Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I promise I'll be back...

You might notice less posts from me. I am taking a break and taking some needed family time. Just wanted to let my wonderful followers/readers know.

More posts to come more often in about a week...thanks for your patience and understanding.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday's Twice blogged: The Gift of Obedience is like rockclimbing...

I decided to post this blog again because it speaks about what I am currently learning in my life at the moment.

 When you choose to rock climb you can't just start climbing. It takes special tools and devices, practice, expertise, and a guide to help you learn how to top-rope or do what is called, trad climbing. All of that takes someone with experience to put cams, or what I call safety insurance, etc. into the can't safely climb a rock without any of the above.  Then, there is the person below you who belays you...that means they hold the rope tight so when or if you fall, the belayer in a sense stops you from falling (or dying, yikes). 

To me...this what obedience means...saying yes to God and then relying on Him to catch you from falling, to provide when you choose His way. It is giving up control and trusting the "Belayer."

Yes, that is me on the rock! This isn't the risk I am necessarily referring too later, but being obedient to the Lord is a lot like this picture: rocky, where when we are in the dark, uncertain of where and when we will find the next foothold or handhold to continue our obedience  is when we must realize that the Lord is trustworthy. When He calls us He is holding us (ropes, helmets, harness). We are NEVER alone...We have a personal, amazing belayer! We will eventually see victory...a view we could never imagine or accomplish on our own.

 I said, "Yes." You blessed us again. You showed me because I watched and listened. I said, "Master, here I am. I want to serve you."

Here are things I have said yes too...what I am trying to be obedient in:
  I accepted the Coordinator position for the MOPS (Mother's Of Preschoolers) program here in Grand Junction. I am waiting for approval from the Pastor who holds the ministry at his church. I will help run meetings and support all involved (teachers, table leaders, etc.).

I know it is what the Lord called me to do because it wasn't my idea, it is my heart to minister to other Christian women, is beyond me. I haven't led like this before. I am nervous, but He will provide what I don't have. I am excited...standing in the trenches ready to serve.

Yes, to staying home for another year. Homeschooling my under 5 sons for now. It looks like God is providing the same job for hubby. He likes his job. God provided some extra money to help us as well.
Yes, to an amazing Bible Study about saying yes to God and doing it online on Skype with my best friend.

Yes, to less of me and more of the Lord. Yes, to taking risks with God.
Yes to trying new activities, or refining the old activities or desires I have always had. 
asking God, what should I do with my time? What about this? Should I do it?

I really want Him to be in every part of my life. Desiring strongly that He gets the glory. Fine-tuning my listening abilities and obedience. Trying to let go of being too hard on myself when I   fail to do any of the above.

So the gifts are the joy that is coming, the changes I have experienced and the freedom of not always getting it right but receiving mercy and forgiveness. Then, there is the opportunity to serve the most amazing God...
that is the greatest gift: That He wants me to do something for Him.

***Please share your story of the gift of obedience...What gifts have you seen?

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Hodge-Podge worth sharing.

My family and I recently went on a mini-vacation to Glenwood Springs, Colorado. It's a pretty, charming mountain town with one of the most rewarding and breathtaking hikes in the U.S.  We were there for two days and had a lot of fun that wore us all out. Two days with kids with no naps turned out just fine and was worth that risk! 

So usually a vacation is about relaxing, spending time together and having fun, right?...which we did, but what I didn't expect was to learn anything during the vacation. I desired to just turn my brain off for once while getting away from life. No such luck.

Below is the hodge-podge of wonderfulness that I believe the Lord helped me discover and see from our vacation activities:
1. Sometimes I am so selfish that I forget that what is easy for me is not always true for someone else. My four year old hiked a VERY difficult, steep trail that is 1.2 miles one way without stopping for very long. I lost my compassion or understanding not to mention my patience. He began whining and we hadn't even gone a 1/4 of a mile, but his little mind didn't understand the beauty that was waiting for him at the end of the hike. The whole point of the exertion. (I did praise him despite my need to work on being more understanding and less selfish).
***Don't we all do this? Whine when things start to get tough? I am guilty of forgetting the prize, or gift, blessing, and freedom that comes from "hiking" obediently.
My son and I beginning the toughest section of the trail. 

