Sunday, September 18, 2016

Setting my heart on fire for him!

When my heart is overflowing you hear it.  We have had great sermons the past few weeks after a crazy summer I feel blessed to be filled with a passion to spread Gods word.   Week one and two of being back at church after spending almost a whole month away from our church pastor preached on using our workplace as a place to find Gods joy and share it.  I am now a stay at home homeschooling mom. Hmmm that's funny I don't think I have been home a full day other than maybe two Saturdays in the past month.  Well then that opens up my mission field.  I see an average of even just 5 people a day in my little stops here and there that I can share the truth of Gods word with just a smile and kinds words because God says the greatest thing is to love.  Here is my story of how a mission field expands to way more than I can touch in just a month.
   I have had many people struggle with the fact that I have been to Ukraine twice on a mission trip how come I spend all that money and time to travel halfway across the world to share the gospel with people that have an amazing faith.  The thing that hit me more this past month and a half since I have been home is the amount of people I have shared the stories of faith that the people have there and how God provided for us each step of the way.
   The first place I shared was with the kids in my group in Ukraine which was 12 kids they went home shared with their families.  I would guess even if they  just had two people each of them shared with that is 24 more people that got to hear about Jesus.  The youth night I meet 26 youth plus 6 adults and if they each shared with one more person that I was saved because I wanted to go to heaven after finding out my sister was dying than that is now 66 people that have heard about Jesus. We also had a ladies night that my teammate shared at that had 16 or so people at that we hope shared with up to one person about where they went that night that brings it up to almost one hundred people that learned about Gods love for the first time or just a reminder when some of them may have been down and needing to have hope from somewhere. On our way through the airports, we were asked by 6-10 security personal about what we did on our travels along with the people on our flights that asked us. When we got back in the state my family and friends found out about a few things that I shared on facebook so that is another hundred or so people.  We shared with our Church and the women's group here so they could once again see the results of what God was doing through their time and funds they put into the trip we are now well over 400 people that heard about it.  Then I shared with my dentist and his assistant, the hair stylist, our waiter was shocked I like straight up tea well that came from the trip to Ukraine so I shared with her.  So would you spend $10 to share with someone about the gospel because when it comes down to the $ which we Americans put in such a high standard on  was it worth the money? NO Doubt in my mind it was!
   My team member and I could go in secret and give the food shelter $6000 worth of food but then how does that spread the gospel?
   We could and I now hope to see something more done here with less.  I hope to see things
open up to do family movie nights at our church to open up the doors that we could use the building to bring his people in and fellow ship that they would eventually come to hear and see Christ lived out.  Today what do I feel God is calling me to do? I feel God is calling me to just love everyone I meet no matter what the background they come from or the clothing they wear.  When you don't think you can share the gospel remember that you are the gospel if you have a story where God showed up when you least expected it.  I have lots of hard thing in life that I have been through and I could sit and dwell on them.  Trust me there are days where I know Satin is wanting me to do just that.  I find the days that I feel the most like pouting and staying in bed are the days I end up having the most doors open and see God at work after it is all said and done.

 My prayer for you today is that God would put a fire in you to share with just one person one thing that he has done in your life that you can't help but know that you were blessed by.  This can be as simple as having a friend call you to as big as a life changing event that you know God played a huge role in.  Look for the little things and you will find big blessings.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

What are your calm waters?

      This summer has been a hard one for me. It started with a close friend pulling out of my life. Then another dear friend passed away weeks later. I was just coming to grips with all of that and I travelled across the globe on a mission trip that had both very high moments and times we hit rock bottom. With jet lag, it just seemed even harder for us to process everything. I got back home and our family had 8 days before my husband left for his 6-8 weeks of traveling for the harvest.  
   In the midst of it all, I am learning once again hopefully more permanently that God is my peace in troubled times. We also started to homeschool over this summer. The past week and into next week we are looking at Psalms 23. 
A Psalm of David.
1The LORD is my shepherd,
            I shall not want.
      2He makes me lie down in green pastures;
            He leads me beside quiet waters.
      3He restores my soul;
            He guides me in the paths of righteousness
            For His name’s sake.
      4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
            I fear no evil, for You are with me;
            Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
      5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
            You have anointed my head with oil;
            My cup overflows.
      6Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
            And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. 

