Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tooth Fairy--My All-Time Favorite Story

When we first moved to Borger, the only housing available was a two-bedroom apartment with about 900 square feet.  Amy (9), David (6) & Zach (4) shared a bedroom and Matt (10) slept in the dining room on a daybed.  It was cozy.  And it actually worked.  

One night, David lost his first tooth and he was very excited that the Tooth Fairy would come and see him.  Zach became hysterical---he did NOT want that Tooth Fairy coming into his room.  He bawled and squalled and it didn't look like there was going to be an end in sight.  

So I took him into my bedroom and shut the door.  Quietly, I told him, "Zach, you don't have to be afraid of the Tooth Fairy.  I'M the Tooth Fairy!!"  His crying stopped and he just stared at me with his mouth open.  "Uh-uh," he said.  I shook my head yes and assured him I was the Tooth Fairy.  And then I told him, "I'll prove it to you.  Tonight, I'll leave a dime under your pillow when I put money under David's pillow and you'll know I'M the Tooth Fairy."  He giggled a minute, just staring at me.  He gave me a long look and then he asked, "How do you get to all those houses every night?"

My all-time favorite story.  
Hands. down.

Zach--just a little older than when this story took place.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Shanna--July 26

Matthew--July 26

Amy--July 27

It's birthday week in the Dietz family.  We started off with Shanna & Matt on July 26 and then Amy on July 27.  Their lives are all worth celebrating!!  

I can remember when Matt was 12, Amy 11, David 8 and Zach 6 and just telling God, "Could you just freeze time?  These ages are just pretty perfect!"  Of course He didn't...and I'm glad.  Each age/stage has only gotten better.  Now I enjoy my kids as friends and love learning from them what God is teaching them.  

I remember asking Mary Burleson once after hearing her son, Wade, preach, "Does that just make you so proud?"  To which she replied, "You know...I'm just awed.  I'm awed at who he's become and what God is doing through him.  I really had nothing to do with it."  I didn't completely understand that then--but I totally get it now.  I'm perfectly awed at who my children have become and what God is doing through them.  It IS all about Him, isn't it?  I see His imprint all over them.

And birthday week isn't over yet!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Busyness and Purpose look alike

Busyness and purpose look a lot alike...but that doesn't mean you're fulfilling any purpose just by being busy.  I've had almost 8 months of being jobless to see the difference close-up and personal.

They have so many of the same characteristics which is what makes it so confusing for all of us.

  • Both will usually involve a job.
  • You still must choose priorities with both.
  • Both can consume your time.
  • Your mind may be going in 100 different directions with both.
  • There is activity involved.
  • Time may seem of the essence with both.
  • Both may pay your salary.
  • Both may make you tired.
Purpose is a direction or vision God has placed in your life.  There will be goals to reach but, most importantly, lives will be changed.  When God gives your life purpose, He not only has a way for you to affect other people's lives, but your life will also be transformed in the process.  You'll grow, learn, gain wisdom, and hopefully be fulfilled and content.  You may grow tired as you work, but there's a heart peace that you're right where you're supposed to be.

Busyness may make you feel important because there is so much activity and demands being made on you.  People around you may even make you feel needed and indispensable.  But busyness just leaves you feeling washed out and tired and questioning why you're here.

Your purpose in life may change with the seasons of your life.  But if you're only drawing a paycheck and feeling continually empty, it may be time to go to God and ask Him for direction, for vision, for purpose.  

"For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]."  Ephesians 2:10

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Spider Web

Last night, David, Lindsey & I were sitting in Robby Yarbrough's back yard talking when David pointed out a spider hard at work creating a spider web.  He had watched it drop down and begin its work.  Every once in awhile, during our conversation, David would tell us to look at how much work had been done on the web.  Finally, we all couldn't stand it---we had to get up and watch.  It was amazing.  The intricacy, the order, the spacing of each part and the overall effect just pointed to the spider's creator. The spider had a use for each leg.  The back leg was catching and holding and looping the thread as the front legs began the new threading. How does a spider know to do what it does?  How does it know how to make a web?  Where does it get its design?  Where does all that thread hide in that small spider? (And as David pointed out--spinning just to catch its food for the night!)

