Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I needed this today...

God is SO good!! He always sends me JUST what I need when I need it... and today - that was true as always!! (So I just had to share it!!)

TODAY'S WORD from Joel and Victoria Osteen

Do you feel like you are in a pit today? That pit can be frustration or disappointment or a feeling of discouragement, despair, or hopelessness. And maybe you can’t see a way out, but you’ve got to know that God is still with you, and He will make a way where there seems to be no way.

Remember, God will never waste anything you go through in life. If you’ll keep the right attitude, He’ll turn that situation around for your good. It doesn’t matter how you got there, whether it was by your own poor choices or maybe someone else treated you unfairly, God wants to use that situation to do a work in you. He’ll take that evil and turn it around for your good. You may be uncomfortable at times, but you’ve got to know you are growing, and God is building your character.

Today, make the decision to shake off any negative, self-defeating mindsets. Choose to cooperate with God. Trust that He is preparing you for promotion. As you keep an attitude of faith, expectancy, and thanksgiving, He will lift you up and set you on the solid path of victory He has in store for you!

"He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on the solid ground and steadied me as I walked along"
(Psalm 40:2, NLT)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Oh, how He loves us...

"He is jealous for me,
Love's like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affections are for me.
Oh, how He loves us so
Oh, how He loves us
How He loves us so."

I feel like lately there is SO much going on - I just can't even begin to describe.
I know I am in a season of being stretched... and that is good.
Learning not to lean on myself or the "natural", but to REALLY trust Him and follow His leading.
But there are times in the middle of this stretching that I feel like parts of me are going to "snap"... but, OH how my Father is SO good to me!!

As I sat and worshipped this afternoon, He brought this song to my mind...
the part that sticks out to me is this "I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory"

All these problems are NOTHING compared to His glory. His affections are GREAT for me!!

I am so thankful that no matter how difficult, confusing, intimidating or trying a situation may seem to me - it's NOTHING compared to His glory and His Glory is in ME!!
That just brings SUCH peace to me!!

So, as I pray today to clearly hear His voice and experience Him - I pray the same for you!! Because I know that on my own I will work and toil FOREVER, but as I trust in Him and follow Him... He can do GREAT things through my small efforts.

by the way... if you want to see a video of the whole song - click HERE

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"Growing like a weed..."

I always hated when people would say that about me when I was growing up!!
I'm not a weed - I am a person (would be the thought going on in my head)

But now I look at my yard and I realize that weeds suddenly grow and are this "thing" before you even realized it was there...
Now, I know that my kids are there (I did give birth to them) - but suddenly before my eyes they are these little "people"...


Chayse is starting to enjoy some grown up things - cleaning the house, sitting down and just "chatting", she's starting the Praise & Worship team at church in September, she is learning to cook and now wants to make every meal, she's starting to care about how she's dressed and what she's wearing (most times) AND needs to carry a purse each time we go out!!! (And she'll only be TEN this fall - double digits baby!!)











Colton has lost another two teeth this summer (that's why the goofy picture) all he wants for his first day of Kindergarten (or Christmas) is his two front teeth!! He's lost his 4 front teeth total so far... which makes eating apples interesting! :)
He has suddenly become this little "man" - helping take care of Grandpa & Grandma (this morning he sat next to Grandpa and wouldn't move until he had identified which pills were which for Grandpa), asking for jobs to do around the house, riding his bicycle up and down the street any chance he can and BEGGING for his legs to grow so he can ride the motorcyle with Daddy!! :)






Now Connor - he's his own story...
He turned three in April but still wanted to be the "baby" until 2 weeks ago - he decided he didn't like Pull-Ups anymore and he's done very well since. He's SO proud of "poopy in the toilet" each time he goes that anyone close by will be asked to "come see it" (Gross, I know - but such is my life). He is all of a sudden (it seems) able to talk so that most people can understand him and he LOVES trucks of any kind!! He's funny - he only identifys the color green (John Deere green) but can spot a garbage truck, a tractor, a skidster, an excavator or a skinny (and correctly identify it) from a WAYS away! SOON we'll have those both worked out (our colors and our trucks). The picture is an excavator that some VERY nice workmen let him sit on and now he wants one for his birthday! :)

So... all that to say - my children have just changed (evidently when I wasn't looking) and its SO cool to see what these awesome creations of my Father are becoming!! :)

Friday, August 28, 2009

I love God's faithfulness...

