Monday, August 31, 2009

Popcorn Prayer

Have you heard this expression? I don't remember where my kids heard it but it's great. A Popcorn Prayer is a prayer that just pops to mind and you explode it up to God. Someone comes to mind, "God give them peace through this ordeal." Or when conflicts arise, "God please give me wisdom with this child."

In Psalms 70 David starts with "MAKE HASTE O GOD!" This Psalm is short and to the point. David was in need and didn't have time to say much.

In Matthew 14:30 Peter cries out the shortest prayer in the Bible, "Lord save me!" And Jesus immediately reached out a hand and saved him.

There are several prayers in the Bible that teach us how to pray and why. The prayer of Jabez, The Lord's Prayer, A.C.T.S. and several of these little Popcorn Prayers. So if a need arises quickly know that you can send it on just a quickly, it doesn't always have to be formal, it just always has to be heartfelt.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

That's My Boy

Brian is a constant source of entertainment for us.When we were at my folks for the 4th of the July, this kid wore me out. My mom had given him a can of red spray paint to paint a chair outside. Red looks like blood so since it was the 4th, and his friend Manix was over, he sprayed Manix's tummy to look like they got hurt. These two boys together were just a stew of trouble waiting to be discovered. Brian would hand Manix a firecracker and light it and Manix would throw it. Then the other boys uncle came and picked them up and said he heard something in the back seat and turned around in time to catch Manix and Brian trying to light a fire cracker in the back seat of the pickup. They were going to through it out the window. Thank you LORD for protecting those two.

One day my dad watched Brian for me, for just a little while for me to run to the store. When I got home my dad asked, "Did you get any green paint?" I told him, "No. Was I suppose to?" Then it hit me, "Whyyyyy? What happened?" My dad informed me, "Brian came and asked me if he could trick out my tractor and he had a small wretch in his hand and figured he couldn't do anything too bad, then all of a sudden I smelled something funny and I go over to check on him and he spray painted red flames on my John Deere."

In Brian's defense, he did ask and he told papa he wanted to "trick it out."

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We had a puppy show up Tuesday that we would have kept if she didn't run away on Thursday. She must not have liked her food or pan I bought her. But Brian brings her inside and tells me, "Mom, look how good a dog she is, you can pull her tail and she won't even bite you or bark."

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"Mommmmmm! Wyatt's jumping on the trampoline. Naked. With the dog.

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"Mommmmm! Wyatt's naked peeing on the kitchen floor! (I think we have a streaker)

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Brian wiped out on some wet floor in the kitchen (not pee). "Brian, you OK? Are you suppose to be running in the house?" He corrects me, "I wasn't running, I was jogging."

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And my favorite. Last night we had fish for supper and Allen was looking in the frig and asked, "Do we have any tartar sauce?" And without missing a beat Brian pipes up, "Nope, but we have some retarter sauce for you."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

To Be or Not To Be, That Is The Question.

All the crazy dreams I had last night might be contributed to the fact that I stayed up til almost 2am then was up again with the little man at 4am and spent the rest of the night in the recliner. Allen left early this morning so when I awoke confused by the sound of a lawn mower in our yard, I assumed our neighbors were fed up with our lack of mowing skills. But as my eyes focused I glanced out the window and then to the clock. It was 8:47am. It was not our neighbors, but rather a friend. A blessing. Our lawn mower has been broke for a couple of weeks, more like several, and Allen without complaining has been weed eating the entire yard.

Right before I was awoken, in my dream, I was having a discussion with some lady that was being extremely rude (don't know where this came from ) but I said, "We are Christians." And to my surprise to replied, "So am I." I remember feeling angered and told her that just believing in God and being a Christian, I believe, are 2 different things. That if she is going to wear the title of "Christian" than she needs to be clothed in the character of Christ, and that mercy and kindness were just some of those. I also informed her that she may be the only Jesus that some people ever see and I had yet to see those qualities in her. This is how you know I was dreaming because I'm not that bold.

But I thought it was amazing that in the very moment that I was telling her these things, Joel was putting aside his own time and to-do list to serve our family. He is not a Christian by profession only but by the works of his hands.

