Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Proverbs 31 woman IS NOT----Dramatic

Welcome to my after bible study sessions where I sit down and share my after Bible study inspirations which I probably will only get around to doing once out of the six week bible study that I am enjoying at my church this Fall. We are looking at what a Proverbs 31 woman IS and I'm going to get all wild and crazy and look at what she IS NOT. A Proverbs 31 woman IS NOT...


She's Undramatic...disdramatic...antidramatic.....

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about what this means for me right now as a mother and wife. Especially after my husband went to sea duty and I've had plenty of ammunition to be woeful about my lot in life. Especially after I went past the two kid mark and have plenty excuses to whine about my life.  Especially after I started delving into history books with the start of my children's education and seeing what other generations have gone through and that nothing is new under the sun. Even more especially as I constantly encourage my four children to choose to do everything without complaining. I would say this is God's returning melody for me over the past six years. After all these reminders over all those years, God sealed the deal with a huge revelation a couple of weeks ago through my Pastor's sermon. I don't think he'll mind if one of his sheep plagiarize him.  My pastor basically refuted one of the most common Christian statements: "God will never give you more than you can handle." Incorrect. Foul ball. Incomplete pirouette turn. When I say that I sound like an idiot. And a parrot. A Christian parrot but a parrot nonetheless.

God does give you more than you can handle! That's kind of the point. He gives you more than you can handle because He wants to handle it! Handling is the Lord's job! We do the obeying. He does the handling. He's the Abba and I am the child on His knee. He calls me and I come running to His arms and He handles it. I really need to stop being dramatic. I tell myself these three things all the time.

Quit Being Dramatic
Seriously, what good does it do but make everybody cranky around me. I'm not talking about sarcasm. I say the world will never have enough sarcasm. I'm talking about walking into a room or cyberspace  and taking over the surrounding area with my woeful overwhelming life.  LISTEN. You are a child of the King. Make Jesus shine in the spotlight and your Mama Drama play itself out backstage. I marvel at these calm, brave, amazing women that end their conversations like King David. "This is rough. People want to kill me. But God is so Good!" (paraphrased by Rachel Cook) I can give you ten names right now of women that have gone through very dark difficult times but have had the David attitude. I can give you one hundred situations in my life that I acted like it was the end of the world but it really really really was not. I was just being dramatic. I want to be around these David-like women.  They are so cool!  I kinda want to run from the drama queens..... which means me sometimes.

Quit with the whining
Seriously......quit with the whining. How are you going to shine like stars? (Phil 2:14-15)

Get some perspective
Susanna Wesley had 19 children and only 8 survived her. Pioneer women left all they knew to take care of their families in a land filled with wild animals, no doctors, and natives that didn't think to highly of them. The first generation of Christians had to watch their children be fed to lions. How does your house full of dirty dishes, piles of laundry and cranky children look now? I feel ashamed. Completely ashamed.

A Proverbs 31 woman IS NOT DRAMTIC.  Drama is self seeking not Christ seeking. I feel ashamed of my dramatics and so thankful for His grace.  There are a lot of things that need to be handled in this life. Trying to handle it yourself and then being dramatic when it gets overwhelming is just dumb. Seek His face and fix your face. Seek His Word and stop your words.  Letting Him handle it is giving Him the glory.  Being dramatic is giving yourself ugly distorted glory.  I don't want no ugly glory.  It's ugly. And not really glorious.

Much grace to you and many returning amens.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Sunday School Teacher Pep Talk

My heart is especially stirred up about Sunday School lately.  I love the special times of extra stirring from the Lord.  I think the extra stirage is partly from sharing in Richard's Bible college homework and partly from a VBS high but mostly because the Lord is good and loves to get us excited about ministry.  My husband is just finishing up a Bible class on Inductive teaching and he asked me many questions on how I would teach this or that to the kids at church.

I told him I was not going to give him the answers because that's cheating.....just kidding.