I read this today in my devotion and it was such a great reminder...

"The Lord isn't really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake..." 2 Peter 3:9 NLT

It doesn't take very long to discover that God's timing is not always our timing. It's easy to question and wonder why you've been waiting for your breakthrough for 15 years and your neighbor got their breakthrough in 15 minutes! In the Bible, Abraham waited 20 years for his promise, and in the upper room they waited about ten days. I don't know how long you'll have to wait, but you've got to understand that God has your best interest at heart. He is being patient for your sake. He's aligning things and waiting for the exact right moment! If you'll just continue waiting with the right attitude, then at the right time, God will bring it to pass.

Remember, God is always working behind the scenes for your good. Just because you don't see any changes taking place doesn't mean they aren't happening. Keep standing, keep believing, keep hoping because you're breakthrough is coming for your sake!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Just a good reminder...

"We know that God will work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose" Romans 8:28

God is working behind the scenes in your life today. No matter what you may be facing, no matter what trial you may be going through, God has a plan to turn things around in your favor. Right now, He is working out a plan for your good. Right now, He is orchestrating the right people to come across your path. He is orchestrating the right opportunities to open up to you. You may not see it in the natural, but look with your eyes of faith today. Keep standing. Keep believing. Keep hoping. Keep following His Word. Focus on His goodness in your life, knowing that He rewards the people who seek after Him. As you meditate on the faithfulness of God and show your love for Him by following His Word, you will see His plan come to pass. You'll experience His peace and joy, and you will live in victory all the days of your life!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

First crop...

I planted some tomato plants this year (on the deck - nothing serious) and I just enjoyed my first "crop"...















Two little "grape" tomatoes... they were SO yummy and salty!! :)
I'm looking forward to SO many more!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A lesson from Psalms...

I was reading a devotion the other day about Solomon and his request to the Lord for wisdom and this devotion challenged me to think about what ONE THING I would ask of the Lord...
  • money & riches to fulfill all my dreams
  • more time to be with my family
  • more money/time to travel with my hubby more!!! :)
  • be a better teacher/preacher in DJH and beyond (and to teach more)
But as I thought about it - none of this really matters!!
They are all very important to me and things that I pray regularly, but not the most important.

Here's what I found next...
Psalm 27:4
"One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to seek Him in His temple."

Nothing matters more than to know Him.

I love my kids - but someday they're going to get married and leave the house - what then?
I could have all the money in the world - but would it make me love Him more?

All I need is you Lord...

Friday, June 12, 2009

It's my "glory"...

I saw this verse in a devotion from Joel Osteen the other day and it just "went off" in me...

"Good sense makes a man restrain his anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression or an offense."

That last part just HIT ME... it is our GLORY to overlook an offense!!

Something to think about...

(I love how God's Word can make you think SO much over just one little sentence!! :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

I love my kids...

The other day my kids were having one of those love/hate days - and went from playing happily together to "telling on" each other kind of days (LOTS of fun for a mom!!)...

I was busy talking with Fred in the kitchen (actually having a PRODUCTIVE conversation while the kids got their PJ's on - so I wanted to finish it) and I asked Chayse if she would read a book to her brothers for 5 minutes while I talked to Daddy (NOT laziness - just enjoyed a couple of minutes of un-interrupted talking time).

Here's what I came upstairs to:















Aren't they cute!! Connor's on the left, Chayse in the middle (reading an "Inspector Gadget" book) and Colton on the right...

I just LOVE IT when my kiddos get along and do stuff like this...
I still giggle a little every time I see this picture and I remember just how precious EACH of my kids are! Thank you Lord!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My random life... but no so random??

Just to be transparent here for a minute...

