Monthly Archives: February 2016

What am I up to?

A funny thing happened to me the other day. It was the beginning of Lent (which I do not typically observe) and I saw that a friend of mine was taking a break from Facebook for Lent.

The thought came to mind, Could I even do that?? And then the realization hit me. If I was asking myself that question, I really needed to do that.

And it wasn’t like it was a convenient time or anything either. I had just applied to be a contributor for a blog site and I know that among other things, they look at how active we are on social media. In addition to this, I was also starting to take Plexus products and wanting to share my experiences (both positive and negative). But I felt like the spiritual implications of the decision to take a break would far outweigh any negative impact of my decision.

So I’ve been off Facebook for 12 days now and I’m not just surviving. I’m actually liking it! Don’t worry. I’ll go back to it because it really is the very best way to keep in touch with everyone and helps me network for this blog, among other things.

But in the meantime, I’m enjoying a slower pace.

There have been several times I’ve thought, I wish I could share this on Facebook right now! So instead, I’m going to share here what I’ve been up to. Don’t worry, I’m not that self-important and I know this may not matter to some of you, but it is fun to share what’s going on.

40 Bags in 40 Days

In 2014, I found out about something called “The 40 Bags in 40 Days” challenge and was intrigued. Basically, the challenge is to get rid of a bag of stuff a day for 40 days. Our lives are so cluttered and the point is to rid ourselves of excess weight in our lives. I LOVED doing it and got rid of more than 40 bags of stuff. Last year we found ourselves parenting five children and I was too overwhelmed to do it. But this year I was determined to try again. So far I’m ahead of the game. I may skip a day here or there, but other days make up for it. I make myself a tally to motivate myself. I did before and after pics the first year but it’s not really necessary this year. My home isn’t THAT much of a wreck this year.

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Blog Related Stuff

Recently, as I mentioned briefly above, I applied to be a regular contributor to a Mom’s Blog. Although I didn’t get a full-time contributor position, I’ve been offered to submit guest posts for two blogs, which is an exciting prospect for me. Stay tuned!

What I’m reading…

I’m a veeerrrryyy slllooooowww reader. I always have been. It’s very difficult for me to finish a book. But I’ve been determined to change that this year. I’m reading, Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery for the first time with Pickle. I’m loving it. I’ve always loved the movies, but now I’m seeing it through new eyes as I rock my adopted son and see his reactions to what she experiences and feels.

I’m re-reading the Ramona the Pest series, by Beverly Lewis with Nutkin. We’re currently on Ramona and her Father. I laugh every time I read it and I can’t help but think that he has some of the same thoughts and misunderstandings as Ramona does.

In addition to reading a different chapter book to each son, I’m reading “What Led Me to You,” by my friend, Carrie Dahlin. Get it. Read it. It’s available on Amazon here. It’s a beautiful account of what it’s like to foster and adopt, especially while finding the will of God in all of it. You can also visit her blog here.

My Valentine’s Day Surprise

Shane and I agreed (at least I thought we did,) to not get anything for Valentine’s Day because we were going to a concert the following weekend.

So imagine my shock, surprise, amazement and elation (and slight annoyance that he totally outdid my $1.00 box of chocolates because I couldn’t do nothing,) when I opened the text message showing me a picture of the beautiful mandolin he bought me.

He did this to me 15 years ago, too, also on Valentine’s Day, and bought me a guitar. You didn’t know I play the guitar, you say? Yeah, that’s because I don’t. But I am determined to teach myself. And now I have a mandolin, too. No pressure. The beauty is that YouTube has come a long way and there are basically free lessons online. At least for the basics. It has the same string arrangement as the violin so I won’t have to relearn that, which is pretty cool. I’m really looking forward to playing during our family devotions. My kids are pretty forgiving.

Here’s my new baby! I haven’t named her yet.

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What I’m listening to…

Well, because of our said musical addition, I’m listening to a lot of Ricky Skaggs and the Isaacs, because you just can’t get much better mandolin playing than that. I’m particularly liking the album, “The Living Years,” by the Isaacs. I’m particularly fond of, Ac-Cen-Tchu-Ate the Positive. So much fun!

