Monday, May 31, 2010

VIDEO CONTEST: This Little Prayer of Mine

 Teaching your kids about prayer is important, and it can be enlightening to get a child’s perspective on something that we as adults sometimes take for granted.
Video your child(ren) talking about prayer, praying, explaining what prayer is, etc. It can be creative, informational, enlightening, funny, or all of the above. The winner of this contest will walk away with a library of WaterBrook Multnomah children’s books, This Little Prayer of Mine by Anthony DeStefano – over 30 titles in all!

The deadline to enter is June 7th.

Go to their website to enter or get more information.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Call to Rest

When I knew that I would be stepping down from Mom2Mom as the Leader, I was so excited about the opportunity to just do nothing.  Then I got excited about the opportunity to do things that I had not had time to do.  I could finally get back to blogging, I could get that new design template installed, I could start working on the book with Scott, I could get the closets reorganized upstairs, I could..I could...I could.  My list just kept growing.

I was advised by many very godly women to enjoy this time of rest because God is preparing to do something big with me.

Enjoy this time of rest?

No problem!  At least that is what I thought.  God is giving me time to rest & I don't know how to do it!  He has had me so busy the past 5 or 6 years and for the first time in a really long time I'm not preparing to teach, organize a group or coordinate an activity for moms!  I'm just a wife and mom.  I never dreamed it would be so hard to rest.  I keep thinking about all the things I could be doing and I'm not.  My mind won't stop.

I know that resting is important.  Our souls need rest.  I also know that God can provide rest in the midst of our busyness, but there are those times that he actually calls us to actually be still.

He leads us into a season of rest.

Psalm 23:2
   He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.

He needs us to rest especially during his "silent" times, when it seems our prayers are going unanswered.

Psalm 37:7
Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him;

He tells us to STOP, so that we can let His presence wash us away instead of our busyness

Psalm 46:10
"Step out of the traffic! Take a long,  loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything."(MSG)

Resting was so very important to Jesus. Just for fun, search the Gospels for every time Jesus drew away from the crowd or told the disciples they needed to rest.  He did it a lot and if He knew the importance of if, we should learn from his example.

My favorite verse in the Gospels concerning this is in Mark 6:31,

Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.

How calming that verse is to my soul!  I have taken that as a personal invitation from Jesus to rest.Unfortunately, it is easier said than done.  Some new habits must be formed in order to truly rest.  Some things (or maybe a lot of things) need to be taken off the schedule.  Or maybe you just need to change up what is on the schedule. It must be a conscious effort.  When the Lord is calling you into a season of rest, you can't continue in your regular routine.  The good thing is that He has probably changed your routine for you.  He took from me what took up most of my time, Mom2Mom.  He knew that if I were to rest the way he needs me to, Mom2Mom must go.  Doesn't mean I won't struggle with the habit of "busyness".

I don't know what the conclusion to all of this is for me.  I'm just now getting started with my own call to rest.  But, I would appreciate your prayers for me as I learn to be still, really still.  I look forward to all that God has to teach me.  I am looking forward to the "quiet waters" and "green pastures".

Has God called you to rest?  How did it go?  What did He teach you?  I'd love to hear from you!

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Throwing Stuff Out

I love to throw things away.  You probably wouldn't know it by looking at my house. Don't forget I do not live alone!  But I love that feeling of taking something that I do not want anymore or have a use for anymore & throwing it away.  When the trash truck comes my junk is gone...for good!  Never to be seen by me again.  I love that!

We are preparing to have a yard sale to help our daughters raise money for a mission trip to Ireland.  The sale is this weekend.  We asked people to help us out & donate to us their junk for our sale.  Wow!  People have a lot of junk.  Anyway, I took some time and went through some of our stuff to see if it would be good enough for the yard sale.  I say "good enough" because after something lives in our house for any amount of time, it's value goes way down!  I mean way down! 
So, as I was going through things I realized I needed a trash bag, not for all the things I wanted to put in the yard sale, but for all the things I wanted to throw away!  Once I get in my groove, look out!  I might try to throw away a child if he stands still long enough.

All kidding aside, I think you get my point.  I like to throw stuff away.  It is gone, for good!  I like that.

