Tuesday, August 26, 2014

50th Bash


My mom planned a perfect 50th bash!
70 people came out to celebrate my parents!!!



Having married in Texas, she served a barbecue dinner and decorated cowboy style ...
complete with red, white & blue, cowboy boots filled with Blue Bonnets.
My kids filled the role of waiters and waitresses.
It was such a fun evening, honoring my parents, who have stayed committed to their vows.
We love you, Mom and Dad!


Shiloh Joy - 11 years old
Landon Caleb - 9 years
Sawyer Joseph - 6 years old
Liberty Cate - 4 1/2 years old
Aunt Judy

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Committed

We've all heard someone say ... 
and maybe we have even said similar words ...
"I just can't take it anymore."
"I deserve better."
"I don't deserve to be treated so poorly."

In the last year, 2 couples, who were good YWAM friends back in the 90s, both divorced.
Their stories brought tears to my eyes.
For whatever reasons, even if they were good ones, they (or one of them) gave up the fight.

Marriage is hard work.
But Steve and I have never struggled.
I'd be lying to say that I've never thought every now and then ...
"What was I thinking when I married him??"
Certainly he's never had the same thought.
And I'm sure he's thought something similar.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I was crazy angry with my husband ...
and wanted to ... um ... give it to him.  Oh yeah, I did.  =(

In the last week, we've celebrated 3 anniversaries in our family.

My parents celebrated 50.  That's FIFTY.  5 - 0 !
Through thick and thin, they chose to stay together.
Primarily b/c they love Jesus ... and they love my sister and me.
They were committed to their vows, their convictions, and they loved us enough to keep our family in tact, even if they didn't always like each other.

Lisa's parents, Roger & Eileen Himes
On the 18th, Steve's parents celebrated 52 years of marriage!
They too have a love for Jesus, us, and each other!

Steve's parents, Karen and Larry Stucky
In February, Steve's brother, Matt, and his wife Jena celebrated 20 years.
Jena also told me, before her dad passed away, her parents were married for 53 years!
What a legacy to have in our family!!!!
We are blessed to have such a Godly heritage.

Jena, Matt, Claire, Anna, and Adrian
Steve and I just celebrated 16 years.
Despite all the challenges, I know, and firmly believe, that God brought Steve into my life.
He knew I needed Steve ... to refine me to be more like Him!
All the trials are for my good ... and His glory!
And I am blessed.
I am thankful to have married Steve.
I am thankful for all the change and growth that has taken place in my heart as a result.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Sweet 16

Our marriage is 16 years old today!


In 16 years ...

I graduated from Colorado Christian University.
We each earned a counseling certificate ... and are hoping to continue that education.
We traveled to 4 countries together ... and I to 4 others.
We traveled to 20 states.
We served on Staff with Campus Crusade for 6 years.
We were involved in church planting for 2 years.
We've had 4 beautiful kids!
We lived in Montana for 3 years - 1 in Bozeman, 2 in Kalispell.
We lived in Albuquerque, NM for 1 year, where Sawyer was born.
We lived in Washington for 2 years, where Liberty was born.
We have lived in Colorado 10 years, where Shiloh and Landon were born.
We have bought 4 homes, sold 3, and finished 2 basements.
We have never lived in the same house for more than 3 years, until this one.
We have only owned one pet, a dog named Murphy for 4 months, then because he started biting, he went back to his owners.
We started a non-profit.
... and that's just the ones I can remember right now.

Since meeting Steve, I've gained new interests and new likes ...
Baseball!
Football.
Writing.
Peanut butter on french toast.
Walking around quaint little towns.
U.S. history
Politics
... just to name a few!

Our wedding date is the same as my parents.
August 22.  We married in 1998 and they in 1964.
So, today, we celebrate 16, and they celebrate 50!

One week from today we are flying to Miami to go on a cruise!
A big 'ole 50th anniversary celebration!!!!!

We get to see our dear friends, the Torgrimsons on Saturday.
Then - we depart Sunday afternoon.
We have stops at --
Half Moon Cay, The Bahamas
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Grand Turk, Turks Islands

I can hardly wait!
Thanks mom and dad for making our 16th anniversary extra memorable!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back to School

We started school on Monday.
Although we never completely stopped this summer ...
we needed to have a start day.
So, Monday was it.

Ready or not, we have gone back to school.
I thought I might try a new schedule this year, but the kids just wanted their checklists.
So, we created new checklists for this year.
Instead of Monday/Wednesday and Tuesday/Thursday lists,
we made Daily and Weekly lists.

