Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Happy Birthday, Amy!

Today is Amy's birthday! I remember several things about her birth.  The night before she was born, we'd celebrated her big brother's first birthday.  I was pretty worn out after the family party.  Andy and his twin brother were supposed to leave the next day to go sing at a Christian Artists Contest in Estes Park, Colorado.  I went to bed that night pretty emotional...tired and emotional.  I just remember crying out to God as I lay there--believing this baby was going to come while Andy was out of town for several days.  (We didn't have sonograms back then--so we didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl!)  I said, "God, you know when this baby is going to be born.  If it's going to come while Andy's gone, would you just let it come tonight while he's here?"  I woke Andy up at 4:00 AM with labor pains.  We waited a bit until the pains were coming pretty close together and then called Phil and asked him to come watch Matt while we went to the hospital.  Amy made her beautiful appearance that afternoon.  (And the guys never made it to Estes Park.)

One of my favorite memories of Amy was when she was about 10-years-old.  I don't remember what she'd done (probably fighting with one of her three brothers), but I'd gone to get the paddle and brought it into the living room and told her to bend over for a spanking.  She was sitting on the couch and began crying and screaming, "JESUS LOVES YOU!!  JESUS LOVES YOU!!"  I began laughing my head off and replied, "He loves you, too---now bend over!!"  There was never a dull moment in our home when Amy was growing up.  What fun memories!!
Let me tell you about Amy...

  • Amy loves lavishly.  She gives fully to the people in her life.  Her husband is well-loved, her children are well-loved, her friends are well-loved, even her neighborhood is well-loved.
  • Amy has a tender heart towards God.  She pursues Him big!
  • Amy is an organizer.  She sees the big picture--but in detail.  She has great ideas in creating community.  She's helped organize Halloween block parties, outdoor movie nights, book clubs, bunko parties, children's ministries, etc.  She could easily be the director of a very large ministry!  She's not afraid of big challenges.
  • Amy is musical.  ;)
  • Amy is a beautiful mother.  I love watching her with her kids.  She loves them!!  But she also enjoys them.  She encourages their hilarity, craziness, dancing, music, art, and creativity.  Their house is loud and FUN!  
  • Amy has home schooled her kids at times.  She loves teaching her kids to read.  She loves watching the lights come on in their little minds.
  • Amy loves art.  This is a passion-in-process.
  • Something Amy has recently tried is building with wood.  She made some open shelving in her kitchen--she's not afraid to try anything!  She's created things from many Pinterest ideas and does a beautiful job decorating her home with them.
  • Amy is introverted--although she's so much fun you'd never know how reserved she really is.
  • Amy has a heart for pastor's wives.  I believe God is going to give her a large platform from which to minister.  It's going to be fun to watch!
  • Amy loves to cook.  This is really interesting since she never wanted to learn how to cook as a kid.  Ha!  She's learned all on her own and now feeds her family amazing meals.  She's not afraid to try new things.
  • Amy is kind.  She listens intently to others in an open and thoughtful way.  She's very non-judgmental and looks for the best in others.  I've learned a lot just by watching this in her--I love this!
I love this girl a lot!!  It's an amazing thing giving birth to someone, watching them grow up, and then becoming someone you admire and learn from.  I think she did a great job picking out a husband--because we love Jay.  But I think he's a pretty lucky guy, too.

I love you,

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Happy Birthday, Shanna!

Shanna is my daughter-in-law who is married to Zach.  The funny thing about her birthday is that my first three kids were born within a week of each other (and due within 2 days of each other).  We usually celebrated their birthdays together.  Zach felt a little left out with a January birthday--but then he marries a girl whose birthday falls within the birthday week!  We love it!  (Zach may still feel left out--I'm not sure.)  Shanna recently attended a pastor's wives retreat that I led.  Who does that?  Who would subject themselves to their mother-in-law's teaching--and even receive?  Someone with a heart like Shanna.  I was so blessed.
Let me tell you about Shanna....