I wish my life could be like that.  I wish sins I've committed in the past could be gone for good from my memory.  Yes, I know my sins are forgiven, that is not what I'm talking about.  I wish that once I've confessed my sin and accepted God's forgiveness that I would never think about it again.

I am reminded by the Apostle Paul that we are new creations.  We are made new when we accept Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.  But that doesn't mean the enemy will leave us alone.  Oh no!  Now we are at the top of his hit list.  And his greatest weapon against us is to remind us of our sin. It's like throwing something away, but it really never get's thrown away.  We can still see it at times & sometimes we can even smell it.  Oh, the enemy loves to do this.  It creates in us all kinds of emotions that are not of God.  We can become insecure, doubtful, maybe even depressed.

2 Timothy 1:7 says,
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

When we continue to remember past sins or we dwell on our weaknesses, know that is not God keeping this in your mind, it is the enemy!  We have to learn how to capture every thought that is not of God and throw it out. (2 Corinthians 10:5)  Recognize that once your sins are forgiven (in the trash can) they can't come out.  They are there for good!  Just like when my trash man takes my trash every week.

Maybe it would help if you really threw your sins in the trash.  Write them down and throw them away and let the trash man take them away.  Every time the enemy tries to bring it up again, remember that you are forgiven !  You are loved.  You are saved!

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wanna Fly Away?

Ever wanted to just go somewhere?  Somewhere that was far from where you are now? Even if it was just for a little while.  Your flesh is screaming for a break from life.  I have felt like that more times than I want to admit to.

There was a time in my life about 10 years ago when I wanted to leave my life.  It was a daily struggle to not give in to my selfishness, get in my car and drive off, not really caring that I was leaving behind a husband and seven kids.  I was depressed.  I was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of a serious car accident I was in & completely responsible for.  My life was not what I wanted it to be.  I was a mess and I wanted it all to go away.

In Psalms 55:6 & 7, David exposes a very vulnerable side of himself that was in anguish when he cried out to God, saying...
"Oh that I had the wings of a dove!  I would fly away and be at rest-
I would flee far away and stay in the desert."

David really wanted some different circumstances; he was done of being on the run, pursed by Saul and his men.  He was tired and wanting some rest.

I remember when I was in the midst of my depression, just wishing I could close my eyes and it would all go away and if it couldn't go away, then I could just go far away from it.  I never wanted to kill myself and I especially never wanted to harm my children.  I just wanted the darkness that I lived in to go away and leave me alone, just like David wanted his enemies to stop chasing after him.

Of course we know that over time, God answered David's prayer, but it is his prayers during that difficult time that has always encouraged me most. In that same chapter David says,

"Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall." (vs22)

I don't think David was hoping he was giving some good advice there, he knew his God and he knew that he is always faithful to uphold those who love him.  He experienced it over and over again, so he knew that even though his enemies continued to chase him down, his trust was in his God.

In our lifetime, we will experience things that we never dreamed we would experience.  We will see things we never wanted to see and hear things we never wanted to hear.  Things will happen that could cause us to doubt if God is really able to take care of us.  The enemy loves to cause us to doubt the love of God.

When you are in the midst of a difficult time what is your response?

David wanted wings like a dove so that he could fly away and get out of his circumstances, but he didn't stay in that mindset.  He moved on and claimed the promises of God; God does not let the righteous fall.

If you can relate too well to what I am describing then here is what you can do.  This is no magic formula, no step by step plan to a better life, just basic,simple words of encouragement.

Go to the Father.

He already knows all about what you are going through.  He knows your pain. He wants you to go to Him.  He wants you to cast your cares on Him.  If you need a tangible way to do this, write down all that you see as wrong in your life, everything that you wish would go away.  After you write it down, read it out loud as a prayer and tell God you can't handle this, you need his help.  Then, burn the paper.  Then trust Him to handle it in His time & in His way.  You may not agree with how He handles things, but He is God...remember that.
Everytime you try to worry about those things (because you will), remember that you gave it to God, it isn't your problem anymore.

Go to the Word There are a lot of really great books out there than can help you, but none will help you like the Holy Word of God will. 
Read it.
Meditate on it.
Memorize it.
Copy it down.
Pray it.
Believe it. 

