Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday - A Day of Rest

Instead of running round to get ready to drive down to LA, I am being calm. Being G's pillow does that. :)

I've got my list of things to pack. (Don't let me forget to add 'camera' to that list) I need to do a little laundry and pack us. Really though, not all that stressful. I believe I have dinner for tomorrow and Tuesday all figured out and even MADE. I just need to clean the bathroom floor and make sure the trash is dumped. But not today. I'm going to settle in and play with my sweet baby...because before I know it, he'll be walking.

Letting go control of today...*blink* good, the world is still here. :)

Thank God for provision and peace.

Rest today, my dear reader. The week starts too quickly and time passes.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Readers :)

There is at least one view on every post I've written. That's truly humbling.

If you're a real live person, thank you for reading! :)

If you're a bot:
0101010001101000011000010110111001101011 011110010110111101110101 011001100110111101110010 01100010011001010110000101100100011010010110111001100111 00100001

Hey, bots have feelings, too! :)

p.s. That's binary, just in case you were wondering. I put spaces in between for those of you that might want to look up what I might have said :) 

Daily Dose: Where Your Tears Go - Tracie Miles

"You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." Psalm 56:8 (NLT)

This is a great reminder, especially when going through rough times. God is always with you, holding your hand and catching your tears. Even when it seems like there is no way for that to be true.

God spends His time listening and loving all our messy humanness. I can't always wrap my head around that. :)

Before I post today

PSA: Some of my posts saved as drafts and some posted funny when I wrote them from my tablet or phone over the past couple days. I've been trying to fix that today. I love the mobile apps, but they really mess with the timeline on things sometimes.

If I'm posting from my phone or tablet, I may have to come back in so you get everything in the right order.

Honestly, it's probably user error or getting up to see what the Tiny Dictator needs ;)

Thanks for reading! 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Daily Dose: Messy Marriage - Lysa TerKeurst

"But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God." Jeremiah 17:7 (MSG)

I will admit...I've read this and avoided writing about it. I hemmed and hawed with the screen open as I went about going to a doctor appointment I couldn't actually be seen at, through feeding my little guy and putting him down for a nap...yeah...I thought about it. I didn't write about it.

The reason? I am a dirty orange juice slinger. Well, it hasn't been orange juice. Usually a towel, or my phone. (Good thing there's a case on it!)

Oh I get so mad sometimes and let me tell you, I have a TEMPER. Sure, I'm sunshiney most days, however, when the mood arrives, you better believe there are storm clouds and a torrent of thunder comes out of my mouth toward my husband before I can even bat an eye. And then I  try to suck it all in and make it like it didn't happen. I know that I don't need to talk like that to him just because he's said something hurtful to me. And I don't say hurtful things to people I love...I'm just...a little too blunt. Feel my wrath!


Then God kind of taps me on the shoulder with His Holy finger and gives a look that can only be, "really? YOUR wrath? Hmm...that's funny, I thought the whole wrath thing was on me." But He doesn't have to say a word.

I have a prayer journal. One of my on going prayers, that I try to pray every day (ok, a couple times a day) is that God would give me the knowledge of when to speak and when to shut up and pray. (Yes, I use the words shut up when I'm talking to God...we're close like that)

My husband is better at grace than I am. I'm dead serious. Though he gets his dander up, he's usually the one to wrap his arms around me first (especially when I've got my tail tucked between my legs and am averting my words and eyes at all expense because I KNOW I've not asked God what to do).

So. Maybe I don't soak my kitchen in OJ, but maybe I do soak it in words that aren't necessary.

I think, maybe, I should stick to things that are easy to clean up...or you know, nothing at all. ;)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Daily Dose: Running on Empty - Glynis Whitwer

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

Oh man....Miss Glynis, you are not saying anything my heart hasn't heard. You are seriously speaking to the tough outter shell that keeps me sane.

