Sunday Sermon Recap

Take Time by Turning Off…

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1 Corinthians 12: 1-11

“Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.  You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols.  Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.  There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.  To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”

The sermon this week was all about turning off our electronics and focusing on people face-to-face…

Going into the hospital scared me.  I was just minding my business… shopping for Christmas gifts (we were almost done… just a couple more things for the kids)… then BAM!  I’m having emergency surgery to remove a baby I didn’t even know I had been carrying.  I’m being transferred to a hospital while unconscious, waking up to find out I had no idea what was going on and no way of talking to the people around me… I was scared.

I came home almost a week later and I was different.  Things looked different.  The closer I got to my house and my children, the more I cried.  I had been a weepy mess since it started, so I knew that wasn’t changing much, but that wasn’t the only thing different.  I laid in bed that night (pretending to try to sleep), and just listening to my kids laughing.  I let their little laughs put me to sleep that night.  And I realized I had been taking them for granted.

That’s not something I ever thought would happen.  I mean, I worked HARD for those babies.  I suffered through awful things to get pregnant with them and give birth to them.  I was one of the lucky ones… fertility treatments worked for me… and I had been giving my kids the left-overs.  I was always just a little too late when one would say “Momma look at this!”  Because whatever I was doing was too important to look away from a second sooner.  “You missed it… that’s okay!”  They are so forgiving… even when I fail them time and again.

Not anymore… I still do the things I did before (crocheting… listening to podcasts and audio books… reading actual paper books or books on my kindle), but I try to look the FIRST time… “Momma look!”  And I do…

The distractions around us might not be the same ones that Paul was talking about when he wrote this letter to the church at Corinth, but they had distractions also that kept them from the same things that ours keep us from… we don’t use our gifts because we are too busy being distracted.

No one is saying to stop using technology… we couldn’t function, right!?!  BUT we can definitely use it less… “Take Time by Turning Off”… that’s my new motto…

If I am engaged in something that I don’t want to be interrupted while doing (that really is only my bible reading in the mornings), then I tell them ahead of time that I’m putting headphones in to listen to music while I read and reflect… please don’t interrupt.  They are old enough to take care of themselves, so they leave me alone for that time.  Any other time, I try to be available to them.  I just do… no excuses… none…

They’re only going to be in my house for a very short period of time… I want to actively enjoy the crap out of them while they are here… and I am!!

Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda

Sunday Sermon Recap

What I learned at church…

Scripture: Isaiah 43: 1-7       “Don’t Worry!”

My translation says this….

“But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead.  Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.  Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.  I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’  Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth – everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

I really needed to hear a sermon about worry this week.  Or just be reminded that I don’t have to live my life worried about everything.  It is truly great to be able to turn my worries over to God and just relax…

Okay… that whole paragraph is a lie.  Maybe that’s the way it works for some people (maybe even most people), but that’s little comfort for me.  I have to take it one moment at a time instead of saying “here you go, God” and then never thinking about it again.

If you’ve read my previous posts, then you know some of what’s going on with my body.  But not quite everything.  Just in these next 7 days, I will have a chest x-ray, an ultrasound (of my thyroid), an MRI (on my uterus), consultations with two different ENT’s (One Spanish and one military), and a followup appointment about the MRI results.  Then MAYBE I’ll know what the next step is.

I am trying to memorize part of the passage above so I can recite it to myself when I have moments of worry or panic.

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

This part in particular because it doesn’t promise that we WON’T pass through waters or rivers and we WON’T walk through fire… just that when we do we won’t be alone.  So I just keep saying those verses to myself.

I’ve also noticed that I’ve been left alone a lot during these appointments.  Someone will need to take a scan to make sure they got the right picture they wanted, or to get a second opinion about something, and I’m stuck sitting in the room… just waiting.  I’ve been using those times to pray.  I just pray that I will make the people who are dealing with me feel better than they felt when I walked in.  I try to make sure I talk to them and let them know I appreciate them doing their jobs.  It also helps me take my mind off of whatever I’m trying not to worry about.

The other part of the passage is:    “Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you,”

We all know… “God is love”… but to see the words “I love you” just makes me smile for some reason.

