May 31, 2010

On Angels and God's Protection

This story sent chills up my spine and gave Tony goosebumps! The following excerpt is from my latest $0.75 find at the local Library Book Sale. Well worth the read.

Light in the Jungle by Leo B. Halliwell, pp 10-13
setting: Amazon River, Brazil, 1930s

"It was our first trip up the river in our own boat, heading west from Belém. I was new to navigation, unused to the river, and unaware of the location of shoals and dangerous rock that could destroy us. A river guide could have guided us safely through, but a pilot is a professional man and earns a good deal more than we or any missionary could afford to pay. As neophytes on the river, we had no choice but to feel our way along and trust we would be guided.

In some areas the river is fairly well populated along the banks. This is particularly so in the tidal areas within a few hundred miles of the mouth.  There canoes come and go frequently, and at times we could see dozens of them going upstream close to the banks or downstream farther out in the river. Often the occupants would ask us to tow them along behind our boat; but because there were frequently so many and we couldn't take them all, we established from the start a policy of no hitchhiking.

Yet on this very first trip we broke our rule. We had reached a desolate area where the jungle closed in deep and green along the banks and there was no sign at all of habitation, only a kind of forlorn tropic hush, when suddenly we noticed, not too far from our boat, three men in a canoe. They were respectably dressed and when they called to us and asked us if we could tow them along behind us upstream, something impressed me. Something I did not understand led me almost involuntarily to reach out to the throttle and stop the boat.

"Jack," I called to my son, who was then about fifteen years old, "throw them a line." They came alongside and we made the canoe fast. One of them stayed in the canoe. The other two came aboard our boat and stood with Jessie and Jack and me near the wheel while we talked about the jute crop and the weather and the hazards of the shifting currents. They were friendly and we were having a pleasant chat when suddenly one of them said, "Which side of the rocks are you going on?"

I saw no rocks at all - only the green bank with its lovely Pan Rosa trees off the port side and the gray-yellow water of the Amazon. "What rocks?" I asked.

Without answering, the man grabbed the steering wheel out of my hands and turned it completely around. Our boat wheeled giddily and shot out away from the bank into the river. Then I looked back and saw, not twenty feet in front of where we had been heading, the jagged points of hundreds of rocks just beneath the surface of the water. One second more and we would have plowed into them and ripped our boat to shreds. We had no idea that these rocks were there and without our hitchhiking friends we would have lost our boat and, in all likelihood, our lives.

Our visitors seemed to take our expressions of gratitude almost casually, however; and a few moments after we had passed this dangerous section of the river, one of them said, "Sir, thank you for the ride. If you don't mind stopping here, we'll get out."

It seemed strange, for there were still no houses or any other sign of human habitation to be seen along the banks. But I stopped, and the men climbed into the canoe and pushed off into the current.

"Look out and see where those men go," I said to Jack. "There's no house around here."

It had been only a moment since they had left us. There were no bends in the river. But after scanning the river in all directions, my boy turned to me. "Dad, they've disappeared."

I turned from the wheel in amazement. There were no rocks, no debris, no sign of struggle or overturned canoe, no cry for help. Only the emptiness of the river and the mute green banks a hundred yards away - too far for them to have reached in that time. Yet the three men and their boat were nowhere to be seen.

We have always believed, Jessie and I, that these men, whoever and whatever they were, were sent to us, the protecting angels of Providence. Man's extremity - and sometimes even his ignorance - is God's opportunity."

*photo credit to my friend Leti, on our trip to the Amazon, 1998*

...more pics from the boat...

May 27, 2010

The Rest of Our Lives Suspended... Thoughts on Being Called

Elisabeth Elliot, missionary and widow of martyred missionary Jim Elliot, has written quite a bit about the topic of being called. In her short essay "But I Don't Feel Called" from her book All That Was Ever Ours..., she shares her own struggles in hearing God's call:

"What agonies I suffered as a young woman, straining my ears to catch the voice, full of fear that I would miss it, yet longing to hear it, longing to be told what to do, in order that I might do it. That desire is a pure one. Most of our desires are tainted at least a little, but the desire to do the will of God surely is our highest. Is it reasonable to think that God would not finally reveal it to us? Is it (we must also ask) reasonable not to use our powers of reason, given to us by him? Does it make more sense to go to the grocery store because groceries are needed than to go to foreign lands because workers are needed? If we deny the simple logic of going where the need is most desperate, we may... spend the rest of our lives suspended..."