I looked up in the dictionary this morning and found a couple of definitions for a Christian:
Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus; Christlike.
Christian - Noun
1. a person who believes in and follows Jesus Christ
2. Informal a person who displays the virtues of kindness and mercy encouraged in the teachings of Jesus Christ

I am a far cry from perfect and there are probably others who at times wished I wasn't proclaiming that I was a Christian. I think it just goes along the same lines of: just because you are in a locker room, doesn't necessarily make you a player. May we all put our actions were are words are. Lord allow my life to speak of you even for those who never hear me. Help me to remember that by proclaiming my association with you that there are others watching at all times. Help me to live in a way that will not make others stumble. Thank you for a gift this morning. May you return multiple blessings to this man and his family.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Opposites Attract

With all the recent tabloids and news coverage of Michael Jackson, we watched part of a documentary on him recently. We saw part of the funeral and discussed about him. I'll save my soapbox and our devotions with the kids over this until later.

But Gabby asked, "How did he go from being a black man to a white woman?"

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Beauty From the Inside Out

"Would you rather be pasty white and thin, or chunky and tan?" Was the question proposed. Um, what if you are neither combination but rather a mix of the two less desirable? Pasty white and chunky. That's me. So does that mean I'm not beautiful? Guess it depends on who is doing the judging.



I'm speaking tomorrow night for the MUMS ministry and finding myself confused over wording and decided to type it out here. I'm a much better writer than speaker. They should have wrote on the flier, "Suzanne is speaking, come at your own risk." But oh no, there is a nice little resume sorts of my past events. Oh the pressure is on. This is the 1st meeting of the year. I pray that I set a fun tone for the meetings for the rest of the year rather than me being the only one there from now on.



I also pray that beyond my own fears of making a fool or nuisance out of myself that I'll keep the goal in mind before me and that the women that come will leave changed in knowing that they are not just some planned or accidental byproduct of the parents DNA, but that God formed, designed, created them individually with all their strengths and weakness alike.



So who is it we are trying to impress with our beauty? Are we trying to land that modeling job? Magazine ad? Win a man's heart? Or please our Lord?



I'm telling you right now that I do not foresee me landing a modeling job or an advertisement unless it's for representing women on the verge of insanity. Even then I would hate to put my picture out into the hands of millions to critic my every flaw, including the ones I'm not even yet been made aware of.



What if we are trying to win a man's heart? Do we want to be loved for physical attributes that may never be the same over childbirth? From the time I met my husband he was very complimentary on my looks, which made it hard to not worry that I had disappointed him when the face and body of the 20 year he fell in love took on the face of a tired mom and the body of "heavy girl" as my OB nurse so graciously pointed out.



What if we are trying to please the Lord? From everything in the scripture anytime the Lord has spoken of outward beauty He has coupled it with instruction for inward beauty. God is focused on what is inside, man is concerned with what is outside.



So how can we please the Lord with our inside beauty? By filling ourselves with Him so he can fill us in return with the fruits of the spirit. By studying His word so we have wisdom, understanding, discretion and behavior that is honoring to Him. By being set apart and shining brightly in this dark world.



2 Corinthians 4:16 tells us "Therefore, do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day."

I challenge you as your lives are busy with school, children, meals, housework that you make the effort to find time with God daily, whether that be 10 minutes or a power hour. Become new woman who is clothed with mercy, meekness, humbleness, gentleness and a quiet spirit. It is really hard to pour grace and love into other's lives if we are empty ourselves. Remember that the beautiful woman wears Christ above all else.

In the story of Esther we see a young woman that is beautiful on the inside and out by God's and the world's standards. It reminds me of the cleaner version of Pretty Woman. An outcast young girl, just shows up out of nowhere, wins the heart of the King, triumphs over the enemy, is loved by all and lives happily ever after in the palace. Esther showed us wisdom and patience in a terrible situation, all the while dealing with a difficult husband. Maybe that's why I like Esther, we have at least something in common. :)



So what about the outside? We are woman, this is a concern of ours. Is it wrong to beautify ourselves? Is it wrong to want to be pretty?



