Friday, January 16, 2015


When I joined as a Plexus ambassador, I was asked by my sponsors to identify my reasons "Why".  Why am I taking Plexus products?  Why do I want to be an ambassador?  What do I hope to accomplish?

Initially, my goal was to lose weight.  Being an ambassador was the cheapest way to sign up for products.  Then, as I was introduced and trained on the business side of things, I saw that this was a good way to supplement my income.  I have been teaching music lessons after school for years.  It amounts to a few hundred dollars a month.  Nothing much.  Just a little gas money.  I always imagined I would be able to save it for a fun vacation or something, but it never made it that far.  And if I missed a lesson or the student didn't show up, I would miss out on the income for that session.  The cold and flu months have always been pretty dicey.

Doing those lessons after already working a full day takes a lot out of me.  It's a couple extra hours a day away from my family, my home, any kind of hobby or fitness routine I might like to have.  It's draining in every way possible.  It's not worth the money, but we've always needed it, so I have never been able to quit.

Enter Plexus.

With just a few minutes work on the computer or phone, which I can do after the kids are in bed or as I go through my day in conversation with people, I am able to share some information about products that I think are really great and making a big difference in my health.  I enjoy the research I am doing, the people I am meeting, and the challenge of meeting goals which I set for myself.  Is it a get-rich-quick thing?  No.  It's work.  Just a different kind.  But, if it gets me out of having to do those lessons and gets me back to spending time in the afternoons outdoors playing with my kids, it's worth it.

So, my "WHY" has changed over time.

1 Corinthians 13:11"When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways."

When I was five years old, I told my dad I wanted "Jesus in my heart".  I had a "WHY" back then.  I didn't want to go to hell.  The whole idea of that terrified me.  I knew following Jesus was my ticket out of there.  My "WHY" had to do with what would happen after I died.

But my "WHY" for following Jesus has changed over time as well.  My grown up understanding of "WHY" I am following Jesus has to do with the way I live!  It's not just about the afterlife.  It's about this present life as well.  I follow Jesus because:

  • I am loved with an everlasting love, the kind that changes you.  Jer. 31:3
  • I am controlled by love.  2 Cor. 5:14
  • I am new on the inside.  2 Cor. 5:17
  • Even difficulty produces hope.  Rom. 5:3-4
  • My mind is characterized by life and peace. Rom. 8:6
This is a topic that could go on and on and on.  The more I am in God's word, the more I see how much He loves us, how far He has gone to ransom humanity, and how meaningful and valuable a relationship is with Him in the here and now.  I don't post about my relationship with Christ on Facebook a whole lot because it's easy for aggressors to take and twist words.  I'd rather someone SEE what He's doing for me, watch me walk through high waters like infertility, losing a parent to a debilitating disease, the fun and fear of international adoption, the successes and sufferings associated with ministry, and see how those waters do not overtake me (Isaiah 43:2).

My faith in Plexus might be a little naive, but I'm just getting started.  We'll see where it takes me.  So far, it has taken me down 8 inches and 6 pounds in 6 weeks.  And it has put a few extra bucks back into my bank account.  Win-win.  I still hold my breath some times when I post about Plexus.  I'm afraid someone is going to call it a pyramid scheme (which it isn't) or say I'm just taking a bunch of caffeine pills (which I'm not).  So the best I can do is show them it works as I consistently follow the regimen, plus my own efforts to boost their effectiveness.

But my faith in Christ has NEVER been misplaced.  "And that hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:6.  I don't have to fear shame because of my relationship with Christ.  All I have to do is lift Him up.  "And when [He is] lifted up, [He] will draw all people to [Himself]." John 12:32.

If I can draw you to want to know more about Plexus, good.

If I can draw you to want to know more about Jesus, BETTER!

Friday, January 9, 2015

"Should I stay or should I go, now..."

In Matthew 4:5-7, Satan tells Jesus to jump from a high place and see if God will catch him.  Jesus tells him not to test God.  Why was this a test?  Is it a sin to jump from high places?  People do it all the time.  We call it skydiving, bungee jumping, ziplining....It is a test because Satan doubts the goodness of God.  If he didn't, he wouldn't have rebelled in the first place.  When we doubt the goodness of God, we become discontent.  

