Aren’t We All Beautiful And Precious Gems?

Do you see yourself as beautiful? Flawless? A rare gem to be treasured?

I struggle with this for myself. I’m not sure I’ve ever really felt beautiful. Growing up, I hated having red hair and freckles. From my childish point of view, I was the only kid in our entire school with red hair and freckles. I was the outsider, often called carrot top by my classmates. The horror!

Then I entered puberty and had terrible acne. I can barely look at my old school pictures. The scars left a lasting impression on the mental view I had of myself. Even now when I look in the mirror, I still see a flawed face from my teen years. Plus a few crow’s feet now resting around my eyes, and laugh lines around my mouth.

Once when I was single, a guy I dated for a short time, pointed out the wrinkles on my neck…and I was only in my early twenties at the time. I had never noticed them until that day. Now I see them every morning when I brush my hair.

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Family Goal Planning And Traditions

I’m starting to think back over the year 2018. Despite the fact that not much seems to have changed in our family’s employment or income status, I recognize that God was very present and all the things I can smile about were actually blessings poured down from Heaven. For that matter, even the situations that were less than joyful, God made beautiful in His own way.

I’ve shared before that I’m big on starting family traditions. New Years is no exception.

Every December, the week after Christmas, my husband and I start individually reflecting on the year we’re about to kiss goodbye and start planning for the year ahead.  We think of the good times and smile knowing God blessed us abundantly.  We think of the bad times, and again we smile knowing God’s mighty hand never stopped working.

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The Best Of 2018 Mom Style

The week between Christmas and New Year is a not just a week for family goal planning, but it is also a week for reflection.  I’m not a big believer in harping on the things that didn’t go well.  Really, what good does it do to beat our failures to death?

Chances are, we’ve already learned our valuable lessons and moved on. So what I like to look back on are the wonderful things we saw, like the San Francisco Art Market last year. Those things are worth celebrating. Here’s the best of 2018 in my world. See also this great video “To All Those Who Mum – Mother’s Day 2018” video:

The Art of Marriage

In February, my husband and I attended a two-day weekend marriage retreat our church hosted. What an incredible weekend it was! We spent intentional time together focusing on our marriage, communicating about important topics in a loving way, and confirmed that we are still madly in love with each other. Every couple needs to take time away to check-in with each other and make sure their marriage is still on solid ground.

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Let Your Religion Help You Become More Social

Blogs have been around for quite a while now.  What you’ll notice about the majority of them is that the focus is on the individual.  There are blogs on:

  • being a mom
  • traversing through illness
  • making a home
  • music, art, hobbies
  • organizing
  • decorating
  • traveling

What you don’t find very often are blogs about fictional characters or religion. Believe me, I’ve searched the internet.  So why in Heaven’s name would I want to write a blog about my religious life and fictional characters when it seems like most people are drawn to the more personal.

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Five Things Parents Should Bear In Mind During The Holidays

In today’s world where we share a lot (everything?) on social media, it’s easy to get caught up in what someone else’s traditions are, and a keeping up with the Joneses type of scenario. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind as you travel through this year’s hectic Holiday Season.

It’s up to you and your partner which traditions you participate in.
I know, I know! Everyone and their brother is jumping on the Elf on a Shelf tradition but you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. And you should have absolutely no guilt about not doing it, any more than you should if you choose to do it. Same goes for Santa, St. Nicholas, trees and everything else. Pick and choose which traditions you want to participate in and that’s that!

In our house we do Santa, we do milk and cookies for Santa and we sprinkle some oats outside for the reindeer. We put up a tree, we fill stockings, we go to Christmas Eve service at church, and we put family before anything else during the holidays. We do not do Elf on a Shelf. We do not do St. Nicholas. And Santa does not bring gifts for our pets. Those are the traditions we participate in. Period.

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Can I Really Be Real With You?

Can I be real with you today? I hope you don’t mind if I take my Christian SuperMom hat off and bury my face in my hands for a few minutes. It’s one of these days. Would you be willing to sit with me for a moment as I share a bit of my heart?

I’m having one of those days.  No – one of those weeks. I know I’m not alone in this. I know you’ve had them too.

I’ve been crying a lot lately. Not where anyone can see. Only God knows the tears I’m shedding.  And this morning as I curled up on the couch to spend time with God in prayer, He saw my tears again. And He heard my thoughts. And I’m sure He held my heart.

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Prioritizing What’s Important In Life

It’s been an emotional week in our home. Not long ago I wrote a post Talking To Your Children About Death And Suffering. Little did I realize, this week would be the week I’d have to have more of those conversations with my daughter. And come to grips with my own questions too. Just listen to Don Moen sing “God Will Make A Way”:

Monday during lunch at my daughter’s elementary school, an eight-year-old girl laughed with her friends, until she took a bite of her hot dog and began to choke on it. Literally. The school faculty quickly cleared all the children out of the lunchroom while they awaited the arrival of paramedics and desperately tried to save this little girl.

She would soon be life flighted to the closest Children’s hospital, induced into a coma, and lie in critical care for a day or two before her little body, having suffered too much brain and heart damage would finally give up. She passed away Thursday evening. Such an awful tragedy.

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You Should Meet God Halfway

God is pretty awesome. And he definitely has a sense of humor.

I’ve been praying and praying that I find a good job, one that will help me pay off my debts and allow me to live a modest life in a far-away country like South Africa, they know what that takes, especially in education. Nothing too fancy. I don’t aspire to be a millionaire or have lots of expensive, meaningless things.

So I’ve been doing my part – applying to awesome-sounding jobs just knowing that this is the one for me. This is where God wants me to work. THIS is the opportunity he has for me.

And then I never even get called in for an interview.

I’ve even had recruiters contact me out of the blue and ask me to apply for jobs – surely that’s God working to get me in an opportunity, right?!? What a vanity!

Wrong. The position has already been filled.

THEN WHY DID YOU CONTACT ME AND GET MY HOPES UP GOD WHAT ARE YOU DOING IF THIS IS THE OPPORTUNITY YOU HAVE FOR ME I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU CAN’T SEE THIS IS PERFECT!!!

The trust I have in His plan is solid, obviously.

But today I got another lead out of the blue. Someone who found me through the powers of Google and, in the course of our pre-contract discussion, said, “Wow, I really want to work with you.”

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Ladies, Let’s Talk About Vanity Today

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7

This verse from the book of Luke demonstrates the great worth we each have in the sight of God. He takes the time to count each hair on our head not because he is a detail-oriented obsessive-compulsive and not because he has nothing better to do, but because we matter so very much to Him.

There’s comfort in that kind of love, because we can find our value in relationship with God…a relationship that’s based not on what we do but rather in the grace we’ve been given.

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Mercy vs Justice. What’s Comes First?

How many times do you go into missions looking to save people? Have you ever considered that maybe we’re meant to simply help them save themselves? It’s not only about mercy. It’s about mercy vs justice.

I was a full-time missionary in Eastern Europe. It did some things related to a Dutch education program called “Buitenkansen”. The country had been under Communist rule for decades, and when the Iron Curtain fell citizens went back to church in droves. And then, as often happens when life gets in the way of God, faith mattered less and less and the faith of the nation could now be considered “post-Christian.” Atheism is growing, complacency in believers is growing, yet there are pockets of Christians living on fire. Very similar to the state of faith in the United States.

I went into the experience thinking I would be changing hearts for the Lord. I thought I would be reaching the lost. Instead, I worked at a parochial school that taught religion classes in the native language, held weekly devotions in the dormitory, chapel services at the local church, etc.

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