  • Shanna has a very pure heart.  She loves God with all of her heart.  She is constantly seeking new ways to pursue God.  God loves that.  Shanna is probably very hard on herself because she's an overachiever--even in her relationship with God.  She pursues hard!
  • Shanna loves others deeply.  If you are blessed with a friendship with Shanna, you are truly blessed.  She's loyal, faithful, and gives great effort to her relationships.  She's very intentional in pursuing those relationships.  She's not afraid to put her heart on the line.
  • Shanna is hysterical!  She's not afraid to insert one-line zingers into an intense conversation just to make people laugh and lighten up.  And then she has the cutest giggle--it starts out with a little snuffle with her hand over her mouth and develops into a belly laugh when everyone else begins laughing.  Her humor is so unexpected--which makes us laugh all the more!
  • Shanna is a beautiful mother.  She cares about big...and little things.  She's developing some very caring, helpful, and funny little people.  She's lost a lot of sleep in the past 5 years but will still bring out the play-dough, art materials, and science projects to stimulate the minds of her little ones.  She gently disciplines and guides them.  And again...Shanna is much harder on herself in this area than she should be.  Her heart is fully invested in her children.
  • Shanna loves my son.  She's had an unconditional and sacrificial love for him.  She encourages him and wants to see him fulfilled and successful in kingdom things.
  • Shanna is very creative.  She would never call herself an artist, but she is.  She is developing her hand-lettering skills and her art.  She's not afraid to try a new craft or Pinterest idea.  She just jumps in--and it always turns out great!  Her home is decorated with her creativity.  And her kids' birthdays are always adorable.
  • Shanna loves her family.  She stays in close touch with her mom & dad and her sisters and their families.  She refuses to allow distance to make a difference in their relationships.  She does the same with our family.  I love that about her!
  • Shanna loves investing in young people.  In fact, Shanna became a youth intern at our church when she was still in high school.  And her love for young people hasn't stopped.  You'll often find her mentoring young women--and planning activities to develop relationships.

  • Shanna loves coffee!!  
  • Shanna loves missions.  She went with Andy & I to China a couple of times before she and Zach married.  And since they've been married, they've gone on mission trips together.  She loves sharing Jesus with others creatively--and as you can imagine, she quickly develops relationships to aid in that.
  • Shanna is a worshiper.  In fact, that's what drew Zach to her.  God dwells in her worship.
  • Shanna is FUN!  She is constantly coming up with fun, crazy ideas and making sure her family is in on it.  I wanted to show you some pictures so you could see for yourself!  She's a party waiting to happen and her fun spirit draws others in.  She makes herself vulnerable to make others comfortable.

Shanna's name means Possessor of Wisdom.  And she is--very wise.  She wisely pursues God and then invests what she's learned in her relationships with others.  Shanna has a very tender heart which is fertile soil in which God can plant His fruit.  It has grown and spilled over.  Looking back over this list, I'd say one of Shanna's greatest strengths is relationships.  She knows how to build them and keep them.  I'm so glad Shanna is a part of our family--she's such a gift!

I love you,

Happy Birthday, Matthew!

Thirty-eight years ago today, this guy was born.  His story involved a few miracles.  We were living close to poverty level at the time and about a month before he was born, I'd gone to a doctor's appointment and was told I needed to go by the hospital.  Andy was out of town, and I assumed they just wanted me to pre-register, so I went alone.  The hospital director met with me personally and told me I had to have full payment to the hospital before Matt was born because we had no insurance. I began crying, but looked him in the eye and told him, "God will provide.  I'll bring you your money."  And then I went home and cried again.  What had I done?  I had no clue if God would really come through--but I began asking.  I cried again when I told Andy about it.  About a week later, some sweet friends from Pampa showed up at our door and gave us a check.  They'd given themselves a bonus from their company and felt led to give it to us.  It was exactly what we needed to go pay the hospital--to the penny!  I was overcome with love from my friends--but especially from God.  It was amazing to see Him work!
When I went into labor, I felt the need to go to the fabric store to get fabric for kitchen curtains. (I have no clue!)  Andy's mom had promised to make them if I got the fabric--and I wanted curtains!  And then Andy wanted to take our van into the shop, so I followed him in my car--knowing I could deliver any minute.  When we got to the hospital, I was reprimanded by the nurse!  (I was so naive--it was my first baby!)  And then Matt was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck.  I could have killed him with everything I'd done.  But God protected him.
Here are some things I love about Matt...