If you look closely you can see my son and I right of the tree before we finish the HARDEST part of the trail. See the steep railing to help you up the scary stairs...the other side is a nice fall to your death, but hey wait til' you see the next picture!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why do you call it Raw?

Ya know how one of those pesky-not-so-great memories comes to that seems to haunt you and you can't shake it? Well, I experienced that today and thanks to it I have blog material. (hehe, take that dumb memory).

To protect the guilty...someone saw my title and said, "Raw Christian huh? Yeah, cause we don't want any cooked Christians." Can you hear the dadadum ching? Okay, it is kind of funny, but it bothered me. Maybe I felt mocked?

So why Raw Christian? This is a two part, not too long of an answer. I am sure the Christian in my title is obvious, right? It isn't a warning that all of my blogs will be sermons or preachy...just identifying a HUGE portion of who I am and explains the general tone of my blog.

Now, why include raw in the title? Well, in 2010, I began the blog and it bore out of my frustration towards people (who will remain nameless) who just were not very real with me during some extremely difficult trials in their life and in mine. I felt betrayed by their indifference and their typical Christian answers that NEVER made anyone feel better.  

I felt compelled to share what God has brought me through in the most sincere and honest way. To not be afraid to be transparent or care so much about what others think. To offer a place where my vulnerability helped others understand that they are not alone. That life with Christ is NOT a guarantee that one won't suffer.
It was my hope that readers could feel like they were hanging out with a friend 
who wasn't judging them for a far from perfect life. Even if they didn't share my beliefs, that they felt accepted and loved.

If you are reading this, I hope you understand that this is my vision and that you are welcome to be you here!

Now part 2 of my answer is quite silly, but again, this is me being me:
     In college, a group of girlfriends and I created a non-official, not recognized underground club called, RAW which is short for Random Acts of Weirdness. We went to a wealthy private school, Texas Christian University and felt that it needed more weirdness in it. So we happily made fools of ourselves JUST to mess with people. 
   One of my favorite acts of weirdness was when we pretended to swim on some carpet in the student center. Yes, we did pretend cannonballs, dives and we even managed to convince a football player to join in. I am sure people thought we were drunk. We weren't! I promise. 

Another fun incident was when several of us rode into the food court reenacting the horse riding antics in Monty Python's Holy Grail. If you haven't seen the movie (I highly recommend it), well they pretend to ride on horses that are not there and a guy hits two coconuts together to make the trotting sound of horses' hooves. IT is not a movie that makes sense. You've been warned! I have to mention that my friend, we will call her "C" even ordered food from the food court for her plant! 

So the reason I included that is because if you don't know me then I have to tell you that I have a very silly, big kid side of me that emerges often without warning. It is random as our club title suggests. I can't help it. My mother is partially to blame, God rest her humorous soul.
 I am guilty of puns, sarcasm, and well just weirdness. I am animated at times and yes, I enjoy doing skits and dramas!

So, there ya have it folks, the real reasons I chose my title. Happy Monday!

Linking up with 

 Covered in Grace

Saturday, June 16, 2012

7 Bible Studies worth checking out! Really!

One of the gems of reading a fabulous book is the chance to share it with others. However, I also want to share more than that today. I want to tell you about some bible studies that have GREATLY impacted my life. 
It is funny to say this, but it is an honor to be the poster child for many of these see God changing me and knowing that I am growing in Him

I am SO thankful that the Lord used these studies to draw me deeper into understanding Him. As I learned, pondered, reflected and most importantly, listened to God, I gained a closeness to Him that I am not sure I can express in words, but I will say that He is always working in us and it is beautiful. 

There are actually 8 listed, but I only including seven because they are the best. The 8th one is good too!

7 Bible Studies to consider (In no certain order of awesomeness):

1) The Names of God, 52 bible Studies by Ann Spangler
   Short, wonderful studies on the 52 names of God found in the bible. What I love most is the names are explained well and they are shown in a specific scripture. The book also describes the cultural significance and the language meaning behind each name. There is a pronunciation guide as well. (I am glad because I didn't take Hebrew or Greek in school). These names draw you feel the power in JUST His names! 

