Saturday, March 31, 2012

Remember the LORD {Deuteronomy}

“And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.” (Deut 8:2)

Deuteronomy 8 tells the Israelites to remember the LORD, the tests and trials we go through to remind us of His faithfulness. We ought to remember what He brought us through to cling to the HOPE of what He is bringing us to. He fulfills His promise . . .

“For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. (Deut 8:7-10)

As I approach spring break, a week of rest and time to fill with fun activities, I want to be intentional about remembering the LORD. Remembering why we celebrate this Holy Week, the true meaning behind it. So I’m going to remember the LORD daily here on this blog over the next week. I will remember Him, His life, His plan of redemption, His death, burial, resurrection, and His hope.

The journey of remembering will begin tomorrow in
Genesis 1. In the beginning . . . God.

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.” (Job 19:25)

Friday, March 30, 2012

I HEART Life Group

The ladies in my life group are amazing.

They've become close friends.
The kind that you can laugh with, cry with, talk about the Bible with, pray with, walk with, and yes . . . even roller skate with.

We've affectionately had many nicknames for our group:
"Modern Day Church Ladies"
"This ain't your grandmas bible study"

-And most recently "The Mullet" because we are "business in the front, party in the back" (we alternate weeks between bible study and fun!).

We've thrown each other baby showers:

With delicious cookies

And matching headbands

We've had Pinterest dinners together

We've learned to sew together

And craft together

We've had boxing lessons

Pajama parties

Christmas parties

And even 30th birthday parties where we dress up like it's the 80's roller-skate the night away!

We found this and it pretty much sums us up perfectly!

I truly LOVE doing life with these beautiful, weird, hilarious, sweet, God-fearing, wonderful ladies!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Why We NEED the Rain

{Theology of Pain}

Monday morning, as I was driving to work, it was slightly raining, but I could see the sun bursting through the clouds just a bit.

Which reminded me of a song from when I taught preschool. So I started singing it. (That’s what happens when you teach little kids (or have little kids) the songs that get stuck in your head are usually by world renowned artists like Greg & Steve, Raffi, or in my case Charlotte Diamond.) Maybe some of you know it?

“Each of us is a flower, growing in life’s gaaarrrden. Each of us is a flower, we need the sun and the rain.”

If this post just got to hokey for you, that’s okay, you can stop reading.

So I’m singing this song as I drive to work (ridiculous, I know). I was thinking of how so many people throughout the weekend posted how much they love the rain! And all I can ever think of is how much I hate it. Rain gives me terrible headaches. I was in bed most Friday afternoon because of a headache and ingesting handfuls of advil all day Sunday. I don’t enjoy anything about the rain.

Except I kept telling myself “we need it”. To wash the air, to nourish the plants, to water the earth so crops can grow.

We need rain. So I’ll endure the pain because we need the rain.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

You didn’t know Charlotte Diamond was a theologian did you?

So it is in my life. I don’t like the rain: the hard times, the trials, the storms. I don’t like the rainy, dark, stormy, icky days. I like sunshine and blue skies! I like easy, comfortable, happy days.

But I would never grow if I didn’t have those kinds of days, just as a plant wouldn’t grow without the rain. I wouldn’t grow to be more Christ-like if my whole life was happy and comfortable. If anything, I would probably backslide because I would never need to depend on Christ for anything.

The rainy days are what help us to depend on Christ, to grow to be more like Him, and be nourished in a different way. We need the sunshine, but we also need the rain. Otherwise we'd wither away.

So this week, I looked at my “rainy days” a little different. I look through my trials, my pain, my lessons as a source of nourishment that help me grow.

"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, so 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." (Isaiah 55:11-12)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Worship Through the Noise

My friend recently had to go through some pretty serious medical testing. She had to have an MRI. You know the test where you have to lay in a tunnel completely still for 30 minutes?

Afterward, I asked her how it went. And her response was something like "It was good. Loud, but good. I got to worship Jesus the whole time."