In the past few, I feel like I'm the batter and the pitcher knows every pitch that will bring me to my knees. But...that's where I'm supposed to be.

I keep hearing the words to a song, "You're my revival song/You start where I belong...On my knees/On my knees." I've written about it. And I know I need to be there, because I know I don't have enough grace, mercy, peace, love or patience to deal with the day to day or other adults in my life. Seriously, it's not the kids I don't get.

(my sweet 5.5 month old baby boy, turned to me this morning and planted an unsolicited drool filled baby kiss on my cheek. I almost cried)

I know for a fact that without God, I can not show people His love on a day to day basis. I need him to fill me up. How do I know this so soundly? I go back to my high school years...I had a circle of friends that I would have done anything for, they knew my sweet heart and want to make anyone laugh. Did anyone else? Apparently not. A guy I considered a friend, not close but a friend, told me that up until about Junior year, he thought I'd probably gut him if  he crossed me the wrong way. Wow. I also remember ignoring the very existence of people that I didn't want to talk to. Ouch. Like, they would say Hi and I would act like nothing even happened. Those of you that know me...even a little bit, know that I would never do that now.

Let me share a little something with you: I grew up in the church. My parents were involved. I was a Christian. I accepted Christ at the end of my Sophmore year of high school. Do you see why Junior year might have changed? See, until I asked God to fill me, to make me whole...until I had my own relationship and stopped just having someone else's beliefs, I wasn't able to ask to be filled, because I didn't know anything was missing.

This is how I know, for a very sure fact, that I need God. Every. Single. Day. No matter what. Or I can't love, show mercy and grace, be patient...nothing. I need God to do that to the degree that other people deserve. Not just my group...but everyone.

Today, I still face the same challenge...and I have some pretty tough stuff that's happened and that is still happening...but I can always take a step back and ask for that sweet love to fill me. And it will.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Daily Dose - The Gift of Listening - Renee Swope

"I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray." Psalm 17:6

Whenever I read the devotions done by Renee, I can hear her. She does radio spots for KLove and The Promise, so I feel like I hear her words more accurately. I "know" her.

Anyway, through this whole devotion, all I could think is that I often don't "look up and hear" God. I put other things in the path of hearing Him.

Well, let's be honest, I put things in the path of hearing everyone. We all do. Except maybe my son. But he's 5 months old. The worst part is, sometimes I can even put things in the way of responding to something as little as a text or a phone call. This may sound weird to some of you because you know of my really outgoing personality.

I've really tried to make a point to not let anything keep my attention from G, especially my phone, the computer or the TV. But I have a habit of thinking to myself, "I'll just do the dishes, then I can sit down with a snack and do my devotion." Well, we see that I'm writing this at we know where that ends up most days. (p.s. A huge thank you to my sweet amazing man that is currently fighting the good fight with our tiny dictator for sleep)

See, I get so side tracked that God time sometimes takes a back seat...and then comes husband time taking a back seat, and friend time. A lot of people would read that and think it's normal when you have a small child, but...something tells me (read: previous experience) that if I put the time with God first like I should, everything else just falls into place. BUT...that's just too easy...

I guess my prayer isn't just to make time to give the gift of listening to the people in my life instead of the technology in my life...but also to the God of my life. Without Him in my life and as a start to my day, things get out of hand and my relationships seem to really suffer (read: sometimes my mouth and brain don't really talk...things go downhill quickly).

Father, thank you for giving me the gift of your ever present listening ear. Help me to put it in the right place in my day. I need the Holy Spirits gentle nudge and guidance to put down the phone or step away from the computer and make eye contact, because even though I try to do that already, I know I still fall far short of what I should be. Thank you so much for your ability to love your broken child. :)

(All these devotions are done with the daily email sent from Proverbs 31 Ministries and are done in a mirror fashion so that it is easy to read and follow. These are all my response to reading what these wonderful ladies talk about each day.)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Daily Dose - Do You Have Enough? - Karen Ehman

"Then he said to them, 'Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.'" Luke 12:15

Stuff. You heard me. Stuff. It's what we all buy and want...but rarely need. 

