Friday, September 2, 2016

Speak In Psalms



I've been studying the Holy Spirit lately. It's an incredible journey, learning to listen careful and following the leading of the Holy Spirit. One of the things we are asked to do is to speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. So on occasion in my quiet time I ask the Holy Spirit just to lead my pen on the page in my journal. I turn the page and quiet my spirit...and allow the Holy Spirit freedom to write.  I know it encouraged my heart and then I thought it says to do it to one another. So here it is...perhaps it is not only to encourage me...perhaps it is meant for another as well.

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Ephesians 5:19-20
Here it is.

As I walk in the wonder of my spirit. I am drawn to you oh Lord. I am made aware of your very breath upon my face. Your presence Lord! Your sweet aroma.
Why Lord do I ever get up from this place? Why do I let my flesh creep up? Why do words of defeat escape my lips in moments of conflict?
I know the TRUTH and it has set me free. Praise you oh Lord for your grace and mercy. For being my teacher Holy Spirit, I am forever grateful. You are patient with me as I learn to remain in the Spirit, You pick me up when I stumble.
You have given me life. Your Word is my candle and light. Your Spirit is my counsel. You have given me the road map and have provided Emmanuel to show me the way. I never walk alone.
I will continue to abide in you as I know you also abide in me. I have all authority in Christ Jesus to conquer my flesh. For I am Spirit first with a soul in a body. Soul and body must be trained by the Word of God. Thank you for Your Word. May it forever be upon my lips. Amen and Amen.


Monday, August 29, 2016

Making Memories Around the World


I've got my journal, my passport and some books!
It starts with a dream. Well, it starts with believing God at His word and understanding your identity in Christ. Then it takes a step of faith to believe God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do. (No trying to figure it out - as you will see - it doesn't always happen the way you expect.) So that's where my journey begins.  Believing God!


What does His word say about me and His plans for me! I declare scripture over my life every morning! I must....because my mind is prone to wander and doubt - but my spirit presses me to "seek first His Kingdom". Do I believe His Word to be true - all of it? If so, then why wouldn't God fulfill these scriptures in my life? HE WILL! We are Abraham's heirs after all!

Then, everyone has heard of vision boards. Basically, it revolves around the idea of the "Law of Attraction." Proverbs 23:7 says "For as he thinks in his heart, so he is.." It's about Habakkuk 2

 "And the Lord answered me and said, write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may [be able to] read [it easily and quickly] as he hastens by." Habakkuk 2:2 [Amp.]
My vision board - entitled...Because He Loves Me!

This post really isn't about vision boards, its about one small picture in the board...the one that says..."I want to make memories around the world..." I expect that all these things on my board are desires that the Lord has put on my heart...so we will address others throughout the years.

I sat with my cousin at lunch one day (a few weeks after the completion of my vision board). She recently lost her husband to Parkinson's and she stood by her husband of 40 years and cared for him and loved him for these last years on earth as this disease took his life. Incredible story of love and dedication. Jim and Ilene have been a part of my life since I was a little girl. As time drifted and my life took me from one parent to another and one state to another, we lost touch, until I moved to Florida 13 years ago. We've been close ever since. When my cousin's husband passed away she expressed her interest in enjoying the years she had left. She loves to travel and has been to many places around the world. Her words to me at lunch will ring in my heart forever. "I want to travel, but I want to travel with you...I want to show you the world Lisa!"

What? She wants to make memories...with me! I'm so glad my heart was prepped by believing I am who God says I am because....wow! I'm humbled beyond belief, and excited just the same. Lord, really...I'm going to make memories around the world?

Here is our first overseas adventure....a Viking River Cruise along the Danube River.

Our itinerary!

I've got my journal, some books on the places we will go and see. I've already begun reading about Slovenia and am learning some key phrases in the language as well as its history. I've got a year to also study (and I will be studying) about Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Melk, Linz, Passau and Prague.  I'm writing the key things I learn through my research in my journal....(words/phrases, history, landmarks, places to see, food to try, things to do...) 

 
Our first stop...Ljubljana, Slovenia - be still my heart
And I will be blogging about my world adventures while I'm there, taking pictures, going live, and skyping my family. What about my family? Oh, well, they have some incredible adventures to look forward to as well. They will not be coming on this trip - but there will be trips, I'm sure of it. 

I hope you will want to join me here (feel free to subscribe to this blog - see along the right side of this page where it says "subscribe" or up a little further where it says to follow if you are a blogger as well) to see and learn about all the different places I will be going. The Lord has already revealed in my heart that I will have opportunity to sow seed and to be a light, all while enjoying the beauty of a world I've never laid eyes on.  I'm so excited to spend this time alone with my cousin - we will indeed be making memories around the world. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Silent Pain Brought to Light

Kyle, Brendan and Shane

As if the transformation from boy to man isn't difficult enough, add on the social pressures, hormonal changes, and well meaning parents and it's the making of a perfect storm.

(This post was shared with Kyle prior to my posting.)

This isn't going to be an easy post, but I feel strongly that I have a small voice and if I can help someone else....well,  you understand. This has been, hands down the most difficult year of Kyle's life. As most know, Kyle is my son who was diagnosed at 3 years old with PDD-NOS (a spectrum disorder). Recently the Lord has been revealing His Word to me as it relates to our body, mind and spirit. The Lord brought to my memory today of words I've spoken in the past - words that both Kyle and I had to reread. Here is that post - He's My Superhero.

This past year Kyle has been under certain torment. Imagine the square peg in a round hole. He was finding it easier to be "himself" among people that do not know him, that can not see him, and that only know him by the words he types on a screen. So as a parent you see a pull to this environment, you naturally want to limit his exposure because after all, "these people aren't really your friends Kyle," you don't really know who they are...they are...words typed on a screen.

So, I may not know everything there is to know about all things techy, but that is why I work extra hard to be sure I'm on and in everything my kids do. They know that with every device they have - I have the ability to access it at any given time. That's the way its done around here. I had a parent tell me that their child would not appreciate knowing that I can look at a chat that they're involved in. Well, sorry - pick up the telephone and chat the old fashioned way...I'm not listening to phone calls. We all need accountability....and they are all minors. Anyway, with that said I had read some of the most beautiful words written by my son to others in this building game that he plays. His heart for people astounds me. His heartfelt prayers for people....I know it is kind of a ministry for him. However, he was getting lost in that world. I had to help bring him back.

We went to counseling and he was/is loved by his counselor. She adores him. Kyle will tell you, he had so much anger pent up inside of him. He would lash out, uncontrollably. We started not to recognize him at all.

Mike and I tried to help him by showing him different ways to handle himself. In the most loving way a parent can, we would try to help Kyle "change" so he could perhaps be more socially accepted. We didn't understand. An example would be, Kyle had this "thing" where he would want to give everyone a high five but at the last minute move his hand so you would miss. Okay, not bad right? Well, not the first 20 times, but after a while we kept thinking, everyone is going to get so tired of this. Or his crazy dancing that he would do - people may think that is odd or goofy. So we would suggest, "hey buddy, why don't you try to mix it up a bit, surprise people, shake their hand instead." Things like that. We would try to give him alternatives. Different ways to help him, so he didn't "stand out" because he was different. We just wanted him to feel loved by others. We wanted him to feel accepted, like he had friends. We were afraid that kids were not wanting to be around him. He didn't want to go to co-op, church anywhere...he just wanted to stay home and be with his online friends.  We were just trying to get him to hold back on the things we interpreted as "unusual behavior" or "awkward".

