A Real Live Princess Story

Friday, April 29, 2011  ::   4 important comments

As a child I dreamed about big fluffy white dresses, a handsome prince, and a beautiful carriage pulled by perfect white stallions.  My barbies even had moments as princesses when Prince Ken would step in, save the young peasant Barbie from her life of floor scrubbing poverty and whisk her away to a beautiful castle made of blocks down the hallway. The fantasy of a common girl meeting a handsome prince is in the hearts of many, many women.

A question that I've grown to be irritated with is "Why all the hype over the royal wedding?"  People, we are watching a real live princess story right before our very eyes! Not only that, but we are also getting to experience history in the making!  I heard one of the British experts explain that so much of the wedding processional and ceremony included tradition that was 1000 years old.  I dare say that is something we Americans just can't understand. The world isn't all about the USA. We often think it is, and when it's not, we sometimes get our undies in a wad. And one more thing on this subject: Isn't it nice to have something good in the news? There is so much war, conflict, natural devastation, not to mention the celebrity meltdowns that seem to happen all too frequently. I've enjoyed watching the way Will and Kate look at each other, the way he seems to guide and protect her through all the hoopla, the way the British people are enjoying something good happening in their country that they cherish so deeply.  Good news is a good thing! Maybe we shouldn't complain about it.

But here is what has been bugging me the most.... It gets me fired UP! There have been a lot of comments and snide remarks concerning the cost of the royal wedding. It's like comparing planks to splinters if you ask me.

Apparently, the cost of the wedding is around 48 million US dollars. I will agree that is a whole heck of a lot of money.  I searched for awhile to try and find out how much the royal family gives and raises for charity each year.  You shouldn't be surprised to know that it seems like it is much more than the wedding cost.  Also, don't forget that most Americans love a good love story.  In fact, Beauty and the Beast had a gross US income of $146 million.  Cheers to a nerdy book girl falling in love with a hairy animal that is actually a prince!

Also, since we are talking about planks and splinters, did you know that Americans alone spent $1.9 billion dollars on Easter candy alone? That doesn't count flowers, decorations, or that fancy new Easter dress we just had to have.

And I hate to do it because I know we how we hold Christmas buying up on our holy pedestal, but let's consider what Americans (only Americans, not including the rest of the world) spend on Christmas: approximately 450 BILLION DOLLARS.  WHAT?!!!? According to Advent Conspiracy only $10 Billion is needed to end world thirst, to bring clean drinking water to all those in the world who do not have access... like we do... coming out of our shiny faucets or fancy fridge doors.  

So I think maybe we should cut Will and Kate a break and stop complaining about the extravagance of their wedding while we are eating a handful of jelly beans or our chocolate Easter bunny and walk to the kitchen to get a clean glass or bottle of water to wash it down.  I don't know about you, but the brief research I did on Americans' spending habits made me ill.  Our family is working on simplifying in order to give more. But, you better believe I'm going to enjoy looking at photographs of the big wedding while I'm praying that the two of them will love each other deeply, have a long happy marriage, and continue to work to give and help the many people in the world in distress.

(Credit for this photo goes to one really great photographer whose name I give up trying to find.) 

Now You Know

Thursday, April 28, 2011  ::   4 important comments

Doesn't it look good around here?!?! I'm so excited I can hardly stand it.  I really hated that old background to my blog.  Do you want to know how I chose that tan-ish thing with the birds in the corner? It was the second or third one I saw and I said to myself, "Meh, that'll do." Details get on my nerves. What was I thinking? Sheesh. It was seriously u-g-l-y.  

Enter Alisa W. to save the day. She's one talented arteest!  She sat down with me, talked about my favorite colors, what I liked and didn't like in design, and then went to work.  After several conversations and drafts, she told me the real thing would be up soon.  

Today I got a text from Alisa to check out my new blog.  

WOW!! I love it! It has the most perfect shades of red and blue. I love how clean the white makes it feel.  It suits me just right. 

A few posts ago I wrote about contemplating whether or not I was living with moxie.  Several people asked me if I had some big news to tell.  Well, not really. Thinking about the title of my blog and how I want to live my life came naturally when thinking about what my blog should look like. So, now you know.  But, don't ya just love it?! Way to go, Alisa! You're talent never ceases to amaze me!! 