This devotion really didn't make me look around and say, "hey, I have too much stuff!" because...well, 7 did. This devotion just made me remember that I'm better off without all the stuff that everyone else has. Like, it would be nice to have a car with AC, but there are plenty of people that don't have a car at all. It would be nice to have a house, but there are A LOT of people that don't even have a roof, let alone own it. 

In our financial down grade, I am going to start being very careful about setting money aside, not just for tithe, but for others. Whatever that ends up meaning. I'll set it aside and let God tell me what to do with it. 

Let's call this an experiment in the unknown. 

Since the Stuff chapter of 7 (ok it wasn't called that but I can't remember now and if I don't get this done, I might not be able to post for another 7 or so hours. My tiny dictator is napping...ish.) I haven't found myself dwelling on things I don't have. I haven't ever really been a stuff person. I have clothing that is literally almost 10 years old. What I find I dwell on more is making sure we have enough nutritious food. LOL 

That's another issue though isn't it? 

So, I'm going to leave this here...and we'll see what happens. Remind me if I don't post about it. k?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dear Bride of Christ USA...

aka The Christian Church in America,

First, I need to say I'm sorry. For two reasons. That I haven't spoken up sooner and that what I'm about to say won't be easy to hear. It's not easy to type. Some of you may break up with me for it. And that's ok. You do what you need to do...because I am. I love you too much to watch this happen any longer and stay silent.

So, I've been rolling these thoughts around in my brain, trying to distract myself with making food for tomorrow and playing a little solitaire (what? It's a fun game and a great distraction). I've been trying to find the words to say that I love you...and I'm not sure how you've gotten to where you are. And it's not me, it really is you.

We. Are. Failing.

My dear sweet church. We've somehow gotten to a point where I don't even recognize you sometimes. You're so many different KINDS of groups that I'm not sure if I should call you multi faceted or two faced. How can we really reach anyone if we're so divided? Do you think maybe...just maybe, that's the plan of Satan? Get us all fighting about if we should have padded pews, if Hymns are better than new worship music and if we really should allow women to talk in service. Preaching that if I pay a certain amount (read: small fortune) I will get into Heaven? Tell me where it says that in the Bible? Stop it, you and I both know that I am saved by God's grace alone, my faith gets me there. If I just DID more? good works are again...a product of my faith. Stop it. No, don't look at me that way.

Did you know, that you used to be known as the best giver? And I don't mean to yourself. Heaven knows you've bought yourself some lovely clothes of granite, marble and glass...but honestly, what happened to the widow and the orphan? Oh, that's right, they don't fit into our ideals of what a Christian looks like. Sure, we talk about helping them, we may even volunteer so we can feel good about ourselves. Any time a child goes to bed hungry, alone or's on our heads. I'm so serious right now.

Why do we think we're allowed to have a say in who God wants us to connect with? I can't find it in the Gospel.

I'm all about being in fellowship with other Christians, in fact, we're told to be. But why does it have to be such a production? And at such a cost as to drive people that need Jesus away? To get butts in seats? Christians that are still preaching in lands that persecute them. And what do you do with them once they're there? Oh, you let God work on them...right. You look great. All dressed up and showy. Focusing on yourself. But that's not the point of what Jesus did.

Do you know what gets people? What truly makes people come to know God? The authentic Gospel. Nothing more. Not lights and smoke. Not an amazing worship band. They want to see that you love them. That no matter what they look like, what they've done or what's been done to them...that you LOVE them. Why?

A Christian is known by his love.

Plain. Simple. Jesus.

Now here's more of what you won't like. You. Are. A. Pharisee.