So if Satan doubted God's angels would catch Jesus, what did he want to happen?  He wanted Jesus to fall to his death.  Why?  Because he would never make it to the cross.  

To jump would mean to shortchange God's call, to back out of God's plans.  In ministry or in life, we get discouraged and want to jump ship.  We face a lot of "if onlys" that make us wish for different circumstances.  
...if only we had better jobs...
...if only we had better finances...
...if only my kids would...
...if only my spouse would...
...if only my church were less...
...if only my church were more...

And if things don't meet our expectations or continually frustrate us, we want to bail.  To jump.  To say, "I know God's plan is ________, but I'm really discouraged.  Will he catch me?"

But what if we stayed?
What if where you are is exactly where you're supposed to be?
All things work together for our good, but the follow-up to that is that our good is ultimately His glory.
What if staying means going ALL THE WAY to the cross, losing everything for his sake?  Will he catch us then?

"For everything that was to my gain, I count it all as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ.  For HIS sake, I have suffered the loss of all things that I may gain Christ.  And being found in him, have the righteousness of God that comes by know him, his power, his resurrection, and to obtain my own resurrection from the dead."
Phil. 3:7-11 

Just because God allows something difficult doesn't mean he doesn't love you.  Just because things aren't what you thought they ought to be doesn't mean they're not exactly how God intends them to be.  This is where I could pour on all the scriptures that tie in to those thoughts and promises.  Here are a few that I've paraphrased:
  • 2 Cor. 4:16-18 - It's temporary.  Praise Him anyway.
  • Hab. 3 - Even in the middle of the worst of times, God has a plan.  Praise Him anyway.
  • Psalm 73 - Even when life is unfair, there will be a day that the balances are set right.  Until then...Praise Him anyway.
  • Job (pretty much all of it) - Satan doesn't like you. He wants to make your life difficult. But God is in control. Praise Him anyway.
Notice a theme? There is hope in the long run.  Life is an endurance sport.  (See subtitle.)  

The first song my daddy taught me on the guitar is an old gospel song called "Give the World a Smile".  It's a cheerful little song that encourages us to serve Jesus with a smile.  But where does that smile come from? Not perfect circumstances, but a perfect Christ, with a perfect plan, who is in the process of perfecting us.  We get discouraged by that process sometimes.  Or maybe you're like me.  It's not God's process, but the ways in which I impede His work by means of my own flesh getting in the way.  My discouragement comes from the struggle within myself.  If I could just trust God's goodness, despite whatever temporary circumstances or temptations are coming my way, I would be content.  And if I am content, Satan doesn't stand a chance.  

So, if Satan is tempting you to jump, just tell him, "You first!"  

Sunday, January 4, 2015

About the title...

This blog page started in 2007 when Joe and I first decided to look into adoption.  Fast forward to December 22, 2010, and we were walking out of "Baby Home #7" with twin girls, sixteen months old.

Three years in between concept and consummation.

Life is a journey.  I know, it's a corny metaphor.  But scripture refers to life as a journey, a thread, a river…things that wind on and on.  And how does one get from Point A to Point B?  One step at a time.  This is even true when we are headed in the wrong direction.  The prodigal son didn't give his dad the Heisman just to wind up in the pig pen the next day.  His rebellion started earlier.  At some point in time, the prodigal son began to feel entitled, began to disrespect authority, became discontented with his lifestyle and belongings.  Who knows how long he stewed before he came to his father and told him, in essence, "I wish you were dead so I could get whatever it is you are holding out on me!"  That kind of sentiment is not arrived upon in one day.  It is a slow fade.

But here's the thing….Lights don't just fade out.  They fade in as well.