The MRI this week is the first one I’ve ever had, and so my amount of worry over this is huge.   It doesn’t help that it’s in a Spanish hospital and, while I’m working hard to learn Spanish, it’s still really hard to communicate.  So I’m going to recite these verses moment by moment and lie as still as possible, probably with my nose itching, and pray that I can put a smile on the technician’s face before I leave (being funny in Spanish is so much more difficult)… or really they just smile most of the time when I try to speak Spanish, so it might not be as hard as I think! 🙂

I hope everyone has a slower week than me, but that you’re still able to make someone smile.  I pray that someone makes you smile, and that this week is better than last week.

Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda

Who am I?? – Teacher

I teach, therefore I…

So that English degree that I told you about in another post is used still today (although I joke that I don’t use it at all!).  I use it especially when I read Facebook posts where the grammar is horrific!! And especially memes… I don’t care what the point of the meme is, if they can’t use the correct form of your/you’re and their/there/they’re, I can’t focus on what it’s saying!  I just can’t.  I realize that sometimes people make an accidental mistake and they actually know the difference, and I can overlook it in a text or something else that is quickly written and maybe being read by one person, but if you are making a meme there are two rules you should follow:  1. Is everything spelled correctly?  2. Is my grammar correct?  That’s it… if those two things are good, then I’ll check out your meme and laugh about it… otherwise, I’ll scroll on past while I shake my head and the lack of thought that went into it… and please don’t share memes that don’t have those two rules either.

Okay… all of that sounded snobbish, and while it is actually what I think, I never say anything about it.  I just don’t tell people when they’ve made grammatical errors.  One of my favorite English professors in college said this about correcting people’s grammar.  She said, “I don’t correct grammar unless the person is my child or a student in class.  You shouldn’t do it either because it really is none of your business.  No one will talk to you after you correct them either for fear that they will say something to bring about your wrath.  So just mind your own business and don’t do it!”  I’ve followed that rule since she said it.  I hadn’t thought that maybe my friends and family members didn’t like it when I told them they should say that “the bike is BROKEN” instead of “the bike is broke”.  So now I only correct my children, and since they’ve grown up listening to me MOSTLY use correct grammar, then it isn’t as much of an issue.  I do still think it, but I can’t really help that part, and I do a great job of keeping my mouth shut about it! 🙂

One more thing about grammar, and then I promise to get on to the “teacher” part of this post! 🙂  If you think someone (usually someone online) is being stupid or acting like an idiot… please, please, please… just don’t say anything! 🙂  We all know that’s the correct response.  Just be nice to them or don’t respond to them at all.  HOWEVER, if you just HAVE to say something and tell them how dumb you think they are… don’t say “your an idiot!”  The “idiot” might not get the mistake, but the majority of the people who read this will likely think that maybe you are the idiot… BUT… just don’t say mean things period… this also applies if someone is amazing!!  “your amazing” is still incorrect… 🙂  So don’t do that either!

Okay… I graduated from college and became a stay at home wife.  I thought I’d be great at this job because I’d have all day to decide what we would eat for dinner and to clean the house and have everything perfect.  That’s when I discovered a few things about me…

  1. I don’t enjoy cooking.
  2. I HATE to clean.
  3. I like to watch movies.
  4. I like to do crafty things.

None of these things are good qualities listed in whatever job description we all hear about when talking about being  a housewife (don’t like that term!), so I sucked at this.  (I still do actually, and it’s been 16 years!)

I wanted to cross-stitch and watch movies while I did it.  I didn’t want to clean this gigantic house that I was having problems living in because all the bedrooms made me realize that I wanted babies in them and that wasn’t happening.  I just didn’t know what to do.

My husband (who is a MUCH better housewife than me!) suggested I see about substitute teaching at the local high school.  This will have to be a whole other blog series because this school was CRAZY!!! I did teach, for one year.  That’s all I could take… in that one year, I was subpoenaed to court to testify against the principal who was arrested TWO different times during that school year.  I saw children doing things that I had only just started doing since I had just gotten married.  It was just out of control, and I’ve just decided to make this my first blog series after Who am I??

After that job, we moved and I got pregnant.  Price was born and we were living so close to Hamburg (where I grew up), and my old principal when I went to school there was now the superintendent of schools and he told me there was good chance I would get a job at my old high school, if I wanted it.

I tried to do the stay-at-home-mom thing, now that I was officially a mom, but I stunk at that too.  It still involved all the same “requirements” as a housewife, only now I had a baby to deal with on top of it.  The “baby” was now 18 months old and I decided teaching again seemed like a good idea.

