welcome friends.....thanks for popping in my world....
I'd love to know you've stopped by, so please note that the comment section is now found at the title of each post.

I learned alot yesterday (re-run)

(originally posted Nov '08)

So yesterday was a day full of lessons.

I learned that I could fill the tank in my van for only $31.23 when gas is down to $1.89/gallon.
I also learned that most people do not do a victory dance at such a discovery, based on the looks I got at the gas pump.

I learned, well was reminded.....about how God is the perfect Provider/Accountant.......along with having a weird sense of humor. I was doing my daily online banking......and noticed that when my last check cleared for the week, I had 52 cents left in my account (before Josh's direct deposit went in).

I learned that it doesn't have to be 32 degrees out for puddles to remain frozen. It can be 38 degrees as well. This fact was also confirmed by the people who witnessed me slip and fall in the parking lot earlier in the day. I am pretty sure I caught one guy laughing in his scarf. thanks.

So onto other learning experiences.......Last night was The Apologetics Conference at my church. I learned first that "apologetics" doesn't refer to saying sorry in this context. The word "apologetics" is synonymous with defending. Apologists are writers, educators and leaders that take on arguments or positions that are placed under scrutiny. So yeah, it comes from the Greek word apologia meaning speaking in defense. WOW, I sound smart!

I also learned that most people that attend these apologetic conferences, do not wear braids, a patchy kerchief and fuzzy Crocs.

I learned that I would really never make it in college.....not in an education sense, I mean MAKE it to a class, physically. Yes, I was that person who was excusing herself politely, banging into peoples knees and knocking over their binders as I tried to exit the row of seats when I realized I was in the wrong "class" two minutes into the session. Now this is a scary thought, as this conference was held at my church and there were only three possible "classrooms" that sessions where being held. And I had a conference itinerary complete with a map for the scheduled lectures.

I learned that I was a bit out of my league as some of the speakers sounded like the teacher from Charlie Brown most of the times. I did absorb some great information/understanding of certain topics and issues, but I most likely will never be able to reiterate any of this information in any conversation or explanation. It's as if it gets scrambled from my brain to my mouth. I know what I want to say, but when I try to work it into my own words.....I just get overwhelmed, I start to stutter and then I "dumb down" these solid Creation scientists findings. Then *I* sound like the Charie Brown teacher.

One of the sessions I did find my way to was a "Responding to Dawkins" session. Apparently, Dawkins is a "new-age" atheist who actually has some really good arguments regarding his stance on God, religion and how our universe fits better with a "naturalistic" universe rather than a theist universe. I followed all the philosophical jargon somewhat and felt very enlightened after the presentation. OK, who am I kidding???...I was really lost. In fact, that last statement about the universe, I will honestly admit.....I just copied from the handout we were given.

But one thing I did learn from this Yale professor's opening remarks, was to not give into anger and frustration when I get into a debate, er discussion, about creationism with the few hard core Darwinists in my life. He referred to 2 Timothy 2:22-26 which basically tells us run from youthful passions such as always needing to be "right"......not to be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone, try to teach patiently and correcting our opponents with kindness. I know that I needed to definitely hear that as I tend to get all fired up and get angry/frustrated with the person, who is just defending what they have been taught/believe.

That is why I learned I will have to leave it to the people with lots of letters/degrees at the end of their name to explain how evolution is just an adopted theory. I will stick to my simple statement.....If we evolved from apes, why are there still apes?


Oh another very important lesson I learned at this conference, never, I repeat, never eat two huge handfuls of dried apricots on an empty stomach when you have to be in a very quiet public setting. Let's just say my stomach felt like there was some severe lava lamp action going on and I wasn't the most comfortable. I dared not to pick up my pen when it fell on the floor.....for fear that I would be excusing myself again from the session.

And lastly, on the way home, I again learned another valuable lesson that I needed to be reminded about. Steven Curtis Chapman's song Cinderella came on the radio. What an amazing song about how quickly life goes by and how kids are only little once and in a flash, they are all grown up. There just seems to never be enough hours in the day for everything, but man, we really need to make the time (even if it's a 15 minute dance) to enjoy the small simple moments with our kids/loved ones every day. After the first verse, I started to well up with tears reflecting on how painful this song must be for him now that his sweet Maria is with Jesus. I cannot imagine what that family has gone through and the strength it took to move ahead. What an awesome testimony of true faith. If you ever get chance, check out The Chapman family interview with Larry King.....

I leave you with his video to enjoy......and reflect.
Peace and love~
Michelle

If you have two coats, give one away (re-run)

(originally posted in Dec '08)


So the other night, we read about Abram and how he obeyed God's command and had to take a pretty unpleasant trip across the desert. I think that story can hit home to many of us sometimes. Sometimes we just don't feel like doing "the right thing".....sometimes we flat out refuse. I know I am totally guilty of this....but I also know that God promises us that we will be rewarded when we do what He asks us to do. It may not be a financial blessing or even a direct answer to the things/situations we pray for....but we should trust that He knows what we need, when we need it.

So last week, my pastor talked about how Jesus told the Pharisees that they should host a feast and not invite all their peers, leaders and "higher up" friends. These people could always repay them for their efforts. No, they should invite the cripple, lame and poor.....people who could never repay them for the feast.......but their reward would come in other ways. Not so sure that the Pharisees listened.....but this concept def. intrigued me. It's true.....we often go the extra mile in gift giving for people, who let's face it......don't really need "stuff", ykwim? I mean, it's nice to get someone a present for Christmas, but sometimes we really start going overboard with wracking our brain to buy a gift for that "person who has everything" or "is hard to buy for". And quite frankly......most of the time, that person really isn't super impressed or ends up returning it. It's so much easier to just pick out anything (not really putting any thought or effort) for people who aren't really as close to us, and we do it just to follow through on a tradition or obligation.

He also talked about how Jesus told people that if they had two coats, give away one. So if we try to work this into "our" day.....this would probably mean, if you have 6-8 coats......give away at least 2-3. I mean, how many coats do we really need? He also talked about how when we give to the poor.....we are really giving to Jesus. So not to pick that old '80s-style fringed leather coat that is crammed in the back of your closet and pass it along to the needy (yes, I was an 80s girl and had a fantastic fringed coat.....along with a rocking pair of spandex! *shudder*......and a little fyi.....I don't think that style will ever come back.....so it's time to let go, dude).

Would we pick out something that isn't even suitable for us, and give it to Jesus?? No, we should pick out our two favorite coats.....keep the #2 choice, and pass on the #1. Jesus (a.k.a. the poor) deserves our best.

So trying to apply this lesson in our house......I suggested to N that we should go through her toys and pick out a few of her favorites and give them away. So she came to me with the rattiest of her My Little Pony collection. These were the ones who had about four strands of fiber left on their manes and tails. I looked her in the eyes and asked her if these were truly her favorites. She got all teary eyed, looked towards the wall and the convo went like something like this:

N: yes, mom.....they are! I love these so much!

Me: (obviously not very convinced): are you sure?

N: yes, I love these so much! (still looking at the wall)

Me: So if I asked you to give a special toy to Jesus, this is what you think He deserves?

N: well, no. (looking down and lip starting to quiver)

Me: remember, when I told you that you should feel lucky enough that you have so many nice things to choose from to give to someone who might not have any. You surely can find a much nicer Pony for them. Pretend you are giving it to Jesus.

N: (still reluctant, but feeling as convicted as a six year old can get) OK

She returns with one of her newest Ponies and hands it to me.....she didn't have a spirit of happiness surrounding her that I was hoping for. But being realistic in this situation, I was thankful that she didn't have a white knuckle grasp on it when handing it to me. I did hear her make a comment as she was walking away about how Jesus probably doesn't even play with My Little Ponies anyway.