I have thought about the whole issue of "being called" for years. The calling has always (for me) been based first and foremost, even solely, in God's word. I have never needed to hear a voice, I've never prayed for a "sign", and have never really expected either. It's plain as day to me that I am "called" because I can read God's word in the Bible. But God doesn't call me to be a missionary, he commands me to go. He commands so many things, I can find out what they are if I simply open my Bible. The question is not the call, it's the obedience. It's not about feeling called, it's about obeying God's commands.

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." - James 1:22

My son's study Bible has a little blip inserted around Acts13:2 which asks, "What is a missionary?". It simply says that "missionaries are people who travel to tell others about Jesus".

The word "missionary" never actually appears in the Bible. God calls us witnesses. A witness is someone who has seen something. We are all called to be witnesses for Christ. You are either a good one, or a bad one. But you are one.

Most of us know what we are called to. We just get stuck on the obedience part.

Did Jesus say that only certain people are called to be workers in the Kingdom?
To fulfill the Great Comission?
Did Jesus say you must go to seminary first? (not that this is bad)

Don't wait for a special sign.

Don't wait for the sky to part and angels to sing the Hallelujah Chorus.

Don't wait your whole life for the "right" time. Don't wait until you're "ready" (whatever that means). The sign may never come, it's potentially never the right time, and you will never be fully ready. It's kind of like parenthood, you decide to go for it, and then you find out the only way you can survive it is by the grace of God.

My two cents, for what it's worth. (not that you should listen to me) :D

*photo credit The Cloud Appreciation Society*

May 26, 2010

Opportunity for Missions in Ecuador

Here is an excerpt from the monthly newsletter we receive from our missionary friends' in Ecuador who opened a children's home for abused, neglected, and abandoned children. Ron and Glenda write:


Sometimes I want to just sit and read or play stupid games on the computer. But generally my life belongs to Jesus. When I look around me I’m concerned with the needs of the person next to me, and the person far from me. It would be easy to expend all my energy on pampering myself. But the moments that are most rewarding to me are those times when I can make a difference to other people.

Life here is full of those opportunities. It seems like there are not enough days in the week to accomplish everything we want to do. A few nights ago I taught the children the difference between doing a good thing and doing the most excellent thing. For instance, I could stay in Canada, get a job and support my family, which would be good. Or I could bring them to the Andes mountains to rescue homeless children, street waifs, or people who’ve been dealt blows in life as well as the ones who deal them out. There are thousands of Quichua villages with very little opportunity to hear the words of life. The youth in the city are hungry and they need the meat of the gospel.

There is so much need and so few to help. Doing the work of the ministry is excellent. I would have a difficult time going back to “normal” life.

Would you care to join us? We need:

*guys with fortitude, love and vision to work with the tough crowd: in the jail, on the street etc.
*evangelistic teams to do drama, mime, puppets, crafts or whatever they can come up with to reach out cross-culturally in the Quichua villages
*construction teams to bring funds and help with projects
*summer teams to teach the kids Vacation Bible School at the Ark
*a long term maintenance man
*child care volunteers to love on the kids"

Any takers?? Contrary to the belief of some people, even missionaries who have worked in Ecuador in the past, it still remains to be fully evangelized. There is SO much to do! As having been there, we can personally attest to that. I would love to move there myself, but it looks like Argentina for us.

contact Ron and Glenda at:
visit their website:

Tony playing soccer with the kids at the orphanage

Christmas outreach - taking supplies and gifts to pastor
in a remote village

okay, so you may get a little sick in some town square
far from home, but I'm over it now

shoeshine boys/street kids

Tony reading the Illustrated Bible to the kids at the orphanage


May 25, 2010

We Got Our First CHECK!

We got our very first support check!!! (big huge smile :D)

Big A has been running out to the mailbox ten times a day for the past week checking to see if the thing he ordered online has arrived, so he opened up a package he thought was for him. I realized it wasn't indeed for him when I heard him from upstairs moaning loud oh-no's over and over again.