And then there’s the Collingsworths! I can’t express to you how much the music of the Collingsworth Family has ministered me on this adoption journey. I’ll never forget the day we found out that our eldest son, who had not yet moved in with us, was far more scarred than anyone knew. He was basically expelled from school that day, a first grader. The caseworker called us begging us to still take him. I remember thinking, Is that even an option?  Of course, to us, it wasn’t. However, it did seem like an insurmountable mountain ahead of us. And then I heard, Tell the Mountain. And I wept in the laundry room. And I knew that it would be OK.

Fast forward to this month, and I’ve been listening to their newest album…basically on a loop. I don’t ever get tired of it. Many of you know my health and infertility story. Gotta Get to Jesus is one of the most powerful songs I’ve heard in years. Shane took me to see them live last weekend and Kim shared that the demo for this song almost went unnoticed and the song barely made it onto the album. I’m so very glad it did. I cried from just about the minute they came to the stage to the moment I hugged Kim, got my picture taken with her and got back into the car. They encourage, challenge and show a lovely holiness in their music that is so refreshing.

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The True Meaning of Lent

Ultimately, this break hasn’t put a halt on my life, but it has freed up some time to meditate on His Word, and not just to read it. Considering that the primary reason for Lent is to focus on the 40 days leading to the crucifixion of Jesus, this has been a very precious time. Jesus suffered for us. He knows how we feel. He experienced pain, loneliness, hunger, thirst, persecution, rejection, temptation, you name it. All for you and me. And then, THEN! In glorious victory, He conquered sin, Hell and the grave for us! And He is now in Heaven preparing a home for those of us who have availed ourselves of His precious gift. What a glorious hope we have! It makes every trial, every sacrifice, every struggle pale in comparison.

I would encourage you, dear Mamas, to take time in these days leading up to Resurrection Sunday to focus on just what exactly it is that Jesus did do for you. I know that I know it. But to take time to really meditate on it and find ways in my life to show Him just how thankful I am for His gift takes more time, effort and focus. And I’m grateful that He led me to do just that.

 

Blessings and much love, 

Mama

 

Feed My Lambs

“As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.” ~John 21:9-10

I’ve really been enjoying reading through the Bible this year. I haven’t done it in years. Honestly, the last time I read through the Bible, I’m pretty sure it took me about three years. So this has been a great adventure.

For January, for the New Testament reading, John was the first book selected. I love the Book of John. John was a close personal friend of Jesus. He literally walked with Him and talked with Him. He knew exactly what He looked like…what His voice sounded like…His mannerisms. And I absolutely love that he referred to himself as the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” Isn’t that how we all feel who have felt His personal touch in our lives?

As I was reading the 21st and last chapter of John the other day, reading a story I have read more times than I can count, something new struck me. It was so exciting to me, I had to call Heidi and read it to her on the phone. It was like I had never heard it before!

So the account goes that Jesus had died, had risen again, and had shown Himself a few times to his disciples after He was glorified, but before He had ascended. At this point, for whatever reason He was absent. Peter decided to go back to what he had always done before Jesus had come along and rocked his world. He said, “I go a fishing,” (v. 3), and the others that were with him said basically, “we’ll come, too.” It was what they knew. It was familiar. It was their livelihood.

Before Jesus.

You’ll remember that when Jesus first called Peter and some of the others, they were fishing. It was what they did. They were fishing for fish. And Jesus told them that thereafter they would fish for men.

He had intended for so much more for them. He wanted them to be different than they were when He found them at the beginning of His ministry.

After Jesus. 

But now here they were, after three years of following Him, walking with Him, talking with Him, traveling with Him, and they had gone back to fishing for just plain old fish. So Jesus appeared to them at the edge of the sea and asked if they had caught anything. They hadn’t. So He told them to cast their nets on the other side of the ship and immediately, the net was full, as it always is when we trust Him to guide us in what we’re doing.

