Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What next?

Many have been affected by the "downfall" of some of the home-school leaders.  Some have followed them making their convictions their own, some trusted their children to them, some have been personally affected by them.

Here's part of my story.  I had a time in my life where I thought I had to do all sorts of things, "rituals" to be a Christian.  Not just be a Christian, but for God to love me.  Then I got married.  It so happened that I married a guy who loves God and loves me unconditionally.  It was through his love and him pointing me to Christ and the Word that I was able to begin to see Jesus's unconditional love for me.

Shortly after I was married, I had all of these "convictions" come slamming me in the face with the question:  Why?  Yes, I could proudly quote all sorts of verses and catch phrases I had been taught about why I'm doing what I'm doing, but deep down, why was I doing all of this stuff?  Why did I dress the way I dressed, talk the way I talked, listen to only a certain kind of music, attend conferences religiously, etc, etc, etc, (you get the point).

I started searching the scripture for myself, talking to my husband and if "it" wasn't in there, then it was someone's personal conviction I was trying to live out.  If it's someone else's conviction and not mine, those are the ones that went by the wayside.  If it was in the Bible, then it was and is mine.  I'm still a work in progress.

I will say this though: during the time before all of this, God was real to me - really real.  I just wish I would have listened to Him when he was trying to show me He loved me - not all my "convictions".  There were several times that I was following "the steps" for happiness and good fortune and then... bad things happened.  I remembered one specifically from the past.

I woke up and was getting ready for work, I worked in a laboratory and had to wear all white.  So I got my white skirt on, my white XL t-shirt on (I was probably a small or a med back then) and off I went into my truck.  I turned on the music I was told would help me not be rebellious in the truck and traveled down the road with my brother.  I thought well I've done everything I'm supposed to be doing - I read my bible the night before, I prayed down the list, I wore modest clothing, no make-up, long hair (just like in the bible!).  Then it happened, I hit a sheet of ice and my truck went spinning.  I landed (thankfully) on the other side of the road in the grass.  I remembered thinking to myself, why did this happen??  I've done all the good deeds, been the person I should be, and I thought God's deal was to "protect" me from anything scary happening.  Maybe it was because of my thought life...so off to *confession* I went.  (my poor parents having to listen to all this! lol looking back, I was just a normal human being)

 I'm grateful that nothing really did happen, and I'm grateful that ultimately I was protected.  That lifestyle produced those kinds of questions even when small things happened.  I would check, re-check, and triple check what I was doing to make sure I wasn't doing something wrong.

Fast forward to this past year.  My brother had a head on collision with a school bus.  With that type of thinking I would have lost my mind.  Instead, God planned this for our family.  He planned this for Mark.  He had Marks days numbered from conception.  Mark didn't follow anyone else's convictions.  He followed Jesus.  His music was a huge part of his life, and no, it didn't have the "right" tempo, the singers sing with their heart not their voice.  Mark also put off the "looks".  Trust me had had good looks, but he didn't try to make people think he was something he wasn't.  He didn't wear everything I would have thought before constituted a Godly man.  He may or may not have had "eye traps"...haha he couldn't help it. (he would be so happy I was posting about his looks)  He didn't major on the minor.  He had things happen in his life that shaped him into who he was, it wasn't all cupcakes and candy.  He focused on making Christ known.  I love that He loved Jesus - with everything in him.  This is where I'm headed.

Folks, it's not about the music, about the dress, about the outer man.  It's about the heart and soul of a person.  It's about what you are doing from here and forward to serve the Lord.  It's about building your life and convictions around the truth of God's Word because YOU know that's where it is.

So the question I started with: What next?

How will you start to rebuild your life around the truth of God's word and His love for you and lost souls?

Feel free to share how you're doing this or how you've done this.