Loud, noisy, scary . . . and yet worshipping.

I told her "well if that isn't the title of a blog post, I don't know what it is!"

In a time of life when a test result determines next steps, in a time when it's loud and noisy, she worships.

How much of your life is loud?
How much of your life is filled with noise?
How much of your life is scary?
How much of your life is waiting on the unknown?

I feel like we spend all of our lives trying to quiet everything down, get things in order, get rid of fear, SO THEN then we can worship. If all of our ducks are in a row, THEN we'll have time to seek the LORD and walk in His ways.

I don't know about you, but I can never get through my to-do list, my head is always loud and noisy, and sometimes I walk in fear. What if ___ happens?
What if ___ never happens?

If I wait until all is quiet to worship, I may never worship.
Which is why I don't think God always straightens everything out for us all of the time. He wants us to worship anyway. He wants us to worship through the pain AND through the joy; through the still and through the storm. He wants us to delight in Him, to learn to rejoice in Him in ALL circumstances.

I don't know your circumstances. But I bet if you're on earth, and you have breath in your lungs, there is some sort of noise or pain you're walking through. Would you worship Him anyway?

Even when you may want to do this:

Or this:

Or even this:

Would you do this instead?

Just kidding! She looks a bit senile or delirious, but you get the point. Maybe it should look more like this:

Don't wait for all to be calm, quiet, and tidy . . . worship through the loud, the noise, the fear, the mess, the unknown. He'll meet you wherever you're at.

P.S. If you're a praying person. . . you can be praying for this friend of mine. She (and her daughter) were diagnosed with HHT and has surgery on Monday April 9th. But don't worry, knowing her, she'll just be resting in the arms of her Maker, delighting in the One who gives her breath and life. Pray anyway!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Update #2: March Money Experiment

{Getting rid of excess, extravagance, and overspending. Buying only what you NEED}

Well many of you have affectionately called this "March Money Madness" hahahaha! Excuse me?! I never added the madness. But it kind of is madness when you think about it.

It's also kind of ridiculous to see how hard it is to buy only what you need at the grocery store. Friends, I ate peanut butter and jelly 4 times last week for the sake of eating what is in my home (and not going to buy a sandwich or jamba juice, though I really wanted to.) It probably saved me $20 this week alone!

Last month our total grocery bill was $534.

Righ now our total grocery spending for March is $230.

A whopping heap of $304 in savings!!

I also heard that Americans waste something like 40% of the food we buy in a year. In other words, we buy fresh produce and throw it out because it rots before we eat it. Or we make dinner and put left overs in the refrigerator and throw them out a week later because we don't eat them.

Now, I must say . . . we ate left overs (from the same meal) last week Weds, Thurs, & Fri. If the thought of eating leftovers for 3 nights in a row terrifies you, that's okay. It was kind of scary for us too! But, in reality, people all over this world eat the same thing day after day because they have to. I think of the people who have so little to eat, they dig through garbage cans to find food. They would find a feast on our block on garbage day I'm sure!

And I'm not okay with that. Anymore. I would rather donate the extra $20 worth of food to someone in need, than cook it for myself and then throw it away.

So here are some tips that have helped us:
1. Clean your refrigerator every week. Move stuff around, dig through those bins and discover what you have. Sometimes we buy things we already have simply because we couldn't see it! So before I go grocery shopping I clear out my refrigerator and for stuff I didn't use from last week. Also, you'll avoid finding that funky smelling stuff a few weeks later and having to do this:

2. Try meatless Mondays!

I swear it's not as bad as it seems. It doesn't' have to be Monday, but being a vegetarian saves A LOT of money because we don't buy meat for every meal. Perhaps just one meal a week as a vegetarian could save you some $$$ too! I mean how good does this look? Click on the title and it will take you straight to the recipes. Or follow me on Pinterest for more vegetarian ideas!

