Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas memories

I have a lot of beautiful Christmas memories (and I'm excited to make more today). A few of my favorites are...

Christmas Eve night... the excitement of being halfway through our celebrations. The best night of sleep ever!

Christmas morning... walking downstairs and seeing the presents under the tree magically tripl from late Christmas Eve night to the morning. Stocking full. My parents always amazed me, even when I was older, because they must have been working late into the morning to make it happen! And if Brian or I had an extra big gift, it was often toward the front and we would get extra excited if we knew what it was.

Throughout December, Brian and I would sit in the back seat of the car when we were younger and have Christmas light sighting competitions. I really love remembering that now. Makes me smile. Every house with lights would be a point. I think if one person counted a house, the other couldn't, but I don't remember exactly. I think he always beat me, but that's okay. I think that was normal. ;-)

I wonder what the Christmas memories were for the shepherds, Mary, Joseph... everyone involved with the first Christmas story of Jesus being born. I wonder if the shepherds and wise men thought, "I wonder what happened to that 'newborn king.'" I wonder if they thought they had dreamed the whole thing or that they misheard because Jesus was a king because he essentially wasn't heard from for 12 and then 18 more years. I mean, people knew about him, but I think he just became a "regular" baby in "regular" life over those years of growing up.

I think remembering the first Christmas had to have been something that each one of them should have--and probably did--regularly... remembering the "magic" of the moment, the thrill of the angels singing, the moment Mary heard she was going to be with child, the moment Jesus was born, his first cry... all those things that made that night extra special can easily be forgotten in the humdrum moments of living, but those are the things that set Jesus apart and made Him so special to us and the world.

The same should be true for us: remember the God-given special moments. The moments in His presence. The moments our lives are changed. The Christmas morning we celebrate year after year... everything that has created us to be who we are matter how normal our lives can get with the day-to-day sleeping, eating, playing, working, God has been at work in our lives. I remember that today and smile.

Friday, December 21, 2012

what works for you doesn't always work for me!

Yesterday I was heading out on an errand after lunch. I grabbed Brayden, put his coat on, and ran out to the truck, which was already running. Halfway there, I noticed that one of Brayden's feet was bare (he had pulled off one sock during nap time). Horror and shame washed over me... "I'm a terrible mother!" I ran back inside and found one of his socks and headed back outside.

One important detail... I live in a state with cold winters. Yesterday was a winter day. Think: below freezing.  ... now do you know why I was chiding myself after Brayden's bare foot was traumatized by the cold weather? Okay, I know that's an exaggeration because I caught the mistake of no sock right away, but still. Cold weather + bare baby feet = not good.

Then I realized that my friends who live in warm weather states would never be traumatized by such a situation because they have different weather. If their kid went out barefoot, it would be normal!

It was a quick reminder that all of us are facing different circumstances and what is expected of some people is not expected of others simply because they aren't facing the same situations.

In other news... the sock I put on didn't match the one he had on the other foot, which confused one lady in the store we went to. She stopped us and said, "Oh no! He lost a shoe!" I didn't have the heart to tell her I wasn't that concerned about it. Here's why....

Monday, December 17, 2012

what comes next?

It's interesting to see how everyone is responding to what happened recently in Connecticut. I've been watching the news articles, blog posts, and Facebook status updates. So much can be said. So many angles to the story. So many potential solutions and so many reasons why such-and-such a solution will or won't work. We all have an opinion on what happened and how to resolve the situation. You will prefer your viewpoint, but that doesn't mean mine is wrong or to be ignored.  We all have different experiences to pull from that create who we are today.

I'm trying to absorb all the sides to the story of gun control, massacres, mental illness, violence, and this idea that America wants God in schools during crises, but not during everyday life.... I encourage you to listen to the stories that are coming from this too. They might paint a bigger picture than the media will. For example, an Oregon mall shooting happened three days prior to what happened in Connecticut. It didn't get as much attention, potentially because a conceal and carry citizen showed his gun to the shooter and that curbed the violence from going beyond the three killed (which included the gunman).

One way you can implement change at home is to remember to take care of each other. If you see someone hurting or not fitting in, take time to smile at them and reach out to them. A kind word can go a lot farther than you ever imagine. You have no idea if your connecting with someone who is hurting will save them from taking a wrong turn in life.