All the while, not understanding what was happening, we were trying to squeeze this very special peg in to a box that he wasn't ever meant to fit into. Well, that's painful isn't it. When the counselor said to us, "You are probably the only people who think Kyle has to change, everybody else in that youth group, or co-op or anyone that knows Kyle is not expecting Kyle to be any different." I wept and wept. My son, who was tired of living, who told me it would be better if he were not alive and if he went to be with Jesus. My boy who smiles and makes people around him smile, was dying on the inside...and the people who love him the most were just trying to make him into something he was not. As if what he is...wasn't enough. OUCH!

He is enough. He is perfect. He is a teenage boy, with a sense of humor, a style of his own. He is this child who marches to the beat of his own drum. The same boy who drew this 5 years ago...
So, as the video shows below shows, we have embraced Kyle's uniqueness. We actually try to remember to encourage it. In this we were at a coffee house and it was 80s night. My boy got up and danced his own special dance and people just came out and joined him. He was on top of the world. So we did what any proud parents would do..we cheered him on (even though it reminded me of some 80s version of jazzercise). We laughed, clapped and cheered and it was FUN! When we got in the car that night he said, "The best part about this night was when I heard you guys cheering me on - that made me feel awesome." Lesson learned! So, we love our Kyle so much. He's going through some serious stuff, I would rather have crazy Kyle, the Kyle that God created, the one that was chosen and who is greatly loved, holy, a child of God than a boy who doesn't know who he is.
video


Parenting. It's not for wimps. He still has limitations on his technology, I still try to encourage other avenues of entertainment. He had a life altering encounter with the Holy Spirit while he was away at camp with our church youth group. He went up for prayer for a broken heart and he came back whole! He feels like he has friends at church now, brothers. He knows what the Lord has done for him. He wants to share his story with others. He even asked if I thought he could be a youth pastor. Ummm....YES!! I have always believed Kyle was special and unique and that God created him for greatness. I got a little lost in the every day teenage hormonal storm, but I'm standing strong now. It's not easy...I'm a human being...but every single day I rely on the Holy Spirit to get me through. I am working on "supernatural parenting" as our youth pastor would call it. I'm thankful for those that have supported us during this time, this very silent time. I encourage you, do not make the mistakes we've made. Just like Kyle never wanted anyone to ever know he spoke of suicide, we never wanted anyone to know the anguish and level of discontent we were living with either. When you put that stuff in the light, the enemy loses his power. Find people you can trust, people you know will storm Heaven on your behalf. People who will speak life over your family and over you. People who will put you in your place and tell you what is what. I'm so thankful. Kyle is still going through puberty, he still struggles with many things. No question. But I see a huge change in him. I see him trying to get past the limitations his disorder has claimed in his life. We now declare over him what God's word says. Autism Spectrum Disorder...its got nothing over my boy! He is created in the image of God, whole and perfect with a destiny that will astonish the next generation!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Being Intentional

I'm working on being intentional about everything that's important to me right now. I've been studying on how to be lead by the Holy Spirit. I want to be lead in every way, in every area of my life. I told the Lord I want to be your student - teach me. So I must invite the Holy Spirit into all the areas of my life that I want to be lead in. My home, my marriage, my schooling, my parenting, my ministry, my business (yes I'm still doing Juice Plus), my dreams and goals all of it!

Slow down. Let's take one thing at a time. Suddenly, I've picked up my "pen" and started "journaling" again. (I place that in quotes because I mean "put my fingers to the keys and starting blogging again" - I journal almost every single day with an actual pen.) I use to blog regularly. I have taken time off, I get caught up in having to "educate" or "entertain", but my original plan for this site was simply to capture moments in my life and save them. If I can be a blessing along the way...Praise the Lord!! (I've got some huge dreams coming to fruition...so I can't wait to share!)

So what's new? Well, today I'm gonna write about my superheros! (Afterall, that is why I started this blog to begin with.) Oddly enough, my children, my teenagers, asked why I haven't written about them recently. I found that so strange coming from the children that wouldn't allow me to take a picture of them at age 13. Same children who said I should be "very careful on social media."

So here we are Shane, age 13, Brendan and Kyle age 15. Brendan (10th grade) has his learner's permit and is presently dual enrolled at our local college. What? How? When? I know...please...I know all too well. Kyle (9th grade) has had the most difficult transition of all (I promise I will touch upon this as well - for all my special needs parents - I will share what I'm learning - and mistakes I've made in the journey), however he is having such a great school year (only day 2 but hey...we'll take what we can get). I see such great potential and changes in him. Shane, well, as much as I've tried to keep this child my baby...I'm afraid he's grown up despite my efforts. Presently in 8th grade and as fun and funny as ever.

Being intentional about homeschooling. I've done this every year since I pulled Brendan out of school and homeschooled him in 1st grade. As I sat in the van after dropping my young 15 year old, my introverted sophomore, my sweet, self motivated, encourager, my precious treasure of a son....(sorry I digress) to take his PERT exams (college placement tests) I cried a million tears.

WHY? Because at that very moment I heard the words of Brendan's kindergarten teacher say to me in a quiet voice at the grocery store...."Have you ever thought about homeschooling? If you did....your son could soar! He wouldn't have to be "placed in the bubble", he could work at his pace and go full speed ahead!"

Well I brought him home and often times I thought about what she had said and didn't really exactly know what she meant. How do I let him soar? How do I let him...."get ahead"? Does it mean do more chapters in a day...take two math tests a week? I never understood.  Then there he was - at the college - enrolling in two classes for the fall. He will graduate (like many before him) with a high school education and an AA Degree and transfer to the 4 year institution of our choice by the time he is 18. This is his chance to SOAR!  Who knew?  I'm so proud of him!

OK...so it's not super easy to just let him go. He's been under my wings for a long time. He is my little rock...but as I've been memorizing Psalm 91...I know that God will cover him with His feathers and under HIS wings he will find refuge. His faithfulness will be Brendan's shield and rampart. THAT has been my job, my real job from the beginning of parenthood - planting that seed in him and watching the Lord do the rest - for such a time as this.

Being intentional is paying off!

Until next time.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Hope Incarnate - My Anchor


Yesterday I revealed that my word for 2016 is Hope. In light of that I want to meditate on that daily. In a commentary that I read this morning it said that our hope enters the inner sanctuary, behind the curtain. That's the little room that symbolized the very presence of God, but people were not allowed to enter it. But HOPE can.

You see our hope, Christian hope is not exhausted by what it sees of earthly possibilities. It reaches into the very presence of God. It has nothing to do with what is going on in the world, or our lives at this moment. It has everything to do with penetrating right into the holiest place, the inner sanctum of God's presence where it anchors itself to HOPE incarnate.

I love the verse in Hebrews 6:19 "We have this HOPE as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain."

That's where my hope is resting right now. In Jesus Christ...Hope incarnate. Listen, when God gives His word, He cannot lie. Your hope, my hope therefore cannot be misplaced if it is in Him...it is anchored!

