There is just s…

There is just something wonderful about cousins. The little ones who giggle at your little jokes, the older ones that let you be a big kid, the babies who give you their adorable chubby smiles when you kiss their little feet.

Go and read Katie Ann’s sweet post about her cousins. She’s in Colorado visiting some of them right now. 

Cousins are Memorable

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What If You Stopped Trying So Hard?

I read this post and my heart beats in understanding, my spirit nods an amen.

This woman. She understands.

She understands that we are women who are so strong and have carried great weights throughout our history. Women, who have labored hard and fought bold and stood by men, friends, children and country and given our all, and yet…

Well, we’re broken. We fall. We fail.

I watch young moms as they struggle along and they compare themselves to each other, they struggle to know what to do, to do right, to be right, to live up to this mysterious standard – they try. so. hard.

I watch other women struggling with their marriages, their teens, their jobs, their frustration within themselves that they are not enough, will never be enough, will never get it right.

What if we were never meant to get it right? What if this toil and trying was meant to draw us closer to Him? What if  we never heard another sermon on the Proverbs 31 woman? What if we never wrote another to do list?

Observe and Understand His Lovingkindness

What if we prayed.

Women don’t need a great _______, they need a great God. Sometimes, instead of seeking another sermon, we need to seek a spirit filled sister. We don’t need to unite for a cause – though we are very gifted and able – we need to unite on our knees.

Can we pray?

Can we admit we don’t have the answers?

Can we embrace the idea that there is none greater than the other, none that knows just what to do, that we’re all women full of heartache, hardship and sin?

I stood with a dear friend of mine yesterday, I just “happened upon” her there in that restaurant. She was overwhelmed, she was concerned, she had real and valid right to panic. What could I do? I did what she has done countless times for me. Right there in that restaurant, I hugged her, hugged her long and prayed right out loud for her. If I have learned nothing else this year, I have learned this:

I serve my Maker. The Sovereign One. The Creator of heaven and earth. The Ageless One. The Beginning and End. Omnipotent… On and on it goes the list, these titles of this great big GOD that has

EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL.

Who needs a list or a lecture when Jesus has paid to give us access to the Great and Mighty?

What if?

Seasons Change and So Do We

joshandjulee

My mom says that I raised him.

This isn’t really true, although there was a season when I took a lot of responsibility and care for this brother of mine. I clearly remember the healthy break when my mom stepped in and took her place back, the shifting of authority. I wasn’t in charge of him anymore and that made me angry.  But, this was just a season and it passed as seasons do, so I wouldn’t say I raised him.

I was always harder on him after that though. I felt that I had taught him well and expected much from this heart child.

Six years apart, I grew older and started my own life. Josh was 12 when my first child was born. A fact that I mentioned to this child when he was 12 as I commented on their bond as uncle and nephew. They’ve known each other since childhood and they have common interests and that makes me smile.

Today, my baby brother will pack up his car and move his sweet family to Colorado. We hugged long last night and the goodbyes were bitter sweet.

I have high hopes for him. I think he will do well. I pray that this is just what he needs. God has been stirring and tugging in his heart lately and I know that He will be faithful to meet my brother out there in Colorado.

So here’s to my brother Josh and his wife Heidi. May God go with you and may our relationships deepen as we connect from afar. This is just another season, another shift of authority. You go with God so I know you go well.

I love you, my dear baby brother.

 

Rahab in 4 Parts – Rahab was a Complex Woman

We recently had a women’s retreat at For His Glory Community Church (AKA FHG or FGHCC if you are really eager).  I had the privilege of studying the life of Rahab through the lens of redemption for this retreat.  In the next 4 posts, I’d like to share some of the things I learned from Joshua 2.

