Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I am like a King

Okay, this is not a bragging session.  Preparing for tonights Pioneer girls class as we are going through The Story, I was fortunate to read about Esther.  I love Esther.  One of my favorite moments from Africa was the Beth Moore Esther Study.

However, this was not a lesson learned way back in Africa, this is a current lesson that God used an Old Story to teach me about anger.

I looked at Esther 1:12 when King Xerxes burns with anger.  He is furious.  Yes, he is a big high on alcohol, but his real reason is that he was not being obeyed immediately.  Looking at his perspective, he totally came unglued for a walk.

This week lesson was on perspectives, I too get so furious about little things.  After logging a reaction journal, most of my "issues" were on trivia matters.  I like King Xerxes burn with anger over little things.  Yes, he was going to look bad in front of his peers.  But, I too can do that.  If it is regarding how my house will look.  What others might think of me?  So, I bark orders and fume at the kids when my expectations or chores aren't done right.  Ouch.  Sorry God.

Thankfully, I don't have idiot advisors to tell me to get rid of my kids.  But, I do have a kind God that reminds me priorities and the heavenly perspective.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Korean Week 21

We are in the midst of Tapestry of Grace Year 4 Unit 3 week 21.  I was the person in charge of coordinating the activities for this week.

I had no idea how God would use this week to open my eyes to the pain and desperate need for transformation of North Korea.  It is one of the benefit of learning with your children, I guess it was one of my "skipped" days at school, because I had no idea of the depth of despair surrounding the Korean War and the ongoing conflict.

Thankfully Facebook, I asked if anyone knew of a Korean person in Palmer.  Yes, there is very few non-whites. I was shocked to hear that someone had a foreign exchange student from South Korea.  Yeah!  Jim was available and eager to have an opportunity to teach about Korea culture.

So, we started with prayer and then we had him share about Korea.  The kids did a great job at listening and asking good questions.  He loves his Alaskan bed (verses a rolled mat) but misses his Computer games.

At the end, we had the kids try to make Kimbap.  It is like sushi but more like a picnic food/snack food for the hands.  It can be filled with anything.  We tried it with ham and cheese.  But, we look forward to do it again with cream cheese and salmon.

He wrote out his name to compare the language alphabet.  However, he said it was to hard to talk about North Korea.  We let that go.

The next time I taught about Korea was during the Mission Conference at my church.  We did things a bit different.

1) talked about the 38th parallel and a little about the divide of the country.
2) Read an interesting story of the Pumpkin Seed (two brothers) from "The Korean Children's Favorite Stories"
-During the reading I had my son draw on the board the two different homes, consequences, blessings.
-I had four actors:  elder brother, younger brother, swallow, and snake
-three bowls with towel (representing the three pumpkins)
Then as I read the story, we used the props to act out the story.

3) I also talked about the amazing reunion of the North and South Koreans that have been going on this past year.  I had a good article with some photos to project and to continue to pray for complete healing of these two countries.

4) Instead of just praying, we watched a YouTube video of prayer for North Korea from Operation World.

5) While a few were making Kimbap, the other tables were racing using chopsticks and cotton balls into the bowls after a few lessons on chopstick etiquette.  


Monday, February 24, 2014

A fun reading Comprehension Web Site!

When I was in Africa, I missed the summer reading programs that local libraries sponsor to get prizes and fun stuff for reading.  So, I stumbled across a neat website called Book Adventure that would test the actually comprehension of a book.  You can earn prizes (but you need to be in USA), so we made our own party at the end of the summer.  

A second reasons why I liked this website, is that when my eldest daughter was devouring books, I wanted to make sure that she was actually understanding the content of the material.  Running after two littler kids, I didn't have time to read the book myself.  So, I stumbled across a neat website that has the tests already made.  Yippee!!

I hope you can use these comprehension tests.  I am using one this week because I got the alternative book on the Tapestry of Grace Reading Assignments and I needed a "worksheet" to document her reading.  So, a book called "The Land I Lost" by Huynh Quang Nhuong I just searched and next week Bronwyn will take the quiz.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Remove those Masks!

I have thoroughly enjoyed the newest Bible Study by Lysa Terkhurst Unglued.   Even if the lessons have hit closer to my heart than usual.  However, one of the hard places that she revealed is my tendency to stuff instead of deal with issues.

To portray a surface-y "I'm okay" when I am really just building walls.  Telling myself, that hurts-lets not get close to that person.  And I loose out of a relationship. *putting on Masks!!

I also been convicted that I might turn the other cheek but actually just deny the conflict by avoiding it.  No, my life is not riddled with conflict and some disagreements do not need to have a conversation (it is good to overlook an offense-Proverbs).  But, if that unchecked attitude starts to dwell and cause me to distance myself from healthy relationships with others, I need to take it to the Lord and deal with it.

