Are you tired?

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My schedule is better when I realize I can't be Supergirl

Today I am thinking about excellence. I am often doing many things, but not so well. Few things are done with excellence. In fact, I am usually SUPER busy with very little margin built into my schedule.  The things that fill our days are almost always good things, or at least necessary.  I can’t skip ortho appointments, can I?

Bondage of business and captivity of activity. These are phrases that I’ve heard churchy people say a few times throughout the years. But yesterday I really saw that I frequently exhaust myself with MANY activities. Few of them are excellent. Few of them are done to fullest potential.  If you ask me, that’s really lame, because here’s how it plays out:  Always busy running doing stuff, then things get put off till later or not done, other things are done poorly, and then comes guilt.  Ah, guilt.  The great UN-motivator.  It weighs me down until I feel utterly useless and unmotivated.  Then lack of activity spirals downward to more guilt, and it goes on.

It's time to reevaluate when my to do list looks like this!

Many people make resolutions at the beginning of the calendar year.  Homeschool moms tend to make beginning of school year resolutions.  So here’s mine:  Instead of committing to 5 or 10 good activities this year, and feeling bad about doing them all poorly, I’d like to keep first things first.  That might mean only doing 2 outside things this school year.  And that’s a good thing.

 

 

 

 

19 Years Ago Today

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Nineteen years ago today, I became a mom.  I will never forget the mixed feelings of utter joy, astonishment, and a healthy amount of fear as this little bundle’s life was in my hands.

Christian was born with this much hair!

Today he’s a man.  I am very proud of him and I love him so much that I could burst.  He’s wicked smart, super loud like the rest of our little family, and really creative.  He’s gifted with music, teaching, and loves to laugh.  He’s been gone 7 weeks this summer as a Pine Cove counselor, and gone back to Crier Creek to work this week.  So this is my ode to my son, Christian, on his 19th birthday.  Being your mom is one of my greatest joys in life! I love you and think you are a great godly young man.

Christian this July

No matter what their ages, I still think my kids are cute when they sleep. This was only 15 minutes after getting in the car as we left Pine Cove family camp to drive home this summer.

Only you can prevent forest fires

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Smokey the Bear


Does your mouth ever get you in trouble? A friend told us their parents used to tell them growing up, “Don’t let your mouth get your butt into trouble”. Recently I got super angry and was really challenged to shut up about it. It was hard. And I’m not saying I was very successful. However, I was keenly aware that feelings were welling up as I spoke. Sometimes the tide of emotion can carry me a little too far if I am moving my mouth. There are times I’ll ride the wave of feelings, then I have a big ole mess to clean up later. So while I was angry and had every right to be, I realize that everything that’s true does NOT need to be said. Years ago I heard someone teaching on the subject of words and our mouth. They said that before speaking, it’s a good idea to ask ourselves:

Is it true?
Is it kind?
Is it necessary?

Sometimes things are necessary, but not nice. So maybe I need to re-word it. Or shut up till later. Sometimes they are true, but not kind or necessary, so it shouldn’t be said at all. If it’s kind, it’s generally okay.

It only takes a small flame to start a fire

Check out what James 3 says about the tongue: 5b Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

Forest fire in Yellowstone

7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Don’t forget

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One of the easiest things for me to forget is where I parked my car. And that’s usually something I did less than an hour ago. Yet I’ll find myself wandering around the parking lot, trying not to look lost and like an idiot, intermittently pressing my car alarm button in hopes of hearing a chirp sound. I retrace my steps, and try to remember which side of the store I came in, looking for landmarks- anything that will spark some recollection.

I am prone to forget. And God knows how much. Although I have seen God do many miraculous things in my life, I don’t always remember. A few weeks ago I sent out an email to a few friends from the Israel trip last year. Included in the email was this:
Deuteronomy 4:9
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
Our time together was to talk about and remember the things God had spoken or impressed on our hearts during that trip. Imagine my surprise a couple weeks later, I walked into our family camp meeting room and saw this picture at the front and center of the room:

This is the image on the powerpoint screen for our theme at Family Camp

I had a “WOW! God you are King of the universe, and yet you are so personal with me,” moment. The theme of the family camp we went to last week was “Remember”. And it’s in Hebrew letters! (Get it? Israel, Hebrew letters?) And guess what the theme verse of our Family Camp speaker sessions were? Yep, you guessed it, Deuteronomy 4:9 again! The very same verse that I had been thinking about and emailed not long before. I felt like God has specially planned this message just for me when I walked into our first speaker session on Monday morning last week. So this week I feel like God wants me to intentionally remember the things he has done. Remember who He is. That just like when I am desperately wandering around the Wal-Mart parking lot in hopes of something, okay, ANYthing, to help me remember…so I pray, God help me see milestones and things in my life that will remind me of what a great God you are.