So then Josh came home this morning after running out for a coffee and mentioned how the Marine Corps was doing a collection this morning for *new* toys at the State Police station. He asked if I had anything we could give. I instantly thought about the financial crunch we are in, and said no. Funny how God can poke you in the memory bank and remind me of the 2 Webkinz I scored at a sidewalk sale this past summer. I stashed them away for friends' children, but then thought about the Pharisee reference. My friends kids are far from underprivileged and I could still go out and get them something else.

Then it dawned on me. Perfect time for another "lesson" for N too. (see, I am always multi-tasking and taking advantage of what life presents me!)

I wanted her to see the "giving brings reward" in a six year old level of comprehension. Not sure if what I did was the best way.....but I never claim to not screw up from time to time.

So I called her into my room, and explained that I had two new Webkinz in this bag. Her eyes lit up like saucers...."for me????" she giggled with excitement. "No......but one will be for you and I am going to let you choose which one can go to *the sick kids*" (that is what she refers to any charity).
I told her that she could have the Webkinz now, but she would not be able to log on the computer and do all the stuff these kids do with online "pets" until Christmas. (btw, I wish I was the genius who thought about taking a $1.99 stuffed animal, assigning a "code" to it, create a very simple program/website and turn around and sell them at $14.99 a pop. unreal.) She surprised me and agreed to all the terms laid out. I reminded her about how when you give a little.....you recieve too. And how because she was willing to give someone something that she would have wanted to keep....she would be blessed with her own reward. Again, not so sure if that was the healthiest way to reiterate that lesson, but it's what I went with.
She did innocently have a good question as we handed it to the Marines......."if those kids are so poor that they live in boxes (we had talked about homeless families as well).....how are they going to have a computer and internet? Maybe we should buy them a computer too"

I told her I would have to think about that one......;)

Well I hope this finds you well......maybe this weekend would be a great time to go through closets and make up a bag for your local shelter. (*remember no spandex) I bet they would even appreciate some of your extra Christmas decorations to brighten up their temporary living space. We don't always know what happened in their lives to bring them where they are.....and it's not our place to ask (judge). It's our place to just do what is right. We are promised to receive great blessings in ways we cannot even imagine.....

peace and love~
~*Michelle*~

Country Fairs and Woodstock for Jesus!!!!!!

Nothing shouts summer in the country more than country fairs.......We pretty much spent the entire weekend having a blast at our local Old Home Days fair where the kids showed their chickens and entered good old fashion contests like pie eating, floral arranging and photography/crafts competitions. There were tractor pulls, horse shows and cow chip bingo. If you have even a small percentage of a little country hick in your blood, you know all about this kind of bingo. You buy a "deed" (square on a grid) for $10 and hope that Bessy the cow plops her first poop on your spot in a marked field for $500. Needless to say, Bessy did not leave her cow chip on plot #138, but we still left rich with memories of the weekend. :)

So grab your dark bottle of root beer, your bag of shelled peanuts and that fried dough boy and enjoy! :)


Enjoy our photos.....and I've include some shameless bragging too.

N won first place in the floral arranging contest.....she was judged even with the adult entries. The theme was "Yes we can". Funny thing, she really just plucked these random flowers from our garden, yanked the flag from our mailbox from Memorial Day.......and tied on that sparkly craft wire. Worked for us! We found out that she was two votes away from The People's Choice grand prize winner too.

Then both E and N placed 2nd and 5th with showing their chickens. They worked very hard preparing for this showmanship event. They had to study and learn all the proper names of the chicken's body parts, practice handling the chickens correctly and even get the chickens ready by giving them a bath.



There was a cock-a-doodle doo contest where we entered our two roosters. It was hilarious watching the kids cheering on their rooster trying to coax them to belt one out. And here is N talking to Tiny Tim after he didn't win the crowing competition. She told me she needed some one on one time with him to assure him that she still loved him even though they didn't win and he was still #1 to her.

(try not to note her sparkly tacky hat.....I told her she could pick out one thing under this vendors' tent and saw those obnoxious sequined hats out of the corner of my eye. I tried to redirect her path, used a Jedi Mind trick and chanted to myself, "avoid the sparkle....do not be sucked into the sparkle".......but sure enough, the sparkle caught her eye and drew her in. *sigh*


Here's E giving a little "peace" with his pal, Kevin who placed 1st in the Polish Hen division too. Kevin is actually a hen.....if you've seen the movie Up, you'll see why it's a great name.

This is a better shot of Kevin....this is one of N's photo entries captioned "Bad Hair Day?". Not too bad for a six year old with my Kodak Easy Share, huh?



She also took these two that I absolutely love....we captioned the eggs with "In the beginning....."

This one with E's special pair of Old English chicks we called "We've got your back".


OK, I'll share one last photo.......this was E's entry and it scored a 97 out of 100 possible points. He titled this "Barnyard Bliss"......it's our little doe-ling Liesel who loves to sleep in her feed bucket. He just happened to catch her at the perfect time, perfect lighting, etc.


And now we are getting the camper all loaded up and heading out to a festival that I have been waiting since last August to return.

SOULFEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The only way I can describe it is it's a Woodstock for Jesus. It is the most amazing place to be.....just imagine about 100 Christian bands/artists over four days playing on a mountain! Casting Crowns, Third Day, Skillet, Newsboys, and Sanctus Real just to name a few. This will be our third year and I cannot even explain what an awesome spiritual experience it is. There are worship services, inspirational speakers like this guy, skateboard ministries and all types of exhibits.

The first year we went, we had only bought tickets for a one day trip, but when we walked through the gates and saw about a hundred tents pitched going up the mountain, I was floored! We then knew that we would be camping the whole week for all future Soulfests.

Camping on a mountain with thousands of Believers celebrating Jesus Christ for four days straight......this is our ultimate vacation.

So today I am packing, cleaning and preparing......and will be off first thing tomorrow morning. The trip is only about three hours which is perfect because I am not a big road trip person. Actually 4 hours is my limit in a car pretty much. I would rather repeatedly slam my hand in a car door than be driving any longer than that. Since we are taking two cars, Josh is towing camper and I will be in the trusty minivan.....I will need to be prepared for this journey. I have tons of goodies packed including Twizzlers, Doritos and Crystal Light. (like the "Light" makes a difference, right?.....hey, it's vacation time!). I am going to be jotting down all the K-LOVE stations to get my Jesus praise on. I am unable to listen to any of my own CDs because one of my sweet children stuck a juju bean in my CD player before the ink even dried at the car dealership. nice.

As much as I know I will want to blog about the amazing things I will be experiencing this week coming up......this is a nice way for me to unplug and focus on God and my family that He has blessed me with.

Last year, we just got the camper and everything all set up. My son G and I were sitting by the campfire and he looked up and noticed how the sky was completely filled with stars. Now, we live in the boonies and catch some decent starry nights but usually it is just a few minutes of gazing up and then the mosquitoes start taking chunks out of us and we go in. We were blessed, not only be able to sit in awe of this gorgeous diamond mine in the sky......but there was not a single mosquito around.

So as we were just taking it all in......we saw, not one......but three shooting stars all within seconds of each other. It was like God was giving us a little "welcome to my world" message. Totally cool.

That was the beginning to a week's worth of God after God experiences. Everything from people falling slain in the spirit during Toby Mac to powerful healings to people just unplugging from the world and reconnecting to Jesus.

If you ever have a Soulfest type festival near you......I encourage you to attend one. You will leave a different person, I promise.

