifting with my left. If I do not want someone to recognize my handwriting I use my left. And, there are quite a few things I prefer doing with my left and others with my right…it just depends on the task at hand. (Pun intended.)

2. We adopt pets. To date we have taken in four dogs, one kitten, and three bearded dragons. (We do not always keep them but do try to find them a good home.) The only pet we bought was a pug in 2001. We still have him.

3. I am very much allergic to cats. I get severe sinus headaches if I am around them for too long and hives if I pet them. For a very short period of time (months) I allowed one of our kiddos to keep two cats in her room before she was able to establish her own household. The one adopted kitten we took on (mentioned above) was immediately given to someone else. (I just delivered her…in her pet carrier).

4. I am associated with a number of states in the United States (U.S.). I currently live in California (CA), we’re moving to Texas (TX) in five months, most of the people who know me, personally, live in Florida (FL), Virginia (VA), Delaware (DE), Pennsylvania (PA), and New York (NY) which I visit from time to time. I am currently enrolled in a university in Kansas (KS).

5. My favorite brand is Coca-Cola.

6. My favorite color is red.

7. My favorite type of music is “Christ centered”.

8. My favorite type of book is non-fiction. (Aside from the bible, I especially like biographies and true crime novels.)

9. My favorite type of television show is murder mystery (like “Sherlock”).

10. When it comes to wine, I prefer a full bodied red like a Pinot Noir, Merlot, or Cabernet. I favor Pinot Noir and the one I will not drink is a Shiraz.

11. I am actually shy by nature. I get anxiety a lot of times when I talk to people. Sometimes, I feel I come across as rude because of this. But, I generally push myself beyond my comfort zone.

12. I absolutely do NOT like confrontations. I get severe anxiety in these situations if/when they arise. I prefer “keeping the peace”.

13. I am very excited about studying psychology spring semester 2015. I find it extremely intriguing.

14. I seriously considered getting a degree in forensic science so I could work as a technician regarding crime scenes. However, I much prefer trying to intervene before an unpleasant crime is committed rather than address it “after the fact”. So, I am pursuing my love for the law and a law degree.

15. I want to be an attorney for children in dependency court.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

These Words I Command You Today Shall Be On Your Heart

Day three of replications.
I never would have thought
to wear a nice scarf with
I love music. My absolute favorite musical is “Phantom of the Opera”. I tune in to Christ centered radio and I enjoy singing with the praise team at church. But, contrary to popular opinion, music is not one of the ways God speaks to us (according to the bible). Uh oh, did I just lose you as a reader? I hope not. It is not uncommon that I am listening to the radio when I hear a caller profess, “God spoke to me through your music.” And, I get it! I really do! I have felt similarly, myself, a few times. Maybe I am having a rough day and then that perfect song gets played. You know, the one that says exactly what I feel I need to hear, at the moment. However, after listening to Pastor Sean’s message last week, I now know the five ways God does speak to us.
He speaks through:
1. His Son.
2. His Word.
3. Our circumstances.
4. The church/ body of Christ.
5. Prayer.

So, I have to ask myself, “Why am I so stuck on this?” Every week I listen to the sermon. Generally, I take notes and think about things for a bit. However, this week I have listened to it four times! Why does God keep drawing me to it? I need to focus on the scripture (God’s Word) throughout it.

God does not communicate with people through my words. So why blog? Why try to inspire and encourage others? Because, using verses from the Word of God never returns void. That is the important part!
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
12 “For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
(Isaiah 55:10-12. ESV.)

When I was in the third grade, I was given a bible at church which I read diligently. The words and their meaning did not always make sense to me but I tried to comprehend them. In high school, especially, my whole heart belonged to God. I did not even date, really. I did not have time nor desire for such foolishness. Remaining pure throughout high school was easy for me. I wonder if it will be easy for my children, as well. I hope so! I want their heart to be filled with God so much they feel satisfied until He brings each of them someone to marry. I need to remember to use God’s Words, when I talk to them, more than my own…everyday!
6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.7You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.8You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9. ESV.)