Sorry, I'm not sorry. You're holding so tight to the rules that you have of what makes people acceptable, that you're forgetting that we are all sinners. That we all fall short of the glory of the living God. But...God's love. Yep...not yours, not mine...God's. HE chooses your appointments. He puts who He wants in your path, coming through your doors. Jesus didn't tear that veil for us to make ourselves another one that we won't let certain people past. You have these rules that are killing you...why can't you see that?

Simmer down, I'm guilty, too. I've been too long with you and God knows I've struggled these past few years with this exact thing. And I kept thinking it would change. We'd finish focusing on us and then start looking out. But I was wrong. Even the best missions ministry falls far short...because they come back and talk about what God did in them while they were there and how they'll bring that back, but usually don't. What about the people you met? What about the lives that you got the privileged of seeing?

My heart aches for the ability to look at the person with hidden scars, hug them and just say, 'You are sought after by the most amazing love you will ever know." To look at the alcoholic and tell them, "you do not need to drink anymore, you can drink from a well that will fill you. Be healed."

"...but Manda, we have to go about it the right way, we have to set up groups and rules for the groups. We have to set goals...make studies..."

NO. Stop it. There I go...listening to you again. We need to act. Stop. Just stop. You're trying to placate me with your programing and I can't allow that anymore.

I don't want to see your one week missions trip. I want to see weekly letters back and forth from sister congregations set up to thrive. I want to see missionary teams being trained to LIVE where they go. Months, years...I don't care...but a week? And then a pat on the back. You're kidding yourself. You gave their kids candy and put up some walls. What did you do to effect change? Don't just send money, though right now that's what a lot of the world will think will help them. Take Jesus. Give them that! Teach them to read and then act as well. (No, I don't mean, "Look. Jesus helped us do all's a Now n Later!"  -_- ) I want to see you actually reaching out to the people in our community...without one single second of judgement for what they're going through or what they're doing. Just be with them, right where they are.

Let's be the unity and love that our world needs...otherwise, I'm not sure we can be together anymore. I'm not leaving God...I'm leaving you. I'm going to get together with my friends, two or more of us...and we're going to talk to God and figure out how to be as authentic as that first church...maybe we'll even learn different languages so that people may know the Glory of God through it. Who knows...

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Things that make me grumpy

Waking up with a pain in my shoulder tgat makes it hard tobhild and feed my infant

Redoing the budget numbers with the new pay structure Brian has.

Trying to make food for Shabbat with said unhappy shoulder.

So, there you have it. I'm trying to take my moments to pause and thank God for what we do have. His provisions are great and His plan is greater. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Daily Dose - Quiet My Soul - Wendy Pope

"But I have stilled and quieted my soul." Psalm 131:2a (NIV 1984)
This devotion is aboutbeing comfortable in the silence and restorat7ve peace of God.
I've fotten better at this with the 7 daiky prayers (though I've missed at least one a day)
Without anymore ado, I'm stoppin this blog entry to just sit and be quiet with God.
Join me?

Daily Dose - When My Happy Gets Bumped - Lysa TerKeurst

" Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,  against the powers of the dark world and against the soiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:11-12 (NIV)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Daily Dose - I Don't Like Her - Samantha Evilsizer

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself. " Philippians 2:3 (NIV 1984)

The list of God things I'm not good at: mercy, grace, forgiveness and peace. The end.


This devotion hits me in the eyes. Let's be honest,  anything that calls out my hard headed, controllig or out spoken nature smacks me soundly across the face. I catch myself sighing as I read and now as I write...ok, I get it! (Obviously not Manda, or you wouldn't be reading it again, and again, and again.) (Don't mind me, I'm just talking to myself)

I'm so guilty of stompig my angry little feet when God challenges me. What was that God? I need to go through this trial? I . Don't.  Think. So. It's not fair! 

Eventually I get it, I am gently placed back in my knees where I belong. Don't get me wrong, I sing and dance in praise and worship as well, but the place I need to make myself the most comfortable, is right there at the foot of that old rugged messy cross. And not just about people and relationships...everything.

