How To Parent Adventurous Boys

Hi friends,
Today I am guest posting on my friend Arabah Joy’s blog. She is doing a parenting series every Wednesday. You can click over to her blog at the bottom of this post and check them out!

Adventures For Boys I’ll never forget when Ethan was five or six years old and my husband came home with a mini three-wheeler. This was after the ATV industry quit manufacturing the tippy three wheelers, and began making four-wheelers instead.

This mama knew that four wheels were safer than three . . .

The little machine had a pull-cord.

The idea was Dad would hold the cord and son would ride, and if there was danger, Dad could pull the cord and kill the engine.

Sounds safe, right?
Yeah.

When Ethan rode, I was hiding in the house.

To read the rest hop on over to AJ’s blog

 

Fighting For Justice In A Chaotic World #Together

Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people. Proverbs 14:34

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I began noticing in scripture several months ago, that whenever I saw the word “justice” it was partnered with “righteousness” and upon reflection, I understood that the two words must marry in order for our pursuit of justice to flourish.

There will be no true justice without righteousness. Psalm 89:14, Psalm 97:2, Psalm 85:10

The truth of the matter is, we will have no justice without Jesus, who has become our Righteousness. 1 Corinthians 1:30

The chaos of now is only a slight taste of eternity without Jesus. And if you are on social media, you have an inkling of how painful it is to be seeing, even experiencing the constant conflict of opinion and many of us are weighted by a deep inner groaning.

How will we ever overcome the chaos?

Fighting for justice is good, but it’s only half the battle.

True Justice needs a Righteous Foundation, but we don’t hear many people calling us to “fight for righteousness!”

Righteousness is father and justice is mother. Together they have peaceful children.

God has been so merciful to US as a Nation. I believe that we are still the most blessed nation on earth, but we will also be the most accountable nation at the judgement. You read that right. [To whom much is given, much is required. Luke 12:48]

I landed on these words of Jesus last week where He said, [I’m paraphrasing] “Woe, woe, woe to you cities who don’t pay attention to My Words!” and I had a fresh revelation as He spoke to cities. I considered who he was talking to and I realized that I am personally responsible for my city, as my works will be tested at the judgement. [At the very least, I should be praying!]

The pressing questions for us are, “How do we live in this day of disorder? And how will we reestablish a foundation of righteousness so our world can have peace?” 

I believe the answer can only come one of two ways leading to One place, Jesus. Either by one heart at a time turning the throne over to Jesus,  or by many hearts at one time as the result of a mighty move of the Holy Spirit among us ushering in another Great Awakening.

Read this quote about the first Great Awakening from a history student, Sarah Valkenburgh

In all these Protestant cultures during the middle decades of the eighteenth century, a new Age of Faith rose to counter the currents of the Age of Enlightenment, to reaffirm the view that being truly religious meant trusting the heart rather than the head, prizing feeling more than thinking, and relying on biblical revelation rather than human reason”.


So, you who have been made righteous through Jesus, and have His Holy Spirit dwelling inside of you. The Spirit who hovered over the waters at Creation. What part might you play in bringing healing and peace to our world?

  • Will you press in to love God more by digging deeper in His word?
  • Will you believe and submit to the authority of His word?
  • Will you pray more faithfully than ever before?
  • Will you honor God by discipling your children and others in His word?
  • Will you bless the city you live in by your prayers and testify of God’s goodness?
  • Will you bless the businesses that serve you by offering to pray for their proprietors?
  • Will you bring the light into darkened conversations by communicating truth in grace?
  • Will you mentor someone who is following your season of life?
  • Will you pray for your governing authorities, police officers, schools, teachers, pastors?
  • Will you join the Outcry?

On the National Day of Prayer this past May, before the UNITE event put on by PULSEMOVEMENT, I prayed in one of the suites on the mezzanine level of the arena with a group of about 10 people before the event began. We prayed that God would bring the truth of our need for restoration of righteousness to our land. Here is part of what happened after we prayed that prayer. I hope you can watch  Francis Chan’s message given at the Mariucci Arena on the U of M campus. [email subscribers will need to click over to the blog] Our answer to prayer come through, and specifically beginning at minute 6.