In usual Rachel fashion, when I get excited about something, I expect everyone else in the whole world, and all the astronauts in space, to be excited about the same thing.  This is how the good Lord made me and if you're not excited that the Lord has made me excited about being excited about teaching Sunday School then go read something more exciting....like athletes' comments to news reporters (yeah, I felt pretty good out there. yeah, my strategy was to go really fast. yeah, I guess the other guy was just a little faster.  yeah, cuz he won by a little bit because he was a little faster).  What? They ask athletes stupid questions! Those poor guys!

Well, I am excited about Sunday School! VERY excited about it lately! I now have two 2nd graders and have seen the full fruitage that comes from teaching these kids the Word of God! I could write a lot of sentences that end with these "!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" about all the amazing exciting things the Lord has been stirring up in my heart over teaching these kids but we will just focus our thoughts around two points right now(hehe Calvary Hanford).  Actually, I really only have one point.

MY POINT------->> Go Beyond Entertainment and teaching Application

Wait wait wait wait....this is the cool thing about teaching kids.  You can shepherd and disciple these kids in an animated way that isn't just pure entertainment.  You can walk into that Sunday school room with your flannel graph of Scripture empowerment and knock their socks off with an animated retelling of the Bible story.  BUT DON'T stop there. Don't forget the APPLICATION part.  This is where the fruit comes from and if you think those kids are not going to understand the application part then you're full of bologna!  This is the hardest part to teach sometimes.  You have to figure out a way that a child would apply this Bible lesson and make the application memorable.  This is a tough one.  You want some tips?  Too bad.  I tell you anyway.

Take an Inductive Bible class.  Learn how to break down the scripture with the I O A; Interpretation, Observation, Application.  You will get tons and tons and tons of benefits from learning that stuff.  Just google it right now and get a quick overview.  It will help in your devotionals and whenever you teach.

Use props and costumes for the application lesson.  It helps it stick to their brains and hearts. Those kids will eat it up!!!

Share the gospel often.  I mean all the time. Talk about the Holy Spirit often.  The kids need to know that God would never ask them to do something they can't do.  They need to know that they will mess up but God is not an angry God who wants to punish them but a loving God who is quick to forgive and so pleased when we want to please Him.

Sing about everything.  Do you know the one thing that has never left my brain from my childhood?  Not math facts, not spelling rules, not my naughty deeds (I think I was an ideal child).  It's the songs!  They are permanently in my head. Start singing!  sing Bible verses, teaching points, frequent bathroom trips songs. Sing.  Right now.  Come on.

Stop thinking these kids can't take all this in.  They can.  I'm a lame teacher to think otherwise.  Application, application, application....the ability to apply the scripture to our walk with the Lord.  I am extra stirred up about children's ministry right now!  It's been extra exciting to see the fruit coming from the kids!  They are memorizing scripture, sharing the gospel with kids at the park, encouraging each other to obey the Lord.  It's just so cool.  They know the gospel so clearly.  It just amazes me. They don't stay babies forever drinking their little baby milk! Give them steak....they will eat it up and ask for seconds!

Are you excited now? Good.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

MODESTY (every christian has to have at least one blog post about it..it's a rule)

I know I'm blogging about what every christian blogger blogs about all the time in all the blogs but why not?  I don't write this out of exasperation or fed-up-ness or offense.  I am not surrounded by scantly clad women who need a turtle neck offered to them and need to be scurried into the church bathroom for a sound rebuking.  On the contrary, my peers are lovely women and girls who have the Central Valley casual ambiance of jeans and Old Navy sales rack tops that speak of coffee-loving, Phil Whickam-song-guitar playing, and afternoons at yard sales kind of look.  I feel super duper blessed to live in such a casual town because frankly...I'd rather rascal with a moose than go clothes shopping to keep up with the styles.  Since I go to jean church and have jean friends and have a jean husband the pressure of looking like a hottie is far from my mind. 

But since you asked I guess I'll share. 