So I decided to schedule some posts this week while I am refueling, relaxing and rejoicing. I thought it might be entertaining to repost a few of my older posts every couple of days just incase you feel like popping back in my world. Kinda like when I did the Rainy Day Monday post......These were posted when I had about 3 readers (as opposed to my tens of readers now) and again.....two were Josh and I. So I thought you might enjoy them as a rerun. :)

So for now.......I hope this finds you smiling and well.....and enjoying the SONshine every day.

Peace, love and stay barefoot~
*~Michelle~*

Geography 101 (today we cover valleys and streams)

*stuck on a lesson plan theme with my titles, hopefully I don't sound like the Charlie Brown teacher


So I am was not in a not in a good place lately. (I am using the strike out feature because as I was writing this out, God spoke to me, turned it around as I wrote and brought me somewhere beautiful.....)

Some call it a rut.
Some call it a funk.
Some call it a dark place.

I call it a valley.

I guess I call it a valley because I have the image of a topographical map in my head. You remember those maps we had to study in school....they were maps that either had those curvy lines or was color coded to represent the elevations in the land. To me, this map represents the elevations or the "highs and lows" of our lives.

Throughout our lives we travel and experience different terrains along the way. Without a doubt, we will hit some rough territories. Sometimes we make poor decisions and we get stuck going through that mucky swamp for a while. Sometimes we have unexpected construction on our scenic route and we have to take a detour through a less pleasant road. Sometimes there is no other way to get to where we are going. We just have to be as prepared as we can, toss it into four wheel drive (living in New England, this is a must) and get through it.

OK, back to the image in my head. I am picturing a couple of mountains some valleys in between. There are a few areas where it plateaus for a while with some dips and hills.

Mountains: arms raised high, glorifying God to the fullest. We are on fire for Him!
Higher elevations: still praising God, life is great!
Plateaus with dips and hills: going on in our daily lives, keeping God at arm's reach, reaching out when we need Him....maybe getting a little lukewarm.
Canyons, gorges and ravines: dark depressing times, trials and struggles. We feel alone, without hope....we are in cold darkness.

For the most part, I feel my topographical map is filled with mountains and higher elevations. I also have found myself in some stagnant times on those plateaus. I did have some pretty deep canyons out west (that would be my past, to the left.......yikes, I am using all my extensive geographical terminology on you now). In fact, looking back to my unsaved days.....those were some huge canyons.

I think most of the time we get to these valleys by a slow slip down off the mountain.....we are going full force with God at the forefront, everything is going wonderful. I believe that when the enemy has that clear shot of us on the mountain, he fixes his scope on us and and is determined to knock us down. He does not want us to be effective with our testimony and praise. In fact, he hates it. He has a way of bringing strife our way, if we do not have our feet planted firmly on that mountain (picture a mountain climbers wearing crampons, those boots with spikes).....these trials will shake us and we start to slip down.....and then continues to kick us our way down. Along the tumble down, he tosses in some of his extra "forces" to add to the momentum. I've talked about a few of them lately...... envy, worry, toxic people and most recently gossip. These forces do a great job of weighing us down and keeping us from rising up again.


So I thought I would go with this valley image and decided to give the definition.

*this is where God jumps in*

So a valley is described as " an elongated depression between uplands, hills, or mountains...." Another definition is "a low point or interval in any process, representation, or situation."

It didn't surprise me that the word depression is used.

But what I found interesting was when I realized that I didn't finish the first part of that definition

"an elongated depression between uplands, hills, or mountains, esp. one following the course of a stream"

**Now I need to stop here and shed more light on this**.......these past couple of weeks, I have been putting the final touches on my new tattoo design. It is a tree planted by a stream. The tree not only represents me, it also is a symbol for my family. The tattoo will be an expression of a couple of Scriptures that mean alot to me:

They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do ~Psalm 1:3

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.~Jeremiah 17:7,8

Throughout the Bible....the stream represents God. He is the Living Water.

So this got me even more curious as I felt God prodding me to do more research. I also looked up canyon..... in the notes accompanying the entry canyon was this:

a canyon is a narrow chasm with steep cliff walls formed by running water; a gorge is a deep narrow passage with steep rocky sides formed by running water; a ravine is a deep narrow steep-sided valley formed by running water

As I sit here and type.....I am experiencing this revelation. It is blowing my mind so forgive my more than normal run-on sentences and grammar errors.

When I am/was in the valleys, canyons and gorges it is/was then that God is/was even closer than I thought. The stream (Living Water) was running right along side of me.

Being in the valley does not have to be what the Devil wants me to believe. It does not have to be filled with darkness and despair. We may be experiencing trials, but that doesn't mean that God has left us, forgotten about us, or is not listening to us. Quite the opposite. He is closer than ever.

Valleys can be beautiful.......valleys can be lush......it's all how we envision it. And think about it, we need these different elevations so that we can have awesome snow capped mountains and rolling hills.

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. ~Deuteronomy 8:7


I am still in awe on what God just did. He didn't want me to focus on what the enemy was trying to do with me....why give him any attention/credit? God wanted to show me that He is still here with me even when I didn't think to look for Him. He is so faithful. So kind. So forgiving.

So ......no time for spell check, no time to proof read. I just want to publish and share. Again forgive my more than normal bouncing around.

Have a beautiful weekend......I am now declaring I will too!

xox
*~Michelle~*

pssssttt, did you hear?

I've been told since I was about two years old that I had the "gift of gab".....in other words, I talk and talk and talk. (I guess the same applies when I write, huh?)

In my defense.......I just am a people person. As much as I enjoy my quiet time and I like living in the boonies......I do need social interaction to keep things healthy and balanced. I talk daily to my best friend.....if 2-3 days go by without hearing from her, I tend to get a little concerned and start leaving desperate messages on her machine making sure everything is all right in her world or ask in a paranoid way if I said anything that offended her.

I like to host parties and cookouts. And I am not one of those people who are so busy during the festivities scrambling to make sure there is enough salsa for the chips, ice and cups for the beverages or extra chairs for guests. I do my best to get everything as prepared as possible and have a great group of friends who are always helping me with that kind of stuff. That is why they are always on the top of the guest list. *kidding! I am just being honest that when I invite family and friends over to my home for a party, it is because I want to spend time with them and enjoy their company. I am hoping the feeling is mutual and that they are not wanting me to dote on them (although I do have a few on that list.....don't we all? Like that one very able bodied aunt who sees you putting out all the food, lugging bags of ice, peeling a child off your thigh and swatting a cat off the table. She just stands there and announces that she brought her famous potato casserole with raisins and broccoli. I think I am expected to drop whatever four or five things that I am doing and sprinkle rose petals at her feet all while making an announcement to the entire party that she has arrived. *sorry if that was a little sarcastic* yes Auntie Mary, we love you and your potato salad, even though no-one ever eats it. )

I am on a few online message boards where I have made some great friendships. And I have even met some of them and believe it or not, they did not turn out to be axe murderers like Josh warned me.

I pop on Facebook to see what people are up to although I do get annoyed with people sending me flip-flops and cocktails after a while. FYI, I have ugly bunions so I can't do things between my toes and I gave up drinking almost three years ago. And call me insensitive, but learning that Joe Knight* is going to McDonalds or Jane Shooley* is drinking a smoothie isn't really something that I need to know.
(*not actual Facebookers to my knowledge)

I probably just got "de-friended" by announcing those annoyances, didn't I?

So it's safe to say that I do like people and socializing....but what I am discovering is that the more I get involved with "groups"......whether online, in real life or even all the people in my head....there seems to always be some kind of gossip going on in some level. And as I am growing deeper in my walk with Christ, it is starting to make me more and more uncomfortable.