At one moment, as we were all watching and as David was about to take a picture of the spider and its web, the dog accidentally hit the bottom of the web and everything broke apart.  The web rolled up to the top and dangled from the wood.  The spider zoomed to the top of the wood to hide.  We all sat down, disappointed that we hadn't captured it on film and that we didn't get to see the finished product.  And we watched.  The spider finally came down and rested in the rolled-up web, finished with her work.  I guess she was content to catch whatever fell into her leftover web for the night.

Sometimes it's enough just to be amazed by God's creation...and wonder.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Unity...of the worst kind

Unity is a good thing, right?  Of course it is!!  In the very last prayer that Jesus prayed, he asked the Father, "That they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me."  With His last breath, He prayed that we would be in unity.  It's that important.

But Satan tries to imitate everything God does--to confuse us, tempt us, and destroy us.  He especially hates unity!  He knows the power of it.  In fact, wasn't that his first act--to destroy the unity of heaven?  He took 1/3 of the angels with him when he fell.  

Several of us were talking this weekend about how Satan has attacked our marriages.  He's come and whispered lies in our ears--to both the husband and the wife.  Did you know that when you're thinking your worst thoughts about your husband, he's probably thinking his worst thoughts about you? Satan is trying to bring you into unity with his lies for your destruction!  He doesn't know who will take the bait, so he feeds you both the lie.  

In fact, Satan doesn't stop with a marriage, he wants to destroy the family and the church.  He's full of lies and is constantly barraging us with them.  We have got to learn to stop and examine the thoughts coming into our minds--most of them are not are own.  Satan speaks to us in first person singular.  ("I can't do anything" as opposed to "Becky, you can't do anything.")  We'd know it was him if he addressed us using our name.  So he lies and makes us think it's our own thoughts.  That's why we're to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  (II Cor. 10:5)  Do you even realize how many thoughts are running through your mind each day that are not your own?  Satan wants to bring us into unity with him.  But that's the unity of the worst kind!  It leads to death.

He knows how powerful unity is.  Do we?  Do we know how powerful unity is?  I've seen glimpses of it.  And I contend the world hasn't seen through one married couple how powerful unity truly is.  Oh how I want to get there!  I want to experience complete unity.  I want to come in agreement with Jesus' last prayer.  We're living in the day when we're all concerned about our own rights instead of the good of each other.  

God, transform us!  Help us to live in a world which lives contrary to You.  Grace us with Your unity.  Help us to work hard at it!  Quicken our spirits so we are aware of the thoughts Satan plants in our minds.  Let us put up barricades against them.  Help us to grace our spouse and to love them sacrificially.  Build up our marriages--protect them.  Let us glorify You with our lives...our love...our unity.  Let the world know and be convinced through our unity that You sent Jesus.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Friday, July 19, 2013

One Generation

I just finished reading Watchman Nee; Sufferer for China...Heroes of the Faith Series.  Wow!  He led an amazing life.  Of course, I'm always interested in things of China, so when the Heroes of the Faith Series were available for $.99 for Kindle, I grabbed this book.  

Ni To-Sheng changed his name to Watchman Nee after he was saved.  It was typical in China to change your name after such a dramatic experience.  He was a 3rd generation Christian--which was highly unusual.  Margaret Barber, an Anglican missionary, became Watchman's mentor and friend who especially trained him to be a humble man willing to face persecution.

Watchman Nee became a great evangelist and established many churches in China.  During an illness in which many people thought he'd die (including himself), he began writing the things he'd learned through his deep Bible studies.  These writings spread to the Western world.  After the rise of the Communist Party in China, Watchman could see that the freedom of the church was about to be stopped.  He commissioned hundreds of people to spread the gospel all over China--as quickly as they could!  He knew their time was short.  Within a year, at the age of 50, he was imprisoned because he was a Christian leader--and was in prision for the next 20 years--the remainder of his life.  No one truly knows the extent he suffered in prison.  He wasn't allowed to write from prison.  But word did come out through a guard that Watchman was sharing Christ even in prison.  The guard himself had been saved through Watchman's evangelism.

The thing that struck me as I read this book is that within one generation, all work can be lost.  I've been to many of the cities or areas where Watchman established his work...and you'd never know he'd been there.  ONE GENERATION!  That wasn't Watchman's fault.  He was faithful with what God had given him to do.  But the thought came to me:  Am I doing all that I need to do to be sure the message is passed to the next generation?  Am I being faithful?  Will the next generation know about Jesus?  Will the work continue even if there's persecution?  What if our government stops religious freedom?  Will missionaries come 40 years later to find it non-existent?  A lot can happen in one generation.

