Thursday, February 1

We are at the Wal-Mart in Yuma, Arizona heading towards Tucson and the Bead Show today. Hopefully we will find someone to manufacture some Mustard Seed Pins for us while browsing the show. Pray!

I have been actively been working on surrendering to Jeff’s leadership and direction for the family. Why I have even found myself pausing before speaking… what a novelty! Jeff has a plan, following his plan is easier when I just slow down and breathe. When I don’t try to ‘manage’ everything around me. Boy oh boy… this takes concentration! But it sure is worth the effort, Jeff is actually praising me and telling me that I am the light of his life. Wow.

~~~

Grace is going to take some extra prayer. She is very definitely my daughter, her temper is readily available and she surely likes to have things her way! I must take a deep breath and pray for patience when she gets in one of her moods. Getting angry just exacerbates the problem. I have found (thanks to Jeff’s suggestion) that if I pray with her when she is being a pill, things get better… quickly.

~~~

I am in the “getting used to it” phase of Rving AGAIN! (Amazing how quickly we forget!!)  Although cooking seems to come easier this time (maybe that’s because of the pre-cooked roasts I stuffed in our freezer ??!!!!) . I had forgotten however, how much fun it is trying to potty a four year-old in a moving vehicle! NOT!

As we were driving along the road yesterday, Jeff and I heard a familiar whistling…. Our windshield is coming loose again! We are for sure going to have to fix that little item whilst in Arizona… wouldn’t do to have it pop out on the highway in South Dakota… Brrrr.

Jeff made a beautiful oak desk for our new computer. I am sitting here this morning typing and watching the sun rise over the highway. I look down at my beautiful Grace, sleeping peacefully on the floor… I am so blessed.

Thursday Evening:

The Eagle has LANDED!! We are safely ensconced in a campground. For the first time since the middle of September we are actually hooked up and have RUNNING WATER!! Wooooo Hoooo!!! I’m washing dishes, flushing toilets and not concerned that I might run out of precious water!! Tomorrow we get to move to a campsite that has sewer hook-ups…. Halleluiah, we have arrived!!!

The girls and I literally danced around the motor home when we got hooked up, I have never seen such joy over such a simple thing as partial hook-ups! No one even minded our dinner of Tuna Helper!!

Tomorrow morning we get hot showers!! Yee Haw!!

Tuesday, February 6

I had forgotten how a convention can be absolutely exhausting. At the end of each day, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I wearily staggered into the RV and fell into bed. Thank goodness for a great husband and awesome kids. They really picked up the slack, making dinner and keeping the place clean. Wow

Jeff and I had good luck at the Bead show. We have discovered that we are able to manufacture our own Mustard Seed Pins, and that there are some great suppliers for Beads, Pearls and Findings available to our little enterprise. That’s right… our little enterprise! We are going into the business of making jewelry! Can’t believe it!!

We will make the Keepers (and bracelets) as a family and then sell them either to mom and pop stores or at craft fairs. The craft fair idea is wild. What a great education the kids would get, by manning a booth at a craft fair. It is not a long term solution, but it might serve our needs in the short run. We are going to have to wait and see what the Lord says, how He opens doors for us… or not. Any way, we learned lots, bought lots (of beads!), and had an overall educational experience.

