Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Hike of Insight

I went on a hike today with a four year old tour guide. Mary, showing me the trail in the hills behind her backyard, scooted happily along in her rubber boots. I actually had a hard time keeping up with her in my white leather Ann Taylor flip flops. However, I did glean some spiritual truth from our walk. Mary, many years my junior, was leading me to a place I had never been before, and she also was going to lead me home. I was distracted by the "moving" weeds and branches (it's alive!) and she was way ahead of me. I thought of the Paths of Our Lives. We can choose to follow one who has been there before or we can choose to go it alone. I appreciated my 4 year old companion. She did know where to turn and when to step over a ditch; my shoes came back unscathed :). Sometimes the paths of our lives are uncertain and unrevealed although predetermined. God knows the steps I will take, where they will lead me and what exactly I will learn in the process. Sometimes he doesn't want to show us the end before we get there, He just uses our Faith and Trust to lead us on. Today I realized that I should have been more prepared for our short journey. A little thing like the right pair of shoes (or hiking boots or even tennies) would have enabled me to go higher, further, faster.....I turned back early on because of my "pretty sandals." How often do we miss what God might have in our path because we are unprepared? Am I ready for whatever He sends my way? Spiritually? Emotionally? Mentally? Physically? I must buffet my body (soul, mind and spirit too) and make it my slave) so that I can submit to Christ and honor Him in any and every circumstance. How do I prepare for who-knows-what? Prayer. Daily time absorbing God's Truth. Walking with Jesus, conditioning my soul for a marathon, so to say. I think we miss God's guidance on our journey if we are not looking for Him along the way. He is ready to shine his light on the path in front of us as soon as we ask for it. What a benevolent Father we have in Heaven. Happy Trails!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Meeting God by the Sea

Today I traveled with my friend Laurie and 3 of her kids to the Oregon coast. We went through beautiful countryside, green rolling hills, huge trees and fertile farmlands. We zigzagged our way to the ocean and played on the beach. The girls made sand angels and tip-toed through the tide pools. We had sunshine and a nice breeze. This Oregon day was dark and cloudy at first, but turned into sunshine and is still quite light out past 9 pm. There are perks anywhere you live, I guess.
What moves you? I know for me it is the vast ocean. I never tire of the sea. The deep, dark, endless blue overwhelming and powerful Beauty. I guess it always points me up. Up to the Creator in Heaven. The One who is far above all power and glory and dominion. The One who is never ending in His Powerful Beauty. I sing, without realizing that I have started singing. I sing to Jesus who is good and all love. The blessing of creation fills up my soul and I begin to overflow with praise. "Jesus draw me close, closer Lord to You. Let the world around me fade away.....Jesus draw me close, closer Lord to You. For I desire to worship and obey. My heart and flesh cry out, to you the living God, Your Spirit water to my soul...I've tasted and I've seen, Come once again to me. I will draw near to You, I will draw near to YOU!"
My heart cries out to God to be renewed~~Wash me with your Power and Love, cleanse me with the Water and Wind and ignite a new passion in my heart; A Passion to live this Life Overflowing with Joy, Thankfulness and Praise. To God be the Glory!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Trusting Horses

Amberly and I got to go on a long trail ride out in Carefree yesterday. We enjoyed our funky May weather and only had a few drops of rain! It was a beautiful day and a gorgeous site. The cacti are all in bloom and the desert was beautiful! The skies were also amazing as we would see storms pass by and the dark streaks of rain beyond the mountains. We did a lot of mountain riding, so were
climbing uphill and around bends. We had a few fun spots where we trotted and felt like real trail-blazing cowgirls! It was a special girl-day with moms and daughters. Amberly and I enjoyed talking about how we could relate horseback riding to our walk with God. When you have not ridden for a little while, sometimes it is hard to just get on top of a big horse! It takes time to feel comfortable, relaxed and settled when you are on top of a big creature. We had a set-up where Amberly could sit behind me in an attached kid-saddle, so she had her own place to hang on and stirrups for her feet. She badly wanted me to find her some old horse that she could safely ride alone, but that hasn't happened yet! She had to be content riding behind mommy. Often I heard, "I can't see, mom." She had to lean to see around me. On our daytrip, she had to trust me to keep her safe on that horse, and she had to trust that big horse to stay on the trail and not take off too fast that she'd lose her stirrups!
Sometimes it is scary to trust God but you miss out on excitement in life and what He wants to show you if you don't trust Him. We also talked about the path we were on. It was rocky and sometimes narrow next to a cliff. We decided it was worth it to go over bumpy places to get to the heights of the mountains because then we could see the world from a different perspective! At one point, I told her to just close her eyes and trust the horse, he would get us across the pass and we didn't even need to help him! Isn't funny how we pidly human beings try to help God negotiate our lives sometimes? He sees them from his eternal transcendent perspective, and we can only see the trail/day in front of us. We can learn a lot from trusting horses, I think!
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Jonah after a water balloon exploded in his face!!
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maya and amberly
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benjamin and jacob
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Celerating Memorial Day with Friends.
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Hearty Reading