Naturally, they got new books, or the next level workbooks.
They are incredibly excited.
I find myself surprised at just how excited they are!
More than anything, I think they are ready for a routine.


Liberty is only 4 1/2 - but she wants to be in Kindergarten.
She wants to learn to read and do math ... just like Sawyer!
So, we'll try reading this year.
Math may be little more than shapes and snapping blocks.
Tracing letters will be her spelling program.
So long as she has a check list like everyone else, she's happy!
And she will be in Foundations at CC this year.
She is elated to have her very own class!


This big guy is ready to go!
He wants to have more subjects on his checklist ...
although he already has
Math - Saxon 1
Spelling - Spelling Workout A
Geography - Math tracing &      1st grade
English Grammar - 1st Language Lessons
+ all the readers he has in order to develop his reading skills


Buddy takes a big jump up to 5th grade.
He is an incredibly bright boy who loves math and science.
A couple of weeks ago, he started math on his own.
And that was when we were still taking tests from last year - which he consistently earned A's.
He will be in Essentials this year.
He gets to learn how to type, so he can write papers.


Shiloh is now in Middle School.
I am NOT ready, but she is.
She is thrilled to be leading our pack.
This is her last year in Foundations and Essentials.
She will move up to Challenge next year.
She still loves to write.  Writing stories is one of her favorite activities.

No sooner will we start school ... then we get to go on a cruise!
Next Friday .. we fly out to Miami.  The cruise departs Sunday.
I am soooo excited!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Steadfastness


Many authors have penned books, trying to help men and women make marriages work.
A slew of titles remind us just how different we are!

5 love languages
Men are from Mars - Women are from Venus
Men are like waffles - Women are like spaghetti
Love & Respect - The love she most desires, the respect he desperately needs
His needs - Her needs

Then there's all the books to help us fix our issues in marriage.
5 steps to building your marriage
7 secrets to fixing your marriage
9 words you can say

Marriage is just plain hard.
Two fallen, sinful, selfish individuals decide to spend the rest of their lives together.
That very idea has disaster written all over it.
And yet, the Creator of the universe chose marriage as a way to show us what the relationship of the church with Christ is like - what kind of a relationship He wants to have with us.

Steve and I met and married in less than 8 months.
Let's just say, the honeymoon didn't last long
and our first year of marriage was filled with conflict and tears.
We said words that would have been better left unsaid.
Those words left scars.

Then, adding kids to the mix brings in a whole host of things to fight about.
And they bring their own fighting words into the conversation.

We will be celebrating SIXTEEN years of marriage next week ...
and it seems that Satan has turned up the fire and is actively at work.
(Thus the post yesterday about Boundaries)

It's super hard for me when my kids sense that something isn't quite right.
Then they start acting out.
Landon, in particular, has a sensitive spirit.
The last couple of days have been difficult with him, as he is lashing out in anger.
I don't think even he knows what he's mad about.
Steve talked to him about the fact that we are fighting but are working it out.
Landon had just met a boy at the CC practicum whose parents recently divorced.
"The dad was hitting his mom," he remembered.
Steve assured him there is no hitting going on here and we are not going to divorce.

I've been meditating on James 1 the last couple of weeks.
Verses 2-3 say, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.  For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have it's full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

Verse 2 always stood out to me, but more recently, verse 3 has a hold on me.
LET steadfastness have it's full effect.
Steadfastness.
Loyal. Faithful. Committed. Devoted. Dedicated. Dependable. Reliable. Steady.
Trials brings about the testing of my faith.
The testing of my faith produces steadfastness.
Through testing, God makes me more loyal, faithful, committed to my faith.
And by letting steadfastness have it's full effect, I'll be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
God uses trials and the testing of my faith to call me to be more loyal, faithful, committed.

Perfect?  Complete?  Lacking in nothing?
That seems impossible, this side of heaven.
BUT then Peter adds to this in 2 Peter 1
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.  For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

It's amazing to think that God has given me power and ALL things that pertain to life and godliness.
Godly?
Somedays I am anything but godly.

Make every effort to supplement your faith with
virtue .. knowledge .. self-control .. steadfastness .. godliness .. brotherly affection .. love.
These qualities already belong to me.
God has given them to me through the power of the Spirit.
BUT I so often lack those qualities.
And that leaves me so nearsighted that I am blind!
In lacking them, I forget that I was cleansed from my former sins.
I forget that God has forgiven much.
And I, in return, much forgive much.