At our family conference yesterday, Jeff talked to the kids and I about working this business as a family. He was very honest, explaining we need an income source and that he is good at starting businesses and that I have the ability to design. Their part will be in manufacturing and sales. They were really excited.

~~~

Yesterday was a day of ups and downs for me. In the afternoon, we all piled into the Isuzu and headed off to Home Depot for supplies (Jeff is making the girls a bunk bed… in the couch!!). While walking the aisle, Jeff gets a call from Nissan (loan on the Quest Van), he listens and hangs up.

So, being the naturally curious gal that I am, I ask what’s up! Well, if we don’t pay the Nissan down pretty quick they will probably repossess the vehicle. Great. And we thought we were debt-free. Jeff had asked Alex to sell the Quest when we left town last July…didn’t get done. The up side was that I had a car while we were in Orange County over the holidays. The down side is that now it has to REALLY be sold.

The end result is that Alex (who is buying Jeff’s company) is responsible for both making the payments (he hasn’t) and selling (not yet!) the vehicle.

I got so mad at Jeff. I absolutely went into a funk. I had to leave Home Depot and go hide in the Isuzu. I cried. I wailed. I just got mad… at Jeff.

So, I called a great Christian woman, Jennifer R. and shared my frustrations with her sympathetic ear. After a quick “heart barf”, Jen quietly asked me what my purpose was… what did I see myself doing for the Kingdom? Talking to women’s groups about the leadership of the husband, the relationship between husband and wife… and God.

Ahh ha!

So, Jen kindly pointed out… you are in training right now! ARRGH. She is so right. Once again the email from Jodi pops into my mind… Whose timeline? Whose leadership? Who is in charge?

Jeff.

Not me.

So, through tears I thanked Jennifer, hung up and prayed for forgiveness. Here I was, once again trying to manipulate or manage Jeff into operating on my timeline. The truth is, he always gets things done, just in a completely different timeframe than I anticipate or desire.

Arrgh.

So, I am still in training. Learning how to submit or surrender to my husband’s leadership. Gosh. I just want to be done learning!!! I tell you, I am just plain ready to be all "growed" up! Deep breath, march forward… onto becoming a godly wife and mother.

Arrgh.

Tuesday (about 10:00am)

Oh my gosh.... I have seen the urban legend...  

OLD PEOPLE PLAYING SHUFFLE BOARD.

I am here to say, they really do play this ancient (and I mean the players not the game!!) game!  I wandered into the "adult center" at the RV Park here at the "Prince of Tucson" and stumbled right into the aforementioned game.  Wonder of wonders.  And just inside the building is a group of older men, commenting on the women playing.... AT THEIR AGE!  Oh heavens, they never give up!!!  

Wednesday, February 7

God is smart. He sure has my number, and that’s a fact.

I was disappointed that the only response I received from MOPS (about speaking to their groups) was a negative, the schedule is full until next fall/winter. Bummer. When will I get to do some “serious” work for God?  I was not thrilled, to say the least.

Well, don’t ’ya know, I get a call today from Jasmin (the attorney that From the Heart Church Ministries sent us to when we got hit by the drunk driver in Washington D.C.). Now, Jasmin is a really busy woman. Every time I have called her about our insurance claim (for the drunk driver hitting us), we have spoken briefly, not wasting much time on chit chat. 

Well, not today… she called me, and for what I cannot remember, but we talked. And talked. This is an incredible warrior for God. She is strong in her faith, smart, bold, funny and downright contagious. We talked nearly an hour about our God. Funny, we come from a similar church background, the Episcopal Church.

I am positive that God had her call me today. She gently (and lovingly) told me that before I can teach other women on any subject (in particular submission), I still had some learning to do in my own life. Great. That is not what I wanted to hear.

But she is so right. I am not yet qualified to speak on this topic. God is still working on me, teaching me a few lessons or two.  NO!  Now, come on… aren’t I the queen of learning fast?  Didn’t I “get it” right off?  Oh brother Christa.  Really.

I praise God that He had Jasmin call me. She is right-on.  I have some learning to do before I can honestly speak on this subject.  Particularly in regard to timing (mine? his? Gods?) and fully surrendering to the act of submitting to my husbands leadership of the family.  

Jasmin is another one of the wonderful believers that God hooked us up with on this journey. She is an attorney in Washington D.C., single and beautiful. She has passed the bar in Maryland and D.C. (that’s the federal level!) and in June she is to be admitted to the Supreme Court Bar. To top it all off, she is an adjunct professor at the law school. Incredible. This is one smart cookie.

The most astonishing thing is that she lives her life for God, completely! I would be so pleased if Grace or Eve grew up to be like this wonderful woman.

Let me think here a moment, who are some of the amazing people God has sent us to…. Jasmin (of course), Dolly (foster mom in North Dakota), Jimmy Z (in Chicago), Cory (the web-man), Kevin and Deb (cousins in S. Dakota), gosh all these people have impacted our lives, forever.

And then there are the countless others that we run into, (okay, not literally!) and with whom we interact with, but for a moment. These are the wonderful Americans that have made this adventure more than just a trip. They have given this journey depth and meaning.

~~~

Well, I believe that Kurt has turned the corner. He is more and more like “us“, and less like “them”. giggle. My boy is turning into a young man. He listens (most of the time), is responsible (okay.. Sometimes), and is really together (at least for a twelve-year-old!). Jeff and I have both noticed that Kurt really wants to be more “in on things”, less one of the kids. He is done sitting at the kids table, as it were.

