Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Words of wisdom to check out from Quandablog's instructions for life. The list is quite long, but I think this was my favorite:

Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.
Both are messy and potentially dangerous, but worth it!

Micah Girl

Monday, January 30, 2006

Sluggard or free spirit?

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
Proverbs 6:6

Oh, I've got a busy day today and so much today, feeling a little overwhelmed. And yet I am keeping my morning disciplines of bible reading and reflecting and next exercising. I am not a sluggard--I prefer to think of myself as a free spirit, but I need to consider the industry of the ant and be wise and structure my day in such a way as to stay on track.

Simple disciplines---year of simplicity---2006.

Micah Girl

Sunday, January 29, 2006

I am not a heretic!

Even though theology wasn't my easiest course in seminary, I still am not a heretic. Thanks be to God.
You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.
Are you a heretic?
created with QuizFarm.com

131 Christians Everyone Should Know

Top 10 lists, 100 most influential lists, 50 to watch lists--they are ubiquitous. This is a more interesting list than usual. First of all 131 is not only an odd number but a prime number, and that must count for something. Also, the 131 notables are drawn from hundreds of years of church history and not from tabloids or Nielsen ratings, so the quality of the "winners" is much higher. Be sure to check out Elizabeth Fry among the many inspiring entries.

Micah Girl

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Marriage and forgiveness

Reading through the One Year Bible this morning I saw a theme of marriage and forgiveness in the Matthew 18 and 19 readings which were back to back: the parable of the unforgiving servant and then Jesus' teaching on divorce.

Every time I take God's grace in my life for granted and grumble at my husband or yell at my kids, I am that unmerciful servant who has been forgiven much and shows no mercy to others. And if that becomes a pattern, it rips at the fabric of my marriage and my family, which is the kind of unforgiveness that (if unchecked) leads to divorce.

Father, let me never forget that I have been forgiven much, and because of the overflow of your incredible grace in my life, I should shower those around me with love and forgiveness.

How many times must I forgive? 7 x 7

How much have I been forgiven? x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 ... infinity

Micah Girl

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Prayers for my children

From my OYB reading today:

Psalm 22

9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you
even at my mother's breast.

10 From birth I was cast upon you;
from my mother's womb you have been my God.

May this be true of my children...

Micah Girl

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Eternal Friendship

We were re-watching Finding Nemo as a family the other night and I laughed and laughed through it, again. Ellen Degeneres was so terrific as Dory. Toward the end of the movie when Marlin has lost all hope of finding Nemo and is about to leave Dory, too, she says the following:

No..no, you can't! Stop! Please don't go away. Please? No one's ever stuck with me for so long before. And if you leave, if you leave...I just, I remember things better with you. I do. Look, P. Sherman, 42..40..2..agh! I remember it, I do. It's there, I know it is because when I look at you, I can feel it. And I, I look at you and...I'm home. Please. I don't want them to go away. I don't wanna forget.

For some reason it really hit me and I teared up. "I look at you and I'm home." That's deep friendship. That's how I feel when I look at my husband. No matter where we live or what we do, as long as we're together that's home.

And even more lasting, no matter where I am or where I go, Jesus is with me and I am home.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

Psalm 139:7-10

Being home, no matter where that is, is the best place to be.

Micah Girl

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sleepless night

I had one of those sleepless nights last night, that I haven't had in a long time. Staring at the ceiling, worrying about mommy stuff, sorting through some hurt feelings I have about some church stuff, feeling knots in my stomach, aches in my head, and tears on my face. I got up from my cozy bed with my lovely husband and slept on the couch so that the drone of the tv could anaesthetize me into sleep.

I usually have such peace and contentment. When I suddenly don't I feel like someone yanked the carpet out from under me. And although I slept finally, my heart is still aching, and I almost don't want to pray, because floodgates are going to open within me that I can't quite explain and that will keep me from getting started on my day which is behind schedule since I slept in.

Lord, please cover me with your peace and pull me under your wing and help me to sort out the anxiety and worry and sadness that is pulling me down today. I surrender to your love and submit to your will by the power of your Holy Spirit.

I love you, Jesus

Micah Girl

Monday, January 23, 2006

50 Most Influential Christians

I found this link on Rhett Smith's blog.

Pretty interesting list--from television preachers to old school evangelicals to charismatics to President Bush to (I find this hard to believe!) Dr. Phil???? Also notable that of the 50 most influential Christians on the list there are only five (count 'em) five women. Granted this list is heavily weighted towards people with a television presence and televangelist hair, but surely if Dr. Phil is on this list, they could have included a few more women who are more explicitly working for the kingdom of God rather than a television psychologist who does not preach the gospel as far as I can tell?