So I came down and found he had opened a package addressed to me. It was two really good books and a check! I was stunned when I saw how much it was for! We knew the check was coming, but I was literally thinking it would be a tenth of the amount. God is so good to encourage us this way. After the initial joy and amazement of seeing God work and provide, my next thought was, "Uh-oh, I guess this means we have to actually go now!" (or send the money back lol!).

Speaking of missions, my bolivian missionary friend (the one who asked a bit ago when we were coming down to Bolivia) just posted these pics today.

aren't they ADORABLE??

she also recently showed the Jesus Film to a group of 120 people,
72 of which indicated afterwards that they had accepted Christ

(I can't wait for us to be able to do these kinds of things, too! Ahhh... *happy sigh*)

If you would like to go down and help her out, just let me know, I can put you in touch. :)

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." -Mt.6:19-21


May 22, 2010

Thinking of Homeschooling?

Thinking of homeschooling and wondering how to do it? Veteran homeschooler in need of some new ideas? Click over to this post:

Excellent if you are thinking of homeschooling, excellent if you've been homeschooling for a while...


May 21, 2010

Spiritual Warfare and The Week from Hell

It has been the week from hell. I had forgotten how intense spiritual warfare can be. It just keeps coming, and coming, and coming.

That's when we need to go the the Manual. And Facebook (lol! just kidding). But it's funny how God finds those ways to encourage a weary soul with some good preachin'!

Saw this on FB today:

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" - Eph. 6:12

If we press in, wanting more of God, we need to remember this. I've been reminded this week that I have an enemy who hates me, hates my prayers, hates the plan of God, who came to steal, kill, and destroy. He never tires making war, is subtle, astute, and pulls puches I never expect. But, as a friend reminded me this week, the battle is won. Jesus has won. Jesus always wins.

"For though we walk after the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;)
Casting down all imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" - 2 Cor. 10:3-5

May 19, 2010

Food for Thought

Hmm, this is all I have to say today.


May 14, 2010

What Humility Looks Like...

We were so early no one was even checking tickets, so we walked into the 5,000-seater church to grab some seats for the show. Ten or 12 of us had piled into someone's Suburban and driven the three hours north to Kalispell from the University of Montana campus in Missoula.

There was a single grand piano on stage, a man with long hair bent over the keys, sound checking it we assumed. So we threw down our jackets and wandered back into the lobby to look around. Several minutes later, the long-haired man walked up behind us.

"Hi, where are you guys from?"

It was Rich Mullins! He had grown his hair out so no one had recognized him.

I'll never forget that moment. Not because I was star-struck, because I wasn't really. I didn't really know who he was, didn't know much about him, or that he was so "famous" in certain circles.

What struck me was that he approached us. This really, really well-known {FAMOUS} musician came down from stage to come say hi to us. Just like he knew us. Like an old friend.

He was SO nice. And normal. And human. Just a guy making conversation.

I remember standing there completely shocked that he was so... humble.

Wow, Christians are different.

Not long after that concert, Rich Mullins moved onto an Indian Reservation in the Southwest to share Christ with Native Americans through music.

He probably made millions in his career through record sales, but never knew how much he really made because he gave it all away and lived on a small fixed income from his music sales. He lived for a time in a one-room attic apartment with few material possessions. "Hold me Jesus" was filmed there.

What humility looks like.

Read snipits from the Biography of Rich Mullins.

May 13, 2010

Spiritual Lessons in the Kitchen

I got the recipe for Resurrection Rolls last year from another homeschool mommy, but colicky baby made it impossible to even consider attempting. So, we tried it this year. Since I find out about 90% of my homeschool/parenting ideas from word of mouth or from a book, thought I'd pass this one on, too...

annointing Jesus' body (marshmallow) 
with oil of embalming (melted butter)
and spices (cinnamon and sugar)

wrapping the body in linen cloth (crescent roll dough)

...seal them up and bake in oven (which represents the tomb)...

the empty tomb (marshmallow disappears)!

They are ridiculously delicious and addicting, so be forewarned!

I prayed a prayer for serious patience before we did this... I confess I do not enjoy crafts or cooking with my kids, no matter how hard I try. I keep trying, though. I do it because I love them, plain and simple. Love is action, right? Life is not all about me. I don't know if I'll ever enjoy crafts or flour flying in the kitchen, but I know I'll keep praying until one of two things happens: I begin to like it, or they are fully grown!