Watchman Nee

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Child's Discovery

As a parent, I think one of my most exciting moments was when one of my children would discover what they love.  And maybe even when they would try a new thing to see if it was a "fit."  Can I tell you a secret?  It doesn't stop when they're children.  It's so much fun watching my adult children discover what they love--and even trying something new to see if it works for them.  I love their adventurous spirits and am slightly jealous of it.  I'm not a natural adventurer or a risk-taker.  And that was part of my own discovery.  But their example has led me to stick my neck out and try some new things.

My kids have tried some things I never would have tried.  Matt was a debater and was very good at it.  I wouldn't have had the courage to put myself out there.  For Amy to step out and adopt is something I might have wanted to do, but the paperwork would have looked insurmountable to me and would have stopped me.  David led worship in front of 300 kids in high school.  I'm sure I never could have done that.  And early on, Zach opened himself to friendships with lots of kids...not just a few close ones.  I definitely wouldn't have done that.

It's so much fun to watch your kids do things you wouldn't have had the courage to do.  But the better thing is watching as they discover who God created them to be and fulfilling that purpose.  It's an amazing thing.

I love the grace God gives discover by trial and error who we are and what we were created to do.  I've done a lot of things in my life that weren't a fit, but were just a sacrifice of love and service.  And that's OK and even a good thing.  But I love it when God opens something new before us and all we can do is squeal with delight because it's exactly what we love and what we were created to do.  I think that delights our Father.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sent by Hilary Alan

Hilary Alan and her husband, Curt, were caught up in the American dream.  Life was perfect.  Curt was an IT director at SAS Institute and had a six-figure salary.  Hilary was a teacher's assistant and working at her daughter's school.  The Alan family was able to take vacations to Europe and live the life many Americans dream of.  They attended church, considered themselves "serious Christians,"  and their children were involved in church activities...but they hadn't yet learned what it was to obey God.
Curt attended  a Willow Creek Association's 2002 Global Leadership Summit and heard these words by Kirbyjon Caldwell, "The two greatest moments of your life are the day you are born and the day you discover why you were born."  It was a "wow" moment for both Curt & Hilary, as he later shared those words with her.  They began to examine the reason of why they were born.  God was so faithful to lead them through the maze of exactly why He had them on this earth.
The Alan's began attending Summit Church in Durham, North Carolina.  Curt was beginning to think maybe God had more for him than just being an IT guy.  He met with his pastor, J.D. Greear, to discuss this and J.D.'s advice was to put his "yes" on the table with God.  "Just keep saying "yes" and God will lead you."  A tsunami had happened in Southeast Asia in 2004 and J.D. had come back from leading a short-term ministry team to Thailand.  He announced that many were needed for as long as they could go.  Curt put his "yes" on the table and went for 6 weeks--which changed the course of his life.
After that short-term trip, the Alan's lives were turned upside down.  Through the course of a year, they sold all that they had, quit their jobs, and moved to Southeast Asia for three years.  Hilary honestly tells about the fears of moving a 10 and 14-year-old out of a safe, secure environment to a Muslim country and lots of unknowns.  She shares about her own culture shock and that of her family.  There were many adjustments, challenges and eventual victories while living in a third-world Muslim country and sharing Jesus with its people.
The Alan's lived in Southeast Asia for three years.  Three years that completely changed their lives and who they were.  Their adjustment in coming back to the United States was probably harder than going to Asia in the first place.
This book will challenge you.  You'll be forced to take stock of who you are, what you were created for, and what you're doing about it.  Do you have your "yes" on the table?  Are you comfortable?  Whose kingdom are you building--yours or God's?  Those are just a few questions you'll be faced with in this book.
I give this book 5 out of 5 stars--and highly recommend every Christian read it!
Thank you to WaterBrook Press for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Monday, July 15, 2013

Favorite Photos of the Month

These photos are in no particular order...but I was going through the photos on my phone and smiled over each of these and the stories behind them.  So I thought I'd share these favorites.

We've been to Dallas a few times lately and Andy usually suggests going to the yogurt place where you add your own toppings.  It doesn't take much convincing for the rest of us to go.  I always laugh over how many toppings the kids can manage to add to their cups.  I didn't notice the guy photo bombing us in the background til David pointed it out! 