Friday, January 1, 2016

The First Crisp Page


"May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you." Psalm 25:21

Hope. For a whole year that is all I studied so I could teach about it in Women's Ministry. I've been praying about what my focus word from the Lord will be this year. Last year it was revelation. I believe this year, 2016, it will be HOPE.

Hope means so much to me. It is so much more than a wish. I am aware that Hope is the person of Christ. In this we must know that HOPE thrives on a daily watering of the Word of God, of prayer and shared experience with others who have received hope. Think about how important it is to share the hope in your heart with others and how you feel when others share with you. Yes.

Hope looks at everything that is true about right now, lifts the circumstances of life in to the very capable hands of God and then breathes the breath of trust.

Hope makes it possible to live firmly grounded, yet allows our hearts and minds to soar in believing in the supernatural vision that God births in us.

It's a brand new year. It's like a crisp page in a brand new journal like the one above. I still had room in my old journal from yesterday, but I wanted to start on a new page, in a new journal.

So this morning, I picked up my pen on this first day of the 2016. I am aware that this year will hold unexpected joys and sorrows, moments of faith and fear, mountains and valleys. There is plenty of unknown that we face in the beginning of this journal, in the beginning of this year. What will the pages hold?

However there is much we can count on with absolute confidence in this coming year. We can count on the fact that God is in control and that His heart is good and merciful towards us. We can be assured that we will NEVER be alone. We can be confident that the Lord knows the plans He has for us and that they are good, plans of prosperity, protection, a HOPE and a future. We can know without any doubt that we are loved with an everlasting love. We can be assured that no matter what we write on the crisp clean pages of this new year, the Lord will NEVER disappoint and He has this way of bringing beauty from ashes.

So HOPE! Hope in Him! Hope in the future He has for you! Today we begin to write the new chapter in our lives, on this first crisp page of His Story in us.

Happy New Year...may everyday you see HOPE!

Monday, December 28, 2015

A Cracked Pot With A Crock Pot - Orange Chicken


Well I must be crazy. (I am a cracked pot after all - 2 Corinthians 4:7 - look it up!) I am known for my baking, but to be honest if I don't see another cookie for a long long time, I'll be ok. Really. It's hard to be in the health and wellness business and only be showing pictures of powdered sugar and chocolate chips. This holiday season was absolutely wonderful, and I believe I made a lot of people smile with my baked goods. My son says, all those people are going to need to participate in our Shake Off The Holiday Pounds Challenge now. (Including myself!). (If you're interested...let me know...we have an incredible plant based shake..and we're offering a $250 reward for the winner.)

I own my own health and wellness business. That's right...I really push fruits and veggies. Juice Plus! You can check it out my website here!

For 2016, I'm not only going to get back on track with my diet/exercise/health, I'm going to try to expand my talent to helping my husband make dinner....he's a busy guy too.

I'm a wife & homeschool mom (my first job), a business owner, a football mom, a piano mom, a youth group mom....(these are just the wife/mom things I do...we won't go into Bible studies, preschool teaching, church attendance....) SO I need to organize my meal times a bit better. I will be out 4 out of 7 nights at least. It is so easy to get caught in the trap of "grabbing a bite" because we're in a rush. When we do this we sacrifice two things....money and nutrition. I can't afford to sacrifice either of those on the altar of "stop at the store and pick up XY so we can have a quick pasta meal" or whatever. NOPE! Not gonna do it.

SO for 2016 my goal is to make at least one crock pot meal a week....and try to keep it healthy"ish" and delicious enough to please the palates of my people! I will most likely start blogging it in my kitchen blog. Krypton's Kitchen. So stay tuned.

For today I will share what I made right here. It was a show stopper! I had to adjust the original recipe for a family of 5 (4 of them men...3 of them going through puberty)

Orange Chicken
2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breast
1 cup of Sweet Baby Ray's Original Barbecue Sauce
1 cup of Smucker's Orange Marmalade
2 Tbsp. of soy sauce

Brown rice
Broccoli

Instructions:
Place the chicken breasts in the crock pot and cook on high for 3 hours. (That's it, you don't have to do anything else - no seasoning, no nothing. I'm serious! Mind blowing!!!)

After 3 hours take chicken out (drain the juice) and cut into cubes (I tried, it didn't work, it shredded - we loved it that way).

Place back into crock pot.

Mix together the barbecue sauce, marmalade and soy sauce and pour over the chicken and continue to cook on high for 30 minutes. 

I took that time to make some brown rice and broccoli. 

All done! According to My Fitness Pal app, this meal was 255 calories per serving (not including the rice and broccoli.) Not bad. (Little high on the sugar per serving - so if this is a problem this might not be good, but very low in fat).

It was delicious. The orange aroma spread through my home and it called to my people. Really! (Useless fact: The scent of orange makes people want to spend money. - that's what I read once - I don't think it works). :)

Well, I'll be looking for next week's crock pot meal and I'm willing to share if you're willing to read. See you next time in the Kitchen (Krypton's Kitchen).


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Private Pain


I cannot believe it has been 3 years since I wrote the light hearted What Do You Call An Old Chicken. This was the absolute beginning of my journey. My journey to....



I'm presently still camped in the long stretch of Peri-Menopause. That is a real thing. Google it. I'm updating for two reasons; one, because it helps me to do some research and to write when I'm experiencing something and two, because I believe I have a voice (albeit a small one) and if I can help anyone else who is suffering from this...it makes everything worth it.

Suffering. I don't want to be heavy, but this is actually more serious than you may think. Well it has been for me.  Three years ago when I was first diagnosed with classic symptomatic perimenopause, I had only a handful of symptoms. 


Let's say I presently have 8-9 from the left column and all 7 from the right plus a few others like (irregular heartbeat, and a sense of being overwhelmingly overwhelmed.)

These are so fun. You feel like you are on fire on the inside of your body and then it just oozes out of your pores. Best when it happens in the middle of the night and you wake up with the fan blowing your soaking wet self, sheets and pillows. 
For me the physical symptoms are not as bad as the emotional ones. To sum it up, I have cried/sobbed hard close to 3-4 times a week since September. I've run away 3 times (not getting very far), I have felt like my life was falling apart at the seams. I have kept this all inside for the most part. I have a couple friends who really know what I'm going through (and they have either gone through it or are experiencing some similar symptoms). I've confided in my husband...although it wouldn't surprise me if he recognized my symptoms before me.

Is this the same lady that wakes up in the morning, spends her time with the Lord, journals her prayers and believes God with supernatural faith? YES! One in the same. 

So that I'm not depressing you, I should put out there that I have serious thyroid issues too. When I was giving birth to my twins I lost over half of my body's blood, putting me into a coma for 4 days. I had 8 blood transfusions to help save my life. With those transfusions I inherited an antibody that ate my thyroid. I've been on medication since. Sadly, my numbers are so crazy out of whack..I'm sure this is just exacerbating the perimenopausal issue, so perhaps your journey will not look as bleak as mine.
Just look at how long that blue box is. We have to get through all of this first.

Ladies and gentlemen (if any read this) we need to be aware that when we are feeling this way (or when your wives are feeling this way) it is fertile ground for the enemy to attack. 

My husband told me that that's just what the enemy wants. He wants me to be alone like a wounded gazelle so he can devour me. I have totally felt alone and wounded...totally (but the toothless lion has yet to devour me - I'm thinking He despises the taste of the blood of Jesus - praise God!)