May 12, 2010


I'm done this fast. I can't take it anymore.

The first five days were strangely peaceful. I was wondering when it was all going to break loose. It was just a matter of time. Well, it did. The next day: day 6 of 8. It's been rough since then. No need to get into details, I don't know who's reading this and who's not. Now I'm just hungry, cranky, and impatient. Totally counter-productive. And woman hormones do not help, let me tell you.

The big shocker is that fasting apparently has changed for me. Because my circumstances have changed. No more 2 hours on my knees as the kids nap. No more reading the Bible on the couch for hours as the kids play and entertain themselves. No more spare time, period. There's just too much to do around here anymore! I have to get up at 5am if I want to read my Bible as it is. Now I can see why. Back when A & M were babies I could feed them breakfast and read entire chapters of the Bible at the same time. Ha.

Then came baby #3. She's broken just about every mold known to man.

When you fast the idea is that you are reading the Bible, praying, or doing something spiritual, when normally you'd be thinking about food, shopping for food, preparing food, eating food, or cleaning up after food. This has been one of the most "unproductive" fasts of my entire Christian life. At least that's how it felt. I almost wondering why I bothered. I believe God still heard me, after all we can approach the throne of grace with confidence, but it's extremely frustrating when I want to be praying or reading the Bible or just generally quiet before the Lord, and Peace Baby is bent on proving her name was a total and complete mistake. In the half hour it took me to feed her breakfast yesterday I think she whined, screamed, cried, and was demanding, loud, and discontent about three hundred times. Never heard a PEEP out of the other two at this age. I read an entire two verses (not chapters) in the Bible and I don't even remember what they were. Sigh.

One thing that the Lord always shows me when I fast is my sin. And He seems to use Peace Baby as of late as His tool of choice in this fire by trial. I'm done this fast because I just can't stand to look at myself anymore, I think I might slip into a deep depression! It's amazing how dull you can get to sin when you are immersed in stuffing your face, satisfying your flesh, and pursuing earthly things (like laundry and other boring worldly works). I am much too depressed over myself and my wretched state to do this another day!

I am truly a sinner saved by grace.

My only hope is JESUS.

I need to stop throwing stones, because the only difference between me and Charles Manson is GRACE. I am nothing apart from Him. Nothing good, anyway. And no, I don't have bad "self-esteem", I just have a realistic view of myself as I really am. No good thing dwelleth in my flesh, of that I am sure.

Thank you Jesus, for GRACE. Whatever would I do without you? Oh yes, that's right... I'd probably be drunk, strung out, messed up, who knows, definately a slave to my sin, without hope, without God... and probably trying to prove to everyone that I'm JUST FINE, thank you. Pride, an ugly thing.

Ah, but now I have been brought NEAR! I have been set FREE. Know the Truth and the truth shall set you free. Jesus said, I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.

"For by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.
Not of works, lest any man should boast." ~Ephesians 2:8,9

May 11, 2010

Brazilian Beef Stroganoff

This is what was cookin' in the kitchen tonight at our house:

Brazilian Beef Stroganoff
(Strogonoff Brasiliero)

2 lbs beef or chicken fillets, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped,divided
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 lb cultivated white mushroom, sliced
2-3 tablespoons ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoons mild mustard, i would use dijon
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Put the meat/chicken into a bowl with garlic, half the onion, salt, nutmeg, oregano and wine.
2 Allow to marinate for 1 hour.
3 Heat the oil and saute the remaining onion and mushrooms for a few minutes or until softened.
4 Add the meat/chicken and marinade to the pan and cook.
5 Add the ketchup and mustard.
6 If it looks a bit dry, add a few tablespoons of water and cook a little longer.
7 When the meat is cooked, add the sour cream and reheat gently-DO NOT BOIL.
8 Serve with steamed white rice.
9*This should be cooked quickly so the meat doesn't toughen.

To do the authentic Brazilian way: substitute Cognac and "Creme de Leite" (Table Cream sold at supermarkets) for the white wine and sour cream. You will taste an ENORMOUS difference.

Apparently this dish was made popular by the influx of German immigrants to Brazil in the 19th/20th century. At least that's what my host family told me when I lived there. They served this all the time, and it was absolutely delicious and addictive.

