Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Decisive Victory!

Did you think it was possible to have a decisive victory over a stronghold in your life while on earth? I think I believed it theoretically....just not personally. But I had one this month. In fact, when I realized it was a decisive victory, I felt clothed in it, I laughed hysterically and felt like I'd climbed a mountain and planted a flag at the top.
When God told Moses, and then Joshua, to lead the people into the Promised Land, he told them to take it one city at a time to keep the dogs from taking over the land. That's how He works in my life. We work on one area at a time. But there has been one area in my life where I never thought I'd have a complete victory. Have one of those? I've worked on it through the years and had small-step-victories, just not a complete victory.
It was recently that I realized how much I focused on what wasn't completed in my life instead of being thankful for what God had done. So I began thanking Him for how much change He'd worked in my life in this area.
And then before Christmas...it happened! I experienced an attack from the enemy. He'd set me up to fall back into an old pattern. And my response was completely different than it had ever been. In fact, it was so different, I was even stunned. And at that moment, I knew. I knew I'd had a decisive victory. It was exhilarating!
Now I'm not ignorant enough to believe Satan won't come back around and try to take that mountain back. I know he'll try. I'm just believing God. When He gives us a Promised Land, it's ours. He expects us to possess it. And I didn't put that flag on top of the mountain for nothing!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 Christmas

These photos are something only family will probably appreciate. But if anyone else does....God bless you! (It's long and definitely out of order!)

Aunt Shanna, Caitlin & Alexis



Zach's
Dwight Schrute Bobblehead.
Zach & Shanna Dietz

Addie opening Strawberry Shortcake. (SS smells the same after all these years!)


Aunt Shanna babysitting for Alexis


New quarterback for Dallas Cowboys---Ry-an DIETZ!

Alexis modeling the backpack that Aunt Sandra made.

Caitlin showing us her new apron made by Aunt Sandra.

Matt modeling his new vest.

The Matt Dietz family--Caitlin, Lisa, Alexis & Matt.

Ryan & Addie opening their Little House on the Prairie DVD's.

Alexis looking at Pioneer Woman Cookbook with her mom, Lisa.

Lisa & Shanna modeling their new aprons from Anthropologie.







Lindsey modeling her new apron from Etsy.



Three girl cousins--Alexis, Caitlin & Addie.




David's gift from Zach...need I say more?




David Dietz family---Addie,, Lindsey, Ryan & David




David and his new Dwight Schrute bobblehead.




Christmas at Granny's in Pampa.



Carving Guru--Gary Sanders, my brother.




Waitress Caitlin taking orders.




May I take your order, please?




We told the girls they only got one gift---but there were many gifts packed inside one gift. Caitlin opening hers.




The girls were all dressed up when we arrived.




Sisters....Caitlin & Alexis




Girls playing Barbies.



Ballerina Addie---with new ballet shoes and tutu.




Another view of the backpack.



Andy & Becky...boy, do I need a haircut...among other things.




Our adopted FPC daughter, Amanda.




One more pose.



Can I please open one gift???





Alexis with her new baby bedding.




Alexis opening her new baby bedding.



Alexis with her baby and baby apron.



Josiah sent Gee this letter. It's on the fridge.



Josiah sent Buff this letter. It's on the fridge. (He folded the letters, too!)



Addie painted this art. It's on the fridge.



Ryan wrote and painted this letter. It's on the fridge.



video



Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Looking to a New Year


2010

I hope I can get used to writing that. It looks funny, doesn't it? But we have a new year to look forward to. As I was putting my Christmas decorations away, the thought went through my mind, "I wonder what will be happening during Christmas 2010?" Life can change in an instant--for good or bad.

I have some friends who recently moved to the middle east and went to Italy for Christmas this year. I'm sure at this time last year, they had no plans to be in Italy right now!

I also have a friend who was planning a wedding this time last year. Since then, she married...and buried her husband. That certainly wasn't in her plan.

We have no idea what tomorrow will bring. But praise God--He already knows. He's been there before us! What is your desire for this new year? What are you hoping you'll be doing next Christmas? And maybe the bigger question is this: How will you prepare?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Repost of Hopeful Post-Christmas Melancholy


I'm reposting this from John Piper's Website.