The truth is this is very private pain. I think its so private because we feel like we're going crazy and we don't want anyone to know it. SO if and when we can, (and that's a big if/when) we put on our happy face, suck it up and muddle through until we can get alone and cry again. I know it sound pathetic, believe me it feels pathetic, but it is really very real. 

SO now what? Well for me, I have options. I can go the medication route...and I have tried some of that. We can eat right, exercise and continue to stay on our face in prayer. I think it is important to remember some key things when we're in the middle of this. OK here is the part that I call therapy, the reason I'm writing this is first for myself remember. I don't have this mastered, I just got back from running away for 4 hours to the river first and then to a friend's house (today) where she promptly, prayed with me, then called an endocrinologist and an OBGYN.  SO I'm writing this for myself, and if you happen to be reading and need to be encouraged...it's for you too.

Encouragement #1 - although as you can see from the graph above, this process can take YEARS, but it will eventually end. My closest friends tell me - it is actually quiet wonderful when it does.

#2 - Because we are children of God, we can take comfort in the knowledge that it is who we are the inside that matters to Him. (Prov. 31:30) We shouldn't fear the aging process. 

#3 - We have the assurance that God's grace is sufficient to get us through whatever life throws at us. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2nd Corinthians 12:9

#4 - God will never leave us or forsake us! (Heb. 13:5)

#5 - Let's remember when we are feeling like we are unravelling - we need more than ever to take all of those anxieties to the Lord in prayer, seeking His wisdom and strength in order to overcome. (1 Peter 5:7)

#6 - If we're married, we should confide in our husband and communicate as best we can why we might be behaving erratically or why we suddenly cannot cope anymore. Listen, after 25 years of marriage as much as I don't like to accept the reality of it, husband's are NOT mind readers. God has the perfect design for marriage - and so if you are married, review that design in Eph. 5:25 and adhere as closely as possible to that.

#7 - If peace of mind is what you're after (and trust me we are) Philippians 4:6-7 says it best "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

#8 - Approach the throne with confidence and as often as needed! (Heb. 4:16)

#9 - Make Him your dwelling place, your refuge and He will command His angels concerning you... (Psalm 91:9-11) Running away to the river can help sometimes and/or to a friends house (I did both of these today), but be sure that your friend runs to the cross with you...because that is where I always find peace. 

Do we have to suffer in private pain? NO Do I sometimes still? YES However, I'm encouraged just by writing these scriptures down, because His Word is alive and active in me and it is TRUTH!! And we all know the truth sets us FREE!  Write down those scriptures ladies! And remember to bear with those who may be suffering in private pain - pray for them, don't be too hard on them, it will pass.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Remember with Peace Not Pain



October is an awareness month. We have Breast Cancer Awareness and Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness going on this month. I thought about it last night as I was lying in bed. When I lost my babies, there was no awareness month, yet I and those who walked that journey with me were aware every day...of every month. I'm glad there are awareness months. I have a son on the autism spectrum, I love to help educate others during Autism awareness month. Losing a pregnancy or a child, there is so much private pain, and it is so incredibly individual. To hear my story of the loss of my babies, I wrote a piece a few years ago called There is a Time For Everything. I hope you find hope and comfort in my experience and my words.


I love how many people I know have memorialized their babies in different ways. Some people have pictures, some have paintings, some have baby blankets, many have named their unborn children.... Not that we would ever forget, but there is something that happens in our hearts when we look at whatever it is that we have as a memorial. Something so endearing that it is almost impossible to find the words. You have to trust me on this.

My memorial of the loss of my 14 babies is this jar. This is a special jar, given to me by a special lady in my life after I lost my first two babies. Sadly, it is cracked and very delicate - yet it has endured the past 20+ years. In this jar are little shells, each shell representing one of my babies that now reside in Heaven. Interestingly enough, I can look at each one and remember the first 2 that I put in this jar so vividly. I actually remember placing each one in the jar, but for sure I remember what the first two look like. This jar is so special because at the top of it is a magnifying glass, so when you look into the jar, you can see the details of each shell, the uniqueness of each one. I think to myself, each of my babies were so unique, I'm sure so different in many ways, but as I look in the jar I know that my love for every single one is the same - so deep, so sincere, so emotional.

Do I look upon this with sadness each time. No. It is not because I am presently raising 3 teenage boys right here on earth. I know this because throughout the 10 years that I lost these children to Heaven, I had to slowly fill the jar and I remember being comforted by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted." Psalm 34 (indeed He was). "There is a season for every activity under the Heavens, a time to be born and a time to die..."  Ecc. 3 "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 4:11 

I know my babies were created for His Glory (Rev. 4:11). I find great comfort in knowing that one day, I have a very LARGE family, one day my children will meet me, one day when I go home they will know me and recognize the love that I have for each of them. 

My journey of infertility and loss was long, but it was a time that the Lord did an amazing work in me. Oh I remember how patient and loving He was towards me. When I cried, screamed, got angry, hurt, envious...times when I would soak my pillow with my tears...He was there to remind me of His love. He spoke words to me and comforted my soul. There really are never words anyone can every speak that can comfort you the way the Lord can. I count myself blessed and honored to have carried these little ones for as long as the Lord allowed. 

If you've read this and you know someone who has been in this place of loss...pray for them, send them a card, give them a hug. Trust me when I tell you, it doesn't matter if it is 3 days ago, 1 year or 20+, never fear that you are going to remind us...we've not forgotten. 

If you are someone who has lost a baby, a child, or a pregnancy...take time to feel the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Let Him wrap His arms around you. There is no time limit on grief...but be aware of the Love of Jesus as He hold's you in His arms. Give Him access to your heart so He can begin the healing process.  We tend to want to hold our hand over our wounds don't we? We don't want to expose them to anyone, for fear of the pain. I can tell you, if you let go of those wounds and let the Healer do His thing...He doesn't put a bandaid on it...He heals the wound completely. Don't worry, you will not forget, but you will remember with peace and not pain. I promise. ♥

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Just a Small Jar of Oil

When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I - Psalms 61:2

Overwhelmed? I've been studying 2 Kings and I love, absolutely love Elisha. He has taught me so much. As I'm in my 4th week of homeschooling my superheros, perhaps it is my theory of education of homeschooling that gets in my way sometimes, but I have a 7th, 8th and 9th grader now. I'm running a household, running a business, serving at church, keeping up with relationships, trying to stay healthy....life can be overwhelming. (could be why I've not written in a while) :)

I was walking with a friend this morning and we agreed that everyone has issues in their lives that can easily bring them down. It's how we deal with those issues, how we look at our situation, what we focus on.

Whatever stage of life we are in, there are moments when we feel like we are faced with too many responsibilities facing us at every turn, or like we've run out of options and we're doing life on empty. I imagine that is how the lady in 2 Kings 4 felt. With her husband's death, she was in terrible financial trouble. When you think your financial problems are bad, read about this woman, it puts it in perspective. She was desperate, in fear of losing everything she had including her boys - to creditors.

We know the story. She asks Elisha for help, and he asked her what she had to work with and she said nothing! Just this small jar of oil.

Wow! Can you relate? Have you ever been in that place where you don't think you have enough, you feel desperation in your gut...what happens? We tend to focus only on our limitations don't we?