Two days ago, I was ready to head back to Jamaica and stay there for a little bit (with my family, of course - not alone)... I miss the kids, I miss wrapping my arms around them and loving on them, I wish to go to their houses and help their parents - anything - just to help with something that doesn't involve paperwork, hours of meetings and "office hours".

Believe me - I LOVE my job, I love Driven services, I love my 242 group, I love where God has called me - ALL OF IT... I just don't always love the work that accompanies it.

Then last night... THIS:



















God hit me like a BEAM of light... not just a "ray of sunshine" a stinkin BEAM!!

I spent the day yesterday (really I've spent the last 4 weeks) preparing for our Purity kickoff service last night (and really for the rest of the services for the month) and really felt like I heard from God as to what to say and I was "ready".

But in that service, as I sat down in my seat to teach - I felt the presence of God so strong (even through all the goofy videos we watched first) on me... and as we began to have a time of praise before the teaching - it was even stronger. Then as I stepped up to teach, it just HIT ME... not that I taught some magnificent teaching - just God leading me!!
And as we went into worship tears welled up in my eyes as I realize that THIS is where God's called me to (not Jamaica, not anywhere else) to be here... a thirty-some year old woman of God in the middle of hundreds of teenagers worshiping, praising, and helping them walk out the plan God has for them! It was so awesome!

I came home and was looking through some pictures and found the one above from my trip to Jamaica and it HIT ME - that's what I felt like!! I felt like I was surrounded by the "clouds" of being busy with lots of "things" and here was my Father, shining down on me showing me that He sees me and He's leading me and I am in the right spot.

Thank you Father!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Change your world view today...

Did you know that today is "Global Food Crisis Day"?? Check it out HERE...

I realize that when we all see videos (like the one on Compassion's website) its very easy to turn it off, close the "window", change the channel and just make it all "go away".

But for me - I just can't anymore. Something in Jamaica changed me...















I used to feel like - "I can't solve the problem, so I don't want to see it (it just breaks my heart anyway)." But I had to ask myself - where is the compassion of God in that statement?

On my first day to the primary school in Jamaica, I was getting the tour around the school and during this tour the kids took a break for "snack". Some children took a 1,000 "J" bill out of their pocket and headed to the tuk shop for some chips and a juice bag. Some took out a bundle of something from home. But so many more just wandered around the school yard... some "mooched" food off of the other kids - but more just wandered around.

I had one little boy come up to me to say hello who was just a little taller than my Colton... and as we chatted he told me that he had just had his birthday and he was 6 now (my Colton is 5). My Colton is quite the skinny little boy and reminded me of this little boy who was very skinny as well. As I told him that he was about the same age and size as my Colton at home - I reached down to affectionately give his arm a little squeeze and my heart dropped... all I felt was skin and bone (no muscle). And yes, this little boy had NO snack to eat.

As I fought to hold back the tears at the thought of "this could be my little boy if not for the grace of God that we are BLESSED to live in the US, we have jobs and we have food"... my mom hands me a piece of cake that one of the teachers was selling as a fundraiser for the school. (Are you kidding me???)

I looked at her (still fighting back the tears) and said "I CAN'T eat this!!" Do you see this little boy in front of me? (And have you seen the size of my arms compared to his?)

What am I supposed to do?
"Can I give it to him?" I asked her.
"Sure, whatever." she responds

I then took that cake (and the other one I got from her a little while later) and broke off pieces and gave it to every kid that didn't have a snack that day.

I also took my spending money for snacks (that I had brought) and spent it on those kids at the tuk shop for the next two days. (Yes, I am a bit of a sucker for all their begging - but who cares! I can spoil them if I want to - I'm a mom!)

Now I realize that I didn't "save the world" or stop global hunger that week... but I know I made a difference.

Because as I got back to my hotel that first night and bawled on my mom's shoulder, I prayed and asked God "What am I supposed to do now?"

Make a difference when and where you can... were the words I heard.

I can't always send money (but I will when I can), I can't always feed them (although I will when I can)... but I CAN take the time to pray for God to send others to send money, bring them food, bring good paying jobs to their parents and more.

