Finding Joy When We Are Others Focused

I listened to a podcast today by Leslie Ludy.  I really like Leslie’s podcasts because they aren’t too long (most last between 15 – 20 minutes) and Leslie truly seeks to encourage women to live a set apart life as it says in the bible.  Psalm 4:3 But know that the LORD has set apart the godly man for Himself; the LORD hears when I call to Him.

This week her podcast focused on finding joy when you are focused on others.  It’s easy to focus on ourselves or our circumstances and be discouraged and even hopeless.  But Leslie gives a few examples of women in history who chose to serve others despite their sometimes tragic circumstances.  That’s the kind of legacy I want to leave!

Take a listen!  Leslie Ludy Set Apart Podcast



New Year New Focus

Yes, I realize it’s January 19th so this post is a couple of weeks late but hey, at least it’s still the first month of the year!

God has put on my heart 2 different issues I need to work on. In a word or two… JOY and SIN. The world would say that there’s no such thing as sin and that joy is the same as happiness. Can I challenge you to look at joy and sin in a biblical context?

So, the bad news… Sin is real and believe it or not you are a sinner! Sin entered the world when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Before, there was no death or pain or sin but Eve listened to the serpent and decided it looked too delicious to pass it up. Genesis 3:6-7 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

From that point on sin was in the world. Genesis 4:7 If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and it’s desire is for you, but you must master it. I think we can all agree that sin is real… right? If it wasn’t why would Jesus have to die such a terrible death to save us?

For me, I believe without a doubt that sin is real and I commit it just about everyday. What I want to focus on this year is living a righteous life. No, not perfect… only Jesus lived a perfect life. I want to take my sin seriously. I don’t want to just confess and repent (or appear to repent) just because I know God is watching… that isn’t true repentance and it reeks of the attitude of… well God forgives so I screwed up and I’ll do better next time. NO! I want to truly be sorry for my sin and actually take steps and make an effort not to do that I again. There are too many people in the world who call themselves Christian yet don’t take their sin seriously. Join me in coming to the foot of the cross, confessing our sin, turning away from it and living a righteous life. Not perfect… but with sincere effort… not just words. Remember, God knows our heart and our thoughts.

Now onto joy. I believe there is a difference between joy and happiness. Webster’s dictionary defines joy as 1) the emotion evoked by well- being, 2) a state of happiness or felicity, 3) a source or cause of delight. Webster’s also lists well-being and felicity in its definition of happiness. For me, I believe that joy truly comes from the Lord and if we are seeking Him continuously He will give us joy whether or not our circumstances would declare joy.

I love what God says in Nehemiah 8:10 Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” I love that the JOY of the LORD in my strength!

Psalms 5:11 But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them, ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You.

There are so many verses is just the Psalms that talk about joy. I want that joy no matter how good or bad my day is going. And even more important is that I want my family to see my joy no matter the circumstances. Fortunately, our children have a father that is much better then I at showing joy no matter the situation. He inspires me to seek our God and rest in God’s joy no matter what. I’m reminded of Paul in prison. When he and Silas were in prison they were praying and singing hymns of praise to God. To me that is a steadfast joy that can only come from God.

So, my spiritual goals for 2018… take my sin seriously and make sincere efforts to turn away from sin and live a holy life. I believe living this kind of life is a journey that takes your whole life to perfect. This is what sanctification is all about. Our lives are to be continuously pointing towards and living up to His standards. And to find joy in all my circumstances.

Will you join me?

Psalms 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.

2017 Year In Review

It’s hard to believe 2017 is now officially over. It was a busy year for our family… here is a quick run down of what our year looked like!

  • Maga celebrated her 28th birthday on January 13th. She’s been 28 since… well a long time!
  • Natasha turned 14 on March 2nd.
  • Katherine turned 3 on March 6th.
  • Uncle Andy turned… I think 40 on March 13th.
  • Phil successfully finished his 1st full year of self employment on April 1st… no joke!
  • We celebrated Christ is risen on April 16th with lots of family at our house.
  • I turned 46 on May 11th.
  • Mikayla turned 12 on May 22nd.
  • Phil turned 48 on June 9th.
  • Natasha and Mikayla sold their Busy Bees Creations at the CHEC conference in June.
  • Alex turned 9 on August 4th.
  • Gaylene joined Keller Williams DTC.
  • We went camping to our favorite spot at the end of August.
  • Jonathan turned 7 on September 30th.
  • Phil and I celebrated 17 years of marriage on November 16th. Have I mentioned that I’m the luckiest gal on the planet? Thank you Lord for blessing me with an amazing husband!
  • We celebrated Thanksgiving at home then joined the Buttons for dessert and games at their house.
  • Our dear Miss Renee celebrated her 35th birthday on December 6th.
  • Our 4 oldest children performed in a piano recital. It was Jonathan’s first recital since starting lessons in August and he loved it!
  • We celebrated Christmas at home then once again joined the Buttons and the Keels for dessert and games at the Button’s house.