God sees our situations much differently than we do. I promise you, I serve a God that specializes in doing a lot with a little! 

God took one jar of oil and multiplied it so the widow cold pay her debts.

I just felt like someone needed to be encouraged this morning. When you feel like you've run out of options, or you are drowning and feel there is no way out,...remember you have all God needs. He's given you everything you need. Practice gratitude for those things in life that you do have...it totally changes our focus.  It's outrageous faith that Elisah teaches us! I want outrageous faith - I've got all I need and that's all God needs to do miraculous things in my life! Take a moment and write down what you have, what is your small jar of oil? That's all He needs.




Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Defeated...I Think Not!


I want to say thank you to my friend Monica -  she is an inspiration. Visit her here! She missed me, needed to catch up, wanted to know what's going on in my life - she and I met in this virtual world of blogging years ago - I consider her my sister and love her dearly. It blessed me that she missed me.

I'm going to be very transparent (when am I NOT transparent?). I say this only because it feels like I'm about to undress in front of you and it is "awkward" to say the least. However, I know I need to do this, because getting vulnerable and being authentic is what ministers most to others.  So, lets catch up a bit.

I am still homeschooling all three of my middle schoolers (6th, 7th, 8th graders). I am attending a new church (well not so new, I may have mentioned that in the past year and a half), teaching preschool Sunday school once a month (pick that jaw up off the floor...I am a new creation). I am hosting my first "Fill My Cup" girlfriend gathering at a local coffee house this week, I am a Sales Coordinator with the most amazing company ever - Juice Plus. I've been privileged to see results in my own life, the lives of my family and so many others. God is totally using whole food nutrition to minister to the health and wellness of many. I'm so close to Senior Sales - May is a very big month for me. I've been spending time helping my team grow.  I've been teaching writing at our Homeschool Co-op, getting ready for our big promotion day this Saturday. Running the Mom taxi to tennis, piano, allergy shots, youth group once a week (all different days). Working on raising money for all 3 of my boys to go to camp this summer. Trying to be that cool Mom who loves to watch Marvel with my man group. Yes, I'm still going through peri-menopause...ready for that to move on. :) I group once a week with my accountability group and am presently studying the book of Psalms with another group of amazing ladies. Love going to church on Saturday nights now that we've added that additional service. I'm going through a little mourning because I'm having to say goodbye to a little ray of sunshine in my life as she goes on an incredible adventure with her precious family for a year plus.  I'm trying to be the best friend, wife, Mom, coach, servant that I can possibly be. That's my nutshell.

With that said, today was a rough day. I am thankful for the friends who speak truth in my life. I think sometimes when I get overwhelmed with all the hats I'm wearing I feel paralyzed. I love my hats. Really, I love every single one of those hats...a lot! I've done some serious evaluating of my "crystal balls" and my "bouncy balls" or my hats whatever you want to call them.  I feel like I've placed my hats in proper triage, but today I had a meltdown.


I woke up this morning on fire! I've been declaring out loud who I am in Christ. My pastor is preaching a great sermon series. "I AM COMPLETE! In Christ I have everything I need to live a full life!" Yes, every morning...read my Psalms and make my declarations. What happened today? Does it have to do with my many hats? Here is my theory.

It is May. Every homeschool Mom I've ever known says things like..."Gosh, did we do enough this year?" We are WAY harder on ourselves than I ever was when I was a public school teacher with a class of 23 high schoolers). Truth! So in my "fear" I let the enemy get a little foothold. Suddenly, things were not going as I had planned. There was a bit of nit picking going on, some buttons being pushed - I gently warned if the buttons were continually being pushed the nuclear bomb that the boy holds will eventually erupt and that will just not be pretty. Oh but, lets admit it, when you were 11, it was kind of fun to see just how far we could go before the explosion. It's kind of excited...for the one child, for the other....not so much. Well, it wasn't exactly Chernobyl, but by my reaction, it might has well been. What happened to me. I lost it. Suddenly I was appalled by my own behavior and then I started to fall apart.

Lies. Oh the enemy loves to whisper lies. My weakened state from wearing my many hats may have something to do with my meltdown over something so silly. I'm just being real here. I entertained those lies and I said things. "I can't do this...." "I'm not good at this!"  "I'm not going to reach my goals", "I feel like I'm doing all of this on my own." "I feel like scrap metal put out to the curb!" YES I said these things. The very same woman who declared "I AM COMPLETE!" just 5 hours before...said these things. The words were flying out of my mouth and being echoed in my ears. I seriously could not recover. I know the power of words!  When I tell you that I cried...I mean...I haven't cried this hard in a LONG TIME! Seriously, people are going through very difficult things (I've been through more difficult times) but I couldn't recover. In the midst of my tears...I am saying..."NO weapon formed against me shall prosper!" It was like the enemy heard that and was laughing and just shot a little dart my way (I mean it could have been on of those little orange rubber darts) and I just couldn't get up off the ground! UGH! Pitiful right?!

OK. End this pitiful story right? I ran to a friend. I cried on her shoulder. I got back in my car with swollen eyes, told the devil he's a liar and reclaimed my authority! NO MORE! ENOUGH!

Listen, when we criticize and condemn ourselves, we side with the enemy of our hearts. GOD IS FOR US! WE ARE MORE than CONQUERORS! I AM an OVERCOMER!

It happens folks. Even when we read our Bible, even when we wake up with declarations on our tongues - we can get beaten down. I just needed to run back to His feet! I am all about speaking life. Ask my kids! They recognize immediately when they hear someone speaking death! There is so much power in the tongue.

That top picture. Baloney! Rubbish! Well, we can do it - just not alone! We can do ALL things through Christ!! When the hats get to be too much, when we feel overwhelmed or paralyzed, that is not the time to start "taking the wheel", start controling things...it even more imporant to LET God handle it, let Him be in charge!

Defeated....I think not! You, Me, WE ARE OVERCOMERS! WE ARE VICTORIOUS! Thank you Lord for your GRACE! Yes and Amen!


Friday, April 3, 2015

From A Virgin's Womb To An Empty Tomb



I haven't been writing as often as I like. I journal, I use to journal here, but for some reason haven't lately. Perhaps because my children are getting older and they enjoy their privacy...I have to be more creative if I'm writing about my superheros now.

I reflect on my Jesus once again this morning. This week, my study group and my family are all reading Luke 20-24. It's Holy Week after all. I've contemplated allowing my children to watch the Passion of the Christ (haven't decided yet). They are teens now, I think they could handle it...parenting wisdom...always one of the top requests in my prayer time.

I was writing my morning "nugget" on Facebook this morning and I thought about what I had written last Easter. The story of how my Jesus and my Mother both sacrificed for me. Differently, but a sacrifice nonetheless. The link to that story is : They Took My Place.

So much love from the Father. In years past I know I've cried over the sacrifice of Jesus, the pain that He suffered, for me, so that I might enjoy everlasting life. This year once again, I meditate on this story of Cross and concentrate on His Love. His amazing Love! The fact that He came as a baby. He left Heaven and put Himself in a tiny shell, walked this earth...sinless! Suffered incomprehensible persecution and pain...all because He loves me.