Head Over Heals

Thursday, April 28, 2011  ::   6 important comments

I had such great plans to write a follow-up blog to Cord of Hope in the beginning of this week.  Obviously, it didn't happen.... but it will! I promise.

I'm really loving this whole Embrace the Camera project.  I've never had so many pictures of myself and I just started a few weeks ago! You should all get in the game, and not just so you can post a cute picture of yourself (even though that part is kind of fun.) I know that so many of you document your life through photos, but is there proof that you are in said documented life?  Based on the jillions of pictures I've taken over the years, there is very little evidence that I've actually been around.  Change has begun... and I like it!

My friend, Tori, took these pictures of Chad and me on Easter.  We were giving her a hard time about not wanting to take our picture.  She kept saying that she only likes to take pictures of kids, but we posed so sweet that she couldn't resist.

Now aren't we just so cute??  

I've said all of this in a blog before, but I feel like it's time again.  I just really, really like Chad. He's such a great guy. He's funny, really intelligent, and even tempered. The way he can arrange and strategize amazes me.  He balances so many responsibilities, but he never neglects me or our kids.  I absolutely love being married to him. I'm so grateful that he lets me be me, that he encourages me to use my God-given gifts and strengths, that he does not flinch at my strong will and opinions, that he leads me with grace and kindness, that the way he treats me with dignity makes it a joy to submit to his authority over our family. Chad pursues Jesus with passion, discipline, and intensity. He loves deep conversation and deep laughter. He doesn't take himself too seriously, and he will think this blog post is silly. Almost 16 years of marriage has been a blessing to this amazing man. I am completely head over heals! 

Embrace the Video Camera for Cord of Hope

Thursday, April 21, 2011  ::   8 important comments

This week for Embrace the Camera I decided to post this beautiful video about our Cord of Hope ministry. I hope you will take the time to watch. If you are someone who prays, please say a prayer for us because we will be delivering 100 gifts to dancers, 8 manager/owner gifts, and 10 goodie bags for bouncers/DJs this Friday night. If you have any questions at all about this ministry, please feel free to contact me!

Cord of Hope - Second Mile, Tucson, AZ from Second Mile on Vimeo.

Cord of Hope Week

Tuesday, April 19, 2011  ::   2 important comments

Easter for me means two things:

First, celebrating the miraculous resurrection of Jesus after he died a lonely, cruel death to pay for the offenses of those who would choose to believe in Him which is the essence of my faith. Focusing on His resurrection isn't a once a year affair. Hopefully, it is something that swirls around in my heart and mind on a daily basis. However, I absolutely love celebrating on Easter. Part of the reason is because I like holidays, but there is just something about a beautiful spring day that is set aside to wake up, proclaim, "I am not ashamed of the gospel", and gather with friends and family to rejoice that fills my heart. To me, it is fantastic!

Second, Easter weekend a few years ago is when we began taking gifts to dancers at men's clubs. Every Easter I contemplate the strangeness of this ministry. It never gets old. It never gets easy. It never feels normal. I think this is our seventh Easter for Cord of Hope. I'm really bad at time and math, so it may only be six, but either way that's kind of a long time to be continually doing something that there are seemingly no results. I realize there are some of you who are much holier than me and may be thinking, "It's ok! God knows the results of what he is doing in the hearts of the women who get the gifts." Most of the time I feel the exact same way. In the beginning of doing this different ministry, I felt in my spirit God asking me to surrender my desire for results, so I told Him that we would do this ministry as long as He asks us to whether women call us or not, whether we see women come know Jesus or not, whether we feel like it or not. Each Easter, which to me represents another year gone by, I re-up on my promise to him.