I hear him occasionally chiding Eve (or Grace) about manners or proper behavior. What a hoot!  My man-child is incredibly quick to thank me for my labors and to remind me that he loves me. This is a really fun part of parenting… watching the kids turn into people.

~~~

It’s three in the morning. I cannot sleep and Jeff is snoring REALLY LOUDLY! Alex called today, he wants to buy the Quest. Thank you God.

We are still in Tucson. Had quite the experience today trying to get our windshield fixed. We have had two different window guys in two different states (both of which worked for Harmon  Glass, a company our insurance agent referred our claim to), both of these "professionals" said no problem on fixing the windshield. We had an appointment today to get it done.

So, we checked out of our space at the RV Park, drove to the Harmon Glass shop in town, and were turned AWAY! Yep, now it seems there is body work that must be done first or the windshield will just pop out again. Wonderful. So, back to square one. I call the insurance company and together we determine that when I hit that little stone bridge in Pennsylvania, I did some serious damage.

We have already had the stairs replaced (okay…. It was a solid bridge!), and the under-carriage welded. The damage to the body on the passenger side was something we were just going to live with, not now. The insurance company advised us to take the vehicle somewhere for repair.

Well….

We went to La Mesa RV. Now this is a HUGE dealership. Their slogan is “where the customer is king”. Well this king waited nearly ONE HOUR just to make an appointment to be seen by the service representative. ONE HOUR. They just were so busy, new customers apparently are not a priority in the service department. So, we toddled across the street to Beaudry RV.

Now this dealership knows how to treat customers. Not only did they see us immediately (after 5:00), but they will get together with the adjuster tomorrow and bring him/her to the RV park they sent us to! This place has a RV resort right behind the dealership. It is great. And the people here are absolutely incredible. Very customer oriented. The park is huge (400 spaces) and there are even several spaces that have their own hot tub… now that is RVing!!!

So, I do believe we will be here a few days until our coach is rejuvenated.  Tra la la!

Sunday, February 10

We got the estimate for the repair work on the coach…. $6000.   Boy, that was an expensive bridge I collided with! The greatest blessing is that insurance is covering the whole thing and the already sent the check to Beaudry RV! Incredible.

In any event, we are going to be here in Arizona for awhile, or at least until the repair work is done. And to think that Jeff and I were just going to “live” with the damage. Amazing.

I received another email from Jodi this week. Her message to me was to trust. To release my need to control my world, and to trust that the people (namely my husband and kids) around me could get the job done. As I have been sick this week with an enormous cold, I have had no choice but to do as she directs.

Trust.

I think it is awesome how God connects us to other people. I don’t know how this woman, Jodi found our website. But her emails to me, have been poignant and have relevance to the immediacies of my life. I thank God for sending her amazing words and insight into my life.

Trust has always been an issue with in my life. I have worked very hard not to rely on anyone else, sure that they would not be able to either do things right or that I would be a burden to their lives. That is trust on two levels.

The first is to trust others to be able to “do” things just as well as I can. To let go and know that even if I don’t do the job, there is someone else near me that is completely able to manage. That my way of doing things is not the only way. Something that I understand intellectually but often have a problem dealing with emotionally.

I am not the only capable human in this family. My trust must rest in Jeff, that he is entirely able to manage our world. He does things so very differently than I do, or than my parents. But that is not wrong. Trust my love to do things in our best interest.

Secondly, I must learn to release my fear of being a burden to others. Again this is an issue of trust. If Jeff (or one of my girlfriends!) offers to do something for me, trust that they are not only capable, but that they are able to take on the job and that I am not a burden to their lives.

I am always worried about asking others to do for me, or accepting the offer from other people. I always hear in the deep recesses of my mind my mothers words… “Christa, don’t expect others to do for you…. Christa don’t be a burden… Christa don’t ever allow others to carry your weight.”

Hmmmm. This is interesting. If a child grows up always being told, in so many words, do not trust. They learn early on NOT to trust. That certainly gets in the way of turning your life over to Christ. You might imagine that child would have a very hard time trusting God to manage his (or her!!) life. That is verrrrrry interesting!

Now, if I put myself in the position of that child (of course!), it then makes lots of sense why I am slow to trust not only Jeff but also my Heavenly Father. And why it is such a challenge for me to surrender to the headship of my darling Jeff and my Savior.

There are so many layers here. I feel as though I am peeling an onion (me being the stinky onion!). Learning how to get at the sweet part, the part that tastes good and adds flavor to the world.

Monday, February 12

Well, if we are going to be in Tucson for several weeks, I might as well get “hooked” into the community!

We went by the Boy Scout Office today, Kurt will be attending a Scout meeting on Tuesday. I also found information on local homeschool groups and churches to get involved with during this season of repair!

The kids are generally okay about not having playmates, other than each other, when we are traveling. It is a different story to be “stuck” somewhere for a period of time. So, connecting them into Scouts and Homeschool groups is important, even if for a limited period of time. Plus, who knows, I might benefit from meeting some locals! (Oh for a cup of coffee with another mom!!)