We can all also pray. Pray for God to comfort families. Pray for grace to surround everyone indirectly or directly involved. Pray over those children and staff and the flashbacks they will face. So many prayers to be given for everyone involved in this shooting.

Also, pray for our lawmakers so that they know how to address this and protect our nation, if possible, in a legal way. We all have opinions on how they should do that, but realize that yours isn't necessarily the opinion that you should pray for them to have. Pray that the right laws get unearthed and the right paths get made so we can protect our nation as best as possible from the legal standpoint.

Ultimately, God is our only hope. If you don't yet know Him, I encourage you to consider attending church on Sunday. You may just find that true hope only comes from Him.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

meeting the reindeer

It's official. Brayden loves animals. Anything large and furry that moves on its own makes Brayden laugh, giggle, and slightly hyperventilate in a cute, Brayden sort of way. (He talks using sounds and they get long and loud and somewhat high when he's excited. Love it!)

He sees dogs a lot since we have a dog and Erik's parents and Erik's sister and bro-in-law have a dog. His favorite is Tucker, of course, but "Killerman" is probably close behind because he is a 12-pound shih tzu and definitely Brayden-sized! "Kitty"--Erik's parents' dog--is the largest he has seen so far and the one he can actually pet for any length of time because she is so old she doesn't move that much! My favorite is when Brayden is in the high chair and Kitty is begging for dinner from someone at the dinner table right next to Brayden. Kitty is so preoccupied begging that she ignores Brayden's petting and laughing! 

Last night, Brayden met a cat and showed that any furry animal is wonderful to him. He started his excited hyperventilating and chased that cat as fast as his crawling and scooting could go. 

Tonight was a wonderful Christmas memory having to do with animals because Brayden got to meet... of Santa's reindeer!

I thought he'd like to pet the reindeer, and I was right. Well, he would have petted him if his hands had made it out of the end of his down coat. :-) (He's still growing into it!) As soon as he saw the reindeer, he started his happy noises and smiled. I loved watching it! He wasn't too sure about Santa, but he loved the reindeer.

Of course we took some pics...

Love! This was at a party Grandma and Grandpa were going to, so Brayden had to take pictures with them. 

I'm loving Christmas this year more than ever. Looking at it through the eyes of a child. :-) 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas with Brayden

I wish I could fully encapsulate watching Brayden grow up everyday into a succinct set of words that would describe everything about parenting. I don't think I can! It's amazing to watch him learn and literally grow overnight in so many ways. His curiosity and appetite is huge right now. I love watching him learn about everything in life.  

I feel like a true parent now because I got my first art project and Christmas gift from Brayden when he came out of the church nursery the other day: 

So special!

Erik and I are seeing Christmas in a whole new light this year watching it through Brayden's eyes and trying to give him all the beautiful Christmas experiences we can -- and pictures, since he won't remember the experiences!

For example, I was very excited when I realized that we could get a picture of Brayden on Santa's lap this year. What fun! We had a special night set aside to go... but with the way circumstances went, we couldn't get there as early as we had planned. In fact, we got there 5-10 minutes before Santa "closed" for the night. Ahhhh! I thought about giving up and doing it a different day or forgetting about the picture, but I couldn't do it. At that point, though, it was a little later in the evening and Brayden had fallen asleep on the way over to see Santa. I was so intent and excited about seeing Santa that I rushed him out of his car seat, barely gave him a chance to wake up, and rushed in to see Santa.

Now Brayden can be a pretty sensitive kiddo anyway, so for him to be rushed onto the lap of a man in a red suit with a red beard didn't sit with him well.

You probably know where this is going...



Okay I love this picture dearly because in the back of my head I kinda wondered if I'd get a crying picture. I feel bad, though, that I put Brayden through the sadness, especially knowing if I had given him a little more time to warm up to Santa, we might have coaxed out a smile.

Santa was kind enough to take one where he was a little more calm... and Brayden had a buffer between him and the man in the red suit. 

Well, we're still chalking up the Christmas memories. I'm excited to see him with presents and see if he'll tear the wrapping paper, play with the boxes, enjoy the toys... whatever he will do, it will be fabulously fun to watch it happen. :-) 

He's one month away from one year old. It's been a wonderful year. Love him so much!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

the handprints of God on Brody's second birthday

Two years ago today, my precious firstborn son, Brody Mark Wegener was born. Brody-man, Bro, or our intended nickname based on his initials, Beamer.

