Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Seeing Red

I cannot explain the pull that this purse had for me, besides the fact that it was more than 80% off and had a zillion little pockets and dividers for organizing (yes, I am OCD about organization, but I think most of you already know that).  I saw it and was drawn to it because of the color first of all.  It seems like the last few purses I have purchased have all had a big color punch.  The first time I walked in the house with my lime green purse, Paul stared at me as if I had lost my mind.  "It doesn't even match any of your clothes," he said incredulously.  I laughed, and said, "So what?  I like it!"  End of conversation.  Then came the black purse with the gorgeous green lining, a semblance of conservatism that pleased me to no end.  I really liked the turquoise purses that cam out this spring, but didn't find one with the right kind of pockets.  Enter the red purse.  Paul raised his eyebrows and said, "Red?!"  I just grinned.  Why not? No, it matches nothing in my closet at present, but I won't concern myself with insignificant details.  It makes me smile when I look at it.  That should be enough to make my husband happy, right? :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Shield

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth, and with my song will I praise him.  
 Several years ago, I claimed Psalm 28:7 for my "life's verse."  At the time, I chose this particular verse for its significance in my life.  I trusted Christ to save me not only from my sin, but from the difficulties that enter my life in the form of trials.  He truly has helped me through many dark waters, and my heart can rejoice in His goodness to me.  The reference to music at the end was a declaration of my intentions - all that I do with the talents God has given me is aimed at bringing glory to Him. 

Recently, my attention was drawn back to the phrase "my shield."  I have readily admitted that God is my strength, but I was always a bit dismissive of the term "my shield," not because I doubted that it was true, but because I had never really had much use for it personally.  Before you think me heretical, let me explain.  The shield is primarily a defensive weapon, used for protection from things hurled, slung, or thrown.  The shield can vary in size and construction, but always it was oriented for the protection of the bearer.  In my life, I have had very few encounters with people that have been all-out hostile.  Of course, there is always the disgruntled cashier, or angry motorist that I occasionally encounter, but very rarely have I ever felt threatened by any of my acquaintances.  I have had very few personal attacks directed at me, hence my perceived lack of need for a shield of any kind.

It has come to my attention lately that not all people are willing to see the truth.  When I endeavor to stand for the truth of God's Word and pattern my behavior after His commands, there are some who disagree.  While I do not question their right to disagree, nor condemn their behavior, my very existence seems to be offensive, and as a result, they attack, not the Word of God on which I am standing, but me.  Regardless of who it is, these attacks hurt.  The fact that the attacker does not allow me to explain myself fully only increases the frustration.  Why won't they listen?  If they would just hear me out, I'm sure we could come to some kind of truce.  The thoughts that crowd my mind are myriad, some of hurt, some of revenge.  At that time, I need to claim God as my shield.  When I allow Him to protect me, several things happen. 
1.  I submit to His all-encompassing care.
2.  The attacks are deflected off of me personally.
3.  The attacks cannot destroy me.
4.  I relinquish the opportunity to fight back.
All of these things are difficult to do, because when I am attacked, I feel the need to justify myself and prove how wrong the attacker is with logic, scripture, or circumstantial evidence.  I have found that the vicious attacks of others lose their potency when I allow God to protect me.  If I dwell on the things said or done, I find myself getting angry, teary, vengeful, or discouraged.  When I allow hurtful things meant to destroy me to bounce off of my Shield, I find myself miraculously unscathed.  What a wonderful God I serve!  In allowing Him to take care of me, I find that I can live without the guilt of retribution hounding me.  The things that I would take into my own hands are given to Him, and I don't have to deal with overwhelming emotions of hurt, guilt, or bitterness. 

Without going into detail, I will say that I have come under attack recently.  I have taken refuge behind the shield of my God, and He is allowing me to rest in His promise of protection.  If God be for me, who can be against me?  His truth will conquer, and as long as I obey Him, I have nothing to fear from any man.