The girls are really enjoying the bunk beds that Jeff made for them! Grace sleeps elevated over the Couch and Eve sleeps “inside” the framework of the couch. During the day, everything stows neatly away inside the sofa. It is really quite nifty! Kurt is now asking for a bed. Jeff is going to invent something for him over the kitchen table!

This RV living certainly does make you creative!!

We went to the Arizona Historical Society Museum today. The highlight was learning that “Pima” (as in Pima Indians) means “I don’t know”. Apparently when asked what their name was, this group of Indians said “Pima”. Goodness, the children will never forget that one!

Tuesday, February 13

Oh my gosh, I made a boo boo today! I was online at the Families on the Road discussion group.  A woman was talking about being into her Pantry, food storage and that type of lifestyle.  This woman and her family were going full-time in a motor home, she was lamenting the loss of her pantry.  So, I responded:

I also was a "panty" kind of gal.  Now I shop nearly every day ... It is a nice outing for me, by myself.  A good break in a life of living elbow to elbow.

PANTY??? Did I say PANTY???  Gosh where is my mind????  

Wednesday, February 14

Valentines Day. This has never really been my favorite day of the year, too many missed opportunities and raised expectations. I have had a WONDERFUL day however!!

I didn’t say a word to anyone that today was Valentine’s. But early on, Jeff said he had to run an errand and left with Eve. The two older kids stayed with me for school. When Jeff returned he had an armload of flowers!!

He had been commissioned by my Dad to get me flowers, as Dad does this every year for me. So, he picked up a bouquet for me, from dad, and added to it three yellow roses, one for each of our children! It was absolutely wonderful!

Jeff also brought home roses for the girls! How special that makes a daughter feel! My dad has always sent me flowers on this day, since I was little. It has always made me feel special, celebrated, loved. I am so glad Jeff is doing this for his daughters as well!

Saturday, February 17

We had a GREAT day yesterday! It was a cool day, with a slight breeze and crisp air. We have been wanting to go to the Desert Museum on such a day, so off we went! What a treat!

I had thought that Arizona was ugly, dry and boring. Wrong! It is full of life and incredible diversity! The museum was really an outdoor experience, showcasing the plant and animal life of this beautiful place.

After spending the day at the Desert Museum I was sharply reminded that God’s creation is full of beauty and wonder. The mere variety of cactus and plant life on the desert floor is beyond belief! And the bounty of animals! Wow… everything from Ocelots, to Javelina, to Hummingbirds!

After leaving the Museum at about 5:30, we headed home. As we crossed the desert floor we found ourselves going up! There out of no where was a mountain! We stopped thinking that this would be a wonderful place to watch the sunset. We were not disappointed! Jeff and Eve and I climbed to a promontory and sat down to look at the landscape.

Kurt and Grace went on, up the mountain! They climbed to the very top of Arizona Mountain! I was nervous, but Kurt was there, he has his First Aid Merit Badge, so if anything went wrong, he would be okay… I hoped!

They had a wonderful time. It was good for the two of them to have a private adventure, helping each other, spending time laughing together. They came down the mountain as the sun set, flushed and laughing over their adventure!

This was a wonderful, miraculous day.

Saturday Afternoon

What a hoot! There are some young girls in the park this weekend. The teeny boppers are circling! Once they figured out that a boy lived in our coach, they circled. I just had to giggle. And then Grace comes up to me and says that Kurt is acting like a “jerk”.

I asked if she knew why? Sure, she replies. He is trying to act cool, there are girls around. She then put her hands on her hips and proclaimed, “ I am going to tell Kurt that he will NEVER get a girlfriend if he acts like that!” And she marched off. Giggle.

Saturday Evening

Just had to get this down! Jeff took me on a dinner date tonight to the restaurant here at the RV Park (can you believe it… a restaurant!) So here we are, candles, good steaks, nice china…. And…. FOLDING CHAIRS!!   What a hoot.

And the music! The band was playing the bunny hop, and other favs! I asked Jeff to dance with me, but he didn’t think he could move that slowly! We must be the youngest in the room by oh, say, thirty years!!!

The evening was part fine dining and part church social!!!!! Giggle.

Sunday, February 18

I was talking to two women very dear to me about relationships. Their message to me was that I was no fun anymore, I had changed. In essence they were telling me I was a new person. In order to maintain the relationships they suggested to me that I compromise, I minimize my faith. No, I don’t have to give up my faith, just don’t let it get in the way … don’t mention my life in Christ. They were not happy with me at all!

As I listened, my heart rejoiced! I am a new person. I am different than I had been previously. I am changed! Hallelujah!

My belief that Christ is the path to Salvation, and that all things in life are of Him and for Him, is the core of my being. In conversation, I cannot keep Jesus out, He just slips in… everywhere. Jesus is such a huge part of my life, that He just becomes a part of everything I do or say. It’s funny, I don’t try to bring Jesus into conversation, He just joins in!

The truth is…. I have changed. I am not the girl I had been in the past.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!               

                                    2 Corinthians 5

Although I mourn the change in these relationships, I want to shout from the rooftops...

I am a new person!