Roasted Broccoli & Sundried Tomato Pasta

3. No dessert. I know, big fat bummer. But this is an obvious one. Cut out the extra calories and cash. Keep it for special occasions! If your kids love dessert, give them a choice. Either we can play a game with mom and dad, or we can have dessert. (I promise they'll choose a game w/mom and dad over an ice cream!) Then you don't have to put up a fight and everyone wins because you'll get time with your kiddos!

4. Find some positive reinforcement. Use something to motivate you. Perhaps for every $10 you save each week, put $1 in a jar. Then use that money to treat yourself to something! Or like us, half of what we save this month we'll give away to support local missions.

What are some ideas you have for cutting spending? Or motivation for getting rid of excess and waste?? Please share!

P.S. Dining out is still a huge area we need to grow in. Even with trying to dine out less, we've still spent a ton. It didn't help that we spent a weekend away and dined out for every meal. :-( So help me here please!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Peacemakers & Persecution

My Journey Through the Sermon on the Mount

{Matthew 5:9-12}
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Do you wonder why verse 9 says blessed are the peacemakers and the next 3 verses have to do with persecution?

Could it be that when you're a peacemaker, you aren't seeking peace the way we understand it to be? Perhaps peace doesn't come from silence and people pleasing, but from speaking up and speaking truth?

I have been thinking about this for nearly 2 weeks. Why would God call peacemakers blessed and then give 3 verses following about persecution?

Perhaps it's because as Tim Keller has said, as an ambassador for Christ you should be "both attracting people and repelling people". There were times when Jesus was mocked, ridiculed, harassed. He warned His disciples that they will be hated by the world, just as He was.

But there were also times when it says He grew in favor with men. Same with the New Testament church, they grew in favor, the LORD was adding to their number daily.

So this peacemaker can't mean someone who just gets along with everyone, stays silent, and is a people pleaser. If the peace talked about here is peace between one another, than why would He give warning not to lose heart as we are reviled and persecuted by others? If we're making peace why would we be persecuted?

This peacemaker must be preaching a message of PEACE that is beyond this world.

True peace comes from reconciliation to the Father. Peace in our broken relationship, our sin, our hostility toward God. That is the GOSPEL. It's a GOSPEL of peace between us and God.

Real peacemakers tell others this message of peace.

Some will hear this message of peace and jump with joy, knowing they can have a peace beyond understanding. This peace comes from a right standing with God, righteousness. Others will hear it and think it's ridiculous, judgmental, naive. . . and they will persecute.

But ah . . . remember . . . blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake.

So we are to be peacemakers. To be a peacemaker means we must be willing to ruffle some feathers, say hard things, and be bold for Christ. It's a deeper peace beyond "staying civil" and "not wanting to offend anyone." It's a peace that points others to Christ, that stands for Him even in the face of persecution, because the love is stronger. It's a peace that comes from reconciliation.

Are you willing to be a peacemaker? Even if it's rejecting the peace that comes from "people pleasing"?

So, perhaps this isn't the symbol for peace:

But this is:

"What are you after? Approval of the people OR favor from the King?" -Tim Keller

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Thought I'd share some quotes from Twitter this past week that are renewing my mind and refreshing my heart.

"Sometimes the Spirit leads into the desert. A true disciple still follows." -Brandon Hatmaker

"What if our deepest wounds are the very places through which God's mercy flows to others?" -Sheila Walsh

"Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." There can be no advance without frequent retreat.-Nancy Leigh DeMoss

"A day without prayer is a day I’ve told God I can live without Him." Byron Paulus

"The natural rhythms of our lives as Christians should be saturated with the Bible, prayer, and worship."-The Resurgence

"Many hours are spent with men, how many with your Maker?" – Charles Spurgeon

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Funny Things My Kids Say #1

I have not been in the mood for deep thinking and blog writing this week. Spring has sprung and I’ve been enjoying time with people and walks outside! (Not to mention we spent all of last weekend with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, which is when I usually do most of my writing.)