I love the theatre: movies are okay, but live shows are the best.  I haven't gotten to go to shows as much as I would like.  But there's something about sitting in the room, having the house lights go down until you can't see anything but exit lights on the floor, then hearing the orchestra strike the first few notes of the opening overture as stage lights come up.  My husband laughs at me, but when we went to see "The Lion King" at the Orpheum Theatre in Houston for my birthday four years ago, I cried within ten seconds of the opening solo to "Circle of Life".  Best birthday ever!

I faded out of blogging about adoption and my kids because I was feeling a little protective.  I didn't want the whole world to know about my inner monologue as a new mother.  I wrote a piece about the Sanctity of Life about four years ago, and it got picked up by Baptist Press.  We got some emails and phone calls from some strange people as a result of that article, and that's about the time I started winding things down to a random post here or there.

But I have been feeling the need to fade back in.  For one, I read more.  I start following other people's blogs, sharing more ideas, getting better feedback.  For another, I create more music.  This was a major goal for me last year, and God gave me some great songs and themes.  I recorded a lot of them, but I don't have the guts to post the videos anywhere just yet.  It's a self-conscious thing.  I don't like the  way I look in videos.  Which is a whole nuther set of little footsteps yet to be taken.  But more on that later.  For now, I'm taking this first little footstep back in to blogging.

Cue the lights.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

...And God said... 3:

The set up: this afternoon my daughter and I were driving home from school when we had to pass through downtown. She asked, "Why are we going through town?"
I answered her, "Because sometimes you have to go through it to get out of it."

And God said: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me." Ps 23:4

"When you pass throught the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; and when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you." Is 43:2

There are destinations. And then there are journeys. Since we haven't worked out teleporting yet, we are bound to take a more scenic route when traveling. And while this is true in the physical sense, we seem to think spiritual circumstances should be more quickly resolved.  After all, don't we have the Holy Spirit? And isn't Christ seated at the right hand of the Father as our intercessor? 

You heard about the young pastor who preached his first sermon at a new church? The congregation loved it. The next Sunday he preached the same sermon. They didn't fuss about it too much. After all he was young and probably didn't have that many written. After the third Sunday of the same sermon, some concerned deacons came to his office and said, "Pastor, you need some new material. You've preached the same sermon three Sundays in a row." To which the young pastor replied, "Well, when you start obeying the first sermon, I'll move on to something new."  
Sometimes the only way out of that sermon is to just obey it. Go through it. 

Things I've had to go through that I would have preferred to avoid, but am thankful for in retrospect:
-infertility, because it brought me to MY children. 
-financial strain, because it is teaching me to reprioritize and to also have more compassion for the needy, particularly the hungry. 
-my current job. I've done it faithfully, to the best if my abilities for seven years, even though it is not my "calling", thereby teaching me sacrifice. It also is perfect for this season of life with small children. 

Then there are wildernesses that I never want to see again. I didn't like them, struggled to see how the promises of God were being fulfilled in the midst of them, and just barely got out of them unscathed. But...we came through them. 

I'm gonna brag. I have a rock-solid marriage. I am so head over heels in love with my husband. He is the best father, partner, friend, love I could have ever asked for. And I am sure our roots are as deep as they are because of all the hurt we've experienced in ministry. It is difficult. But it is not the destination.  There is a reason the spiritual life is called a race, why we refer to it as "walking with God". We don't classify ourselves as "being there". We more likely say we're "getting there". 

And sometimes, you just have to go through it to get out of it. I don't know what your circumstances are. But a wise friend just recently said to me, "Sometimes, how you handle a situation is more important than the issue itself." 
Keep walking. This isn't your destination.  

It is only the journey. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

...and God said...2

Dressing Asher after his bath last night was like wrestling jello. Not wrestling in jello, mind you, but actually trying to hold said substance in your arms and keep it from sliding this way and that. There are about 10 snaps on his pajamas. It should take about 20 seconds to get them all snapped if he is laying still. But since that kid has learned how to crawl, he's not laying still for anything. This is especially precarious when he has made a huge deposit. Last night, he was just enjoying the freedom of scooting around the living room floor au natural. I put lotion on him. (Bad idea, given the jello analogy. Now he's fast and slippery.)