I do not believe that is what the scriptures tell us. The 1st verse of opposition I'll rope right out of the gate is 1 Peter 3:3-4 "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment such as braided hair, wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." On many occasions as I've been studying I found myself confused as to why something so seemingly innocent could be wrong. Much as with this verse. It is not saying that braided hair is wrong, or that jewelry or nice clothes are wrong. During the time of this statement women wore their wealth. They dressed excessively to show everyone they were of value. They wanted to stand out and be set apart as more important. This verse was stating the heart issues were wrong. It was wrong to think they were beautiful because of their outward attention. It was wrong to that they were being prideful. Proverbs 27:19 "As water reflects a man's face, so a man's heart reflects the man."



What about the women of all women, THE Proverbs 31 woman? vs 22 tells us "She was dressed in fine linen and purple." This statement didn't show any condemnation over the fact that she dressed nicely and purple was the most expensive of garments at that time. Then in verse 30 the scripture states, "Charm is deceptive and beauty if fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."



Esther spent a year of her life at the palace spa. Can you imagine?! Esther 2:12, "For the days of their beautification were completed as follows; six months with oil and myrrh and six months with spices and cosmetics." I could go for that!



God is the master artist of beauty. I believe He appreciates and loves beauty more than anyone. He could have made only a few of each tree, flower, insect,...women. But just as each sunrise and sunset is filled with amazing detail and so are we. God is the creator of feminine beauty. Most times in the scriptures, only when someone had established themselves in spiritual truth in relation to God does its beauty become meaningful. Something is beautiful because it is pure and not praised because it is beautiful.



But it is all in how and why we use our beauty that can make it a blessing or a sin. If we are using our beauty to entice someone or manipulate, than we have crossed the line. 1 Corinthians 10:32, "Do not cause anyone to stumble, for I am not seeking my own good but the good of many so that they may be saved." And 1 Tim 2:9-10 "I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety." There is a place for dressing provocatively and that place is behind closed doors.



As in any area of our life, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. 1 Corinthians 10:31 "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." Do you spend as much time in the Word as you do on your appearance each day?



In my LBK (Life before kids) one of my most rewarding careers, was working with women. I had acquired my certification in wardrobe, beauty and makeup consultation. I have since sold makeup for 3 different companies, just because I honestly thrived on helping women see themselves as beautiful. But I'm not a good sales person and did not like having to keep up my quotas when all I really wanted was to change these ladies lives. I used to shop just for the fun of it and teach other ladies how to also.



In my LAK (Life after kids) I am just pleased to get a shower daily and have a bra on before someone drops by unexpectedly. Now my clothes shopping is often completed at the same time as the grocery shopping.


I don't know if you remember the show The Swan. But they took woman who viewed themselves as sadly disgusting, even they they weren't, and spent thousands of dollars many surgery and procedures to change their looks which in turn was going to change their lives. And yes the instant and amazing change on the outside will boost their confidence and allow for changes in their lives that may never have happened otherwise. However, what happens when this new beauty fades? When they gain some weight? When the wrinkles appear? Does the onset of depression set it again? When what we chase is temporal, it will never be enough.


Psalms 139:14 expresses a thought that we women often forget, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Do we know that in our hearts of hearts? Do we honestly believe that God made us wonderfully? Ephesians tells us, "For we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." We don't critique some one's workmanship that they are proud of, yet how often do we critique God's workmanship on making us?


Jot down 5 things you like about yourself. Now jot down 5 things you don't like about yourself. Which list was easier to make? Do you ever wish you were like someone else? Funnier, more outgoing? More organized? A better house keeper? Do you ever wish you looked like someone else? Wish you were shorter? Taller? Not so slim? Not so heavy?


1 Tim 6:6 tells us that, "godliness with contentment is great gain." When we make peace with how God designed us, we can look beautiful on the outside because we are happy on the inside.


During the years that I worked with women, I had my thought process much like The Swam producers. I thought if I could change the outside the inside would follow. But I had it all backwards, when we change the inside first, it shines through to change what the other person sees on the outside.


