Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Yesterday after I took my Natalie to the orthodontist I planned to go to Walgreens so I could get my passport pictures made.  While at the orthodontist, I mentioned that I was going to have my passport pictures made so I could go on a mission trip to China.  Dr. Billy Powell about spun around in his chair doing the happy dance rejoicing with me.  It is so wonderful when people respond with JOY when they hear of this God-adventure.  It keeps my fire stoked!

Later at Walgreens as I was checking out, I mentioned that the pictures I was purchasing were for a passport so I could make a mission trip to China.  She looked worried and told me to be careful.  When I explained I was going with a team from ShowHope, Steven Curtis Chapman’s ministry, she lit up and got all excited as well.  Apparently she’d heard of ShowHope.

When I arrived home, I called the post office to confirm what time they processed passport applications only to find that one post office had an employee on vacation so they weren’t processing them this week. Another facility had an employee retiring and one on vacation so they weren’t taking passport applications either.  I did a little begging and they conceded to process mine if I would arrive at 9:00am sharp.  So, this morning I took my lovely pics and all the paperwork promptly at 9:00am to the Post Office, THE WRONG POST OFFICE!

I got the chance to be a barrel of honey when the not-so-friendly postal worker, who opened the door at 9:01am, informed me that I was not allowed to bring my hermetically sealed, stainless steel coffee travel container in the building.  My mettle was further tested when after waiting, I asked for the worker I spoke with yesterday only to find out that that employee worked at a Post Office down the road, about five minutes away.   I hopped back in my van (coffee in hand) raced to the next Post Office, stood in line and thankfully was able to see the person I had spoke with and get my application processed. As I was leaving he said, “Have a great vacation!” It made me smile and I thought, while this is not really a "vacation" it is definitely an adventure.   I'll let you know when my passport arrives. I am getting more excited! 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

More Treasure from Galatians 5

During Super Friday each week I am privileged to meet with a wonderful group of moms at "Mom's Rest Stop" and share a little talk about various schooling and parenting issues. On my blog, I will be featuring several lessons I have shared at Mom's Rest Stop. If you'd like to follow along, subscribe by email in the box to the right.  

This week I based our lesson on Galatians 5 where we find several sins listed which will prevent us from inheriting the kingdom of God.  YIKES! 

The sins that many parents and siblings seem to struggle with are highlighted in bold, which is my own emphasis. Mercifully, just a few verses later, the antidote to these sins is found!  I have correlated them in a chart below and referenced other scriptures which also instruct us in the ways of righteousness.  

Pray about what area God would like you to address in your own heart and then with your children this week.  Use the scriptures as copy work or memory work, or just read them aloud together.  I pray this lesson would be a blessing to you. 

God is so good to always provide us a way out of our sin.  If you or yours struggle in any of these areas, take heart!  There is hope in God's word.

Life by the Spirit – Galatians 5:16-26
16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Acts of Sinful Nature
Fruit of the Spirit
Other Scriptures
Heb. 12:4
Rom. 8:28, Mt 5:39-42
Rom 12:15,  Phil 4:12-13
Fits of Rage
Prov. 29:11, Prov 10:19
Selfish Ambition
Phil 2:3-5
Eph 4:2
Prv 10:12, 17:9, 1 Pet 4:8

Finally, I truly believe that if we practiced 1 Pet 4:8  most of the sins addressed above would vanish! 
1 Pet 4:8  Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Other Scriptures: 
Heb 12:4 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Matt 5:39-42 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Rom. 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Phil 4:12-13  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Proverbs 29:11  A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.

Proverbs 10:19 When words are many sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.

Eph 4:2  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Phil 2:3-5  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Prov. 10:12 Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.
Prov 17:9 He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

Have a GREAT week! 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Keeping in Step With the Spirit

For many months prior to the birth of my ninth child I walked nearly every day with my walking buddy, my then 10 year old daughter Natalie.  We would go to same greenbelt area near our local community college and walk the same 1.85 mile loop.  Despite her somewhat shorter legs she always kept in step with me, and towards the end was a great encouragement.  We saw all different kinds of people on our walks but no one as faithful as the older, black lady who runs in a skirt. 

After my baby was born I had an extended break from exercising but recently my husband and I have started jogging on this same route.   This morning we were doing our walk/jog/run routine and about half way into it my husband told me, “Stacy, we need to go back.”  I thought, “Why, we are only half way done?”  Turns out the pocket he had put our van key into had a hole in it!  So we began the long trek back to the van searching the ground the entire way.  Walking slowly side-by-side, we scanned every inch of sidewalk and grass heading back the way we came.   As we walked I saw the woman who runs in the skirt.  I began telling Doug how dedicated she was, that I had seen her out there running for many, many months, and she seemed to just sort of be a fixture on that greenbelt.  A few steps later, there she was, we were face to face. 

She smiled this incredibly infectious smile and began speaking to me.  Now this is a very rare occurrence on the greenbelt because everyone is very serious and very dedicated to their exercise routine and speaking to another exerciser is, well, quite unheard of!  In this lilting Jamaican accent she implored, “Can I please give you this little pamphlet?  It’s just something I love to share with people to tell them about my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”  Gushing, like I have been known to do when I find a great product or bargain that I just HAVE to share with others, she continued, “He is just so precious and He has forgiven me of sin, this pamphlet will tell you about Him, and sin, and repentance, and eternal life.  These are all things I’ve found to be very important and I just want to share them with you.”  She handed me the little rumpled paper and was off.