Another big lesson learned (or reminded) is "to fight for relationships not against them".  In applying this principle, I need to remember who the real enemy is (not the offender- but Satan) He wants to stir up discord and bitterness.  So, I either need to join in with the Lord and work on my issues instead of fighting against the other person and demand my rights.  I don't know about you, but I don't want to give Satan any part of my conflict.  Ephesians 6:12 "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

I love another book that I am reading which gives me hope.  It is a reminder that all this trials, conflict, pain, will have a positive effect on my life.  It will expose my need for a BIG GOD.  I can lay down my pain at His feet.  I love what Mrs. Warren says, "God uses trials to awaken us from the anesthetic spell of the world, which keeps us grasping for scraps of earthly joy and blinds us to the joy that awaits us in the Lord."

Lastly, the best lesson is who's battle is this?  Is it the Lords or mine.  I love having a God who fights for me!  I am just required to do my part.  But, the battle is the Lord.  2 Chronicles 20:15 This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 

I hope you are encouraged by the mask removal work God is doing and will continue to do as I grow more like Him daily.  (BTW-I write this blog not just for people who will read it, but more for a journal of the issues/progress in my life no matter how imperfect it looks-I hope that my transparency will encourage you and see that He is my ALL IN ALL.)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Look at me!

Wow!  I really can't believe how very personal and practical an old story in the Old Testament could be for me today.  As I was praying about what applications I should share with the Pathfinder Girls tonight for Pioneer Club at our church, God pointed out a huge sin in my life.


Tonight I am teaching about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the Fiery furnace.  In the past, I have learned tons of walking with faith and trusting God no matter what.   However,  today was a different application of a sin that keeps creeping up in my life.  ME.

It was revealed when I imagined the entire 90 foot tall structure being built in the middle of Persia to have EVERYONE noteworthy come and bow down.  This arrogant king went so far as to make a huge statue and demanded worship/acknowledgement.  If he lived in 2014, he would demanded a "like" and a "share" status on Facebook.

Interesting, as I was reading facebook in the past year, often I don't rejoice for others "good things".  Ugh.  I wanted to be happy for people.  I easily cry when others are hurting, but I never had the same "enthusiasm" for rejoicing in others good.  "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." Romans 12:15.

No, there is not a new statue made for Ella in Palmer by the Train depot.  But, in my heart I LONG for people to notice ME, or my kids.  Notice the good I do, give me praise.  Not that being kind and gentle is bad things, but I want praise.  Yes, I can add a phrase "to God be the glory" but in my heart the performance drug is never satisfied.

Just some clarification, most things, I have no problem doing for God's glory. But, even a hint of arrogance or pride or why don't I get praise is the big prIde. (with the big I in the middle me).

Thankfully, God accepts my confession and He already paid for the sin 2000 years ago.  Thank you for getting me in that sweet relationship and speaking softly to bring me to repentance.  I want to have Your standards for life.  God Chisel me-to be like You.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Yeah, Gray hair!

I am still in my 30's and I have gray hair.  I love it!  This is not a new thing, it all surfaced about 2007 when I met two beautiful ladies.  No, really beautiful.  One was my daughters best friend mom.  She was full of spunky clothes and great smile, but her hair was totally gray.  As we talked and grew to love her passion for the Lord and her joyous personality, I asked her one day, "Why do you have gray hair?" (it sounds rude typing it, but I was curious).  She told me that before she turned 20, she went gray.  Her mother is a beautician; but, she didn't want to hide behind the color bottle.  

That got me thinking. I started going gray earlier (genetic I think- as my dad at age 30 was "salt & pepper). I never really liked the various colors the hair stylist would make my color.  After every attempt, it just wasn't me.  

I asked God for help to give me insight into my image.  He loves me no matter what I look like (color or gray).  

Then I asked James (husband), do you prefer to have no gray or natural.  He told me, it didn't make a different to him.  Yes!

I read in a book that gray hair makes me more approachable to younger women.  I don't know if that is true.  But, I like being able to mentor younger ladies.  I guess if they see me as "old and gray" maybe it will be a sign that I care.

Interestingly, I met my daily running partner at 7 in the morning when I was living in Africa.  She asked after letting the color grow out, "Did you get highlights?" 
"No, God gave me these."

So, if you need encouragement to go gray or not.  It is a choice.  I am glad that I have total peace about having gray and I am loved completely from my heavenly father- no matter if my hair is gray, purple, or brown.  I just love the freedom of being me.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Ladies Retreat

Watching God Work.

After a weekend of seeing the work of the Holy Spirit in many ladies lives, it is a complete confirmation of the value of stepping outside of the business of life and retreating.  Thank you for all who prayed for my session.  It wasn't without some technical scarynesses but, God came through and it worked.

I am also thankful for people who are being Loved by God and seeing how they can be encouraging to other women.  Yeah!

Knowing that I really wanted to be intentional with my conversations and hearing from the Lord, I decided to even leave the cell phone off.  It was refreshing to not be constantly buzzed, beeped, or the lure of looking up information.  No list to cross off, no planning to coordinate.  I was free from the technology/informational demands that accompany the vibration of my phone.

Thank you Lord for that gift of silence.

On a little run, we (Kiersten & Sara) ran into even more of God's uniqueness.  We thought the frozen lake had a feather problem.  It was so strange.  You could break off the "feather/ice crystals and eat them".  Super cool.

I am a bit sorry to not even take out the camera for photos, but these are the only ones I took.  Breathtaking weekend up at North Star Bible Camp.