  • Matt's passionate.  Whatever he's focused on, he's passionate about.  It could be his girls, building, music, politics, friends, or food.  But whatever it is, he pursues with all of his heart.
  • Matt loves to laugh!  He may poke at his nieces or nephews or his siblings just to try and make them laugh.  Matt even laughs at himself for following in his uncle's footsteps.  Whenever he's late to a family gathering, he'll call to let everyone know to go ahead without him.  It's a reference to his Uncle Bob and how Bob was always late and held us up from opening Christmas gifts--which was quite irksome to his nieces and nephews.  
  • Matt's a forward thinker.  He doesn't get bogged down in the past.  He's always moving forward and helping others do the same.
  • Matt writes beautiful songs.  He's a deep thinker--and it shows in his songs.
  • Matt loves God.  He's not afraid to let others know how much he loves God!  He's pretty passionate about Him, too.  He's also quick to listen to God.
  • Matt is a warrior.  He's not afraid to challenge the thinking of others.  He's also been known to stir things up--he learned this well at the extended Dietz family table.  ;)
  • Matt loves his girls.  He's a good father--being persistent in their lives.  I know he loves them deeply.
  • Matt is a great designer.  He sees things and knows quickly how to put things together--whether that's with a building plan for a house, an album cover, or a person's life.  He sees how it should be and can make it happen or speak into it.
  • Matt is prophetic.  God has developed this gift in Matt and he's not afraid to use it.  In fact, he's used it with total strangers and it's been life-transforming.
  • Matt has a heart for prayer and helps lead prayer at his church.  He's passionate to see the bride of Christ press in to God.
  • Matt loves to travel.  If time and money were no object, he'd be going to lots of new places.
  • Matt loves investing in the lives of others.  He sees to it that his nieces and nephews are encouraged in their giftings.  He invests time with other men in his life.  He spends time with his girls and their friends.  He loves to see people find their purpose and then breathe life into that purpose--even mine.

Matt's name means "gift from God."  He was...and is...a gift.  And not just to me and Andy--he's a gift from God to the world.  Matt's a gifted musician and song writer.  His music was meant for the kingdom of God!  The combination of his names means Gift of God--full of strength and bravery--who is meant to help and defend mankind--and rule in the kingdom of God.
I love watching the process...

I love you,

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Have You Got the Power?

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us..."  Ephesians 3:17-20 NIV

"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will...have a form of godliness but deny its power. Have nothing to do with such people."  II Timothy 3:1-5 NIV

These verses have been rolling around in my head for months.  It's been a cause for self-examination.  Do I have the power of Christ living within me?  Most people would say, "Absolutely!!  You have Christ living in you!!"  I agree.  It's there...but is it at work?  Ephesians 3:20 says, 'He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, ACCORDING TO HIS POWER THAT IS AT WORK WITHIN US.'"  Do I believe we can ask for big things?  Absolutely.  But I believe, according to these verses, that God answers according to how much of His power is at work within us.

So first of all, what is that power?  The Greek word is dynamis (G1411).  It means:  inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or that which a person or thing exerts and puts forth; power for performing miracles; mighty works.  It's the dynamite power of the Spirit.

How do we get it?  My understanding is that it comes first from knowing or receiving the love of Christ.  At the point of salvation, the Holy Spirit (with all of His power) comes to live inside of me.  But then, it's allowing the expression of His love to burst forth through me.  It's releasing the power of the Holy Spirit through me.  This is so important.  You may be like I was for most of my life--afraid of the Holy Spirit.  The church I attended (probably inadvertently) taught me to be afraid of the Holy Spirit.  If I focused too much on the Spirit, I might break out in tongues.  But if the Spirit is only sealed inside your spirit (at salvation) and you never acknowledge Him or release Him to work through you, there's no power.  You can love God & Jesus but be terrified of the Spirit.  I had to come to a place where I just admitted that to God.  I said, "God, I'm afraid of the Holy Spirit.  I know that sounds stupid--because He is You.  I don't want to be afraid.  Please help me!"  And He did.  Slowly, I opened my heart to hearing Him.  To receiving from Him.  To being counseled by Him.  There are so many functions of the Holy Spirit--teaching, guiding, bringing truth from the Father to us, counseling, comforting, helping, strengthening us, interceding for us.  If we're afraid of the Holy Spirit, we're missing out on all of that!  We bottle him up.