I just sauteed the onion/garlic/mushrooms together first, threw in the meat and spices, then everything else. I did not have the white wine on hand nor the sour cream, so left it out and made my own white sauce. It's good that way too, but definately tops if you have all the ingredients as per the recipe.

You can also serve this over noodles or pasta. YUM!


May 10, 2010

Susan Wise Bauer and Classical Education

I saw Susan Wise Bauer at a local homeschool convention a couple of years ago. Shame I didn't really know who she was enough to stop and talk to her. Since then I've discovered her book The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home and LOVE it.

In theory.

In practice, haha, well, we do what can. :) We've only managed to follow the History curriculum (outlined in the book) so far.


Wow. After doing Ancient History (per the book) this year with the chilluns, I now realize I learned next to nothing in 12 years of public school History. And I was a straight-A student. How is that possible?

From time to time I check her blog here. She is FUN-NY. So if you need a couple of laughs just read the automatically-imported-to-her-blog Twitter updates. I needed a couple of laughs today because this was the "fast-for-six-days=all-hell-broke-loose-this-weekend" weekend. More on that later. Maybe.

If you are looking for an complete K-12 homeschool curriculum for $15 or less (Amazon), check this one out. I purchased mine for $9.00 used at our local homeschool fair. It is worth far, far more.


May 7, 2010

My Utmost for His Highest, May 7th

The other day I was giving the baby a bath, and since I keep my copy of My Utmost in the bathroom, I read ahead while the baby splashed around in the water. This REALLY hit home with me... really hit me hard. Who do I think I am that I have any right to myself? Who do I think I am that I can still choose what I'm supposed to do with my life? God has already given us our marching orders, He has already made Himself more than clear. I can open my Bible and read it. Do I read it? Will I do it?


"For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?" Luke 14:28

Our Lord refers not to a cost we have to count, but to a cost which He has counted. The cost was those thirty years in Nazareth, those three years of popularity, scandal and hatred, the deep unfathomable agony in Gethsemane, and the onslaught at Calvary - the pivot upon which the whole of Time and Eternity turns. Jesus Christ has counted the cost. Men are not going to laugh at Him at last and say - "This man began to build, and was not able to finish."

The conditions of discipleship laid down by Our Lord in vv. 26, 27 and 33 mean that the men and women He is going to use in His mighty building enterprises are those in whom He has done everything. "If any man come to Me, and hate not . . . he cannot be My disciple." Our Lord implies that the only men and women He will use in His building enterprises are those who love Him personally, passionately and devotedly beyond any of the closest ties on earth. The conditions are stern, but they are glorious.

All that we build is going to be inspected by God. Is God going to detect in His searching fire that we have built on the foundation of Jesus some enterprise of our own? These are days of tremendous enterprises, days when we are trying to work for God, and therein is the snare. Profoundly speaking, we can never work for God. Jesus takes us over for His enterprises, His building schemes entirely, and no soul has any right to claim where he shall be put."

- taken from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, May 7th

Crazy Love Fasting

From Crazy Love by Francis Chan, pp. 125-127:

"'For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
3 'Why have we fasted,' they say,
'and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?'

"Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD ?

 6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness [a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
 9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

 13 "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the LORD's holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the LORD,
and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob."
The mouth of the LORD has spoken.' -Isaish 58:2-14

We are each given different gifts by our Master. The thing that matters most is how we use what we have been given, not how much we make or do compared to someone else. What matters is that we spend ourselves.

'And now little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.' -1John2:28"

Crazy love.

May 6, 2010

Fasting Elixir

Day 4 of fast... it's getting HARD.  I'm really hungry lol!

Here is a fasting elixir that helps me to keep going when my blood sugar drops:

1 gallon water
1 1/2 C lemon juice
3/4 C honey
1/4 t cayenne pepper

Mix and refrigerate. Serve cold or hot.

The lemon juice is a good electrolyte and source of vitamin C, the honey gives me some energy and a much needed boost when I start to feel light-headed, and the cayenne gets the blood flowing and is a good detoxer (if I remember correctly).

I just make a cup at a time. So the recipe is for all of you that get your underwear in a bunch if someone tells you to "just eyeball" it lol!

I just heat some water, squirt some honey and lemon in a cup (equal parts each-ish), add a dash of cayenne, and pour some hot water over it.  



