Monday, September 20, 2010

Introducing The Newest Braun...

It looks like we have another thumb sucker on our hands. Due February 23rd!

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them..." Psalm 127:3-5

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Loving The Unlovable

Do you want to hear a sad story about a frivolous lawsuit? A couple of years ago we put up a new fence. Our next-door neighbor, a very liberal feminist-type, decided she didn't like it, so she proceeded to sue us for a four inch strip of OUR property. Yes, that's right! Four inches! After thousands of dollars in legal fees, three land surveys to confirm the property line, and an attorney (hers) who passed away in the middle of it, we thought the cased was closed, especially when it was dismissed by the court this past July (apparently time had run out on it). Then a couple of weeks ago we were presented with the lawsuit AGAIN! She went and found a new attorney and has obviously decide to throw thousands more dollars into refiling the lawsuit!

We try our best to lay low with her, telling our children to "play quietly" when she's around so they don't disturb her and ignoring the torments of her three boys when they throw things over our fence. However, there is part of me that knows how challenging this can be when she clearly hates us. That's the "human nature" in me wanting to take over and give her a good "talking to".

Yet, with all that said, I cannot help but have compassion for this poor woman. In fact, I have to think about what it could be that would make her such a bitter person. She clearly does not have Christ in her life, and knowing that makes it so much easier to endure her attack on us. I KNOW there is an emptiness in her life and she needs to be prayed for. If nothing else, it is a test from God to love the unlovable. Christ's words are pretty clear on the matter. We can all love those who bless us, but having a truly loving heart is only proven when we can also love those who give us nothing but grief in return. Only then can we say the Holy Spirit resides in us and we are of Christ.

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:43-48

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Was Complacent And God Let Me Know It.

com·pla·cent (km-plsnt) adj.
1. Contented to a fault; self-satisfied and unconcerned: He had become complacent after years of success.

Since as long as I can remember, I have been a Christian. Growing up, I never knew any differently. I did stray in my early 20's, but I did come back...and stronger. Then I got complacent and that's where I really let God down. Sure, I was going to church, reading my Bible, attending Bible studies, and wearing my little cross necklace proudly. But beyond that, I wasn't much more. Of course, I'd pray from time to time. Sometimes, my prayers would start like this, "Lord, forgive me for forgetting to pray the past few days..." That usually took place when my head was hitting the pillow at night, and somewhere in the middle of my prayer I would fall asleep!

With all that said, it's no surprise that when trial came, I would fall to my knees and cry out to God desperately. "Please, God, please! Make the pain stop!" Let me tell you, that's not very effective faith. In fact, it's down right shameful and it's not even really faith at all.

This past year has been an incredible journey of growth. Our business and personal investments have taken a SERIOUS hit. It was well deserved for us. We learned how incredibly disobedient we had become in our complacency. It's also very humbling when you realize you are letting others down; people that are counting on you, not to mention God.

In addition to being complacent, I also very disbelieving of God. Even after we realize how we had disappointed God and repented, I still had a hard time believing that He would bless us. Correction: I had a hard time believing that He WAS blessing us. It was right under my nose! Thankfully, I have a husband that never gave up on me. Many times, he would guide me through my weakness and encouragement me. It would make me feel better for a while and things would seem okay, even in the midst of our struggles, but then more bad news would come and I would be right back where I was. I was miserable so much of the time. Finally, Robin helped me realize that I just wasn't allowing God to control the situation. I wasn't fully giving it over to Him, letting Him take the burden, and then most importantly, trusting Him. I had to give myself over to the Spirit of God and just let Him be the glorious Deliverer that He is. A new prayer took place not too long ago and it went something like this:
Heavenly Father, I can't do this on my own. I don't want to this on my own! I want You to take control of my life. I am choosing to trust You now. I know You want good things for me. I know You love me. I need the Holy Spirit working in me instead of trying to do it myself.
This has become a daily prayer for me, because each day is new and with that, I know God will lead me through it. There is such freedom in know that His plan is already in action and it is always a good plan.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Feeling "Locked Out"?

It's taken me a while to realize this, but there is incredible value in a lock on the bathroom door. I found this out when our four year old son started using our bedroom as his playroom. Knocking before entering is just something he's not wired to do…yet. Although we try to remind him, he still just barges into every room like he owns it. So the other day, while I was in the shower, it didn't surprise me that he got a little hot under the collar when he couldn't just walk in to get something from me. He started banging on the door, yelling, "let me in!" And then came the crying, "Mommy!" Of course, I had to calmly respond, "Robbie, you'll have to wait a minute. When I’m done in the shower, I'll let you in." And then his response was, "no, now!" It would not have been the right time to explain to him that I wasn't going to get out of the shower, soaking wet, reach over and unlock the door…not to mention, he's becoming a little too curious about bodily differences (if you know what I mean) and he just doesn't need to be seeing them right now. He wouldn't have wanted to hear all that, he just wanted in.

This scenario reminded me of my own relationship with God lately. I've felt like I've needed Him to do things for me and I needed them done now. God has been saying, "You'll have to wait." He has no intention of explaining it all to me, because He knows that I can't quite comprehend it all. When the time is right, He will unlock the door and let me in. "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father has put in His own authority." Acts 1:7

Now, in the meantime, there are two things I can be doing…I can either bang on the door and scream, "no, now!" OR I can trust His word, wait, and believe that He will do as He said He would and my needs will be met.

