cupboardI’m glad you stopped by my blog.  Make yourself at home.  Start meandering by scrolling down…and you can peek into all my cupboards and closets by clicking the side bar.  I know you’ll find some strengthening articles, encouraging resources, fabulous-but-forgotten hymn texts, and perhaps a heartening smile or two.  Most importantly, I hope you’ll be strengthened in your walk with the Lord for the time you spend here with me.  If you do not yet know Him, please click here for a beautiful invitation.  To learn about how He changed my life, click here, and by clicking here you can find out a few more fun and forgettable snippets about me. :)

If I can do anything to be a further blessing to you, in prayer, or by improving my site, please let me know…or just write to say “Hi”!  Please click here for an email form.

Blessings ~Diane

We All Fall Down–A Heart to Heart About Kids

holdhandsI haven’t posted here in a little while. Today I want to have a heart to heart about your kids, and mine.

I’ve had some discussions on life’s hard questions with our kids. We’ve navigated some heartbreaking waters. I’ve tried to be sincere and transparent. Still, I wonder…am I doing enough? Do you wonder this too?

I can try to answer every question with the polished rhetoric of a famed theologian…but my factual answers alone are not enough. I was part of a discussion recently about this. What do you think of my conclusions:

I will say this…many things do not have complete answers. I sincerely believe the exodus of young people from our churches has more to do with looking for genuine, life-changing, vital faith (not just keeping the rules and looking good), as well as searching for true agape love, fleshed out. Like it or not, we have a lot of conditional, strings-attached love going on in our churches. We need to cultivate the ability once again to love people right where they are, as God does. “Just As I Am”. 

This is where I am on this. What am I doing with my faith? In the end, I cannot change the hearts of my children. I can only change mine. Paul said his faith was manifested “By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left” (2 Cor. 6:6,7). The “train up a child” proverb is just that…a proverb. It is not a promise. We can train up. The choices remain with them. So I am gathering that this means my responsibility lies largely with me, my faith, my walk…and how much is “caught, not taught” on a daily basis in our home. Yes, convicting. I’ve blown it badly, but I’ve tried to be candid and honest with our kids and allow them to see my tears and struggles as well as my confidence, because they need to see what it looks like to rally in faith, too. What it looks like to regain footing, to repent, to keep on plugging in this walk.

The truth we don’t want to face is, as soon as we take our first breath, we begin the process of dying. I’m not trying to be morbid, just honest. We will all “fall down” (though not likely from the Black Death…read the history on that one). The scriptures remind us again and again that this life on Earth is fleeting…a vapor. I feel it more every year as my body tires and declines. We all exclaim, “Where has the time gone?”

Here is my stance. I want my remaining years to count. If there is something else about genuine faith that I am supposed to exhibit to our kids and lend authenticity to all the words they’ve heard and read…I want it. I realize that in making that declaration, I am telling God I want hard things. Everyone can have faith that appears shiny and new when life is good and there are no hardships or challenges. So I have to brace myself for the difficult. I know my own life is hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). I don’t know that about my kids. Really, the best we can all do is guess. Observe, hope, pray. But the only one who knows the truth is them. More than anything, I want them to be safe in the arms of Jesus–for eternity, and for the everyday journey. I want joy, and peace that passes all understanding for them. I want to live that out, however God chooses to accomplish that. I want my life to have a lasting echo in theirs, beyond the words on this blog.

We are not our own. We are to be useful to the Lord, and when He has used up all He can (there is joy in serving Jesus), He will call us home. The other day, our youngest was so worried I would leave for a trip to the store without her. She told me later, “Mommy, I kept saying to myself, ‘Please don’t leave without me! Please don’t leave without me!'”  We enjoyed a nice day in town that day. But, if the course of things follows natural progression, there will be one day when I “leave” without our kids. I’ll go to be with my Savior, and they may feel very much alone. But although the ache may be there for a time, and gradually lessen…I want them to know with certainty where I am, that my faith found a resting place in my Rock, my Fortress, my Deliverer. I want them to see their own hearts as God does, and to finalize their stand with Him solidly so they can know Him as all of those things and more.