Micah Girl

OYB-Psalm 19

Psalm 19
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Getting up in the morning and watching the sun rise through the glass doors on my deck proclaims God's work, even as I focus my eyes and drink my coffee.

2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.

3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.

This same beauty is available for everyone to see. God speaks to us all in the common grace of His creation.

4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,

5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat.

If the sun in the sky, just by being itself, shows God's glory, then what about my life? Just by being me, do people begin to wonder at God?

Micah Girl

Friday, January 20, 2006

A shameless plug for two cool blogs...

Here are two blogs to keep your eye on that I have a lot of personal interest in...

Super Lasso Girl
Homeschool Mami

Micah Girl

Friday 5 Guilty Pleasures

1. My oversized mug of Italian espresso in the morning with lots of lowfat milk.

2. Thinking about the weekend I first met my husband when he was just a gorgeous stranger with a cute accent and a winning smile who made my heart beat faster. (This can occupy my brain for a long, long time...when I should perhaps be doing other things. But then, I figure, I am working on my marriage.)

3. Singing along with the radio, especially the oldies that I remember from when I was a kid, knowing almost all the words, and making my kids dance with me.

4. Watching Craig Ferguson on the Late, Late Show on Thursday nights after being out with my college students and returning home to a sleeping house.

5. Rereading old posts on my blog, which is now over a year old, and wondering at where the time came to write all that.

Micah Girl

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Reading The Message, accidentally

I was doing my OYB readings this morning, and I accidentally read Eugene Peterson's The Message version in my browser. At first, during the Joseph story, I was just surprised at how the words were leaping off the page at me, and then when I got to Jesus and the parable of the sower, I realized why.

Some key passages about Joseph and the way he always blessed others just by following God:

From Genesis 39: 3 Joseph & Potiphar
His master recognized that GOD was with him, saw that GOD was working for good in everything he did.

From Genesis 3:23 Joseph & the head jailer
The head jailer gave Joseph free rein, never even checked on him, because GOD was with him; whatever he did GOD made sure it worked out for the best.

From Genesis 40:8 Joseph, the cupbearer & the the baker
They said, "We dreamed dreams and there's no one to interpret them."
Joseph said, "Don't interpretations come from God? Tell me the dreams."

Genesis 41:15,16 Joseph & Pharaoh
"I dreamed a dream," Pharaoh told Joseph. "Nobody can interpret it. But I've heard that just by hearing a dream you can interpret it."
Joseph answered, "Not I, but God. God will set Pharaoh's mind at ease."

It's all about God for Joseph, no matter the circumstances. And every task he is given is like a sacred calling from God--there is no complaining, no whining, no wondering why God is unfair, or wishing that his talents were being better utilized. It's not just a matter of Joseph's deep gladness meeting the world's deep hunger. He's just faithful. Period. (And do you think that David could have been faithful in that situation, with Potiphar's wife throwing herself at him??)

And then Jesus' words in the parable of the sower were so powerful in this paraphrase:

Matthew 13:9-13
"Are you listening to this? Really listening?"
The disciples came up and asked, "Why do you tell stories?"
He replied, "You've been given insight into God's kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn't been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That's why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they're blue in the face and not get it.

Help me tell Your story, Jesus.

Micah Girl

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Look for miracles

Mary Southerland makes the following point in her www.pastors.com column this week:

Reflection point: All of God's power is at our disposal yet we are satisfied to minister day in and day out, in a miracle-less ministry filled with results that can be understood in human terms.

Wow. Not on my strength, Lord, but through You.

Micah Girl

My morning routine

Spiritual exercise:
One Year Bible Blog
Divine Hours

Physical exercise:
Core Secrets OR
Nancy Marmorat (Found at my local dollar store)

Does anybody have any other fitness DVD suggestions?

Micah Girl

Monday, January 16, 2006

24 & American Idol--Pop Culture Addictions

My favorite show, 24, has a four hour premiere this season: 2 hours last night and 2 hours tonight. We were out last night and it awaits us on videotape. Since we haven't yet seen the 1st part, tonight we will be taping again, and so will be unable to watch again. In fact, we won't be able to watch any of these 4 hours at least until Wednesday because tomorrow American Idol starts. This is when I consider the benefits of Tivo, but would never waste the money.

These are my pop culture addictions.