Crazy Love

Crazy Love by Francis Chan. All I can say is, WOW.

Here are just a few quotes, most taken from the Chapter entitled "Profile of the Lukewarm":

"Lukewarm people are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for "extreme" Christians, not average ones. Lukewarm people call "radical" what Jesus expected of all His followers."

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." (James 1:22)

"Lukewarm people are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rarely consider trying to give as much as possible to the poor. They are quick to point out, 'Jesus never said money is the root of all evil, only that the love of money is.' Untold numbers of lukewarm people feel "called" to minister to the rich; very few feel "called" to minister to the poor."

"If a guy were dating my daughter but didn't want to spend the gas money to come pick her up or refused to buy her dinner because it cost too much, I would question whether he were really in love with her. In the same way, I question whether many American churchgoers are really in love with God because they are so hesitant to do anything for Him."

"Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and risking for God.

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord', will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21)

"The goals of American Christianity are often a nice marriage, children who don't swear, and good church attendance. Taking the words of Christ literally and seriously are rarely considered. That's for the "radicals" who are "unbalanced" and who go "overboard". Most of us want a balanced life that we can control, that is safe, and that does not involve suffering."

"Lukewarm people do not live by faith, their lives are structured so they don't have to."

"We need to realize that how we spend our time, what our money goes toward, and where we will invest our energy is equivalent to choosing God or rejecting Him."

"How many of us would really leave our families, our jobs, our education, our connections, our familiar surroundings, and our homes if Jesus asked us to? If He just showed up and said, 'Follow me'?"


May 5, 2010


I'm fasting. I've decided to just do it after two long years of pregnancy and no-end-in-sight nursing. I thought the baby would be weaned by now so I could go ahead, but it doesn't look like she is even close to ever weaning, so I'm just going to do it. I highly doubt it will affect my milk, because I eat way more than I need to anyway.

Fasting is such a neglected spiritual discipline and exercise. Since my conversion, I am amazed at how few Christians regularly fast, and even at how many have never fasted. Tony sometimes asks other Christians if they fast, and more often than not they say, "No..." and trail off as they stare out into space, or, "I can't do that! I need to eat!". Like, "Are you crazy or something?".

I wonder what Bible they read...

Want to know God more? Want to see His hand in your life, in others' lives, and at work in the world?

I read that Esther fasted (Esther 4:16). I read that David fasted (2 Sam. 12:23). I read that Jesus fasted (Mat. 4:2). I read His first coming was marked by fasting (Luke 2:37). I also read him talk as if He expected and just assumed his disciples would fast (Mat. 6:16, Luke 5:35, Acts 13:2).

I heard someone say once that you shouldn't fast just to get something from God, but should only "seek His Face". To this day I'm not sure what that means... but, I can be dense. But isn't that what we often read in the Bible: fasting to obtain something or a certain outcome (see above Scripture)? Jesus himself told his disciples that they could not "cure" the demon-possessed boy (Mat. 17:21) because "this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting". I remember before Tony's conversion when he shared with me that he was seeing shadows and hearing voices, that he felt like there was someone inside him telling him to do bad things, that there was someone with him all the time, someone bad. He felt like there was someone riding in the back seat of his car and breathing down his neck. After totally freaking out, I went into prayer and fasting overdrive. And enlisted others to fast for him, too!

Guess who loves Jesus now?

I'm just saying... God uses fasting.

There are many different kinds of fasts. Some say you can fast TV, or Starbucks, or your computer, but I read in my Bible that fasting is always about food and drink. But, that's my interpretation and this post in only my opinion, I'm not trying to teach the Bible or doctrine here. Just telling you what I read and what I do. That's all.

There are fasts where you can totally abstain from food and water like Jesus and Moses did (I have never done this, and for the record, would never tell anyone to do this). There are fasts where you can abstain from only food, and drink water. I read once that fasting means going off coffee, too. I do not do this, but include coffee as one of my liquids (big smile). There are fasts where you can abstain from food, but drink juice, tea, and water. You can fast for one meal, one day, three days (someone fasted six days for my conversion:)). You can fast Burger King, and eat only vegetables like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I don't know. I guess it's not a science, do what God is speaking to you to do.

