- Get up
- Quiet time
- Half-day spiritual retreat for couples at church
- Hanging out with friends in town from San Diego
- Dinner with Mom and Dad (arriving today for a couple of weeks!)
- Back to bed
This is one of the phrases that gets repeated again and again and again to the children at our church. Week in, week out. "I need to make the wise choice."
We talk about what that means; we repeat it out loud; it's written on the walls.
"I need to make the wise choice."
I've heard it said that repetition is the key to long-term retention. Say something over and over and over again until it sinks in, becomes written on your heart, part of your thinking.
"I need to make the wise choice."
Can I just say that the wise choice is sometimes the hard choice? Especially when you have made what wasn't the wise choice and then have to go back and undo the choice and make a new one?
Case in point.
Fridays are my day to write and work on this Bible study I'm writing/going to be teaching starting March 24. Fridays are a day Toben has gifted me, a day I've set aside for this task, a day to listen to God's voice and respond.
And yet I got all mixed up, thinking that Friday was MY day. And so I made plans to have lunch with a friend. It's just lunch, I thought. And it's MY day. But even as I made those plans, I felt God whisper, We had plans first.
And so I've had to cancel.
And this is the SECOND time I've done it. The first time was with a different friend, but good grief!, you'd think I'd have learned the first time!
"I need to make the wise choice."
And I need to make it the first time! It's not that lunch was a bad choice, but it wasn't the wisest choice. It wasn't being true to something I'd already committed to God to do.
I'm feeling so grateful this morning for an understanding friend, for an opportunity to redo a choice, for God's voice reminding me that, yep, you guessed it--I need to make the wise choice.
How about you? Any choice you need to redo to make the wise choice? Facing a decision for the first time and have the opportunity to make the wise choice even if it's hard?
Here's the thing. The wise choice won't always be the hard choice. It won't necessarily be the easy choice either. It's not really about hard or easy or convenient or quick or simple or whatever.
The WISE choice. That's the descriptor that matters. In every choice we make.
"I need to make the wise choice." Today. In all I choose. And so do you.
::cheering you on::
Oh wow, I must be official. I added a running category. Hmm...I feel all strong and like I need to pick a race to run with Rachel somewhere near the ocean. Oh my! Did I just type that out loud?!
I do, after all, have new running shoes. And the Nike + iPod thing that now tracks my time, distance, and pace. It is so cool. Knowing I have a computer chip thing in my shoe that talks to the iPod in my hand makes me feel kinda like the Bionic Woman.
(Aren't they pretty? All silver and red?)
I even have new running duds. New running pants and running shorts to go with the tee-shirt that Toben hunted down for me. (You can't find them anywhere, but he did. I got the last one in Arizona.)
What I listen to while I run depends on how I feel, and so I have a bunch of different running mixes on my iPod.
Here's some of what's on them:
The mixes that Toben has made for me don't have track names on them. One is filled with great 80s music, the other with more recent hip/hop. And, of course, there's always the soundtracks from Glee. And just picking an artist like Kirk Franklin and taking him for a run.
Oh, and I love country music too.
I mix it up quite a bit. And I mix up the mixes on my way out the door, adding and subtracting songs depending on what I want to hear. From time to time, I do listen to sermons, but I like it LOUD so I can't hear myself breathe. And then it feels like whoever is preaching is just yelling at me.
My favorite from this morning's run? Sweet Home Alabama.
In response to a number of questions about how much wine to use in the boeuf bourginon...
Well, it depends on the size of the bottle and how much beef. Here's a rule of thumb: Make sure that to start, the wine comes up to cover all of the beef. How's that? Helpful enough?
And really, if it's too saucy, you can serve it with a slotted spoon.
And all the references to Julie and Julia? Will you be horrified if I tell you I've not seen it? I know! It's on the someday list, but there are too many other things ahead of it for now...
Thanks to Susan for reminding me what recipe I promised to share!
(I love Susan. Some day we are going to meet in real life!)