So, um, yea, the volcanic eruptions...
not what God has for me, nor what He wants from me.
I need to become a partaker - and make every effort.
Easier said than done.
Always.
And I'll end this post like I did yesterday ...
I must keep trying.
Sometimes, trying is the best I can do.
But without a reliance on the power of the Spirit, my trying will only be in vain.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Boundaries

Learning to set boundaries has to be one of the most difficult challenges I face.
I often believe the myth
"If I set boundaries, I'm being selfish."

Selfishness is more of a fixation on my own wishes and desires.
Although wishes and desires aren't bad in and of themselves,
but I have to keep them in line with healthily goals and responsibilities.

Because of my history,
I fear that setting and keeping limits might push someone away or cause them to dislike me.
Abuse victims are usually threatened by their abuser.
I was told NEVER to tell anyone what was happening.
I was threatened.
My boundaries had been violated and I had no power to enforce them.

When Steve and I have a conflict, I don't always handle it well.
Surprise, right?
Well, let's just say, I'm like a volcano.
I stew over something, often times sub-consciously.
Then, after enough things upset me, I erupt.
I'm a ball of fire, burning up everything in my path.
It's not pretty.

Then, I'll set a boundary by drawing a thick line and posting a sign that says,
"Don't you dare cross."
Unfortunately, because I later feel guilt for over-reacting,
I then think I should withdraw this "boundary" I set.

It's a vicious cycle in which I find myself.
I feel overwhelmed because I can't make it stop.
I get so mad at myself.

This week, I'm dealing with the fall-out from one of my volcanic eruptions.
Steve and I do need to work on how we relate to each other
... especially when we're stressed
... or when we've allowed offenses to build up.

Forgiveness is most certainly something I need to work on!
Sometimes I think, "If I could REALLY internalize how much I have been forgiven ..."
then I could forgive as I have been forgiven.
I keep trying.
Sometimes, trying is the best I can do.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Fighting

This time of year, my kids start fighting.  A lot.
I don't know what it is.

Boredom. (which is a word I don't let them use or I make them work)
The laziness that comes with summer.
The over-stimulation that summer brings.

Regardless of their excuses ...
they just reach a point where nothing the other does is right or good enough.
They bicker.
They fight.
They call names.

It starts to weigh heavily on me.

This summer, we even kept plugging along with school.
Nothing major.
A little science here.
A few math tests there.
But it wasn't enough.

I'm convinced that kids need routine.
They need a schedule.
They need to know what to expect.

I might need a break - with no schedule.
But they thrive on it.

So, with Douglas County starting school today ...
we will start preparing to start school.
We have my parent's 50th anniversary coming up, complete with a cruse in the Caribbean!
We'll be gone August 29 - September 8.
YES - I'm crazy excited.

But that also means that we do need to get some school behind us.
Monday, August 18th will be our first day of school.
We'll have about 8 days to get some work done.

I'm also tutoring this year.
CC doesn't start until September 25th.
So, that gives us some time to get some other work behind us.

And with the start of school, I pray comes the end of the fighting!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Never Say Never

Yes.
I have said never.
I'm not one who thinks that every time one says never that God makes sure that's what happens.
I don't believe that God is simply out to derail everything we don't want to happen.
But I do believe that often times we speak out of ignorance.
We don't want certain things to happen ... so we say never.
Then God, in His lovingkindness, turns our never around on us.
He allows the opposite to happen for our good and His glory.

I have a handful of those times in my life when I said never.

#1 - I said I'd never attend a Discipleship Training School (DTS) with Youth With a Mission (YWAM).
Why?
My parents were encouraging it (and I was resisting) and my younger sister had gone before me.
She attended a DTS in Switzerland.
I was living in Israel and went to visit her when her school ended.
I was so inspired by the stories of the students who had just come back from outreach ...
and 6 short months later, I was in England attending a DTS.
It was a significant time of spiritual growth and healing in my life!

In England @ the YWAM base

#2 - I swore I would never attend a School of Biblical Studies (SBS) with YWAM.
When I was in England on my DTS, my younger sister was in Hawaii attending the SBS.
I said never.
Why?
NINE months of intense Bible study ... there was no way.
I didn't like school.  I didn't want to sit at a desk all day.
But God began speaking to me, and opening doors for me to attend one in Montana.
Only 3 months after finishing my DTS, I was on my way to Montana to attend the SBS.

In Montana for SBS

#3 - College.  Never.
Why?
I was going to be a missionary for life.
I would stay on staff with YWAM until retirement ... should that day ever come.
I didn't want to stop doing ministry and leading outreach teams to go to school.
But after 5 years on staff with YWAM, I had earned 72 credits from the University of the Nations (a non- accredited YWAM Uni.)
God led me home ... where I submitted an application to Colorado Christian University (CCU).
They accepted 68 of the 72 credits I had.
AND I graduated in 15 months with a B.S. in Christian Leadership.