Suffice it to say we weren't done dressing in 20 seconds. More like 220...maybe more. I didn't time it. I just know at a certain point I had him pinned down and said, "Kid, we'd already be done if you'd quit fighting and just do what I wanted you to."

And God said: 
"It is eleven days' journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea. In the fortieth year..." Deut. 1:2-3a. 

God planned to deliver the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt to the promised land of Canaan. But when they got there, the land was already inhabited. They didn't want the hard task of having to fight to take over the land. So they bucked the will and wisdom of God. Result? "Forty years later" they still had to fight to claim the land, but now those people have had time to multiply and spread out. Meanwhile, the Israelites have been living in the desert, surviving on wheat flakes. Don't you imagine if they had just fought from the beginning, realizing that "the battle belongs to The Lord" that things would've gone faster and smoother? There would still be a fight. But there was always going to be one. Every time, the best thing a child of God can do is surrender. Even when it doesn't make sense. Even when it means difficulty. Even when that "peace" is missing because you're scared witless. (I imagine Jonah felt pretty peaceful when he was sleeping in the bottom of the boat before the storm came.  A feeling of peace is not an indicator of the will of God.) Just obey.

"Cease striving and know that I am God."Psalm 46:10. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

...and then God said...

I have discovered at times that things I am doing for or with my children remind me of different scriptures. And as I am talking to them, or praying for them, or for myself as I deal with whatever challenge they've just presented me, I hear the voice of God saying, " too."

The set-up: the baby was teething last night. I think he's been teething for the last seven months, because of the way he routinely interrupts my sleep. Last night was particularly bad. Three times he woke me up. He was fussy, gassy, hungry, and all around just not able to get it right...until I picked him up, cradled him in my arms, and rocked him to sleep. Granted, I had to do this a few times, because he was so ill. But even as I got situated so I could catch a few zzzs in the recliner, I prayed thanking God for the opportunity to hold my sometimes difficult children. In my prayer, I said, "Lord, I know they're difficult, but I'd rather go through life fixing their problems, just for the opportunity to love them, than to never have them at all."

...and God said...
"Your steadfast love O Lord extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgements are like the great deep; man and beast you save O Lord. How precious is your unfailing love O God. The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings." Psalm 36:5-7. 


Friday, August 23, 2013

Revisiting my bucket list:

This is my midlife bucket list - 20 things I wanted to do by the time I'm 40.  I've had two birthdays since then.  Let's see how I'm doing, shall we?

1. Become debt free except for my house. - Trying to sell the house to make that happen.
2. Adopt again.  The less debt, the more children. God had other plans, and we had a surprise baby!!
3. Run in a 5 K. pregnant two weeks later.  Still haven't gotten back to running yet.
4. Run in a 10 K. Not Yet.
5. Run a half - mara....HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Sorry - I couldn't keep a straight face. Doesn't seem like that big of a stretch now.  If I can do 10K, I think I could work up to a half.  And I'm really kicking around the idea of a Triathlon.  I am a stronger swimmer and biker than I am runner.  I don't need to win it, just complete it.
6. Go to Hawaii. 
7. Record another CD. 
8. Learn to play the violin.
9. Drive a convertible....not necessarily own, but maybe rent one for a whole week in the late spring, and drive it until my hairline recedes! Haven't done it yet, but I am trading vehicles with a friend when the weather gets a little cooler, and I'll have one for at least a day.
10. Get curtains and blinds for our house. Done.  Now we want to move out of it.
11. Get my flowerbed to grow, uh, I don't know....FLOWERS?! Roses!!!!  Apparently, I'm awesome at growing roses.
12. Take another oil painting class.
13. Take a cake decorating class.
14. Take a photography class.
15. Buy Photoshop.
16. Learn how to operate Photoshop.
17. Still working on #16.
18. Go back to blonde hair.
19. Go to Italy.
20. Manage a blog that makes money and become independently wealthy.

SO - Five out of twenty.  I've got three years, and 15 more to go.  So I need to do five more this year.  I think it will be cake decorating, an online photography class, and learning photoshop.  And add to a new camera.  If we can sell the house, that's going to happen.