I LOVED being back at my old high school.  I was in the teacher’s lounge hanging out with my old teachers.  It was awesome… and surreal!  That school year was weird though because I didn’t actually have a classroom, I had a cart! 🙂  I’ll post more about that later too… I got pregnant again while I was teaching there and decided that with a toddler and now a baby on the way, I really wanted to stay home with them.  I loved being a mommy and didn’t like that I didn’t get to see Price all day while I was teaching.

We moved to Colorado Springs when Price was 3 and Wesley was 8 months old.  Ron was officially on active duty in the Air Force, and I was staying home with my babies.  I loved it.  I decided that homeschooling was going to be the best way for us to be able to do all the things we wanted to do.  I wanted to travel and we wanted to be able to go home and visit whenever we wanted to.  These things would be made easier by homeschooling, and i figured if I could teach 25-30 high schoolers, then I could teach one on one with my own kids.

I’ve been teaching them for 8 years, and it’s looked different from time to time.  I’ll write more about the ways in which we’ve home-schooled throughout the years and how it looks for us as an ever-evolving entity.  It’s the best decision for our family, but I know it’s not the best for everyone.  This is another area where I try to keep my mouth shut and answer questions when I’m asked, but not butt in when I’m not asked.

I am a teacher, and I love to teach.  Not just my children, but bible studies at our church (I’m about to start a new one), new foster parents about how the “system” works in whatever state we happen to live in.  I love giving information to people and seeing that moment when it clicks in their brains or when they connect it to something else they’ve learned.  It’s a great feeling…

Now go teach someone something… I know you know something that someone needs to know or would love to know!  And for those grammar police out there… see how many run-on sentences you can spot in this post… it’s really the only way I write because it’s the way I speak… run-on sentences and stream of consciousness!!

Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda

 

 

Who am I?? – Christian

The beginning of my journey…

Maybe this won’t be a long post.  This area of my life is certainly long, but hopefully it won’t take me very long to tell about it.  (Keep your fingers crossed!)

As a child (and even a baby, but I don’t remember that part), I attended the local southern baptist church in my hometown. (Really, the only choice was baptist or methodist, and after I got older there was a catholic church in the area and a non-denominational one started, but my parents and their parents before them attended this church, so there was really no choice!)  It’s a great church, and my parents still attend.  I went every Sunday morning and most Sunday evenings (until Youth Group, and then it was every Sunday evening… because they fed us! )  We didn’t do very many Wednesday night services, but sometimes we did.  When I was 8 years old, I did the whole go-down-front-and-tell-the-preacher-that-you-want-to-be-saved thing, and I felt better.  I had been worried that I wouldn’t get to “live forever” like the preacher said people who were saved got to do.  I was worried that my parents would live forever and I’d die and we wouldn’t be together anymore.  I was worried that I might even go to hell, and that place seemed awful.  So let’s just say I went to the preacher because… well… I was worried.

Fast forward to when I was 13… We were having a revival… a hell-fire and brimstone revival.  13 is a pretty… umm… volatile age, we’ll say.  Probably not the best time to make a life decision… or maybe it is.  Who knows?  Anyway, the revival preacher said these words “If you aren’t 100% sure that you’re saved, then you are 100% lost!”  I sat in that seat for 3 nights in a row wondering if I was 100% saved… then… on night four he said the words that sealed the deal for me.  “If you are only 99% sure, then you are 100% lost!”  Okay… so it was a weird math lesson, and I can see his point now, however, all I knew at 13 was that I wasn’t 100% sure.  So down to the front I went again.  I told him that maybe the first time didn’t take… or that I was just too young and didn’t really know what I was doing.  But I was sure this time! 100%!  I even talked them into baptizing me again.  I’m really not sure whose idea that was, but in any case, I was baptize again at age 13.