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Friendships: The Soul of Jonathan Was Knit to the Soul of David

Day two of my replication bit (which I mentioned, yesterday) and this is what I came up with: workout capri style pants, red “v” neck over a gray tank top, gray sneakers, hair in a pony, and light makeup. Not identical (of course) but close enough, I think. (Goofy, I know, but this is only for fun! I have no desires of grandeur, no envy, no pursuing of worldliness, nothing of that sort. It is just a way I am adding a little variety to my day to day.)
I am, however, seeking God on a regular basis…always…with my whole heart. Last week, Pastor Sean concluded his message with Luke 11:9-10,
9And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
(I have actually listened to his sermon a couple times.)

My university classes start back in two weeks and then it is going to be 16 weeks of hard work and a crazy busy schedule…again. After which, there will only be three to four weeks until we move. I should really use these next couple weeks to get the ball rolling with the packing so I will not have to concentrate so much on it during spring semester. Perhaps, when I load up all the Christmas stuff into its proper bins I will feel motivated to just keep on trucking. At least the kiddos are old enough now to more or less take care of their own stuff so I will not have that on my plate as well. Plus, I feel hubs has more than the kiddos and I put together. All of which he needs to decide what goes and what stays. Unfortunately, our fabulous hand me down 80’s Winnebago will not make the trip--- It barely made it here from Colorado--- so we have to leave it here. Hubs might pass it along to someone else who might like to have it. Despite its mechanical glitches, it is a fantastic (comfortable) recreation vehicle (RV). It just needs (as hubs says) a little lovin’ care. I am certainly going to miss it!

I was talking to someone, today, and was explaining how hubs and I have not had the same friends the entire time we (or I) have been in California (CA). Hubs went to high school in the Sacramento area (and still sees some of his former classmates, sometimes) and I moved to CA in 1998. First, we lived in Southern California and, of course, had buddies there. Then we worked oversees for nine months to a year (and made friendships there). In 2001 we moved to Northern California. In 2005 or 2006 we joined our current church family. In 2008 we left our church family but then returned in 2011 or 2012. The kiddos and I were a part of a homeschool/church group which did many (if not most) things, together. Over the years, that group disbanded and most of the members of it moved to various places: Washington, Wyoming, Oregon, San Diego, etc. The crowd we hang out with, now, is comprised of a couple relationships that are six or seven years running but mostly newer ones of about three years. I find that relatively interesting. Over the course of the 14 years I have lived in Northern California, God has switched people in and out of my life quite a bit…without me even moving anywhere (we lived in the same community for eleven years). Soon, we are going to Texas (TX) so our posse is going to change, again. A few alliances are ones from before and we are reconnecting. But, for the most part, we will be joining a new congregation and making brand-new acquaintances. We, most definitely, will miss those we love in CA (1 Samuel 18:1). I hope we will cross paths again, someday. If not, I will see them in eternity! Further, I look forward to catching up with those I love in Florida (FL) or who I knew in FL who nowadays reside in TX. I feel like I have come almost full circle. So, former youth group leaders and youth, dear old classmates, friends, and JDC gang… ready or not, here I come!

1As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. 3Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. 5And David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him, so that Saul set him over the men of war. And this was good in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. (1 Samuel 18:1. ESV.)

Monday, January 05, 2015

Adorn Yourself in Respectable Apparel, With Modesty and Self-control

Well, being I do not go back to university until January 20th, I have some time to do other things. Hubs is back to work and the kiddos have returned to their studies (I miss them dearly, already) so, I have a moment’s peace with nothing pressing. Of course, there is always laundry to do, rooms to clean, or volunteer work that can be completed…but not today. Today, I am going to recover from the whirl wind holidays and soak up the stillness.