This week I've struggled with the why-are-we-doing-this question a little more than normal.  I've felt weak and nervous which has also led to timidity. On Sunday Chad talked about walking in the authority of Jesus because His Kingdom is advancing. I had no idea how much I needed to hear that as this week started. This has been my prayer since Sunday night:

I am not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but I have believed and have been saved. (Heb 10:39)


The Kingdom of God is forcefully advancing and forceful [wo]men lay hold of it. (Matt 11:12)

          therefore, I will trust that

God has not given me a spirit of timidity, but of love, power, and self-control. (2 Tim 1:7)

          and I know that I know that I know

My salvation comes from Him. He alone is my Rock and my Salvation. He is my fortress. I will never be shaken. (Ps 62:1-2)

Our team will continue to take gifts to these women until with unity we agree that God is asking us to stop. We will continue to trust that He is in complete control and He loves the women much much more than we do. We will obey Him through this ministry with joy, gladness, with hearts full of worship and expectation.

Come, Jesus, and do what only You can do!

If you are interested in reading how this ministry began, please read this post.

Moxie Memorizers

Friday, April 15, 2011  ::   18 important comments

Did you know that it is natural through times of training to have highs and lows? Times of smooth sailing and times it feels like the boat is sinking? Times of great strength and times of real weakness?

I don't know about you, but these things are definitely true of my discipline of memorizing scripture.  A few weeks ago I was just struggling. I was unmotivated, undisciplined, and uncaring. The good news is that when you press through the hard times and don't give up, a wonderful surge of motivation and consistency sets in. This is what I'm currently enjoying.

Galation 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good for in the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

How are you doing? Are you pushing through memorizing scripture even in your unmotivated times? Do you let your emotions lead you or do you allow the Holy Spirit to bring you to deeper places in your relationship with Him?

Don't give up!! 

Why do we fill our minds with His word anyway? Can you share a situation where God brought a verse or passage to mind that you had memorized that was perfect for the situation? I hope you will post a brief summary in your comment along with your verse for this second half of the month.

Here is my story:

Last Sunday during the gathering we took communion corporately. I had waited until the last minute to walk to the front to take the bread and cup to spend as much time as I could searching my heart in order to confess anything I may be harboring. Before Chad read out of John 15 and prayed, he had us stand. Immediately a verse I memorized last month popped into my head. "If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, therefore, you are feared." (Ps 130:3-4) Instantly, there was a lump in my throat and tears filled my eyes.  He beautifully reminded me that he keeps no record of what I've done wrong. Looking across the room to see every single person standing was absolutely beautiful. He is so good to us.

Moments like this with God keep me motivated to memorize His word.  I want to give him every way possible to speak to my soul.

Here are my verses for the next two weeks:

Proverbs 31:8-9  Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

I'm looking forward to reading how God is using His word in your life! Keep posting those verses! If you need help in staying the course, enlist some face to face accountability. Do not give up---He is so worth it! 

A Job Well Done

Wednesday, April 13, 2011  ::   5 important comments

Chad and I were recently discussing parenting. Many of you personally know our four beautiful knuckle-heads. People often tell us that we are "so lucky" to have such great kids. Let me just tell you that luck has absolutely nothing to do with it at all! Parenting our four kids has taken an abundant amount of grace from God, tremendous intentionality, and the hardest work that I will ever know. I can testify that nothing good that has come out of my family is luck. It irritates me when people give luck the credit!

While we were talking, Chad brought up a parenting discussion people were having in his Old Testament seminary class. There were interesting thoughts on discipline which I won't get into because I don't want any readers freaking out about spanking. However, his professor said that he thought methods such as grounding were ineffective because the consequence can't match the offense.  Another student asked about teenagers. The professor then said (hold on to your hats!), if parents have done an affective job through childhood, parenting should be complete by age 14, that you will guide your adolescent, but they should have the skills to make good decisions, and will only need help and guidance as they make mistakes.  Wow!!

Of course Esther immediately came up in our discussion because she is 14. Guess what? In this moment, I agree with the professor. Yes, I'm still her mom and desire to parent her, but to be honest, I believe that she has the necessary skills to make good decisions. Do I think she will be perfect? No. Am I perfect in my decision making? Heck no!

As Chad and I were talking, I could see that Esther was eavesdropping. I confessed to Chad that I can agree with the professor because I completely and totally trust Esther, that I know she loves Jesus, is incredibly responsible, and desires right relationships with us. Seriously, you should have seen that girl's face! I honestly don't know if I have ever seen her smile that big! I looked at her and said, "What? Are you surprised at how much dad and I trust you?" She responded meekly, "A little." We hugged for a long time.