#JESUSCHANGESEVERYTHING #IAMTOGETHER #RESETMOVEMENT

Some Things My Dad Taught Me About God

It’s been a year since losing Dad. I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot over the past year as I’ve stepped into speaking and writing more, as I’m ‘harvesting’ stories from my life.

I’ve also been considering of the value of fathers, not only for their own children, but the ripple effects of their investments as the children become fathers . . .  and how worthy this day of celebration is.

I likely spent more hours with my dad than most girls since his job was home and I was the first born.  I’ve often jested because of growing up on a farm, that I should have had an older brother, while inwardly cherishing the privilege of having had so much time with my dad.

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You may see more posts on this topic in the future, and I’d love to read your stories of “Some Things My Dad Taught Me About God” in the comments or a blog post. :)

Here is just a tiny story from my ‘field’—>>>

“I’m going to put you on the rake today.”

It was our family ‘farm language’ I knew he meant I’d be driving the tractor pulling the hay rake, turning over rows of cut hay.

We kind of had our own language. [I discovered this whenever I was out in the world]

There is something wonderful about approaching a field of cut hay in summer . . . as we arrive through the opening in the tree-lined ditch, he stops the tractor and we step into the damp stubble between rows of cut hay. He grabs a handful of alfalfa, fragrant, and weighty from yesterday’s rain. Pulling the chunk apart to show me, “If we turn this over, we should be able to bale it in a few hours.”

We get back up on the tractor, but I’m the one in the seat now. I listened intently to his instructive words as I hear the eagerness in his voice, teaching me this new task, second-nature to him.

He tells me how to line up the rake with the row, where the wheels of the tractor should be in relationship to it. A simple pattern, except when it comes to the turns. Or the steep hills.
Dad sees to it that I know how to safely handle what he’s given me to do. And I spent hours driving around fields under open skies. Many of which I spent thinking about God.

From this one story, here are just a few of the things my dad taught me about God:

We have our own language.
He goes with me to the field.
He teaches me his ways.
He enables me to do what he instructs me to do.
He empowers me with the proper equipment.
He provides the fuel.
He is never far if I need him.

Remembering how my dad gave me everything I needed to accomplish each mission helps me be more confident of my Heavenly Father equipping me for every good work that He calls me to do. Ephesians 2:10

What have you learned about God from your Dad?

Here is an old song that played on the radio yesterday as Dale and I traveled to our nephew’s grad party. I shed a few tears as thoughts of my dad came, and thoughts of our parenting years -past- [email subscribers, click over to the blog for the song]

Happy Father’s Day!!!

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Our Deeds Are Seeds Of Fruit Or Weeds

The Delta pilot announced our arrival time to MSP. As the plane descended, I gazed out at the variety of tall buildings framed by the small window and considered the structures, their varied style, materials, and differing heights.

My husband has built or remodeled several of them.

I have an inkling of what goes into erecting or remodeling 16 or more stories. The amount of time and people it takes to do the bidding, manage the funds, acquire the design, and read the plans. Then there’s the hiring and overseeing of crews for each aspect of the work. And it’s never smooth-sailing. There is opposition. Often weather, sometimes poor attitudes, flawed communication or even no-shows which throws every other sub-contractor off.

Sheetrock is held up if the wiring isn’t finished on time. Flooring halts if the tapers are behind. What each person contributes to a job-sight matters.

Over the course of the twelve years or so that my husband has supervised commercial buildings, I’ve marveled after hearing his daily telling of stories, that a job would ever get done! Finishing is a victory of majestic proportions, worthy, in my opinion, of a large party. But they usually just move on to the next job.

My point is that when we work, there is creation.
Buildings rise, gardens grow, product sells.

Every hit of the hammer, every stroke of the brush, every planting of the seed . . . and V’W’alla!! Roll out the welcome mat! Have a salad! Decorate your walls!

Every step.
Every click.
Every choice.
Every day.

Our movements add up and advance something.
Fruit nourishes, building life.
Weeds choke, aborting life.

I read a blog post the other day by Mike Donehey of the band, Tenth Avenue North,  and  “I was stuck in my head and couldn’t get out”  ~ just as the author describes himself after watching The Bachelorette show for the first time, and then giving this wise reaction.