I really am scared stiff to end up at church looking too hot.  Is that vain?  Is it so much the opposite of vain that it goes full circle and becomes vain?  Regardless, I have shared many conversations with close friends and now my growing daughter on what is and what is not appropriate to wear to church.  It seemed a lot simpler when I was single.  I was not claimed therefore I must be quaint and quiet and covered.  I figured that when I got married I could wear whatever I darn well pleased since I belonged to someone.  Of course my husband very kindly told me that that was utter nonsense and thenceforth have come to very much trust his man's view on things since he is...well...a man.  So here's the question...

How do you judge what is modest and immodest for a christian woman to wear?  Especially to church?

You know what?  Now that I'm an old lady and have spent so many years being around Christians and watching Christians and listening to Christians debate over our christian liberties and what we should do and not do and wear and not wear and listen to and not listen to I have come to this all purpose conclusion....

Hold on a second...it has two parts...let me see if I can make the words rhyme...no they can't rhyme this time.

Dress in Context.
 If I'm going to the beach, I'm going to wear my swim suit of course.  If I'm going to the gym, I'm going to wear my tight stretchy pants because I'm going to do tight stretchy stuff of course.  If I'm going on a missionary trip and they tell me in this culture the women only wear long skirts then I'm only going to wear long skirts.  If I'm going to Cambria on a honeymoon with my husband and he says, "Hey sugar muffin, you want to go out tonight?" I'm going to put on my black strappy dress and say, "Why Richard, I'm so glad you asked!"  If I'm going to church (remember I go to jean church) I'm going to more than likely put on jeans and maybe sometimes get fancy and wear a "church dress" which is what I tell my daughter to put on.  See what I'm saying?  You dress out of context and you might end up at church looking like a hot date and don't you think that might be kind of distracting?

Dress with wisdom
If you decide to dress out of context and end up with too much bear skin at the wrong place and the wrong time surrounded by people that you have caused to be completed distracted from the word of God then that is anything but wise.  The loving thing is always the better choice.  When I think, "It is my womanly human right to look hot" I have absolutely stopped loving others and I am now completely loving myself. 

Heaven forbid you try to copy my fabulous style!  I am a horrible example of stylish meets modesty.  My style is called LAZY meets LAZY.  I'm going to start a new line of clothes called "Don't Care AS Long As I Don't Have To Iron It".  It will be a drive through clothes store where you can choose the color, the size, and the style without ever getting out of the car and unbuckling and buckling your kids and saying "get out of the clothes rack" or "why don't they have these cute shorts in an after four kids size" and "boys I asked you not to play hide-and-seek in the clothes rack" and "Anna, is that Ben in the cloths rack?"  And whatever happened to going to the tailor for clothes!  When they could professionally accommodate every extra lump that God hath given you and the color that suits your eyes and your favorite cut of skirt?! I do plan on getting better one of these days.  In other words, if you want to pay for my closet makeover I won't say no. 

All sarcastic Rees/Cook humor aside, I am SO thankful for the modest women that surround me that are always dressing in context and with great womanly wisdom.  And would you just look at yourselves!  You are all just gorgeous!

Do the loving thing...it is so much better than insisting on looking hot!  Amen?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Innermost Thoughts On Food

Food....I love it so.  The endless combinations of deliciousness are so endless and delicious.  If you put a little bit of this with a little bit of that, the this balances with the that and creates a whatever that could make you forget all else.  The world has heard enough of silly love songs and they really should move onto food songs.

I wouldn't say I'm a foodie because that's a rather expensive hobby.  I wouldn't say I'm a health nut because that would mean to much work and I'm a very lazy cook.  I'm not a nutritionist though that would be what degree I would want to get if I went back to school.  I think I am this: The Luckiest Girl ALIVE Because My Whole Childhood My Mother Raised Me On A Wide Variety Of Healthy Food And My Whole Marriage My Husband Has Been In The Kitchen Making Sure Food Tastes Awesome.

I know right?

The BEST gift my mom has ever given me, besides showing me how to be in love with the Lord, is feeding me healthy and with great variety.  You just have no idea how HUGE that is for your kids.  Those steps you walk your kids through day by day, week by week are going to be the footprints they naturally fall back into as an adult.  I naturally eat nature.  You know, plants and stuff.  It just comes so naturally.

