Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Shaun and Portia's b-days

Well it was an eventful week. Shaun
turned 31 and Portia turned 2 :). This time of year is always so busy. We have all our immediate family birthdays from March until May...so between that, Easter, and all the other holidays it's nuts! But we have fun.

Shaun and I made our first (and likely last) Elmo cake. We enjoyed doing it and we thought that Portia would love it...I don't think she connected that it was Elmo on her cake until she saw the picture on the computer screen...but hey!
We tried.
Keiko even got to wear a shirt (one of Mercedes') and party hat for the first time...she was quite indignant I must say. The shirt was our first attempt at getting her to stop opening a cut that she keeps scratching every time it starts healing. We have since started putting a tupper-ware lid taped around her on and she cannot scratch...she looks funny but the wound is finally healing BUT she has been walking around QUITE indignant for sure
My mom came up to celebrate. We all always love her coming.

The girls especially have fun
It was a great weekend

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

God thought of me WAAAAAAAAAAAAY back then...what will He say about me when it's all said and done?

There are 2 passages of scripture that I have been pondering lately…Ephesians 2:10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do “ The last part is what I’ve been thinking about. What is it that God created me to do? What is it that He laid out for me before that foundations of the world? He thought about me that much…that makes me smile. The other passage is Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” I’ve never really paid attention to that last little part about the race being marked out for us. It goes along with that other verse. I find it very interesting. It’s the issue of What is the great work that God has called me to do in my life?

As I read through the Bible it took Moses 80 years of training before he did the great work God called of him, Abraham 25 years, David 15ish years, Nehemiah was cup bearer to the king for decades before he re-built the walls of Jerusalem. There's comfort in reading about people, GREAT people at that, who've gone before me and needed time. I don’t think the answer will come all at once (and I’m not comparing myself to those people...but it seems to me there is something for all of us) but if God has layed something out for me I for sure don’t want to miss it…so while I’m in training I’m going to pay attention. I have my eye on the Judgement Seat.
On a rabbit trail just for fun ;)...2 Corinthians 5:10 says this "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." and Romans 14:10 says " You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat." there are more passages...1 Corinthians 3:10-15 says, " By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. "This is talking about people who have accepted Jesus as their Saviour. Only Christians have the Judgement Seat. On this side of heaven we thankfully with the "mercy seat" and once we die we face the judgement seat where the catalogue of our lives will be unrolled before heaven and all unconfessed sin that we did not ask for forgiveness for on this side at the mercy seat will be judged...NOT WHAT we did but our motives for doing them (1 Corinthians 4:1-5, Matthew 6, Hebrews 4:12-14, and others talk about this:)). I want to hear "well done...". I don't want to just make it into heaven by the skin of my teeth and be on the edge. I want so much more. My position in heaven (yes there ARE indeed positions we won't be sitting on clouds strumming harps) and reward for ALL of ETERNITY (yeah that's beyond a REALLY long time) is determined by this "blink of an eye" life here on earth. I WILL FINISH MY RACE STRONG!
Have fun thinking and racing :)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Funny kid stories...

Ok so we have 2 World Vision kids (well one is World Vision and one is another one like it). They are a boy and a girl from Ethiopia. Their pictures are on our fridge and Mercedes, Shaun, and I have had many little conversations about who they are, that we have been blessed so we need to give and help people. That one child is an orphan from the AIDs epidemic, and we send them money so they can get an education, food, medicine, etc. Anyway, I was watching Oprah one afternoon ( I know roll your eyes if you have too :)) and Dwana Smallwood was dancing (apparently she is considered one of the best modern dancers in the world). she had no shoes on as she doing a dance called "cry". It is a slave's journey to freedom.She is an African-American...that is her in the picture. So it was upon this setting that Mercedes starts in on her list. "Mommy we need to send her money...She needs medicine Mommy, and food. Does she have a mommy and a daddy? Or did they get sick and die?" On and on she went. I sat there feeling that I was obviously lacking in my explanation skills. Here my little daughter sees a very wealthy lady on TV and because she has a certain skin colour and is not wearing shoes she MUST need our help. I had to explain that it does not depend upon a person's skin colour but more where they live. And that she wasn't wearing shoes so that she could do her dance properly. This lady was OK but that I appreciated her heart of compassion.

Next story...Mercedes has a friend named Caedence. He is a cutie pie of a boy. They love playing together. Caedence...well he's just one of those kids that you just love having around. He got Mercedes a Dora camping chair for her birthday and this is the story behind that. He and his mom went shopping for Mercedes' present. LaLainia let Caedence pick (smart mommy). So he looked and looked and finally he found a princess dress that he just loved for Mercedes and then he found hair pretties. THEN he saw this Dora chair and he HAD to get that. LaLainia explained that he could get either the princess dress or the chair. He decided on the Dora chair because "I have the Diego chair mommy and so I can be the prince and if Mercedes has this chair she can be the princess. SOOOOOOOO CUTE! OK so...He was over playing one day. They were downstairs in the yard jumping on the trampoline and riding bikes and generally having a blast! Caedence comes stomping up the stairs and says to Shaun and I "Mercedes was bad to me". So Shaun called Mercedes upstairs and said to them "OK Caedence I want to hear your side of the story and Mercedes please do not speak while he is talking and then Mercedes it will be your turn. So Caedence what is your story?" Caedence says this "Once upon a time there was a boy named Diego...the end." Mercedes at this point chimed in "yeah and there was a girl named Dora" I was really trying not to break into hysterical laughter as he was quite serious about it all. Then Shaun (who didn't miss a beat by the way) turned, straight-faced, and said "and do you think they were nice to each other?" To which they both replied "yes". Shaun said "OK then do you think you 2 can be nice to each other" "Yes" and they ran out quite in harmony with each other. About 1/2 hour later Caedence came in and said the same thing "Mercedes is being bad to me". Mercedes was with him this time. So Shaun again asked "Caedence tell me your story". HUGE sigh...he threw himself into the Dora chair and said VERY dramatically "Once upon a time..." I realize that he did not understand what Shaun was asking him...but it was so funny and it really distracted him. I love kids. They are so fun.