In the past couple weeks, we've been able to "remember" things God has done with missionaries we served with in Nigeria. Time together with these families was so sweet and fun!

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This was a special time to remember, as we prayed and talked about how God worked in our lives at Family Camp throughout the week

 

Jesus, help me remember that I need You and I cannot do life without You. You are the way, You are my peace.

God today I remember:
1. You are good, and everything You do is good.
2. You are powerful, there is none like You
3. You are a God who saves, who redeems, who heals.
4. You comfort those in need
5. You love me. You know the depths of my heart and yet you love me!
6. You give me the capacity to love
7. Nothing is too difficult for You

8. You have healed me from depression and darkness

9. You have given me life when I deserve death and punishment for my sins.

10. You have healed me from fear and anxiety

11. You have healed me from addictions.

 

Toilet water and transition

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Boxes, baby!!


Have you ever thought you were doing something temporarily, say…for a few months, and it turned into YEARS? For the past 4 years, we have repeatedly said, “Well, we can’t do (fill in the blank), because we’re moving soon.” In 2006, we moved back to Texas after being overseas for ministry and weren’t sure what was ahead career-wise. Would we go back to our previous profession and life, or go into a new ministry? So many questions and transition as we’ve been in a rental house since spring of 2007. Well, moving is on the near horizon and we are so excited to move back into our previous house! It’s ready for repairs and we are eager to begin.

That said, the night that it was vacated, the master bathroom toilet flooded the downstairs area.

Living room carpet needs removed after flooding- not a pleasant smell

It kind of made me laugh because I can’t help but remember something I was asked last year. Am I willing to go to the toilet of people’s lives to walk along with them, whatever they are going through? How ironic that the “toilet in someone’s life” that backed up was mine! People close to me know that transition has been difficult for me. I’ll just say it this way- The scum of my human nature has risen to the top. I vacillate between being content where I am and being utterly frustrated with it. Where I am is completely adequate. Beyond what I need. But yet at times I will feel that it’s not good enough, or I want to be settled already!

Because of my discontentment, I have missed many opportunities. Opportunities for peace, deeper relationships with neighbors, and for organized closets. I never wanted to buy bins or organizational tools because we never felt like we were staying here long. I always felt it was temporary, so we drive into our garage and shut the door. Over the past several months, I have decided that enough was enough, especially in the realm of people on my street. I know at least one of my neighbors is wondering why I suddenly became so much more friendly! God knows that I’ve got “stank” hidden under some carpet in my heart. I need an attitude and heart adjustment. He wants to completely gut the place and do a major overhaul/remodel. I’d settle for getting rid of the smell, but I’ll bet it makes me look a little better, too.

Don’t check your brains at the door

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These are the very words of God

Most of my life my faith in God has been one of emotion and experience. Until last year when I went to Israel on a teaching/extreme hiking trip, I really didn’t know any different. Since then, I’m learning that the Bible is not only God’s very words to us, but that it’s an amazing historical document that archeology and history validate. One of my VERY favorite sites in Israel was Hezekiah’s tunnel.

Casey tries to scare me in Hezekiah's tunnel. Notice the width of tunnel and you can still see pick marks from 701 BC


Hezekiah’s tunnel is 1,750 feet long (or, about a third of a mile, or 583 yards) The Bible records in Second Chronicles 32:30: “It was Hezekiah who blocked the upper outlet of the Gihon spring and channeled the water down to the west side of the City of David.” Second Chronicles 32:2-4 says that Hezekiah had blocked off the Gihon’s springs flow to pools and streams outside the city so that when the Assyrians came they would not find any water around the outside of the city. This water was then diverted into Hezekiah’s tunnel that ran under the city into the new pool called the Pool of Siloam. The Bible reads: “When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and that he intended to make war on Jerusalem, he consulted with his officials and military staff about blocking off the water from the springs outside the city, and they helped him. A large force of men assembled, and they blocked all the springs and the stream that flowed through the land.’Why should the kings of Assyria come and find plenty of water?’ they asked.”

Christianity is sometimes thought of as a crutch. My experience tells me that it’s not. Beyond that, ancient sites like Hezekiah’s tunnel and historical documents prove that I don’t have to check my brains at the door to follow Christ.

Water flowing in the tunnel

Kamp Kingsland

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I think I’m finally rested and recuperated from camp. It was a sleep deprived, amazing 5 days that I got to be the bunk leader/responsible adult for 11 junior high girls.

Dodgeball!!!

First of all, I learned that I totally ROCK at dodgeball. Seriously, I’m not bad. Which is pretty exciting because I normally shy away from people throwing balls at my face.