Do you ever find you run out of ideas when it comes to the day to day wardrobe? I do not know about you, but I have no imagination when it comes to that sort of stuff! So, yesterday I was thinking (dangerous, I know) perhaps what I will do is look through pictures on the internet for “fashion” ideas for each week. But, not just the clothes…the whole lot…clothing (as best I can with what I have), hair, and makeup. So, let’s say I pick the below picture (from Bing Public Domain) --- which this is not really the one I picked for today but the photo I did chose most likely has a copyright on it. --- I, of course, would pull out a pair of jeans (similar to these) that I have in my closet, a collared buttoned down shirt, black pumps, natural (invisible) makeup, and my hair completely down.
Now, please do not misunderstand. I am not a big fan of celebrities, movie stars, runway fashion, etc. I just thought this would be a fun (fool’s pleasure, if you will) way to give my limited wardrobe (and fashion sense) a little variety. And, I feel it is entertaining to try new things! (All looks I choose to replicate will be of a “PG” or “G” rating. Nothing too “PG-13” and definitely NOT “R”. I was amazed at some of the clothing (or lack there of) that came up when I did a Google search of “what to wear with jeans”! No “butt cheeks” (as my kiddos and their friends find amusement in saying) hanging out for me, thanks!)

I, personally, love athletic clothes. I might pick the below picture, one day. I do not currently have a pair of sunglasses therefore I figure either no makeup or a real light, neutral layer. Hair up in a messy bun or “chomp” (as my kiddos used to call it) clip.
I do not know if I am brave enough (or have a coat that would be good) for this replication. It looks like a black unitard with overcoat and cute sandals. Again, hair down and darker makeup for the eyes but neutral cheeks and lips.
I am an enthusiast of the black dress. I do not have a polka dot one, though, so I would just stick with solid black. Maybe some wedges shoes (I don’t think I own any, anymore, though. I could probably find a cheap pair, somewhere.) As before, hair down and natural/ light makeup.
Admittedly, I am not a supporter of this singer (sorry) and I do not favor the tight fitted dress, but I do like the concept of a cute, loose fit, black dress (maybe to the knees or a tad above) with the sneakers.
Though I do like a cute pantsuit, I am not sure I have something similar to this. I might have to go with my black “fancy pants” and figure out a blazer looking top.
I would like a little more variety with hair! I do not like wearing mine completely down, very much. Anyway, I am sure you get the idea, here. All for kicks…just with what I have in my closet (which is about two or three weeks worth of clothes and maybe eleven pair of shoes). It will be interesting mixing and matching everything in various ways. I know and understand,
3Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. (1 Peter 3:3-4. ESV.)

...women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 1 Timothy 2:9-10. ESV.)
This is NOT an attempt to impress others or feed my pride. It is simply just for recreation and play. My true "adorning" is "the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious"! Further, I pray that for you, as well.

Friday, January 02, 2015

The Path of the Righteous is Like the Light of Dawn

With the start of January and the beginning of the New Year, also comes the realization we are moving in five and a half months! I am truly sad to be leaving our friends and church family, here. (I wish I could take them with me.) But, this move is what our family really needs! And, God has provided the way…after 10 years of us talking and planning (to no avail). I will, both, be getting closer to my family (on the East Coast) and away from negative, toxic relationships on the West Coast!
12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13. ESV.)

14 Do not enter the path of the wicked,
and do not walk in the way of the evil.
15Avoid it; do not go on it;
turn away from it and pass on.
16For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;
they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.
17For they eat the bread of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence.
18But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
19 The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know over what they stumble.
(Proverbs 4:14-19. ESV.)
Have you ever been in that situation before…having to distance yourself from unhealthy alliances?

In four and half months, hubs will be going to Texas to get us a house in the housing development we visited last summer and loved! Then, hubs’ dear friend (from Texas) is going to come here and help us move. It all seems so surreal after years of discussion and prayers. We have to get serious about packing, though! And, I need to go through the kids’ clothes and get rid of what no longer fits! (I used to go through their stuff every six months but have fallen off the wagon the last two years.) Further, even if we do not find a house (for some reason), hubs’ friend has offered for us to stay at his place until we find one. Everything is coming together and no matter what, I do not want to worry about anything!
28And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28. ESV.)

11For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11. ESV.)

We are FINALLY going! It is almost too good to be true! We are so close to meeting this goal! God is paving the way and I am so grateful! Thank you, Lord!


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