What is the purpose of this blog?

1. To brag on my awesome Esther.

2. To remind parents of young children to not give up or get lazy. To be consistent. To pay attention to your kids. To know that every single day takes complete intentionality in training up your kids in the way they should go. Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No. Kids are crafty little manipulators. Don't let them do it. Ask God for wisdom. If you are able, both Mom AND Dad should have an active united role in your kids' lives. If one parent isn't around, rely on people in your community. You don't have to be on this treacherous parenting journey alone. Ask older parents that you admire questions. And, never, ever, ever get cocky about having it all figured out. Parenting is constantly changing. All kids are completely different. I am fully aware that I have many wonderful and difficult days ahead as a mom. This fact pushes me to rely on God as I parent the sweet kids he has given me for a short time.

3. To remind people without kids that parenting is one of the most difficult jobs in the whole world. Please don't judge parents around you. It is so easy to say, "I will never do that as a mom/dad." You will eat those words. I promise.  Also, in my community there are so many wonderful servants who are committed to helping the parents of Second Mile. If you don't have kids, try and hang out with a family or two that you love and respect. Love them and let them love you. Don't forget to not judge. Oh, and watch how the parent is correcting their child. Don't be quick to become the disciplinarian. This really bugs moms.

Please know that in no way do I think I have it all figured out. During the time of fostering four kids, God did a lot of healing in my heart concerning how I view myself as a mom. I used to struggle so much with insecurity in motherhood. Some days insecurity shows its ugly head again, but because I have chosen to believe that God is continually working me into a good mom, I just chop that ugly head right off! Yes, I make parenting mistakes. Yes, I apologize to my kids every single time I realize one of those mistakes. Yes, I believe God is using Chad and I to raise some pretty incredible humans that love him and love people. Yes, I will continue to rely fully on Him as he guides me in this process of parenting. I hope to hear him one day tell me that I did a good job with my sweet little knuckle-heads!

A Refresher from the Past

Monday, April 11, 2011  ::   2 important comments

I love where God is taking Second Mile right now... Blessed are the Merciful.  Last night Chad talked a little about human dignity.  It reminded me of a blog post I wrote in August of 2010.

I know you want to read it again so click here to re-read or read it for the first time.

My heart's desire is to stand shoulder to shoulder with any person at all no matter their ethnicity, social status, cleanliness, size, smell, looks, or religion and see them as a complete and total equal. But please know, it isn't for my benefit or the other person's benefit or to make either of us feel good about ourselves, but it is to show Jesus that I know he has offered me complete mercy, unending love, and the ability to stand in front of Him with full dignity.

Are you learning deep things about mercy? I would love to hear a little about it. Show me some mercy and post a comment.  ;)

What's in a Name?

Wednesday, April 06, 2011  ::   3 important comments

For a reason that you will all soon know, I've been thinking about Living with Moxie. The phrase has been rolling around in my head for the last couple of days. Titles can be cute and catchy, but that has never been important to me.  My English teachers/professors used to always tell me I needed better titles.  Ok. Whatever. You can have the best title in the world, but stinky content.  But I digress...

Living with Moxie. Liv-ING with MOXIE. Hmmm, have I been doing that? Do I really look at life's difficult circumstances that cause me fear and anxiety and face them with courage and backbone? I certainly don't want to throw around a word that I claim to want to be characterized by and then end up being a big fat fake.

Lately, there have been plenty of difficult circumstances going around.

People I love are dealing with crazy intense difficult issues. They graciously share with me, ask me to listen, and sometimes ask me advice. Praying for wisdom is a minute by minute life-line and connection to the Holy Spirit that I cling to.

Our church is embarking on new exciting overwhelming adventure. You can hear about it here if you are interested. Fearlessness, trust, and focus on Jesus are imperative.

My kids find themselves in difficult situations with teachers and peers.  The mommy in me often desires to take them under my wing and shield them from everything. The mom in me who has been given a responsibility to raise adults who love Jesus and love people needs courage.

There are two possible kinds of Moxie.