2) Jonah:Navigating a Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shireer
   WARNING: You will be challenged!  This is the story of Jonah, but not like you would expect! You learn about how God interrupts our lives or more gives us a divine intervention. When He calls us it may not be convenient, but is SO worth the obedience. After doing this study, I was asked to quit my job, stay home and leave a city I loved all with a hubby and two children who were affected as well.  

3) Me, Myself, & Lies by Jennifer Rothschild
    Okay, I never realized how terrible I talk to myself! How much I have allowed lies to rule my heart until I came across this study. I learned to replace those lies with God's word and truth about me. This amazing woman is currently blind due to a rare, degenerative eye disease. She is still praising the Lord and living life despite the hardship of no sight. She is funny, creative, and inspiring. You CANNOT help but want to tell Satan to eat poo, shove off and take his lies with him. 

4) What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst (President of Proverbs 31 ministries).
    I was recently challenged by this study and felt God telling me it was time to quit saying no so much to Him. It is not like I don't follow or submit to God's will or that I always say no, but I became more aware of God's voice and looked back at how sad it was that I missed opportunities He gave me. This book helped me and was a part of saying yes to being the MOPS coordinator and staying home a second complete faith I see God's faithfulness as He is providing for this current adventure.

5) Living Free by Beth Moore
   A great study where I first learned about praying God's word...something I have never been taught to do let alone heard of...oh, it is so amazing though and has changed my prayer life.  It is also about replacing strongholds with Christ's freedom.

6) Stepping UP: A Journey through the Psalms of Ascent by Beth Moore
   I can't even describe the beauty of these Psalms and this study. You get wonderful historical and cultural accuracy without a seminary class feel. There are ample opportunities to really reflect, analyze and think about the 15 Psalms. If you are visual person like me then you will love all of the graphics and illustrations provided as well. My favorite part is two fold: you get to put your own rendition of each Psalm in the book and there is a stair graphic as kind of a have to do to the study to know what I am talking about.

7) Designing A Woman's Life: A Practical Guide to Discovering Your Unique Purpose and Passion by Judith Couchman
  My current study and profound is an understatement! I have done personality tests, find your purpose bible studies and the Purpose Driven Life and this by far is the best I have found at encouraging one to take a dive into the deep water of seeking God's purpose for our lives and then carrying out the visions surrounding it. The book doesn't feel like it is trying to fill my head with phrases I want to hear or get the answer for me, yet it also does not leave me hanging with no guidance or examples. It has so many treasures that I have underlined and want to keep in my heart forever including the truth that I am deeply significant because God created me. I HIGHLY recommend this book to ALL women!

What bible studies have you studied that are awesome? PLEASE share with me. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Their paths...


Sometimes I wonder how their paths will turn out or which direction they will go. Crooked more than straight? Curved, bent wildly or narrow and steep?

I am awed at the very fact that I get to watch it, but nervous about it too. I have two sons mind you. Bless their hearts for they just might invite trouble without meaning to.

Then, I remember who gave them to me. He has their future in His hands. How my prayers for my children do make a difference.

I think about how the Lord took care of me all of my life thus far and how much I've changed. 
I gaze down my path and see where I chose Him, see the clues of His love, grace and forgiveness.

I trust God with my children completely. I am delighted to be blessed with His children (my sons) and that He trusted me to influence their lives toward Him. I am entrusted to help teach them how to be and love them.
 I am grateful for this Path!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Don't ignore the road signs...They just might save you.

I don't know what it is about summer, but it seems like that is the time when the construction workers are most active. Seems every contractor received the go ahead to destroy and rebuild every street here where I live. Being an optimist, I look forward to the fresh paved roads that are kinder to my tires. But I admit I find myself annoyed at all of the detours and road signs. It is just SUCH a hideous orange! Although, hubby thinks it would be great to own an ugly orange cone...okay I could see the interest.

 So the Lord has called me to be a leader. The coordinator for a MOPS group nearby. I've never envisioned myself a leader/coordinator even though a few people...mostly strangers have encouraged me or said I am good at it. Honestly? I basically ignored them. 

