Tag Archives: faith

Who influences you?

Influence. Be it beneficial or not so edifying. Who and what influence you?

When I take a good hard look at the topic I find it a bit of a surprise what I am actually influenced by. I’d like to think it is by godly principles, right living, and an entirely independent way of thinking that doesn’t include worldly voices but is that what really influences us?

Cultural bias. I’m a reader and though I don’t subscribe to any I find that I have plenty of women’s magazines to select from in my house. I decorate, plan and even shop on the recommendations of magazines.

Adds. Aren’t we swayed to veer to an out of the way store often because of a mailer we received touting a sale that can’t be passed up? That reminds me of sales! Is it really a sale if I SPEND where I wouldn’t have spent?

Media. Have you ever spent a day moping simply because of  the depressing things you saw or read on the news? I know I have.

Past  baggage, influential people on TV, family….

Would you take a moment to really think honestly and if you are comfortable sharing, please respond to this question. Who and what most affect how you go about your life?

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The grumps, free graphics for collague, homework, mom woes

I’m so grumpy today. What a way to start a post huh? I can’t figure if it is simply the weather (rainy and overcast) but what bothers me about that possibility is that I don’t NOT like the weather. What a mouthful! It is refreshing, smells so clean, great for the garden etc. How could I protest that? Yet, is my body protesting against my will?

Is it business? Stress? Baby blues? I’ve been much better lately about being in the Word first and foremost in my day. That helps. I used to do it before bed but now days that time is best used doing chores and I listen better to the Lord when my mind is slow (quiet might be a better choice of words) and moldable. Once the day gets going I am off to a hundred different agenda’s from homeschool to potty training to finding some sanity as a person. Am I a person anymore? Have any of you felt like that before? Like your life, kids, projects, whatever, rob you of your personality, strip the creativity and humor from your usual self? I feel like that lately. I’m humorless and just plain grumpy.

Well, one thing I do know is that the Lord wouldn’t have me dwell  on those thoughts so even though that’s where I want to wallow I think I’d better move on to another topic and see if I can’t get a better perspective.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV)

True – Hmmm, well this is random and probably not what Paul was talking about but I found a free graphics site for collage projects. I’m excited because I’m still trying to get a little bit of art into my days. I love to journal and it is great fun to journal with art mediums; paint, collage, markers, colored pencils etc. I’ve been wanting to post some more pics of various pages but… so much to do so little time! I know what’s true about it… it is true there are places to find free graphics but really the thing I love about journaling is the conversations that go on between my soul and Christ. Sometimes while I’m praying I write down the thoughts, other times I am in a certain mood and I will paste various things to a page and leave it for months then along comes a sermon topic that fits exactly with that page/mood and I’m able to complete the thought as a sort of conversation between me and my Maker. He speaks gently and deliberately, taking as much time as needed and through the art journal I am able to visualize that communication. It’s neat! I keep track of prayer requests and answers, topics I am struggling with and answers, precious moments with my children and husband or the difficult ones but always there is my Jesus, listening and teaching. That’s TRUE.

Noble – Webster’s includes these definitions;

  1. of an exalted moral or mental character or excellence; lofty: a noble thought.
  2. admirable in dignity of conception, manner of expression, execution, or composition: a noble poem.

And this is what came to mind. I’ve been urging the women in my Bible study to pray about and seek earnestly a “verse to live by” that they can learn, dwell on and cling to throughout our next study. I have yet to do MY homework. 🙂 But the following verse keeps coming up so I think the Lord has revealed the verse I am supposed to work on.

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39 (NCV)

 

Right – Again, trusty Websters: that which is in accord with fact, reason, propriety, the correct way of thinking, etc

 

I am Elizabeth Bennet!