Why am I sharing all this? Because I know we can each make a difference instead of "turning the channel"...

for those here - LWCC does SO much to help programs that help feed children and families in the cities we travel to for missions trips (and more)... just support the church and support people going on trips!

for those away - Did you know for just $13 you can feed a child for a MONTH!! Take what you would spend on coffee for a week, one or two lunches a week or whatever and send it to them... they have proven results.

for anyone - PRAYER does make a difference!! It isn't a "thing" that just makes us feel better - our prayers AVAIL MUCH!! When we believe that God can do it!!

Matthew 25:34-36 (The Message)

34-36"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.'

You can make a difference...

Monday, March 2, 2009

"warmed hearts"

I was reading this today and just loved this part...

Proverbs 19:6 (The Message Translation)
"That's how God's Word vaults across the skies
from sunrise to sunset,
Melting ice, scorching deserts,
warming hearts to faith."

Now, I really enjoy the "melting ice" - God can melt ALL the ice and snow He wants to here in Minnesota (especially with our last "dump" of snow)...

But I love that part about "warming hearts to faith"... it just reminds me of how much He loves me! He doesn't "push" me to faith - He "warms my heart" to faith... which just makes me want my faith to grow even more! :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This was so good - I just had to share...

I just had to share this good little "nugget" I found today... check it out HERE

One little kind word can be MUCH better than a sweet treat! :)

Love you all!

Enjoy! :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A life changed...

I am back after 8 days in Jamaica (sorry, should have posted that BEFORE I left - but just ran out of time)...

I went on a Missions trip there with my mom and another lady from church and spent 8 days traveling to, from and around the many sides of Jamaica. And the time there definitely changed me...















We spent the majority of our outreach time at Galina Primary School - tutoring the kids, helping them write letters to their sponsor's in the states and helping out the teachers with whatever we could. I also spent a bit of time playing outside with them, spending all my money to buy them snacks and watching how much they love their lives and glorify God in what they do have (instead of looking at what they DON'T have).

You'll be seeing much more about my trip in the next couple of weeks I'm sure - WAY too much happened to explain in just one post.

But I'll leave you with one of my funniest moments...

As I'm sitting in the "Infant" class (basically Pre-K and Kindergarten) - I was tutoring the little girl in the picture above that's in the red checked dress. (She really touched my heart) It was her second day of school and because she was 6 or 7 they put her in "Infant 2" (the "kindergarten" side of the class) but she couldn't keep up (the next day she was moved down to "Infant 1"). She was sitting between two little boys who were quite obsessed with my skin and arms.

The little boy to my right proceeds to try and put his hands around my upper arm and then looks at me and declares "You're FAT!"
I looked at him and said "What?"
And he repeated himself "You're FAT!"
Again I said, "What?"
He continues to say "I can't feel your bone - you're FAT!"
(You'll notice from the picture - almost all of the kids are VERY skinny - literally skin & bones)
I replied with the only thing I knew to say... "Okay?"
And then I threw in a smart remark as well "Should I skip lunch today since I'm so fat?"
And the little boy to my left says - "No, you're not fat. You're beautiful..."
(as he was caressing my very soft skin on my arm - which he loved)

Amazing what can make your day...














I think I may have to go back again...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My husband is the best...

Do you remember those Espirit bags growing up?










I always wanted one growing up - and was given one by a friend of mine... it was used, but I LOVED it and used it every day! I felt SO COOL!!!

Well, leave it to my husband to make me feel "cool" again... I have been talking about wanting a Juicy purse for a while and have looked at them online, but just could not justify spending the money on myself. Well, my WONDERFUL hubby decided I was worth it and HE was gonna spend the money (that I wouldn't spend on myself) and bought me a Juicy purse for my birthday! :)



















Yes, I know it isn't my birthday yet - but that's the other funny part...

Fred had the kids make cards for the presents that he bought so the kids could each give me one and I think he showed them what they were... because as Colton got in the car last night after school here's what I heard:
Colton: "Mommy! We made your birthday card for your present!
Chayse: "Colton! You can't tell!"
Colton: "Yes I can - you're not the boss!" (VERY common statement at our house)
Chayse: "No you can't! Dad said so!"
Colton: "Yes I can, Chayse! Mommy we got you a sweatshirt..." things went silent as he got "the look" from Daddy. :)

Fred didn't trust Colton to not tell any of the other presents AND Fred has never been a good one to keep surprises from me ;) so he let me open all of them last night!
All I can say is - the man did GOOD! :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A lost tooth...

