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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Uncertainty is Awesome!

*off topic* but regarding my new blog header, I can either have a ginormous picture or one that is off center. having it off center bothers me a lot, but I can't seem to fix it in the few moments I have to try. so please accept my apologies if it bothers you as much as it does me :)

Uncertainty
It seems like a negative thing, right? But my devo today puts it in perspective. Recently I've gone back to reading Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, and wow, is it just what I need!

"...it has not yet been revealed what we shall be..." 1 John 3:2

"Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life - gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God."

I find myself questioning 'tomorrow' more than I should recently. Since adding school to my seemingly already packed schedule, many days I question whether I'm doing the right thing...and I even question the outcome. But I clearly recall how God presented this opportunity, and it's the fact that He is the source of it all that keeps me going. I don't need to keep wondering what each 'tomorrow' will bring; I need to anticipate with joyful expectation what God is going to reveal as I seek Him above all else.

I already know that my plans will fail. And I know that His plans cannot be thwarted. So as I draw nearer to Him, I can be sure He will work out His plans in me, and all for His glory! As uncertain as I may be about tomorrow, I am completely certain that God is faithful!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Those Dreaded Wonderful Words

Last Thursday we had a conversation with Kasidi's therapist that I guess I wasn't prepared for.
I promise, I'm not whining, and I'm certainly not complaining. I'm just being real...and raw.
When Kasidi took her first steps a few weeks ago, we were ecstatic! We thought she'd be up and running.
We are ignorant.
She didn't really walk much after that one day.
She loves to tease us.
She stands up like she's going to walk, and then she dives to the floor, causing all kinds of laughter.
But we were noticing some other positive things.
She was starting to raise one leg to balance herself.
She was using her upper body strength in crazy ways.
And she was slowly letting go of furniture and cabinets as she walked along them, even if only for a moment.
Then this week...she's had three days of taking several steps independently! Her poor little body even looks like that of a baby just learning to walk, with bruises and scrapes from falling. This girl amazes me! She inspires me! And she is a daily reminder that I get far better than I deserve!
But back to our conversation last week.
We saw Kasidi's therapist 3 times ~ once to get her new orthotics; once to receive her Amtryke and once for therapy.
Thursday night she told us she would soon be measuring Kasidi for a wheelchair.
A what?
She's two! She's trying to walk!
(I told you, I'm ignorant.)
She explained that for Kasidi to conserve energy it would be best for her to have a wheelchair when we are out and about. And I guess there is a toddler wheelchair with big wheels that weighs 12 pounds.
I'm sorry to say, I wasn't impressed. I was numb.
Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not embarrassed by her using a wheelchair. I just desperately want her to not need one!
And then the Lord shook me up.
Instead of resisting these words, I should embrace them. Even rejoice. After all, it's about Kasidi becoming mobile. And I praise Him for the advancements made so kiddos with spina bifida who once were treated as unworthy are now able to be fully functional, highly productive, well educated, and inspirational members of the general population!
Thank You, Lord, for these...
For this...
For this...
And for this...Next week Kasidi will have an MRI and spine x-ray. There are a few reasons her doctor wonders if she might have cerebral palsy. In fact, she has more CP symptoms than SB symptoms. He told us if it weren't for the scar on her back, he would rule out SB. The good news ~ CP is not progressive!
Ultimately, the diagnosis or diagnoses are only a mechanism to lead us in the right direction for providing her the utmost opportunities to thrive to her greatest potential.
And we serve a God who is fully capable of that...
even when I am ignorant.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

And So It Begins...

...the waiting anxiously patiently for her to return home.

Would it be wrong to wish she weren't so lovely?!?

But she is lovely, inside and out.
They are pretty cute!
And so now her daddy and I wait for her to return home, safely.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Specially Made for Her!

Tonight we had the privilege of receiving Kasidi Joy's special-made Amtryke!
This girl was in her element ~ the center of attention.

She needed to take the tryke for a stroll so the very.best.therapist.in.the.world and Mommy strapped her in.
Daddy locked the front wheel...
...and she was off and running!
This is an amazing blessing for kiddos and adults who need to build lower body strength for a variety of reasons. The Ambucs build and donate 2,000 of these per year! And the only requirement is that the therapist refer the patient for the bike so it can be properly fitted. Thank you, Ambucs!!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Oh, Boy!

No matter whether we're mowing the lawn, servicing the tractor, sorting corn, baking cookies, loving on church family, or whittling with Ty...
...my youngest son wants to be in the middle of it!
Kaeleb Jon, you are 110% boy with just as much heart!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter (finally)

We had a beautiful weekend!
The kids colored eggs, without incident, mostly.