Well, I don’t know about FACT but I took the Emma Adaptations quiz and my results were a reasonable description of me. This is what they said…

 “You are Elizabeth Bennet of Pride & Prejudice! You are intelligent, witty, and tremendously attractive. You have a good head on your shoulders, and oftentimes find yourself the lone beacon of reason in a sea of ridiculousness. You take great pleasure in many things. You are proficient in nearly all of them, though you will never own it. Lest you seem too perfect, you have a tendency toward prejudgement that serves you very ill indeed.”

Pure – Peewee was in pure bliss this morning when she discovered the boys had left the sugar tin out on the counter. She scooped a good cup full out onto the table, licked her plump little fingers and went to town scooping and licking until I caught her! Even though she was in trouble the look on her face was absolutely heaven.

Lovely – My cozy, grass green sweater, a cup of coffee and a fire in the stove.

Admirable – How my husband puts up with my grumpy moods and no matter what I throw at him he says “I’ll pray for you” and usually has an idea of something I could do or think about that would help my perspective.

Praiseworthy – My children playing happily together in spite of the fact that I’ve holed up in the basement (where that fire is) with the computer and my sweater. They even made PB & J for everyone for lunch. I’m not going to say anything about the jumping on the couch they are doing because they don’t think I know.

Okay, well I have to say I do feel better and I think I might go have a PB&J

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Perspective, business, keeping house

I thought this would be a good week for me to practice perspective. I know in my head that I always have 400 times more tasks laid out than anyone can possibly accomplish in a lifetime. I caught myself grumbling at my husband about some of the things that are left undone and nagging on me. But in the same hour wanting him to be around just to talk, hang out with me and the kids and maybe even help the boys with math.

Well, hon, I had to remind myself there are only 24 hrs in a day you know!

I’ve been trying to learn the lessons of pacing and picking my battles. What really matters? That the kitchen is clean or that the kids learn and grow and my husband and I still love each other at the end of the day?

Maybe some months or some years those don’t have to be mutually exclusive but this month, this week we can’t do it all!

I’ve been picking one thing at a time that is nagging on me and tackling it, taking as many days as it takes to completion. The first task was our room. I’ve always wanted Matt and my bedroom to be a place of refuge. A sanctuary from the craziness of a busy family. It had gotten out of control with baby stuff, my projects, laundry… You know!

I am proud to say I am very close to done.

But each day has it’s own problems too. Today I woke up early, too early ;), to a load of dog doodo on the laundry room floor, a kitchen that had been overworked the night before and lay in shambles, and then a little gal with terrible diarreah from getting crackers at church this weekend. I hadn’t even had breakfast and company was coming at eleven.

Thank the Lord, the women who were coming are the kind who would have cleared their own spot to sit, swept the floor for me or fed me lunch if it was really that bad. So I had nothing to worry from them. It’s ME!

In Matthew it says to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

I can sure attest to that.

I actually took a little break from untangling several skeins of yarn to write this post. Someone decided my yarn bag would be great fun.

I’m trying not to be so hard on myself and my kids. Trying to start my days in the Word or maybe I need to consider a different appointment with the Lord like naptime or bedtime. I love doing devotions in a multi media art journal. I wrote a funny post about that on another crazy mom day. It helps me not be so rigid, keeps me going and not self edit etc. The organic nature of art, crayons, paint, ripped up magazines or whatever get my creativity going and help stop the voice of doubt that says I haven’t read long enough or gone deep enough.

Anyway I am rambling. Just needed to do something without doing something while I “rest”! Haha!

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Balance, perspective, priorities, desires…

Balance, perspective, priorities, desires and that dog gone knowledge thing I can’t talk about.

These are always a struggle for me so as I learn more about photography (and have such great subjects, 4 crazy Thinglets) it’s hard not to spend hours editing, sharing, creating. I need to put myself on photo editing restriction or something.

I do the same thing with anything I’m enjoying. Writing is another project I have to keep “under wraps”. I’d love to fall into the page and forget my surroundings, learn new things and talk to God through my writing. If I could divide my time between writing and being on a horse with occasional picture taking, I’d have it made.