Rahab was a complex woman

 QUESTION: Who was Rahab: 

  • Rahab was a prostitute
  • Liar
  • She thought quick on her feet
  • Persuasive (she was able to lead the king’s mean on a wild goose chase – hurry, go quickly so you can overtake them.)
  • She had a rope that was long enough for men to climb down the city wall
  • She new how to hide men quickly (think she had needed to do that before?)
  • She testified of God
  • Made pacts to save her family
  • In the hall of faith
  • In the lineage of Jesus

If there was ever a complex woman, Rahab was it. We can find hope in that fact because some of us were manipulators, controlling, skilled at evil and sin. Many of us have have a list of traits in our pasts that label us, follow us and condemn us.

Maybe we don’t know about being a bottom feeder of society and maybe we don’t know what it means to live as a prostitute. Maybe we can’t relate to selling ourselves, but we can relate to being totally lost and totally without help outside of Jesus. We can relate to faith, faith that causes you to hang on tight to God, to lay everything on the line to just grasp onto Him.  Even when the walls of our world are crumbling down around us, even when our family is at stake, even when we seem to have lost all hope, even when the gates of the city have been closed and there is no way out. We can throw our scarlet cord out the window and hold onto faith in God who intervenes in the life of a prostitute, in the life of not very good spies, and in the life of ordinary women to lead and guide them to himself and his perfect will.

Redeemed

To be Redeemed means to be free, loosed from chains, have a ransom paid for, to atone. When God redeems us through the blood of His son, that list of descriptive titles, those condemning labels get washed away. His blood washes us and makes us clean.  His redemption gives us new life and hope in Him. Rahab was a complex woman, but at the end of Joshua 2, she is a free and redeemed woman.

Read My Lips!

We were standing in the entryway, decorating for Christmas. I was deep into a lecture, on what, I don’t remember. That tells you what impact my lectures have on the people in this household, even I don’t remember what I’m talking about.

Well, let me just stop and ask you this:

Have you ever tried to lecture a 2 year old?

I did.

For some reason it seemed like the thing to do, like taking a cat for a walk or like trying to teach an old dog new tricks. Lecture a 2 year old.

She wasn’t listening and like I said, I was deep into a really great lecture when she held up this sign:

PEACE!

Oh. My. Goodness.

“Now, don’t you hold up that peace sign to me little girl, I am trying to tell you something here…!”

Then, I busted up laughing and my 12 year old and 2 year old joined in.

And that’s what happened when I tried to lecture a 2 year old while decorating for Christmas!

 

 

 

hosanna Peace

12 Year Old English Toffee

This is the English Toffee recipe that I learned to make when I was about 12 years old. I consider this to be  my recipe, since I have made it all these years. Feel free to make it, but as you eat it think: Julee’s toffee recipe sure is good! 😉

English Toffee

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Total Time: 17 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preparation:

  1. Grease the bottom and sides of a square 9″ x 9″ x 2″ pan.
  2. Spread chopped pecans evenly in the bottom of the pan.
  3. Mix sugar and butter in a medium sauce pan. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.
  4. Continuing to stir, boil over medium heat for 7 minutes. The mixture should reach the hard crack stage.
  5. Spread mixture evenly over the nuts. (This is very hot, be careful!)
  6. Layer chocolate chips over hot sugar mixture and cover with a metal baking sheet to melt chocolate.
  7. When the chocolate is melted, spread evenly of sugar mixture.
  8. Cut candy into 1 1/2 in squares
  9. Chill until firm

The Clans of the Proud

We speak of unity,
And loving one another.
Do we love outside our community,
The one God calls our brother?

I’m not talking about a one world religion.
I’m talking about division,
And pride,
And separating into sides.

The air fills with the sound,
Of drums beating loud.
To tribes we are bound,
The clans of the proud.

In love, His blood was shed.
In humility He came and died.
By His grace we have been led.
In greed, we mock Him with our pride.

There is sweet unity in our cause.
Strength and wisdom yet to glean.
For one Savior we seek applause.
On one God we all do lean.

We speak of unity,
And loving one another.
Do we love outside our community,
The one God calls our brother?