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege to go to a Ladies Night Out at our local bookstore. An author, Robin Jones Gunn, was featured and did the keynote speaking. She has written over 60 books and has cornered the market for Jr high and high school Christian books. It was amazing to hear her stories, she was a charismatic and joy-filled speaker with lots of spunk. She shared some of her spiritual journey and how she came to write for this audience. I am reading her first series with Amberly, my almost-nine year old, and would totally recommend it....The Sierra Jensen series. It is wonderful how the author describes real-life situations and sees things from a Christian perspective. The main character is always thinking through things and striving to live her life to please God as she goes through this transition from girlhood to womanhood. Robin recommended another of her books for me to go through now with Amberly, Gentle Passages. I look forward to checking it out~hope some of you will join me!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Rainy May Day?

We have some sort of weird phenomenon here in Arizona this week; a May storm. I guess it hasn't rained this much here in May since 1995. We are enjoying the rain and I'm sure the desert is soaking it up. With the rain and wind and dark skies brings some nostalgia. Happy and sad memories mixed together. I think of my Pap today, who went to be with Jesus on March 8. How he would have liked this day, a break from the heat that lingers all summer and late into the fall. Pap loved to sit outside on his porch and watch the world go by. He did a lot of fun things outside, like riding his motorcycle and ATV's and taking his boat out on the lake. I miss him. My ache is eased though, knowing I will see him again someday in heaven. Though we grieve losses here on earth, God has given us such a special gift with our faith in Him~HOPE. And because of this HOPE we can find Joy even in the midst of grief. We rejoice in our sufferings knowing that God is in control and will use it all for our character development and His glory. Today I think of Steven Curtis Chapman and his family's loss. They had a terrible accident where his teenager accidentally ran over his five year old and killed her instantly. What a tragedy, we say. And it is true. However, that little one is safe into the arms of Jesus; and we need to be praying for her big brother and the rest of her family to find the peace that comes from knowing that she is okay with her "Abba" Daddy in heaven, and they will get to shower her with sweet hugs and kisses when they see her again in glory. May they see the SON shine tomorrow after the rain today.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bread BOMB

Have you ever had Amish Friendship bread? Well, you get a "starter" from a well-meaning friend, then you have bread galore forevermore, unless you give up, that is. The deal is, you take care of your starter, add to it, and finally on day 10 you bake a loaf or two, or six or eight little ones. The whammy is, you always have 4 starters to give away the day you bake your bread, so technically they multiply unbelieveably fast as you pass them on and on and on. Kind of like that dreaded chain-letter......but better, because it tastes SO yummy that you do want to keep baking it and sharing it (even when it's 105*).
SO, I was on the phone the other day with my far-away friend Jamie and we decided that it would be FUN if I mailed HER a starter in North Carolina (from Arizona) see where I'm going with this, right? So, the mailman must have been thinking, "what the heck...." when her box arrived with bread dough oozing out the side; unfortunatly for Jamie, and for me who had high hopes, the bread was lost; it exploded in transit and there was not enough left to salvage for a pidly loaf of "friendship" bread. However, the moral of the story is the same, "it's the thought that counts." And isn't that the truth? Usually, if we just try a teeny-tiny bit to bless a friend, their heart is warmed and they know they are loved. SO, if you have a crazy idea to bless that girlfriend of yours, do it; who cares if it blows up! She will love you anyway! Right, Jamie? :)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Drive-in; "Prince Caspian"