And that makes me think of Mary.  Remember how she came to Jesus and broke open the bottle of expensive perfume and anointed Jesus for his burial--before he died?  Jesus commended her for it.  She set an example of great love for us.  We need to break open our hearts and allow the Spirit of God to flow through us to the world.  What a sweet aroma to God.  We'll never break open our hearts unless we understand how much God loves us.  Do you know what God told me when I told Him I was afraid of the Holy Spirit?  He said, "Becky, I will never rape you."  WOW!  That was so profound to me.  God (the Father, Son & Holy Spirit) is a gentleman.  He will never violate our will.  He waits to be invited--to enter our heart and then to be expressed to us and through us.

And when we break our heart open to the Spirit of God--hold on!!  Because his dynamite power wants to be expressed to the world!  This same word is used in talking about the miracles Jesus and His disciples performed.  It's used in the Lord's Prayer.  It's used in talking about Jesus' return.  It's real power.  But then it's used in talking about the last days--and how there will be a form of godliness--but it lacks power.  Aren't we seeing that today?  We can have the Spirit of God (and all of His power) living inside of us--and then do everything we do "for God" in our own power.  It's like having a brand new high-performance car--and then pushing it everywhere we go.  There's power available, but we'd rather do it on our own.  The form...without power.  Don't hang with those people.

I don't know about you, but I want all of the power available to me!!  (Cue song...I've Got the Power!)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Happy Birthday, Addie Belle!

Addilyn Belle (or Addie Belle, as we affectionately call her) turns 11-years-old today!  Addilyn means noble and kind.  Belle means beautiful.  Addie is all of these things--she has one of the purest hearts I know.  She isn't afraid to meet new friends and treats them with extreme kindness.  I remember overhearing a conversation she had with a new friend and that new friend confided that she was bullied at school because she was overweight.  Addie (who is homeschooled) was appalled that anyone would treat her new friend that way.  She immediately began telling her friend how unfair that was and that she thought her friend was very pretty.  That's Addie.  She runs towards what is right.  She has a beautiful heart and treats others with extreme kindness.

This year, Addie joined a color guard team and was recently in a parade.

Addie often joins her mom at the Farmer's Market where they sell their produce.  She took her own money to buy her own carrots this day.  This girl loves her vegetables!

Addie isn't afraid to be her own person.  I love her confidence!

She obviously isn't afraid of worms either.

Another beautiful example of Addie's style.

She's a hard worker.  She comes up with her own recipes in the kitchen.  Her brother is her sous chef.  He doesn't mind letting her take the lead as long as he gets to eat the results.

She was creating her own popsicles here.

She doesn't just cook...she's also a food photographer.  She's been featured on her mother's blog.

This girls loves to read.  If she's quiet and you can't find can be sure she's with a book.

She's learning to play the piano and is becoming quite proficient!  She had a recital this spring.

And because she moved to Minnesota, she's gotten to try some new and amazing things!

She's also Daddy's little girl.  They recently went to a Father/Daughter dance toghether.

Addie's names taken together mean noble, kind, beautiful, light-giving, humble dwelling, ruler of the people.  She is all of those things--and is growing into a noble, kind, ruler.  She will be the best kind of ruler--a benevolent ruler who dwells among the people.  Addie, you delight me!  Your inquisitive nature, zest for life, bubbly laughter, sharp mind, and adventurous spirit amaze me.  You aren't afraid to try new things.  You never see a "flop" as a failure, but rather a learning experience.  You aren't defined by what others think--you wear your unicorn pajamas with pride.  I love your confidence but especially your kindness toward others.  I love you, Miss 11-year-old!  You're too sweet for words!

I love you!

Sunday, July 3, 2016


America the Beautiful 
by Katherine Lee Bates

O beautiful for spacious skies, 
For amber waves of grain, 
For purple mountain majesties 
Above the fruited plain! 
America! America! 
God shed his grace on thee 
And crown thy good with brotherhood 
From sea to shining sea!

This morning as our praise team was rehearsing this song, I was struck first of all with how it was a prayer issued from Katherine Lee Bates' heart.  And as we sing this song across our churches today, may it be a prayer from our own hearts.

The second thing that struck me was that she asked God to crown everything He created with brotherhood.  That was also the last prayer of Jesus,  "May they be one as we are one."  Brotherhood. says this about brotherhood:
1. the condition or quality of being a brother or brothers.
2. the quality of being brotherly; fellowship.

The issue breaking my heart in these days isn't necessarily the political issues dividing our's that Satan has managed to divide God's kids.

Pray for brotherhood, oneness, fellowship, unity.