Friday, April 29, 2011

Dating Poem

I came across this video click of a woman reciting a poem on the Resurgence website this week. I have forwarded it to a bunch of people and all the feedback has been amazing. So click on this link for one pretty cool and insightful poem about dating as a woman after God's own heart. She makes some great points about what we should be looking for and who we should be!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Month BEFORE Summer

Happy Almost Summer-time! The sun is shining today and I am heaing out to work in my little garden. This has me looking forward to harvest time - sweet juicy tomatoes, mmmmmm. But before I can look forward to Summer, we have Spring! And what a Spring this is.

This May I have much to look forward to! My middle child, Esther Catherine, is turning 16. Can you believe it? I can't! She has grown into a beautiful, independent woman of God. I am so proud of her! I can't wait to see how God uses her unique gifts for His glory. Also, my oldest, Victoria Hope, is GRADUATING! Am I really old enough for this? I am the mother of a grown woman! Woah. She will be going to college and I am so excited for her. There are so many things to look forward to - and it is so exciting to see where God is leading her as she seeks to be a God pleasing woman. I am proud of her and the beautiful, talented, amazing woman of God she is!

So - May is PARTY TIME! We will be having Esther-palooza first - a whole week of Esther extravaganzas: friend parties, family parties, lots of birthday cake and even more watermelon. Then we have Katie-Johanna-Esther party! (Cake, anyone?) This is a birthday celebration like none other! Throw in my sister's birthday, and a nephew party. Then we round out the month with Victoria's graduation and her graduation party. Wow! I still can't believe she is finished with school.

So, if you are around our "neck of the woods" as my family says - stop by for a piece of cake. I think we will have a continuous supply. Here's to hoping that you have a May filled with Spring traditions and family together-ness. Then, by all means, bring on the Summer! No school - which is my favorite thing ever! (I LOVE having the kiddos home!)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Help! Trail Pictures Needed

Hello. This week my husband and I rediscovered a park here in Edwardsville. I highly recommend it! Watershed park has a nice lake, lots of wildlife (beavers, deer, waterfowl, and turtles right now!) to observe and a pretty cool walking path that goes all the way around the lake - and at one point through the lake. It was still a pretty chilly day, but a great lunch date outdoors! I snapped a few photos... which leads to my call for help from you...

My friend Sarah has agreed to help Trailhead Church out with a project. She needs some pictures of the trails here in the Metro East. Do you have any? I can find lots on Google, but we need pictures that are not copy-righted. Do you have one or two that you would like to share with us? I took a few today - mind you I am not a talented photographer and it isn't completely finished "greening up around here" as my dad would say. We are looking for winter shots, fall shots, as well as green scenes on the trails. Email me at lmizel at trailheadonline dot org if you have any.

Thanks so much! Can't wait to see what you have! Maybe these will inspire you a little.

.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Love and Friendship

This week has had a running theme: love. Not romantic love, although I love romance, but the love of the Father and love of friends - community, again.

I am SO very grateful for my friends. I have found true community here in this little town and in this church. I am surrounded by women who make me feel safe, loved, and cared for. Many women go through life without this - and that is not the plan God has for true community in your life. To have a group of women who continually want more than you can give or who make life unsafe for you can be debilitating. Run from those women. But run to women who will speak truth to you, who will push you to be what God created you to be, who are not afraid to love you well. Don't be a user, though, seek to return the favor. Be authentic with your wants, needs, and struggles. This is good for your soul.

After a conversation with a friend this week, I am reminded of how God loves us. It is not because of who we are and what we do - but because HE CHOOSES TO LOVE US. Period. It has nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with Him. We see this played out in our relationships as well. I have three kiddos. They are good kids - but they are also bad kids (don't tell them that I said this!). I do not love them because of their actions. I love them because they are mine. I choose to love them. And hopefully, they choose to love me in the same way. My actions as a mother and a wife are not always deserving of love. But my family loves me despite those actions. We choose to love. Then we pray for God to increase that love. And we seek to have a home that encourages/enhances/invites that love to grow.

This is, hopefully, true of my deepest friendships. I love these women, not because of who they are (although that is probably how we became friends - she or I did something that invited friendship), but because they are the community God has given and I CHOOSE to love them. Unconditionally. This is something God does in my heart. He cultivates community in us. This love is not based on me and my friends, but on the love of God. And I am grateful for that. That takes the pressure off of me to perform (to keep my friendships) and them to work to earn my love.