PS if you are truly living out your convictions and it looks a lot like what I was doing in the past, then you best be doing what God wants you to be doing.  No one knows what that looks like, except you.  I'm not here to make you or anyone feel bad, but to encourage people to look forward and move closer to Jesus.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Today 4 weeks ago was the worst day of my life.  It was the day I found out my brother had been killed in a motor vehicle accident.  Instant death.
I remember it like it happened today.  My sister called me crying and said through the tears "Mark died."  So much went rushing through my head, I went numb.  I remembered thinking that the rest of the family needed to know - so I began calling.  I got through to a couple sisters, and was able to tell them what happened - they were so hurt that they hung up on me.  I tried another sister and wasn't able to get through to her, I hope she got the message even today.
I remembered going back to the place we were staying (we had just arrived the night before for our anniversary trip), and packing everything back up.  We got in the car and started heading to my parents, then it hit like a ton of bricks.  I was angry, hurt, and praying that God would wake me up from this nightmare.
When we made it down there, we were greeted by family - so much pain, as all of our hearts had been ripped open and the tears flowed.  Every time another family member would show up, it would start all over again, until all the ones we knew were coming were there.
That night, I woke up with a dagger in my heart - couldn't sleep, could barely eat during the day (I didn't want to pass out so I forced myself to eat).  The pain seems so much more real in the middle of the night, when it's quiet and it's just you and God.
I remember sitting in the planning session for his funeral.  My family sharing things they wanted to do, or things they thought Mark would want.  Tears were continuing to flow from everyone.
I remember the first time I saw his casket as we walked in for the family time before visitation.  My brother, 23 and full of life - now his lifeless shell lay in a casket.  Could this really be?  Was this really happening? This was and is in fact the hardest thing I have faced in my entire life.  It was so unexpected.
I remember then the ride to his grave.  Still in unbelief, we buried my brother.

Let me share a little about Mark.
Mark loved God with all his heart.  Every conversation we had was about God and what He was doing in his life, and then he would point it back to me.  What was God doing in my life, and how was my walk?
Mark was not a gossip - we all knew that the shortcomings we had or things we did were safe with him.  Whenever I was around, I remember him standing up for right, several times.
Mark also loved people.  He loved people in a way that I want to love people.  Mark had a great concern for their eternal soul.  Telling them about how we have all sinned against God by breaking the 10 commandments.  But how God supplied atonement for our sin through His Son Jesus Christ.  How if we repent of our sin (turn from it), and put our faith in the fact that Jesus died for our sin and now rose again and conquered death, that we too could have eternal life.  It's one thing to say all of this, it's another thing to live it.  Mark lived it.

A few weeks before Mark went home to be with his Savior, he had talked to me and told me that he was willing to give his life - if that would bring more glory to God than being alive for him.  I didn't think much of it, as I've been in that place before, but looking back - God was preparing Mark for his home-going.

Let me share more about my God.
Through all of this, yes there's pain, but the grace and peace of God has passed all understanding.  There is a great hope in eternity, that I too one day will sing praises to the King of Kings, side by side with Mark because of Jesus Christ.  Heaven is so much more real - a piece of my heart is there now.
God has shown me the value in people.  Our lives are quickly fading, we are not guaranteed tomorrow.  Are we going to choose to live in eternity with Him, or choose an eternity totally separated from Him, a place that is set aside for the devil and his demons - where there is no mercy, paying for the sins that would have been covered by Jesus, had we chosen to believe on Him?

There's so much more I could say, but I think Mark's funeral service says way more than I could ever put in to words.  Please, take the time to hear what was said about a man of God, and about God Himself.  http://krbc.org/resources/sermons/sermon/167:memorial-service-mark-neiger .  Many have said that his funeral was life-changing, a revival and I know I truly felt the presence of God there.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Favorite Smoothie Recipe

Ok, so part of living happily ever after is having good food, drinks etc. right??  Right :)

I'm going to post my favorite all purpose smoothie recipe, it's pretty much fail safe.  I use the Magic Bullet (which I love, love, love).  I use just their regular cup for this.

I don't like my smoothies to be too cold -because then you can't drink it without a brain freeze.  So I don't use a ton of frozen stuff, but you can if you want!

Berry Banana Smoothie
1 Banana (make sure it's ripe or it will taste "planty")
1/2 c Frozen Berries
1/4 c coconut milk or 2 tbsp of coconut cream (this is my non-dairy favorite)
1 tbsp of honey (I use raw it works well for the allergies)
1 tsp gelatinized Maca Powder (gives it a little boost for the day - or any other kind of herb or energy booster would work)
Then I fill the rest of the Magic Bullet cup with filtered water.  Blend until everything is mixed in and enjoy!