Gossip. Other wise known as back-fence talk, chitchat, defamation, grapevine, hearsay, idle talk, malicious talk, meddling, scandal, small talk, whispering campaign or dirty laundry. If you are in or around my age.....you must remember Don Henley's hit Dirty Laundry. He sings about how people love hearing about other's troubles or hard times.

"
Dirty little secrets, dirty little lies
We got our dirty little fingers in everybody's pie
Love to cut you down to size, we love dirty laundry"

Gossipers have the goal of building themselves up by making others look bad. Having knowledge of someone's private trials has a way of exalting themselves. Gossip can be truth or falsehood, but it is still gossip. Gossip is any communication that hurts people.

Back in the day, I gossiped without even realizing it was gossip. "The Day" refers to before I turned my life over to God, just a little heads' up for ya. Now I wasn't some monger who went around purposely slandering people.....but I thought nothing about repeating someone's personal information or what I heard through the grapevine, which of course got twisted up like that kid's telephone game. Regardless of what "level" it was.....it was hurtful and wrong.

I recently have been getting more involved with new people now that we are into homeschooling, 4-H, and country fairs. Not sure if it is the old small town everyone-knows-everyone-and-their-business way......but occasionally there is a gossip tag attached to some of these interactions.

I will admit that I still sometimes get sucked into those conversations that have those strong gossiping undertones. But now that I am digging deeper with Christ and my eyes and heart are open to what is right and wrong, I am becoming more aware and trying to make a conscious effort to change the direction of these conversations. If that doesn't work I might take the easy road and create a crisis that I must abruptly tend to.....or I might take a higher more difficult road and say that I really don't feel comfortable talking about said person/situation.

Maybe this causes noses to be turned up to me or I'll be the center of the next gossip session.....but at least they will know that they where I stand (and hopefully WHO I stand for). Maybe it will cause them to stop and realize that they are revealing information to those who have no business knowing it or care to know it.

So after another situation last night where I was getting sucked into the tornado of gossip.....I felt very conflicted on the drive home. Before I fell asleep I knew I needed to pray about it. I asked God for forgiveness with genuine repentance. I asked Him to guard my mouth and help me think before I speak.

I need to do my part in this situation as well. I need to make the decision to keep my relationship with these people in an acquaintance level and keep all conversations simple and on the subject on hand. Proverbs 20:19 reminds us " A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much."

Whenever the temptation of this destructive habit arises.....I need to focus on

Scripture is very clear about how much God hates gossip. He hates to see His children hurting one another. The Bible talks about Satan being the source of gossip and a lying slanderer in John 8:44 ".......When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies." Satan's language is to divide, destroy, deceive and discourage.

Whenever the temptation of this destructive habit arises.....I need to focus on the source and bite my tongue. When I am on the receiving end of gossip, I need to not listen. I have to hold myself accountable and know that it takes to gossip, one to talk and one to listen.

I see how serious the sin of gossip is and that it characterizes those who are under God’s wrath. in Romans 1:29 "They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips."

EEK, check this out.....gossip makes 3 of God's Top 7 detestable things in Proverbs 6:17-19

16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:

17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,

18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,

19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.


OK, so I don't think I need to copy/paste any more Scripture that shows how gossip goes against everything that is God....but know there are many. And I don't want to be part of it any more.

Today, I want to only use my tongue to bring life.....not death.

How about you? How do you deal with gossip? Come'on....you can be honest. I promise it will be safe with me. *wink


I'll leave you with this quote from an unknown author.....

~Blessed are the hard of hearing for that shall miss much idle gossip~



Peace~
*~Michelle~*

It's a Sunny Rainy Day Monday

rdmthumb


So over in Shark Bait's world, he started this pretty cool "meme/carnival" where you re-run one of your older posts (or one of your faves from another bloggin buddy) that you feel is deserving of saving/bring back for a rainy day. So today, although it is finally sunny here in New England.....I am diving in (no pun intended) with Shark Bait's Rainy Day Monday fun and sharing one of my earlier posts. I am secretly hoping that it gets more attention today because when I originally posted it back in November '08, I only had 3 subscribers, one being me....one being Josh. So now that I have tens of readers......let's see how it goes. Maybe I'll even get a few more people to subscribe if they make it to the end of the post without falling asleep. (that is a not-so-subtle shameless hint that I need a confidence boost.....such as seeing I have a new subscriber or two *wink)




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Patience through Puzzles




Patience is not one of my strongest attributes.....but I am working on it ;)






Well, I am pretty patient in day to day stuff... such as

  • allowing kids to cook/bake in the kitchen, no matter how much flour is getting under the stove's heating elements. I even exercise more patience when the spilled milk makes it seep into places I will never reach to clean.
  • getting up over a dozen times during one TV show to wiggle the cable connection back in place.
  • asking H, over the course of a week (or two), when his bedroom will finally not look like a bomb went off in it.....only to hear each time, "I'm working on it, Mom".
  • waiting for this 100 pound "puppy" to stop chewing anything and everything that isn't moving (unless he catches it)
  • waiting for the house-cleaning fairy to make her appearance at our house....along with the Publishers Clearing House people ;)
  • this list could go on forever, but I'll stop here

But one thing I really need help is in patience to know where God wants me.....It's hard to explain, but I just feel that I am supposed to be doing "more" or going in a different direction for a purpose. It's so frustrating because on top of juggling family life, homeschooling, working p/t and tending to my two small online businesses....I also have a waiting list for "the back burner".

  • I have a children's book in draft form, that has been staring at me for over three years. I did get a good portion of the illustrations done this year, but now.....those paintings are sitting on top of the dusty pages of the story.
  • I have a project that I would love to start that has to do with sending (or better yet....hand delivering) boxes of my tie dye tees to Malawi or another less fortunate nation. I just think that tie dye can brighten anyone's day. :)
  • Josh and I would love to start a venue for youth to enjoy live Christian music and preaching and incorporate it with skateboarding, bmx and other sporting events in our area.
  • another list that can go on.....and on......and it does.... in my brain.

I know that these ideas are doable and can happen in time. But it's so frustrating to have your brain and heart wanting to invest time/energy and go in a certain direction, but waiting and needing some word of advice from God. Waiting on the confirmation that it is where He wants me to go. I am not one of those people who are fortunate enough to clearly hear God talking to them. I wish I was, because it would make this so much easier for me.
But, I do know that God puts desires and dreams in our heart. So I need to rely on Him to bring them to fruition if it is His will.....I have to trust in His perfect plan and perfect timing

....but sometimes, I feel like a kid stamping my feet and whining "I just want it NOW!!"

"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed." (Habakkuk 2:3 NLT)

So I did a search at Blue Letter Bible for patience and came across that passage.......and just by re-reading it, I am finding some answers right now. As I pour out these thoughts, I need to have patience like Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Joseph and the many great heroes in the Bible. Time after time their stories show us that patience is a virtue and is rewarded.

So yes, I need to work harder on patience. I decided to buy myself a puzzle. I often give N a 100 piece puzzle as part of her homeschooling downtime. It helps her with problem solving and gives her a great sense of accomplishment when she sits back and sees the completed puzzle. It also has a calming effect on her, as she sits quietly and just focuses on "finding a match".

So I thought it would be a great way for me to wind down, work on my patience and hope to find a peaceful quiet time in the day. I hoped it would even get quiet enough in my head so I could hear God's soft sweet whisper that I have been longing to hear.