Well, my big boy did it! :)
He lost his first tooth on December 26th (a little earlier than I had expected).
His mother had to help him remove the tooth
because his other tooth was coming in behind it
and it wasn't coming in at the right angle
but nonetheless...
his first tooth is officially gone
and a big boy tooth is following it! :)














Thursday, January 8, 2009

I'm not your typical mom...

Okay - confession time... when I had just Chayse I used to listen to all the "kiddie songs" for her. So she was always singing stuff from Kids Praise, Veggie Tales, etc...

Maybe I'm just too _ _ _ (I refuse to say it... but old) now and I just want to listen to "my stuff". So my kids are CONSTANTLY listening to praise & worship with me in the car, at home, whatever. If you're in the truck with me - we're usually watching (and singing along very loudly) the 5th Service DVD or a Hillsong United DVD...

And then here's what you get (but I LOVE it)...

video

In case you can't understand him - here's what he's saying:

"Jesus, we're living for your name. Never be ashamed of you. Woah-oh
Our praise and all we are today. Take, take, take it all. Take, take, take it all."

Just so you know - this video is just of Connor (because I can still effectively bribe him with a piece of gum)... but Colton sings this song so well and plays the "air guitar" with it - but refuses to be captured on video (so far). But when I catch him - I'll show you that too!

Isn't God good? I love him!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My son is the funniest ever...

I think my son misses being home with me (after having 2 weeks home for Christmas break)... here was our conversation this morning:

Colton: Mommy, are you going to pick me up from school today?
Mommy: Yes, Mommy will be at work today and so I'll pick you up from school.
Colton: Are you going to have lunch there too?
Mommy: Yes.... why?
Colton: Will you pick me up at lunch? I'll give you a dollar...
Mommy: ...jaw on the floor... laughing my BUTT off!!

I am a good Mommy... I did reassure him that he could make it through the whole day of school and I would pick him up after naptime and he walked away happy.

But man - that dollar could have bought me a desperately needed Diet Coke this morning.... hhhmmmm! :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

It has been WAAAAAYYYY too long...

All I can say is - I'm sorry!
My camera, my phone - both filled with a bunch of amazing pictures for some really fun posts... but - they are still there... in my camera and in my phone (hopefully to be posted on here soon).

My problem is two-fold:
1. It was Christmas break and I had kiddos home to wrap presents for, play new games with, feed 4-5 times a day and over all just have fun with them while on break.
2. I have been having wi-fi problems with my computer lately - if I could just post from my phone I'd be GOLDEN... but not yet.

Sooooo.... here's a quick "recap" of the last three weeks of "The Life and Times of the Shirley Family"
  • Kids on 2 week break for Christmas - LOTS of playing outside
  • Fred took the 2 weeks of vacation as well... had some fun dates! :)
  • Christmas - fun, but low-key this year (YEAH!!!)
  • Colton lost his first tooth on the 26th (more pictures to come) - I actually pushed it out, but in my defense, his tooth was pushing underneath and causing him pain.
  • Connor has a new friend - his "shobel" (shovel). Everything he did outside for the last two weeks involved dragging that shovel EVERYWHERE!!!
  • Fred and I went to see Claret (Nyk & Jen Olson's band) at a club downtown (GREAT show and fun to see them perform again) but I got carded for the first time!!! (okay - I got carded once before, but just for an "18 and up" place - this was so I could wear a bracelet all night that said "ok to drink") Kinda wierd... :)
  • Very pleased with the presents the kids got (I helped pick a lot of them out) and the boys got matching pirate ships (which Fred thought I was nuts for buying) but having two of them has been a HUGE lifesaver! :)
  • Really been praying about some stuff for the future lately (like I really haven't before) and I'm excited for what God has in store for us!
Anyway - I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year's...

All our love... The Shirley's