Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Titus 2 Tuesday - NEW HOME!

I want to begin today by sharing some exciting news with you!

A Teachable Heart is now the host home to Titus 2 Tuesdays!

Sarah, from Kingdom Twingdom, has very graciously passed that blessing onto me. She will still be joining us from time to time for Titus 2 Tuesdays. Please be keeping her in your prayers as she is preparing to give birth to her 5th precious child shortly. Those of you who do not "know" her yet; she is currently a mother of two sets of twins. This will be her first "singleton."

Although the host home has changed; the basic premise for Titus 2 Tuesday has not:

What have learned from another woman this week? (or ever)

This is an opportunity to honor women in your life and to share wonderful tips and lessons with all of us! We can learn so much from each other! Feel free to honor the same women more than once as you continue to learn from them and their lives!

On to my Titus 2 Tuesday post for today...

Today I am choosing to honor, once again, my wonderful friend Cheryl. This past week I stopped by her house to pick her up and when she opened the door there was an amazing aroma from the dinner she had made for her family. We were on our way out to dinner; but I honestly could have just stayed and eaten hers! I commented that it smelled so good and asked her for the recipe.

The next morning, she brought over the recipe for me. However, it wasn't just the recipe, she had brought me ALL of the ingredients (including a small bag of spices) so I could easily and successfully make the recipe that night! What an amazing blessing it was to me and another fabulous idea for all of us who were looking for a way to bless a friend.

Thank you Cheryl! I am honored to call you my friend!

Is there someone that you would like to honor today? I would LOVE it if you would join in on Titus 2 Tuesdays!!

Here are some Basic Guidelines to follow:

1. Write your Titus 2 Tuesday post including, somewhere in your post, a sentence about Titus 2 Tuesdays and link back to my blog.

2. Use the Mr. Linky form below to enter your name or your blog's name and a link directly to your Titus 2 Tuesday post. Please keep the name used to describe your blog short. You do not need to type in the entire URL of your blog in the name section. Please use spaces between words and characters. This helps insure that Mr. Linky will function properly. If you have any questions or need assistance; please e-mail me.

3. Grab the new Titus 2 Tuesday button (available soon!) and add it to your blog so others will want to join in on the fun and we can learn from more women each week.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Marital Moments Issue 19 - Praying Scripture Over Your Spouse

I have literally written three posts while trying to write this one. My words simply aren't doing this concept justice so I am choosing to go with a more direct route. Less of my words; more of His.

Praying for our spouses is a blessing to both of us. A few reasons for this is that: It is not easy to remain upset with someone for whom you are praying. When we pray for another person we are joining with them into their struggles, desires, hopes and dreams. Our prayers have the power to move the hand of God upon our spouses lives.

Praying Scripture helps us to pray "according to His will." Here are a few examples of Scriptures that I pray over my own husband. I encourage you to find (ask God to lead you to) at least one Scripture that you can begin to pray over your spouse.

Luke 2:52 "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man." (NIV)

When I pray this passage over my husband, it is something like this: (Each verse will be listed in orange; my prayers for my spouse will follow in red.)

"I pray that you would allow ___________(my husband) to grow in wisdom and stature and to have favor with you, God, and also with the men that surround his life."

Psalm 37:23 "If the Lord delights in a man's way, He makes his steps firm." (NIV)

"Father, I pray that you would be at work in my husband's heart and allow his ways to delight you. I pray that you would allow his steps to be clearly laid out and firm."

Psalm 121:7-8 "The Lord will keep you from all harm-He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forever more."

"Lord, I thank you that you will keep my husband from all harm. That you will watch over his coming and going both now and always."

Those are a few examples to show you just how simple it really is. I will often go to the concordance in my Bible or you can even go on line and search "Scriptures on..." to pray specifically depending on what is going on at the time. If you know your spouse is struggling with something: fear, loss/grieving, temptation in an area, etc., you can look up Scriptures on those topics and choose a few to claim in prayer and thanksgiving on behalf of your spouse (yourself, your children, friends, etc.)

There is amazing power in prayer. I pray that as you pray Scriptures over your spouse that your marriage would increase deeply in value and quality. Stormie Omartian has an amazing book, "Power of a Praying Wife" that I would highly recommend if you are just getting started in this area.

I'd love to hear some of your favorite Scriptures to pray for your spouse. If you are just trying this for the first time; I'd love to hear what Scripture the Lord has led you to begin praying for your spouse.

Blessings & Peace to you today!