So I broke out that puzzle last night.........Life has been so busy for me this week, that I decided that we were all going to hang in on a Friday night for once. Josh was working so it was just me and the kids. I opened the puzzle box and dumped the pieces on the table......At first I had to talk myself out of just walking away/giving up as I felt overwhelmed just flipping over every piece.....750 of them. Starting to feel anxious, I regrouped and started working on the "flat edges" (because that is how you are supposed to, right?). After about an hour, I finished one whole side! (I know that doesn't seem like such a feat, but for me to sit still for an hour in itself is a victory)......so completing just one side of a puzzle felt so gratifying. I was brought back to the image of N's face when she proudly finishes her puzzles.....and it felt so good!

So then, it hit me.......I didn't necessarily hear God "talk" to me, but He revealed to me something I have been searching for, while I working on the puzzle. I thought about how sometimes life seems so disorganized and overwhelming in the rush of it all, but if we just take our time, relax and go with it.....after a few different attempts....the pieces will soon fit together.

One thing I did hear during my quest in Puzzle-Land......was all four of my healthy children talking in our living room. And then, one by one......they joined in on working on it with me. For that short time, there was no background buzz of the TV, there was no screaming music coming from the computer speakers (but it's hardcore Christian, mom!) and no bickering. It was almost a Beaver Cleaver moment, HA!

And it was then that it hit me.....again ( a double dose of enlightenment).....*this* is where God wants me right now....home with my kids enjoying the moment. He reminded me that there are many women who would love to be doing puzzles with their children in their home, rather than in the hospital. Many women would love to have the luxury of doing a puzzle, rather than working 12-14 hours a day trying to pay the rent.....many women would rather be doing a puzzle rather than making funeral arrangements for a loved one.

Point being......my life is truly blessed and fulfilling just the way it is, and sometimes I just need to be reminded of with the simplicity of doing a puzzle. (I have to mention that the word simple and a 750 piece puzzle should NOT be used in the same reference)

.....so, maybe God wants me to be right where I am, right now. Maybe he is pleased with me just trying to be the best wife and mom that I can be, trying to raise up my children to be Followers of His word, and hopefully letting His Glory shine through me whenever possible. Maybe I am not ready to take on the bigger projects I have planned........yet ;)

So I pray...... There is a purpose for my life, Lord. I will trust that you will help me to discover it, embrace it, and fulfill it for Your glory....in Your perfect timing. In Jesus Name~Amen.



OH, and lastly......speaking of patience......I will leave you with this amazing story of patience. It's almost borderline ridiculous that it is real....check it out.

Art in the Eye of a Needle


I hope you are having a peaceful weekend
xox
~*Michelle*~

Grammar 101

So I thought a little grammar lesson would be fitting for today......I know I know, it's summer break.....sorry, it's the homeschooler in me. I promise it will be quick and to the point.

Today the word is "change". Lets look at it as a verb and a noun. And to boost this "lesson" up to a "Higher" level, I am going to bring God into it. Now come on, did you think I wouldn't? In fact, this lesson is actually for me. I could use a change in my life in some areas.

If you get something out of it......bonus!

OK, here it is:




Verb:
God does not change

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
~Hebrews 13:8


The Bible, although written so long ago, is still relevant today. In Isaiah 40:8, God promises us, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of God stands forever.” Because He is the same yesterday, I know that what He has said will still remain true for you and me today. The truths and principles that were applied in the lives of Abraham, Moses, David and all the people in the Bible are the same truths we need to apply to our lives in this day.

That great truth will not change, because our Savior changes not.



Noun: God is a changer

He turns darkness into light.
He turns mourning into dancing.
He turns filthy rags into royal garments.
He turns ashes into beauty.
He turns bondage into freedom
He turns sadness into joy.
He turns worry into comfort.
He turns conflict into peace.
He turns death into life.

I pray that you will experience His changing power and His love today.


See?

Short and sweet today. :)


Peace~
*~Michelle~*

Take Two and Call Me in the Morning

Have you ever had a migraine?

If not.....count your blessings and thank the Creator of the Stars.

If you have.....then you know that unless the "take two" refers to 100000000 mg of Valium or some type of drug that knocks you out cold.....that remedy/cure is a complete lie. I would rather pluck out every eye lash or repeated slam my hand in the car door than go through these. Fortunately, I only get about 7-8 a year. But they are brutal.

I wouldn't wish migraines on my worst enemies (if I even knew who they were). If I could sum up one word to describe my migraines, it would be "crippling".

*hey! I did it! I only used one word. I bet you thought I couldn't do that!

If I don't catch the warning signs of an impending migraine and pop some Advil..... I am in deep poop. Warning signs would include a dull headache that lasts over an hour and then a tingling sensation in my sinus area.

I was busy doing whatever it is that I do on a typical day and unfortunately did not pick up the warning signs this past Sunday. I thought the little throb of a headache was just due to not eating much that afternoon, so when Josh suggested we take that ride to the beach for clam cakes.....I figured eating greasy dough balls would be just what I needed.

Well to make a painful story short......I stupidly did not take any pills and the throb turned into a full blown migraine by the time those yummy balls of lard hit my stomach. It was too late. I tried not to complain as we did take this nice trip down to the pier and didn't want to be a buzz kill. So I laid down on the beach and tried to focus on the gorgeous sound of the waves instead of the ice pick feeling going through my temples.

When Josh noticed that I was just pathetically laying in a curled-up ball I am guessing that I resembled a sick whale that beached itself (hopefully not size, just the state of being I was in). He suggested that we pack it up early and head home. I must have been a nice shade of white and green walking to our car because I noticed that people did double takes as I walked by the outdoor patios. Either that or it could have been that my hair frizzed out like Rosanna Danna Danna with the salt air......either way, it wasn't pretty.

So I tucked my head between my legs and we headed home. The slightest light felt like someone took a sledge hammer to my head. With a combination of grunts and hand gestures, I let Josh know he needed to stop at the first convenience store we passed. I stumbled in and bought 6 Advils, a Pepsi and a banana. You know I must have been out of it when I didn't even flinch at paying $9.28 for that. In fact, I threw the $10 on the counter, grabbed my stuff and walked out. Now that I think of it, I probably looked like I was suffering from a pretty bad hangover with the sunglasses at night and bed head.

I shoved the pills down, ate the banana and washed it all down with the Pepsi. Then I went into shut-down mode to healing. With migraines, the slightest noises or motions can amplify it even more and I already was getting into the nauseous stage. Bribing the kids with ice cream and money kept them quiet for the most part.

So as I pressed my knees into my forehead to relieve a little pressure.....I started to think and pray. These are the only two things, besides breathing, that you can do during a migraine. At first I started to talk myself off the cliff and remind myself that this will be over soon enough. Then I started thinking about how people who have brain tumors might feel this way 24/7 and they have to still live their lives regardless. Then I thought about a good friend of ours, Grimace, who died of brain cancer two years ago this 4th of July. Towards the end of his life, he was living in this crippling state every day. He always had a positive outlook.....he lived his life to the fullest. He actually was a pyrotechnic specialist that traveled with national bands and WWF for many years so it was not surprising that his request to have his ashes shot out with fireworks was carried out by his friends last summer. I am pretty sure Grimace believed in God and my final prayers were for a peaceful passing and for his salvation.

So when I thought about the whole salvation thing, I started to think about the crippling feeling and how people who have addictions and depression must feel. The enemy has his relentless grip on them and keeps them in this immobilized state. He tries to blind them from the light and freedom that turning to Jesus Christ can and will bring. He is the great Physician......He is the perfect Counselor.

Many times, these people are not even aware that they are under his dictatorship. They think they have it under control or on the flip side, feel hopeless that their dire situation is too far out of control. The enemy will try to convince them that even God cannot help them or that He doesn't care about them. But we all know that he is a liar and he will do whatever he can to keep us from God.