Anyway, boeuf bourginon. You'll notice there aren't many measurements. That's just not how I cook. Bake? I'm all about exact measurements, but making dinner is more of an eyeballing thing until it looks/smells/tastes right for me.
Here's what you need:
And here's what you do:
We like it over mashed potatoes. Mashed kind of chunky and with the skins on, made with sour cream and thyme.
This day kinda got away from me. So let's see...
Memory Monday: Still working on Psalm 100. Need to be more diligent with it. Miss having my girlies memorize with me. It's definitely easier with friends/daughters! Leave your link below.
Recipe: For the life of me, I can't remember what I said I'd share, what I was asked to share. Hmm... Anyone?
Music: A separate post needed, I think. And thanks to those of you who already volunteered yours. Love that.
I'd say more, but I sat down at the computer 25 minutes ago for "just a second" on my way to get ready for bed. And I'm still here! Gotta go get on my jammies...the girls and I have a date to watch Thoroughly Modern Millie and "I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date."
(Anyone else think that Alice in Wonderland is kinda creepy?)
Grilled peanut butter sandwiches: I'd never heard of these, but learned all about them on Facebook today. Are we friends on Facebook? You can go get the scoop on my profile page.
Okay, now I've really gotta run.
Just a quick good morning before I go lace up my new Nike Zoom running shoes and hit the pavement. New shoes make me happy!
I am not an athletic shoe girl unless I'm actually exercising. Something about jeans and tennis shoes feels very weird to me. Can't do it. Give me a lovely heel or a patent flat any day.
I'll be back later with Memory Monday, a recipe for something I promised to share but can't remember off the top of my head, and some running music suggestions. And I want to hear what you love to work out to too. (That was a lot of to(o)s!)
In the meantime, good morning, have a great day, and I'll see you later!
If I were given the opportunity to travel back in time, I think I'd take it. But I'd have to schedule it in the future after my hair had the opportunity to grow long again. I need that flat iron desperately! And if I'm going back in time, I want to look good while I do it.
I love the Outlander books. Have you read them? (And you'll notice Claire has long hair, and curly, so she can look beautiful when she finds herself back in time.)
I still do my girls' hair--everyday. Audrey is 11. Totally old enough to do her hair. But she doesn't. She's afraid of the flatiron. And doesn't really care what her hair looks like. But I do, so I do it.
I found a gray hair. AAAHHHHHHH!
There was only one, so I pulled it out completely.
Had a conversation with Toben about whether I'll be the kind of woman who colors her hair when it turns gray. I don't color my hair now--not even highlights--gasp! shock! I know!--but I think I'll color it until I'm at least 60. Then I'll feel okay about having silvery hair.
Toben was not sympathetic to my gray hair freakout. He has lots and he's fine so he figures, "What's the big deal, crazy wife?"
Listening to the Glee soundtrack. (Thank you, Mer!) It makes me (a) sing at the top of my lungs OR (b) lip synch in the mirror with the flat iron as a mic. Either way, the girls are horrified and I'm happy as a clam.
"SWEEEEET CAROLINE! bah, bah, bah!"
Okay, off to get dressed for church.
Do you have random thoughts while doing your hair,
or am I the only one?
Here we go...colored my hair just for fun!
What do you think? I kinda like the orange!
Ever think about doing something, but don't do it, but somehow think you did? And then you check and realize you only thought about doing it and you'd better get with the program?
So here I thought I'd thanked you for the Bible study writing prayers last Friday--AND I TOTALLY DIDN'T. I just thought about it. And as I tell the girls, other people can't read our thoughts, we have to TELL them thank you, we have to SAY ALOUD the compliment we're thinking.
It was one of those days I couldn't type fast enough. Incredible. Amazing. Awe-some.
Yet there were moments when I'd suddenly feel completely overwhelmed and inadequate and terrified, but I put my hands in my lap, told God, "I'm overwhelmed and I need YOU to do this thing, because this is your Bible study and it needs to say what YOU want it to say." And I'd sit expectantly and pretty soon the typing would flow again.