    This passage has hit me with a much deeper meaning this past week as I have been digging into it. I always looked at it as something that calmed people but I never really looked closely at it as they are verses I have known all my life. In fact, I am sure they were part of my sister's funeral along with many other funerals I have been at. I just looked at it as the funeral verses.  
     This week I see that when I want peace I do tend to look for two things, water and fields. I am not surprised by this as I grew up with both close by.  I grew up on a dairy farm that had out on the back 40 acres what we called the cow pond. It was just a pond that had enough water for the cows to drink from even in the dry years.  This was a place of peace for me along with the lake just down the road that my aunt and uncle lived on and my parents later purchased their house.  It is now my favorite place to be at the lake on a mostly quiet day. I can still feel the peace that lifts everything away that comes from the quite sounds of his creation. God speaks and draws me closer to who he is in those moments. 
    What about the valley?  I think of that as the part that the pasture is in a lot of the times. At least for me, I picture a valley as a beautiful place. To think of the valley of the shadow of death I have to picture it covered with the storm hanging over it.  Even in the moonlight skies, you see the glory of the heavenly father's stars.  This valley is a valley of storms that Christ needs us to encounter to look at him to become our peace. 
     I struggled with moking and could have even said I eat at the table of my enemies in the past few months. These have been some of my times of storms. I know that God walked alongside me and covered me in his peace.  This was when I saw how god filled my cup to overflowing with his love because it was with his love that I could still be kind to the people I felt anger towards.
     As far as verse 6 goes I can't claim that one as mine yet I still struggle with knowing that goodness and kindness will cover me all of my days because I am human and I will fail myself and others. I know also that Jesus has carried all of my sins on his shoulders that I can be white as snow in Gods eyes not because of what I have done but that I have put my trust in Jesus as my savior.
     What do you think of when you hear these verses. What does the quite water or green pastures look like to you?  

Lord, I pray that you give each reader a new perspective on what you have provided to be their quiet waters and green pastures. I pray that if the valley is covered with a shadow of death you will turn to the only one that can bring the quite waters to you in that time. 
In Jesus name, I pray,

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Our hands!

What have we done with our hands?  I think when I look at the older generation like my grand parents and back.  Where did the wrinkles come from; all the things they did with their hands "I ponder what have I done with my hands?".
  I just wrote a poem for a dear prayer warrior of mine and placed it with a picture of her hands. It tells the little bit of the path her hands have been on and how they have blessed others.  With that I wondered if my kids or others ever sit down and think about my hands what would they think of my hands.  My hands have not done near enough holding and caressing my kids as they should have, I am a stern mom when it comes to injuries "Get up and keep going." I will usually say.  My hands can be demanding at times.  Then I think of the times my hands do cuddle the kids and hold them after a bad day at school.  I have not been the best at letting my kids see my hands in prayer even though I pray they are not always folded.  My hands do lay on them as I tuck them in most nights and say the same prayer that the kids have begged for as it is our bedtime prayer.   If I think about it I hope that what my kids know my hands for is that they did have love and as they get older they see the little bumps and bangs were making them tough enough but when they needed my hands for the rougher stuff my hands where there full of love.
  What hands do you remember growing up? Did you have someone that had hands of love and protection.  I know some of you had hands that you feared and my question to you is what are the hands you have and how will they impact the Generations to come.
  My kids all know that Hannah prayed daily for our family and my husbands health the day I went to see Hannah for possibly the last time my oldest daughter came with me and what a blessing it was to share that time with her as well. Hannah as of this morning is still with us but we know her days are very near the end and with that It brings me to reflect on my hands.

Dear Lord,
I thank you for the hands of others who come along side of me and carry me through the tough stuff. I thank you for the hands that twitch with laughter as friends are gathered. I thank you for the hard working hands that bring us what you provide. Lord I thank you for the hard times as I know that some have lost their hands and I thank you for the Dr.s that are their to care for them along with the people that you intrust to care for those that have emotional battles because of it. Lord I think you that you have blessed me with the hands that pray more than anything.  I pray for those who struggle with the fear of the hands that should be there to love and care for them. Lord I pray that you open the eyes to the angry hands that they will come to find you.  Thank you Jesus For your love and the sacrifice of taking nails in your hands that we might have hope in heaven.
In Jesus name AMAN

Something we will too soon over look as a community!