This started out small.  David bought Andy a Duck Dynasty tshirt.  And then the rest of us got one.  And they're all different!!  And this isn't everyone in the family with a DD tshirt--we've converted the least likely.

We had a Sanders Family Fun Day July 6.  Gary & Amy hosted lunch and fun at their new home in Amarillo and then we all went to Wonderland.  It was a GREAT day!!  I love my family!!

I didn't even take this photo--I think Sarah Satour (Scott's fiance') took it.  These guys all went on this ride and I think Zach lost it!!  I just love the looks on everyone's faces.  
From left to right:  Andy, Matt, Zach & Scott.

I love God-surprises in my life!  Terry & Dani Stegall surprised us and walked down to Zach & Shanna's house in Dalhart while we were babysitting and we sat outside and talked for an hour or two.  What a fun time!

I love this photo.  Andy is showing Dax his mission videos.  It's become their thing when we're together.  He wants to see them all.  One generation passing on the passion to the next.

Shanna took some photos of Andy for his book and we snuck in a few of the two of us.  She took this and somehow it was sent to my phone.  She's so gifted!

This isn't a great photo, but I love the moment!  Ryan & Addie found out they were going to get to go see Monster's University---by themselves!!  We settled them in their theater with goodies (and plenty of friends in that theater to keep an eye on them) while the adults went to the room next door to watch another movie.  They were thrilled!!!

This is evidence that I'm being stretched in my culinary experiences.  I actually loved the food!

This has been a great month of experiences.  We've gotten to spend time with most of the family doing new things.  I've loved having time to do it all.  
God is good.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Older I Get...the less I want to change

From the time I was 13-years-old, Mrs. Somerville was my mentor.  She was my pastor's wife at The Bible Church of Pampa.  You wouldn't expect a 60ish woman to relate to teenagers.  But we knew she loved us and her age just didn't  matter.  She was still my mentor as I attended her Bible studies in my mid-20's in Amarillo.  By then, she was 70ish.  I remember telling her one day (naively) that I couldn't wait until I was older and had everything figured out.  I remember her throwing her head back and laughing!  I was very confused.  She looked at me and said, "Why in the world do you think older people have everything figured out?"  Why indeed?  She graciously showed me how she was still figuring things out.

I've thought on that quite often.  Why did I think older people had everything figured out?  Because I didn't see much change in their lives.  By the time they were in their 50's, they were on a path that appeared sure and steady.  No changing involved.

Of course, now that I'm 57, I do realize how naive that was.  We never get everything figured out!!  But you know what?  There really wasn't much changing going on in the generations before me.  Think about families in the generations ahead of me.  Families stayed together, men stayed with one job for a lifetime, kids were pretty normal (besides the hippy stuff going on, of course)...there just wasn't much change.  Churches did things the same way they'd always done things...we sang the same basic songs each Sunday. I'm sure there were changes during that time, but it was slow change.

We live in a different time.  And change is inevitable.  And it's hard.  For you young things, you need to know that the older you get, the less you want to change.  People around my age already know that.  But what I hope we all get is that God created change.  And yet He's the only thing that doesn't change.  I believe it's so we will look to Him in the midst of things changing all around us and find our equilibrium.  Look at the seasons; they change.  Children change.  Growing things change.  God wants us to change--we're to be conformed to the image of Christ--and that involves change.

Can I just say this?  WE WANT WHAT'S COMFORTABLE!!!  I'd like nothing more than to wrap myself in a warm cocoon and hide my head while the world passes by.  I'd like to not be affected by change.  And yet there's a part of my inner self that craves adventure.  Isn't it crazy that both things exist simultaneously?

I guess what God is teaching me at this time of extreme change in my life is to embrace the changes.  It's good.  It keeps me drawing closer to Him.  And He's fulfilling the adventure I've always craved.  He's my place of comfort.  I can't find it in a place, in a person, or in a position.  He's jealous that way.  I've watched too many people who refuse to change and it brings about death.  Think about it--and look around.  I think you'll agree.  Growing things change.  And people or churches or businesses who refuse to change will eventually die.  They may not die physically but there's just no life!