I usually fast for a specific reason, specific time frame, and in a specific way (full, partial, juice/no juice, one meal only, all meals in a day, one day, or more than one day) . This time I have 2-3 years worth of things building up on my mind and on my heart that I have no idea what I'm doing this time, or for how long. I trust that the LORD will guide me as I walk this one out, and give me peace when I am done interceding for all these things!

So, I won't tell you what it's for (I want the Lord to reward me openly and I want my reward in heaven:)), but I will tell you that I started two days ago. Fasted solid food for breakfast (but I forgot and cheated with milk in the coffee), and fasted what I REALLY wanted for lunch, and just had a healthy, light, and cleansing salad. Blah. I know it's good for me, but I just wanted real food lol! This time I am eating a full dinner because I am still breast-feeding.

I have to confess that my motives this time are not 100% spiritual. I don't think God will not answer my prayers because of it, I've already confessed what I am thinking. I don't think it's EVER possible to have 100% pure motives ever, as long as I live in this body in this fallen world. The Bible tells me that my heart is deceitful above ALL things. So I accept that and thank the LORD He already knows that and accepts me anyway. I find grace here. I read and am sure He wants me to take care of the temple of His Holy Spirit, which is the body of the believer. So there you have it: I also need to detox and lose 5 pounds. A spiritual and physical cleanse this time. Is that so wrong?? Daniel and his three friends were glowing after their vegetable fast...

I also have another reason for fasting. I want to know and understand what hunger feels like. But I want to be more than just thankful that I have enough to eat: lifting my hands, praising God, and that's it. I'm tired of just being thankful and not doing anything that shows my gratitude to the Lord. I'm tired of being selfish, complacent, lazy, and completely useless for the Lord who gave me two hands and two feet. Maybe reading this, this, and this will help you understand what I mean. I hope it has the same effect on you as it has on me.

One thing I've learned over the years is to be prepared for the spiritual backlash. Fasting is powerful, and we have an enemy who hates us and doesn't give up easily. We are indeed soldiers in a battle. When you storm the gates of Hell, you can expect resistance and onslaught. I have learned to be extra vigilent when I am fasting and try not to fall into those traps the enemy seems to set for me. Fear is a big one that seems to come at me. Fighting, short tempers, discord, and impatience seem to flare up, too. Cars can break down, bills seem to flood in, even the kids have said they are scared to go in their rooms alone at high noon because "there's someone in there"... okay, creepy! Word of caution.

But is it worth it? Oh, yes! Just ask Tony!

May 4, 2010

Natural Skin Lotion

Believe it or not, olive oil makes a GREAT natural skin lotion/moisturizer. It's inexpensive, easy, and healthy. All of which I love and appreciate. :)

A couple of years ago I was sitting in the hall at church talking to a friend about dry skin. I have no idea why, I usually am not into talking about beauty, fashion, and other vanities, it seems like such a waste of time, good conversation, and good brain space. Maybe it was winter? Anyway, she has very dark skin (I would be PC here and say "African American", but she's not American - she's from England. So, is it okay say "black" then? African-English? I don't know... I'm so confused with this whole don't offend everyone thing. By the way, call me German-American from now on, please, lest I be offended).

Anyway, she told me how she uses olive oil on her skin. I couldn't believe it! Olive oil? Really?? Isn't that greasy? No, she assured me. A few drops, just a few drops, smoothed onto her skin after a shower and before toweling off, and voila! She said she keeps a little bottle in her bathroom. So I tried it. Next time I shaved my legs, I grabbed that oil despenser thing I had but wasn't using (you know, the kind they give you in restaurants when you ask for oil and vinegar on your salad?) and filled it up with some olive oil, which I always have in the kitchen. I did what she said and then let my skin air-dry. I couldn't believe it! Soft, smooth, NOT greasy, and the most well-moisturized legs I've ever had lol!

This past winter my baby's skin began drying out, so I tried it on her. Instead of soap in the bath, I put a few drops on a wash cloth and washed her down with that (making sure I washed her hair first). If it was especially dry, I also put some in the bathwater. Amazingly silky smooth baby!

You can also use coconut oil. This works fanastic, and is actually what I prefer, but I never seem to be able to keep it stocked in my house. And, of course, organic of either is even better, since your skin absorbs everything.

Try it! You'll never want to buy that mostly-water, chemical-filled, almost useless and waste of money stuff they sell as lotion ever again.

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