~~~~

Not too long ago, I was talking to my mother about our family relationships, how we do or don’t stay in touch with each other. We had always been a very close group, talking on the phone almost daily in some cases. But that is the case anymore.

Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.   From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."                                    

Luke 12:51 - 53

Mom tried to gently encourage me to call my siblings more often.  I explained to her, that I had tried to keep in touch, calling weekly when we first went on the road. But it is always the expectation that I do the connecting. No one ever calls or emails me. It makes me very sad.  And the cost of the phoning (cell phone) is exorbitant.  (Jeff suggests that I write letters!... good idea.) 

I told Mom that my girlfriends from Mission Viejo email me and kept in better contact than my siblings. Her response, “well, that’s because you all believe the same thing”. Ahhhh, the truth is revealed. Again, my faith, my love of Jesus is the oil in the mix. If I would just compromise, she suggested.  How to explain that there is no compromise with Jesus. 

He demands all of me.

Wednesday, February 21

I got another call from my brother’s wife. I love this woman. She just calls it like it is, no pretense or false fronts. After our conversation, I realized that what I am doing, is exactly what I abhor….

I was trained to skirt the truth, to avoid absolutely confronting my “issues” with people. I learned that it was safer to just tell the truth to someone else and hope it got back to the source of the problem. Bad plan. I thought that I had overcome this little foible. Guess I still have some more practice to get it right! Arrgh.

~~~

Well, Jeff really gave me hope yesterday.

Monday, after spending the day out with the children I returned home to find that Jeff had not accomplished anything that we discussed before I left for the day. I was mad. However, Jeff did accomplish other, unplanned items. He spent time with God. He counseled a brother-in-Christ. He wrote in his journal. My love was at the top of the world.

I was still fuming.

Rather than burst out my frustration, I waited. I am sure Jeff knew that I was upset. I waited on God. I prayed. I asked God to lead me in my words to my husband. Amazingly, a peace descended over me as I talked to my Father in heaven. I had almost done it again… gotten in Jeff’s way of leading. He does it different than I do…

I turned to Jeff, smiled and honestly told him that there was nothing wrong. That had to be God. Only He could have turned me from a screaming "me me" into a thoughtful, loving woman.

The second half of this miracle happened yesterday.

Again, I spent a good part of the day out in the city with the children doing school. When I returned, Jeff had once again not finished the project he has been working on (taxes!!). This time, however, I didn’t even feel an inch of frustration. Jeff then began to share with me his thoughts, his growth, and his enormous love for God.

My darling husband has used these past few days of solitude to grow in his walk with Jesus. What could be better? Jeff explained that his inaction was indeed a problem, that he needed to press ahead with the “stuff” of life. That one reason women today are such leaders, is that the men … just don’t lead. They (including him) are passive, allowing their wives to take charge.

It is just easier that way. Rather than fight for the mantle of power in a home, the husband releases his place of authority to the wife. It is part of his will to please his wife. It is an issue not just of the husband being passive, but the wife standing in his way of leadership. Ahhh haa! We are a prime example of that situation.

Rather than allowing my Jeff to lead our family, I keep getting in the middle of things. I must admit there is a little fear in me that he can’t handle things, that he will make a mistake. Rather than opening my heart and surrendering to his love and his leadership, I keep a little corner of control in my pocket.

It is a bit like praying to Jesus that he release you from some bondage or problem, then trying to solve the problem on your own, without the help of God. Give it up to God, yet take a little corner of it back… just in case.

So, the next step appears that I must learn to completely surrender my will to Jeff… and thereby to God. I must really relax and surrender to the leadership of the man I call husband. This does not mean giving up my intellect or my qualities of leadership in other areas. But it does me that I must believe in the power of God to lead Jeff along the path that is best for me and our children.

I must learn to resist the allure of feeling “superior” to my Jeff and to have faith in his ability to discern the voice of God.

So, Jeff gave me hope yesterday. I feel that our relationship together and with our God now has a chance to grow, to develop. I just need to “stand down”.