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Achieving Balance

Life can sometimes seem like a tightrope walk. We fix our eyes on our destination and begin to take steps in the right direction to obtain our goal. Along the way there is some leaning here and there. Slight right; then slight left. All the while, trying to stay on the path. Occasionally we get so focused on the rope that we actually lose our balance. Usually something happens to get us to look up once again (tripping, falling, the nudge of a friend or family member.) It is amazingly helpful to have a voice encouraging you along the way to stay focused; counseling you through the gust of wind that may happen at a certain point or reminding you to keep your eyes fixed while the flock of birds fly over you.

This year promises to be a year of changes in many different realms. These new tightrope walks can seem the most intimidating. Huge chasms of unknown gape on both sides of the wire. The irony of tightrope walking is that when we are trying to control our steps and focusing intently on not falling; we often have a much more difficult time of balancing. However; keeping our eyes up, focused on the next platform of purpose; we can often balance each step as it is taken. Distributing our weight accordingly as we step.

How can we gain this clear focus during times of change? We fix our eyes on the One who has created us. The One who directs our steps and encourages us along paths He has already traveled.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Psalm 119:76 May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.

Looking to Him as we take each step,


Saturday, January 17, 2009

He Who Has Ears, Let Him Hear!

I love how Jesus compels His disciples and those listening to Him to listen to the deeper heart message that He is revealing to them in Matthew 11:15. I believe He is calling out even now for people to listen and to heed His Words and call upon their lives.

There is a life in particular that God has allowed to cross my path that I wanted to draw your attention to. His name is Seth. He is the 4th child born to Ellyn & John. He is their miracle baby. Here are a few words from Ellyn's site about Seth (who is pictured above on the left side of my blog.) Before you read El's words, it is important to know that their 3rd child, Eli, was born stillborn into their waiting arms. Getting pregnant again was a walk of faith for them. Seth was their miracle child.

"Our answered prayer and a miracle in his own right, Seth is 5 months old. Born prematurely, he was very ill for some time, yet he has stormed through every difficulty with the grace of God. Seth is profoundly deaf, but after seeing the character of our son, we say he is PROFOUNDLY SETH."

Seth now has the opportunity to receive Cochlear Implants. These implants, invented by Nasa, could allow Seth to hear. They are expensive and must be implanted within a small window of time in order to be effective. Insurance will cover the cost of one implant, but they need to raise some money to be able to afford the second.

I would love it if you would join me in praying for this family. If you would like to contribute in a small (or large) way to Seth being able to hear, you can click on here to link to "Profoundly Seth" and purchase wristbands ($5 a piece) to wear as a reminder to pray and a way to get the word out about Seth and this opportunity and become an amazing part of allowing this beautiful baby boy to hear. It has the potential to literally change his life.

I took the above picture while we were at the Kennedy Space Center on vacation. When I saw this board all about Cochlear implants it prompted my heart to pray for Ellyn & Seth. I snapped a photo in the moment. The way that God has allowed relationships to form over these blogs of ours still astounds me. What a mighty God we serve.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I am Second

A friend shared this site with me a few days ago. It is amazing and worth checking out. There are tons of personal testimonies of celebrities and other public figures who have accepted Christ as their personal savior. (People like Stephen Baldwin and the influence of his cleaning woman) The first one that I had read was Josh Hamilton, a famous baseball player who was voted an All Star player in the American League in 2008. There are awesome resources and links available if you want additional information as well. I love the power of people's personal experiences with God. Please take the time that you would normally spend reading my blog checking it out!

I Am Second (listing of all testimonies)

I Am Second (Stephen Baldwin's Testimony)

I Am Second (Josh Hamilton's Testimony)

I Am Second (Ashley's Testimony)

I Am Second (Darrell Waltrip-Nascar Driver Testimony)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

5 Conversations in 5 Weeks

5 conversations in 5 weeks with Vicki Courtney

You may have noticed the box on the side of my blog advertising the "5 Conversations in 5 Weeks" Book Club. The book is "5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter" by Vicki Courtney. We are only on week 2 and if you have a daughter I encourage you to check it out. You don't even have to have her book yet to benefit from the information that is shared. Vicki Courtney is a writer and speaker who is passionate about raising our daughters in truth and purity. You can click here to check it out! You can simply click on each number to listen to Vicki's video comments and access the additional resources. She shared a video on Photoshop usage under Conversation #1 that is great for every woman to know.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Marital Moments Issue 18- The Rest of the Story

The last time I posted a Marital Moments post (before Christmas & our vacation) I wrote about "Perfect Love." Some of you have asked how my story of love and marriage continued so...here is the rest of my story (at least leading up to the point of marriage.) Feel free to read the previous post by clicking here.

I left off talking about how I realized I could not compromise my heart by marrying the person I was dating at the time. I broke off that relationship and committed to take some time off of "dating." I felt the Lord was drawing me to Himself. Asking me to allow Him to heal areas of my heart that were broken and to delve into some of the hurts that I was "stuffing" and trying to just push past.

