Archives for May 2011

My Life: Women’s Bible Study

Written By Amy

Our group, minus a few who weren't here for the pic!

 

Every other Monday night, a group of us, sometimes 8, sometimes 10, sometimes 5, gather for bible study.  We named it  GROW, because we meet for one main reason, to grow in our relationship with God.  We do this through books written by amazing women, who challenge us in our faith, teach us new things and set us on a road to deepen our relationships with each other and with God.  The women in our group are amazing, and have been willing to open up their lives, personal struggles, and hearts to the rest of the group. What I love most about our time is it is real–there is no pretense.  We are willing to be vulnerable because it is a safe place, one of laughter and connection.   We get to step out of our busy, hectic lives for a couple of hours and focus on what really matters to us.

The other thing I love about being in bible study is it keeps me heading toward God.  I recently heard someone say, “If you are not moving closer to God, you are moving away from him.”  There is no middle, stagnant place.  I want to keep moving forward….there is so much growing I still have to do, and so much love of His to experience.  

I encourage you, if you are not in some type of group like this, to find one.  If there is not one through your church, start one!  I can help you with that if you want!  It will be a great blessing in your life.

Wise Words : Making Your Life a Good Story

Written By Jen

“Don’t be afraid to embrace whimsy.  Whimsy is that nagging idea that life could be magical; it could be special if we were only willing to take a few risks.”  Bob Goff  from A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

My Dad was a man who embraced whimsy.

“The most often repeated commandment in the Bible is “Do not fear.”  It’s in there over two hundred times.  That means we are going to be afraid, and it means we shouldn’t let fear boss us around.  Before I realized we were supposed to fight fear, I thought of fear as a subtle suggestion in our subconscious designed to keep us safe, or more important, keep us form getting humiliated.  And I guess it serves that purpose.  But fear isn’t only a guide to keep us safe; it’s also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life.”  Donald Miller in A Million Miles In a Thousand Years.

Donald Miller, A Million Miles In a Thousand Years, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2009) p 108, 167.

 

Parenting : Building Relationships

Written By Jen


My mom challenged me the other day.  She said, “I see all these moms on the phone all the time.  They are on the phone in the car with their kids, on the phone while they are at the grocery store, and on the phone while they are at home.  It seems like they are always shushing their kids because they are speaking to someone who is more important.”  Of course immediately I was defensive, “But mom, we need some adult time!”  She continued, “We used that time to have conversations with our kids in order to build a relationship with them.  You know soon they will be too busy.  You have time now.  Make them a priority.  They are really more important than the person on the other line.”

She said some kids grow up in the same home as their parents, but have not built a relationship with communication.  They feel they were always ‘shushed’ and why would they communicate with their parents when they are older when they did not build the foundation for communication at a young age.   Me in response: “Argh, I hear you mom.”

But at the same time, I am a phone talker.  I think some people are and some are not.  When I get on the phone with a good friend, or my mom, I feel like I just sat down at Starbucks with them and I can’t wait to chat with them.  I am not going to give up my friend time on the phone, but I am going to think about the best time to talk.  I will ask myself am I shushing my kids?  What is more important right now?  I want to build good communication and relationships with my kids and I admit that with all this technology at my fingertips, I am easily distracted.  I love my kids and I want them to know that they are more important than my blog, words with friends, a funny story with a friend that could be shared later, Facebook, and more important than texting, email, or angry birds…seriously the list goes on and on.

Let’s all be aware of who we are shushing in our lives?  Why are we shushing them?  What is more important?  Then we need to choose to relate and choose to look them in their eyes.  We need to put it down, shut it off, and engage instead of escape.  I believe in moderation and there is a time for everything, but be aware of who or what is getting your time.  Ugh, I have a lot of work to do in this area.  Something they say a lot at our church that I love is “me too”.  Yep, I struggle with that too.  Lets encourage one another to love deeply with the grace of God covering us with our friends and our kids.