In my experience, God says do it and I say okay, but then I began to doubt if this vision is going to ever happen in my lifetime. Not because God isn't powerful or capable, but because again, as I said in my last post, I fear success. I also fear failure. I know there is irony in there somewhere.

AND that is where the ugly orange cones come in...
If you've been following the Lord and listening to Him then I don't have to explain when I tell you that He will give you road signs (tools, strategies and answers that are always surprising).

I don't feel adequate to lead and here is what He literally placed in my life to show me that He's guiding me, teaching me, and providing for me:

            1) A book from Lisa-Jo's blog, that she recommended from her reading list that is about leading called, Tribes by Seth Godin

2) Three "free" Christian lessons about improving your leadership skills, etc. from

3) My current bible study, by Judith Couchman called, Designing A Woman's Life.  
It is all about finding your calling and then embracing this gift from God and following the visions He gives you within this calling. (Which I am finding for me involves leading).

4) I am surrounded by women who have led the MOPS before and one of them is going to assist me this year. My own leadership team will be learning with me as we discover how to lead in our positions.

5)My hubby. Yes, this sweet man is a detailed-oriented individual who is the most reliable and organized person I know. He will be a HUGE resource for me....can't wait to see how God will use him.

6) Last, but not least, God's word. THE BEST defensive weapon I've got for those twin pests called, doubt and fear. The greatest way to fight those cripplers is with His truth.
(Here's a good one,"With man this is impossible, but not with God; All things are possible with God." Mark 10:27 NIV

What an amazing God we serve. I can't do this myself, but I can do it with the Lord. I am more than excited and nervous for this journey as it unfolds. Please pray for me.

Would LOVE to hear if you have found your purpose and what kinds of visions God has given you.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

She lied to me again. 

Whispered deceitfully in my ear, "You don't deserve to do anything great and you might as well quit now save embarrassment. Who do you think you are anyway?"

And for most of my life I have listened to HER: my own voice deny me this truth: You are deeply significant because God created you.

  Then God leads me to this book where the quote above came from: 
Designing a Woman's Life by Judith Couchman. And I know He is speaking to me in a way I understand. He knows I will read this and I will listen and it will dislodge another thorn from my lying flesh. He knows that Judith's purpose fulfilled in her will influence and inspire me to want to fulfill mine.

My curious-loves-to-learn-and-read self isn't going to ignore the summary on the back of the book. It draws me in and it is meant least at this point in my life.
So I begin to learn again that I am worthy. It helps me to revisit my talents and my gifts. To remember how they were used and how aspects of dreams happened. I understand that God can provide many visions, but they all stem from my one purpose (who I am or perhaps why God made me). 
 Yet, I have allowed fear of success AND fear of failure rule.
 The flesh fights what it really wants: worth. 

I wince, no, nervously laugh at the contradiction.

On one hand, I fear failure with its' cliches of looking like a fool, breaking a promise, or multitudes of rejection proving me a loser.

Then, there's the fear of success and I almost can't write about this, but if I don't then I only exacerbate my affliction.
Fearing success? Yep. Seriously how can one be afraid of success? Who does this? Oh, me...right. Are we not supposed to be overjoyed when things go well? 

I actually believe that achieving a dream or getting something I desire is a truly bad thing. I don't deserve it. I worry that the success will go to my head. I know this isn't entirely correct. God will get the glory.  
And as I type this...He speaks this to my heart:
...To obey is better than sacrifice. 1 Samuel 15:22 NIV

Yes, to obey is to ignore my low self-esteem (a form of pride). To obey is to abandon my human misunderstandings and doubt.

Today I am choosing to believe. Believe Him when he says, I have plans for you...a future. Jeremiah 29:11NIV

I am going to find my purpose and I smile.  

Friday, June 8, 2012

Unmet expectation


I dislike that I have expectations because that means that I am only thinking about what I want. It represents disappointment since nothing EVER goes perfectly as planned.
How do you not have them when you are looking forward to a visit? Forward to a special event?
I have been in this new town for a year and have expected to make a close friend, connect to a church, want to be here, but these are unmet expectations.
Then I realize that having expectations is like hope. It is waiting for something to hang on to and often it is all that keeps one breathing.
I'll trusting God I can't help but anticipate that there will be answers even if those answers don't match mine. I expect to see the Lord working at some point. Blessings do arrive eventually.