How did I see God at work this Kamp Kingsland?

1. In my own heart. For someone who is not athletic, doesn’t like to get dirty or sweaty, hates bugs, and needs 8 hours of sleep a night, going to camp to be a counselor is kind of like going to Africa as far as getting out of my comfort zone. And having been to Africa, I can say that! It was exciting to be part of God moving in students hearts.
2. We can memorize Scripture! I saw students really stretch themselves on memorizing scripture. It was for very shallow reasons-for extra rec team points-that we all pushed ourselves to memorize a passage of scripture in 3 short days! I had several students that started off the week by telling me how bad they are are memorizing, and they ended up being able to recite Romans 12:9-15 by heart just by being intentional and challenging themselves.
3. Adults, if you have visited YouTube lately, you know that the future for our students can look a little scary…I’ve asked myself: This is the rising generation that will lead our country’s future? But as we had our small group discussions after Bible teaching each day at camp, I got excited. God is moving in this generation of students. I could see that students are hungry to know God and eager to follow him. God is at work in the details of their lives and they were tender hearted and repentant. Many tears were shed this week as God’s kindness led students to repentance and they decided to change to follow Him more intentionally. Will you ask your student how God challenged them to be different over the past week? They want you to lead them and teach them how to follow Jesus.
4. God showed me an equation while at camp: Be still for a few minutes + worship Him + read the Bible = hear God’s voice and experience changed heart and life. I got to see this over and over at camp. And that it only takes ONE person to be genuine and transparent for everyone to open up.

Welcome! :)

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Welcome to Coffee with Christine!  Sit back and relax with me as I air out my brain.  This blog is a place to reflect on everyday and extraordinary things that happen or that I think about.  Life on planet Earth can be messy and complicated.  I choose to see God’s hand at work.

A little about me:  I’m a 40-year-old woman who loves to laugh and hates to house clean.  I’ve been married for 14 years to Herschel.  We have Christian, a 19-year-old going into his sophomore year in college, and we home school our 13-year-old daughter, Danielle.

Defining who I am

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The past few days have been really different.  With both kids gone this week and Herschel on a mission trip, I was a little freaked out about what to do with all this time on my hands.  I panicked a little, and began to think:  I know that God is the one who defines me, and my identity is in him, but my daily schedule and activities revolve around being a wife and mom.  So if I’m not doing “wife and mom stuff”, what in the world will I do?  I know that my purpose in life is ultimately to know God and to make him known to others.  But how will I do that if I have nothing to do?  I was venting all of these thoughts to Herschel the morning he was leaving, (Helllloooooo?! Stupid timing, but I couldn’t help myself!)  and he simply said, “Please don’t have a mid-life crisis in the few days that I’m gone.”  He wouldn’t be amused to come home to a sports car in the driveway!  It’s been really eye-opening for me to examine my heart this week.  I have had to remind myself often of the truth.  Besides being wife and mom (which is the best occupation in the world!) I am also simply defined as Christine, daughter of the Most High God.  He loves me and says that I am significant.  I have had to think on the truths in these scriptures:  http://encouragingbiblequotes.com/verses2a.html

As a postscript to the last entry, I need to add that bifocals are annoying.  Ushering in my 40th birthday month…a new prescription for glasses.  Bifocals.  Nothing will make you feel middle-aged like hearing that!  Well, except, “Your cholesterol is elevated.”  And that was all in the same day.  The bright side is that my glasses are a cute accessory. 🙂

Turning 40 is not so bad :)

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The ultimate 80's pic of me in 7th grade

This may seem kind of weird, but for my 40 birthday party, I wanted to celebrate my LIFE.  If you knew me 20 years ago, you knew that I was probably not going to make it to my 40 birthday.  Because of the destructive path I was on, it wasn’t going to turn out pretty. If an addiction and stupid choices didn’t do it, the depression and darkness that constantly hovered over me would have led me to self-destruction.  If you knew me then, you remember that anyone would have said, “That girl is headed for jail or is gonna end up dead.” I tried to get myself cleaned up but I just couldn’t do it.  The reason I can celebrate my life is only because Jesus is a healer and miracle worker. I’m living proof.  

Herschel booked a karaoke D.J., and some outstanding friends put together a great party:  Christine’s Like, Totally, 80’s Crazy Karaoke 40th Birthday Extravaganza!  And, yes, it was definitely as fun as it sounds.  Thank you, Cindy and Joel, for hosting a totally awesome celebration! Thank you Mom, Karri, Lynette, Shelly, and Di for decorations that were so, like, incredible I can hardly express how beautiful it looked. I love you!

What party is complete without "YMCA"?