It was then that when I stopped focusing on the discomfort of what I was going through.....and praying for people who had far more discomfort in their lives.......that I noticed the pain was starting to lesson. It once again reminded me that we are supposed to be the people who bring the ultimate prescription/cure to the lost and the oppressed people. We need to keep sharing the Good News to others and praying for those who are suffering with no hope of "the pills kicking in". We cannot keep this beautiful remedy to ourselves.....it was given to us so that we can share it with others.

So today, I encourage you to keep your eyes and ears open to someone who could use your prayers and uplifting words of hope. Maybe call someone who has been suffering from depression or is in an abusive relationship.....or have your kids draw some pictures for the local hospital's cancer ward. But most importantly.....pray. Pray for people who don't even know they need it. I promise it will be exactly what The Great Doctor/Physician would order. ;)

So I hope you have a fabulous day.......I am off to go to Chuck E. Sneeze Cheese for a birthday party and believe me......I already popped my Advil. *wink

A little of this, A little of that.....

Good morning!!!!!!! (or afternoon, night, whenever you are right now)

Yes, I am here and all is well.....you can call off the search parties. :) I know it's been over 5 days and I haven't posted. I just got wrapped up in this crazy thing called life and haven't gotten chance to chillax with my keyboard and have my much needed therapy session. Thanks for checking in on me with emails and FB messages. I feel so "shhhhpecial" and loved!

OK, there is no lightening bolt revelation/occurrence that I can share......so I think I will wrap up what went on these past 5 days or so in a my life.......in no particular order of importance or entertainment value.

So I tended to 26 eggs in our incubator for 21 days........tending to would include checking temperature and humidity daily (throw in my OCD and that would be hourly). It included candling them at various times. Candling in our house was basically taking a Dora the Explorer flashlight and putting it behind each egg. If the egg resembled one of those early 90's Glow-worm Toys.....it was a dud. If you saw a slight shadow or dark spot......something was happening. We had a chart that showed what stages of development these little creatures are at for each day. N put stickers on a calendar for the countdown of The Big Day.

Drumroll please.

We hatched ONE egg. I got excited when I heard a little peep coming from the incubator that morning. I thought one had hatched, but she was peeping from inside the egg. Most likely translated to "get me the heck outta here, will ya!" I have to admit, it was an amazing thing to watch. Although it felt like watching paint dry at one point.......it takes a long time for these little guys to break out.....witnessing this little life enter the world was amazing. I think I actually got choked up when the little slimeball finally rolled out.

Not sure what was a more amazing sight......the birth of the little chick.....or watching Josh during the last few minutes. He walked in the house, looking all rugged and manly in his workboots, jeans and Fox Racing tee. When he saw us gathered around the incubator, the softer "daddy" side of Josh came out. There was a flash of light and we entered into a time warp. We were brought back to one of my times in the delivery room.

He is crouched down by the incubator cheering on the chick with random shoutouts like "come on, push.....push.....push".....and....."you can do it!" He even put dibs on "calling the birth time".

I do know that he will be killing me for publicly talking about this.....but hey, I have never held back embarrassing information before......why start now?

So, we now have one little addition......who we decided to call Uno. I would show you a photo of her but my camera took an unexpected bath in the water feeder in the barn this weekend. oooops. So you are gonna have to take my word for it that she is very cute.

Oh, and we were not planning on keeping any of these chicks. Our original plan was to sell them for a mere $2 each. This would be good for the kids to learn a little entry level business sense and put the money back into their farm for feed/grain. So we were counting on at least 20 to hatch and recouping $40 or so.

Hmmmmmm, so what do you think our chances are for selling Uno for $40? Any takers?

So I don't know how to say this without hurting the rooster's feelings, but apparently he was "firing blanks". Which I hope is an acceptable way of saying he wasn't doing his job in the fertilizing department. He doesn't live on our farm and I am pretty sure he doesn't read blogs so I think I am OK to say this without it getting back to him. We "pulled the plug" on the incubator on Day 24. We gave them an extra 3 days and still nothing happened. Josh and I have a "3 day rule" we live/abide by and we had to make the call. (someday I'll share it with ya)

This brings the old "don't count your chickens before they hatch" to a new level of perspective, huh?

OK, onto other tidbits of info.

I have been searching for $22 that I know I had in my pocket on Sat that has now slipped into the Black Hole. $22 to me might as well be $2200, so I am really annoyed that I cannot find it. It was with my debit card when I walked into Tractor Supply......I was determined to keep my total bill under $22, but based on prior trips to this farmer's Wonderland.....I tucked the debit card in my pocket to avoid the embarrassment of asking them to put half my order back. I distinctly remember putting those bills back in my pocket when I saw $47 come up on the cashier's screen.

It is now MIA. If anyone happens to find $22 curled up in a ball, I believe the serial numbers had a 3 and a 6......so that would be mine, thankyouverymuch.

More random stuff:

Last night, I had dreams that involved high school reunions,baby chicks that got trampled by bigger chickens and hot air balloons. I don't think that even Joseph from The Bible could interpret those dreams. Anyone want to take a stab at it?

I guess I shouldn't have eaten those clam cakes so soon before bed last night.

Speaking of clam cakes......we went to the beach last night with E and N. Yeah, we were living life on the crazy edgy side and being the wild bunch that we are, we went at night. We love taking a trip down to hang out on the piers and watch the boats come in. It is only about an hour away although it felt like a 10 hour road trip day trip based on the way the kids complained on how long it was taking. I felt the need to snap them out of whining explain to them that so many people have never even seen the ocean and how lucky we are to have it so close.

(*insert light bulb above my head*)

What did I just say? It was only then, that it occurred to me that I have always taken being so close to the ocean for granted. I guess because I have never traveled west of the East Coast states, I never realized that going to the beach isn't something that most people can just spontaneously do. So I had a gratifying moment as I stuck my toes in the sand and stuffed my face with blobs of fried dough that I *think* might have had a few microscopic pieces of clams in it. I guess it had enough pieces in it to enable them to call it a clamcake. Regardless.....it was worth the hour drive.

I discovered a few things too over the past few days.

One will def. be the demise of my now 60 Day Shred routine. Archer Farms Black Bean & Jalapeno Tortilla Chips with sour cream and black bean/corn salsa from Target. I basically ate about three pounds of it on Friday night. I cannot be held responsible if you try them and then wake up the next day swollen like the Michelin Tire Guy due to the almost fatal levels of sodium in your system. But believe me sooooooo worth it.....and you can always just drink a couple of gallons of the water to flush it all out until your next time.

I also found out that Lowes offers these great Build and Grow Workshops for kids every other Saturday morning. For FREE!! We happened to need to go to Lowes and saw all these cute little kids wearing Lowes aprons and safety goggles banging away on their projects. So we went over and they hooked N up with her own kit and she made a little wooden treasure chest. The funny thing was watching all the dads taking over after a while talking about how they were gonna go home and reinforce it with their own power tools. The kids got to take home the aprons/goggles for future workshops and they also earned a little patch for that project too. So if you have a Lowes near you and you want something fun and free to do with your kids.....check it out.

Another thing that I discovered......well I already knew this but staying on the discovery path....is that you can be funny and not need to swear or add vulgar stuff. Josh surprised me and my older boys with tickets to Jim Gaffigan for the casino's Saturday night show. He was really funny and talked about everything from Hot Pockets to what it would be like if there was reality TV in the Bible Days. He kept it clean and entertaining....and it was fun to go out with my older boys and spend some time with them.