It was so cool.
And from time to time your comments or emails would pop up, and they were like little jolts of caffeine to my system, giving me a thrill and a push to keep going.
And now I have to confess that I'm already doubting it. Silly, huh? I have moments--just moments, mind you, but moments nonetheless--where I suddenly think, Maybe it's not that good. Maybe that's not what you're supposed to say. You are no Beth, no Priscilla. What if you let all these women down?
Isn't it so crazy and yet so completely predictable that when we hear God's voice SO CLEARLY, SO SPECIFICALLY, SO SURELY that it doesn't take much time for Satan to come slinking along and make us question what we heard and if in fact we actually heard anything at all?!
Can I just say I hate that? In fact, I'll just go ahead and say I hate him. Makes me angry at him and all the more determined to stand strong. To stand firm. To resist him. To stick out my tongue at him and to tell him to GET LOST.
I'm guessing there are some of you who have heard God's voice and you knew that you knew that you knew it was him, and yet you're suddenly plagued with doubt. I want to encourage you this morning to stand firm in his Word, to trust that he speaks, to trust that he doesn't just speak to others, but that he speaks TO YOU.
I love you. Thanks for being my friend.
Our homeschool curriculum has us memorizing a speech or document from American history for the next six weeks; we're learning a portion of "I Have a Dream." We've been reading it aloud and the girls and I sat down last week and watched it online. Amazing.
All that to say, they're not joining me in Memory Monday for a while.
I'm going to learn Psalm 100--it's what we're all memorizing for Bible study during the next few weeks. I'm up through verse 2 and hoping to have verse 3 down by tomorrow night.
As always, leave a comment with your verse or a link to your post. And if you're new and have no idea what Memory Monday is all about, click on the button on the sidebar on the right!
I was doing my Bible study homework this morning and was struck anew by Romans 4:18-21, which says, "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed."
(This is one of those phrases in Scriptures that gives me a thrill. (And that makes me think of Anne of Green Gables and her conversation with Matthew on the way home to Green Gables for the first time.) That does something inside me that I can't ever seem to find the right words to describe. I love those!)
What stood out to me is that I give up hope all too easily. I hope and pray and believe God for something big, and when it's not forthcoming in whatever timeframe I determine is reasonable, I give up. I quit. I stop believing and doubt the promise God gave.
I don't want to be a quitter.
As I did my homework, as I saw God's promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3, as I thought of the limitations Abraham and Sarah had (hello? physically impossibilities here!), and then saw in Hebrews 11:12 that God gave Abraham a whole nation of children too many to count when all he wanted was one son--
I heard God say, "Against all hope, believe in hope. Believe me anyway, Joanne. Don't quit."
And as I looked at different translations to get a better understanding of what hoping against hope looks like, I came up with my own.
I love words, love different ways of saying the same thing. And so I copied and cut and pasted a whole bunch of different translations together to come up with mine. And I put my name in it.
And as I put my own version together, I kept the past tense. I am not there yet, this is not fully true of me yet, but against hope I am hoping that this will be true of me. That someday my name and my story will be in the hall of faith and that this is what it will say.
Romans 4:18-21, plus a little Ephesians 3:20-21 thrown in at the end for good measure (Joanne’s version)
Even when there was no
reason to hope—when hope had run out and it all seemed hopeless—even then—Joanne
kept hoping anyway. She continued believing God. She chose to live and love not
on the basis of what she could or couldn’t do, but on what God said he would
Her faith did not weaken as she considered her own ability, limitations, or questions. She didn’t focus on her own strength and say, “It’s hopeless. I give up.” Instead she accepted those things matter of factly and believed God anyway. She never doubted or questioned God’s promises. Her faith was strengthened and gave her comfort and she praised God for it, giving all the credit to him.
