Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It is a great day to be alive!!
We are in the middle of a beautiful storm, here in southern Arizona. I am reminded, that even in our lives in the desert, our storms of life are beautiful.

I attended a woman's retreat with my church, Calvary Chapel, at Huachuca Oaks Camp, my stomping grounds as a kid.
When I came home, I wanted so bad to jump on the computer and write a blog about our retreat. Instead I knew I needed to hit the Word at my most vulnerable time, after being FILLED again with the Holy Spirit. 
It is no secret that these are the times when Satan works hardest on re-claiming our footsteps.

I'm really so over whelmed with good news, I can hardly think of what to write.
God is so good, all the time. I feel that the phrase is just so minimal, God is AWESOME, AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL, MAGNIFICENT, SO LOVING .... oh the list goes on and on.

On my drive out to Hereford, I was listening to one of my favorite bands, and one of my favorite songs they play. The title is "What do I know of Holy?" (I'm trying to figure out how to play it on here) This song, being one of my faves, I have played a thousand times in my truck, and sang along a thousand times. I always knew the words to be so true. 
Anyway, during the retreat many women from our church shared, and taught. Every woman offered a beautiful message from the word. One woman, who was a "surprise speaker" gave a great message, and in that message she referred to that song, and a line of the lyrics.... Here's the whole song...take a few minutes to listen to, read the lyrics, and let the words touch  your heart

"What do I know of wounds that will heal my SHAME, and a God that gave LIFE it's NAME?"
God's grace, I mean the WHOLENESS and HOLINESS of it is just beyond me. It's so hard for my human brain to really GET IT. What I do know, and what I do get, is that His grace is SUFFICIENT for me!!!!

God is a God of "free refills", feeling low? He will NEVER keep himself from you, just ASK for more :)
YES, my God is jealous, he is JEALOUS FOR ME, for my heart, for my life. He is jealous for you too, WE are his HEART'S DESIRE!!!!!  Phenomenal.....absolutely! We have only stood on the shore of his OCEAN.... 

Another thing I have come to understand is the very popular reminder "God only gives us what we can handle, and will ALWAYS use it for his glory"

Oh.... I cannot tell you how many times in my troubled life I have heard this. I can't! Did I really believe it? No... I just thought of it as a "hallmark" phrase. something to make me feel better.
God has opened my eyes to this. He has SHOWN me his truth. I KNOW God will never give me more than I can handle, and I KNOW he will use it to further his kingdom, and what is greater than that? Nothing. 

I walked around the camp...reminiscing. I sat, and then laid on the foundation of where our house used to be. My mind flooded with childhood memories, and memories of my beautiful mother. Memories that were tucked deep away in my mind. All wonderful, peaceful....but painful.
I miss my mom, more than you can imagine. I can say with confidence, God has used it for his glory. I know my mom touched many lives, and so did the story of her unexpected departure from this world. I can praise God with my heart, because I know he didn't let my mom's death go in vain...
He took what Satan destroyed, turned it around. Lives were changed, eternally. While he carried me through it,  I kicked, screamed, punched and whined..... but I look back and see ONE set of footprints, they were not mine, but HIS. THIS TOO, is God's Grace. Like stated above, our storms are made beautiful...
No matter what, I'm gonna love and need my savior!!!!!!!

No matter What  (another song to listen to)

I doubt that what I took away from the woman's retreat was what anyone else took away, but it was just for me, from my loving Father....

I cannot put into words, what happens when the Holy Spirit consumes us, and makes his presence felt in the physical sense, but I know I want more of it, more of Jesus, more of his love, grace, joy, faith....all of it Lord, hold nothing of YOU back from  ME!!!

Our Father wants nothing more than to have a relationship with you. Maker of you, heaven and earth....THE CREATOR wants to have a relationship with you..... oh, someone shout HALLELUJAH :) God is good!!!
Worthy of our praise!!!!


God Bless You, my friends and family

Friday, September 17, 2010

I was PICKED!!!

Hey, it's been a while. I have been wanting to get on this keyboard and type away for a while, but the subject matter kept shifting in my head. Maybe I think of it too much, actually I'm sure I do. lol, see?
Ahhh, the mind...what can you say?
Today is Sept 17, 2010. I am 27 today. When did that happen? I sometimes forget how old I am.... as a kid I would just look at the "old folks" (30's) in confusion when they stated they couldn't remember if they were 33 or 34. I understand now, I'm not even an "old folk" in my 30's yet.
Anyway, before you click the back button, I'm not writing myself a birthday blog. Well, actually come to think of it I am. I am writing a blog about my biggest blessing ever. LIFE.
You see, I was GIVEN life. If you are reading this, you were obviously given life too.