So in the spirit of some light-heartedness, I’ve written down some of the funny things my students have said or done recently. Perhaps you “had to be there”, but hopefully some will make you chuckle!

David, don't put the pencil in your mouth! "I’m not putting it in my mouth! I’m just using it to scratch my teeth.”

Gustavo to James: “Hey! Don’t scratch your arm like that! You’re going to get chicken dots!
James: “Chicken dots? What are those?”
Gustavo: It’s all those red dots. You have to put cream and take a shower to take them off.

"David, put your shoes back on." "But they're too small for me, they hurt my fingers."

Daisy walks in showing a peace sign.
Ariona: Hey what's a 2 mean?
Jocelyn: Nooooo, that's the sign that means peace-out!"

“Mrs. Danisi, did you see the movie Chuckie? It makes me laugh and cry. And Paranormal Activity 3 too.”

"Mrs.Danisi, sorry I didn't come to class yesterday. Jose took my hand at recess and was swinging me around and I fell really hard on my brain."

David: "My hands smell like popcorn?"
Alayna: Why?
David: "Because I ate corndogs."
Alayna: Why don't they smell like corndogs?
David: "I don't know, but they taste like corndogs."
Alayna: Eeew, why are you tasting your hands?"

"Mrs.Danisi, why is your nose red? Ya, and your face is all pink! Ya, you look like a monster!"

"Mrs. Danisi I really have a question!!!! I made a Chuck E. Cheese water park out of my legos."

Ilese: "The other day, I accidentally waited patiently."

I kept dropping all of the papers and one of my students says "Ay yay yikes!"

At Good News Club talking about what it means to be baptized. “Oh ya, I been bathtized before! My uncle dunked me in that little pool at our church!”.

Gustavo: Everyone calls me "shorty" but my real name is Daniel, but I go by Charlie.
Ishmael: My real name is Mario, don’t call me Ishmael anymore.
James: Oh yeah, everyone calls me "Loody".

Ricky: "Hey Mrs.Danisi, check it out. I could rob stuff" (He shows me a secret pocket in his sweatshirt)
Julian: "Oh I can't rob stuff. Cuz I'm in something called Catechism and if you’re in Catechism, you can't rob stuff."

Me: Gustavo you have a lot of joy, you're always smiling and happy.
Alejandro: "No! His name's not Joey, it's Charlie!"
Amir: Charlie? Oh ya that's your last name."

And my all time favorite, when Rajenique sneezes and accidentally farts and tries to cover it up with a cough.

Sometimes, I just can't believe my life. It feels like I could either laugh or cry

Monday, March 19, 2012

Nope, Not Today

I had big plans today. A huge to-do list, my own agenda.

I rushed home after lunch with a friend to start:

more study

I got home, and full of anxiety (brought on by myself) to get these things done, I stopped.

I felt the LORD beckoning me to lay down my agenda for the day, and be with Him.

So I did.

I grabbed my keys, locked the front door, and took off for a walk.

Left the chores, the house, the studying, the writing, for another time.

Because after all, when the Sovereign Lord asks you to stop and walk with Him, shouldn't you?

I spent an hour outside, walking, enjoying His presence (in creation and in my heart), praying and listening. I still have a to-do list, but the stuff on there doesn't seem as important.

When God, our Creator, asks me to spend time abiding, I should go. When our Heavenly Father who gives me 24 hours in a day, asks me to slow down and spend one of those hours with Him, I should listen.

Because after all, isn't being a daughter of the King enough?

So no Meditation Monday. No insights from the Sermon on the Mount. No "my agenda". Nope, not today.

Today . . . just time with my Maker.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Who Should You Trust?

I have heard many people say “follow your heart", “just do what you think is right” or “go with what your gut tells you”. Do you agree?

Is it wise to trust your heart? The bible has a lot to say about our heart. Trusting our heart verses trusting Almighty God and His word.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

“Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a shrub in the desert,and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water,that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”(Jeremiah 17:5-10)

"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." (Proverbs 4:23)

You see over and over a contrast between trusting our heart and trusting God. One leads to life and the other, to death.