Depression is not a daily part of my life anymore.  I don't want to run away anymore.  Is my life easier?  No way!  In fact in many ways it is a lot more difficult than it was 10 years ago.  But now I know something I didn't know before.  I know that when my hope & trust is completely in my God, he will not let me fall.  He will hold me up.  He will strengthen me to endure unbelievable difficult days. 

David's last words in Psalm 55 were like putting an exclamation point at the end of a very important sentence.

"But as for me, I trust in you."

Who do you trust in? 

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Park Day!

Several weeks ago, I was drowning in Mom2Mom work. The Spring Tea was coming up & I was having a hard time concentrating because I knew I was stepping down.  The older girls were gone babysitting one day & the little kids were full of energy & I couldn't get anything done. Scott decided to "treat" the kids & instead it was a treat for me.  He loaded up the kids (7 in all), stopped by the store to pick up some water bottles & messy snack food that is perfect for a park & he took them to a park that is near us.  Since it was during school hours, no one was there.  So my gang descended upon this park & left their mark, I'm sure.

My husband is so wonderful!  The kids had fun.  I got a lot done.  And he took some awesome pictures.  Here are just a few to share with you.

 Zach(8) & Gracie(5)

 Austin(12) shootin' some hoops

 Josh(16) & Sam(3) (oldest boy & youngest boy)

 Just gotta say that Josh is a great big brother to Sam.  When we found out we were pregnant, Josh was really upset & didn't think we should have anymore.  Sam was born, looked just like Josh & Josh was hooked.  Sam even acts like Josh when he was that age...a little boy with more energy than his mom.

 Ben (10) skateboarding.

 The boys brought their boards...even Sam!

 Gracie is watching the fish that are swimming in the polluted water.  Yuck!

And of course, Ben has to try & catch them by hand.

 If you look close, I'm sure you can see the remnants of her ice cream sandwich!

Sam, finishing off his ice cream sandwich.

Dad is so smart to take the kids far away from the house to eat yummy things like ice cream sandwiches!  He is a keeper!!

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Turning a new page

God is turning a new page in my life & the next page is looking a little blank. But God is so good to write a story much better than anything I could ever come up with.

For the past 2 years I have been a ministry leader in my church for the Mom2Mom organization. It was wonderful & I’m so glad God granted me such a fantastic privilege. It is one of the most vibrant ministries in our church & I loved being a part of it. I have handed over the leadership hat to another mom & am so excited to see how God will use her in Mom2Mom.

As much as I loved leading Mom2Mom, it was super time consuming. Many days were spent on the computer for hours, on the phone or meeting with moms. I can’t tell you how many days I would get up ready to get a lot accomplished either in my house or with my kids & Mom2Mom duties would come calling. No matter how hard I tried some days to ignore it & do other things, it just didn’t work out. It wasn’t always like that, but it was like that a lot. Just when I was ready to quit, someone would call me or email me or I would get a note in the mail encouraging me & letting me know they were praying for me. God was is my strength. It is so true that He calls us & then equips us.

Now I am looking at a week with nothing Mom2Mom related scheduled & it feels strange. I have new habits to create now. Habits that I once had. My house is a mess, so that is first on the agenda to get the kids & I back on our cleaning rotations. I miss blogging every week so hopefully I can get back into that habit. I have so many posts rolling around in my head that are screaming to be posted. I feel like I need to catch up with old friends.

I’m excited about next year. I’m excited to see what the Lord has in store for me as a mom & a wife. I’m excited to go deeper into His word.

Scott & I are on a new path & it is a bit foggy, but God has promised to direct our path & we are trusting him with all our heart. Scott’s book is published & while that is very exciting we can’t help but wonder how God will use this book to minister to others. We know that one day we will be full time ministry. We don’t know when or what that ministry will look like. We have a ministry blog set up –

I have all kinds of idea’s of how I would like to spend my time.

We’ll see what God writes on my new page. I know it won’t be blank for long.

Dana with Mary Dean, SCC Women’s Ministry director & Dana’s Co-Leader, Kerith Leffler at the Mom2Mom Spring Tea 2010, the last Mom2Mom Event of this year.

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday Night Date Night!

If you follow me on Facebook then you probably know that I love Monday's!  About 3 years ago, Scott & I blocked out all Monday nights just for us.  It is our night to go to dinner, see a movie or just take a long walk. The kids have to stay home, there are no activities allowed on the calendar except for the occasional babysitting job.  We protect it as best we can and it has worked.