Wow! I've been saved for over 36 years and it still overwhelms me. I think about our moments - Jesus and I. The moments we've had, quiet times in my chair, before the sun rises. The intimate times where I could almost physically feel His presence. Times when I know He rocked me to sleep, or caught every tear. Times when my spirit knows He was speaking to me. Whispers of love, gentle correction or even laughter. My Jesus....I am really always on His mind.

Do you feel that way too? I wonder? Is your relationship the kind that you can reflect and recall moments, special moments between just you and He? I can say, to some extent I really do understand His comment..."I AM". He is! He is everything to me. I don't always do this journey correctly. Many days I wish I can do a do over. But His Grace...demonstrates His love..it moves me, it woos me.

Thank you just doesn't seem to fit the emotion that goes along with the words. It will have to do. Thank you Lord for loving me enough to be born in a manger, where animals slept and ate; To walk and work this land before me; to walk the Via Dolorosa bearing a cross that was meant for me. Thank you my Jesus...thank you. I love you too.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Lovin' You for Over Half of My Life


You may kiss the bride! 12/15/90
I was 21 years old, you were 25 - this was December 15, 1990. When I tell people that we met in September of 1989, started dating in February 1990, got engaged June 1990 and got married in December of 1990....people think we're nuts. We know we are!

We know that the decision we made at that altar, in Pennington NJ that rainy, snowy day...was one of the easiest and best decisions we've ever made.

My handsome guy...there to pray with me before I spoke! 10/24/14
It's easy to love your very best friend. We've been through so much in the last 24 years....our journey has not been easy, but it has always made everything better...knowing you were by my side. The truth is I couldn't imagine doing life without you. You are my umbrella when it rains in my life. One of my most favorite things about you Mike Engel...is that you never EVER doubt...you have always saiud without a doubt...that marrying me was something you know you did right! You have done so many things right....but I am so glad you asked me 24 years ago to do life with you.

I love him SO much! 12/9/14
We have had some serious laughs! We have gone to bed very late...working on issues! We have certainly shared a number of tears....but through it all...you are the one I want to hold me, you are the one that can make me feel better with a kiss. I can't believe that you can still make me melt after 24 years.

I'm so proud of you Michael - you have taught our children that working hard will pay off! You have never given up - I'm so thankful. I know that as we continue through our "middle ages" things are changing. It is strange to see these boys who were just babies when I started this blog...

Shane, Brendan & Kyle - our 3 sons! 12/6/14
...looking so handsome and tall. Look at these young men Mike. WE DID THIS! :) That's got to make you smile big (and cringe a little)! Your role in their lives is now more pivotal than ever. OH...I'm not going to talk about them growing up....we'll work on that later.

Michael, I'm crazy in love with you. I've been holding your hand since 1989...and I will continue on through eternity. Praise God that we have eternity in our hearts Michael. That means we get to keep the gift of our love forever! I've written of so many of our memories throughout the years...but there are some...that are so dear, so special, so vividly engrained in my heart...that seem as fresh as the dawn of a new day.

Thank you. Thank you for proposing 25 years ago, thank you for protecting me, for loving me, for fathering our boys, for making me laugh, for making me stretch, for believing in me, for cheering me on, for standing up for me, for fighting for me, for wanting the very best for me...for loving God and never walking away from Him, for being a constant in our lives, for being willing to bend, morph and even change, for praying with and for me and with and for our boys daily, for sticking to every single vow and for wanting to grow old with me. We've done a pretty good job of growing old so far. We've been loving each other for over half of my life! I look forward to every single day of the remainder of our lives...doing just the same! xoxo ♥ Lisa

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Pulling Back The Curtains...Again

borrowed pic from the globaldoorproject.org

Every once in a while I pull back the curtains in my heart to reveal something totally vulnerable, I'm not sure yet if it is for whomever is reading this, or solely for me, either way it is therapeutic and sometimes an occasional reader gets blessed in the aftermath.  This is one of those times when I can't get my thoughts straight, so in order to accomplish any housework, grade papers or bake cookies, I must get this out.

The Lord is working on either refining me or defining me or both. About a year ago He moved me from point A where I was content, to point B where I have found in some ways allowed me to grow. He has a way of moving us...we never want to be stagnant...because then we might start to stink. When I was moved from A to B, at first I felt stripped. Stripped of all that I loved, all that I knew I worked well in, all that was familiar and freeing. But I knew it was for a noble cause. I knew it was not about me at all...it was more about those I love. When love is involved, sacrifice is much easier.

So a door was closed. So closed, that even when I snuck back in for a brief moment, I knew I was not going to be able to go back. I have to accept that when God closes a door, He must be opening up a new one - that's what they say right? The crazy thing is, I think he is teaching me that not all doors have knobs, handles, and windows and they can look and operate very differently.

I'm 45 years old, felt like I've lost something that I'm never gonna recover and I have shed many tears and have even lost sleep because of this transition. I've started to do an in depth study of Psalms 91. Did you know that God promises so much in those 16 verses? The beginning of the chapter gives us one thing to do..."Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." That's it - choose to dwell in His shelter and rest in His shadow! Well, I do that. I spend time every morning doing just that...and sure enough He is showing me His many promises.

So while I'm running from door to door, while I'm weeping over the fact that "feel" I don't have a "home", He is showing me that I've been narrow minded in thinking that doors have to even be connected to a wall let alone a building. Wow! Mind blown (as my eleven year old would say)! Now don't think for one minute that the enemy isn't just having a heyday with my mind. OH He's such a liar. Thoughts like, are you ready for this?..."You don't fit here. He's not gonna be using your gifts any longer, your time is up. You left your family, now you are alone. These people don't need you or really even want you. Don't lie to yourself Lisa...they were getting tired of you that's why you left...that's why it was time." It can get pretty ugly....those lying arrows can hit your heart and make a mess if you let them. NOW, I knew exactly what they were...lies. Did you know that these arrows are deliberately sent by the enemy and intentionally aimed at the spot they can cause most damage? Usually targeted in the area in which are mind is not renewed by the Word -- like an area where we are still losing our temper, or where we are still easily offended, or and area of rebellion or fear (which is most likely where my weak spot is located). Good news...Eph. 6 reminds us that we have a shield of faith that will extinguish all the flaming arrows. That shield is strengthened by believing His Word. He will deliver us!!

So I've been focused on saturating my mind on His Word.  My time with the Lord has been me asking Him to renew my mind to such an extent that I have more faith in His Word than in what I see or hear. You see faith is not a tool to manipulate God into giving you something you want, it is simply the means by which we accept what God has already made available. So...while I'm running here and there, feeling a little lost, this morning I found myself running right under the wings of my Father. "He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

This morning, by surprise or maybe not, I opened my door to a field full of chickens, cows and horses. I thought of a babe chick and how it runs under its Mama's wings to find shelter. Mama doesn't run after all of her chicks...they come to her. You see the Lord is always there, we are the ones that run around fearful looking for shelter...He is just right there...open arms..ready to shelter us and renew us to do the next thing.

God has shown me, as I opened my car door this morning, that I have found my family, in fact I felt like the Lord said..."Hold on Lisa, My faithfulness knows no boundaries, there are no doors to be open, I've opened all the doors and you are home now."  I know I'm going to experience something amazing, something that the deepest part of my heart has longed for for a long time. Home, a home without walls or doors, a place open for new things, new people, new experiences. I'm at point B, I've not left there, and I'm happy to be there...but what I was searching for is not found in any "point" at all. God has shown me, that the gifts that He gave me, He has given me so He can use them, where He wants to use them, when He wants to use them. He hasn't stripped me of them. So...I will stay in His shelter and rest in His shadow..and enjoy my new wide open home.