These passages take me back to the Garden, Genesis 3. After all, isn’t that what Eve did? She trusted her heart. She did what she thought was right, what looked good to her, and ate and it resulted in sin and broken fellowship with the Father.

Isn’t that what all of life is about, trust? Who will you trust? Yourself? Others? Or Almighty God?

Isn't that what sin is really all about, trust? Who will you trust? God? Or Yourself? Your own thoughts? Your own desires? Your own understanding?

Be careful “trusting your own heart” and following what you “feel is right”. Our own instincts and feelings can lead us into a path of danger, destruction, and devastation if we have not aligned them with the Word of God.

There is a time we can trust our heart, when it's fully and completely devoted to the LORD. When our hearts align with God's word, when they have been purified with His righteousness, and when we walk in pursuit of Him. Apart from the Holy Spirit dwelling with in us, our hearts are wicked, deceitful, and sick. We should never trust in our heart apart from God and His wisdom and discernment. *More on that tomorrow: Blessed are the pure in heart!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

{Saturdays are for Seeing} Praising through the Pain

This week in Good News club, this was our memory verse:

“Rejoice in the LORD always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)

We read the story in Acts 16 about how Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into jail for doing the work of the LORD. In this extremely hard time, they still rejoiced in the LORD.

Wouldn’t you know, I avoided studying for this lesson How could I teach children to “rejoice in the LORD always” and explain that means in good times and in bad times, and not even do that myself?! Yes, I, me, had to stand in front of children and teach them that as Christians we are to rejoice in the LORD always, even in the hard times.

I mean Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in prison and it says they “were praying and singing hymns to God” (Acts 16:25)

Do you know how convicting it was for me to have to teach this lesson, after last Saturdays post?? It was like God was holding up a mirror to my face saying, this isn’t just for the children to know and memorize, it’s for you too daughter of mine.

How quick am I to offer advice to someone struggling to see past the pain, and yet slow to take that advice for myself.

I offer Romans 8:28 to people and reject it in my own life.

Like Job said, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10)

If Romans 8:28 is really true, He works ALL things (good, bad, hard, ugly) for my good, then why do I always want to push my way out of the trial and hurry my way through the lesson? I celebrate the good, and want to flee from the bad.

I guess because I’m human, I mean no one seeks out pain, right?! But really, what if the trials are meant to be a blessing? (Oh now I sound like Ann Voskamp, just way less creative and poetic). I just can’t wrap my heart or my mind around that. How the painful can be beautiful. How the trial can be a blessing. How the journey can be refining.

Why do I always just want to run away instead of run to the LORD?

Then I remember, my life is not my own.
It’s not my kingdom, it’s His kingdom.
It’s not my plans, it’s His plans.

I have been given every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3) and He is my all in all. The rest of my life is to be conformed into His image, and that means pursuing Christ more than pursuing comfort.

And you know what else is crazy about this little verse and story that I taught to a bunch of 5-6-7-8 year olds? In the midst of their pain, because Paul and Silas rejoiced in their suffering, the prison guard came to know the Lord Jesus and was saved!

So sometimes the best evangelism is rejoicing in the Lord, praising Him through pain. (Not for the pain, but through the pain). People see the LORD at work when our life is hard, painful, and messy and yet we praise Him always.

“Rejoice in the LORD always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fun Friday: Prayer Walks

So this week, I think I walked outside every day! Now, many of you may not consider walking "exercise" but I found this on Pinterest to prove you wrong!!

Lots of healthy benefits for walking you see!

But I added a little something to my walks this week. I feel incredibly close to the LORD when I'm alone, talking with Him. Not all of you are like that, but for me I just love alone time with the Father. So this week I put my headphones in (so as not to seem crazy to people who passed by) but left my music off, and prayed aloud. As I walked around the neighborhood, I would pray for neighbors, friends, people that came to mind or the LORD put on my heart.

