Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Little Girls In My Life

In a world of all boys, I have always appreciated all the wonderful women in my life. The Lord has blessed me with rich friendships with many wonderful women, young and....seasoned. Women I can sit and learn from, women who when we are together can sharpen each other's iron, women who share in my emotions, women who make me come out of my shell and make me laugh, women whom I've been able to wrap my arm around and mentor...all these women...such a blessing in my life. Friendships that I treasure and that are necessary for my personal growth.

Teenage girls are just as beneficial to my life you know. They may get a bad rap sometimes, but they are treasures that are finding themselves and growing up into the women God created them to be. They need us as much as we need them. It's true!! The opportunities I get to spend with teenage or young adult some of the most inspiring times of my life. I can ALWAYS see the potential and will always remind them of their future...which is so open and bright and beautiful! The picture of their life is still to be painted and they are about to begin that process!! It is most exciting.

However, I do believe that it is just as necessary to have some little girls in my life as well. Little girls remind you of the "you" deep inside. The little girl free to be and create and to dance. The little girl that has the natural ability to nurture, love and be the princess she was created to be.

I've been equally blessed to have some little girls in my life. I couldn't get pictures of all of them on my blog, but these two are quite special. The little girl (who isn't so little any more) above just holds such a special place in my heart. She is my baking partner. She loves me and all my quirky ways in the kitchen. It is rare to be with her where we don't dream of what we should bake. She recently sat me down and showed me her incredible doll house. Oh I just wanted to love for her is so big! Her innocence, compassion and genuine love for others...oozes out of her every pore. I want to be just like her. When I am with her, she makes ME feel like a princess. When I walk into her home or she mine...she is so quick to wrap her arms around me...first thing. OH my heart swells just thinking about her. SEE...I need little girls in my life.

Then there is the privilege I have of teaching preschool at my church once a month. These little girls are just reminders of who God made us to be. This precious one in the picture below I have the honor of seeing her at church but also, her Mom and I homeschool together - so I get to see her during the week too. She is such a sweet and special love! The best part of teaching preschool or volunteering in children's ministry is when they see you outside of the classroom and they run up to you in the hall way and wrap their precious little arms around your leg or if tall enough your waist!!! Seriously....there is nothing better than that! I feel like the little girls in my life are such gifts - true treasures!!  (consider volunteering to be blessed by the children in your church)

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my boys! I love little boys too!! I'm a boy could I not? I'm all about playing the damsel in distress or making zooming noises as we race cars, or jump on trampolines, throw the football, shoot some hoops are even play an occasional video game! I'm all about it!! I LOVE my guys!  But honestly my boys could never have braided my hair. (I did get a few tea parties and even some doll house playing when my youngest was in preschool. ::smile big::)

Instead I have gotten this...and have loved it just the same

Please understand that nothing can or will ever take the place of moments like this:

But there is just something about the little girls in my life that remind me of this!
So I'm unapologetically appreciative of the the little girls in my life. They teach me so much - thank you Lord for these adorable little treasures....these little girls! Keep them coming Lord...please!

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 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! 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.

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 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! 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 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!