Listen and listen good or I will get my Good Seed Organics, blend them down, make them look like brownies, and then trick you.  Make the Right impression on your kids.  You can do it!  I just know it!  You tell them to clean their room and they need to do it.  You tell them to look before crossing the street and they need to do it.  Give them a wide beautiful variety of vegetables and they will do it!

My son still eats broccoli like it's made of alien brains but I still make him do it.  He used to eat carrots the same way but now he eats them straight out of his grandpa's field.  It can happen to you!  See, that's the name of another love song but it can also be a food song!

You should have seen my face when I found out my dad was starting an organic vegetable farm.  It looked like I just made it into the New York City Ballet.  Yeah...that excited.  You cannot believe how thrilled I am to have my fridge full of lush, nutritious, AMAZING fresh FOOD every day of the week.  It's like owning my own cupcake shop only I won't have to audition for The Biggest Loser.

Please please please please do the right thing by your kids.  Show them how to love the Lord.  Show them how to cross the street.  Show them how to EAT.

(this message fueled by www.goodseedorgancs.com)

Oh hold on.  I should give you a friendly tip after being so stern with you.  I have learned a couple of things about my dinner prepping over the past couple of years.  These two things help keep my kitchen stress level down a couple of notches.

1. I cook dinner in the early afternoon.  Usually around 1 or so.  Between 3 and 5 in the afternoon is not the best time because frankly my kids and I are more tired and less behaved.  AND running around all irritated right when my husband gets home every day is LAME.

2. I cook three meals at a time and hopefully give myself a couple days off in the middle of the week.  Guys...being a mom is just plain BUSY.  Find ways to make your day go easier on you.  When I cook my meals I usually have one in the crock pot, one on the stove, and a bunch of hunks of meat on the grill.  I sound like a restaurant chef huh?

I don't follow to many recipes to the letter.  I sneak my Good Seed veggies wherever I can and I also have this guy named Mr Cook who cooks A LOT.  That's right.  If we wrote a cookbook together I think I would call it "The Ironic Cook" by Richard and Rachel Cook.  Well, because we do like cooking but the things we cook are so simple and so not a lot of cooking...well compared to some.  Or maybe I'd call it "The Cook Cookbook of Cooks That Simply Cook"....yes?

Okay...here are my three favorite recipes right now that involve what's in season over at Good Seed.  Enjoy!  (and you better eat right or I going to come over there and set the timer on you...mom joke)



(with the grilled chicken just saute up some Good Seed spinach with some garlic..mmmmmmhhmmm)


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Completed Thought for the day: Spiritual Muscles vs. Sweet Tooth

"If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small."  Proverbs 24:10

....Rachel, if you fall a part when you are not having fun but enduring discomfort, your spiritual muscles are puny....

  It's more like "minutes of adversity" at this stage of life.  I'm cheerful, I'm happy, and then one of my NOT FAVORITES ruins it all (Here they are so you know to never do these to me because I might yell "Get buckled NOW" at you : running late, unnecessary messes, biting, disastrous messy house)  There is something built inside of me that craves comfort and demands peace and quiet.  As a mother of small children, the best birthday present you could give me is one whole day by myself.  I don't have to go anywhere or do anything.  Nothing is everything.  Peace and quiet.  Alas, I have realized that that craving for comfort and demand for peace and quiet is not fulfilling and shows that my strength is indeed small.  I have never been more aware of my wayward sinful attitude then after becoming a mother.

I have a fun sweet tooth...fun for a busy mother is peace and quiet...a fun sweet tooth doesn't mean that you NEED peace and quiet, it means that you WANT SOME.  It doesn't mean that peace and quiet is the only way that you can function, it means that it's the only way you WANT to function.  I don't NEED to be left alone to be a nice pleasant mother, I WANT to be left alone to be a nice pleasant mother.  I demand my WANTS so much from God that I end up missing all that He really desires me to NEED.

My fun sweet tooth yells louder than my spiritual muscles.

Cut it out....make the tooth shut up so you can hear your muscles.