She didn’t tiptoe around God’s promises to her and ask him cautiously skeptical questions. “How can this be? Will you really come through? Can I trust you?” No! Fully satisfied and absolutely assured that God was not only able, but also mighty and willing to keep his Word to her, she jumped into the deep end of those promises and came up strong, ready for God, convinced that God would do what he said he would do. And not only that, but that when it was all said and done it would be far more than she could have ever dared to imagine or guess in her wildest dreams.
Glory to God! Praise him with all that you are! What a mighty God we serve.
(Yes, we've been listening to the Glee soundtrack, so that's the first thing that popped into my head when I thought to ask you to pray today. If you've not heard the music from Glee, well, it's amazing. How I wish I could sing like that!)
We rocked and rolled through our school this week with the goal of getting our work done in four days. Looking ahead to the end of March, I'll be teaching Bible study at church on Wednesday nights and Thursday mornings. Thursdays just aren't going to be school days for us when that starts.
And until then, Fridays aren't going to be school days for us. Between now and March 24, I'm going to use Fridays to have uninterrupted writing/preparing time. The church has a space that's empty on Fridays for me to use, and so I'm headed there after my weekly Friday morning coffee date. (Hi Christy! See you in a bit!)
I'm excited for today. I've been writing in the dark at night as thoughts pop into my head as I'm falling asleep and I grab the notebook by the bed and scribble madly to capture it. I haven't looked at those scribbles in the light, so I'm hoping they'll be legible and still make sense!
I do write bits and pieces here and there each day, but I'm looking forward to a big chunk of time to really focus. That's how I write best.
I'm learning just how much I love to teach. Homeschooling as just affirmed that in many ways. And while I of course want to teach my children well when we study things like writing and reading and history and science and math, I feel an added weight when I teach the Bible.
Would you pray for me today as I write and prepare to teach what I write?
God has been so clear and so specific about the session I'm working on. I love that! And I want to capture it in a way that accurately reflects all he's revealed.
I want to handle God's Word with care.
I am loving Priscilla Shirer's He Speaks to Me. Loving it.
And after last night's video session (on set-apart holiness), I love it even more. Because it was challenging. Because it was hard to hear. Because God spoke to me and said, "You know what we're going to talk about this week, don't you?"
And I do know. I kinda feel like God called me by my middle name. You know..."Joanne Marie, I have something to say to you."
And while part of me is nervous, part of me is excited. Because here's the thing: I want to hear God speak. I want to position myself to listen. I want to get rid of things in my life that keep me from hearing his voice.
I want him to use me.
So bring it on.
I am sometimes amazed that anyone reads my lists, but then I remember that I always enjoy reading other people's lists, and besides, this is what's going on in my head tonight. Bear with me!
I'm really enjoying working again. I like what I'm doing.
At the same time, it's hard to work at home. I do, and I have in the past, but being at the church today for some meetings made me realize that I really do like "going" to work.
I got to walk through the new worship center our church is building. Wow. Wow. Wow. (And I stood on the stage and told my imaginary audience to open their Bibles...a girl can dream!)
I love writing Bible studies. I'm so excited to teach at church starting March 24. But I'm having a hard time finding a regular time to write. Between my Bible study homework, my own study, teaching the girls, working with Toben, and maintaining the usual household stuff, I'm feeling like I need an extra hour everyday when the whole world stops--all except me.
Wouldn't that be cool?
I wish I had more time to talk on the phone with my friends. I miss them and feel like I've done a terrible job at keeping in touch lately.
I watched a couple of episodes of Glee the other day. And I'm hooked. I love the music. I want to sing like that. And move like that. Emma's been singing lines of "Don't Stop Believing" all evening. From the bathroom where she's taking a bath I keep hearing things like "Just a city boy..." "took a train going anywhere..." Love it.
I've decided I like the weather in Phoenix. A lot. The trees in my neighborhood are all blooming and chilly here is around 60 degrees. Not -6. I kinda like that. Spring in February is definitely a good thing.