I watched this more-than-amazing person as I was flicking through the channels Sunday morning. I usually try to catch at least one inspirational show/speaker and I was blown away by this guy, Nick Vujicic who was born without arms or legs. He is the ultimate image of the grace of God. If you have a chance.....pop over to his site Life Without Limbs and check him out!

And lastly, I feel blessed to say that I got a clean bill of health with my recent mammogram. So a *high five* for receiving that piece of good news. Praise God! And if you are at the age of getting squished yourself....make sure you make your appointment too.

OK.....this post took me approx 6 hours to complete as I have been popping on and off between 4-H meetings and tackling Mount Rushmore of laundry.....it's time to wrap it up!

I hope you are blessed with a wonderful week ahead. :)

Peace, love and stay barefoot~
*~Michelle~*

Extreme Makeover

So this morning I woke up early and sprinted over to my incubator. Oh, wait, I did go to the bathroom, wash my hands and brushed my teeth first. I feel the need to share that as my personal hygiene habits might be in question after Monday's post.

OK, focus Michelle....... incubator.

You see......today is "Day 21" which is "hatching day" in egg-to-chicken world. So I am hoping that these little guys/gals will be making their debut throughout the day. They say that if 80-85% of your eggs hatch, that is considered successful. (who are "they" anyway?) I guess you always have to allow for a few "duds" or eggs that don't fertilize properly. Lord knows I can relate to that. *little eye roll with a hint of sarcasm*

So as I am scrutinizing every egg through the window of the incubator.....I hear my crazy roosters outside and then I hear our new family of goats making a racket so they can be fed. I started to think about how my life has done such a turn in the past 20 years.

And when I say turn......it really should be put into the extreme sport of a 180 degree HeelClickin' Superman seat grab backflip category. Oh sorry....being a mom of motocross kids does something to your choice of words over the years.

So let's compare......20 years ago and now

Then: I was going to New York City to check out the latest fashions for a little rock and roll boutique that I owned.
Now: I am going to country fairs and farming shows checking out goat and chicken breeds and the latest John Deere tractors.

Then: Josh and I would only head out at 11PM to go to nightclubs......it wasn't cool to show up any earlier than midnight
Now: If anything is scheduled after 8pm, I usually pass as I like to be in "jammie mode" by then and winding down.

Then: coloring my hair every possible intense color to draw attention to myself
Now: coloring every intense gray hair so as to not draw attention to myself

Then: Josh is investing in and building Marshall Amp stacks, guitar rigs, effect pedal boards, etc
Now: Josh is building goat milking stands, mangers and chicken coops.

Then: playing drinking games til I pass out or slamming shots during poker games
Now: drinking hot chocolate while beating the booger outta my kids at Scrabble or our new favorite.......Apples to Apples.

Then: Heading banging, heavy metal fists flying in a crowd.....OzzFest and Lollapalooza Tours
Now: Dancing with arms raised high praising God with worship music.....still rocking but praisin' at The Soulfest

Then: cool '78 Camaro with jacked up rear, huge monster tires.....loud exhaust.
Now: not-so-cool '01 Dodge Caravan with lots of dents.....also a loud exhaust, but not in a cool way. In a "this needs fixing but I am not bothering" kinda way.

My life might not seem as "exciting" as it was before......but that all depends on what how you define exciting. As far as I am concerned.....living your life for Jesus can bring things to a whole new radical level. Extreme devotion is what it's all about. I feel like I am finally LIVING!

When I look back.....of course I have regrets of alot of stupid decisions I made during those times. But I am not beating myself up over it. I am where I am today because of my past. I love that I am living proof of God's grace. I think I appreciate it so much because I have something (living life without Him) to compare it to (living a full life with/for Him).

Occasionally we run into old friends from the "old days" who first cannot believe that A: Josh and I are still together (19+ years, baby!) and have four kids. B: the different direction we've taken on. Most notice the change in us and although they don't come out and ask....we think it's pretty obvious that we have God in our lives and are ready/willing/able to share His Good News if they are open to listen. We make sure God gets all the glory and credit for the blessings in our lives and are not afraid to preach it when the opportunity arises.

Sometimes it is well received......sometimes they listen politely, but it falls on deaf ears......sometimes it turns people off and our conversation is cut short. And that's OK. I am sure there were plenty of "Michelle and Josh's" that tried to plant a seed with me and my rocky hardened soil many years ago. Sometimes it causes people to think we are whacked out Jesus Freaks.....again. That's OK!


I think about these lyrics from dcTalk's song Jesus Freak

"What will people think when they hear that I'm a Jesus Freak?
What will people do when they find that it's true?
I don't really care if they label me a Jesus Freak.
There ain't no disguising the truth."

I am who I am/have become......We are who we are/have become.


Another thought.......

(and I will again apologize for once again, being all over the place with the way I express myself with my blog.....feel bad for me.....be happy you are not inside my brain!)

.....I used proclaim I was a Jesus chaser, but really.....I stand corrected. Looking back, it was God who kept chasing after me during those lost years. I am so thankful that He is faithful......and more stubborn than me. Because I was on a road to destruction, whether I knew it or not. I was just one late night party away from over doing it, taking stupid chances and risks....I felt immortal. I never thought about consequences for my actions. I never felt I needed to be held accountable. Why should I? I was living for myself.

Now, I live for Him. I live with a new perspective. Jesus owns my life now.....He paid for it. I am thankful and relieved to know that He has the right to direct it. I see how He has blessed me with my husband, my children,.....my life. I owe this all to Him and I feel privileged to devote my life to Him.

And He knows just how to be the most effective in building relationships with each of His children. Everyone is different. With me.....when I walked into that church that afternoon, I knew this was the path I was searching for. I started to gravitate towards situations, people and environments that brought me closer to knowing Him better. God also revealed Himself and His awesome ways more and more throughout the years. These testimonies built the solid foundation that I stand on today. It wasn't an overnight explosion that could have fizzled out quickly.......it was a slow but steady burn that has now become a constant flame.

Now don't get me wrong...... and I have needed to tend to this fire constantly to keep it burning. I have had my times where I have gotten luke warm and put Jesus on the back burner. When I reflect on those times........those were the times where I got cocky, thought I had it all together and could take over controlling my life.

Those also were the times that I fell flat on my face.

Thankfully, we serve a loving, forgiving Father who helped helps me up, dusted dusts me off and set sets me back on His path.

So yes.....I still am a sinner, but now I am a sinner saved by God's grace.

So I think I will close with this:

Romans 6:4

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

translated into Michelle lingo (it might not even be close in translation, but I like it):

Jesus loves the sinners. He also is into extreme stuff. He's into extreme makeovers. He took a wild partying 80's city livin' girl, complete with big hair and spandex......and turned her into to a Jesus loving' tie dye wearing, dready hair goat farmin' country gal.


(pssssssssst, um, that would be me)

Not "The End"......it's just The Beginning.


Peace and love~
*~Michelle~*



Not me Monday!

So with all the intense emotions of this past week.....I thought it would be good healthy therapy for me to lighten it all up, jump in on the fun from MckMama's blog and crank out a Not Me Monday post today. If you've never taken part in this carnival where you are able to just laugh at yourself for your "imperfections" and reveal some quite funny things that you might rather forget......I encourage you to do so. It's all about "being brutally honest and living to tell about it". It's the perfect remedy for when you start taking life (and yourself) too seriously!

OK, so yesterday I did not go to Stop and Shop and buy five pounds of their russet potato salad, put it in one of my better stoneware bowls and now plan on claiming it is my own for a belated 4th of July cookout that I am going to tonight. nope. I would never do that.