Hopeful Post-Christmas Melancholy
Posted: 26 Dec 2009 02:22 AM PST
(Author: Jon Bloom)
Each year Christmas night finds members of my family feeling some melancholy. After weeks of anticipation, the Christmas celebrations have flashed by us and are suddenly gone. And we're left standing, watching the Christmas taillights and music fade into the night.But it's possible that this moment of melancholy may be the best teaching moment of the whole season. Because as long as the beautiful gifts remain unopened around the tree and the events are still ahead of us, they can appear to be the hope we are waiting for. But when the tree is empty and events are past, we realize we are longing for a lasting hope.So last night, as Pam and I tucked our kids into bed, we talked about a few things with them:

*Gifts and events can't fill the soul. God gives us such things to enjoy. They are expressions of his generosity as well as ours, but gifts and celebrations themselves are not designed to satisfy. They're designed to point us to the Giver. Gifts are like sunbeams. We are not meant to love sunbeams but the Sun.

*Putting our hope in gifts will leave us empty. Many people live their lives looking for the right sunbeam to make them happy. But if we depend on anything in the world to satisfy our soul's deepest desire, it will eventually leave us with that post-Christmas soul-ache. We will ask, "Is that all?" because we know deep down that's not all there is. We are designed to treasure a Person, not his things.

*It is more blessed to give than receive. What kind of happiness this Christmas felt richer, getting the presents that you wanted or making someone else happy with something that you gave to them? Receiving is a blessing, but Jesus is right—giving is a greater blessing. A greedy soul lives in a small, lonely world. A generous soul lives in a wide world of love.

It's just like God to let the glitter and flash of the celebrations (even in his honor) to pass and then to come to us in the quiet, even melancholic void they leave. Because often that's when we are most likely to understand the hope he intends for us to have at Christmas.
(Originally posted 12/26/07)

The best gifts ever

I'll give them to you in the order they were given to us.

1. Zach & Shanna came and gave us a book---Crazy Love. (I can't wait to read it---seeing how it's changed their lives!) They gave us a letter that detailed how God had transformed them with the reading of Dave Ramsey's book, The Total Money Makeover and Francis Chan's book, Crazy Love. As a result of God using the 2 above-mentioned books in their lives, they told how they've been able to help at least 3 families financially in the past few months...and counting!

2. David & Lindsey shared how they took Ryan & Addie to Faith City Ministries where they led worship for the homeless people. They've taught Ryan & Addie some hymns and David accompanied them with his guitar as they sang. Then the kids were also Mary & Joseph in a Christmas play at FCM.

3. We skyped Jay & Amy Christmas morning and Isaac opened our gift from them as we watched. They are sponsoring a 5-year-old boy named Kenneth from Africa through Compassion. We're thrilled!

These are all a result of us asking our children to do an act of kindness that involved their whole family---and give it to us as their Christmas gift to us. We're going to keep a family scrapbook of these treasures. (I'm hoping to get photos of some of these events to put in the scrapbook---hint, hint!) And maybe next year, Matt & Lisa will read their emails...ha! I can honestly tell you that this is the best Christmas I've ever had.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Snow for Amy & Kids!!

This is what Christmas has come to---a 2009 high tech family Christmas.


video
Snowing at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Last-minute gift!

JJ

Need a last minute gift for your kids? A Boxer puppy is available. Marcial Guevara breeds them and has one male left of a litter of 12 AKC Registered Champion Bloodline Boxers! He's such a cutie. And Boxers are sweet dogs that are great with children. You can see Marcial's website and see how careful he is with his dogs and puppies. He is very serious about his dogs and takes great care of them....I can vouch for that! He lives in Amarillo, so if you're in the area, this puppy is ready as a Christmas gift! His website is: http://www.valorboxers.com/. Or you can call Marcial at 806-353-3005 and discuss JJ.

Christmas Memory


Who is old enough to remember when these trees hit the Christmas market? I DO! I DO!! And the reason I remember so well is because we got one. Oh the wonder of a silver tree with a color wheel. We kids would sit in front of it for hours just watching it change colors. Wait. Is that why they got it? Why they were willing to fork out that kind of money for a tree when money was scarce? Kind of takes the wonder out of it for a minute.
But you also have to remember there wasn't much television either. There might have been 1 hour per day of children's programming. And the tv went off at 11 p.m. Not just at my house...but all over the nation! If you were lucky enough to stay up that late, you saw a flag flying while the national anthem was played.
But I digress. Christmas with a silver tree meant we were a cutting edge family. I think I even remember that first Christmas with the silver tree---and what I got. I got a hair dresser doll. It was just the top of the doll---shoulders up! And she came with a little table that had a pretend dryer, brush, curlers, etc. She was blonde and you could wash her hair and style it. My mom did all that and then wouldn't let me go to beauty school because "those girls smoked." Why set me up at 7 years old then? I spent many hours changing that doll's hairstyle.
My brothers and I usually got up about 4 a.m. to see if Santa had come. I could hardly sleep Christmas eve. But once my older brother gave me the word, we were out of there like a shot out of a canon! And you know what? My parents LET us! They would get up with us and get the movie (not video) camera out and take our picture as we saw what we got. It was always so much fun. Mom & Dad might sneak back into bed while we played with our stuff awhile. But mom always got up and prepared a huge breakfast for us. Then we usually headed to Wheeler to see both sets of grandparents for Christmas.
Mom still has that silver tree.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

