God's Economy

I have heard the phrase "God's Economy" many times lately, and have always liked it in the context it has been used. The first was someone telling me that God had revealed to her "Time is never wasted in God's economy." When we feel like we are in a waiting place or a useless place, God is at work. Hmmm...

But economy-economy? Dollars and cents? Yeah, it isn't going super-great in this corner of the universe if you haven't noticed. I, as mentioned, have recently gone to work to try to help make ends meet around here. So the ends keep moving. Or fraying. And we seem to -- financially -- be further behind than we were when I started work. In the 6 weeks I have been working we have had one unexpected flight out of state to a funeral, one major car repair, and are now facing another almost-major car repair. I'm not sure we can afford for me to work another 6 weeks.

God, as is His way, put things in perspective recently. First, a dear friend that Troy grew up -- that he considers his sister, really -- was just last week cleared for the heart transplant list. She JUST turned 42. Over the weekend our family traveled to central Texas to a fundraiser for her. So, the thought that we were all healthy and whole and in one piece is a helpful reminder that all is well -- though I had one of the overall crummiest weeks I've had in a LONG time last week.

Then, once we got to the fundraiser, I had opportunity to visit with some dear friends. We were discussing my writing, my ministry, etc. I told them this, basically:

"I consider getting better paying jobs or something that brings in a little more money, but I am committed to staying true to what God has called me to do with writing and speaking. God continues to show me the riches and blessings to be found in doing what He has called you to do."

I don't tell you that to pat myself on the back for a noble view -- I put that here for my own benefit. I put that here because I will need to be reminded frequently. I do believe that with all that is in me, but when actual dollars are needed to put gas in the car and clothes on my kids (why, why, WHY do they keep growing AND eating???) and utilities in my home I confess that I forget. I forget that He has us in His palm, needing no dollars for His will and His plan to be complete and perfect in us.

So, please remind me frequently of God's economy, and what a precious and wonderful blessing of riches it is.


Good Things Out There

Ashleigh is a sometimes (or used to be, probably) reader of this blog. Her marine recently deployed. She walks us through what deployment means for the family. Go read this. Then go thank a soldier. And his family.

Another show of above-the-top sportsmanship by young people. Very proud of these young ladies.

The youth minister at a church where I used to worship posted some excellent advice for parents with teens in the home. A must read.

VERY cute switchplate cover idea -- super easy and a hit in any kids' room!


Our Life In Pictures

I really had hoped to blog a little more this week... it just isn't getting done, you know? I guess you do know, if you are still here.

One thing, besides the subjects of these ample photos, that is taking my time these days is figuring out my new camera. My friend, David, who let me rip off his pics of Dana and her family, gave me some camera-shopping-for-the-chronically-cheap-frugal tips. So, I shall let you see some of my latest handiwork, or, as I like to call it, why the Stirmans never eat dinner
before 8 p.m.:

Here is Saturday's soccer game. Riley throwing the ball in:

And THIS spectacular kick (Riley is the one whose foot has just engaged the ball) turned into an amazing assist and scored a point. Yay!
So Ashley got bored and took pics of Troy, tuning out the other parents:

And me, watching the game....

So on Monday once the clouds blew away, we had tennis for Ashley, my Mann Falcon:
This kind of cracks me up. I think Ashley has 'Charlie Brown feet' here: (can you hear the music?)
So, the next day we had a band concert. Some of you may have figured this out a LONG time ago, but I have not. My children are in a LOT of things. Most of the programs are simply photocopied pieces of paper, but I want to remember that Ashley was section leader in band, and made All-Honor band, etc. So... I took a pic of it. (I took a pic of the inside, too where all the names, etc., are listed). I can keep these with the scrapbook pages of the same pictures. I am SERIOUSLY trying to declutter around here, and who needs a million more pieces of photocopied paper when a picture of the paper will suffice?
So.. I'm still trying to figure out the camera. I put everything on 'auto' and snapped a few pics when the band first came out to warm up. Here is Ashley pointing to me, asking the girl behind her, "Whose mom is THAT taking all those pictures???" I was VERY disappointed with the automatic pictures.
So... I started thinking... David encouraged me to get this camera because it does well in low light. So I took it OFF of automatic, messed with the aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. I have no idea what they mean, but know where they should be for a decent pic. And took a few decent shots (no flash!) :
I forgot to include the obligatory pic of the whole stage that included the back of the bald guy's head...
And Ashley had to take a few shots of me trying to figure out the software that came with it. Seeing my posture makes me realize why I need to get to yoga more...