As I was stuck in my head, I remembered the mud I’ve often observed online in the “hostile” comment section, you know the ones you see ever so often far too often, where someone is defending an immoral person’s plea for acceptance of behavior, “As long as it doesn’t affect me.” or “If they want to ______, what does it matter, it’s not hurting anyone.” and then the famous line of our day, “Who are you to judge!?” meaning, “I don’t want to hear your view because it opposes mine.” 

The line of thinking is so dead wrong.

When God created us in His image, He endowed us with His creativity and He gave us healthy boundaries to guide us, keeping us safe. <–fascinating – without boundaries, sheep eat themselves to death.

He also expects us to uphold His boundaries for the love of  humanity

Creation is power. God creates everything from nothing-nothing but His infinite power. We can create nothing unless it originates in Him. We take the seed, the material, the yeast [from Him] and work it into the ground, the canvas, the dough and out comes plants, paintings and provision.

Our creative process is receive, work, produce, repeat.

And there are two possible outcomes. Building up or tearing down. Giving life or diminishing life. Moving toward God or moving away. [I might add, moving others toward God or away.]

Contrast building a house to a working a meth lab.
Contrast a vote of confidence with an encouraging word to a brutal tongue-lashing.
Contrast serving at a soup kitchen to burglarizing a convenience store.
Contrast self-denying love to self-serving demands in a relationship.

Using those contrasts, it’s easy to see the positive or negative effect of one choice over another.

But what about our daily, sometimes seemingly insignificant choices? What power might they hold? What we eat, whether we exercise, what we watch, purchase, read, how we drive, etc.

Back to The Bachelorette, follow a trail of that one show’s potential influence on up-coming young people, believing women to be nothing more than s*x-objects and you will find at it’s end, s*x-trafficking, pornography and prostitution. Broken families, broken children, and a broken society.

And I guess we are already there, aren’t we? The USA is broken, and in deep need of healing.

No doubt, you too have considered the cause of so many woes in our day. How is it that human thinking has become so twisted? 

And it’s easy to see several things that have hastened the advancement of sin, evil, confusion and darkness, but what about the little things? What about my daily choices? How may they have contributed to the increased violence, lawlessness and immorality?

Have I held to the God’s standard? Loving what He loves and despising what He hates?  Or have I compromised as the boundaries have moved increasingly outward in culture? Do I need to pull in my boundaries again by practicing self-denial and restraint? What have I invested in? Life or death?
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Have you considered your power?
What are you producing?
What roles and positions do you hold where you influence others?
What are you building with your time, energy and resources?

“Whether we like it or not, our private choices eventually bear public fruit. The things we prioritize from the day to day are like seeds we plant in the ground. In due time they surface and bear fruit in our lives –good, bad, or otherwise. Though we are saved by grace and loved unconditionally, our stewardship matters to God.” ~Susie Larson #YourSacredYes p. 155

“What we do with the cross determines where we spend eternity. How we live our life here determines how we spend eternity.” ~John Bevere ” Driven by Eternity

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ~Jesus 

 

Where You Look Determines Where You Land: To The Pit Or The Palace

A load of bricks, its weight more than my back can bear, now bent in pain. My legs slowly prod on, feet shuffling. I see the minuscule pebbles, this unending path of lifeless dirt. The air is thick, my breathing shallow.

Who will help me with this load? Who will relieve my burdened back?

When things in life get heavy-hard – have you also noticed you’re prone to looking over your shoulder?

Shackled you, looking back to see what you’ve done wrong.
Your soul feels burdened with your inability to get past.
this.
wall.

Discouragement fills your heart. [Maybe anger. Maybe defeat.]

Which mutes your drive to press on.

Looking back that way, there’s always a ball and chain. Every time pressures bear upon my life.

When my finances are tight.
When my kids are struggling.
When my relationships are strained.
When my dreams are on hold.
When my goals seem impossible.
When my expectations are drowned.

I look back to see where I went wrong, and inevitably I feel defeat.
If I keep looking back, I become paralyzed, stuck in a pit of woe.

When will the light come on? When will the weight be gone?

coffee for two

It’s said that it’s the Devil himself who beckons you to look backwards. Because what’s behind you is always past, and cant be changed. Not one teeny bit.

If he gets your head to turn, your eyes backward to land on your performance, then he’s caught you vulnerable – not seeing God. The armor doesn’t cover your back. Ephesians 6:14-17

He has snatched your possibilities.