Hope you had a good laugh

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

My attention

This morning I was reading my Bible. Before I started I prayed 2 things...God please show me your motives in what I am about to read and God please show me my motives while I am reading. It was fascinating to me to then read my Bible. It was like I was there. I could feel the emotions of the story. I could almost taste the dust of the caravan. I was reading about Jacob in the book of Genesis. I have been reading through Genesis since the beginning of the year. Just reading slowly and soaking it in. Really listening this time instead of just reading the words. Letting God tell me His story. I have learned so much. Here's one story:

Genesis 32:22-32 talks about when Jacob literally wrestled with God. This is a somewhat humorous story to me. I mean really...ok so this is what is say...well the context is this...Jacob is returning home after 20 odd years of being away. He ran away (from present day Israel to present day SE Turkey near the border of Syria) in the first place because he had, through deception, stolen his twin brother's blessing (Genesis 27 recounts that story). His brother got mad...well furious...he said something along the lines of "my dad is going to die soon and once that happens I will then kill my brother" (by the way his dad lived another 40 years so Jacob would have been fine but he had no way of knowing that). So really Jacob, who was more of a lover not a fighter, was not really safe. So his mom told him to go to her brother's "until your brother's fury subsides". So needless to say Jacob and Esau didn't last see each other on the best of terms. And now Jacob is coming home and he is afraid of meeting his brother. Esau was a mighty and fierce warrior. He finds out that Esau is coming to meet him (and his family...Jacob a very VERY wealthy man by now but that is another story) with 400 men. So Jacob sends a peace offering of A LOT of animals to Esau from his herds and then "in great fear and distress" he divides his people and herds into 2 groups" so that if one group was attacked the other could escape. He had no idea what frame of mind his brother was in. Then he took his family to the other side of the river and then came back...and now he was alone. Now I imagine that "alone time" for Jacob was a thing that NEVER happened. He had 2 wives...yep 2! AND 2 concubines...AND 12 sons and at least one daughter. Plus servants. I rarely get alone time and I have 1 husband and only 2 children...and no servants. So this was a rare thing indeed. It says "So Jacob was left alone..." and then it says "...and a man wrestled with his till daybreak." I wonder how that went down. Did this stranger just walk up to Jacob and start wrestling or did they have words or...or what? How in the world did they start wrestling. The answer is left to our imagination. OK so for a lot of the night Jacob and this guy wrestled. Strange. Well perhaps not so strange really...I've learned something about the male gender :)...they cannot sit still and talk they have to be "doing something" while they talk. So perhaps God's purpose was to get Jacob's attention to get him focused back on what was important...not his brother but God...and maybe he did that by wrestling him. Maybe God was directing Jacob's steps. He saw that Jacob was full of fear and "distressed" over meeting his brother and God didn't want him to worry. I imagine that Jacob was extremely tired after organizing all those people, plus the mental anxiety, plus wrestling all night. He likely met Esau pretty calmly because he had no nervous energy left to have fear and to fret. That's not in the Bible it's just my own thought. Place yourself in Jacob's shoes...

Then it says this "When the man saw that he could not overpower him (Jacob), he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said ,'Let me got for it is daybreak.'" Couple things...this is the second time that Jacob's unnatural strength is mentioned. The first time is when he arrived at his Uncle Laban's after running from his brother. He came to a well and there were all these shepherds and their flocks of sheep just waiting around the well. Jacob (being familiar with all this sheep stuff) asked why they were there (because it was the wrong time of day to water sheep) and then he told them to water the sheep and go back to the pasture. They said they couldn't because all the flocks weren't there yet (and therefore all the shepherds) so they had to wait for them to get there in order to be able to roll back the stone...in other words it took A LOT of guys to move this stone because it was SO HEAVY. Well just then Rachel (Jacob's beautiful cousin arrived with her flock of sheep...well Jacob went and single handed rolled back the stone (Gen. 29:1-10) OK well this time this guy (we at this point aren't clear on who he was) could not get the better of Jacob in this physical match of strength. Jacob was strong...we already know that...but he likely had so much pent up anxiety over meeting his brother as well...plus he was stubborn. Do you know what Jacob said when this stranger asked to be let go of..."I will not let you go unless you bless me." So the guy asked his name and Jacob told him and then the guy changed his name. He said this " Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." and Jacob said "Please tell me your name" and the guy said, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there" I wonder what he said in that blessing? Oh to be a fly on a rock there. Genesis 32:30 "So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face , and yet my life was spared." He understood the gravity of the situation. The rest of the chapter says this "The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendons attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob's hip was touched near the tendon." He likely limped the rest of his life. And it probably reminded him of that night.

I just found it interesting that the 2 times God talked to Jacob...that are recorded...he was ALONE! I find that if I take time to be still and quiet and just BE that is when God grabs my attention and talks to me...He likely talks a lot more but I can't hear him through all the noise and business. God is not obnoxious. He won't get louder and louder so we can hear Him. He waits for us to be quite and still.