Micah Girl

Taking the New Year's resolutions out of the closet

Okay, one of my New Year's resolutions that I did not want to post previously, (because it is such a cliche) is to lose weight. I am not (repeat) am not going on a diet. I can't sustain diets and they just mess up my metabolism and make me feel deprived. I am watching and have been watching carefully what I eat and will continue to do so. I have also been maintaining a healthy morning routine of bible reading and prayer followed by 30 minutes of exercise, either aerobics or core strength training on an exercise ball. I already feel stronger, have more energy and have been sleeping like a baby. I haven't yet lost any weight, but it's only been a couple weeks. I plan to gradually increase my physical activity to an hour daily and to lose 20 pounds in the next six months.

Okay, now I've said it. This will help hold me accountable.

My husband, who always finds me attractive no matter what my weight, is going to really flip for me in six months.

Micah Girl

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Yesterday, rain. Today, snow. Church has been cancelled. Pancakes for breakfast! Maybe a loaf of bread or two will be made today.

Micah Girl

The Divine Hours...before everyone else is awake

I awoke extremely early this morning and could not go back to sleep, so I decided to treat it as a gift and get up and enjoy some quiet time.

I spent time exploring the media center at Off the Map and watched a video, Uncommon Friends, about a friendship between a gay college student and the Christian man who decided to reach out to him.

I prayed through the Divine Hours which was such a blessing to me. I prayed the scripture out loud and it provided a beautiful foundation for my own prayers. One of my favorites was this:
The Greeting
I am small and of little account, yet I do not forget your commandments.
Psalm 119:141
It reminds me of that Breton Fishermen's Prayer.

I did my One Year Bible reading. I love that even John the Baptist struggled with doubt!

When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?"

Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me." Matthew 11:2-6
Help me, Lord, to recognize You and Your work in the world and the nearness of the Kingdom of God.

And now it is still quite early and quite quiet, and I can work out before everyone rises and we get into our rush to get to church. May the Lord bless us all as we come together today to proclaim Him and to give Him our worship.

Micah Girl

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Rainy morning reflections

It's a rainy morning, it's been in the 50s and it feels more like spring than January. Although, I forget what spring is really like since we so often skip it and have winter until the beginning of May and then jump right into summer. Tomorrow it goes into the 20s, so welcome back winter.

I had a great meeting with my missionaries yesterday. They are both so mature and caring and spiritual, and I am praying that they will develop a strong working relationship so that our ministry can really grow and deepen this semester. I need to pour into them so that they can pour into the students.

Today we are going to my parent's house to visit. They still live in the house that I consider the house I grew up in--from middle school on anyway. Dad's been sick with dizzy spells lately, and they are trying to figure out what it is. The kids are really looking forward to spending the day with Grandma and Grandpa, and hubby and I are going to help mom clear out some stuff that she has been decluttering.

I've been getting up before the family for the past week or so, to read through the one year bible, to blog, and to exercise. The house is so delightfully quiet and I have so much more energy during the day. The other discipline I want to add in is a focused prayer time, but somehow that eludes me. I think that it will come if I stay with the consistent disciplines that I have begun. It's not that I don't pray at all, because I talk with Jesus throughout the day, sometimes at length. It's just that when I sit down with my list of people to pray for I start to feel dry somehow. I'm thinking about trying to pray the Divine Hours or something along those lines in order to give me the structure I need to have the freedom to pray. I have always envied those who were called "prayer warriors" because they seem built for intercession in a way that I have never managed on a consistent basis.

But I also believe that as important as it is to build up this discipline of prayer in my own life, Jesus does indeed hear my prayers as I drive and work and clean and walk. And that He won't love me more if I am more disciplined, but I may put myself in a place where I can have more of Him.

Micah Girl

Friday, January 13, 2006

My boat is so small

Today is the beginning of a new rhythm for me--I have a team meeting with my missionaries to prepare for the semester. Next week we have our regional meeting with everyone from our multi-state area. And soon the students begin arriving back in droves.

I am all about hitting a rhythm with my life. When my rhythm is steady--all is well. When it feels frantic, then things get forgotten or dropped or left behind. I am praying hard that this wonderful rhythm that I am just hitting at home: keeping up with the One Year Bible, working out every morning, making a better dent in the housework, and spending good quality school time with the kids, will maintain as I add in my other exciting life: ministering to my team and to our college students. At the beginning of every semester I think--oh, no, I can't do this. It's too much, it's too big. And then I remember that God likes me humble because then I am usable. And I look back on His tremendous faithfulness to me, and I say I will go only if You go before me and behind me and hem me in, Lord.