Doug and I just sort of stood there smiling.  The key didn’t matter.  The now abandoned workout didn’t matter.  The time didn’t matter.  We had just been touched by the Holy Spirit.  We felt God’s presence on the greenbelt in that moment.  The woman who runs in the skirt had obeyed the Spirit’s prompting and we were the recipients of a great blessing.  Not that we don’t know God’s love or His power or His great Salvation, but we saw Acts 1:8 in action.  We were blessed and we were convicted. 

How often do I feel the prompting of the Spirit but do not act upon it?  How often am I so busy or caught up in my routine that I don’t hear it at all?  The prayer of my heart is that I will be FILLED to OVERFLOWING with the Holy Spirit.  I want to, as Galatians 5 says, keep in step with the Spirit.  As I ran with Doug this morning, I noticed that keeping in step with someone requires constant attention.  When we walked or jogged or ran I had to notice where I was in relation to him so we didn’t trip each other up.  When we lost the key we had to walk side by side and scan the ground together looking for it.  If either of us didn’t pay attention to the other we would not end up walking together, we would not “keep in step” with each other.  Keeping in step with the Spirit requires dying to our sinful nature, yielding to the Holy Spirit, allowing His fruit to grow in our lives, and constantly being attentive to His speaking and prompting in our hearts.

Galatians 5:22-24
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 

(p.s. For those that need to know, Doug did find the key and we did make it home safely.)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I am Going to China

There was one Christmas present I didn't tell you about because I had a hard time wrapping my mind around it myself.  My husband, Doug, gave me the gift of a vision, far bigger than anything I have ever received or could have imagined for the coming year.

The day after Christmas I wrote the following, "Speechless.  Overwhelmed.  Full of hope, full of doubt.  Questions, not answers swirl in my head, but this is right.  This is good.  This is what bearing fruit is.  To hold a child who is unloved as of yet, for a day, to change a life with a touch of hope.  To have my heart be broken, to lay it on the line and do what I've read about, prayed about, and hoped for makes my head swim.  This is what faith looks like."  

Jokingly, throughout the Christmas season I intoned, "All I want for Christmas is an orphan, a baby that needs our family."  Well, Doug listened; really listened, through my jesting, through my doubt, through my inability to see that GOD CAN and GOD WILL. 

For Christmas, Doug contacted ShowHope Ministries and reserved my spot on a short-term team going to  Luoyang, China, to Maria's Big House of Hope, for nine days.   

I will go July 19-28, 2013.


What an adventure this will be.  I know God will use it to accomplish His will, to birth a new vision in my heart, to bring about His Character.  In fact, it has already started.  Initially, my head refused to wrap around this idea,  but my heart swelled bigger and bigger, filled with hope and faith. I like neatly wrapped packages, predictability, and routine.  This is none of that. And I am thrilled, and scared, and ready.  Ready for work. Ready for going.  Ready to do the impossible because as God assured us when He sent His Son whose birthday we recently celebrated, NOTHING is impossible with Him.

My dearest husband in faith, knowing me better than any one else, chose this unimaginable, precious, priceless, hopeful gift. The down payment has been made and now, to make this gift come to fruition, we invite you to come alongside us financially. 

The cost of the trip is approximately $3900 to $4500.  All meals, lodging, and transportation are included in this price.  The exact amount will depend on airfare.  I have a paypal account you can give to electronically or you may donate by check or cash.  Anything I receive will go towards the trip cost.  If there are any excess funds, they will be used to benefit the children at Maria's Big House of Hope which is  a six-story medical care center for orphans with special needs.

Thank you for your friendship, your prayers, and the love you always show.  Follow the blog if you'd like to keep updated on my journey.  Email, call, text, or write me if you'd like to donate.

I look forward to hearing from you! 

 ~Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. ~ James 1:27

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Why Beautiful Chaos?

... because I have nine children, that's why!

Awhile back on Facebook I came across the phrase beautiful chaos describing someone's day and it resonated with me.  So many days I feel like I'm I chasing my tail, running around like a decapitated chicken, and just plain swimming upstream.  Norman Rockwell  lives in my head and I wonder why his cute and tranquil scenes can't be lived out at my house, alas, we usually operate more like Family Circus or Cheaper by the Dozen.  

Finding the beauty in the midst of the chaos is my key.  If I wait for the moment to be perfect, with every one coordinating and smiling (don't let that family photo deceive you!) I will not find the beauty in the moments as they come.  My plans for my day almost never work out entirely, but living joyfully and beautifully in the midst of the "messed up" plans is a daily surrender, a constant re-focusing, and a character building treasure.  

My life without Christ would just be chaos, but He puts his Spirit within me and beauty flows. 

Proverbs 16:9
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.

Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

If you would like to follow my blog I will have some big news coming this week.  No, I'm not pregnant :)   I am getting used to sharing in this format and would love your feedback on readability, design, and any tips or pointers from veteran bloggers.  

Friday, January 18, 2013