Friday, September 28, 2007

fresh flowers for September 28

Beginning Again...

'fresh flowers' as a weekly encouragment in your inbox has taken quite a long break, longer than I imagined it would be. The original reason I went on hiatus was because life was a little crazy around our house with moving, new baby and big decisions to make. However, as time went on without writing the enemy began to infilitrate my thought processes. I began to think that my writing didn't impact anyone, that I had nothing to say that would encourage anyone, and quietly, in the back of my head that I wasn't really good enough to be used by God anyway.

Over the course of this summer God began to challenge my thinking on those fronts. He brought me back to my secret place, reforging the bonds of intimacy between us. He began to heal my emotions and get my feet remembering that they were planted on a rock. He started to renew my spirit as I cried out to Him.

Out of that came a conviction to begin a women's Sunday School class, with the ulterior motive that perhaps I would get some of my own questions answered. The main one being, "Can God use an ordinary person like me to do anything at all?" God led me to a study by Angela Thomas called, "A Beautiful Offering". In the introduction she shares her story of feeling unlovely, invisible and broken. She tells her story of 'pretending for Jesus'. I find myself identifying with her on many of these issues, there are many times when I've pretended, felt less than adequate and certainly not beautiful. Through her book by the same name I've come to realize that God values brokeness, He knows that we are not enough all by ourselves and that we'll never make it alone. He knows we desparately need a Saviour. He loved us enough to give us one.

Then, just this week, I took some our youth group girls to an event called Beautiful Unique Girl. It didn't just impact our girls, it left it's mark on me, too. Or rather, God did. He reminded me that I am indeed, created Very Good, most excellent, magnificent, the crown of all creation. Then I was challenged to give my dream to God to see what He would do with it. I wrote down my desires and presented them to Him. My dreams scare me to be quite honest. I have a strange desire to write, to speak in front of people, to use the music and the creative gifts God has given me to impact His kingdom. They aren't everyone's dreams, but they are the ones He's given me. Within minutes after that presentation a lady came to me and asked me, "Are you fresh flowers? I read your blog quite often." Someone else sent me a message on facebook asking me if I still wrote because his mother so enjoyed having fresh flowers read to her, they had blessed her greatly before she died.

And so, with a humble heart I will once again offer the flowers that God sends me to you. Where this journey will take me, I don't know, but God does and we'll go together. My prayer is that fresh flowers will encourage you and lift you up for that is the purpose and maybe once in awhile to push you out of your comfort zone a little. There will be extra tidbits of our crazy house posted on my blog if you care to see what we're up to. I invite you to share with me your flowers, the things God impresses on you because they are encouraging to me. Most of all, today, I want you to know that God thinks you're beautiful, that He did not make any mistakes in His design of you. He wants you to dream with Him and see where that might take you. It only takes one person to begin to change the world, let it start with you.

the flowerlady

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Out of My Comfort Zone

This morning I stepped out of my comfort zone and began teaching a women's sunday school class. Fortunately for me (and them) I am not having to come up with the material myself. We are doing a study based on the sermon on the mount by Angela Thomas. It's called "Your Life as a Beautiful Offering." We've only watched the first 20 minutes of the introductory video and she's got us in tears. These are some of the questions I asked the ladies as we wrapped up our morning...

1. Has there been a time in your life when you realized that you were not beautiful? That you didn't measure up, that you were somehow flawed?

2. Are you now, or have you ever been a pretender?

3. Have you ever sat in judgement on someone else only to find yourself in that spot yourself crying out to God, "Are you repulsed by this mess? Am I ugly to you? How can you possibly use a broken girl like me?"

4. Have you ever had an experience where God spoke to you of your beauty, how much he truly loves you? Have you ever experience "The King being enthralled with your beauty!"?

Those were just the first 20 minutes. We've got 7 more weeks to go. I'm just praying that I'll get it!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Conflicting Thoughts

There has been much activity in my head and heart lately. Things that I ponder and wonder about. There are conflicting thoughts in my heart and I'm not altogether sure what to do with them all.

I had the opportunity to have my mother-in-law's cleaning lady come to my house while she is away. We pondered that and realized that it would probably not be a good use of our money since cleaning in our house is really an exercise in futility. I clean, most certainly, and spend much time doing it and hours, sometimes minutes, later it looks just like it did before I started. As well, 3 of my children are very capable of doing cleaning chores and sometimes they even do them without complaining. The four of us can get a lot done in short order when we work together. And then I began to think that if that lady came to babysit my kids I would pay her less for watching my children than I would for cleaning my house. My children are of much higher value to me than my house is but often I spend more time on it than I do on them. That should not be and yet the cleaning needs to happen because I do not wish to live in a sty. That is one of my conflicted thoughts. Do I spend money on someone cleaning so I can spend time with my kids, or do I spend the time training my kids to do the cleaning so we can spend that money on something else?

I've also been challenged with the use of our television lately. We don't actually watch television, we don't own a dish or subscribe to cable, we use it for DVDs and videos. However, my children usually watch a movie every day. That movie generally occurs between the end of the school day and supper time, when our house is at it's most crazy and them momma is at her lowest ebb. It tends to keep me sane. Is this a good use of their time? Some days I think it is, other days I think it isn't. We gone for months with no watching of any kind - then they gravitate toward the computer (we don't have any game cube or play station type stuff either). It is usually one or the other. Their time on the computer is also limited and yet there are times where I feel like I am a poor excuse for a mom because I have not subscribed to a higher standard.

Today I feel like I haven't taught my children a very good work ethic because they would rather be playing with their kittens than cleaning out the garden. I strive to be a good parent and many days feel like a miserable failure. I yell too much, don't spend enough time, don't teach them the right things. Amazingly enough, God seems to think that I can do this job. I am preparing to facilitate a class called A Beautiful Offering by Angela Thomas. I watched the introduction and am encouraged to see that even in that first bit she reminds us that God wants to use our ordinary lives and as we offer it to him it becomes a beautiful offering. He thinks I am beautiful, He is enthralled with me and that is difficult to wrap my head around. These are my thoughts for today.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

why I hardly ever post!

I shocked once again how long I can go between posting. Blogging is so not a priority anymore, even though I love doing it and enjoy reading other people's blogs. How did my life get so busy? OH yes...

-we started farming
-we started pastoring
-we have six kids
-we homeschool a little
-we have 3 kids that are 5 or younger
-we have a huge yard and house
-we have a life outside of the virtual reality
-we have massive garden space
-we are in the middle of harvest

Okay, that ought to do it, don't ya think??
Seriously, I love my life, hate Facebook, love my life. Did I mention that I am now on Facebook - I'm convinced it may be a cult. However, in an effort to be up-to-date and hip with the times, cause 90% of our youth group is on it...I'm there. Can't figure most of it out, but it has been fun connecting with people I haven't connected with in years.

I'm happy to report that the canning is mostly done. The tomatoes are still coming but everything else is finished which deserves a PRAISE THE LORD and HALLELUJAH! Yet another reason why I haven't had time to blog.

Homeschooling is such a fun thing with my girl. we've made butter, milked cows, are currently watching a garden spider catch and eat flies, and are having fun learning pioneer-type stuff. The big boys are loving school. Sam began Kindergarten today. we have 7 kittens (Lime, Daisy, Nermal, Garfield, Tippy, Blue and Flower) they are awfully cute.

That's all lunch is ready, so I must go. Something profound coming soon, I promise...or at least pictures of something profound...really...