That perfect gift

Don't you just love it when you find that perfect gift for someone? I do! I've quit trying to spend lots of money or buy clothes (!) or lots of little junky things. I've become the perfect-gift-hunter. And I think I did pretty well this year. Time will tell..... I'm pretty excited about some of the things I found. And by the way....I did most of my shopping online!
How do you think you did?

Monday, December 21, 2009

46

Do you think that's too many to have on your blog list? I'm just wondering. I think I have some deadbeats on my list----they don't move up too often. I'm thinking of whittling it down if they don't do something soon!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Lamb & The Lion


This morning in Sunday School, Carl Duso shared a poem and scripture about Mary and her lamb. I wish I'd brought it home to share the whole thing with you, but...I didn't.

But the main thing that stuck out to me was one of the last things mentioned. Revelation 5:5-12 was quoted. These verses talk about Jesus as the Lion of Judah and as the Lamb. The thought that hit me was that while Jesus was here on earth, he was the sacrificial lamb. He submitted to God for His purpose of redeeming the world from it's sin. He was the fulfillment of every sacrifice ever slain for sin in the Old Testament.

But he's also the Lion. Think about a lion. He is the king of the jungle. He fears no one. His roar is beyond imagination---it makes your insides quake! The lion devours it's prey. He's big, and quick, and muscular. He's constantly on the alert.

I sat there and thought on that. The Lion. I don't understand how it works, but in God's economy of things, Jesus is still the Lamb, even in heaven. But he's also the Lion--ready to destroy his enemy. He's fearless...He's overcome...He will devour. He must be ready to pay Satan back for every evil thing he's done to His bride. We're not talking about a docile lion here! This is the Lion of Judah standing at heaven's gate. I picture this lion roaring--and ready to bust out of heaven to redeem his bride--once again--from a sinful world. The Lion of Judah will prevail. And he's my bridegroom. The baby in the manger is who he was.

Doesn't it frustrate you when a mother lives in the past? Her children may be grown, but she always wants to pull out the baby pictures to show you who they were. That's kind of what we do at Christmas. We pull out Jesus' baby pictures...but we never allow him to be who he's become! Wouldn't you be offended at your next birthday party if all anyone could talk about was your birth? Hello? I'm 54!! (And Jesus is a little older than me...) I think this Christmas I'm going to concentrate on who Jesus is now...my bridegroom who is ready to come for me and conquer my world!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Today in Dietzville

David & Lindsey Dietz

I want to point you in the direction of a great blog. That of my daughter-in-law, Lindsey. Lindsey is the former managing editor of the magazine for Christ for the Nations. While she was there, she dedicated herself to an entire issue about abortion that caused it to be the #1 most requested/printed magazine in it's history.

She loves the Lord and her family. I love that. And you never have to guess what Lindsey is thinking. I love that, too.

Today, she wrote a blog that I think is something everyone needs to hear. So please just skip right on over there and take a look. You'll probably want to add her to your blog list.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Love


When I was in 4th grade, I was "Love" in a Christmas play. I'm not sure if they chose me for that part because I had red hair or if it was because they knew my mom was a seamstress and knew she'd go all-out on a dress for the part. I don't really remember the point of the play, I just remember I popped up out of a Christmas box in my long white dress with the red trim. I recited something about love...and I felt beautiful.

That's the way I feel this Christmas. I feel like I've been popping out of a box spreading love everywhere. Not just my love---but the love of others---and God's love. Being the director of a benevolence ministry, I'm the natural one people turn to when they want to find a family to help at Christmas. Love has been spread all over this city---and beyond. It feels tangible. That's the way God intended it, don't you think? It still makes me feel beautiful when I'm clothed in Love.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Language of Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

I was so excited to read Dr. Eggerichs new book! I had read his book, "Love & Respect" last year and it was transforming for me. I had read Ephesians 5:33 many times, but it had never clicked in my mind that my relationship with my husband was spelled out in that verse. "However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Husbands are to LOVE their wives and wives are to RESPECT their husbands. Simple. But I had never seen it until I read Dr. Eggerichs earlier book.
But as I read "The Language of Love & Respect," I felt like I was re-reading his first book. Dr. Eggerichs kept referring to his earlier book and using the same examples. It was frustrating. I was hoping to learn something new, but didn't. My advice to anyone wanting to learn how to relate to your spouse in the way God intends is to read Dr. Eggerichs' earlier book, "Love & Respect."
If I hadn't been reading this book for a book review, I would have layed it down much sooner. The author kept using acronyms and "codes" that I will never remember. It's too complicated to be very useful. He had a great beginning concept from his first book, but lost me along the way.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

You Made My Day!