Let me rewind 27 years plus a few months, back. My mom was a young girl when she got pregnant with me.
It just so happened to be, there was this lovely, beautiful couple that had been praying oh, so hard for a baby. September 17, 1983 came, and my mother, Corina, gave birth to a little red afro'd baby, "With a cute little turned up nose" my grandpa Brown says. The same day, Michael and Ruth Whitaker got a call. They just had a baby!!! Please don't ask me how much I weighed, it's rude.
Anyhow, the details of the day for the various people need to be told to me again, I would love to hear about it, but I'm sure it had to have been glorious, I mean, Lanae had arrived...lol.

You know? Until just recently, I had never given thought to the fact that my mom gave me life, my biological mom. I can't imagine the thoughts, pain and uncertainty that she must have felt for what seemed to be forever during her pregnancy.. I wonder if her peers suggested the unthinkable. I know it wasn't an easy decision to give me for adoption,  Matter of fact, I know it was probably the most difficult decision, ever. How hard it must have been for her. I'm so thankful, I'm so grateful I was given life, I'm so thankful God was in the process, and that I was given to godly parents, and I can see God's hand in my life from before day one.

Michael and Ruth, better known as, mom and dad were amazing parents. The greatest thing I can say about the both is, they taught me about God. They brought me up in a home with God head of the house. I had a great childhood. I have many fond memories of missionaries coming to stay with us, VBS, my dad snapping his fingers at me while he was preaching at the pulpit during church. My momma played the piano and sang like an angel. I remember her arms being so pretty, because I would always lay my head on her while my dad preached. I sang, played the piano, and the flute. We later moved to Huachuca Oaks Baptist camp and came to Arizona. My childhood memories there could beat ANYONE'S childhood memories. We had 38 acres of land to roam, and we did. Eunice and I :)

My parents signed up for me....they had NO idea what they had signed up for. My mom would tell me, "Lanae, we PICKED you". I always imagined being a red-headed cabbage patch doll, and my mom and dad just "picked" me. (the things you remember) Thank you Lord for picking them, to pick me... you are so good.

 In all of this, when I think of my birthday, I know I'm blessed. I know God cares for me. I am thankful for my mother's courageous act, and my parent's loving act. My family is bigger than anyone I know, and I'm Prett-y proud of that fact.

Some call it luck, I call Him God <3
thanks for tuning in

Monday, August 2, 2010

Zephaniah Lee

I know this picture would make my momma so proud

Un-be-liev-a-ble!!!! It's hard to believe it's been 4 years. Time flies when you're having kids, lol.
I like to reflect on the birth of my kids near their birthdays, which I'm sure every mother does.

I remember being MISERABLE!!! Pregnant in high summer in Arizona, guess it could have been worse, Texas is VERY uncomfortable, even when you're NOT PREGNANT!!!
I was working at Pizza Hut Italian Bistro, serving tables, and knocking people out with my giant belly... but they were so good to me there, if I said I was hungry, they'd make any kind of pizza/pasta/bread/soup I wanted, I was SPOILED. God is so good too, you'd think, "ooooh, pregnant at Pizza Hut? she must've gained a hundred pounds".... the good news is I lost 60, lol. I asked the Doctors if that was a concern, she said "hunny, you had the weight to loose" lol.
So, I believe my "due date" was August 15, but Zeph and I knew better, we knew that was much too far away. So, August 4th, after my OB appointment, when they told me I was barely dialated, and it would be 2 weeks till delivery... I went home knowing, "those people have NO IDEA what they are talking about, I am having this baby TODAY". Hours later, Brandon and I were packing our bags to go to the hospital, we knew I'd be taken to Tucson, to have a V-BAC (natural delivery after already having a cesarean). We went into labor and delivery at the Sierra Vista "hospital", and was then flown to Tucson. My dad and Jane came up and stayed late through the night, sleeping on the uncomfortable hospital chairs...waiting for THE MOMENT.
I had been given an epidural after arriving at UMC in Tucson, and it was working WELL. I really couldn't even tell I was in labor. About 3am, the nurse came in to check me, and had the parentals leave the room. All of a sudden, she shoved my knees in my chest and told me to push... minutes later, Zephaniah was born. 3:07 am, August 5, 2006.
It was such a different experience from the C-section, so much more NATURAL (who would thunk it?) so much LESS painful. I actually remember seeing and holding Zephaniah right after he was born, not the case with Isaiah. He was so tiny. 7 pounds 11 ounces, 19 and 1/4 inches. His little wrinkled face, and his old man hair line, he was so precious.
Being a "round 2" mom, I just knew I knew everything about having a baby, and even though it had only been 4+ years, I felt as if I'd drop Zephaniah on his brand new head when I held him.... it all felt new to me again.
Dad and Jane, came in to the room, no one expected to see Zephaniah this soon, but we sure were happy to.