Last night there was a business that burnt down in a local town. This was a place my husband would frequently get basic parts from. To be honest I had only been there twice and many people in our community never had a need to enter the doors. 
As the wife of a man that worked as a mechanic in a dealership prior to starting his own business; I know those mechanics keep their tools at work. Last night the tools that each one has can be thousands of dollars easaly have more than likely been damaged, these men will now have to replace them before they can go back to work.
Photo by Ashley Athey
If you are a farmer this may have a different effect on you and that will lead to an effect on more of us. We would get tractor parts here on and off as they may have been the closest place to carry what we needed. This means a tired farmer that has been working 16 or more hour day getting seed in the ground may now have to get in his truck and drive an extra 40 mins after planting to the next closest dealer to get a part to be ready for morning. I know that Milbank was one of Titans smallest dealers but if I can get a part 15 mins away and still get my kids from school on an already crazy day in the field that makes a huge difference specially as custom harvesters. The simple thing like an O-ring that looks kind-of like a rubber band or rubber round bracelet for us not so mechanically inclined people. This simple part can cause an hour or so of down time to get apart and re install if you have an hour drive on top of that you're losing income. For our crop farmers if you lose a few hours of planting before a three day rain fall that just set that fields seed a week late to get in the ground possibly that can put you in the freeze watch timeline. With the drop in crop prices every hour counts before a good rain comes on both planting and harvest.
Still wondering what this has to do with you?
May be this doesn't affect everyone and non of our businesses do immediately affect everyone. Although in the long run if we keep losing our small town businesses locally the hour drive to Watertown or Monti for me will be more often and take away from our hope to build a strong community here. I was at the National day of prayer service this morning and in our area we may not have a lot to do with the nation changing but if we start here at home helping our neighbors. the people here wont have to look for our governments support we can do more for our nation than any of our political parties can. Please step up and support your local businesses. I have not chose to lessen my purchases at Target and Walmart just because they don't fallow my morals but because I am learning to shop local and pay more to make sure my neighbors can feed their family and live in a small town that we now call home. This is where God has asked us to stand up and give thanks for these guys that keep our local farmers tractors going please pray for those who don't have a building or tools to work with today. Pray for our small town businesses we need them. 
God Bless Our Nation!!
After having over 2000 views on this blog post my husband and I took a brake from our day and drove over to see it for our selves. My emotions got even stronger.  I started picturing the guys that I have seen when I walk in the store and their families I pondered what their day was like today.  The smell is still so strong for burning metal and fluids the place looks so lifeless.
I am thankful for this business and that it has a great plan in place for the guys that work there.

A great follow up video in this link

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

What if We Homeschool?

4th, 6th & 8th grade
   I have been contemplating weather or not to homeschool my children next year.  This is not an easy decision to make as so many pros and cons to both sides of the debate. Where most of the culture debates this is in the fact of socialization which for my older two school has been very negative. The biggest fear for me is the work load it adds but then the work load it releases at this stage in our lives as well. We live 11 miles from school and I pick the kids up at least three days a week due to them having to leave school early to catch a near by district bus to get home. I would also not be working so that would bring down my business.  The  choice of curriculum I am looking at is well laid out with little prep needed.
   Our families reason to look at homeschool are a variety. The negative socialization which our kids have been dealing with. Our middle child has a lot of health issues and gets wore out fast. My youngest is on target for his age but is in a class of 5 advanced students so he feels down about how he is doing in school.  I have one book learning very advanced child and two right on target that learn well the old fashioned way and the common core standards used in our school throws them off.  I have always felt that the parents know what way our children learn best. What are the most important relationships I want my kids to have? I want them to build bonds between them not letting others influence them to turn against each other we started a new bible study called My Brothers Keeper it lets them see the purpose of siblings and why God gave us family. Family is huge to me as I lost my sister when I was 14 and our extended family is close but that has taken a lot of work from each person involved but I think most of it is the nonjudgmental teaching of my mom.  
   The reasons I fear homeschooling my kids again are there as well. It has been 4years since we put our kids back in the public school system. The main reason at that time was my 3rd grader was more advanced than I was at reading.  I didn’t know the resources that I could use to make sure she was getting what she needed. We are looking at her doing Language Arts and Math online this up coming year.  I am also an extrovert and being home with three young kids drove me crazy having very few people around me that homeschooled. I have since been able to meet some people and  now am willing to make an hour trip to a homeschooling group that used to cut into nap time with my youngest.  
    I have had many questions about this topic in the past few months as it is becoming more of a possibility over time.  We are signed up for a homeschooling conference to look into the possibilities and to make sure that we do what we feel is best for our children as God entrusted us with them to teach his ways to. Do I feel that means keeping them hidden or not exposing them to the world no. My children are involved in sports and 4H and that will not stop along with the exposure to a very large extended family that at this point all the cousins are public schools except two but they are in a private school setting.  If you are concerned about any part of your child’s life I pray that the Lord leads you to take maybe not the easy way but the way less traveled and the way that is best for them(this is not referring to discipline that is abusive). Don’t feel pressured by the people that may hold judgment on your decisions that is not their place as Luke 6:37 says
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