I have had thoughts running through my head of what I wanted to say to commemorate this day, and I can't quite settle on anything. The most important thing is that this day is so much better with Brayden, his brother, in our arms. His smile and the joy he brings to our lives makes this day extra special... because as I've said before, we wouldn't have Brayden if Brody had been full-term. Crazy.

One day I want to write about the flashbacks you experience when you go through sudden tragedy. I was dealing with that a lot last week, and even started to blog about it, but I haven't quite been able to post it yet. Right now, flashbacks are the toughest - when you think back to the moments of pain and difficulty you went through. I'm doing okay with them overall, but it's still a tender topic, so I'll wait to write about that until I'm ready. :-)

Instead, I'll just say that even though God wasn't involved in Brody passing away so early, God's handprints were--and continue to be--all over our lives before, during, and after the tragedy. I don't understand that statement, but I do stand by the statement and fully recognize that God's ways are not our ways and His thoughts are much higher than our thoughts. We won't ever understand His ways... many times, they are disguised, often unrecognizable to man, and only visible through hindsight, if at all. We see the fruit of Him working, but how the fruit came about or the way it appears to have grown will often baffle man.

So that leaves us to trust. Trust in the unseen God and His unseen ways. Trust Him that He'll show you His handprints and remind you He's there right when you need encouragement. Trust that He'll surpass the unsurpassable, and suppress the unsuppressable. He'll supply what is needed, and take care of you when you hurt the most.

I don't get it, but I am grateful that He is by our side through everything.

I was super happy this morning when I walked by my plant--the one that my friends got for me when I was in the hospital having complications during my pregnancy with Brody, and just a few days before he was born. This plant has lived on for two years--that is a miracle in my house! The buds on it have come and gone, and most recently, they have been gone. But this morning, on Brody's birthday, I found this:

One bloom in honor of my little boy. :-)

Happy birthday, Brody! We love you and are excited to meet you and see your personality and what you look like and all the things that make you you. (Uncle Brian and Grandma Doria, and all our relatives up there, be sure to give Brody an extra big hug from us!) Thinking of you so much~

Sunday, November 4, 2012

life's lime wedge

I've never been much of a soda drinker. I like soda/pop/Coke (whatever you prefer to call it) and will drink it on occasion, but generally, I'm a water drinker. Although, if I'm getting deep dish meaty pizza, that is often the perfect time for a nice cold glass of root beer.

I do know a lot of ladies at my church who love soda and drink soda, but they are very particular about their kind: Diet Coke with lime. (I'm picturing it with a lime wedge!) Not Coke. Not Pepsi. Not DC with lemon. Diet Coke with lime. Must be the particular taste the lime adds to the DC that makes it taste perfect. Since I know more than one person who has recommended that, I'm sure it tastes good! (I'm picturing it adds zest kinda like the lime you squirt onto Chipotle burritos - yum!)

Hungry yet? 

Well, that whole "lime wedge" thing came to mind in an interesting way today. I was getting ready for the day and lamenting how much I didn't feel like a Christian at the moment. To be honest, I've had a very up and down time since Brian and Brody passed about coming and spending time with the Lord. My individual time with Him has been scattered, because approaching Him one on one can be intimidating after you did so for so long and got such a strange result. 

I feel like my life has been redefined by Brian and Brody and I can't shake the feeling that I'm different because I lost these family members so early in life... and at times, I don't always know how to reconcile that with my relationship with God. (Some days are better than others!)

This morning, God reminded me that it isn't about what I feel. I might not feel like a Christian, but that's okay because it's not about me. God created me to be wholly me. My faults, my flaws, my family, my everything is who God made me to be. Even this off/on struggle with prayer is part of me. Granted there is an enemy in the world who is working to use me against me... if that makes any sense. But whether or not I feel like a Christian because I'm doing this or that doesn't change the fact that I am one. My beliefs about God and Jesus hasn't changed and my beliefs about who He is and what He has done for me hasn't changed. Sometimes my actions change because I make choices that aren't the best, but other days I make choices that are better. (Generally speaking, these are all choices that are relatively small, like did I read my Bible today or take too long working or not listen to enough worship music)

What has changed is my life. It's okay to be affected by death--there's no way around it. My family dynamic has forever been changed--both for good and for bad! Brian and Brody, of course, are the "bad" changes since they aren't here anymore, but Josh (Cristina's husband), Brayden, and Andrew are a few of the good changes. That, as I thought about it this morning, is my "lime wedge." My life was going along swimmingly and then I got this lime wedge handed to me. Tragedy. It stinks. I had a choice and I continue to have a choice on how this lime wedge of life will affect me. Will I suck on the lime wedge and have a stinky face because life is so sour? Will I let the lime wedge sit by glass of Coke and do nothing, perhaps in the hope that ignoring it will make the lime wedge disappear? Or will I squeeze the lime wedge into my Coke and let a new zingy flavor of my life unfold before me? 