My other case for outward beauty is for our husbands.


Esther 5:1-"On the 3rd day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king's hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her." Esther operated within God's will in the situations and used every gift God had given her...even her outward beauty. She chose to dress up for her husband and honor him as her King even if she was not finding a love for him. Our husbands are the king of our homes. So a harder question for many of us moms is: Do you spend as much time on your appearance when expecting company as you do for your husband? God is concerned with inward beauty, but God made man, and man is visual and man is concerned with outward beauty. And just in case anyone forgot, our husbands are men. We can't all be Cindy Crawfords, but we can try to be pleasing to our husbands. And the only way to know what is physically appealing to your husband is to ask your husband. Not the consult the main stream media.


I have to admit that at this point in my life getting gussied sometime feels like wasted time when I do not keep in mind the why of what I'm doing. But I also know that my husband sees dozens of women daily, most looking all dressed up, putting their best foot forward, hiding any personality flaws behind a great hair do and a sweet smelling perfume. Proverbs 23:28 warns us, "like a bandit she lies in wait and multiplies the unfaithful among men." The time to impress and fight for our husbands is before we have to because there is always someone else out there who will. Many men have fallen not because their wives were terrible but because another woman showed interest.


Do I have a clean shirt on, a fresh spritz of perfume, a clean front room, with the smell of dinner wafting to the front door every day when Allen comes home? No. But I do try to honor him as King in our home according to the priorities that he shared as important to him.


We have all taken tests that tell of our personality traits. Tests that tell of our spiritual gifts. Tests that tell us our best learning styles. All of which are great, but they are blind to our physical appearance. What if we have a terrific personality but are so self consciousness of our physical beauty that we avoid ever living up to our God given potential? You do not have to look like the hunchback of Notre Dame to condemn yourself to hiding because of some flaw you see in yourself. Wondering if God possibly fell asleep just for a split second and had a slight of hand. Kind of like what happened when he made the hammerhead shark or the platypus. We all have something that bothers us about ourselves to some degree, whether it be physical or other. We are going to go one step further today. We are going to take a test based entirely on our physical attributes and see the personalities that it matches us to. For me, once I learned of this I knew without any further doubt that I was a complete package fashioned by my Father. This is the message I want to share with every woman in the world. That you are complete.


I'm not going to get into details beyond just placements to see the body styles and personalities that match, but with a more setting for consultations, this information allows for you to look the complete package. From hairstyle, clothing, fabrics, prints, accessories. Everything we choose can fall in a category that balances our bodies and reflects our inside out.


It is always better to be a first class you than a second class knock off of someone else. Do not forfeit who you are in pursuit of playing a role that was never designed for you.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Shameless Advertising

Doing a little shameless advertising here. I have taken the 1st 2 courses of the Wilton Cake Decorating Classes at Hobby Lobby. I'm very glad I got this opportunity. I have really enjoyed myself. I took the classes because I have quite a few cakes to make over the course of time with 4 kids and I love the flavor of homemade cakes. I'm looking forward to starting course 3 in September. Since this is something that I seem to be somewhat OK at and thoroughly enjoy, I thought I would throw it out there that I am open for business, unofficially of course. This is for friends and family and just word of mouth recommendations. I DO NOT have a kitchen license and really do not know the rules and regulations for this yet.

Here are some pictures of some of my cakes and my new little venture: Sugar and Spice

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Hubby

I know I pick on Allen quite a bit, but trust me when I say he can take it and it's all in good spirit. We have always had fun in the bantering back and forth between us. He is such a good man in heart. Yesterday in the busyiness of the day I forgot to order a quarter panel glass for a vehicle. I hadn't made this mistake yet. I really couldn't believe I did it. It was a big deal with the order to begin with. The family called, it was their primary vehicle, he was a pastor, we were trying to be accommodating to get it done today so Allen was even going to go do the work at 7am. It ended up being an insurance job and I had all the paperwork in order but at 7 o'clock last night I realized that there would be no panel showing up on the truck last night. I was sick. I felt like I had let the family down, they could have went somewhere else and gotten it done today. But Allen without criticizing or even a hint of condemnation, spoke with our glass driver at midnight and had me print off directions to the warehouse in Tulsa...an hour and a half away. They open at 7am so Allen left at 5:30am this morning to go pick up the piece.