Wouldn't you know that this was the year that I was asked to be in FIVE weddings? (within 6 months none the less.) Talk about feeling like I was "always the bridesmaid, never the bride!" It was a tough year. I was so extremely happy for my friends and relatives and honored to be asked to stand with them, but there were a lot of tears in the shower and at bedtime. I was working through some of the emotions from the loss of my mom and still examining everything about myself to see what was wrong with me that needed to be "fixed." What I had somehow been missing but everyone else seemed to have...God did a lot of speaking into my life that year (Click here to read the Scriptures that I shared in the last post)

I talked with God openly about how I hoped it was not His plan for me to be single. I prayed some of the verses in Genesis about how woman was created to be a help meet. I began to pray that if it was God's will for me to be single that I would accept it; embrace it even. But He was going to have to give me the grace and strength to do it.

During that time I had met my future husband. We had met in the "Career" Sunday School Class at our church. He was actually in college and should have been in the other class...but he had decided to check out our class. ;) Our eyes had met almost instantly when he walked in. We got to know each other a bit on a "College & Career Christian Retreat" that our church held, but he was YOUNGER than me. I was sure he was NOT ready for the seriousness of a relationship that I was ready for. I was simply done with the frivolity of dating and hanging out.

Just before Christmas I was extremely busy. I was teaching at the time and had so much to accomplish before leaving school early to be in two back to back weddings of close girlfriends. I dropped my class off at art class (where my future husband's mom taught...) and she could see that I was unusually frazzled. She gave me the name & phone number of her son (who was home from college) to call so he could help me grade papers. She had taught several grade levels throughout the years and he had solid experience grading papers. I (of course) wasn't about to call a guy that a barely knew to come help me. :)

She ended up sending him over to my apartment and as he rung the doorbell I was giving my two very smelly class guinea pigs a bath. I went to the door with two dripping guinea pigs in hand. He helped me blow dry my class pets and grade papers. We talked and laughed and had a good time; but I still wasn't thinking about a future with him.

Following Christmas break my roommate and I began to run every day after school. My husband's mom told me that he had run track and would love to run with a group. (She says she never really meant to set us up, mind you, God was just arranging things without her knowing!) So he began running with us a few times a week. Then every day. Then he ended up coming over and having dinner with my roommate and I. Then he felt guilty for eating our groceries because we were poor Christian School teachers; so he started to buy groceries with us here and there contributing what he could. Then my roommate stopped running with us. (Sorry Pam! I'm sure we unknowingly made you feel like a 3rd wheel!) After a few months of this he finally stopped me before he was leaving one night and asked me to attend a play with him. I said yes and he asked if he could kiss me. Our friendship was blossoming into love (although I was still hesitant and actually told him he didn't know what he was saying when he told me he loved me for the first time!) He had to work to get through to my very guarded heart.

We got engaged in the fall. By springtime he was very sick. He has Crohn's disease and was having a pretty severe flare up. He had his first surgery while we were engaged. There was a whole new struggle for me to work through with God about marrying someone that I knew would have on going health issues-ones that could potentially be passed on to my children. I remember the night I was on my knees seeking God's face about marrying him and I realized that even if God only allowed for me to have him as my husband for a year, two years, ten or fifty that it was God's plan and I loved him enough to want to spend those years, vast or few as they may be, with him. I had no idea just how severe his health issues would end up being; but that was a God moment-one that He allowed so in the darkest of times I could reflect and remember that I had His peace to move forward and that I had chosen this path with my husband.

There is, of course, a lot more to our story; but that is the basic story. I'd love to hear yours!

I felt compelled to leave this post with a verse-one that God gave me and uses to prompt me when I am distant from His love. One that invites me back into His perfect love. Although God allowed me to marry and I truly do have a wonderful husband; neither of us are perfect-our love is only perfected through Christ. I believe some of you may be feeling distant from the embrace of Christ. Run to His open arms. Let Him fill you with His perfect love.

"See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me." Song of Solomon 2:11-13

Friday, January 9, 2009

Lessons from the Wii

Our family got a Wii this Christmas. It is a lot of fun and we have thoroughly enjoyed the added element of fun and healthy competition it has brought into our lives. The first time my husband and I had a chance to play (after midnight one night!) He wanted to do the boxing. Co-workers had told him that it was a good work out and one of their favorites. So, we boxed!

Knowing it was late and our time was limited, we decided to skip over some of the instructional parts and get right to the action! We are both competitive by nature and we were boxing our hearts out trying to win. (For the record, I knocked him out three times in a row that first night!) We were using our whole bodies and punching the air with the force that we anticipated it would take to actually box in real life. (I was SO SORE the following morning that it hurt to use my right shoulder...)