Dear God
Be good to me
The sea is so wide
And my boat is so small
Breton Fishermen's Prayer

Micah Girl

Thursday, January 12, 2006

One Year Bible: Genesis 27 or the Case Against Situational Ethics

I read a great commentary by Bob Deffinbaugh at bible.org this morning that corresponds with the one year bible reading about Isaac & Rebekah and the scheming and conspiracy that occurs between them and their sons, Jacob & Esau.

Why shouldn't Rebekah (or anyone else) have taken matters into her own hands in order to fulfill the promise of God?
"If God is God, then let Him act on His own behalf, particularly in those times when we are unable to act in a way that is consistent with His Word."

How does sin affect the working out of God's will in the world? Does it make him change plans frequently?
"Man’s sin can never frustrate the will of God, but it can fulfill it."

And my favorite quote, and the most thought provoking:
"It is Possible to Practice Faith in a Way that is Inconsistent with it."

How often we do things for our own purposes and claim our desires as God's, our our plans as hand-delivered from Sinai! I struggle and yearn for a faith that is consistent with God's transforming power in my life, and not my own agenda. I pray that the simple disciplines I am seeking to keep consistently will grow me in this area.

Micah Girl

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Christian Carnival is up

Yet another Christian Carnival is up at Random Responses and it is organized, well, randomly--as you might expect.

Be sure to check out the very clever David Taylor's Gilbert & Sullivan-inspired I am a very model of a blogging evangelical. The title alone is funny, but the fact that he can sustain it with lyrics and a chorus is amazing.

Micah Girl

How to keep your New Year's Resolutions

Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn your back on evil. Then you will gain renewed health and vitality.
Proverbs 3:7-8

A little wisdom from today's reading from the One Year Bible.

Micah Girl

Carnival of Homeschooling #2

Carnival of Homeschooling is up at homeschool blogger. Micah Girl is among the carnival entries wih Simple Devotion and Integrity which isn't strictly about homeschooling, but does include it among my other roles.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Reading addiction

My oldest daughter just received National Geographic for Kids in the mail and has been reading it aloud for three days. "Do you think animals love each other? I do..Listen to this story of a mother elephant saving her baby. And about a blind stray cat in the road saved by its brother!"

My son, the first up this morning, did not turn on the tv but played imaginative games, Pizza Fraction Fun, and read through the David Shannon books we got from the library about little David...again.

My daughter, unconcerned by the fact that I was reading through my daily scripture and trying to pray, sits next to me with random library books saying in her sing-song pleading..."Read, read, read, read, Mommy, read, read, read, read..."

I think I need to go read a story.

Micah Girl

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Simple devotion and integrity

I will sing of your love and justice.
I will praise you, LORD, with songs.

I will be careful to live a blameless life--
when will you come to my aid?
I will lead a life of integrity
in my own home.

Psalm 101:1-2

I have found my theme verses for 2006. I plan to memorize all of Psalm 101, but these first two verses really hit me in the solar plexus.

I realize that I do not bring God my adoration enough--often only in corporate settings, or after He has saved me from yet another disaster. I am resolved to sing of His love and justice and to praise Him with songs throughout the day. Although I do sing throughout the day, to God, myself and my kids, these are not the only songs I mean. My songs are all the work I have before me: creative work, housework, disciplining my kids, teaching my kids, praying for my students, supervising my missionaries, setting a course for ministry, folding the laundry, doing the dishes--all of these things are my songs.

I also resolve to live a blameless life, with God's help. A life characterized by devotion to Him, devotion to my husband, devotion to my children, devotion to my ministry (in that order!)

Working out of my home much of the time, teaching my children at home, keeping my home, caring for my family--much of my life is at home. And I have always felt so blessed that this is what God has called me to do. And now, I resolve, with God's help to lead a life of integrity in my own home, by His power.

Thank you, my Lord and my God.

Micah Girl

Friday, January 06, 2006

Looking for a theme verse

I am looking for a theme verse to hold onto for 2006-something simple to keep in the front of my mind, to remind me to keep things simple. So far, I'm considering the following...

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Psalm 16:6

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart,
and good news gives health to the bones.
Proverbs 15:30

"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."
John 6:68-69

The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

They seem sort of random here listed out, but they make some sort of organic sense to me. I need to meditate on it.

I am open to feedback and suggestions.