We did not make it to sunrise service. One day we will. Not yet. But we were in church on time, mostly. And we were so happy that Grandma joined us!
We had company for Easter dinner and the traditional egg hunting.


They even caught a lizard or salamander or some other creepy thing.
And sweet dreams followed!
HE IS RISEN!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Circle Maker ~ What I Think

~Below I've copied excerpts of a few book reviews, along with the hyperlinks, and then I've given my own humble opinion~

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Early on in The Circle Maker, I started to worry that Batterson was veering into “name it and claim it” territory. Like the Honi’s Jerusalem critics, I was forming the impression that Batterson was being presumptuous. But Batterson dispels this impression in a single paragraph: “God cannot be bribed or blackmailed. God doesn’t do miracles to satisfy our selfish whims. God does miracles for one reason and one reason alone: to spell His glory. We just happen to be the beneficiaries.” by George P Wood

In many ways, The Circle Maker follows in a line from two titles you may already have on your bookshelf: Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala and Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick.

The former comparison is appropriate because this is a book about vision birthed in prayer, though unlike the large prayer gatherings described by Cymbala at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, much of the growth at NCC began with Mark quietly walking around sections of Washington, often not fully cognizant of what he was praying for or what the answer would look like when it appeared. It was only when there was a major development in the life of the church that Mark realized that his prayers had become reality in ways he never dreamed.

The latter comparison is apt because this is a book about praying the big prayers, the impossible prayers. Since Furtick’s book is more recent, this might be a good book to read as a sequel to the Charlotte pastor’s challenge to pray “audacious” prayers. All three books are faith-inspiring, and all are written from the perspective of pastors building churches but with connection to your biggest hopes and prayer concerns. Mark Batterson also encourages readers to pray intensely and to pray continually over the long term for the big prayers that can result in big answers. by Paul Wilkinson

As much as it is inspi­ra­tional, Cir­cle Maker is also con­tro­ver­sial. The con­tro­versy begins on the first page of chap­ter one, where Mark Bat­ter­son recounts the leg­end of Honi, a first-century mys­tic whose power in prayer saves the land from drought. Some have objected to the idea of “prayer cir­cles,” because they smack of pagan­ism and super­sti­tion. After read­ing the book, it seems that Bat­ter­son is using “prayer cir­cles” as a metaphor to describe the way some­one prayers—prayers of speci­ficity, audac­ity, and faith. Bat­ter­son is an evan­ge­list for relent­less, dar­ing prayers.

I have some con­cerns with the book—a bit of sketchy exe­ge­sis here and there, a name-it-claim-it style of inter­ces­sion, and a blurry line between dreams and prayers. I frankly dis­cussed these con­cerns with Mark when I inter­viewed him today, and I appre­ci­ate his gen­uine thought­ful answers to my ques­tions. You’ll have to wait until the broad­cast releases to hear the con­cerns and Mark’s excel­lent response. By Daniel Threlfall

Yep, it’s controversial. As someone who has a healthy aversion to anything that reeks of ‘name it and claim it’, I was skeptical as well. After the first chapter, telling the story of Jewish legendary circle maker Honi who stood in a circle to pray for rain, I wasn’t convinced this book was Biblical at all. But after reading the whole book, I’ve changed my mind.

You see, author Mark Batterson doesn’t believe in the power of circles, he believed in the power of prayer and above all in the power of God who can do way more than we could ever think or imagine. His book is one big encouragement to dream big, pray hard, think long and then keep circling (= keep praying). At Youth Leaders Academy

Our problem is that “most of us don’t get what we want because we don’t know what we want . . . and secondly, we don’t get what we want because we quit circling.” I, for one, give up too easily instead of “praying through!” Talk about stupidity when we want God to provide more so we need Him less. Spiritual maturity isn’t about self-sufficiency but codependence on God. In Batterson’s own words, “And if we pray hard, our lives will become complicated and we will need to work harder. And that is a blessing from God.” By Dale Lewis

Finally, I found this critical review, but couldn't get it to copy properly so check it out for yourself. It appears this review is based off a 40 second video blurb on the study packet, rather than the critic having read the book. At EBC

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There are likely more critical reviews of the book out there; I just had trouble finding them. I just want to point out that when I recommend a book, I never believe or claim that it trumps the Bible.

Very early in the book I had the same concerns about the mystical "Honi" and was afraid the reader would be directed to place our faith in him or his teachings...so I kept reading.

After reading the book, it is clear to me that Batterson believes in the power of prayer to Almighty God, and that Honi's circle of payer for rain is metaphorical to the Israelites marching around the walls of Jericho. Honi prayed to God, not to some idol.