I'm sitting here crying as I'm watching this words get typed out before me... this blog makes sense and is  encouraging me while just fifteen minutes ago I was thinking, "I'm a horrible Christian!" God uses everything for good. And it's not about what I feel. It's about what I know and walking that out and letting the feelings follow. 

As my pastor friend said during the whole time Brian was sick, God is faithful. That will never change. He is more faithful than the circumstances that we can validate naturally every day. God is more faithful than everything we see, and even though we can't see Him, we cling to that truth that He will always turn lime wedges into zests of life squeezed into our drink, if we dare to pick them up and embrace them as the flaws that make up our life. 

It's not about me. It's not about us. It's about God and Him using us to bring this world back to Him. 

(P.S. I did a quick image search for Coke with lime and apparently it's more than a lime wedge and a glass of Coke....)

Friday, October 26, 2012

nine and a half months

I love watching Brayden learn about this world. He's in this exploration stage where everything is just fascinating to him. The light goes on? Wow. The light goes off? Wow. He can push the light switch with his chubby hand (with help)? Do it again!

Just last night, Erik installed the cupboard locks because Brayden has spent time exploring the cupboards. This morning was funny watching him try to open the cupboard door as he usually did, but it would only go so far. He was like, What happened? It's not supposed to be this way!

I'm starting to gather stories on a regular basis of him problem solving life... like the bananas that he couldn't get off his high chair tray. I put them on a lid, in case that would help him be able to pick up the bananas--and it did, but not in the way I expected. He lifted the whole lid to his mouth and sucked the banana off. Love it!

We've already taken way more digital pictures that you'd ever dream of taking on film. My most recent "task" at home is going back and deleting blurry pictures or those videos you took when you didn't realize the video was on instead of the camera. I have to make room and then we'll save the good pics on CDs or something for the future! Yay!

I'm sure there's plenty more I could say... just a little update for now! I am grateful to God for my wonderful family! :-) 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mr. Squirmy

Hi there!

I have thought about blogging many times over the past few weeks, but finding time away from my boys at a computer to sit and write about something not work-related isn't that easy! I guess it's just a little low on my priority scale... and that's okay!

Brayden is almost nine months old. Yes, these past nine months have been much cheerier and less stressful than the previous nine months where we were so cautious about life to ensure that Brayden could make it here safely!

He has had his bottom two teeth for a few months and his top two teeth have finally broken through (I feel like he has been "teething" them for months!). He is squirmy, squirmy, squirmy. I lay him down to change his diaper and he immediately rolls his weight to the side and sits up. Pretty funny, but hard to change him! I'm learning to dress him while he is sitting up/rolled over/moving and put his diaper on as fast as possible. Also, any time I smell #2 hiding inside his diaper, the new thing seems to be take him straight to the bath... because if he squirms away from me while he has a non-poopy diaper, that's not as big of a deal as if he squirms away with a naked, poopy bottom.

I know... that's descriptive, but I'm sure many (if not all) of you can relate in some way.

The autumn leaves are beautiful here. I love the colors! And there's this place near my house that has a pathway through the woods and it is all golden leaves. It's literally a sanctuary of gold that I love and try to visit during peak every year. This year, I walked through it with Brayden and Tucker toward the end of the work day and decided that Erik, Brayden, Tucker and I should have an impromptu photo session there right away. Erik got home not too long after that and we changed clothes and headed over there asap!

My hubby dabbles in photography so all the kudos goes to him for setting lighting and all that jazz. The lighting was a little difficult because it was in the woods and the sun was a little lower in the sky. But I'm very happy with the results. I love my family and these photos.

I love, love, love this place!

Mr. B....

... a.k.a. Mr. Squirmy.

The lovely framing job (okay, not so lovely) was compliments of me. :-) oops!

My family!
More Mr. Squirmy... watch the progression of the next few pics!

Love. :-)

Friday, October 5, 2012

three years.

It's been three years.