I miss my sister. She and her family just moved into their new house in Denver. And I want to go see it and take her something fun for it.
My attitude this morning stank. No other word for it. Woke up feeling the kind of words my mother taught me not to say. Asked God to fix my attitude, went for run when I wanted to go back to bed, and by the time I got back, it was better. Not great, but better. And despite a rough start, it ended up being a good day.
Audrey made lasagna for dinner. So yummy! And so proud of my girl. She's getting so grown up. Sometimes it makes me really excited, other times I want to run screaming for the hills.
I'm starting to embarrass her. And I kind of do it on purpose because it makes me laugh to see her so horrified! She and her BFF act very shocked when her BFF's mom (my dear friend) and I sing and dance around the kitchen. But secretly, I think they know we're cool.
We're reading Old Yeller for school. Such a good story. I'm totally going to cry--I just know it.
The girls both want to homeschool again next year. I think I do too. We're talking about it as a family and praying about it.
There are days I wish I could do whatever I wanted--days when I really don't want to do geometry.
I am having coffee with a friend tomorrow--and we're going to have a conversation from start to finish. Without interruptions from our kids. Hooray!
I should probably go work on Bible study, but I'm tired and my brain feels mushy. Think I'll go brush my teeth and wash my face and take out my contacts and (::pause:: Emma just came to tell me she needed a hug, stopped to hug her) get into bed with a book.
If I could be anything for a day, I think I'd be a secret agent kinda like Angelina Jolie in Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
What about you? If you could wake up tomorrow to a different life, what would you want do for a day?
Our curriculum is suggesting we take the next six weeks or so to memorize the Gettysburg Address, or another famous speech or document from American history. I'm debating if we're going to.
In the meantime, we're going to review John 15:1-8. We have the beginning down really well, but the second half is a little rough.
What about you?
Joey the cat can tell time. I'm convinced of it. Either that, or he has a highly developed sense of smell and doesn't want me to miss that first cup of coffee brewing in the kitchen.
And while I do get up at 5 a.m. on weekdays, there's really no need for me to up that early on the weekends. I'll happily sleep in until 6:15. Except for Joey.
This is Simon's Cat. And if you want a peek of my morning that began at 5:11, go here to take a peek. My morning exactly--without the bat. (And if you have a cat, you'll probably want to go watch the rest of the movies too.
Oh, and now that I've fed Joey breakfast, he's curled up on the couch, fast asleep. Lucky cat.
Had a thought. Or rather a series of thoughts.
I was losing some enthusiasm about running. I'd hit the road and flip through my iPod, trying to find something I wanted to listen to. I love the songs on the mix I was running to, but they were getting, well, old.
And it's hard to run and look at that little screen and flip around to find something new without running into, say, a tree.
So I made some new running mixes for myself the other day, and find myself excited to head out the door so I can listen.
Makes me wonder if God likes a new song from time to time too. Is that why the psalmist encourages us to "sing a NEW song"?
I do love to run to worship music, and I also love a good 80s mix, a little Macy Gray, and the Elephant Love song medley from "Moulin Rouge." Not to mention Taylor Swift singing "Our Song." Oh, and some Pet Shop Boys. And somehow all of the Madonna we own is not on my computer. Need to find those too.
And after watching "Glee" for the first time last night and downloading BOTH soundtracks (Thank you, Toben!), I think there's a new mix waiting to be made.
What's your favorite "new song"?
So I've thought and thought about how to say this, and I'm thinking that the direct approach is best. We've got some news...
We're staying in Arizona for another year!
Remember how God kept pointing out Isaiah 43:18-19 to me last month about making a way in the desert (here and here)? I suspected God was specifically saying we would be staying in Arizona another year. But I sort of doubted it at the same time, wondering if I was reading too much into it. So I didn't really say much. Instead, I asked for more information and determined to wait some more.