Amen? Of course amen!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Why this Homeschooled is Homeschooling and cool stuff like that

The most frequently asked homeschooling question I received when I was a kid was "How much time do you spend doing schoolwork everyday?"....boring...
Now the most frequently asked homeschooling question I receive is basically, now mind you I paraphrase how people actually word it, "How do you think you turned out as a completely home schooled child?"...now this is an exciting question to answer so everyone set down and enjoy your morning coffee and I'll tell you about it.  I've got to be quick though because I'm running a private school out of my home and it opens in about 30min.

This will not be a blog post to try to convince you to home school.  It will not be a blog post to pull my arrogant home-schooled-are-smarter-and-more-spiritual-card.  I shredded that card a while back and I hope I never come across as a pompous self righteous home educator ever again.  This is more of a thank you to what my parents did for me and my mission statement as a 2nd generation home school parent.  I hope it will be an encouragement to those who are just starting to educate their children and feel like the results are so far away and a bit vague and scary.  I didn't turn out scary, did I?  I think my public schooled husband just goof awed at me.  Again, I say this over and over: we really really don't want to mess up our kids and we really really want them to grow up to absolutely be in love with the Lord and may He please forgive us if we do anything but our very best and we know He'll take care of the rest.  Oh and also, this may surprise you but I really don't believe in using the Bible to prove that home schooling is more godly.  The truth is that educating children changes with each culture and each era and each family circumstance.  Please raise Deuteronomy 6 kids! That IS God's calling for all of us but heaven forbid that I take that passage and shove it in your face and say that I'm better than you.

I'm cooler than you though.  What?  Home schoolers are the new cool!

Okay, there are maybe 300 reasons why Richard and I chose to home school but really they could all fit under 3 categories that melt my heart with gladness when I am gathered around the table with our piles of books and piles of children.

TIME with them
There is so little of that T word right? My oldest just turned 7! That's just not okay with me. Two more of those 7's and she could be married! Their are so few years that they get to spend with us so I want them near me and loved and taught by me and my husband.  I want to be the one that teaches them to read and to be there to answer questions like "If Jesus died on the cross for our sins then why do we still sin?" or "Why did people make up all these sight words just to confuse little kids?" I want to be there and discover the creativity that comes out of nowhere.  Anna is so much like me and just want to dance and draw and write and be off in Anna Land and I love it.  I already see that Caleb is going to be over my head before I know it and I'll have to find him a science club so he can be smarter than me at the age of 8 so let me know if you hear of any smart clubs around here.

TIME with the church and the Lord
Really the only difference I saw with my private/public schooled friends that grew up with godly involved parents is that they had like 8 hours more schoolwork than I had every day.  I really felt sorry for the poor things though I secretly laughed behind all the fiction books I had time to read.  This freed me up for tons more time to be involved in ministry.  I knew kids who actually didn't get to go to youth group because they had too much homework.  Now that's just lame.  There was really nothing more important to my parents then that we be involved in church and we took every opportunity we could to serve and to learn more about the Lord.  

TIME spent is time remembered
This is hard one to explain but I'll try.  My children are in their most influential years.  Their mind is like a picture album.  Every day they put away more and more memories of conversations, songs they've learned and TV they've watched and hugs they've received and that time you made cookies with them and that book you just finished reading and how their mother gets so cranky when daddy is deployed and on and on and on.  It's all filed away in their brain.  As their mother, I want it to be filled to the brim with good influences.  With pictures of how the Lord sees everything. 

Well, I hear the troops getting restless out there.  I need to put on my bunny slippers and go read some Greek history with them. You know why my mom is the smartest person in the world?  Because she took all twelve grades 11 times in a row.  I'm only going to take them four times in a row so I'll only be a little smarter in ten years. 

Thank you, mom and dad for doing all this for me.  I think I turned out okay.  I can't spell and I make up words but honestly, I loved my childhood and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  Not even Jo March's.  Right now, I'm having tons of fun giving my kids much of the same good stuff. 

You guys have a fun day and stay as cool as home schooled.