They are right. Time helps.

They are wrong. Time makes it worse.

In a sense, both of those statements are true. Time helps. I don't ache daily or weekly. I ache occasionally over missing my brother who passed away three years ago today. The ache, though, almost goes deeper as time passes. It's not as urgent or as often, but it's deeper as milestones pass and you miss them and wish they could be there to celebrate. Their laugh is farther removed from your memory, although always ingrained. Their smile is there, but you wish you remember it better.

His thirty years of life seemed young, but somewhat old when I was 28. Now that I'm 31 and Erik is 32, thirty seems oh so young. I can't fathom that I have lived on earth longer than my brother.

National Sibling Day was a week or so ago. I loved all the pics of siblings, but I missed my own.

I had the best time a few weeks ago though. Erik found a public crab apple tree and picked a bunch of apples for us to make homemade applesauce and apple juice, a tradition for both of our families. I even raided my mom's house when she was gone to get her apple masher thing. (She knew about it!) While we were making the applesauce, I watched the heated, mushy apples seep through the sides of the masher and memories came of me mushing it in my parent's house and Brian sitting at the counter and mom heating up more apples.... of Brian eating his applesauce cold and me eating mine hot... I looked at Erik and said, "This brings back such good memories of Brian" and then I smiled. I was so happy. He looked back and said, "Good."

Those are the kind of memories that are extra wonderful: You smile and feel like he's right there.

So three years. So much has happened. Dearest Brian, you are loved like crazy and missed like crazy. You are still thought about so often and we wish you were here with us. Although our family is amazing and doing well, it will never be quite the same without you in it. Your girls are beautiful and remind us of you and I was staring at Brayden once and I could just picture you too... somehow you live on in us... yeah, sounds super cliched and "new age-y" but it makes sense too.

You are loved and missed dearly.

Love, your sis.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Seven and a half months!

I'm loving watching Brayden grow!! He changes quickly and so much is happening in his little world as he figures this big world out. So fun to watch. He is a really good boy. For example, in the mornings, he wakes up and plays in his crib. I wake up only when he jabbers in his crib while playing. This morning, I woke to Erik's alarm, and thought Brayden might be sleeping, but I peeked inside and he was sitting up in his crib just hanging out. 

The big question now seems to be "Is he crawling?" Well, not yet. But he scoots, rolls, pulls himself up, walks around the edge of his little piano and a little table toy that he has. He's maybe not the most pumped about crawling, but we're working on it because Erik and I think it's important he learns how to crawl before walking. 

Last night I wrapped up two photo books from Shutterfly of family pictures. Here are a few.

Daddy and his little buddy... I love this one! And gotta love the camo jammies!

Brayden and Tucker

Daddy and Brayden watching fireworks.

Can you even see Brayden? All that camo...

This was our Easter pic from 2012. I love it!

My 92-year-old grandpa and Brayden. LOVE this pic... and kudos to my hubby for catching the moment!

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

the horrors of tragedy affect everyone

I've been thinking a lot about the horrors surrounding the Colorado shooting just a few days ago. So many people have been affected in so many different ways. Right when I think, "I need to focus my prayers on them," someone else pops into mind.

What about the employees who saw this unfold? They are working day after day in the place where people were murdered (if not this week, then at some point in the future).

What about the murderer's parents and family? What kind of crazy emotions are they experiencing?

What about every person who knew the victims or people affected in some way? What about the people who are having flashbacks because of a past tragedy that affected them? Or the people who are still in the hospital?

This is a time when we need to pull together as a nation and pray for strength for everyone involved. A trial of the murderer will happen (he desperately needs the Lord!). Funerals will happen. Lives will need to be put back together - both in the hospital and at home. And people are needed to make all these things happen.

Two words come to mind when thinking about the part I can play: support and prayer.

Support people in this situation. Support good. Support right. Support help. Support ... even in your arguments and comments and "sharing" of things online.

Pray over people every time you think of them.

And... in case this blog would be seen by anyone who lost a friend that day, here's a link to my blog on how to help a grieving friend. It's a little of what I've learned may help someone who is grieving. Perhaps something I say might help you help your friend/family member. Remember... their journey of grief will last much longer than the publicity surrounding the shootings. Even when you think of them in a few months or years, say a prayer for grace for them. They'll need it.