I was not out in the torrential rain one morning this past week in Josh's knee-high wader boots and only wearing my hoodie and boxer underwear diverting the water away from my barn. I did not look like a drowned rat who had an L.L. Bean fashion disaster. I was not covered in mud from head to toe. The mailman did not happen to catch this unsightly image either.

Speaking of unsightly images......I did not use the old puffy eye cure of "dab of hemorrhoid cream under the eyes" on Saturday night so that I wouldn't look like I went ten rounds with Mike Tyson for church on Sunday morning. And I really do not think that I just admitted that I actually *had* hemorrhoid cream available in my bathroom cabinet. No *bag on head* here!

I also did not run go to the salon that I work at part-time to give myself a much needed wax-ing when my daughter pointed out that I had five little hairs on my upper lip......and she didn't tell me this valuable information when we were at the checking out at the grocery store. It also did not feel that she grabbed the intercom system when announcing it either.

I did not learn how to "sex" my young chickens this weekend and it did not involve me pressing two fingers in a spot that no human should be putting their fingers on any creature for that matter. "Sexing" by the way is just fancy chicken lingo for trying to figure out who is a girl and who is a boy chicken. fun!

And on a happy note.......I did not feel guilty eating three er, two pieces of the homemade ice cream cake that I made to celebrate, not only Freedom Day......but Josh and I's unofficial 19 year anniversary. Yes, Josh was the date-that-never-left way back on the Fourth of July in 1990.

*maybe I should switch the order of listing these "not me" statements......... as the subject of me eating a yummy dessert is following having my fingers in not so nice places. OK.....let's just know that I we have lots of anti-bacterial soap here and I seriously...... most absolutely....... definitely used it.

hello?......are you still here? Between a hairy upper lip and now the pretense that I have horrendous hygiene.....I am wondering if y'all raced your mouse to close out this window....

OK, if you are still with me.....God bless your faith in me.....

...... on an even happier note....I need to share this one last thing:

God did not blow my socks off by adding to my testimony of His faithfulness.....remember the blessed $200 from my Job experience this past week? God certainly uses "paying it forward" to bind the enemy as I received this email from Sue (the wonderful woman who blessed us)

".........
I have to add to your testimony(God wasn't finished yet). As you know, the rains have made it horrible and actually impossible for farmers to cut and bale their hay. My friend that I get my hay from, had hoped to hay this weekend, and so I was holding on, praying that God would stop the rains for at least 4 days and waiting for her call. I had shopped around this past week, but with prices at $13 a bale(and "not-so-nice" hay at that), I didn't have that kind of cash....I figured I'd "force" the goats out to pasture!!! But as I was down to my very LAST bale this morning, I remembered that one of my 4Hers dad sold hay and so called him asking if he had roughly 25 bales to hold me over....he told me to come by before it started raining again. An hour later, I had a pick-up full of nice 2nd cutting hay from last year....the cost....$200.

"Godronic" isn't it?? What's the scripture about being patient and waiting on the Lord??

........"


I am wondering how the $200 blessed that man and who/how he blessed another with it.


So there you have it. Wrapping up this Not Me Monday fun with a big fat Amen!

Now, hop on over to MckMama's My Charming Kids blog and join in on some great "laughter is the best medicine" kinda fun.

Have a great day~
Peace~
*~Michelle~*

Job 42:10

"............ the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before"
~Job 42:10

OK, so this might not make as much sense unless you have read my last entry......

So go ahead...I'll wait!

....
....
....
....
....

all set? awesome. Because I am here to give such a great testimony to how faithful God is and follow up with the most perfect Job ending.

So sometime during that afternoon I was talking to my parents about what happened with Boaz. They felt terrible as you can imagine. When asked what I was going to do about Willow being alone (goats are very social animals and do not fair well alone, especially little bitty baby ones)
....I just told them that God would figure out a way for us to swing it somehow. He always has and He always will. My mom told me that she really wanted to send $100 to put towards the vet bills and/or help out. If you know me....I am not very "good" at accepting gifts. Don't get me wrong....I appreciate any gift/help beyond words, I just get a little uneasy. She also told me that my aunt (who is a total sweetheart) wanted to do the same. So we had $200 coming to us in the mail.

I felt overjoyed at this was such a blessing for this money to be on it's way. When we went to the vet last Saturday when Bo was starting to get sicker....it cost us over $120 with the visit, meds, treatments. We just don't really have that kind of money to be spending on certain weeks/times, you know?

So I was so thrilled to call Josh and let him know about the money. I could tell he wanted to tell me something, but you know me.....I ramble and he couldn't get a word in edgewise. So he let me finish.

He seemed a little choked up as he started to talk.

He asked if I was sitting down....I wasn't but I told him I was...(hey! Remember, I am ADD girl, I barely can sit still long enough to type this out)

He told me that he had called the original breeder we had went to when we first we looking for goats. Her name is Sue ......and she is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Unfortunately all her "kids" were spoken for, but I knew I wanted to stay in touch with her regardless. Sue loves Jesus like there is no tomorrow. She gives God ALL the glory with her animals, farm......life. Beautiful Believer. Actually, she was the one I called on Sat. morning crying about Bo and what to do. She calmed me down, prayed with me and sent me to her vet. (who also is a Believer I found out....bonus!)

Anyway, Josh told Sue the bad news about Bo and she felt terrible. He asked her to keep us in mind if she came across any breeders who might have another little doe-ling or buck available because we really needed to find a friend for Willow. Sue told him that she would do some thinking (more like praying......) and call him back.

Well, she called him back shortly after and told him that she had prayed about this and had an offer. She had a little doe-ling that she wasn't sure if she was going to sell. After hearing about what happened with us.....and praying.....she wanted to know if we would like her. She was only 6-7 weeks old and still nursing on her mama. So then she asked if we would like her mama too.

now are *you* sitting down??? (no fibbing!)

.......she asked if we could afford $200 for both of them.

It was then, that not only did I sit.....I collapsed on the bed. And could not stop crying.


Can I get an Amen in the house?

Is that not God or what? Is that not like The Almighty to not only replace what has been taken, but to bless twice over? Is that not like The Perfect Accountant to bring forth just what we need?

Was this not the perfect testimony that not only does He hear our cries......but He is faithful in His blessings?

I want to thank everyone for their prayers, emails and comments regarding what we went through....not sure if you all knew the power in your words and how everything was already coming to pass. Martha declaring that I would have more baby goats showing up at my doorstep, Joyefuls' inspirations on being blessed twice, and Mich's reminders of the promises of rainbows

Momstheword proclaimed "He knows what is going on with us, and He will bring us through each trial, like gold. Gold needs to be refined in fire in order to have all the impurities burned out. So it is with us in the Refiner's fire."


But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold ~Job 23:10

Praise God for this victory! He gets ALL the glory! I hope and pray that this testimony gives hope to anyone who finds themselves amidst their own trials. God is with us all the time.....and whatever He brings to us......He sees us through.






Without further adieu (what does that mean, anyway?)

I am proud to introduce Liesel who will be joining us with her mama, Pixie, at the beginning of next week. She is a wee six weeks old and as you can see......cute as a button. We are so excited that Willow will now have a sister and a mama to watch over her.




Oh, and one last thing.....Sue sent us an email that I want to share with you:

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"....I know we are here to help each other....God's word tells us, as well as the Holy Ghost living in us .....

Something I found in 1John 3:16-20 this morning while praying.....

16.This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

1 John 4:11,12

"Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love each other, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us".

Have a peaceful evening...

Love in Christ~
Sue
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And this my friends.....is victory!

Have a wonderful and safe weekend!
xox
*~Michelle~*
 

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