Or would I?

Last night was one of those nights. I think Pee Wee might be cutting her last eye tooth and so she cried off and on all night until, somewhere in the wee hours Matt got her up and sat with her in the living room. Not ten minutes later Loud Kiddington started howling and crying in his bed. Then of course the big boys tried shushing him. Everyone was up and hollering.

What a night. But still, the patience I need for my children is drained on days when I seek only to please myself. When I go to bed with an agenda for the next day and wake up with a list of desires (not just chores) I feel nothing but frustration toward the four little one’s who constantly derail my plan. But when I plan only to enjoy my children I find I have more debth of character, more passion and joy to pour out when able or simply enjoy.

After the crazy night all the kids woke up happy. Little Pee Wee came toddling into the living room, plucked her paci out of her mouth, threw it on the ground and and hollered “Where Daddy?”

So precious. I do have to say though, the thought did cross my mind that her big blue eyes and emphatic expression would have made an incredible picture. I was quickly re routed upon smelling what eminated from her diaper.

How could I miss these times?

Easily.

With very little sleep this morning, I dragged myself out of bed and poured a cup of coffee. I’ve been reading in 1 Corinthians. I found a quote from Isaiah 64:4 which is quoted in 1 Cor. 2:9 – However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” — but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.

So all this to say. I have plenty of my own plans. Tons of ambitions. Long lists of good things to do but it all requires me to KNOW! This verse points out that no one has known. I’m off the hook. I don’t need to know anything because if I could gain all the wisdom of the world it amounts to nothing next to God.

1 Corinthians 1:25 – For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

I need only to rest in Him, wait on His timing and pour myself out for my family. If anything interferes with that I’ve got my priorities upside down. If anything tempts me to put that off, that thing can wait because this innocence that my children now have, doesn’t wait. Before I know it they will be balancing their own lives and my job as advisor, counselor, late night rocker will be over and I’ll have days and weeks and months and years to pursue my desires.

Hopefully by then I will have learned the lessons and my days will be filled with living for Christ. For only he is wisdom. Only he is knowledge.

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My Doctor Friend – Trusting God

The Lord commands us to love as He loved us.

I promised updates on reading to the doctor. The problem is I haven’t been able to see him lately.

My Doctor friend developed pnumonia a few weeks ago and has been in the hospital. I’ve not been able to visit him because, until recently, they were very selective with who he could see. The hope is that he will be back home within the week.

God has brought other blessing from the friendships made through this trajedy. His three kids love having me visit and his wife and I have become great friends. Sometimes when she returns from running kids to and fro, we stay up talking until midnight. There is so much to talk about; blessings, trials, the challenges of the week. For each of us it has become a sweet reminder that someone cares, someone else is praying and someone close by will drop everything and head over at the drop of the hat.

Do you have a dear friend like that? Is there someone God wants you to reach out to?

I never imagined I would get so much blessing out of reading to a neighbor.

What is God asking you to do? I’d love to hear about your triumphs in trusting God and reaching beyond your borders to help a friend, neighbor, coworker… in need! Even if you haven’t done it yet, tell us what’s on your heart.

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Legend of the Three Trees

Please join me at my new web home JessieGunderson.com and don’t forget to like the Blog Schmog Facebook community HERE.

Some of you were wondering what this mosaic on my kitchen floor is all about.

The Legend of the Three Trees is a folklore story of unknown origin. My favorite picture book version is HERE.

The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale

The story is retold by Angela Elwell Hunt and beautifully illustrated by Tim Jonke. It is a Christmas classic but we keep it out year round.

Below is Thing One’s retelling of the legend un-edited.

A long time ago there was three trees. The first tree wanted to be a treasure chest and hold the greatest treasure. The second tree wanted to be a ship and made for just kings. And the third tree wanted to stay on the top of the hill and point up to God.