My husband, determined NOT to be knocked out by a woman, went back and did the instructional and practice boxing areas. What did we find out as he did? You barely have to move at all! It is all in how you move your wrists and the remotes. Here we were, full on giving it all that we had physically, and to truly do well you only had to know how to hold the remotes and strategically move them and your body. (Yes, he has knocked me out every time since...) Granted, it is still a good work out for your arms and core muscles-just not every muscle in your body!

I got to thinking about how often I do that in life. How I feel God is leading me to do something and I go full force boxing with all that I have trying to bring about the increase myself. Allowing my own logic to dictate my actions. When, in fact, had I taken the time to seek His face more specifically or read the instructions (the Bible) a bit more carefully that I would know that I don't have to strive-that I simply need to walk in obedience and rest in His grace.

It is like that story of the man who God asked to push a wheelbarrow up the mountain. Along the way he ran into several others who had loads that they were struggling with and he had each person put part of their load in his barrel. Surely God wouldn't have given him a wheelbarrow if he wasn't supposed to use it! As he neared the top of the mountain he was exhausted, weary, and overwhelmed. He cried out to God asking Him why God would give him such a heavy burden and task. God's reply, "I only asked you to move the wheelbarrow up the mountain. You chose to put everything in it..."

How is your load today? Sometimes God does give us big tasks or difficult times, but if we will seek His face and His strength, His power will rest upon us.

"My yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:30

"My grace is sufficient for you, and 'my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness that Christ's power may rest on me." II Corinthians 12:9

"Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face always." II Chronicles 16:11

May you rest in His grace and power today!


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Little Perspective

Every time we leave our house for any length of time and then return I realize that there are a few things that I would like to adjust or change when we return. Things that have gone completely unnoticed for months (or even years) and then upon arrival back home I wonder how in the world I have missed the simple alterations or larger projects. For example: the picture over my fireplace hasn't really worked there for years. It wouldn't cost a tremendous amount to change it out to one that did. We originally put it up there because it was the piece that worked best from what we had when we moved in. When we walked into the house this time it seemed glaringly wrong to me. The difference? My focus is changed which alters my perspective as a whole.

As a parent, I find it healthy to be without my children here and there. It helps me to miss and appreciate them more and can act as a "reset" button at times if we have been stuck in a negative cycle.

As a wife, it is good for me to see others who have endured the test of time in their marriages; to catch a glimpse of what I want for my marriage to be. The same is true for the exact opposite. I can see a horrible marriage or one that is ending and be reminded of the blessing that I have in my own marriage.

As a child of God, it is good for me to visit other churches occasionally or to do missions work. To step outside of my Spiritually comfortable places and see God at work in differing ways than I am used to seeing Him work.

We went to two different churches while traveling this past trip. One was set up as a sort of "Blues Club" or "Comedy Club" in atmosphere. Small round tables up front and rows of seating behind. The entire place was painted black. There was a coffee bar when you first walk in. Drinks and snacks were welcome during the service. Very non-traditional in appearance, yet a solid Biblical message. An effective attempt to reach those who did not grow up in or were at all comfortable in a traditional church setting. It felt a little strange to me at first; but the Spirit of the Lord was still present.

The second was one that we have attended before. The pastor is amazing. He causes me to think and consider Scriptures deeply and the way that he leads his congregation is admirable. The worship is, I am sure, phenomenal to some; but for my husband and I, it is difficult and distracting for us to "enter in" unless we close our eyes - so much is going on all around. Yet, the Spirit of the Lord is present and active in that place as well.

This type of stepping back or out of my comfort zone always causes me to reflect. To consider what I may have been overlooking for months to now see clearly what I need to alter or work on. The thing that struck me most was that God is at work in ways that I may not be comfortable with; yet that doesn't change the fact that He is at work. He is at work stretching my comfort zone right now. To allow Him to show me where He is at work and where He is inviting me to join Him in His work even if it seems completely different than I was hoping for or expecting. I'm not entirely sure what that is going to look like; just that it was a message He was clearly getting across to me on this trip.

Have you had any perspective changes recently? I'd love to hear about them!


*The above photo was taken at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL (also part of our vacation)

All Good Things Must Come to an End

...and all bad things too! "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1 New years always draws my mind back to Ecclesiastes. Solomon was granted wisdom from God and he recorded his reflections in the book of Ecclesiastes. I pray that 2009 will be a year where we all seek God's face and His wisdom.

We are back from our vacation! It was a wonderful and extended trip for us and I have many stories and reflections to share. Unfortunately, our littlest one is a bit "off schedule" from the trip so it may take me a few days to get some time to write. (that and the mountain of laundry and mail...)

Here are a couple more photos from our trip - these are from St. Augustine, FL