So that is approximately 72 hours in the Stirman family life. Some 3 days periods are slower, some are faster. Right now, I'm missing out on watching the movie 'Dave' with my man. Do you love that movie? I do.

Have a great weekend and take lots of pictures!


In Spirit and In Truth

Obviously, wandering back into blogging very SLOWLY....

Please, check out my 'Good Things' and Sherri's comment yesterday on the Evil Empire. Seriously, are we going to sell our souls to save $.15 (that we obviously aren't really saving) on a box of Tampax? I am here to tell you, unless you have run the rest of the stores in your town out of business, you can survive without shopping there. I promise.


Here is what is on my mind today, and I only have a very few minutes to visit with you about it. I'm just trying to process myself.

As in many things, I see a pendulum swinging in one direction in reaction to it going too far the other way originally -- specifically: for years, people in churches were strictly scripture followers, to the point that scripture could become a convenient bludgeon for basically any point of discussion. Eat too much? Gluttony... boom. Spend too much? Greedy... boom. I don't like your hair? Vanity... boom.

So now I see some of us shifting away from using scripture as a bludgeon, leaning heavily on Spirit. Spirit-leading of what we should do career-wise, lunch-wise, relationship-wise... etc. Don't get me wrong -- I believe in Spirit -- because I believe the scriptures. But to trust Spirit-leading without a scripture check could be treading into dangerous waters. Mainly because our world is so full of evil and other noise, one MUST stay wholly in the Word to clearly hear what or where Spirit is leading. Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things..." -- and that's what most of us use to listen to the Spirit. Best to have a way to check what we're hearing.

I think to have either without the other is like... peanut butter without the jelly. Just wrong. :-)

What say you?


Good Things Out There

My friend Julie is SO clever! This is the BEST idea ever out there, costs very little (virtually free for her since she already had one of the bookshelves sitting around) and tames the never-ending quandry of what to do with all of the sports equipment an active family collects.

I can't speak to the other side of not-so-successful marriage. I know that is in some people's past, and God can work mightily in that, as well. This is an amazing and courageous article about why our society shouldn't be quite so quick to say, "It's not that big of a deal." Check this out...

This makes me feel even better about my long-standing resolve to not shop at Wal-Mart. Check it out, especially if you think you are "saving money" by shopping at Wal-Mart.


Immeasurably More

Well, I am back with not much fanfare. Okay, with no fanfare at all.

I did truly enjoy my bloggy break and it accomplished so much more than I ever thought it could. Did you know that it is much easier to listen when you aren't yak, yak, yakkity, yakking, talking all the time, or even worried about what you must say next?

I listened a lot. I listened to my family. I listened to my husband and children. I listened to my church family. I listened to my new co-workers -- have I even told you that I started a part-time job? If not, that will have to wait. Most of all, I listened to my Father. And I loved every precious word He had for me.

There were MANY times I did want to fill you in on my life, though. There were amazing God-stories, and sad times that needed praying over. Some of them I may eventually recount, some of them may be gone forever in my feeble brain.

Last weekend Coffee Group traveled for the first time in a while. We had one of the best trips I remember us having. We agree that we think we have finally found the balance of how much preparation we need to do, prayer we need to do, and trusting we need to do to allow God to work in an event.

One of the points I brought out in my talk was from Ephesians 3:20: "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..." As I prepared my talk and thought about the last few weeks, I began to realize: God isn't only ABLE to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, He LONGS to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine in our lives. It takes letting go, it takes giving up control and being in some scary and sometimes painful paths. But He will bring us to a point of immeasurably more.

I'm ready. I'm ready for immeasurably more. May I remember to let go of all that I think I am clinging to for safety and security and control, and be blessed -- immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine.

So -- how was YOUR February?? :-)
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