~~~

I found a homeschool group here in Tucson. Awesome sisters! They opened their arms to me and the children! Yesterday we went to a regional park to have P.E. with the group. They hire a professional staff of coaches to train the kids once a week. There were over 100 kids at the park, ranging in age from one to seventeen. Lots of older kids!!

I was thrilled to talk to other women, women who had faith and were homeschooling! We women fellowship so differently from men. That fellowship is so important to my sanity! It is interesting to be in a town long enough to “plug in”.

We also joined the Sonora Desert Museum. It is an incredible place! I am taking the kids out to the museum and we are working on a nature journal. Although I don’t like Tucson, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be here for a time, learn the culture and the people. It is a gift!

I believe I will make some lifelong friends in this place.

Friday, February 23

Things are moving at a neck breaking pace! A couple we met last week have offered Jeff a business opportunity that looks interesting. A woman I met at the pool on Wednesday went to the gift shop here and asked if they would carry my keepers in the store. And last but not least, we met a couple in the Jacuzzi last night who are several years older than Jeff and I, strong Christians, who told us about some land available at a more than reasonable price. They invited us to come visit them when we are done here in Tucson.

So, where is God leading us? I feel safe in Jeff’s care. Funny but I really do. I still want to interject my lead into things, but I am able to mostly quell that distraction. My leadership has become a distraction to our walk, our journey with God.

In the meantime, here we are… still in Tucson. Waiting for parts.

Friday Evening

Things are boiling on my mind! I just had to get these thoughts down on paper…

~~~

Eve, Grace and I are snuggling the other morning having “girl talk”. I am being the loving mother, relishing the role of sensitive womanhood and tenderness as I talk to my girls about their future.

“Someday girls, you are going to grow up, and have husbands and children, and….”

“And BIG BOOBIES!!”, exclaims Eve.

Well, there goes my sensitive speech on womanhood!!

~~~

I spoke to Jasmin today. She is some woman. We were talking about submitting to the husband, just general talk. I ramble about our impending financial crisis. (Savings run out at the end of this month). Funny… I share with her, but I am not concerned about our financial future… Jeff seems comfortable and he is not worried, so why should I be fearful?!!!

Jasmin reminds me that submitting is not just following your husband leadership actions, it’s bigger… she reminds me that submitting sometimes is following your husband … his examples, his attitudes. Sometimes, submitting means to surrender to his attitudes. Now this is a revelation.

~~~

I have a collection! I have been collecting those grocery saver cards. I figure that I should be able to save, just like the locals, I shop daily. In different cities, but I shop for groceries like any other mom! So, I just get one of those cards at every grocery store I shop!   It’s almost an obsession…. To see how many of these cards I can collect and use!!! (It is the small things in life!!! Ain’t it! )