You did! All of you. Today was my 54th birthday and it's been great. I've gotten lots of facebook notes from people, phone calls of grandkids singing, had a delicious lunch which was cooked and attended by great friends, heard from my kids and siblings, had dinner at the Plaza with Andy and one set of our kids and topped it off with a wonderful birthday cake made by Lindsey. You all have made my day!

But that is also what a lady told us at the Plaza. When we got our food, David decided he needed to go to the bathroom. Ryan (5) began chasing after his dad to go with him. When they came back to the table, Ryan announced in his best voice that "he and Daddy had swordfights!" It took a split second for that to sink in, but when it did, we were all laughing hysterically. As we were getting ready to leave, an older woman walked up to Lindsey & I and said, "I had had a really bad day today. Now I may have misinterpreted what your son said when he came to the table, but he made my day!" Lindsey assured her that she hadn't misinterpreted a thing---and we all had another good laugh.


You made my day. Turning 54 ain't all bad....just so you know.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What can I bring?


Have I told you that I love my prayer partners? I love that we've met together at least once a week to pray for the past 15 years. I love that they know the good, bad & ugly about me and still want to be with me! I love that they are open books. I love how much they love God. I just love them.
This morning we met again to pray. We were all in the doldrums about Christmas. We just weren't experiencing it like we wanted to. I told them that I had decided to come to God and ask for the gift of a simple Christmas with meaning. And then I told them that I had experienced a flashback of Christmases past at the stable Sunday night. (See...I told you they don't read my blog! ha! I guess they get enough of me on Tuesday mornings!!)

And then it happened. I began praying and pouring out my heart to God. I asked Him for this gift. He created us emotionally, so I asked Him to pour out on us the emotions we wanted so we might experience all we could this season. One of my prayer partners told us that she began seeing a movie in her mind as we prayed. (What is the deal with movies??) She said that she began to see all of our pasts--pasts filled with fear. And she saw trophies of grace that we began polishing and holding up to God as a Christmas gift to Him. One trophy was of a redeemed marriage. Another was of financial restitution. And yet another was of submission. These were all things God had worked in each of our lives. We were overcome with gratitude as we did just that...lifted them up as a gift to God. It was His idea, His work...and yet we were giving them back to God....all polished up. It's kind of like when you give money to your child to go buy you a Christmas gift from "him." We brought our gifts to God this morning.

And isn't that what pleases Him? He loves for us to talk about His work of redemption. He loves for glory to be brought to Himself. He loves when His kids are delighted.

As we brought our gifts, I realized something else. I tend to focus on what is unfinished in my life instead of praising God for the work He has done. I become an ungrateful child that only focuses on what she didn't get. One of my friends said that she didn't focus on the completed works God had done in her life because she felt like it was prideful. But if our motive is to give God glory, pride isn't involved. It's no different than if I give one of my children a gift and all they can talk about is what they wanted but didn't get. Don't we all like to be thanked---and to feel as if we pleased our children with our gifts?
So does God. We discovered that this morning as we thanked and praised Him for these trophies of grace. Everything changed. Instantly! As we looked at one another, we had huge smiles on our faces. We were suddenly aware of the smells of Christmas in the room. We were overcome with gratitude and love. By bringing our gift of praise, God blessed us with a gift. He filled our hearts with wonder.
What trophy of grace can you bring Him? Polish it up and lift it up to Him with a heart full of praise! And get ready for a heart-change. I'd feel privileged if you'd share so we can praise Him with you.
PSALM 34:1-11
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My life makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble and afflicted hear and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought (inquired of) the Lord and required Him [of necessity and on the authority of His Word], and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant; their faces shall never blush for shame or be confused. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The Angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him [who revere and worship Him with awe] and each of them He delivers. O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him. O fear the Lord, you His saints [revere and worship Him]! For there is no want to those who truly revere and worship Him with godly fear. The young lions lack food and suffer hunger, but they who seek (inquire of and require) the Lord [by right of their need and on the authority of His Word], none of them shall lack any beneficial thing. Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you to revere and worshipfully fear the Lord.