Today, as I think about and write the next post, the one that wilk be my Jerry McGuire moment, I pray for a humble spirit, mercy for my fellow Christians and myself. It's a heavy one guys.

Abba, I need you to help me with humility and grace daily. Though I know your views, quite wel, I know ibstill struggle, not with ego, but with attitudeThank you for your patience and love while I work throug being less of me and more of you, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing.

Daily Dose: Why Bother - Glynis Whitwer

" Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.'" John 6:68-69 (NIV)

This particular devotion gets to the heart of my next post. Glynis talks about living the "what-better" faith as opposed to the "why-bother" faith. As in, what could be better in my life than knowing my redeemer, the One True God? Where as the why bother faih is centered around a list of rules, you can't do thats and guilt.

Why is the church losing people left and right? Because we're the ones deciding who gets to be in...and who is too terribble to accept. Oh sweet bride of Christ, we are turnig you into what you were never meant to be. In ways, we've made you an idle of brick and concrete.

Is thsi what people see when thy see my walk? Do they see a loved and passionate daughter? Or a woman caught in judgement of others?

I'm scared to actually  answer that truthfully...

I'm sick of feeling a piece missing because I'm not just loving. Our culture makes it all but impossible not to judge...but I'm going to state here that I. Am. Changed. The one called I Am changed me. I can not keep goig about and only shining my light where I want and when I want.

Let's show the world what authentic followers of Christ really look can tell them by their love. ;)


P.s. originally written 8/13/13

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Parenthood: An Exercise in Insanity.

My son is currently yelling at things.

He's almost 5 months old.

I don't think he'll ever have an inside voice. (Then again, I barely have one)

We choose this. We think to ourselves, "Self, there should be a smaller version of you and that male person you're so fond of. You know how crazy you are? And how you have words...that's boring! Crazy without words, that's where it's at!"


I enjoy being a mommy more than anything else I've ever done. (Well, the whole marriage thing and being a child of the Risen King are pretty amazing as well) This little person makes me question my sanity though. Like, on a daily basis.

He was just yelling at the wall, the decals on the wall, to be specific. I walked over and asked if he had a snotty nose. He smiled, grabbed his toe, pulled it toward his mouth...and tooted. (Yes, my dear Gideon, the internet is hearing about your infant toots.)

See? Am I sane? Nope.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Busy weekends make for busy weeks....

Last weekend we had a whirlwind of activity...even though we were "on vacation".

I always feel like I have so much to do when we go out of town. Trying to plan for Gideon makes things a little more hectic. Though he doesn't take up as much space as some people have said he would. The biggest thing is figuring out where he'll sleep.

We started last Saturday with the 8th Annual Breastfeeding Awareness Walk and Big Latch On event. It was pretty cool. There were vendors with information about eating well, benefits of breastfeeding, birth options...all sorts of great stuff! We only did one lap of the walk because it was warm and B was worried that Gid was too warm in the Ergo. At 10:30am sharp, I joined 52 other mommas and two sets of twins in latching on...yep, big old circle of nursing babies. It was awesome. And there weren't any half naked women saying, "look at me!" There were little conversations between mom and baby, quiet smiles and eventually milk comas. :) I loved bringing awareness to this amazing, beautiful thing.

Next we RAN like crazy to Crazy Squirrel so B could cover the drink run and a break. It was nice to just chill with the munchkin, but I really wanted to get home to pack. LOL

We headed to my uncle's house in Stockton for the night. (The drive in which the AC went out in our car...) B was judging the MTG event at Stockton Con and we were able to spend Sunday evening with family that we don't see all that often. They came back from Spirit West Coast Sunday late afternoon. Gid went to (and slept during most of) his first Con...which was commemorated by a free comic, also the first. :)

We drove back Monday, without AC...Ew.

Then the catch up started...laundry, unpacking, diapers.

This weekend is different...we're home...but I have a whole different issue. I'll be writing an entry about it...don't worry.