God is not a genie in a bottle who grants our wishes; He answers our prayers in ways that glorify Himself!

I can sum up in one sentence the message I get from the book: We don't receive because we don't ask; if we do ask, it's for selfish desires; and we don't ask because we either don't know or have forgotten how big GOD is.

And that message is biblical ~ James 4:2-3 ~ You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Bottom line, we can read all the books in the world, but the one we need to ground our faith in is the Bible. I hope I never point you away from God's Word when I share another book with you. I want everything I read to be filtered through the Spirit.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Dream in My Heart

I have a confession.
I have a dream.
It's so big that it's impossible.
Impossible for me, that is.
I'm not ready to share it.
Maybe I'm afraid.
Maybe I can't get past how ludicrous it is.
Maybe I don't have enough faith.
I just finished reading the Bible through again, and I'm in awe. I'll never be able to wrap my feeble mind around the fact that the same God who created the universe, parted the Red Sea, healed the sick, brought the dead to life and came to Earth to
die for my sin, is the same God who loves me and whose Spirit lives in me and communicates with my spirit. Never.will.I.understand.
I also finished The Circle Maker. So many things resonated in my heart, such as: "So while God is for us, most of us have no idea what we want God to do for us. And that's why our prayers aren't just boring to us; they are uninspiring to God. If faith is being sure of what we hope for, then being unsure of what we hope for is the antithesis of faith, isn't it?"
I'm drawing prayer circles around my dreams and around God's promises, just as the Israelites circled Jericho.
Right now I'm reading not a fan. Wow! From the beginning of the book, the question is presented: Am I a follower of Jesus...or a fan?
"Here is the most basic definition of fan in the dictionary:
'An enthusiastic admirer'
It's the guy who goes to the football game with no shirt and a painted chest. He sits in the stands and cheers for his team. He's got a signed jersey hanging on his wall at home and multiple bumper stickers on the back of his car. But he's never in the game. He never breaks a sweat or takes a hard hit in the open field. He knows all about the players and can rattle off their latest stats, but he doesn't know the players. He yells and cheers, but nothing is really required of him. There is no sacrifice he has to make...He is an enthusiastic admirer."
Wow!
We live in a world where fandom is accepted. Does that make it okay to sit comfortably on the sidelines, unwilling to risk anything? I don't think so. Please don't misunderstand me and think I'm saying we can earn our way to heaven. Not.at.all! But the narrow way requires obedience. Obedience to the Holy Word of God. And that most likely looks completely different from my plans. And that's okay.
So I have a dream in my heart.
It's impossible for me, in case I didn't mention that.
Will you pray for me?
Please pray that above all else, I would seek Him.
And that in the midst of praying through this I don't lose sight of Whose plans are best.
Thank you.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter 5 Years Ago ~ Hello, Kambry Hope!

One the best Easters for our family was a true celebration of new life. Kambry Hope had been placed in our arms just days before. It was strange being away from our other children, family and church family on Easter, but it was a tangible picture of redemption, and the years that have followed have been filled with revelation.

Lord, I praise You for letting me be Mommy to this beautiful little girl.
Within hours she was giggling!
Beautiful!
Teaching Mama how to survive with one hand.
This is my favorite picture of that era! We call it "Meltdown." Everyone who knows Kambry Hope knows she has an ornery side.
Lord, You are so good to me! It would be enough that You've overcome death once and for all...but You bless me in this life too!!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Jesus Paid it All

It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last. Luke 23:44-46

I'm reminded on this Good Friday how willingly Jesus gave everything for me, and for you. Far too often I complain about having to give something up. Lord, please forgive me for my selfish, ungrateful heart. I know You paid the full price for my sin on the cross. And though for a moment it seemed death was victorious, that was not the end! O death, where is your sting?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Don't be Jealous :)

Our Thursday night was beyond glamorous!

We whipped up another batch of homemade laundry soap.
Let sisters fix sister's hair...
....
We did gymnastics, redneck style.
We mocked the clean towels.
Oh, there were a ton of exciting things we could've done, like plan the weekly menu; hang the stacks of summer clothes; cook, chop and freeze the chicken breasts, or trim fingernails. But some things just must have their own 15 minutes of fame.
I know it's hard to top this, but I hope your Thursday night was just as awesome :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Kasidi Joy's First Steps!!!



GOD IS GOOD!!!

S'Mores!

This picture says it all ~ s'mores!!!

We are much too busy around here, getting ready to plant sweet corn, but we always find time for a good old fashioned weenie roast right here on the farm.






Just seems like the thing to do when you're too busy to do anything else.


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