Do you want these things as well? Comment below, or email me at blest2bwest@wyoming.com so I can pray with you. This matters.

Fabulous, Free “Not Back to School Summit” at HECOA (with Awesome Giveaways!)

nbtsPosting from HECOA Director, Dianne McLean:

GIVEAWAYS!!! Hey everyone, just wanted to remind you that we have weekly giveaways that end every Friday at noon at Home Education Council of America. This is part of our summer Not Back to School celebration!

This week, Unlock Math is giving away a full year membership ($349 value!), Order out of Chaos is giving away student planners ($50 package), PlanitWisely is another planner being given away (full year at $49 value), Homeschool Tracker is giving away a membership ($59 value), Mystery of History is offering their full Volume 1 on mp3 audio ($40 value), Times Tales is giving away some DVD’s, and ABC Mouse a $95 subscription.

How do you enter?? Super easy. Register for Not Back to School (our upcoming FREE online conference with 30 speakers and more than 50 live presentations), and then head to the Celebration Page. All of the giveaways are there on the page!! Enter as many as you would like (it’s all about the “share”), but ENTER. Because someone has to win, it might be you!

If you are familiar with the great giveaway events I’ve had at Schoolin’ Swag, you can look forward to the same quality products and services to be offered as giveaways for this event! I’ve contacted some of my favorite folks to jump on board and join us in offering terrific encouragement and incentives. Click here to get your free ticket for the Summit, and join the fun in the Celebration Room!

Mind Your Own Business

MYOB-CookieI was struck this morning with a reminder. I’m responsible for me. That is not to say that I write off my spouse, kids, friends, family, members of our congregation, or the passing acquaintance God brings into my path. No. There are enough “one another” passages in the Bible to prove that we are vitally connected to and reliant upon each other. What it means is FIRST I am accountable for myself. My heart. My ways. My choices. That is what I’ll answer for first. There is a quietness in this realization.

Paul admonished:

“And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you” 1 Thess 4:11

What this has to do with is those who have the telephone pole in their own eye (remember that parable), and are preoccupied with the speck of dust in someone else’s. Do you know how hard it is to actually touch someone else when you have a telephone pole in the way…much less do anything about that rogue dust speck? Pointless to try…that is, before you remove your own lumber.  Mind your own business…first.

Paul also speaks of running a race. Keeping one’s eyes on the goal ahead. What happens when you turn your head around while running full speed? You trip. You get off course. You run into others. You crash and burn.

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Phil. 2:11

Work out YOUR salvation. Allow the love-joy-peace-longsuffering-gentleness-goodness-faith-meekness-patience flavoring of the Spirit infuse every work. Don’t compare. Don’t strive. Simply obey. Do the things God has put in front of you.

I’m afraid in this generation of electronic surveillance, which makes the observation of others so easy and covert…we can become distracted from paying attention to our own stuff. We’re so busy looking at what others are doing, buying, saying, wearing…we forget that we are living before Almighty God, who is also our loving Father. He’s watching to see what we will choose. He’s waiting to rejoice in that step in the right direction. He’s eager to hear the right words we choose in a hard situation. He’s longing to witness our self denial for His sake. He adores it when we look up in a hurtful circumstance instead of looking around. We’re in this arena of life, and God is the all-important spectator.

“Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” Heb. 4:13

Today I will choose…to mind my own business. To ask for His purposes, and that I might not miss them. To claim His promises because they are always sure. To “do the next thing” that He has for ME today.

Then, when all my cumbersome wood is blocked, split and stacked (at least for now)…then I can attend to others. The effort expended, the sweat that drips, the muscles that ache in taking care of my own lumber is a very tangible reminder of how very imperfect I am. That is so helpful when removing dust specks.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
 and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
 and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
 and sinners will return to you.” Ps. 51:10-13