Blessings to you. God is still on the throne and He is working to be with everyone affected by this tragedy. He still reigns in this world.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

our growing boy

It's so much fun to watch Brayden grow and learn this lovely thing called life. He's figuring out so much stuff every day and as everyone knows they grow so much in their first year! :-)

A few of his latest milestones....

1. He rolls every which way! He's well on his way to crawling and/or walking... whichever he decides to do first! He actually gets on his hands and knees and rocks back and forth. You can tell he's like, I know what to do, but can't quite do it all the way! I love watching him roll around and the determination he gets in his eyes when he sees something he wants. He will first reach and see how far his arms go. If he determines he can't get it with his arms and fingers (I love the fingers that go back and forth trying to pull something toward him), his head will swing into motion to get him to roll closer to the object or sometimes his feet. Pretty funny! Love watching him think through life.

2. He jabbers. I could have sworn one of the sounds he made recently mimicked "Mom." :-) He jabbers the most when he's tired. It's adorable. It's starting to sound like he's making sense in his own head and trying to tell us something specific - I'm sure he is! I love it!

3. He can put himself to sleep. This one is a process and doesn't always happen, but over the past week he's done amazing at putting himself to sleep. I'm grateful because I don't get mentally or physically exhausted holding him making sure he's sleeping before I do other things. I can give him his quiet time in his room and eventually he'll fall asleep. I know we'll probably have more sleeping streaks in the future of his sleeping/not sleeping/needing us to put him to sleep, etc. but I'm grateful this milestone has been reached.

4. He's six months old! Always seems like a big deal when they get through half a year, huh?

5. He eats solid food. I love my baby food processor (thanks to some of my family members who got it for me!) ... I use it to make pureed veggies for him. Then I have the dishes where I can freeze little portions for later. Love the ease of it. And Brayden loves eating... when the food is cold or its a new flavor, he always gets a super funny look on his face after the first  bite. He's already wanting to hold the spoon on his own.

That's a quick baby update that I'm journaling mainly for me, but in case you're interested, there you go! :)

Oh and we took his six month pictures already and I'm sure I'll post some when I get them... but here's a preview.

Monday, July 2, 2012

out of adversity comes...

Out of adversity comes _____________. For everyone the answer is different. There are also probably many answers for everyone.

For me, one of the things I've learned over the past five years is the importance of praying for people. When people have prayer requests, I want to--even need to--really, truly take time to lift them before the Father. I pray more for others that I ever did five+ years ago because I understand that people truly need others around them during difficulty to support them in prayer. When you are in the middle of a situation, emotions get tangled up and it's hard to see straight enough to even form a prayer. That's why people outside of the situation praying intently and purposely about a situation is vital.

So yeah. I wish my brother was here and my son was here, but in a sense, every day I'm learning how to benefit from the tragedies I've faced (and do and will face). With God's grace empowering me, I will learn from every situation I face and turn it into overcoming good for the kingdom of God. Period.

(P.S. Those are Brian's daughters in the picture from a few years ago. Love it.) 

problems or solutions?

Hi there! I apologize if any of you have been waiting on pins and needles for my next post! ;-) Wifehood, motherhood, working, housework, and napping when I can keep me busy. Plus my laptop is on the fritz.... fun, fun!

So much could be said about Brayden. He's growing fast, as all babies do. It's pretty clear, he has one thing on his mind: moving. He knows he should move forward and he is very intent and moving as quickly as he can figure out how to do it! He's making good progress... so here's for my days being thrown into another "tizzy" when he starts booking it around the house very soon!

Quick non-Brayden story that I've been pondering recently - Erik and I came downstairs one morning a week or so ago and we immediately noticed our sprinklers were on out back. We were like, "What?!?" We live in a townhome, and the sprinklers are on an automatic, nightly schedule. Translated: they don't come on in the mornings.

So pretty much we were both thinking, "Really? Another problem to deal with?"

Ten minutes later, we opened the front door as Erik headed to work. Crouched down at the edge of our driveway looking at something on the ground was a strange man. I was taken back at first, then Erik commented, "Ahhh, that's why the sprinklers were on." 

One of our sprinklers out front had been broken for a few weeks and we had let the association know about it. That happened to be the morning he was fixing it and he had to turn on the sprinklers in order to figure out which sprinkler was broken!

All that to say... I immediately realized that what I saw as a potential problem wasn't a problem at all. It was a solution for a different situation in my life. I just couldn't see it because of my perspective.