Our Enemy, his name means “Adversary” or “The one who resists.”.

Our adversary accuses us [Revelation 12:10] and wants to hold us back.
The accuser appeals, “Look back at you! You’ve done it now, you FAILURE!”

And when we take the bait, because we are in a place where it appears we’ve failed, we land in Pit Defeat.
Pitiful.
Defeat.

And God is calling, “Remember your Redeemer! Look up! I’ve already taken the weight, you bear it no more!”

And when we turn away from the past, when we get our eyes off of ourselves, there we have His promises waiting to be claimed.  [His promises are not “yes and no” but only and always “yes” in Christ, so we can say, “Amen!”] Our faithful God is holy and true, merciful, kind, gracious, compassionate, powerful, and perfectly loving. He reminds us that His mercies are new every morning, so great is His faithfulness.

We walk by faith and not by sight.
And we must remember, “Get your eyes up!”
“Look ahead!”
God is already there!

 

Dad’s Chair

One year ago today, we laid my Dad to rest.

I had the honor of writing the Eulogy for his funeral. This morning I returned to it, and after editing a paragraph by adding a list of his accomplishments, I want to share it in memory of him.

Dad in his chair

Dad’s Chair

The floor bears dark scuff marks from his chair skidding in and out from the table. If you visited our home, you likely visited with Dad at his spot in the kitchen. Meal after meal . . . day after day . . . year after year.

Dad read the Bible and led prayers before meals from that chair. To his left, at the corner of that table, one by one, sat a dozen babies in a high chair with him sharing his love of food. Sure, mom fed the babies more often, but Dad was there with the dessert. Most often ice cream. His eyes twinkled when he smiled at the reception from eager, round eyes wanting more.

The marks on the kitchen floor are emblematic of the indelible marks Dad has left on our hearts . . . the lasting impressions that will continue to impact our families and our world through the ensuing generations. No doubt his life has marked yours as well.

It’s safe to say that even with his many accomplishments, his military schooling at West Point, his service in the U.S. Army, his service to his hometown of Hugo, his main occupation of dairy farmer, and following that his service on the Conexus Energy board of directors, the hub of his life was faith, family and friends.

Dad delighted in his people.

In “Dad’s dairy school”, he was always teaching us to do the jobs that were age-appropriate. We “graduated” from the first level job of feeding calves to the next, washing cows in prep for milking. Moving up was a big deal and ultimately culminated in fieldwork.

Many of us and some of you experienced hours under the open sky on one of his International Harvester tractors, including his father’s first tractor, a Farmall H, acquired in 1944. Dad maintained and we continued to use it as we worked the family land that he loved, cutting, raking and baling hay, plowing, planting and harvesting oats and corn.

We are marked by his love of farming and his work ethic.

The demands of a dairy farm and large family never kept Dad from enjoying his love of hunting and fishing. And even there he was our teacher.

To bait a hook, cast a line and reel it in . . . To row a duck boat, build a blind, to wait in quiet expectation – often beneath grey skies. To get a shot and hit your target . . . or not . . . To freeze your tail off in pursuit of a deer, and succeed or not, Dad was there applauding and cheering for you.

His joy in our success as well as his own, has marked us all with a hunger to enjoy, advance and succeed in life and cheer others on as we do.

Whatever our need or pursuit, if he was able, Dad invested. Whether college, car, or business … recovery program, farm, land or equipment . . . encouragement, wisdom or humor, he has marked our lives with hope, laughter, perseverance and the means to move forward.

And who will forget his light-hearted, mischievous jokes or his colorful tales that often stretched in the telling. If he could get mom to blush a little, or a face to break into a smile, his heart seemed to dance.

It was with the same joy on his face that we saw when he was on the dance floor waltzing with mom, when he was talking about, holding or visiting with one of his grand children. When he was teasing one of us… or one of you…

We will all fondly recall the glimmer in Dad’s eyes when he succeeded in bringing joy to others.

Like the marks on the floor from the frequented chair, his love through teaching, rejoicing, working and giving has marked our hearts, which will continue to bear a bit of him here through our lives.

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We can only bow our heads and thank God now for such a father, for such a man to celebrate today.