Now there is still tension here. I have God's love for these women (and they have it for me), but I don't have this same love for everyone. It is a group of women who have given me freedom to be me... no strings attached. And they call out something in me that I know God wants called out. It is a community that He has miraculously placed me in. IF you do not have this, pray for God to send it. This will require vulnerability on your part - you have to seek like minded women that call out God in you. But when you find it, you will know. This is not affinity for me - it is community. Are you looking for affinity - people in your current life stage? That may not be the right place for you to look. Maybe you need to find people in the same spiritual life stage as you. Start there! Start spiritual conversations and see who you connect with. I am grateful that I did.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Why Study the Word?

The following is the first post for our Fight Club for Women group at Trailhead Church. It will be posted on the City for Trailhead Church later today. But I would love feedback if you have any.

Let me start off with two quotes from Wayne Grudem: "Theology changes life and conduct." "What you believe in your heart changes how you live your life." We must believe this. We must know that what we believe about the Word of God - and what we believe from the Word of God - changes our thoughts, relationships, life, and actions. And God has called us to study His Word. Wendy Alsup writes: "Wise, practical daily living is preceded by a knowledge of God that leads to fear, awe, and reverence of him, his power, and his purposes. Theology is the root, foundation, and framework for practical living that reflects wisdom and understanding."

Hosea 4:6 "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children." This verse should strike fear in our hearts! It definitely does mine. But does it motivate you to dig into the Word? We are called to be watchful for wrong thinking, wrong doctrine all throughout Scripture. But the only way to be aware of incorrect teaching is to know the Truth!! We cannot be equipped if we do not study. So many times we sit and wait to be taught. But God's Word is a gift to each one of us, and we are called to study it for ourselves. Paul admonishes Timothy to study for himself. 2 Timothy 2:15 "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." Again to quote Wendy Alsop: "The Bible is sufficient. It is enough. Remember what Paul said: 'All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man (or woman!) of God may be competent, equipped for every good work' (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Wow! It's amazing to think that believers can be completely equipped for everything to which God has called them through Scripture alone."

We see the need for right living. We know right living comes from right understanding of Scripture. John speaks of Jesus as the Word (see John 1:1-18). We want to be women who know the Word. We want to be women who value the Word. But if we don't open our Bibles, we won't know either the God the Father, His Son or His Scriptures.

How well do you know the Word? How well can you articulate what you believe about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit? Let's start here:

Spend time reading and discussing the following verses:

Proverbs 2:1-5 "My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God."

Deuteronomy 29:29 "the secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law."

John 20:30-31 "Now Jesus did many other sign in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

Psalm 1:1-3 "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper." (NKJV)

Psalm 119:9-16 "How can a young man (woman!) cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes. With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget your word." (NKJV) [Actually, if you have time, read the entire Psalm 119!]

Consider memorizing some portion of Psalm 119:9-16. Maybe just as simple as verse 11: "Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You." Or, verse 16: I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget your word."

Spend time this week praying that God would give you a love for the Scripture. Ask for a desire to know the Word - He surely desires to be known by you. So you will be asking Him to bless you with something you already know He wants to give!!
Ephesians 1:16-20 "I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the god of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places." (NKJV)

QUESTIONS FOR MEDITATION OR DISCUSSION: [FYI - We will repeat these two questions at the end of each post. They will help you to process what you are learning in your group or alone as you study for your fight club.]

  • How does understanding this truth (God's call to know the Word) affect my view of God or Jesus?
  • How does understanding this truth affect my life (relationships, beliefs, philosophies, behavior)?
  • Friday, April 1, 2011

    Laundry Detergent Results

    For anyone who is curious, in my last post I let you in on my little experiment of making my own laundry detergent. I was cautiously optimistic. For my first test run I decided to do a load of dog blankets. We have two Labrador retrievers who can get pretty grimy after a day of playing in the creek or running the trails with Steve. I have to admit I wasn't expecting much. But, to my surprise, the two rugs and two blankets were clean! Not just clean, REALLY clean. They smelled amazing. So, for the next test, we moved on to a load of Isaac's clothes. His clothes, being a sixth grade boy, were only slightly less dirty. They also came out fresh and clean. We have now done enough loads that I am a fan. Chalk this up as a success. And it was kinda fun, too.

    My only concern is that the detergent was a little clumpy. But I am afraid that I did not stir the contents of my bucket long enough before letting it set/gel. I will try to remedy this with my next batch - which, after making four whole gallons of detergent, may come some time in the middle of next winter!!

    Overall, I consider this a success and I recommend it to anyone!