1. Self-centered, self-reliant, obstinate in that I will MAKE it happen because I WILL NOT fail, masked fear, and stubbornness kind of Moxie. There are times that I do not walk in the Spirit as I face life's challenges and it leads to headaches, shoulder spasms, fatigue, grouchiness, and bad dreams.  And, nothing God-honoring is accomplished. No good listening or advice happens. I freak out about the future of my family because of the future of our church. My kids are stuck under my stinky wing wanting to live their lives.  It's just plain ugly. Thank you, Jesus, that your kindness leads me to repentance that brings times of refreshment!

2. God-centered, Holy Spirit dependance, daily trusting that He will give us the courage to face the difficult situations that will surely come our way.

1 Tim 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and self-discipline.

Is 41:10 So do not fear for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Josh 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Phil 1:6 Be confident of this. He who began a good work in your will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Therefore, friends, we put no confidence in our flesh to be courageous or bold, or filled with Moxie.  We are not competent in ourselves to achieve anything for ourselves. Our competence comes from God!! (2 Cor 3:5)

Let's not forget the real meaning of Moxie as we live our day to day lives.  Have you been living with Moxie? Has the word lost any meaning for you? What ways is God asking you to live with Moxie in your current situations?

If you've lost or haven't had courage and backbone, take it to Jesus, ask him to forgive, and then accept refreshment in a way that only he can bring it. He will build you up with his courage and strength!

Moxie Memorizers

Friday, April 01, 2011  ::   20 important comments

In college when I first started memorizing scripture I didn't know where to start.  I definitely had a few favorite verses that I wanted to commit to memory, but after that I was kind of overwhelmed.  The Bible is a humongous book with full of truths worthy of memory space.  I developed a system of writing references from books I studied at the back of my journal that I desired to memorize. The back flap of my current journal has a list of verses I hope to intake as soon as possible.  But do you know what the most helpful kickstart to my scripture memory journey was? People sharing verses that were important to them.  I soaked it up.  An upperclassman would share a passage and I would pounce on it like a baby kitten.  It happened over and over.  Many of you have heard me talk about my college zealousness. At the most intense time of my memory discipline, I was taking in one to four verses every day.  I would hear a verse, write it on a little white card (I always carried extra with me), and then put it straight into my heart and mind.  I'm telling you, transformation happened through the Word of God without me even really knowing how deep his truths were going.  I'm so thankful God allowed me such a sweet season of memory capacity.  These days I'm thankful to remember a verse a week, but I'm not complaining... just persevering! 

With all that said, I've heard some of you wondering what you should memorize.  I hope that you are drawing passages out of whatever you are studying. I truly hope that some of you will take on memorizing whole chapters. I also want to help and give a few ideas of gems that give me support on a regular basis.  Here are a few treasures that encourage me, kick me in the pants, or remind me of my love for Jesus.  

Ps 94:18-19 When I said, "My foot is slipping," your love, O Lord, supported me.  When anxiety was great within me your consolation brought joy to my soul. 

Proverbs 12:16 A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.

Proverbs 10:19 When words are many sin is not absent, but he (she) who holds his tongue is wise. 

Ps 62:1-2  My soul finds rest in God alone. My salvation comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress. I will not be shaken.

Josh 1:8  Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth, but meditate on it night and day so that you will be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful. 

Acts 3:19  Repent then and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.  

Ok. Ok.  I could go on and on.  These just popped into my head right now.  Oh I LOVE God's Word!! I will try and remember to share some of my favorites on the Moxie Memorizers posts in the months to come.  Feel free to put them into your memory, but be sure to read the passages they come out of so that you know the context from which they came.  

Like I've shared before I'm working on Psalm 130. I'm getting antsy so I'm going to try and finish it by April 15th.  I've got verses one through five down, and six looks pretty easy.  

Psalm 130:7-8 O Israel put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love, and with Him is FULL redemption. He himself with redeem Israel from all their sins.  

FULL redemption.  I absolutely love that.  I need his redemption, and I'm so thankful his love to me never ever fails.  

Please share your verses, friends! Praying for all of you this beautiful April 1st morning, that you would know his new mercies and great faithfulness! (Lamentations 3:22-23)