It was so refreshing to walk and talk to the LORD and pray for others. It is absolutely beautiful outside right now. The weather is perfect, the trees are blooming and gorgeous, oh I just love it! And I just love having Jesus as my walking partner. I wonder if that's how Adam and Eve felt before the broken fellowship with the Father.

Remember in Genesis 3:8 "And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day" (then dang sin entered and they hid in guilt and shame) but oh how peaceful it must have been before that!

Can you imagine having this much intimacy and closeness to the LORD? I can't wait for the day to walk with Him in the New Garden free from shame, sin, and guilt! Until then, I walk and talk and enjoy fellowship.

Do you enjoy walking?
When do you feel closest to the LORD?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What it Means to be a Daughter

{What my earthly father taught me about our Heavenly Father}

One of my favorite ways to think of the LORD is thinking of Him as my Heavenly Father. My Abba Father, my daddy.

A God that is safe, comforting, loving. A God who wants to protect His children and delights in me as His daughter. A dad who teaches me, guides me, and loves me.

I had an earthly father who was very much like this.

He was a defender/protector.
When we were little, when we started school, my dad had a plan. He told us that sometimes strangers come to schools to try and take children. He said they'll tell us "your mom and dad asked me to pick you up today". He said if anyone ever tried to pick us up from school that we didn't recognize, we were to ask them our family's code word (which was strawberry). If they didn't know it, to run away screaming and tell a teacher!

He was a teacher.
I can remember driving on trips out of town and my father pointing out the window to a field of crops, teaching us what was growing. Or coaching us in softball and giving us pitching tips. Or as we grew older, teaching us what boys were really after and making sure we knew just how valued we were as his daughters.

He was a comforter.
I can remember in 6th grade one of our close family friends died. I was crying on my bed and my father came in, hugged me, and said he was sad too. And we sat and cried together.

He disciplined me.
Oh goodness this was hard for him though! He told me once as he was spanking me (this is harder for me than it is for you, which in my head I thought what the heck, than why are you doing it??!) He didn't like disciplining us but he did because he wanted to teach us right from wrong.

He loved me.
I can remember many times my dad telling us how much we were loved. He would stroke our hair as we slept (even until I was a teenager). Every Valentine's day he would bring all of us girls flowers!

He delighted in me.
I can remember laughing with my dad a lot! He loved to tell his friends stories about funny things we said or did. He loved to talk with me about school, politics, whatever! We had so much fun together. He truly was my favorite person to be around.

And so it is with our Heavenly Father. Our Father in Heaven protects us, defends us, teaches us, disciplines us, loves us, and delights in us as His daughters. His commands are to protect us from harm (physically, emotionally, spiritually). His discipline is to keep us on the right path, His path. His love is lavished on us.

When I think of God this way, I can't help but want to spend time with Him! I love to learn about Him through studying His word, worship Him through song, talk to Him through prayer. And not just request after request to change my circumstance, but just talk to Him.

Thank Him for who He is and for calling me from darkness to light (Colossians 1:13-14), for adopting me as His daughter (Ephesians 1:5), and delighting in me (Psalm 18:16-19).

Our Abba Father, our daddy . . . brings me so much comfort and joy!

*I know for some of you, the word father or dad brings up very different feelings. I'm praying for you, that the LORD would redeem those words and create a new meaning, His meaning, for fatherhood. It breaks my heart to think of your scars. But I'm thankful we can know the One who heals.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

When Laundry Leads to Worship

Yesterday, I took a walk around my neighborhood. One of my favorite things to do when I walk is listen to a sermon and enjoy the LORD outdoors! Getting my eyes to see Him in creation, my heart to soften in His presence, and my mind to be renewed by His truth.

So I did just that. Lately the sermons I've been listening to are from Pastor Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church in Seattle. He's been teaching through his recently published book "Real Marriage".