It is so important for couples, no matter  how long you have been married to still date each other.  Think about before you dated.  What was it that you enjoyed so much about going out with your future husband?  For me, I loved that it was our time to get to know each other better.  We would ask each other questions about our past or about our dreams of the future.  We would laugh about embarrassing moments or discuss our passions & dreams.

Why does that have to stop when we say, "I do".  It doesn't.  You will spend the rest of your marriage getting to know your husband, at least you should.  You will never know everything that there is to know about him. You may think you do, but you don't. Dating just makes getting to know him better a lot more fun!

When you "date" your husband it is an opportunity to invest more of yourself in him. Find out more about him.  Ask him questions about something that you have never asked him about before, maybe his childhood or about his parents.

It doesn't have to be a fancy date or expensive, it can be very simple & cheap.  Scott has basically been unemployed for over a year now & I think we have only missed a couple of date nights because of money issues.

Some of our dates nights include things like;
  • Dinner. We don't like to spend more than $20 on dinner so if it normally is more than $20, we don't go unless we have a special offer.  It isn't so much about where we eat at as it is that we are eating alone with out kids.  Even if we are eating at Taco Bell, it doesn't matter, we are eating alone.
  • Movie.  This is a rare one, but occasionally  we will see a movie if there is something showing that we would want to see.  There happens to be one of the cheapest Theaters in our town really close by so that makes it more affordable.
  • Book Store.  We love books!  We have a really great Half-Price Book store really close to us, so we go there almost every week.  We like to sell there also.  But, we have a little game we like to play when we go.  See who can find the best bargain.  They have a great clearance section & many times we will find some really great books for a $1!  Last week we hit the jack pot!  We found C.H. Spurgeons' complete commentary on Psalms for a grand total of $6.  Scott & I like studying theology and often can find some really great bargains.  We like the books that no one else wants, so it works.
  • Long Walks.  We live in McKinney, Texas & it has a really nice & historic downtown area.  Scott & I like to walk downtown on evenings when the weather is nice.  Most of the stores are already closed so that keeps me from wanting to spend money.  There is always plenty to look at & a good old fashioned conversation about our past always happens.
  • Coffee.  We always end the evening with a cup of coffee or soda from McDonalds.  We used to go to Starbucks, but we found out that we like the coffee at McDonalds better.  No one is there by the time we get there.  We sit in the same booth every week.  This is where we really get some good discussions going.  We talk about the kids, about our church, whatever we want to talk about.  There are no rules.  Some couples try not to talk about their kids, but this is when Scott & I can discuss problem area's we see or victories we see in our kids.  We don't have that opportunity at home.
What about the kids?  Well, for us we have built in babysitters now so we don't have to get a sitter.  But if you do need someone to watch your kids then do it!  If you can't afford a sitter, then trade off with a friend.  You keep their kids one week & they keep your kids the next week. IF you don't have any friends or family close by then you get to be really creative with your date nights.

Put the kids to bed early.
  • Get some take out dinner, rent a movie, spread a blanket on the floor, open your favorite bottle of wine, throw some pillows down on the floor & have a date night!
  • Pop some popcorn, pull out a board game that you never get to play anymore.
  • Try to recreate your first date as best as you can without leaving your house.  Scott & I saw the movie, "Dead Poets Society" on our first date so we rented that one time & watched it.  What was fun is we ended up talking more about that date & what we thought of each other than watching the actual movie.
Why is this so important?  One day your kids will leave your house(at least they are supposed to).  One day your life will not be about getting kids to their next sports practice or helping with homework.  Your life will be about you & your husband.  I tell my kids that their dad was my husband before he was their dad!  That means to them that he comes before they do.  When your kids leave, will you be satisfied for it to be just you & your husband?  If you don't know each other very well it will be really hard!

Dating your husband is one little stone in the process of building your homes to God's glory!  It is worth the effort & trouble that it takes to get out of the house with out your kids.  It doesn't have to be every week, it can be once a month, just put it on the calendar.  It will strengthen your marriage, thus making you better parents.

Do you have a date night?  I would love to hear about it!  Post your comment below & tell me how you & your husband make time for each other.

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