Last night I got to enjoy a pleasant 95 degree Arizona evening under the stars at the Drive-in with my kiddos. We went for Prince Caspian at 8:05. It didn't start until about 8:30 and Jonah was asleep during the previews. Amberly made it through half of it or so, then conked out. So, that left Benjamin and me to contemplate Disney's rendition of C.S. Lewis' classic. I enjoyed the movie very much, and want to see it again. I got questions during the film like, "Do airplanes scratch the stars, Mom?" and "What's that shiny stick over there?" (It was a flagpole that was illuminated by some light). Anyway, it was definitely worth going and seeing.
Through Sunday School this morning I kept flashing back to scenes in the movie where Aslan (the God-figure) was mentioned......The kings and queens of Narnia (all played by young teens) had decided that they had "waited for Aslan long enough," and decided to take matters into their own hands. They lost the battle when they forgot they needed God's help in order to win. Isn't that just like us? We don't figure it out that we need God until we've really messed something up again?
During the movie, I kept thinking of the verse Psalm 20:7 "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."
In the film, the youngest sister Lucy senses (God's) presence, and is led to follow, but her brothers and sisters hesitate. She is the only one who has true faith, all of the others have lost hope in God and have decided that He is not around anymore. Later in the movie, The Great Lion asks Lucy why she did not call for Him and come to Him sooner, and I believe she said something like she didn't want to leave the others, or they didn't believe her so she didn't pursue Him.....Again, I am reminded by the Bible passage where the Israelites did not enter the promised land because they listened to faithless men (Numbers 13:31-32).
I walked, um, I mean drove, away from the movie asking good questions, like: "Am I following the Lord when I sense His presence and leading, or am I listening to the faithless around me?" and "Am I depending on God for strength in my daily battles or am I trying to succeed on my own strength?" and "Where am I placing my trust?"
So, see the movie. Hope I didn't give too much away!!! :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Favorite Friend

So I was going about my normal day of attending "volunteer appreciation" at my Kindergartner's school. Little did I know the test I was walking into. The teacher told the volunteers that this was a chance for the students to get to know us better. Okay.... And that they could ask us any question that they would like....Okay.....And we could say "pass" if we didn't want to answer....there ya go! Well, after answering a few innocuous questions like, what is my favorite color, restaurant, place to go, etc, I was struck with the question of my lifetime by a sweet unassuming six-year-old, "Jodi, who is your favorite friend?" Um, okay, I know the answer to this question in a heartbeat and it's on the tip of my tongue, but I stall, wondering, "are these kindergartners and their volunteer moms and their teachers ready for my answer?" So I told them. JESUS. He is my favorite friend. He is the only one that can be with me all the time, wherever I go. We moved right on to the next questions, my answer being perfectly normal to me, my sons and maybe another soul or two in the room. But I walked away from there thinking, that was important. That was transformational, that was my opportunity to shine for Jesus and let those few in that classroom know who my Favorite Friend is, and who could be their Favorite Friend too. I pray for more opportunities like that to "hide it under a bush, OH NO! I'm gonna let it shine." Shine for Jesus, sweet soul, and let the world and their children think what they will!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Beautiful Divorce

Yeah, right. Have you ever heard anyone say they just went through a "beautiful divorce." Nope, me either. It's usually described as "ugly, horrible, or mabye just draining," or if they were spared, maybe it was really decent and amiable....but it's still a divorce. Divorce leaves that scar that doesn't heal. I ran into a guy on mother's day in 7-11 and he said "happy mother's day." He explained that he got a "happy mother's day" call too that morning, because he's a single dad....he said, "don't ever let it happen to your family...." I can only imagine his loss, grief, shame and pain. And the kids.....what happens to them in it all? Maybe they come through it and seem un-phased, however, we have to admit that they have their scars, even if they are hidden and don't surface until much later in life. What to do? How do we prevent divorce in our marriages?
I think there are some Biblical principles that lay some protective groundwork:
*Love-put the other person's interests and desires before your own (lay down your life for your friend...)
*Serve-figure out what blesses your spouse and repeat it often!
*Pray-regularly for your spouse and with your spouse
*Share-when you struggle to find what you need from your spouse, get help. Talk to a friend or pastor or counselor; don't ignore it, it won't go away!
*Kiss goodbye in the morning, say "I love you" often and tell them what you admire and appreciate about them
*say "I'm sorry" when you fail them, and ask for forgiveness; "will you forgive me" is the high road to take, even though it seems hard to say, the Bible says that if you humble yourself you will be exalted in due time!
*Pray for a new love for your spouse and a new "joy" in being with them if you've lost your sparks.......God wants marriages to work, He WILL answer this prayer!
May God bless each of you richly with a "beautiful marriage."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Being vs. Doing

Being vs. Doing, Is it really a spiritual dichotomy? After pondering a while, I am thinking that once we are in right relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we find our identity in Him. He is our source of passion, purpose and power. He gives us our daily agenda and walks with us through our lives' path. Before we have Jesus, much of our identity is naturally based on what we do, what we produce, how "marketable" we are, instead of who we are intrinsically. Without Christ, we strive to impress, to achieve happiness, to find success in what we do. Once we have laid down our lives and taken up the life of Christ in us, we can cease striving (after the world's ideas of worth) and start working towards the goal of heaven, with God's glory in mind. Becoming a Christian doesn't mean we stop working. We just start working to a different end. We work for Christ's Kingdom and His glory. That means, we do what he leads us to do each day by the personal direction we receive from his indwelling Holy Spirit. Instead of working in an effort to feel valuable, we now work out of the immeasurable value we posses since Christ poured out his blood on the cross to save us from our sins. We still DO many things, but now we filter them all through the paradigm of living our lives in order to glorify God and enjoy Him forever!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day Eve