Yesterday's topic was heavy. It was on sexual assault. He was talking about how Jesus can not only cleanse you from sin that you've committed, but also sin committed against you.

He spent time talking about the color white and it's symbolism in the bible. In the Old Testament, they'd wear white after their sins have been atoned for. In the book of Revelation, we will be clothed in white as the bride of Christ.

He continued to remind us that Jesus cleanses us through His blood and washes us white as snow. Cleansed. Purified. Justified.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

Not only does the LORD forgive us, he makes us clean. He reminded us that this is so important for people to understand. This is the whole gospel! It's not just forgiveness of sin (they've committed or that have been committed against them) but being cleansed of our guilt and shame as well!

He encouraged all of us as we are doing laundry, as we are washing and cleansing our clothes, to remember . . . Jesus cleanses US from our sin. He cleanses us from guilt and shame. He asked to remember as we pull our clothes out of the washer and see them white and new, would we remember the blood of Jesus and what He has done for you.

So, will you join me in that this week? As I wash my dirty clothes, I'll remember the One who makes me clean. And worship Him in sprit and in truth, with gratitude and joy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Practical Tip Tuesday: Saving $$ & Time

I mentioned last Tuesday that the issue of stewardship has been on my heart and mind a lot lately. Which led us as a family to participate in the March Money Experiment. Which is really no experiment except cutting our spending and dining out less (okay fine and also no unnecessary trips to Target :-)

But the issue of stewardship isn't just money or finances. Though that's part of it.

Stewardship has to do with how you manage your time, talent, and treasure.

So upon more reflection, I thought about my time a lot this past week.

My husband got me a new phone in January. I have the world at my fingertips! I downloaded some of my favorite apps (Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest) and couldn't believe the quick access! It was so fun!

Until I realized how much time I spent on these apps. Every free second I'd have at a stop light, in line at the grocery store, at home during commercials, etc. I'd check Facebook or Pinterest. I realized that I have spent so much more time pinning/looking for new crafts than actually crafting or cooking!

So what was meant to be good and fun is now addictive and a huge source of wasted time.

I thought about these few minutes here and there throughout the day and how they can be better spent. So I deleted my Facebook and Pinterest app and decided "What if every few free minutes I have instead of checking these websites, I opened my bible app? Or my kindle app and read some of my book?

What a better way to fill my mind with thoughts about the LORD, rather than lust after a cute new outfit that I can't afford! (Dang, that rhymes!)

So, in an effort to be a better steward of my time, I've said no to Pinterest and yes to Proverbs! Hee hee

Oh and an update on the finance side of my stewardship issue: March Money Experiment.

{Just a few savings tips I've tried this past week.}

Tip #1) Homemade instead of store bought. We eat cliff bars every morning for breakfast. We buy them at Costco and with both of us eating them it averages out to about $60 a month on just cliff bars. A friend showed me this recipe (off of Pinterest hee hee) and we love it! (Click on the title and it will link you to the recipe.)

Total savings: About $40 a month. All supplies cost less than $20. I make a new batch on Sunday evenings to last throughout the week.

Granola Bars

It's got me thinking . . . what else do I "buy" that I could make at home instead??? Hmmm . . .

Tip #2) Don't buy junk, extras, goodies, non-essentials. No couponing tips here for how to buy 2 packs of ____ (insert an item you don't need) for $5. Just don't buy things you don't need!! Ha! What's better than getting 2 things for $5? Not spending $5! For us, this means no Moosetracks Ice Cream, no cheese-its, no pretzel mixes. Just bought what we need for this week (breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner) and this was our grocery bill!

(Yes, we will eat lots of left overs! And remember this is just to feed a family of 2, one of whom is a vegetarian-which automatically saves you a bunch of $$$).

Total Savings: About $50 from last week's grocery bill.

So what do you think? You want to experiment with me?? Can you go a month buying only what you need? Spending less? Do you have any money saving tips to share??