PS if you are using rice milk or regular milk you might want to fill it with that instead of water at the end.   Coconut milk seems to be a bit more concentrated.

I've also substituted the banana for whole milk organic plain yogurt, and added a bit more sweetener.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

March Already!?

That's what we were saying when we hadn't set our goals for the year yet...

Caleb and I have gotten into goal setting - we started last year.  I've heard it said that if you want to do something, write it down, otherwise it's just a fleeting idea.

Some really nice friends gave us part of their timeshare points earlier this month and we spent a couple days in Williamsburg, VA.  We decided to use that time as our intentional goal setting time.

We have some long term goals, but they will take a few more years to reach, so we break it down into baby steps.  It's almost impossible to do all of them in one year, but every year we get closer to where we want to be.  Looking back on last year, it's amazing to see how far we've come, sometimes without even thinking about it.

This year we set goals in 4 different categories:

  • Spiritual - new disciplines, or reviving old disciplines to bring us closer to Jesus.
  • Others - how we want to purposefully reach out.  I find sometimes that unless I'm intentional about this, that I will get stuck in my own little world.
  • Financial - getting out of debt and savings plans
  • Personal - this would be health goals, house goals etc.
We limited it to 3 goals per category - because it can get out of hand and become a huge burden if it wasn't limited to just 3 each. (I have wishful thinking!)

Today I'm planning to print a few copies and put them around the house where we will see them.

Here's to another great year of moving forward!

Friday, January 11, 2013

God is good...

Caleb and I haven't been able to have children (there...it's out).  We've prayed, seen Dr's, dieted, the whole 9 yards and God in His goodness has decided not to send us any.  Yes, God is good no matter what His decision is for our lives.

Caleb reminds me that it's not a diet (although they make you feel better!), a Dr. or anything else that decides whether or not we have children, it is ultimately God's decision.  He opens and closes the womb.

I waited until I was 28 to get married - it was a choice well worth the wait.  I see God's amazing goodness daily in giving me Caleb.  Let me say though...the wait wasn't easy.  I know during the waiting time God showed Himself to me in amazing ways that I would have NEVER experienced without the waiting.  It seems to me the longer the wait, the greater the reward.  I'm not sure what God's waiting plan for children is, but whatever it is, I know it's good!  Even if He decides we aren't to have any.

My sister posted something on her blog about giving thanks.  It really hit home as to what it's all about.

So the final thoughts for this morning is: I'm thankful for where I am, I'm thankful for what God is doing.  I'm thankful for my husband, family, and friends.  God is good - no matter what.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A homemade Christmas tree!

There we go!  I don't know how to make the pictures work from my phone.  (it was sideways).

So glad I got to go to Amber's and spend some decorating time with her.  It's great to have a sibling that lives close -- and has an adorable, kissable baby!  I just love them.

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!

So excited about Christmas coming. We got our tree the day after Thanksgiving and it's up -- waiting to be decorated!  Looking forward to getting everything beautified!

A few memories from when I was a kid:

Chocolate chip pancakes on Christmas morning.  Those things are the best when you're a kid.  I remember standing by my dad as he would cook them up and he always made little ones as "testers".

Christmas Eve was a great time with the family.  After reading the Christmas story, we would have a time of opening either 1 or all of our gifts.  My parents were sure to do it so it was spread out enough so we all saw what each kid got.

My parents sure did a great job with stretching dollars for all of us kids.  I remember the piles and piles of Christmas gifts under the tree.   Sometimes it seemed like it covered half the living room floor.

I miss the family times we had together, but I enjoy making new ones in this season of life.

A few traditions we have or would like to start:

We go out every year and pick and cut our own tree.  This has been so fun and special.  I have memories of every tree we got so far...even the one that looked really really bad because we had a surprise waiting at home and didn't have time to "look". (that was the worst one ever!!)

I would like to start putting out Christmas drinks and healthy snacks every night in December until Christmas for those chilly evenings.

Would love to go ice skating at least once this season as well.

What are some of your traditions, or plans in starting them?