#4 - I thought I would never marry.
But - should God bring someone into my life, we would have a long term relationship before getting married.  Slow.  That's what I wanted.
Why?
I watched so many of my YWAM friends meet and marry in 6 months or less.
That was NOT going to be me.
But you guessed it.
Again, God redirected my never.
I met Steve in January, when I was at CCU.
We started dating in March.
We were engaged in May.
And we married in August.
EIGHT months.
Although our first year of marriage was exceedingly difficult ...
we are about to celebrate 16 years of marriage in 2 weeks!
Marriage has certainly been a venue that God has used to bring about growth!

August 22, 1998

#5 - Kids.  No way!
I couldn't imagine being a mom.
I was a missionary ... set on traveling the world to tell others about Christ.
I loved teaching the Bible and wanted to go on teams to teach leaders in the 10/40 window.
My intentions were good.
But God knew I had much to learn by being a mom.
5 years into our marriage, we started a family.
In 6 1/2 years, we had 4 kids.
Now, I'm a stay home, home schooling mom and I love it.
God uses the daily moments to refine me, as I am tested and challenged.

Mother's Day 2014

#6 - I was not going to raise my family in Colorado.
Although I'm a native, and I love Colorado ...
I really wanted to live in Montana.
I lived there for 6 years before I knew Steve.
We lived there our 2nd year of marriage.
I wanted to have some land and call Montana home.
But after being gone for 5 years, God brought our family home.
He knew that we would need the support of our families during this season of life.
And we needed to be close to them.  And I am SO very thankful to be here!
August 4th, was our 3rd anniversary in this house.
AND it's the longest place we've lived anywhere.

#7 - I would not, could not ever be a missionary in a place like Africa.
I could go on short term trips ... but live there?  Never!
Now, God has burdened my heart for Tanzania.
The vision of starting a school there breathes life into my exhausted soul.
I dream of going back ... and being an active part of establishing a school that will change the lives of Tanzania's orphans.
I hope and pray for the day that God takes our family there.
Maybe only for a few months at first ... but then for a longer period of time.
2 ... 3 ... 4 years?
And so I wait to see how God would work through this "never."
He has already softened and opened my heart toward it.
So maybe ... one day!

And I am absolutely certain that those are not the only times I will say never.
And when I do ... God will love me enough to use those nevers
to bring glory to Himself through me.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Anger

Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding,
but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.  Proverbs 14:29

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.  Proverbs 16:32

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, 
slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce 
the righteousness that God requires.  James 1:19-20

I struggle with anger.
There.  I said it.
I am bent toward a prophetic motive.
Black and white is the lens through which I see.
Right and wrong.
I have to work hard to see grey.

Being a a victim of abuse most certainly plays a role in my anger.
As abuse victims, our desire is to see justice done.
"He should pay for what he did to me."
For me personally, justice cannot be done, as my grandfather is no longer living.

I have found that when there is no justice, anger follows.
Unfortunately, that anger carries over into other areas of life.

I see it in my own life.
I get angry with my kids when they are disrespectful and dishonoring.
I get angry when my husband treats me harshly.
I get angry when friends say hurtful words.
Why?  Because I believe that "I deserve to be treated better than that."

It is hard for me to sit back and take treatment that I feel I don't deserve ...
and not want to seek justice or even revenge.
My anger gets the best of me.
Then, repentance must follow.
It's a sinful cycle.

But as I meditate on the words of Scripture, especially those on anger, I am convicted.
James 1:20 stands out ... when I consider the fact that my anger does not produce the righteousness that God requires.
If I truly believe that God uses all things for my good and His glory,
then nothing that happens to me is outside of his omniscience.
He knows everything that happens.
He intends to use everything I experience to produce righteousness in me,
and thereby bring glory to His name.

God requires righteousness.
In Scripture, God says again and again, "Be holy as I am holy."
He uses every event and circumstance to bring about holiness and righteousness.
I must submit myself to how He would choose to work that in me.
But so often, my anger gets in the way of that process.

Daily I must submit myself to Him.
Daily I must repent for my mistakes.
Daily I must realign my will with His.
Daily I must try, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to keep my anger at bay.

It's a life long process.
But one, that at the end of my lifetime, will prove to have been worth it all.
When, at last, I stand face to face with my Heavenly Father.
When I look into His eyes, and experience His love as He longs to show me,
all the pain and hardships will be long forgotten.