I'm so thankful that while there are times when he gets frustrated at me, he is for the most part very understanding when I make mistakes. I don't know if I would have reacted the same. I offered to load the kids up and go myself this morning, but he wouldn't even consider having me do it. Had the entire situation been the other way around, I am almost sure I would have been irritated that I lost the sale because of someone else's irresponsibility or if I did drive over to pick up so I could fix the problem, I am sad to say I probably would have felt irritated with the lost 3 hours of driving and felt justified with my lack of sleep to be a little grumpy and made it known. Lord forgive me for my past wrongs, give me grace and allow me to continue to grow in the areas of humbleness and love for others. Help me to give as much understanding to others especially my family as I would hope to receive myself. Thank you for a husband who is so giving in so many ways.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Kid Funnies

Makensie: Mom, what's the other name for Bigfoot that sounds like a fruit?

Me: A Sasquatch?

Makensie: Ya.

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Brian and his friend were having a serious conversation


Brian: When I grow up I'm going to be Batman.
Matthew: What?! Batman isn't real!
Brian: Oh. So what are you going to be?
Matthew: A Pirate.


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A couple of weeks ago I was driving by the Fayetteville Mall. We don't go to the mall, not because we are boycotting or anything, it just doesn't happen. I said, "There's the Mall." I was looking out the left window and I heard the girls in the back, "oh...clothes...shoes...purses...yeah, the MALL" and as I looked into the rear view mirror, I realized they were gazing out the right window oogling the large dentist office.

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Gabby: Some day if I ever have to live in a van...

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While we haven't been to the Mall, I did take the girls to Old Navy recently.

Makensie: Oh my gosh! They spent so much money on buying all these clothes for this place, they didn't have enough money left to finish the floor. It's just concrete!

Friday, August 07, 2009

I don't have a title

I have not written for a while. Just from lack of time and trying to organize my thoughts. I have a lot to share, but couldn't figure out how to say it without it sounding like a "look at me" post. So I'll start with the denial from the publication. Although they were very kind and encouraging, this one is not a go.

I am filling the Elementary Coordinator for the next two years, unless I get impeached before then, for our homeschool group. I'm really enjoying this so far. I like event planning. When I worked at the state headquarters for Kansas Farm Bureau, it was one event after the other. Then when I worked for LaZBoy it was a lot of the same. This stuff comes easily for me. People. Get togethers. Parties. It is good timing. I will have 3 in elementary this year. We have 30 new families that joined CHESS this year. I am guessing we will have around 120 families total, maybe more. My heart is to welcome these new families in and hopefully for them to feel that they are not an island by themselves but that especially in the community we live in that there are plenty of others out there that can offer wisdom, advise and most of all compassion and understanding.

I've been working on putting together some things for the fall and are praying they will not only be learning opportunities but ones to build relationships and memories. So far, there is a tour and game planned for The Naturals and a tour of Prairie Grove Battlefield that I've been working on. There is a lot of interest in the Keepers of the Faith program this year. I would like to start with something I feel comfortable teaching on and pray that other families will volunteer and follow suit. I think I'll start with a cake decorating class since this has been my latest skill I've learned. And it's fun.

Speaking of cakes. I've had orders for 4 cakes now. What a blessing!

I am going to be speaking at the first MUMS meeting of the year. (This is our group of homeschool moms that get together monthly.) I've tried not to think about it too much yet, as I know what I'm sharing and feel good about that. It's just a lot of responsibility to share with ladies anytime. I want my message to be uplifting and encouraging in all ways. It is also a little unnerving because it seems like there is a larger crowd the first couple of meetings. Hopefully I won't go blank or worse black out!

Other than that, life as normal as you can get with 4 kids and a business in your home and trying to homeschool continues. I'm still striving to make noticable progress on that list of things I want to see improved upon. :)

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