But here’s the awesome, amazing, mind-blowing part. Did you catch it in the very beginning when you read the scripture?! Go ahead and read it again!

“As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.” 

Did you catch that? He already had fish for them cooked and ready to eat on shore. He had already prepared a meal for them. He had been ready to meet their needs from the beginning.

Yet…yet…He told them to bring what they had. Why?

There’s such a beautiful message here and I never caught it before!

Jesus Breakfast at the Sea 2

Jesus will always have enough to meet our needs. He has the meal set for us. He is ready and waiting to serve us and nourish us. He wants to commune with us. Yet, He still wants us to bring in what we have, not for ourselves…but for others! It’s interesting that the number of fish is recorded, 153 to be exact. In short, it was way more than they needed to feed themselves.

It’s at this point that Jesus asks Peter three separate times if he loves Him and with each affirmative response that Peter gives, Jesus replies to feed His sheep or lambs. The correlation is astounding, really.

This is what He had called Peter to do…to fish for men. By meeting their needs. By taking Jesus to the masses! And as daunting of a task as that seemed, Jesus was sending Him a message that He would meet Peter’s needs at every turn.

Maybe we haven’t been called to the same ministry as Peter, but we’ve all been called to something for the Kingdom if we’re saved and serving Jesus. As a Mama, my husband and my kiddos are my calling right now! I feel like every day is a struggle to meet their individual needs while just staying sane. But that has recently changed and here’s the secret…

As of January 1 of this year (not because of a New Year’s Resolution, which I NEVER end up keeping) but because January 1 is a good time to start something new, I became absolutely determined to give Jesus the first 30 minutes of my day. That may seem like a very small thing to some of you, but to me it was a HUGE sacrifice. I have spent time with the Lord every day for years, but I always struggled to do it FIRST. To say I am not a morning person is an understatement to end all understatements. I have never, ever in my life felt rested when I awake and I always feel like I’ve been thrown into my day with a giant heave-ho. My kids are all morning people, bless their little hearts, and they ask so. many. questions. in the morning that I just. can’t. process. I finally concluded that I’d much rather start my day sleepy, in the quiet peaceful presence of my Savior so that I, in turn, can handle the boisterous, loud, giggly chaos that my kiddos bring to me at 6:30 sharp.

And miraculously, it has been like manna from Heaven. That little bit of effort I make to get up and commune with Jesus pays off exponentially. He feeds me so that I can feed them. It’s just that simple. Not easy, but simple.

If you are not a morning person, but are wanting to do something similar, here’s what I do: 

  1. Accountability is key! I have a sweet friend who works out at a gym down the street from where I live that is up even earlier than I that has committed to texting me if she doesn’t see my light on. It’s been the extra kick I’ve needed to get up when I’ve been so tired.
  2. Download the app “She Reads Truth” and follow the “Read the Bible in 365(6) Days” Program. (Thanks, Lisa of “One Thankful Mom”!) Every morning I look to see what I’m reading for the day. (PS – the reading function in this app is super glitchy/clunky, so don’t use it for reading if you want to stay cheerful.)
  3. Get your favorite morning drink ready. I used to be addicted to coffee, but have recently switched to Plexus Slim and it has changed my mornings! (Visit my website http://shopmyplexus.com/glendajdunaway  or see my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NehemiahMama/for more info.)
  4. Download the MySword app to your phone. I use the KJV with lexicon links so that I can look at the original words for more info. (It’s amazing what all the names mean in those long genealogies!)
  5. Invest in a good Archaeological Bible to keep open alongside your phone. It has a lot of extra info about places and time periods that put what you’re reading into historical perspective.

archaeological bible

Massages and pedicures are nice, but we don’t have to have those things to take care of us! The world screams at us moms that we’re not taking care of ourselves and that we need more “me-time”, but I’m finding that mornings with Jesus are the very best self-care we can bless ourselves with.

I’d love to hear about what you do to make sure you’re getting fed so that you can feed others!

Blessings and much love, 

Mama