My challenge to you is this:  Allow God to be your shield.  Whatever comes your way, commit yourself to His protection and care.  Live with His promises, and you will have no regrets.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I'll Be Home

...hopefully before Christmas!  I had to take a rather sudden trip to spend a few days with a friend.  That means I left my kids to my husband's tender care.  I wasn't able to do all those things that I usually do before I go on a trip like go grocery shopping, finish all my lesson plans, give Paul a course in fixing the girls' hair - you know - the usual! A friend dropped me off at the airport and although I had almost an hour before my flight, the beloved TSA did their level best to drag out the security check, even taking my bag out and dumping half of its contents out to be run through the scanner again.  I know I probably look really suspicious, but if I had decided to hide a bomb in my luggage, I wouldn't have thought to put it in my deodorant... Obviously, they thought the fact that a grown woman took deodorant on a trip was highly unusual.  Am I missing a new trend in hygiene?  As soon as my bag was cleared, I took off running through the airport (that probably did look suspicious) to catch my plane which was to leave in five minutes!   I ran through the concourse, down the moving sidewalks, regretting the fact that so many people are blind or can't read, evidenced by the fact that the "Walk Left, Stand Right" signs had no effect upon them.  I rounded the corner to my gate, and the woman called my name.  "Yes," I gasped, "that's me!"  I hurried down the boarding ramp into the airplane.  Have you ever been the last one on the airplane - the one who kept everyone waiting?  Okay, that was a little embarrassing.  As soon as I reached my seat, they closed the door, and we started taxiing down the runway.  Whew!  I plan to leave a little more time for my next flight!  That or leave my deodorant behind! :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cowboy Up!

What a cute cowboy!

Ladies in waiting
Daniel & Mr. Jack
Peppy & friends
One of my great anxieties is my youngest child's fear - of everything!  Water, trampolines, animals, etc.  Sometimes I wonder if he will ever  get used to normal activities and objects.  We had a major success last week in this area.  Our hosts on the ranch kept miniature horses, and while we were there, the children were given the opportunity to feed and ride the horses.  To my immense surprise, Daniel warmed up to Peppy and actually loved riding on her!  He was so cute, especially after he managed to acquire an old cowboy hat from the rancher.  We could hardly pry him off of the horse once he got on, and he definitely did not want to share this wonderful experience with his siblings.  However, they didn't seem to mind much, and willingly let him ride more than his share.  What nice little kids I have! :)

Ups and Downs

After our long trip, we were able to settle in and had a great week in Farson.  The ranch where we stayed was so nice, and our hosts were quite gracious.  The children all enjoyed jumping on the trampoline each afternoon.  I was able to show them some "tricks" that my dad had taught me as a teenager.  Of course, I am too out of shape to do the back and front flips I used to perform, not to mention my increasing age and fear of injury. :)  They were delighted with my twists, turns, and simple gymnastics, and had to try them as well.  I took some very funny pictures of them.  Sorry - no pictures of me this time! :)  I need to practice my flips, and then I will post a few pictures of my glorious abilities!  Daniel could not be persuaded to get on the trampoline, and when we held him and bounced, he cried out in terror.  Perhaps with time he will enjoy the pleasures of bouncing up and down with the rest of us.

On {the Side of }the Road Again

Adventure #1 - Driving out of Buffalo Wyoming, we started having truck trouble.  All of a sudden, the ABS light and the emergency brake light came on, and the truck began to overheat.  We were unsure of what was happening, but we had to pull over on the very narrow berm.  It was impossible to turn around because it was only a two lane, curving road.  It was also a lovely, seven percent grade, making it impossible for us to go any farther up the hill without doing serious damage to the truck.  We sat for a while, and found that even our cell phone service was lacking.  It was a Saturday, and everything in Buffalo was closed for a big weekend rodeo and parade.  There was no help coming from that quarter!  I let the kids loose on the side of the road, and told them to stay up on the hillside next to the rock slide prevention fence (does that sound like a safe place to play?).