Now… I’m an 18 yr old freshman at college.  I had a full-ride academic scholarship to a state university, my plan to major in psychology firmly rooted in my mind, and completely naive about the way the world worked outside of my hometown.  I had applied and gotten accepted into the Honor’s program at the school, and I was excited that I wouldn’t have the take the regular old Comp classes because my honor’s class would take the place of that.  Until the first day of class.  The professor (a lutheran minister) began the year with an overview of philosophy.  To say that I knew nothing about philosophy would’ve been an understatement.  He began with existentialism, and by the second day of class I was so depressed that I didn’t know what to do.  He taught these philosophies as though they were completely correct.  As if he WANTED us to believe them.  So one week we were existentialist and the very next week we were onto something else.  I completely had my mind blown.  That’s not even an accurate description of what happened, but I was altered… and back to doubting.  During this same time period (the beginning of my freshman year), my mother was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma.  It’s basically a non-cancerous brain tumor.  Also, I was away from home (nearly 3 hours away) for the first time, and NOT playing sports, so I was gaining weight just as fast as I could.  The first time in my life I had to do some real soul-searching.

I’m not sure how to shorten this other than to say… I eventually came home to visit my parents (after brain surgery), and I really talked to them about the doubts I was having and the craziness that was my brain.  I wasn’t telling them everything, of course, but most of it.  I never went crazy, or did illegal things (I guess I did drink alcohol before I was 21), but thankfully that didn’t lead to anything or cause any issues.  So throughout that year, I withdrew from everything.  I stopped going to classes because they were early in the morning and I didn’t like them.  I ironically, passed both semesters of the Honor’s class, and college algebra (I love math!), but the science stuff (I hate!) and psychology went away quietly.  I came home that summer and my parents helped me a lot with the doubting.  I still wasn’t really doing the “christian” things… like reading my bible, or probably even praying.  But I still felt like I was searching for the truth.  I was disheartened because most of the people I knew (except my parents) claimed to be Christians, but didn’t really live their lives with the same values they shared at church.

I transferred to the state university near my home and moved back in with my parents.  I lost my scholarship and had to get a student loan.  I had to get a job (the third job I’d ever had).  I had a couple of hours in between classes for that semester, and I used to go to my car and just sleep.  I’ve never been big about sleeping at night.  I’d rather my 8 hours of sleep come from 2am-10am, but the world doesn’t agree with me, so I would go to my morning class (with a honey-bun and a dr pepper) then to the car for a nap before lunch and then my afternoon classes.  One day someone in my class asked if I wanted to go to the MBSF for lunch because they were grilling burgers.  I thought about the crappy sandwich that I was going to have and said yes.  We walked over after class to hang out before lunch and I met Rob.  He was, and still is as of 2016, the director of the MBSF (Missionary Baptist Student Fellowship) on campus.  I didn’t know it at the time, but this man (and his wife and kids) would restore my faith…. in just about everything.  When I think back on this period of how lost inside my own mind I was and how depressed I was without even knowing it.  I can’t help but cry and be so thankful for Rob and the countless number of lives he has touched.  I ate lunch there that day, and nearly everyday after that.  By my junior year (still with no career goals in mind, but a did have a major!), I was the president of the MBSF and there all the time.  I was in a bible study in 1998 when a hot, bald dude showed up for the study.  We were married about 8 months later, and the rest is history!

I would love for the revival preacher to come back and ask me again if I’m 100% sure that I’m “saved”.  I’d tell him yes, but I still have a TON of questions.  I plan to ask some of those here.  Knowing that there is no way they will ever be answered to my satisfaction.  And still… with all the unanswerable questions… I’d still stand up and say yes… I am a Christian!

Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda

Who Am I??

An Intro to me! #1

Who am I?

This question could be answered in a lot of different ways, but I’ll try to keep the list short for now.  Since this is a commonly used phrase in our world today, I’ll say these are the things I “identify as”:

  • Christian
  • Wife
  • Mother
  • List Maker
  • Reader
  • Listener
  • Traveler
  • Teacher
  • Blogger (Now)
  • Crocheter
  • ENFJ (MBTI)
  • Obliger (4 Tendencies)
  • Enneagram 9 or 1 or 7

That’s probably enough for now.  I’ll spend the next few posts sharing what each of these roles or “hats” means to me, and how these roles are changing somewhat in my life.

Once I learn how all of this works, I’ll figure out how to link each of these words to the post about them.  Until then… you and I both will just have to be lost!  *The ones that are linked won’t come up until those posts are done, but I learned how to link and was pretty excited about it! 🙂

Also, we will discuss my aversions to taking pictures of myself or having my picture taken, but until then, enjoy the latest pics I have of myself.  This was the day after Christmas 2015 before and after my haircut!

Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda