"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Friday, December 31, 2010


Here is a challenge for all you wives out there, if you so feel led to accept it :).

For one week (or maybe two!) keep track of all the time you spend talking to the following people:
-your husband
-your kids
-your friends (you can include extended family here-grandparents, etc)

If you want to be a little more exact, you could divide the husband and/or kid time into “meaningful” time and routine time. You could even have the chart divided for each kid.
Count your phone calls (not to hard when the cell phones tell you how long you’ve been on for!), your conversations in vehicles, your passing in and out the door, your pillow talk time too. You can count bedtime stories, prayers and conversations around the table (counts for both hubby and kids if everyone is involved!). If you go out to eat, count the drive time, the meal, the goodbyes, count it all. Yes, you have to be conscience of doing this-don’t just guess.
It may be best to wait until you are back into the school routine, next week or the following week. Don’t go out of your way to avoid any conversations, and don’t try to make a point to have extra if you feel you are getting low on someone’s minutes. This is just an exercise to see where you are, right now; and to see who you need to spend more time with-and less.

Why? What’s the point? Does it matter who you spend most of your time with? Of course it does! Our priorities are first to our Heavenly Father (suppose you could have a slot for Him too!), then to our husbands and families. I think we will be quite surprised when we look at just who we spend our time talking to. You probably think I am going to say “friend” time is bad. I am not. Because we need that as well (and I know my husband needs me to have that time too). But you know what? My husband is my BEST FRIEND, and he is the one I talk to about EVERYTHING. He is the one I seek first for counsel and then approval/permission depending on the occasion. I know that I talk to him way more than any of my friends. Sure, I might have a phone call once a week or so where I am on the phone for 30-50 minutes. Brian and I call each other 3-6 times a day depending on what we are doing. What do we talk about? Not much-just everything. And then we talk when we are home. We probably talk too much. Sometimes there are things I know he doesn’t like to talk about; but I need to talk through them.
Our created job was to be our husband’s helpmeet. I know that looks different for different people and different situations. But I do know we were created to encourage them, build them up, help (ASSIST) them lead our family (another subject to write about). We were created for each other-we no longer belong to ourselves-our bodies belong to each other (again, a whole other subject!). No, your husband may not be a first-rate husband and father, he may be struggling to hit the top 10; but that doesn’t change your God-given responsibilities to him and to your family. Your obedience isn’t dependent on his.
Okay, I could go on and on about that, but I won’t; for now. :-P

I added the kids category more for me. Sure, I am with the kids all day. But am I really with them? We do school, we do chores, but how much “meaningful” time do I spend with them, just talking or doing a project together? Not as much as I should I have to admit.

So anyway, I hope you are up for the challenge! Take time to start the New Year out recommitted to your spouses and your families.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

When you aren’t walking well with the Lord, it is very easy to take others with you, even if they are. How easily our sinful nature is ignited. One little thing leads to another, to another. And unfortunately, if you look hard enough, you will also see that there are many Christians who, while reaching out to those in the “gutters” get sucked in. Those “gutters” can be many different places-the corporate business room, the recovery group, the college crowd. Wherever the Lord seeks us to shine light, there is a HUGE battle waiting to be waged for you. But so, so often it is not a full frontal attack. No, the enemy sneaks in through the back door when you least expect it-when you’re just trying to help somebody out.

Conversely, when you are walking well with the Lord, you may not have as many with you because it is a hard road-an unpopular road-an “I don’t want to hear what you have to say because I know you are right” road. That road is often hard and lonely; it takes patience and perseverance. But by seeing your life-your true joy despite trials and hardships-others will want to walk together in His footsteps. Maybe not always together with you, but on the same path.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A key to prayer: focus on praise not on problems. GOD knows what the problems are, HE wants the praise. Give it to HIM! HE deserves it! He inhabits those praises!

Easier said than done as our selfish desires, wants and needs consume us. Sometimes I wonder what I can praise Him for that I haven’t already done a thousand times. He is the same-yesterday, today and forever. What is there new that I can say? Sometimes it just seems like I am just saying the words.

How do you keep PRAISES new each day?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

the big picture

Been thinking about this because of something that happened not long ago with one of our daughters. She was hurt (emotionally) and it was not intentional (at least I would hope). To me it was just a way that people have lost focus of the big picture. But I am not sure they see it that way. It appears that the big picture to them was the “performance,” the “show”. It was not about a young girl’s feelings and how their actions would affect her. Their concern was the “show” and how they would sound. It was about the whole, even if one part was crushed in the process. I am just sick and tired of it being about the “show”. Does God really care about the show? Or about people-every single person, individually?
When this happened to my daughter, well let’s just say that my papa bear came out real fast. Nothing can elicit anger in me faster them coming home and seeing one of my cubs in tears because someone hurt them. When that happens, watch out.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

This was written a couple of years ago. One I (KJ) have sat on for a LONG time. Why? Because it could and does come across on the more offensive side and some people aren’t going to like how it is worded; and you know, a small part of me still wants to fit in, to have some friends left! :-)


So why post it now? Well, again, God has brought conversations and people into play that just make us think this is the time-some of the exact words were even used (even though I edited them a bit…)

James 4:4-10
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

This is not a very long passage but there is a great deal in it if you take the time to meditate on it. Here are my (Brian's) thoughts on it.

4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
The first sentence I think has a few meanings, neither are good news.
-One, we Christians are the adulterers/mistresses of the world. I see a growing trend in the church (which is the Bride of Christ) becoming nothing more than a prostitute and we practice “temple prostitution” (imagine Brian’s much stronger language here…). We go in when it’s convenient, when she has something to offer us and then we call that worship. She’s a form of entertainment and when she no longer satisfies we move on. I can only imagine how God’s Wrath must burn when this is the case.
-The closer we become to the world the more we alienate ourselves from God. God doesn’t move away from us, we move away from Him. In the world sin is acceptable; just look at what 10-20-30yrs. ago was considered unacceptable and is now the norm. And if you speak out against sin you are considered intolerant. That is often in and outside of the church. There’s a verse in a country song that says “if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything”. There’s a lot of truth in that. It becomes a very slippery slope very fast. It’s a slope that many in the western church are going down.

I take vs. 5 "Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, 'The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously'?" to mean that God doesn’t take a back seat to anyone or anything.

6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
James quotes Prov. 3:34 a familiar passage. Who are the proud? The proud are those who think they can do it {life} on their own. Who are the humble? Those who know they cannot and know they need divine guidance and wisdom.

7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
First: submit to God. A word not often looked upon in a positive light.
----Submit: 1) yield, surrender 2) to commit to the discretion or decision of another.
Second: resist the devil.
----Resist: 1) to fight against 2) to withstand the force or effect of.
We often forget that we possess a great deal of power through the name and blood of Jesus Christ. To refuse or fail to use that power is a disservice to Christ. Note both of those words are ACTION words. We must do something-we must Resist.
Third: he (devil) will flee from you. The order is important, any change in order or removal of part one or two, and you WILL fall and fail.

8a Draw near to God and He will draw near to you
A word of encouragement, a promise to hold on to and claim.

8b Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded
The closer you draw to God the more you will see your sin. That’s a good thing. When you see it you can deal with it and thus be cleansed. Scripture is clear, you want God to be working in you and through you? You MUST deal with sin when it is revealed! The term double-minded literally means to have “two souls”. One part of you desires to follow this world/culture and the other desires to follow God and His Word and these two souls are at war with each other.

9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom
Grieve, mourn, and wail for your sin instead of celebrating in it.

10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. Fall on your face before His throne and allow Him to reach down and lift you up. Yes, easier said than done.

Monday, December 20, 2010


That has been something that we have been discussing as of late. A situation arose with someone who is loyal to the church but it appeared he was getting burned by the church in an area. We had said something to someone about that you don’t want to burn that bridge, you may never win them back. Some may wonder how I know that. Because my bridge got torched. I was very loyal to the church we attend (even are members of). For years I prayed for this church, tried to be involved and was essentially turned away at every door. I always thought the church’s job was to develop leaders for the future. But I began to see, it was to develop “certain” leaders. There appeared to be criteria, ones that I don’t meet and never will. Some would ask, “why not just leave and go somewhere else?” I wanted to for many years. I would pray about it but God would not release me to go, I still had a purpose for being there, something HE wanted me there for. And I have seen that and am very grateful that I was obedient to HIM and stayed. A lot has happened in the last couple of years. Let’s just say, for myself that bridge of loyalty went up in flames. Then after a congregational meeting earlier this fall I felt released. I did not ask to be released. You see, in the past God has always place a heavy burden on my heart for this church; well that was gone. We were sitting there listening to a lot of talk and little being said and the realization that things will probably never really change here. I walked out early and decided to go home. Thing is, I felt lighter; a weight had been lifted from me. I had been released of the cares of the church (the bureaucracy, the hierarchy, the politics of it). The place is a building, bricks and mortar. I believe that the best thing that could happen is if the building was destroyed, yes destroyed. (Whether the church is my own, the Baptist one of the corner, the Lutheran down the street, etc etc. –any “church” building). Then maybe, just maybe, people would begin to understand that a church is not a building and that often buildings are nothing more than a waste of money. Money that could be used to better further the Kingdom of Christ by meeting needs of people. Tell me, does a big church building bring Glory to God or glory to man? My loyalty lies with Christ and with my brothers and sisters in Christ (whether they be Baptist, AG, EFree, Catholic, Lutheran, Orthodox, Presbyterian ...), not in a building or a denomination. Those things satan uses to bring division to the body of Christ. Do I still attend a church building? Yes I do, but for me it is for the kids to have that social interaction. I attend church on Friday night when I meet with our home fellowship group. We pray together, study the Word, some weeks we sing and eat together. We seek to meet each others needs and the needs of others. It is not a one day a week thing; it is a 7 day a week walking out our faith together thing.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Lately I have been finding out just how selfish I am. Oh, and quite a bit self-righteous too. Ouch. Not what I had been looking to find, those are things we never figure WE will be. It’s always someone else-like my four year old who won’t share his toys (or my 13 year old who won’t share her books…)

Entitled. How many times have I asked my kids why they think they are ENTITLED to play on the computer every day, or rent a video or… When really, I suppose I believe that myself. I am ENTITLED to some peace and quiet, some help around the house, kids who obey the first time…
Situations have come up that, instead of thinking how to help or be a part of, I think of the extra work it will be for me. I get annoyed by the way other people are doing things because it isn’t MY way.

Wow. Do I sound like a three year old or what?

My prayer especially last week for one of the kids was just help me LOVE them-not love because that’s what I am suppose to do; but really LOVE them because I just love them. It would seem I am being shown the reasons why I haven’t been able to. I seem to be too busy thinking of myself, what I need and not what they need.

Truthfully, I don’t feel up for this lesson. I want to shove it away. Wouldn’t you? It just sucks to be shown your own sin. Sure, the nice cliché thing is “well, now I can just pray and it will be forgiven and it will be all gone.” Yeah, right. If only it were that simple. I can pray, I can repent, and then, well then, I have to struggle against it. It’s a BATTLE. A battle against the one of the greatest sinners of the world-my own heart. It might be a sin, but don’t we all get comfortable in our own sin after awhile? I mean, it’s gonna be more work and more stress and hurt more to change. It just feels so. much. easier. to live in it awhile longer.
And the crazier thing? This whole time I sin and struggle and wrestle, my God is loving me, providing for me, forgiving me, NUDGING me (well, ok, sometimes it is a big SHOVE).
The question always comes down to, who am I going to love more: myself or my God? I wish I could say I always chose my God, but far more often than I care to admit, I chose me. I wish there was some “miracle cure” to change it all overnight. But what would I learn then? I’d probably just buy the bottle so when it crept up again, there it goes. Lessons are to be learned. Lessons are hard.
I am SOOOO grateful that God is willing to love me even when I haven’t earned the A+ yet; that He’s still gonna love me through every “retest” I have to take.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Greta is 9!!!!

This posting is a day late, as they all are-it was Greta's 9th birthday on Monday!

We celebrated with the usual trip to Applebees (this time for lunch) for her free ice cream sunday. She was beaming.

I went down to wake up the girls this morning, came back up and immediately she says, "you've forgotten what day it is." I hadn't yet, just didn't know I needed to say it first thing!

Brian rounds the corner, eyes still full of sleep after a long day yesterday snow plowing. She doesn't say good morning, or let him saying anything, just "you've forgotten what day it is." Oh, she was just soooo excited for this day!

Grandma Judi had taken her out to a movie Thanksgiving weekend for her birthday. Grandma Carole made a cake and her and Grandpa Wendell came down here with it.

She is just such a joker and gets sooo excited, she's goofy. Happy Birthday Greta Girl-you bring much joy to our lives!

Monday, December 13, 2010

I started going somewhere with this, but not sure where I was going to end anymore. What do you think?

Seeking someone/anyone out during a tough time seems to be a generational thing to a point. The “older” crowd had to grow up more self-reliant it seems. The past few generations it would seem have grown up expecting others to solve their problems for them! And then there are the in-betweens. The next older generation (than us) doesn’t seem to understand why we would regularly meet with the pastor, or ask for specific prayer requests, or need to talk through what we are feeling. The younger generation thinks we should talk more-and let “them” fix us!
Is seeking help out a sign of spiritual immaturity? Or is holding it in and not getting help the immaturity? Is being unwilling to be real and honest a front or façade? Who does it really hurt in the long run?
Why is asking questions viewed as having a lack of faith? What about iron sharpening iron? Building up the body of believers?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

On Saturday had our pastor and his wife over for supper to play with the kids and say goodbye before they move.

We invited some friends to come over later in the evening as a little extra surprise. They had no idea. If he would have known, he probably wouldn't have come!

He always enjoys bringing sugar over and trying to get the kids riled up. Well, it worked a little too well for him this time!

The kids were just eating him up!

She asked how she could help...I said entertain the kids...and she did! They love story time!

He really wanted a picture drinking out of a cup for some reason.

We wish you guys the BEST--WE WILL MISS YOU!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I just commented to someone yesterday that the devil's playground was our weaknesses...
I am feeling very weak (and fearful) about something today, so the enemy is having a playday. Appreciate your prayers as He leads today!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

So I have been thinking about something…again. And since we’ve been lead for some crazy reason to think things out in the blogosphere, I am writing about it…again.

I have faith. Don’t question that. I do question the aspects of what/why/when/how I believe at various times. And it is okay to question. Because I don’t want to just say “I don’t understand but I have faith anyway.” Eventually that sometimes happens, but usually not until after I have done a little more research. Then I get to the “This is what I think this is it, but maybe I still don’t understand it all, but I am going to believe anyway…” And well, people much smarter than me, people who spend way more time thinking about things than me…well, they don’t have the answers to my questions really. And even if they did, it’s not really an answer, but a starting point so that I can then dig deeper, so I can make it my own.
I don’t know where I would fall on most theological issues (like that really matters). Calvinism, Arminianism, other “Christian-based isms”… And I doubt I would fit perfectly into any one of those anyway.
But I digress a little.

Anyway, what I am still struggling with how to put into words and belief deals with the omniscience of God. As my English dictionary says, the “knowing everything” of God. And God’s omnipresence; His “ability to be everywhere at the same time”. We believe that everywhere includes every-when, because He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.
So what does God allow, what does God cause? What really is a result of the fallen world? One of our three miscarriages we believe was very clearly a part of God’s plan. But really, wouldn’t they all be? Because if He sees all, is everywhere, all the time, has all my days planned out…doesn’t He know my choices too? He knows what I will choose to do and what results will come out of each choice. Psalm 139 really lays it out- v16 says all my days were written in His book before one of them happened. V4 says even before a word is on my tongue He knows it. Maybe v6 sums it up, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.”

A friend is dying of cancer. Is this something God caused for His glory or is this something He allowed for His glory? Is this just a “result of a fallen world”? (What does that really mean anyway?) I mean, He knew it was gonna happen (but how or why?) and how it is going to turn out-so He then has a plan for it already. Just what does that mean? How do we wrap our heads around it? Yes, we live in a fallen world, but God is WAY BIG ENOUGH to do something about it, does He just hold Himself back?

I know, you could easily ask why we bother to pray then? God already knows how everything is going to turn out? But often, it seems my praying is for me to know and serve and glorify God better, and my prayer (that He knows I am going to pray) is already a part of the plan He has set in motion. I guess that goes to one of those “deep theological questions” that comes up-Did Abraham really change God’s mind about Sodom & Gomorrah? Or did He already know what was going to happen and He answered the way He did for Abraham’s benefit? He wasn’t lying by saying for this many people I won’t do it…they were all true statements.

I guess when a situation comes up that hurts and you feel personally, it makes you question more, it makes you struggle, makes you think. But I believe in the long run my faith is strengthened by my questions as we have to seek Him more.

Friday, December 3, 2010


What does that mean? What does that look like? Does it look the same for everyone or is each person unique? Does it mean you go to church every Sunday morning? We used to have church every Sunday morning and evening and Wednesday night. Now Wednesday night is for the youth and the family goes on Sunday morning. Is that all it takes or is there more? Maybe you don’t consume alcohol (of any kind) or tobacco. Do you get rid of the TV and the computer? There is an awful lot of garbage on them. Maybe you read your bible every morning and every night? Pray a minimum of 3 times a day? What else? I’m sure the list can go on and on and on.
So what does it mean? What does it look like?

“Be ye Holy for I AM Holy”

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Yes, we are all moved back in, settled in, returned to life as “normal” as it is to us…just peddly things here and there to finish up.

The house is different though. At least there are some things that look different-paint, curtains, cabinets, who’s in what room. And that is good.

Sure it feels like home again, I guess, as much as any place feels like home. The problem-I was thinking it was never going to be my home again, definitely not this soon anyway. The whole year in Africa as we struggled with things out of our hands, one of the thoughts was that I don’t want to just come back to the same house, the same job, the same…and it’s like we never left.

Believe me; from the battle scars and hurt hearts, we know we left. And things are different-relationships are different. But yet, here we are, back where we started. Feeling again, is this it? We went to Africa just to come back to where we were? How? Why? Was it to be reminded that this IS it? This IS where we are supposed to be? That there are things here we are supposed to do? Was it to be better equipped to do those things? Are we still going to do what we are called to even if it isn’t as “exciting” as we wish it could be?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


We are in many new phases of life.

New jobs for Brian that will hopefully pay all the bills.

New seasons of ministry and trying to figure them out and how we are do them.

New phases of kids. Boys. Need I say more?

New phases of school. Homeschooling boys. Need I say more? The boys are only 6 (almost 7) and 4.5, but I can tell (sniff, sniff) that all my teaching methods for the girls aren’t necessarily going to work for them. I finally changed a reading program for J, and I think that is going to work. YEAH!

We’ll soon be entering the HIGH SCHOOL homeschooling phase (gasp!). And I gotta tell you, I am not the most excited about it. It is a WHOLE. NEW. PRESSURE. for me. Picking curriculum, a foreign language, navigating CLEP and DSST tests, PSEO options, PSAT/SAT/PACT/ACT and every other kind of test out there. And every time I think I feel good about it, I see another option or hear of something else I should consider… Sometimes I’d just like to throw my hands up and say okay, this is it, we’re doing the basics and off we go. Then I get mommy guilt because I know there is more than they (and I) can do to help for college (thus all the initials I THINK I know the meanings off).

It was neat the other night though, to watch the girls having conversations with their uncle who is a college professor. And even only in 7th and 8th grade, they could hold their own (a bit) and he was impressed with some of the things they knew. Kind of a good pat on the back when you need it.