All along, we've said that we would obey God and go where he said. Go where? He wasn't saying. It seemed that what was most important was for us to determine that we'd obey no matter where he said to go.
And all along, we've said that be it returning to Denver or staying in Phoenix, we'd be really happy and really sad. We are beyond blessed to feel so at home in two places.
Then last week, we got a phone call from the pastor at church and rushed off to a meeting (I hadn't even had a shower yet--I think I beat a record for showering and getting dressed and getting to a meeting on time) in which he asked us to stay another year and run twoignite again next year.
We said we'd think about it and pray about, but it was pretty clear that it was God. Because here's the thing, wherever we live, we need a job. Pretty important detail.
And so we are staying here. And we are really, really excited. And we are really, really sad.
Excited to continue to develop some incredible friendships. Excited to stay at this church we love. Excited to be warm. (Yep, it's just about warm enough to hit the pool today.) Excited to know what's happening in July when we really expected not to know until March or even April.
Sad to be far from family (especially now that my sister is back in Denver and having her third baby in April). Sad to be far from dear friends we love. Sad to not have our stuff and live in the house we love.
But above all? We are grateful.
We inquired of the Lord and he responded. So much sooner than we'd anticipated. Grateful that there's some level of certainty about our near future. Grateful for the opportunity to continue to work together.
Grateful that when we ask for direction, for guidance, God gives us. He is good!
Can I just tell you how this has been hanging over me? Things that are undone take so much more energy than just finishing them, don't they?
All that to say, thank you for your patience and I apologize for not doing what I said I would do.
So, let's finish this discussion...finally!
1. Spiritual mothering requires energy..."enormous energy." Hunt talks about three levels of motivation: love for the other person, love for Jesus, and Christ's love compelling us.
Read the paragraphs at the top of page 175. What does this kind of renewal look like in this season of your life? Does it change?
2. It takes confidence to separate. "Being a spiritual mother means instilling Christ-confidence in a young woman so that she can leave me and face the world."
Beginning with the end in mind often changes the direction we take. How does view of separation toward the end of a mentoring relationship influence how you would approach the beginning of such a relationship?
3. Read "A Change in Relationship" beginning on page 178. What stands out to you in this section? If you have biological daughters, how does this section challenge you, encourage you, or scare you?
4. As you come to the end of this book, how would you summarize your "one thing"--what you are taking away from this book and putting into practice?
Before I forget, the girls and I are adding the next two verses on to John 15. This week we'll be learning through verse 8. We need to get our verse cards made and head to the office supply store for some more laminating tomorrow.
Now that Bible study has started, I'm also memorizing Psalm 100 with the other gals at church. We'll be doing a verse a week. For Wednesday, we're doing verse 1: "Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth." (Which has a really nice 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3 rhythm to it!)
What about you?
As always, leave a comment with your verse or a link to your post. And if you want to know more, click on the button in the sidebar on the right.
I'm really missing you today and feeling like we're too far apart. Sending a card or a gift in the mail isn't quite enough when what I really want is to be with you on your birthday and to tell you in person how much I love you.
If we were in Denver, the girls and I would stop by for coffee, then suggest a day of treasure hunting. We could wander through the big antique mall on Broadway, looking at books and tea cups and whatever else found our fancy. We could have a girly lunch out in Littleton, and then sit by the fire in the afternoon and knit a while.
(And I'm realizing that this is what I'd want to do for your birthday--and didn't even ask what you'd want to do! But I sort of think you'd like this too.)
But there are too many miles between us this year, so here's what I suggest. Let's celebrate your birthday exactly one month late. You'll be here and we'll have birthday meatballs at IKEA, do our best to find some antique stores, hit Trader Joe's on the way home, and have a birthday dinner of whatever sounds good to you.
We can eat mint ice cream by the fire on the patio, and visit until we get sleepy.
How's that sound?
In the meantime, happy birthday. I love you. No matter what gift I could give you, it wouldn't come close to the gift of having you for a mother. I'm so thankful God chose you for me!