Sometimes we choose to have a single perspective in life; other times we are unable to have a different perspective. Our house only has windows on the back side on the first level. That means Erik and I couldn't have seen that someone was working on the sprinklers until we walked out the front door. That's when our perspective changed and we saw the truth of the situation.

So remember that next time you face a problem, perhaps it's actually a solution in disguise!

Friday, June 29, 2012

relentless, part 2 (teachings from John Bevere)

Hi again! So I'm super late in posting these, but here are notes from the Friday night meeting (6/15/12) with John Bevere at Pastor Mac Hammond's church, Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, MN. As I said in my previous posts, I can't do the message justice, and I don't know how the notes read from someone who wasn't there, but in case it helps, here they are. And if you like what you read even a little bit, here's a bunch of stuff you can do: 

1. Visit for more information on John Bevere and his wife, Lisa. Buy the book, CDs, DVDs, workbook, or curriculum for Relentless (which is what this message is from) or any other of their books... you will be happy you did!
2. Go to and watch the services on demand.
3. Buy the SummerVival CDs or mp3s (all the meetings with Beveres at Living Word). 

On to the notes! 

Relentless, part 2
Romans 5:17 TEV
It is true that through the sin of one man death began to rule because of that one man. But how much greater is the result of what was done by the one man, Jesus Christ! All who receive God's abundant grace and are freely put right with him will rule in life through Christ.
Every believer who receives God’s abundant grace will rule in life through Christ.
Many believers are ruled by life. God’s desire is that we would rule in life and reign as kings and queens through Christ. Kings and queens have domain in which they exercise rule and reign. Our domain is our realm in this life.

Grace = power

Substitute empowerment any time you see grace in the Bible.
Grace gives us the ability to go beyond our own ability.

1. We rule over sin; it no longer dominates us.

Romans 6:14 NKJV
For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Rephrase that as “we are under God’s empowerment.” God’s power/empowerment: look at Ephesians chapter 1: it’s immeasurable, unlimited power.

2. We rule over sickness and disease

We have authority. We don’t have to ask God to heal us. He already has healed us 2000 years ago. We enforce it.

3. We rule over lack and poverty.
Speak to it. Call it in. God owns the cattle on one thousand hills. Sow and call it in. Apply His laws.

4. We rule in sectors of life. We are called to influence.
Deut. 28:13 NLT
If you listen to these commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom.

Heads lead. Tails follow.
Society has led, church has followed because we aren’t ruling.
Daniel was more wise than those around him. We should be influencers in our society. In society, we should  manifest headship, leadership, and influence. The world should be copying us. We have God’s grace, not them. We should excel in every area. (John had a long list that included pretty much every area and aspect of life!)
We are to be the light in a dark world.

Isaiah 60:1-3 NKJV
Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.

The glory is risen - not descended - upon us. It’s coming out of us.
The darkness referred to in this verse is talking about right now

Aimee Semple Macpherson built and then kept a 5000 seat sanctuary through the depression. Charlie Chaplin went to her services to get ideas. She was influencing the world.

We are supposed to be lights in darkness... and that’s not just talking about being nice to people.

How do we enter rulership?

John 3:3  NKJV
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:5 NKJV
Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

The kingdom of God is mentioned over 100x in New Testament. This is what Jesus preached. What is the kingdom of God? The majority of the time, it is basileia tou Theos.
Basileia: royalty/rule/reign
Theos: God

The most accurate meaning of kingdom of God (after lots of study on John B.’s part): God’s supreme powerful rule.

You can substitute that phrase whenever you see the kingdom of God listed. It helps verses make even more sense. For example, Matthew 6:9-10 NKJV
In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

“Your supreme powerful rule come.” He’s talking about now, which you can tell by the context... give us this day our daily bread, for example, is talking about now, so he’s asking for God’s supreme powerful rule to come now where nothing can block His rule.

The kingdom of God is not physical. It is within us: Luke 17:20-21 TEV
Some Pharisees asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come. His answer was, The Kingdom of God [God’s supreme powerful rule] does not come in such a way as to be seen. No one will say, Look, here it is! or, There it is!; because the Kingdom of God [God’s supreme powerful rule] is within you.

God’s supreme rule is the immeasurable power we see in Ephesians chapter 1.

Matthew 12:28 NKJV
But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God [God’s supreme powerful rule] has come upon you

The Holy Spirit is minister of that grace.