His Plan For Today

When the morning sun shines what is on my agenda?  Do I have my priorities in place as I toss and turned this morning knowing that my husband was on the road at 2:00am for what has become his few times a week trucking run. I thought about what was on my agenda and is it the most important things for today?
 Well, lets just say I don't make much of an agenda for Feb 23rd today I had to work (I sub in my kids school) and then we went out to eat.  I tend to make this an easy day each year as it is the anniversary of my sisters death.  
God always has a plan though and it was a very sweet day when you look back over the hard stuff of the day. My oldest finally stepped up and made known the harassment that has been going on over the past few weeks at school.  In middle school it is never fun to be the one to step up and say I have an issue with the way that the other students are behaving but even more so in a middle school with about 20 kids 6-8th grade you can get stabbed in the back and defriended by them all very fast.   On my lunch I was asked how I was doing with it and it brought me to tears as a previous post about my daughter dealing with bullying talked about how when we are feeling bad for our children it reminds me of how god hurts for us as we pain.  I was not only grieving today but I was also feeling pain that my daughter was feeling emotional pain.  The last few minutes of my lunch brake I got to call and give my husband an update on the day.  He said he had a few mins after school to meet us before heading to meetings for the night.
We pulled into Dairy Queen and there he was waiting in his truck with a bouquet of flowers.  Yellow roses and purple flowers they were beautiful he gave them to me than kissed the kids and said goodnights since he wouldn't be home than on his way he went. I decided that the drive thru would be best being I was not in that great of mood to sit in the restaurant with the kids.  I remember that I am not a fan of the drive thru or the DQ in our town as the workers are not the fastest.
After pulling up to the window and paying for the order I expressed my frustration to my oldest and she said lets give her a rose. The look on her face was priceless. The lady working about cried she said Yellow roses are my favorite flower she had been admiring the bouquet from the window.  How can I express the joy it brought to our car. My three children had experienced what a simple thing can do for others especially those whom we struggle with.

Proverbs 3:3
Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.

Monday, February 15, 2016

The hardest times

The past few weeks have been eye openers for me. Who God is wanting me to be has really on the for front of my mind. He has called me to slow down and search for him in all I do. Take back the fast paced environment that has been leading me to a never feeling good enough feeling. A feeling of nothing I do is worthy of my time. This makes me then ask myself what is it that God has called me to for him not me.
  I don't know other than to slow down and let him lead. We tend to lead our own path and we want to be in control of what we have planned for the days to come but what if we are not supposed to be where we thought we should be. What if that's a selfish and impatient decision not even close to what God is calling us to do? Do we really look at it and change the plans we have to mach Gods or do we move forward with the plan in hopes that it is OK enough that God will be able to see we have the best plan anyway.
  Are you willing to step up and change what you thought God had for you when you realize his plan is much harder maybe even painful at times but after we complete the plan we may see that the hard times made it worth our time.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Photography tidbits 1-3!

I have the privilege to spend some time working with the youth in our area as a 4H activity.  I will spend 4 hrs teaching them some basic Photography and I am so excited.  Part of what I am doing is teaching them to see a good composed photo and take the picture in the process of putting together the information I thought I could also share it with you all.

Basics of composition in my mind is the focus point is #1


 Image one has the focus farther back on the branch it is not in the foreground of the image which sometimes tricks your eye.   This image also has more of the subjects in focus than the one below.
 Image two has the focus point in the front more and it has a leading diagonal line that almost looks like it is pointing out the main focus point.
 I like to have my focus subject take up a large portion closer of the image.  This helps us to know that is the important part of the image unlike the image below where you don't know what is supposed to be our focus.  This is not always true as in a landscape image.  You can chose a focus point almost anywhere when you are using a SLR camera. with a point and shoot camera it will be harder to choose the focus point.  Cell phones and tablets will let you change the focus point check the settings in your owners manual or You Tube search it :).

#2 is a close second Exposure is Key

You want to see the Focus point at the correct exposure.  If you can get this close it will save you a lot of extra time in the editing phase.  You can see how the smaller image is much more appealing to the eye as you don't have to strain to see what the image is of because it is too dark.

# 3 is non other than the rule of thirds(this is less of a must do in an image)
   In Photography you hear about the rule of thirds a lot this is another great thing to watch for it doesn't mean you have to have it perfect in your images but it does make it much more appealing to the eye if you use the rule of thirds. The below image shows how we brake down the rule of thirds into 9 areas in the view finder.  I try to get the focus point of an image on one of these lines or the intersections.  When you put the main subject at one of those points we say that you have used the rule of thirds.