James 1:2-4 says, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have it's perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

As a parent, I know how option two blesses me. If my son is obedient and can exercise trust and patience, he will have a very happy and proud mommy. Of course, I would love him no matter what, but I would, most likely, respond with nothing short of a good scolding if he continues to pound on the door! I shouldn't expect any less of the Heavenly Father. I want Him to be proud of me and reward my trust and patience in Him. He knows my situation way better than I do. He knows what I'm up against. Would he do anything to deliberately hurt me? No! I know this is true, because even us earthly parents would never do that to our children. How much more loving is He?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Oh how I dread the tread.

There it is...teasing me...taunting me. Knowing that I think it is the most painfully mundane form of working out, it beckons to me on those days when my only choice is to use it...or just let the toxins build up. Look at where it's positioned. Up against a bare white wall and in a drab warehouse. And is that an old pre-digital era t.v. that only plays VHS?

What can I say. I am not an indoor runner. There is just something unnatural about it. I like to get out and feel the terrain, see the scenes change, and HAVE A DESTINATION!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Just or Unjust...that is the question.

I'm going to have to remember this point if I ever come across an atheist and find myself in a "discussion" with them. One of their arguments is "how can there be a just God when there is so much unjust in the world?" But here's a chance to answer a question with a question...who makes the standard of what just is? Who decides what makes a person just? How is Mother Theresa considered to be a better person than Adolf Hitler?

It comes from Moral Law and who wrote that law?

We ALL know the answer to that question...and it ain't no atheist!

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good."
Psalms 14:1

"The atheists are for the most part imprudent and misguided scholars who reason badly who, not being able to understand the Creation, the origin of evil, and other difficulties, have recourse to the hypothesis the eternity of things and of inevitability....."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Fish Tanked!

The fish tank smells. I noticed it a couple of days ago, but I've been trying to ignore it. There's a fish floating on top, and one has fallen to the bottom of the tank. There just goldfish and we bought them for a science experiment. But...nonetheless...they must be disposed of and the tank needs a good cleaning. I knew it would come to this. We aren't even fish people. We spend months at a time in Wisconsin. We travel in our motor-home all over the place. What were we supposed to do? Bring the stinky little bowl with us? Living our life around the dog is one thing. We no longer fly from home to home (WA to WI) because we would have to leave him behind or forever traumatize him. So...we drive. And that means the fish would have to come, too. Part of me is glad they are "getting flushed", but the other part of me feels bad. After all, I took them into my care. They are God's creatures, too. But then I snap back from "Lala land" and realize life can be a cruel, cruel thing. Sorry little fishes. Thanks for filling in that corner of my desk where I had longed to put a plant (another impossibility for me these days).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Attack of the birds!

I used to like birds...and then they did THIS to my kitchen window! What did I ever do to them? I feed them, protect them from cats, admire them from a distance. It's like we suddenly have this love-hate relationship. I loved them and they clearly hate me. And I swear, every time I wash my car (which isn't very often) they wait until it's clean and dive bomb it.

So what should I think of this? If I retaliate, they will surely make me pay next time I BBQ out on the deck. Perhaps I'm starting to understand what the old saying means..."this one goes to the birds"!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cool Water

When I was about six or so I starting this on-going prank with my dad. When he would be taking a shower I would sneak in with a glass of cold water, dump it over the curtain on him, and then run out giggling. He was always a good sport about it, so naturally, when I got married I decided to carried on the same tradition with my husband, who was also a good sport. However, payback did come... I've learn to appreciate the symbolism in that prank.

Like a cold glass of water in the shower, life can be just as startling. Imagine standing there under the warm flow of comforting water, lost in thought (some of my best ideas come from my time there), and then suddenly you're hit with shocking cold water. At first it takes your breath away and you might let out a holler. Then, surprisingly, there is a bit of refreshment, like jumping into a lake. It's that refreshment that I'm applying to life right now.

How wonderful a glass of cool water would be to someone traveling through the desert. That is just how life has seemed to Robin and me over the past few years. Many "shower scenes" have felt like a shock to the system at first and then have turned out to be refreshment from God. I love it when He leads us through these teachable moments. Now, nothing I say would have much significance if I didn't apply scripture to it. So here it is...

"Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land." Proverbs 25:25

So take that and put it in your canteen!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What death is teaching me.

I have this picture of my mother on the wallpaper of my Blackberry. It is the last picture that was taken of her before she passed away. Every time I look at it, which is about 20 times a day, a little sting hits me inside and I am reminded that she really is gone. I keep hoping that this sting will fade, but it hasn't yet...and with that, I cannot bear to change the picture to something else.

I am starting to learn how valuable that picture can be in helping me with my (ever growing) faith in God. Along with those stinging moments, are the ones where I actually break down in a tearful rant and ask God the simple question, "why?" I usually find myself locked in the bathroom, safely away from my little ones who need to see Mommy strong. But during those moments, something is beginning to materialize in my mind. I can't change the fact that my mother is gone, but I can use those moments to remind myself of the opportunities I have with the rest of my family. I'm starting to let it be a reminder to me that these loved ones in my life are very precious. Not one single person on this earth knows for sure how long they or their loved ones will live. I realize that is a startling statement, but it should be. It is a wake-up call...make the most of what you have. You do not know how long you will have it.

If you have lost someone close to you, you know that feeling. The one that hits you suddenly, out of the blue, and reminds you of the finality of your loved one's passing. I can only describe it like a sucker punch to the stomach. You feel it deep inside and it takes your breath away. Next time you find yourself having one of those moments, use it to remember what you do still have...and act of it. Hug your spouse, take your child's face in your hands and say "I love you", or call someone up that you care about and just say "hi".

Remember, you only have today.