Zephaniah Lee, he has been vital in teaching me patience.... maybe I had prayed for patience before, not sure. Either way, our lives change every time another child is born to us. I know mine did. In a huge way.
I must thank my dad and Jane, for they helped me with Zephaniah so much. My dad and Zeph had a special bond, something I will never forget. ( I didn't live near family when Isaiah was born, the downside to military life)

I have never met a more tender-hearted child in all my days. Zephaniah's heart is bigger than he is. I could learn so much from him if I just sat back and took notes. He is SO quick to forgive, and I mean REALLY forgive. He doesn't just shrug his shoulders when you tell him your sorry, and say "it's okay". No, he opens his arms as wide as they will reach and embraces the one who has hurt him, and says"it's okay, I love you".
It chokes me up just writing about it. If we all could have the gift of forgiveness that Zeph posses, our world would be a much better place. Pure forgiveness... something I strive to, but fall short of, embracing.

Zephaniah I pray will be a leader, someone who wins souls for Christ. A man of God who wants nothing more than to preach to those last ears who haven't heard the great gospel. I pray Zephaniah will continue to have the forgiving heart he has, but that it won't be taken advantage of. I beg for God's protective hand to keep him from harm, and danger. I speak love, wisdom, and faithfulness over his life. I pray he will be wise and learn from my mistakes, not repeat them. I KNOW God has BIG plans for Zephaniah's life, and I know Zephaniah has a heart to serve God and will fulfill these plans.

Zephaniah 3:17

 17 For the Lord your God is living among you.
      He is a mighty savior.
   He will take delight in you with gladness.
      With his love, he will calm all your fears.
      He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

WHAT? God will rejoice OVER ME??? with JOYFUL SONG? WOW, that's love, and pure forgiveness. I can't even conceive this idea in my mind and fully understand it, but that's okay, because I know it is TRUE.

Thank you Father, for in my greed and selfishness, giving me a healthy beautiful Son who loves me unconditionally, and me him. I pray you will guide me to guide him. Father, forgive my shortcomings, and my mistakes as a mother. Give me strength, love and Grace I need to raise this boy into a man of God. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you <3 

Zephaniah Lee, you are surely a great Zephyr, use it to glorify God, and please him..... BE GREAT, SON.  I Love you unconditionally, Momma <3

Monday, July 26, 2010

Our journey begins....

Well, this is my first blog, so, have a little mercy on me while I figure this thing out :)

Around the beginning of this year, I really felt God was calling me to home school my 3 kids. My thoughts EXACTLY were, "you must have me confused with another mom, a better one, a more organized, and creative one.... I know you're not talking to ME!?!" I prayed, and prayed. I slept on it, and went back and forth with the idea. I mentioned it to a few people, friends who I knew would give me their honest, educated opinion, who knew me and the kids. I wrote out what I perceived as pros and cons, and compared. When I started to feel like I could actually do it, I started to talk with other homeschool moms. Some were single like me, some were not. Some were homeschooling teens, and some young children. Some women were using Abeka, and some weren't. Some women were schooling 1 or 2 children, and other women 4 and 5 children. I realized in talking to other moms, that you don't have to fit in a certain "homeschool mom- box" but that our differences is what makes it even more beautiful and amazing, and that our differences are beneficial to one another. I have learned so much from other moms, and it's so neat how they are all willing to tell you what they wish they would've known....

SO!!! You decide to home school and "break the news" to everyone. Now what?
I looked on line, many late nights, reading about different Christian curriculum, different learning and teaching methods. Mind you, there are only 7 billion different curriculums.....
So in my frustration of not yet finding a program, I felt fit our needs, I kind of gave up, and decided I would do it independently using the "Charlotte Mason" method.