 

Our Life: Time

Written By Amy

Today, as I clicked on the Women of Faith blog question of the week, I chuckled.   The question posed was, “Do you feel like you are running out of time?”  Ha!  There has not been a time in my life where I have felt less in control of my time, struggled more with balancing the time I do have, or wished I had more of it.  The truth is, I have the same amount of time in my day or week that I have always had, but it is allocated differently now.  Thirty two hours of my week are devoted to working outside of the home. I see its effect in my abilities as a productive homemaker, involved mom, and loving wife.  It’s like I have squeezed all the other roles and responsibilities of my pre-working life into jeans that are WAY too tight….it doesn’t look good. 

I’m a visual processor, so I decided to write out what these other squeezed hours are going to:

 Fifty six are sleeping (if I am not having insomnia!), four are driving to and from work, including back and forth to the school for my tutoring job.  Probably fifteen are spent running my kids to activities, especially if my husband is traveling. Eighteen are spent cooking, cleaning up, or eating actual meals (as opposed to the grazing I will do while at work each day), eight on laundry, ten running errands including grocery shopping throughout the week, eight on housework of various sorts, plus all of those miscellaneous minutes like getting ready for work, having a conversation with my kids or husband, helping with homework, plunging the toilet, pulling weeds, etc ( ten).  There are on average three hours a week in bible study.  And probably five on the blog.   And probably four on the online class I am taking.  Add on another four for bible study preparation or time with God.  OK, so there are 168 hours in a week, and after adding up all of those hours (including work) I am minus 9.  And I’m not even including an hour here and there to relax with my husband in front of our favorite tv show, or a birthday dinner with friends, or time on the phone catching up with family.

I don’t want to live in the hole with my time.

Our family’s decision for me to work right now has been a hard one, but it is one that we felt was necessary to get us through a financial low.  It’s a decision we gave much thought and prayer and God continues to open doors of opportunity for me to help pitch in to our financial whole which is a great blessing.  However, it is not the way I want to spend my time long-term.  Time is a gift, given to us by God from our first to last breath.   I don’t want to live a life that never rests, checking the boxes, going through the motions.

Yet, it is where I am at the moment, by choice.  And I know God is in my time.  He is in the moments when my daughter is showing me the five rollie pollies she just brought in on her hand ALL named “Frankie”.  He is in my work, and my relationships at work, and He is in the role of serving my family with meals and housework.  He is in the moments when Jon and I get to process the day on the phone, from states miles apart.  And He is in the moments I want to say, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”

I am walking closely with God now, praying for energy, a full tank, strength to get through one more busy day.  I am listening for His voice to tell me when it is time to shift, slow down, what needs to stay and what needs to go.  This is a temporary situation for us, we’ve said maybe a year before we look at some other options.

I want to be clear that I am not taking sides on the working-mom vs. stay-at-home mom debate.  I know some  moms who are working a full 40 hours and doing an amazing job at all facets of their life.  I respect you greatly after walking in your shoes!  For me, my classes, writing this blog, and some of the other things mentioned push me over the top, and I am not willing to let them go, so eventually work will have to subside. 

In the meantime I know as each minute passes, it is a season of life, and God is in my time.

Sharing the Good Stuff: Pressing On

WRITTEN BY AMY

Paul, one of the true inspired writers of the New Testament, and an example to all of steadfast faith and committment to God wrote these words, admitting that he did not have it all figured out:

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it all made.  But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out from me.  Friends, don’t get me wrong; By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this (this whole following Jesus thing), but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward–to Jesus.”  Philippians 3:13-14     The Message

This is what Joyce Meyer has to say about this topic:

Our relationships with God are progressive and we all move from one level to another.  No one ever “masters” communication with God because there is no limit to the depth of relationship we can have with Him; it just keeps growing, keeps going deeper, keeps getting stronger.  Our ability to hear His voice develops and improves over time.     

God has so much for you, and though you may not have arrived at your final destination, you can thank God you are on the pathway that will take you there.  As long as you are making progress, it really doesn’t matter if you are crawling, walking, or running!  Just keep pressing on!   

Hearing From God Each Morning p.28

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