I’m sure there are many events I missed… my apologies… I need to start writing this stuff down throughout the year!


Merry Christmas!

Yes, I realize we are past December 25th but since Jesus wasn’t truly born on December 25th I figured it would be ok to say Merry Christmas on December 28th!

Anyway, below is a link to a fantastic blog post about God’s promises to us by Michelle Lesley. She has quickly become my favorite female Christian writer on discernment and the importance of being in God’s Word.

Please click on this link and take 5 minutes to read about God’s promises… you will be encouraged!

Romans 5:8 but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 

Merry Christmas!



Christmas Traditions

This week we started a couple of our family’s Christmas traditions. Sunday marked the beginning of Advent and for the 2nd year in a row we are reading a story book about our Savior. Author Arnold Ytreeide has written four books for Advent. Last year we read Ishtar’s Odyssey and enjoyed the story so much that I bought Tabitha’s Travels. So far we are loving the story but we are only on the 3rd day of Advent so we have much adventure to read about!

The other tradition we have is each year I individually wrap Christmas books and keep them in a basket under our Christmas tree. We unwrap a book each night leading up to Christmas and read that book. This is our 3rd year doing this and the kids really look forward to this tradition. Jonathan got to unwrap the first book tonight and as usual he picked the Charlie Brown Christmas Story. Alex will get to pick the book to unwrap and read tomorrow night. My goal is to have 24 books that we get to unwrap each year starting on December 1st. We only have 13 books this year but I try to add one or two books each year.

What are some of your family traditions?


Youth Groups… Why our family steers clear

Many years ago I had a close Christian friend tell me that her and her family (mom, dad, 2 sons) were looking for a new church and one of their goals was to join a church that did not have a youth group.  Of course, this wasn’t their only requirement (doctrinally sound, etc were requirements) but it had become very important to her.  Honestly, I thought she was nuts!  Her boys were about to be pre-teen… or do they call them tweens these days… anyway, I was thinking her kids are going to need friends when they become the dreaded teenagers (this was back when I thought teenagers had to behave the way the world says teenager have to behave) and what better friends then to have as part of the youth group?

Fast forward a couple year later and we had moved across town and were going to a different church.  I started paying attention to their youth group as my conversation with my friend was always in the back of my mind.  As I watched our youth group (no, I didn’t have any kids of that age yet) it became glaringly obvious that our youth looked no different than the youth of the world.  They dressed the same, they talked the same, they had the same attitude.  We, as Christians, are called to be set apart.

The church was having a potluck one day after the service.  As I was standing in line to get my kids their plates of food I overheard a conversation between our youth minister and a 16 year old girl who were standing right in front of me.  As I listened to their discussion I was, quite frankly, appalled by what I heard and envisioned Natasha having this same conversation in a few years.  Instead of the youth minister kindly but firmly pointing this girl to have this discussion with her parents he engaged her about boyfriends and how important they can be in a girls life, etc.  I realize, to the world this is a completely normal conversation but to someone who desires, more then anything, to raise her children in the admonition of the Lord I was sickened.  There are so many biblical teachings this youth minister could have said to this young girl but instead played into what the world has taught her.

Anyway, I came across the video below that explains better then I can why our family doesn’t attend a church with a youth group.  The video is about 39 minutes long but SO worth it!  He talks about how Sunday school and youth groups started here in America.  Watch to the end when Voddie gives a simple message to fathers and another simple messages to pastors.




Our Favorite Camping Spot… so far!

The last weekend of August we went on a family camping trip and I have to say it was my favorite family trip so far!  We had such an enjoyable weekend and in a beautiful campground in Rocky Mountain National Park.  I reserved a group site (because our tent is TOO big for the regular tent pads!) in the Glacier Basin campground.  It was a great spot with lots of room between us and other camping neighbors.  In the past, we have typically stayed at a campground that has a pool, arcade, miniature golf and/or other activities.  But Glacier Basin only had a presentation on Friday night that you could attend if you want.  I was slightly concerned when I made the reservations that we would be bored without all those ‘activities’ but let me tell you we had a fantastic time!  We took walks and hikes and played frisbee in our large group area and ate and ate some more.  We hiked up to Sprague Lake a couple of times and walked around the lake; it was absolutely beautiful.  We already decided we are going back next summer!

Enjoy a few pictures!

Katherine fell asleep near the campfire Saturday afternoon.