Paul began taking off the truck wheels, trying to ascertain which brake had locked up.  Thankfully, the first one he dismantled was the problem, and it was on the passenger side, so I didn't have to worry about him getting run over by a car!  He found that our tailpipe ( due to a hard Indiana winter) had rusted completely through.  The exhaust was blowing out the hole and onto the brake line.  It had melted the brake cable and fused the wires together, causing the brake to engage.  A good samaritan stopped and pulled our trailer back to town.  We limped back, and after some work, were able to get the brake unlocked and restart our journey.  The brakes locked up several times on the way, delaying the much-longed-for destination, but the Lord kept us safe.  We pulled into Farson around 11:00 pm.  It was a long day, and we were all glad to fall into bed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

School Days

We are back "on the grid" and I am sooooo happy to have internet access again!  We have been in Vacation Bible School for the last two weeks ( an exhausting schedule, but so much fun).  Last week we were in Farson, Wyoming, which was forty miles from "town!"  needless to say, they didn't have internet available! :)  We had a great week and saw several children trust Christ as Savior.  That makes it all worthwhile.  We started school last week as well.  So far, it has gone pretty smoothly.  Here are pictures of my three adorable students on their first day of school. 

I have many other adventures to relate, but they will have to wait for later, since I have some very pressing business (doesn't that sound impressive?) to which I must attend.  More stories and pictures to follow...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Order in My Court

I will admit to having several slight anxiety attacks in the last few weeks as I think about school supplies.  Not that I worry about having enough - goodness knows, we have everything we need, and probably a few extras floating around the trailer.  No, I have stressed over where I am going to put all of the supplies - books, mostly.  There is not an abundance of storage space in the trailer, and with three children about to start school this year, we have more books than ever!  What am I going to do? 

The answer came to me in an epiphany.  I would use stackable crates to keep things neat.  Each grade is in a crate that can be stacked, or if necessary, moved easily to another location (we sometimes do school in an unused classroom in the church).  The crates are pretty durable, which is also a necessity because of the rigors of the traveling we do.  (Just imagine what your house would look like after an earthquake that registers 4.6 on the Richter scale - this is what an RV experiences each time you take a trip.  In our case, this happens about once a week.)  So, I trundled off to Walmart and found the perfect crates - in several colors.  The girls wanted pink, and Josiah wanted blue.  I picked up some green ones, too, in hopes of really getting my scrapbook stuff organized.  There may be pics of that later... much later! :)  I came home and happily positioned the crates in the perfect place - out of the way, but oh, so accessible - under the counter by the door.  I was amazed at how many books we had.  Esther's box had to go behind the other two for sake of space, but it is all contained and makes me smile to look at it.  I doubt it will look good for long, once the kids are in it every day, so I took a picture.  When things get really messy, I will pull out my picture, stare at it for a few minutes and sigh contentedly, remembering the epitome of organization that it used to be! :) 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Feels Like Monday

I know it's Tuesday.  Really, I do.  It just feels like Monday to me.  This weekend was a blur of activity, lots of driving, and some unexpectedly late nights.  So, this morning, it just felt like Monday - again!  I'm sure you have days like that as well.  We are in VBS again this week, this time in Sundance, WY.  The kids are working hard on their memory verses, in hopes that they will win the grand prize -  a $10 Walmart card! 

We had the privilege of seeing a young man trust Christ on Sunday morning.  What a joy it is to see someone take that step of faith.

Josiah will be turning ten on Sunday.  Is my little boy really going to be a double-digit-midget?!  I know he is sprouting up this summer because all his pants are getting too short!  He is a responsible little guy, and I anticipate a great year for him.  He is becoming more like his dad every day - even his sense of humor!

Last week, I took a day to scrapbook, and this is one of the results of that wonderful day! (The pictures are from a year ago, but who really cares - they are now done!)  This is a page of Esther's fourth birthday, and it seemed to just fall together.  I love it when my LO's do that!  She is such a cutie!