Many years had passed by. Then after a few days three woodcutters came and the first woodcutter cut down the first little tree. The second woodcutter cut down the second tree. The thrid woodcutter said, “I will cut down whatever tree I want to. This is the one I’m going to cut.”

The first tree got tooken to a carpenter. The carpenter turned the tree into a manger for animals to eat out of.

The second tree was tooken to a ship yard and no big ships were getting made that day. Instead tiny fishing boats. Every day he brought in loads of dead smelly fish across the lake.

The third tree was confused when she got cut into straight square logs. She stayed there for a very long time. Then she got carried by a man and she felt ugly when they nailed his  hands to her.

The first tree got to be a manger and hold the greatest treasure of all. That was Jesus.

The second tree got to be a sailboat and hold the greatest king of all that was powerful. He got to see Jesus stop the storm when he woke up.

The third tree got to be carried by Jesus and forever remind people of God. That was better than staying on the mountain.

THE END

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Filed under Book Blab, Children & Kids at Heart, From the Mouth of Babes

The doctor served me lemonade.

The doctor, my neighbor and friend who’se been trapped inside his own body over a year now, spoke volumes to me yesterday when I visited. Reading to him weekly has been my custom since the day of God’s harebrained plan about reading. If you’ve missed the two posts explaining what has happened so far be sure to read up.  The link takes you to the first post and from there you can read the second.

I showed up a little late after wolfing down my dinner. Every day I’ve visited before I have relied on my chatty nature to get us through the evening. Jane takes her daughter to youth group while the Doctor watches me talk and eventually read. Many times he tires, whether from my droning 🙂 or the mental taxation of keeping active when everything you once knew is so unattainable.

The extent of his movement has been one uncooperative arm and occasionally fidgeting of his feet. He rarely has moved his head though he can when being deliberate. I’ve received one goulish smile and during the first ever visit he attempted to whisper “Hi”.

Setting down my bag I walked over to the 60yr old Doctor’s wheelchair to say hello. It shocked me when he began to talk. Labored and extremely quiet, but talking none the less!  I shook my head and laughed. “You’re talking! Just a minute let me get my jacket off.”

I had to lean in close to hear what he was saying but the short conversation that ensued left me baffled, feeling blessed and encouraged.  “How are you?” He smiled broad and beconed me closer.

“I’m great. You don’t know how excited I am to hear you talk! I’ve been praying for you.”

He shook his head yes and smiled again. I couldn’t help myself, my heart bubbled over, elated and a little scared. I leaned in and gave him a huge hug! He wrapped both arms around me and hugged me back!

I pulled back and looked into his eyes now sparkling with new life. “You look great. Is this hard for you to talk. What I mean is, is it physically taxing?”

Shaking his head vigorously yes he scrunched up his face as if to protest the work! He made a FACE! Do you know how huge this is? The man had a massive stroke over a ago. Doctors say that after a year a person’s progress is pretty much stunted and yet each time I visit, he gets better and better.

I never read to him last night instead we visited. Sometimes pointing, sometimes with whispered words from him and a waterfall of words from me. Sometimes he made faces that explained his meaning. At one point while talking about the difficulties of breaking through the barrier that the mind imposes on him he mouthed to me, “We all need to slow down.”

In other words, life it so short. This is a man who had everything the world could ask for… success, financial stability, a beautiful family. One moment in the middle of the night took it all away and he was forced to slow down. Yet, he says “We all need to slow down.”

Forced into his situation I have a hard time believing I would have that perspective. I fear I would beg God to let me die and become bitter with time. Please Lord, let it not be so!

My Bible Study this morning reiterated that message with this passage…

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough touble of its own” Matt. 6:33-34

I am witnessing a miracle!

God, change my perspective as I seek to let go of my tomorrow’s.

How will you slow down?

This post is featured at Blog Schmog’s Fuget ABout it Carnival. Read how others make lemonade out of lemons HERE!

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