Friday, October 17, 2014

How To Measure Success


Please take a trip to "The Mommy Mess" by clicking the link above. Today's blog post was featured there and I discuss the the mental journey to measure success every year as a homeschool Mom - it can get a little messy for sure. It is such an honor to be asked to write for Adrienne's Blog! She is such an inspiration to so many! You will be blessed.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Where Were You...?

World Trade Center Memorial 7/13
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

My students use to ask me where I was when Elvis died, or when Kennedy was shot, or when the challenger exploded. I loved when they would ask "What was it like to see man walk on the moon for the first time?" I cried when Elvis died (I was 11 years old), but I think I cried because everyone around me was crying. I wasn't born until 7 years after President Kennedy was shot and I was only 4 months old when man first landed on the moon. The Challenger explosion was very disturbing. I was a junior in high school and we watched that live on television in our morning class.

Statue of Liberty 7/13
Living so close to New York City for most of my married life, I looked forward to taking my children back last summer. My boys and I made an American History Road trip, stopping in North Carolina, Washington DC, Trenton, NJ, Philadelphia PA and NYC before we turned around and went home through the western part of South Carolina, GA and finally home.

It was a wonderful time of telling the stories of my childhood as they saw many of my childhood homes. They got to see their Dad's homes too. They heard the stories of how we met and when we visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Natural History Museum...they heard about many of the dates Mike and I went on.

I don't think I could live in Manhattan. We spent lots of time in Time Square...in the morning and at midnight. It is just a different culture..I love it, but I couldn't live there 24/7.

When I took my kids to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, they understood what that was all about. My very own mother came over on a boat from Sicily with her Mom, Dad and 10+ siblings and ended up on Ellis Island. Fascinating.

Then I took them to Ground Zero. Where the Twin Towers use to be. We walked in the bookstore and saw first hand photos. You could hear pin drop...it was so quiet and reverent. (Much like Arlington Cemetery a few weeks prior to visiting NYC). You could hear people talking, whispering, recalling. Where were you Mom? Do you remember what you were doing?
My boys, taking in history. 7/13
Of course. Brendan and Kyle were just born 3 months prior. Twin babies, sharing a crib. I got the phone call. "Put on the TV!" I watched, in horror....for hours. 8:50am, the TV was flooded with news...moments after the first plane crashed into the North Towers. Live on television, while on the phone with my friend Kathleen, we witness the 2nd plane crash. I live a maximum of 20 minutes give or take from NYC. My husband worked closer. We had friends who worked in the World Trade Center. We had friends who worked on Broadway. Such an uncertain time. When the 2nd plane hit the South Towers, I went into my nursery and picked up two little babies, still sleeping, and held them in my arms. I wanted to be close to them. I wanted my husband to come home. I tried to call friends, the phones were down. I waited. I looked out my window from the second floor and could see the smoke.

The next morning blended into the night before. Our cars were full of soot and ash. My husband had to see families come in to where he worked; days, weeks later...waiting for loved ones to get off the train. Cars parked in the train station, never to be recovered. So sad.

St. Paul's Chapel of Trinity 7/13
As we talked in that little memorial shop in Lower Manhattan, my boys listened, understanding that many of us had lived history. But what impacted me that day was visiting St. Paul's Chapel of Trinity Church. The church that is noted as being the place where many fled to find peace on that day, and days to come. I walked in that place, and could sense the presence of God immediately. Where was God on 9/11? He was there. Present in the pain and loss.  He was in the hearts of man. He was with me that day. He was with my friends who worked and lived in the city. For that day, and many days to come...there were no denominations, no dividing walls. People found Jesus in people with skin on. That is where He is today. I believe when we break the dividing walls we can see more clearly. He is found in the men, women and children that He inhabits, in His creation that is all around, and yes, in pain. He was and He is...ever present!

I LOVE Elizabeth Elliot - she is one of my heroes. I close with a quote from her:
"I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God." 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Come on Everybody...Let's Do the HOP!


This is my very first Blog Hop. The idea is to answer these 4 questions and then introduce my readers to a few of the blogs that I follow...in hopes that you will check out those blogs as well. I was asked to do this by my very good friend Joyce over at A Cup of Herbal Blessing. So, now it is my turn to share!

1. What am I writing or working on?
Presently I'm working on editing my book. (It's way too long for a devotional.) I have an editor, but I really need to edit it before it gets into his hands. I have already written a book, entitled The Stolen Truth Adventure Guide. It is a work book to accompany another author's adventure/mystery series based on Creationism vs. Evolutionism. It has not been published yet, and I'm not quite sure as to why? (When you work with other people...and you haven't invested an upfront money...you just have to wait - and I have no problem with that!) As far as my blog goes...well...it started out as a journal of my journey and adventures as a mother to 3 of my favorite superheros! At times, that is still exactly what it is. But as life would have it, it has become a source of therapy for me. There are times when I begin to write, not knowing how it will end, hoping that the Lord will answer the dilemma or issue of my heart at that moment. He is so faithful. Then of course I write whatever, God has placed on my heart. It is my greatest desire to be a source of encouragement. At first I thought it would be just for "Moms" but as He would have it, men, women and even teenagers seem to leave comments and enjoy what they find here. (There is that other blog I work on, not often, but just for fun. It's called Kyrpton's Kitchen. You can check it out!)

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
As I stated above. I am not sure how different it is from other "Mom Blogs" except that I'm also sharing the lessons I'm learning as a child of God, wife, teacher, leader... Often what I write has really been my closest moment to God that day or week. Other times it is just what's going on in the "Engel Zoo". Then other times, I journal memories. This is my place to be open, honest, encourage others, share any kind of wisdom and work through some issues. It's basically a diary that I've left open for the world to read.

3. Why do I write what I do?
Again, not to sound redundant, I write to journal my thoughts, ideas, lessons, plans, hopes and happenings as well as any encouragement that I can be to others. My blog is kind of like a memoir. However, there are those times, as I mentioned above that I write for therapy because I'm working through some "stuff". You know sometimes when we are working through issues, it is nice to have advice from others, but then there are times when I really don't want to be clouded by other's views, perspectives and ideas...I just want to hear from God. That's why I write.

4. How does my writing process work?
I'm a lover of words and a lover of The Word. The ideas, memories, or simply words begin in my heart and they travel to my head and then basically out of my fingers. I love pictures and try to use them often. It is true what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. The other thing I think that you may notice about my writing is that I'm writing directly to you. It's always conversational (well sometimes I write directly to God and let you listen in), and I'm a huge fan of pausing....using my infamous...dot-dot-dot It's really called an ellipsis, but just so you understand, I don't actually use those as defined. I use the dots to show a literal breath as if we were actually speaking...you know for dramatic purposes. (I know commas are suppose to do that, but we don't always breathe at commas if we're really honest) :)  Perhaps I need to create a new word since I don't really use the ellipsis as it is truly designed to be used.

I guess that is all I have for the 4 questions above. This is my favorite part: I'm excited to introduce you to 3 of my very good friends who blog. Each one blogs for different reasons, and I really encourage you to take some time to go and visit.