God is so good, even when we are not faithful, HE IS!!!

I went to Oregon to visit my BELOVED family, in June. In a conversation with my cousin, I asked her what curriculum she uses, she told me, and I made a mental note. I came home a few weeks later, and immediately hopped online to check out the program.
*AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH*   (that's me singing angelically)
I found it!!!!!! I loved it!!!!! It was EVERYTHING we wanted/needed, and much more!!!!

By the way, Thank you Heidi, you don't realize that  you were holding the answer to the question  I had been asking GOD to hurry up and answer. Sometimes I forget, it's not MY timing, but HIS.

So, I found out about the Arizona Families of Home Education convention in Phoenix, and HAD to go.
My wonderful Father-in-law flew in from California to hang out with the kids in Phoenix while I attended the conference.
When I first walked into the huge building I was a little overwhelmed and stood back for a minute to soak it all in. THERE WERE THOUSANDS OF HOMESCHOOL MOMS, DADS AND KIDS, EVERYWHERE.... what a beautiful sight. After gathering my thoughts, and stepping out into the 114 degree weather to relieve my goosebumps, I was overjoyed. Smile from ear to ear. I KNOW God has called me to do this, and I KNOW he will carry us through, in His strong loving arms.

I walked up and down the rows and rows of vendors, anxiously waiting to find the booth for "My Father's World" (the curriculum we are going to use).
On my way, there was so much more to take advantage of, women willing to speak one on one with me about the difference in learning styles, how to identify, and tailor to each child's needs. I met a lovely young lady who was 12, had written a book when she was 10, and just finished the publishing, and release of it. She has been home schooled by her mother and father, who were both their to show their pride and support, while their 12 year old daughter sold and signed the very book she had written. VERY EXCITING to see, and I of course HAD to buy one, so I could share it with my kids at home.
I met another group of young kids Isaiah's age and younger, who are also HS'd, and just recently moved FROM Oregon, to New York, which is kinda irrelevant, but just because they were from Oregon, and had taped their film there, I was more partial to them :) They taped a film in the wilderness of Oregon, an all child cast.  "little rascals meet pilgrim's progress" is the catch to the movie (I forgot the title, but we are going to watch it tonight, and I'll get back to you on it).  I enjoyed meeting them and talking to them. They were SO proud of their production, and just gleaming from ear to ear that people were watching and buying their movie...
It's hard to explain the courage, encouragement, prayer, and advice I was given by WONDERFUL women of God, who shared the same goals as I did, to educate and love our kids OUT of school. One woman said, and it was also written in her book, " we must remember Home school is NOT school at home" but that it is focused education with the family. Our home is not our classroom, rather the WORLD is our classroom.
Although I would NEVER want to live in PHX or any city that size for that matter, there are SO many resources and programs (free ones) for home school families there... it was unbelievable.
I met another author who we were ALREADY a fan of, purchased a couple of his books, and he signed them  to each of my kids, individually, they were SO excited when I brought them home.
I wrote a letter to a martyr in China, praying she will receive it, and be encouraged. I picked up a few materials for the kids to do the same thing, so they can learn about persecution, and that it is still going on big time, in our day in time, just not so much in our culture.
I attended a few speeches, all were packed with useful info, tips, and ideas. Testimonies that were encouraging, and inspiring. Women speaking of their journeys and what they've learned, sharing it with all of us. I cried, laughed, cried more (shocker), and was just totally uplifted, and encouraged.
Let me step off track for a minute (what I do best), although it is so not true, I always imagine "home school kids" in REALLY long denim skirts, long straight braided hair, with a horse and buggy for transportation. Well to my surprise, I didn't see a whole lot of Amish families there, but families that look like mine. Nothing against the Amish, it's just that I am SO not Amish.
So, I have a goody bag they gave me, the curriculum for Isaiah, preschool stuff for the little ones, and a refreshed, encouraged heart. Not to forget, some really cool and funny t-shirts about homeschooling.
I know this is what I am supposed to do, i know I will trip up, but I know God will be right behind us, before us, beside us and in us through the whole adventure.
Looking forward to the conference next year :)  


I have tons of books I am going to be reading, and I'm sure there is going to be so much info I want to share with you all, so stay tuned :)