 

Probable Impossibilities [I’m Writing @ Deeper Waters Today]

I found out that I have some pretty sturdy guardrails in my mind because reading the words of Madeline L’Engle is causing all sorts of ideas to bump up against them. Particularly in the chapter, “Probable Impossibilities”

I’m chewing on foreign concepts.

New perceptions might need to bump around over a course of years. Mrs. L’Engle herself alluded to “chewing on” Aristotle’s words since her college days, “that which is probable and impossible is better than that which is possible and improbable.”

In her book, “Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art”, I find myself on an exploration of art or creativity as a means of busting free of man-created restraints and breaking into uncharted possibilities.

To read more, hop over to Deeper Waters

What Fortune Lies Beyond The Stars

Occasionally, music swoops down and lifts my soul, twirling joy, and spilling light . . .

. . . the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.  ~John 16:27 NIV

Humus. It is the root word of humility. It is also the root word of human.
Men, made of earth.
We are the lowly, ashes to ashes material. And dust to dust.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ~Matthew 5:3 NIV

Humble humans get heaven. The ones who know we are empty until.

One Man, not from dust, came down from Heaven.

Jesus.

We are told, and we sing it, He is the Light of the world.
Jesus, Fully God, full of the Holy Spirit, and the exact representation of God the Father.
Hebrews 1:3 NIV

A kind King. A beautiful Blesser. A radiant Redeemer. A generous Giver.

The Father, He would give His greatest Treasure to humans.

A Diamond delivered to dirt.
And dirt, surrendering becomes encapsulated in Diamond.
He Makes All Things Beautiful

To highlight His lavish love, He came encapsulated in skin. Light entered through darkness,
and came not to a Mansion, but to a manger.

To show His mercy, He chose a brutal, bloody, humiliating display of human-hatred toward His human-loving glory.

The One whose very name holds such power as to make men bristle or to make them rejoice.

The Rock of Ages.

Humans, we all return to earth, but Diamonds rise.

We can fall on the Rock humble, and rise up. Or we fall under the Rock, proud and crushed.
Matthew 21:44 NIV
That is the one decision.
Resist the Diamond or surrender.

“I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground.” ~Hillsong United [Touch the Sky]

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. . . . Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up. ~James 6:4, 10 NIV

When You’re On The Edge Of Your Seat

When your favorite team is in the playoffs, they’ve come up from behind and the score is tied.

The morning of your Daughter’s wedding after months of planning, and there is so much to do.

When you are waiting for the signature on the offer you made on a house.

The day you get the call-finally! The baby is coming!

That is what it’s like for me today.

Writing Contest

[THANK YOU!!!]

You have enabled me to hold on to the front page in the writing contest through the weeks since I submitted my piece. And there are still THREE DAYS left! A lot can happen in three days, so I’m here asking for your help.

I’m hoping for a stone to roll, for a door to be opened.
Will you please pray for me and for God’s will in my writing?
[Thank YOU!]

Just today I’ve noticed wider-known authors have risen up to the front page (all ten of the entries are non-fiction so in order to be “in” the judging I will need to remain on the front page)

If you have already voted, would you consider sharing this with a friend and asking them to read and vote? Click on the image on my side bar or HERE.

Gentle Reign Descend Upon The Weary Land

Gentle rains descend upon the weary land,
Soldiers served, so often died to keep men free.
Curs-ed domination veiled by evil men,
Burden of lost souls oppressed, longingly plead.

O Lord, descend upon the weary land,
For soldiers serve, die not for liberty.
Curs-ed domination veiled by evil men,
Burdened souls deprived, now eager plead.

Veil that captures darkness shrouds high eyes,
Over-seers captivated by deceit.
Fear – the death – the noose that severs life,
Hardened hearts unfree -a vile pursuit.

When You O Lord of love will have your way,
The innocence You sent to us, Redeem.
Men bound by earthly men whose hearts hold war,
Oppose You here, then there shall live no more.

May we, the grateful soul unburdened captives,
Press on in faithful service to our King.
Though men deceived believe they have dominion,
Assuredly the God of love will reign Supreme.

[I wrote this poem this morning, and have failed to find an image to satisfy what my heart sees.]

I pray you have enjoyed your Memorial Day Weekend.

God BLESS all those who serve and the families who endure long waiting for their return and those who have lost loved ones on behalf of service to our country.