Monica Kaye Snyder is a dear friend, a sister of my heart, but one I've actually never met in person. We met right here at The Journey of A Superhero Mom. Somehow she stumbled upon me and we've been sisters since. She is a redeemed child of God, lover of Jesus and ever learning just how powerful the Spirit of God is. She is mother to two daughters, Delaney Jayne and Danica Jean and married to her prince, Dan, for almost 14 years. She is a full time warrior in a battle with a painful and disabling genetic connective tissue disorder, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and all the conditions that accompany it. She has been writing about this journey at www.teamdanica.com since 2010 when her daughter, Danica, was diagnosed with Chiari and had her first brain surgery fail at just two years old. Before this she wrote at www.everydaysimpleabundance.blogspot.com. She loves how God uses narrative through Scripture to show His saving Grace. She believes each one of our stories matter. This is why she writes.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥


Adrienne Bolton and I have sat near each other every Sunday for years and years. Finally, a few years ago...we started to homeschool together. I so appreciate our friendship as she has been such an encouragement to me! Adrienne is a homeschooling mom of two and blogger at The Mommy Mess, where she writes with an honest voice about homeschooling, raising boys, and the mess of motherhood. Her writing has been syndicated on BlogHer and featured at The SITS Girls and Homeschool Blogging. She’s a follower of Jesus and an imperfect parent surviving on God’s grace and mercy. Her writing is always honest, sometimes sarcastic, and never perfect! You can also find her as @TheMommyMess on Twitter and connect with her on Facebook.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Allison Reynolds, is another sweet friend of mine. We actually have known each other for years. She is a fellow homeschool Mom. She is the kind of friend that would walk to my house while I'm still in my pajamas. (She actually has done that in the past...quite often...and I kind of miss it - my kids don't - but I do.) Allison loves life and all that surrounds her. She recently took the plunge and moved to North Carolina after years of dreaming about moving north. Originally from New York, she has lived in a variety of places...California, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Florida. Allison is mom to five children, including one son who was adopted. She has homeschooled for 13 years and is getting ready to graduate their first child in this upcoming year. She loves to write, shop, travel, hike, swim and most of all she loves to fellowship with friends. A believer and Christ-follower since 11 years old, her true desire is to walk out the destiny that God has placed before her. As she nears her forties, Allison is truly taking the concept, “seize the day” to heart. Come watch their crazy life on her blog, www.thereynoldsnation.blogspot.com.

Blessed by all the relationships I have in our virtual world of blogging!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

I Can't See You!


"Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." Psalms 139:7-10

Have you ever felt like there are times in your life where you are super strong for God and then other times you feel like He has left you and you are running for your life? Crazy right? Those are the very feelings we see in David after he conquers Goliath. I recently heard a pastor tell the story again and so I went and reread the story of David and Goliath and I wanted to share what I learned from his sermon. So powerful!! You know, this young man, running towards this giant..all David has is a rock and a sling but he is running strong because God is with him and he knows it. He kills the giant, runs up and takes Goliath's sword and cuts off his head. Feeling pretty amazing at that moment. (Think about those moments in your life...those are powerful moments!)

Four chapters later, David feels like he is all alone, he finds himself going to the priest, so discouraged, running for his life, so alone, and just wants to see if the priest has anything for him.  Perhaps you've felt like this...even after a moment like the one above. We are a peculiar people. :)

The priest them shows him the very sword that years earlier young David had used in one of the greatest, most amazing battles in history.  "The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one.” David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.” 1 Samuel 21:9

David first gets the sword when he conquers Goliath.  Four chapters later he feels like God has abandoned him, he's running for his life from Saul, he runs to the priest and what's waiting for him there? The same sword. 

God's promises are available whether you are running towards him or away from him because its not based on your performance. It is based upon a God who will ultimately fulfill all of His promises! (Remember David was anointed as a young boy by Samuel...he was anointed to be KING!)

The difference between those 2 stories of David was his awareness of God's presence. Because God's presence changes everything.

One of the greatest promises God gives us is His presence. If we are children of God, He IS always with us. That's the verse at the top...David in a moment of solitude, writes that verse because he realizes...that God is always with him...He's everywhere!

When things don't go as we imagine they should we think that God isn't fulfilling his promises for us. That's only because we can't see it. His presence is in us that means his promises are all available to us. Are you aware of God's presence in your life?

You may not see it, but you can always find it! Listen, God's promises are at times hard to see...but they are always available. The picture above is my boy Kyle when he was probably 4 years old. He wore that batman mask for a whole year. He thought that as long as he wore that mask nobody could see him. We would play hide-and-seek and he would hide in the open space and believe that he couldn't be seen. We would go along and say..."Where's Kyle?" "Hmmm? I can't see Kyle!" (meanwhile he is right in front of us!) and he would giggle so we would hear him and say..."OH I found you!!"

This is just how we are with God sometimes. God is right in front of us, we know his promises are there, but we can't see Him. We take the circumstances of life put it right in front of our eyes and block out the presence of God and his promises. We take the doctors report that we got and we put it right in front of our eyes and we ask God, why did you leave me, why is this going on, where are you, why is this happening to me? Or maybe we see our children are running crazy and not turning out they way you hoped and you say, where did I fail, why is this happening? What we don't realize is that God is right there...right there...something is obstructing our view because He's always been right in front of us...we might not always see it because these things in our lives can seem enormous, but we can always find it! 

I think that is how David may have felt in that story. When we find him going to the priest he probably felt like the Lord had abandoned him..."God's blessing everybody else, but not me". Then the priest shows him this sword...this sword that brought David's mind back to that battlefield and was able to remove the thing that was obstructing his view and he started to remember God's past faithfulness. It's like that "AHA!" moment.

He starts to relive that moment and remembers God's faithfulness, and maybe that opened up his mind to remember the times when he was tending sheep and killed a lion or bear with his hands because God always protected him or even before that, he may remember the oil being poured down his head and face as God anointed him to be king. Then He began to feel the presence of God...it never really left him, it was always in him, but he let the circumstances of his life overwhelm him and he forgot about God's past faithfulness and His promises!

If you want to start claiming God's promises for your future...start remember his past faithfulness in your life! Thinking on His faithfulness, brings us right back into the reality of His presence. Can you remember where God provided? Where God healed? Where God showed up and made something out of nothing. If you are alone today, can you remember a time when you felt God's presence comfort your weary soul. You begin finding God's promises when you remember what He has already done!


God has never failed to fulfill one promise in His word..he is not going to start with you. Faith is looking what He has done in the past, knowing that he will do it in the present and believing that he will always accomplish it in His future! The Word of God is filled with his promises!

God responds to us is much like the priest in the story above...If you want it take it! God's promises do not come with expiration date.  

2 Corinthians 1:20  "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God."

What do you need today, because God's promises are available to you! Find it is His Word and write it down, put it on your refrigerator, write it on the bathroom mirror! Keep it in front of your eyes!

What is your response to God? Perhaps it will be like David in the scripture above: "Give it to me!" It requires an action. A present only becomes useful after it is opened. A sword only becomes a weapon after you pick it up and use it.  A promise can't be earned but it can be embraced. An unclaimed promise is a forfeited blessing. Listen God's word becomes active when we apply to our lives!

What promise are you believing God has for you today? Let me know!