~~~

Grace wrote a song! The lyrics have touched my heart and have blessed my soul.

~~~

Today we spent all day inventorying beads… I am loosing my mind counting all these little things that I can barely see!! Back to the counting I go!

Sunday, February 25

Today is my sister's birthday.   I miss her.

Claudia (the female half of the couple we met the other night), loaned me a book.   This book is wonderful.  It addresses weight as a secondary aspect of obedience to God.  Isn't it amazing that all this tutoring is happening in my life.  God is really awesome, he must truly love us.   

We are taking a little jaunt to Phoenix next week, as my brother Karl, his wife and kids are visiting Scottsdale for a little vacation.  Why Scottsdale???  Spring Training of course!  My brother is the original BASEBALL NUT.  I am so excited to see them!!   Best get the kids up now, time to get going to church!

Monday, February 26 (12:50am)

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.            1Cor. 13:13

I woke up just now with these words resounding in my head. I learned today from Gwen Shamble's book what this passage really means;

                “…. Having faith in God is great; having hope in God is good; but the greatest of these is being in love with God.   And that is the heart of the matter.”

I knew as I lay in bed, warm and snuggly, that God wanted me to get out of bed and reflect on this passage and new insight. I debated God over the need to get up at that moment… so early in the morning. However, I felt assured that my body was rested and my mind was fully awake. This passage is something that needs to be illuminated, and not just in my life.

In her book, The Weigh Down Diet, Gwen points out that the magnetic pull of the refrigerator is something that I can choose to stand firm against, IF I truly love God above all else. Is my God food? And if the answer is yes, then I am idol worshiping. Allowing something other than the Lord to rule my life. If, however the answer is no, then there should be no reason for me to continue to trash my body with the sinful and greedy behavior of over-eating.

There, I have said it. I overeat. Without regard to the hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, hypothyroidism, and hereditary bent towards obesity, I over eat. I do. There is no other reason or excuse. If I didn’t eat so very much, I would not be so very over-weight. Simple formula:

More Food In = More Weight On

So, why this irresistible pull of the fridge and cupboard? My answer was in the sermon this morning at Tucson Calvary Chapel. Satan cannot hurt me without my permission. I am covered from harm by the blood of Jesus Christ. But if I allow my greed for food (or anything else of the flesh), I allow Satan to rule me.  Again, it is just that simple. Satan is not the boogey man, there is no way he can harm me, that is the promise from God, because… Jesus lives in me (Jesus’ words in John 14:20). The only way he can tempt me is with my permission.

God directs me to the core of my relationship with Him… Obedience. The obedience I show to my husband (as head of the home), the obedience I exhibit by preserving the temple of my body.. This is the true measure of my love for my Lord and Master.

Whoever has my commands and obeys then, he is the one who loves me.         John 14:21

It boils down to the simple equation of love. If I love my God more than anything or anyone else in (or out) of the world, I will obey Him completely. The greatest of these is Love… and obedience is the outward measure of that love.

As I contemplate these words I have written, it is clear to me that there are many areas in my life that need work. Do I love God as much as I have capacity? There are the secret corners of my heart that enjoy the attention and praise I receive from the world. Is not this another form of idolatry (self-idolatry). Perhaps if I were to deny myself the interaction I have with the world, I would better serve my God.

The question is how do I best serve Him?

It is not right to completely withdraw from the world. Our place, as believers, is in the world… to be a model of the love that God has for the world. I wonder how the writers, evangelists and other public figures that are Saved, keep themselves from the irresistible draw of the fleshly desires (for attention, praise, promotion). How did Paul, the greatest evangelist of all times, guard himself against the flesh?

In all things, Paul gave Christ, our God, our Heavenly Father, the credit. Everywhere I read in his writings, he reflects his successes to God’s glory. I wonder if in a secret place in his heart he too had moments of disobedience or sin.  

Thanks be to God that He loves me and forgives my sins. Without this grace, I would surely be lost. Amen.

I just took some of Gwen’s advice from her book, I was sitting here re-reading my writing and getting that hungry feeling in my stomach. I prayed to God to remove the hungry feeling if I was just “head hungry” and not physiologically hungry. HE did. Just like that. Our God is an awesome and great God. I am full with His love.

And now it is 2:00am… back to bed I go, school starts at 9:00 this morning and I need to be fully rested to do my job as teacher of these incredible children, whom I love. Goodnight.

Monday, February 26

I have been reading 1Peter for the last several days. Reading and re-reading this letter that Peter wrote to believers, to offer them hope in the midst of their suffering. A thought keeps jumping out at me.

Submission to God = Obedience to God = Love of God

Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.                     (1 Peter 2:18 )

 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,                            (1 Peter 3:1)

Husbands in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner                 (1 Peter 3:7 )

Respectfully submitting my will = Obeying God = Loving God = Blessing and Love from God

So, the process of learning to submit to Jeff, even though I am not sure of what decision he will make or what direction he will take, is both symbolic and actual submission to God. By submitting to the will of my husband, I learn to submit my will to God.  This process of submitting to Jeff is a physical way to understand my submission to God,

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

1Peter 1:8-9

Wow.

 

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