Let's embrace change. I can promise--it won't be comfortable.  But I also believe our time on this earth is short.  Do we want to be comfortable or do we want to please God and be a part of His advancing kingdom plan?  As uncomfortable as it may be...I'm choosing change!  After all, Mrs. Somerville showed me how to effect change even in your 90's.  She lead Bible studies in the nursing home she chose to go to.  She was all about change.  And she lived fully and led an amazing life until she died at 97.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Fixer

Hi!  My name is Becky and I'm a Fixer.  I've been a fixer most of my life.  What that means is that I've felt responsible to fix things--either situations or relationships--or circumstances involving both.  I guess a nice way of saying it is I'm a natural born nurturer.  A not-so-nice way of saying it is I'm a control freak.

I think the key phrase in my life the past few months has been "feeling responsible."  I've felt responsible to fix relationships.  I've felt responsible to intervene between key people in my life.  I've felt responsible to fix situations around me.

Honestly?  I think moms come by this naturally.  We're forced into that situation as mothers.  We're negotiators for hostile takeovers by our children constantly.  We fix relationships by making our children kiss and make-up.  We fix situations by disciplining them when they disobey.  We're fixers just by having the role of MOM.

But if I'm completely honest, I would have to tell you it began in my life much earlier.  It was a little evident when both of my brothers called me "little mama"...and that wasn't a term of endearment.  I fixed my brother's lives by tattling constantly.  I wanted to make sure they walked the straight and narrow....just like me.  (This little problem with pride grew as I did.)

Not much has changed.  People in my life have felt the effects of The Fixer in their lives.  I've fixed Andy plenty.  I think, as wives, it's easiest for us to fix our husbands.  We want them to be loved and respected.  (Isn't that noble?)  Not just by the outside world but even by their own children.  So we want to tell them when they may have overstepped their bounds with their kids or hurt someone's feelings.  We naturally want good relationships in our family.  But we also don't want to be embarrassed by what our husbands may say or do in public.  So we may correct them later in private.  (not sure how I know that one!)  And we may actually feel good that we did it in private.  But God has stepped into my life in this area and told me to lay it down.  (Put the gun down, Becky...nice and slow.)   No more fixing.  No more feeling responsible for anyone but me.  When I feel responsible and intervene, I'm actually preventing what God may be trying to do in someone else's life.  They can't hear God for hearing me--loud and clear.  (It's pride...and it's ugly.  And it's the whole log and splinter thing, too.)

So...I've laid it down.  And there's no way I'd actually be sharing this ugliness with you young moms except I was talking with a mom of grown children today who told me she realized how overburdened she was feeling because she was feeling responsible for everyone in her life and too many situations to count!  It was affecting her physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually--to the point she was ready to throw in the towel!  It made me realize this is a problem common to us women.  I'm not alone--I'm not the only Fixer!  I was able to share with her the journey I'm on.  I'm learning to say to myself, "I am not responsible" and let the chips fall where they may.  I'm also trying not to intervene when the chips fall and chaos or hurt feelings ensue.  But just so you know, feeling responsible can become a very familiar place!  And in a stressful moment, it's easy to go right back there.  I know the only way to overcome this is through the power of the Holy Spirit--quickening my spirit in those moments and reminding me that I am not responsible.  The only person I'm responsible for now is ME!

As a mom of young kids, you are The Fixer.  You have to intervene, teach, train, and negotiate with your kids...but not your husband.  And you don't want to intervene between your husband and your kids!  They are his responsibility, too.  And you just need to know that you need to work yourself out of a job as The Fixer in your kids' lives as they grow.  You'll do yourselves both a favor.

I'm a slow learner.  But I am learning.  I'm learning how much more God can do when I'm not The Fixer...and am out of His way.  He's waited a long time for this opportunity!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer

Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer was a fun read.  Even though you can pretty well predict the outcome of the story in the first chapter, there are still enough twists and turns to keep you interested.  Good job, Karen!

Joanna Robbins, the daughter of a former outlaw, was taught about God by her now deceased mother.  And she began praying for a preacher to come to her now defunct church all in the hopes of having help in winning her dad to the Lord.  In a weird turn of events, her father helped answer that prayer.  He knew that she was hoping for a preacher (without knowing why) and delivered a preacher to her for her birthday--by holding up a train and bringing Crockett Archer tied up in ropes.  Crockett was on his way to a church as a candidate as parson--but he didn't quite make it there in time.  He managed to escape the Robbins'ranch, but Joanna and her strong faith were on his mind.

I'd give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
Thank you to BethanyHouse for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255