The Lord wants us to expect to see Him...and I do and I am grateful.

Monday, June 4, 2012

What is worth the effort and what I wish was easier too.

He said, "Ya know it would be nice if some things in life just came more naturally. So many things take work."
It is true. I am not sure if there is really something that doesn't. Even if physical is not involved there's always mental or emotional to consider.
But what I want to tell him, I don't. It will only come across as a lecture.  

There are a few things really worth the effort!
 In no certain order 

1. Relationships
Yes, I wish sometimes they were not so complicated and that some of mine were less strained, but investing in others is a great gift. We learn to be less selfish. I am understood. Tremendous pain, anger, forgiveness and joy come from these connections. My head is filled with memories, laughter where your side hurts and your face aches. Where who I am is stretched. Challenged. Changed forever.
  Those I call family and friends are irreplaceable treasures. In my most difficult circumstances, a few of the above have provided great comfort and support...even cheering or encouragement. It is better to not be alone. We might be tempted to paint a volleyball and call it Wilson.

2. Fulfilling your purpose...or dream or passion...
   Not much of an explanation is needed matter what you do if you love it than you feel fulfilled. A sense of significance. Where passion and desire meet. Maybe you have to trudge through impossible feats like numerous college degrees or grueling training or better yet the dreaded waiting, but in the end if you are doing something that fits you then it will be worth the sweat. I love this sums it up:
“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC
3. Getting to know God (and living out my faith)
My most important achievement. One that actually doesn't require pulling my hair out or a ton of exertion. I am free to be me with the Lord and there isn't a heavy burden of condition placed on me.  There's only grace, love, mercy, deep delight. I am unique and created to do something only I can do in God's name. Trusting Him with my life. With everything. Not knowing, often waiting, but still resting in hope and in the understanding that He will never abandon me.

So switching is what I wish was easier..

1. Parenting
   I love my boys, but sometimes I just don't know how to stop a behavior they are doing that is so not okay. Sometimes hubby and I try strategies that fail and then we are at a lost. Often they drive us crazy with their choices. We try so hard to not be too permissive or military dictators, but we tend to do more barking of orders.  I just wish for one day that I would wake up and magically my children would be sane and under control at the store, pick up their toys when there done playing with them, sleep in late and I wouldn't have to say, "Please don't _______ your brother." 

2. Relationships 
  I know what I said earlier, but yeah to receive what I said above, it takes considerable patience, a daily choice to forgive, clarify and communicate. Exhausting. Sacrificial too. Sometimes you have to end a relationship and that is just plain uncomfortable or heartbreaking. Some prove dangerous and leave us scarred and hesitant towards future ones. A dream relationship would go like this...I am completely understood all the time, listened to, never betrayed, I feel secure in it and both parties needs are met.

3.  Hodge Podge  
The following are items that need no defining, but I wish they were easier and or perhaps more convenient?
   Exercise, math, looking younger, losing loved ones, juggling, not repeating bad habits, changing, cooking healthy, gourmet meals, memorizing scripture and toy packaging. Just to name a few.

So what about you? What do you think is worth the effort and what do you wish was easier?  

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My Photos for a Photo challenge

Anytime anyone dares me to be creative, well, you can bet I jump on it like a duck on a June Bug!!

If you are to know should know that I have a rebellious streak where I don't follow all social rules. Like these pictures were inspired from a May Photo challenge and it is June! I am so bad, huh? Just kidding. Anyhoo...

Here are some photos that I took that fit in the categories of this photo challenge (see below post) #'s 1-6


2. Skyline

A canyon in Moab, UT where I was sitting on my rock throne and enjoying the view!

3. Something I wore today...

4. Fun!
Who knew a blow-up mattress could be so fun?

5. Bird
Okay so hubby actually took the picture, but I spotted the bird and was standing near him so it counts, right?

 6. You

I am on the right and my tongue is not really stuck to the outside of the ice cream container...but my love affair with ice cream is well, me. (okay so I am technically cheating on coffee and chocolate, but this is a great picture of the not so serious me).

So I am not a photographer, but I am artistic and a lover of metaphor and unique interpretation. 

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