Micah Girl

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Simple dependence on Jesus

"God blesses those who realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.
Matthew 5:3 (New Living Translation)

When using the One Year Bible Blog to study scripture, the link for scripture readings at Bible Gateway brings me to a New Living Translation. I usually read (and have for years) the NIV, so reading scripture in this translation brings it a real freshness for me. I spent a great deal of time on the Beatitudes last year by using them to shape our college worship services last semester. And yet this particular verse struck me as new this morning.

Lord Jesus, let me always realize my need for You, and thank you for the promise of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Micah Girl

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Happy 9th, Izo

Te adoro como siempre,
La "P"

Mondo Beyondo: 2006 Year of the Discipline of Simplicity

Mondo Beyondo was my list last year of the wild, pull out all the stops things I would love to happen in my life, not necessarily all in one year. I'm brushing off the list as I ponder my new list and theme for the year as suggested by Superhero Designs.

Looking back over last year my theme was definitely freedom--spiritual and personal and part of that was accomplished by finding my voice by blogging regularly, even if I have a subversive secret identity. This year I am seeking to continue my life of freedom and to choose to live out the discipline of simplicity. I want to simplify my life by keeping simple disciplines consistently--faithful prayer, reading through the one year bible, and streamlining the rest of my life and responsibilities so that I can have orderly days, an orderly home, an orderly life. It sounds so much more boring than it feels to me! It feels to me like the next step on an adventure of freedom because with all the many balls I juggle, if I don't hit a rhythm the balls fall to the stage with a clunk and roll into the audience.

And also, looking back on my Mondo Beyondo list I find that I actually accomplished or am actively pursuing some of my wild dreams:

To write for a living: I am looking to launch a local homeschool blog that will actually provide me with some additional income and/or freebies like museum memberships, etc.

To beome an academic super genius: Doctoral work will need to wait for another season!

To raise extraordinary kids (already doing this!): Raising and homeschooling my children is a deep source of joy for me.

To grow in excitement and passion in my marriage every year (so far, so good, but how much more could we have if we worked on it?): Just got back from a lovely get-away with my husband where we had a chance to reconnect on many levels.

To dye my hair red: Did it!

To run in a marathon (yet I hate running??): What was I thinking?

To live in spiritual freedom: Am doing it, not perfectly, but then I am depending on grace, not my own perfection.

To live debt free: Hubby and I are making great strides in this area!

To work for myself: If God calls me out of this ministry season, then I will look down this path.

To grow in generosity to those close by and those far away: Working on it.

To live as a family in Europe, South America and Africa, finally to settle on an island with fruit trees and chickens in the yard: We'll see what happens.

To become trilingual: I'll work on French in a couple years when the kids are ready to take on a third language. Of course in order to be trilingual, I'll need to polish my Spanish, too.

To return to acting: Once an actor, always an actor. Sometime again in the future.

What are your Mondo Beyondo wildest dreams? What's your theme for 2006?

Micah Girl

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

King Kong

For the first time in a long time I have seen the top two current films. I saw a special pre-screening of Narnia in early December and yesterday hubby and I saw King Kong. It was an amazing piece of filmwork. I can't imagine how special effects can get any more amazing, and then they do.

The film opens in a very convincing Depression era New York City, lovingly re-created. A man and his two daughters who walked into the movie just after it started turned around and asked us, "Ain't this supposed to be King Kong? Is this a preview or somethin'?" No, I assured him, this is indeed King Kong. A few minutes later he turned back to me because of our now warm and personal relationship and said, "Are you sure this ain't the Producers?" No, sir, indeed it is King Kong.

After setting the scene in NYC, the main action takes place on the mysterious Skull Island with the most frightening, apparently demon-possessed natives I have ever seen depicted in the movies. And then come the dinosaurs and giant bugs... Unbe-stinking-believable. Hubby loves a big screen movie for a date and this one did not disappoint.

I appreciated the lovely Naomi Watts as King Kong's human love interest because she played the role with intelligence and guts. Her character is the heart of the movie and she is no helpless damsel--she exhibits daring, strength and compassion.

Micah Girl

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year's Resolution--Day One

To read through the bible in a year with the help of the One Year Bible Blog is one of my New Year's resolutions, the only one I am sharing at this moment. I visited the blog quite often last year and did the readings off and on, but not consistently each day. Today, the first day of the rest of my life, bodes well for completion of the resolution. I have just read through today's reading and am hoping that this will be one of the building block for greater personal discipline in my life this year.

Happy New Year!

Micah Girl

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