Happy Mother's Day, MOMS! Mom-friends far and wide, I salute you! The best and hardest job ever is YOURS! Enjoy every minute of your special day. Our attitude is foundational to having a home filled with joy! We ought to be proactive in what we think about~are we dwelling on "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things" Philippians 4:8
Why are we so often tempted to think of things other than these? What's next on my to do list? How can I fit one more productive thing into this day? Maybe if we would slow down and dwell on these good things, it would be clearer to us how to spend our day! Let's try it :)

Marriage keys by Gary Smalley

Recently we had the privilege to hear Gary Smalley at the Couple's Conference 2008. He shared how God is teaching him so many new things and he is growing so much in his marriage in the past 5 years! Some of the keys he shared were: Protect your heart...He explained that what you think is what comes out of your heart, so you need to memorize and meditate every day, this changes my beliefs~truth~God's word changes me, changes my heart. Deut 6:4: Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. He said he has flashcards that he brings with him wherever and reflects on 20-30 verses a day! Impressive for an old guy! :) He also reminded us that we are not responsible to change our spouse; there is only one person you can change; that's yourself! Some verses he suggested for meditation: 2 Cor 12:9-10; Romans 10:9-10; Romans 5:3-5; 1 Thes 5:16-18; Phil 4:6-9

Friday, May 9, 2008


"With idols we can choose our own sacrifices, write our own story, and decide our own destiny....Faith is the opposite. It demands that we hand over control to God, and we are fearful of this disorientation, of being turned inside out and upside down. That is why idols are seductive; they give the illusion of choice, of control." James Houston, The Heart's Desire

Are we guilty of choosing our sacrifices, trying to write our own stories. Are we stiving after our own dream or desired destiny? Why are we striving? The Lord says, quietly, "be still, and know that I am God." Are we to loud to hear him? Are we listening? Are we too busy doing that we don't have time to be with God? Sit and rest. Listen and Wait. Soak up the Presence of God. Quiet. He is near if we will just give him the space in our heart, our day. What could be more important that it distracts us from the most important One? What idol am I sacrificing to today? I need turn around and bow at the proper feet, bringing the sacrifices he desires; the sacrifices of a broken and contrite heart he will not despise. My heart is broken over my diversions and distrations and false loves; let it bring me to my knees and send me to focus on BEING rather than being driven.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


"Measure your life by loss instead of gain
Not by the wine drunk, but by the wine poured forth
For love's strength standeth in love's sacrifice
And whosoever suffereth most hath most to give."
Hudson Taylor

When it comes down to it, we really are shaped by what circumstances come our way. If we embrace the trials and tribulations and count it "all joy" when we suffer, it makes it easier to pass on that philosophy of life to others. Why did God make it this way? Why does he instruct us to count it "all joy" when we suffer; when we are disciplined or pruned? Because He knows what He is doing in our lives. He is making a masterpiece. He sees how all the things that He allows into our lives will shape us into the people He designed us to be; created for His pleasure, His kingdom, His glory! He uses things in our lives to make us more Christlike; He humbles us so that we realize that all we REALLY need in life is HIM!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Prodigal Brother

Most recently, I have been praying for my Prodigal Brother, Cody. He is in jail for a few more weeks, but finally ready to come back "home" to the father and repent, asking for the job of a servant. I am hoping that his heart is ready to seek the Father in Heaven, so that he is able to humble himself and find a new reason to live, a new hope of heaven, a new reason to say no to temptation and yes to victory in Jesus. Lift Cody up in prayer today and ask God to give him the strength he needs for today and bright hope for tomorrow!

Sunday, May 4, 2008


I recently attended a Women's Retreat and was encouraged to think of the new name that God had for me in Jesus. I came up with Joy. A couple of weeks prior, I was up in my master bathroom after Amberly and Jonah had left for school. Benjamin came running up the stairs and bounded into my bathroom; "I heard singing mom, was that you singing?" I was struck by the fact that he had not remembered hearing me singing for a long time. Too long. My prayer now, as it was at the retreat, is "restore unto me the JOY of my salvation." Keep singing moms, or start today!
Okay, so here goes! WHy not have a blog? Shari Jones, my best good buddie from Arcadia High School, started blogging this year and inspired me to do the same! It has been a fun and interesting way to keep up with her and her family, so I am hoping that it will be enlightening and entertaining for my friends and family also. I am hopeful that this will be a spot where I can share the love and life of Jesus and what He is teaching me in my daily walk with him. Also, eventually, I hope to write curriculum and books, so this is good practice! May you be blessed because you came for a visit! hugs to you!