Matthew 19:24 NKJV
And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God [God’s supreme powerful rule].

The “rich” man is self-sufficient. It’s harder for self sufficient men to enter into God’s supreme and powerful rule.

Luke 6:20 NKJV
Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said: “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God....”

The “poor” are those hungry for God’s ability.

Jesus came to preach the Gospel to the poor. (See Luke 4:18.) Yet he went to Zaccheus’ house and he was the richest guy around. The truth was, Zaccheus was actually the poorest because he was dependent on and open to the rule of the Lord. Same thing with Matthew, who Jesus asked to be a disciple. Matthew was poor and dependent on the Lord, although he was naturally rich on this earth.

“Behold I give you the keys to the kingdom.” … there’s not a physical place where we need to keys to get into the kingdom. Jesus gave us keys to God’s supreme powerful rule.

Mark 9:1 NKJV
And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God [God’s supreme powerful rule] present with power.”

That day was the Day of Pentecost - the power came to establish God’s supreme powerful rule on this earth.

So go back to the see/enter kingdom of God in John 3:3, 5.

See means to see, perceive, be aware of and acquainted with.
Enter means arise and come into or arise and enter.

Some “see” or are aware of God’s rule. Some “enter” or come into God’s rule.

John Bevere has been a passenger on many different commercial airline flights. He has seen the benefits of flying and is at the benefit of where the pilot goes. When he learned how to fly, he entered into flying and was able to take the plane where he wanted to go.

Seeing the benefits of God’s rule vs. entering into the benefits of God’s rule.

A bunch of people can be on a deserted island, stuck with cannibals, desperate to get out. They could see an airstrip with a fully fueled, working plan, but unless one of them knows how to fly the plane, they will only see the potential benefits of leaving the island. They won’t be able to enter into those benefits unless a pilot enters into those benefits.

How do we enter into ruling in life through Christ?

The apostle Paul and Barnabas went on a missionary journey to a number of cities. On their way back, they visit the cities they started their journey with... remember all of this takes lots of days, months, etc. No airplanes! They didn’t know if they’d ever see these people again so they are going to be careful of what they tell their disciples in the Lord.

Acts 14:21-22 NKJV
And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”

Paul wrote that we must go through many tribulations to enter the kingdom of God/His supreme powerful rule. That was the most important thing to let them know.

That word tribulation is thlipsis - pressure.

Acts 14:21-22 TEV
Paul and Barnabas preached the Good News in Derbe and won many disciples. Then they went back to Lystra, to Iconium, and on to Antioch in Pisidia They strengthened the believers and encouraged them to remain true to the faith. We must pass through many troubles to enter the Kingdom of God, they taught.

Properly navigating adversity propels us to greater authority and power in life.

John Bevere shared the story of how he was offended by someone he looked up to and how he came out of it and ended up writing a book on how he was healed from the offense and now that book is helping millions all over the world. (Bait of Satan) He went through the adversity and then rose into authority in that area. He gave a bunch of other examples of people this happened to in different areas.

Romans 8:16-17 NKJV
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

An heir inherits and continues the legacy of his/her predecessor. An heir is also legally entitled to the rank of another. Jesus speaks to things and takes authority over them. We are able to do what he does and greater works. (John 14:12)

Stay relentless. Jesus spoke to weather. You can speak to weather. Speak to business. Speak to health. Take authority.

Christ: Many think of as risen Savior. We are Christ in this earth. We don’t look at someone swimming out in the water and say “there’s Sam’s head.” we say, “There is Sam.”
We are the body of Christ. He is the head. We are one. We have not walked in the authority we have.

1 Corinthians 3:21-22 CEV
“Everything belongs to you.”

You’re an heir.

It is appointed unto man once to die. Paul said, “I don’t know if I should go or stay.” He made the choice to stay on this earth. God didn’t make that choice. Every act of obedience puts more on our mansion in heaven. 

Luke 4:1-2 NKJV - He went in filled.

Luke 4:14 NKJV - He went out in power.

Romans 8:16-17 NKJV

Glory - authority and power

Isaiah 60:1-3 NKJV
Gentiles are unbelievers. Sufferings of this present time don’t compare with glory that comes when you successfully navigate adversity. (not direct quote)

No matter the pressure of the thlipsis you encounter, the difficulty is nothing compared to the level of rulership you will walk in after it has passed, if you handle it right.

James 1:12 NIV
Crown of life = rulership here.