Musings from Nehemiah

Sometimes when I write, the words flow so quickly I cannot stop and when I am done I feel like a wrung-out dish towel. This is one of those times. I may have typed these words but I did not think them up…I was merely the pen. It is a little long but I hope you will read all the way through.

Oh, and you might want to buckle your seatbelt too.

“Sometimes I shield myself from finding out what’s really going on with people for fear I will be held responsible. Because with information often comes responsibility; if we know we might be required to do something” Kelly Minter

Has that ever happened to you? Or have you ever learned something before you had the chance to put your fingers in your ears and felt crushed by the need to take action?

Nehemiah *wanted* to know (Neh 1:2 he asked) and then he could not sit back and relax, he had to take action, had to do something.

Knowledge is dangerous. It changes us. Think about it. If no one ever told you “veggies are good for you, dessert is bad for you” you would not feel at all guilty when you pass by the bowl of broccoli and eat a plateful of cookies. But, true or not, someone did tell you that at some point and you probably think about it every time you put anything in your mouth. You may still choose to eat the plateful of cookies but now you feel guilty about. Am I right?

So when we see pictures of children playing soccer with some trash that they squished into a ball-shape and someone’s precious feet wearing flattened water bottles for shoes, we should feel compelled to do something. When we know there are children who do not know when they will eat again and others who will are being sexually exploited, we should feel burdened. We should have compassion that spurs us to action.

There is a problem though. It is easy to make excuses. There are millions of reasons why I can’t help. “We barely make enough to pay our own bills” is probably one of the first mentioned– I get that, I live that sometimes. But I am going to be blunt here, we all have little luxuries– probably things we may not think of as luxuries– that we could give up so we could give to others. Redefine the necessities of your life. Maybe it is giving up your daily stop at Starbucks or your regular trip to the salon for a mani/pedi. (please note: I am NOT condemning these things! Lord knows I love a little Starbucks and pretty toenails. I’m just suggesting that cutting back on these types of things would free up some extra funds in you budget) There is a book I’ve been wanting to read called A Place at the Table — the author challenges the readers to eat a diet similar to what would be available to a child in a poor country (think beans and rice, folks) for 40days and donating the grocery money you saved to an organization that provides food in one of those countries. Could you handle that? My point is this: even if our budget is tight we could find creative ways I come up with a few dollars to give each month. If we really wanted to.

So say you are already eating beans and rice for every meal and have never darkened the door of a Starbucks. What then? The way I see it you have 2 major ways you can still take action. Pray and share.

We tend to think of prayer as passive. Have you ever heard someone say, “I can’t do anything but I will pray for you.” Really?? Prayer should be our #1! The first and biggest thing we can do! How about, “I have no money to give but I can lift you up to the God who rules over all things, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and who cares about you more than he cares for the birds and flowers and who has worked mightily on my behalf because I know He is faithful and will work mightily on your behalf!” Seriously, people! Some people can pray and give, some can pray and go, some can just pray but we should all pray!

We should pray. We should give. We should also SHARE.

You know because someone told you, now tell someone else. Forward the email, post on Facebook, tweet, blog, make phone calls, mail letters shout from the rooftops. Whatever works for you, just tell, spread the word. Because when the word spreads the Word can be spread and that’s what it is all about, am I right?

This is Great Commission stuff here. We need to be concerned about souls. People need Jesus and we need to tell them. But Jesus was practical. He met needs. Shouldn’t we follow His example?

I came across these statistics a while back. I read over them occasionally…especially when I feel like I am getting comfortable.

  • The total number of orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa is greater than the total number of children in Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Canada and Sweden.
  • “Worldwide, the State Department estimated that in 2010 there are 12.3 million adults and children in modern-day slavery – including forced labour, bonded labour and forced prostitution,”
  • Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.
  • Every day 1,500 women die from complications in pregnancy or childbirth that could have been prevented. Each day 10,000newborns die within a month of birth, and daily the same number of babies are also born dead.
  • Roughly 12 percent of the world’s population, or 884 millionpeople, do not have access to safe water.
  • Worldwide, 161 million preschool children suffer from chronic malnutrition.
  • Florida is one of 9 states with a higher household food insecurity rate than the national average from 2008 – 2010 at 16.1%

Don’t believe we are blessed? Read about life in Ethiopia here. Read about slavery.

Now you know. What are you going to do about it?

Need ideas for how to help? Check out these opportunities:
Bring Love In – http://bringlove.in/sponsor-a-forever-family/

Mercy House – http://www.mercyhousekenya.org/

Compassion International – http://www.compassion.com/

http://www.thea21campaign.org/

The Children’s Malnutrition Center of San Juan, Guatemala

There are so many more!

I know some will say something along the lines of “we can’t help everyone everywhere.” That is true. Does that mean you will not try to help even one?

I am going to say it again…now you know…what are you going to do about it?

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2 Quick Thoughts

1) Started a Bible study today with some of my favorite ladies. (Mom, sisters, grandmothers, aunt, cousin, and friends) We area following along with Beth Moore’s Siesta Summer Study doing Nehemiah by Kelly Minter.  I am so excited!! I’ve been missing the accountability of a small group Bible study…double the benefit of hanging out with my mom & sisters! (and grandmothers and aunts and cousins and friends!) I doubt I would have picked up this study on my own.  If you asked me to list books of the Bible in the order I’d like to study them, I probably would have placed Nehemiah near the bottom.  After just the intro, however, I am eagerly anticipating diving into this study!  If you are not currently involved in Bible study, I encourage you to join in with the hundreds of women who started this study today.  Check out more info here: http://blog.lproof.org/2012/06/siesta-summer-bible-study-2012-official-launch-and-registration.html

2) I came across this blog post yesterday with a decluttering challenge for the summer.  http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2012/06/8-weeks-to-a-less-cluttered-home.html Decluttering was already on my agenda and the way she has it broken down into bite-size pieces really appeals to me. I am hoping that having the list posted will keep me on track…and let Owen know what the goal is for the day so we will be on the same page should he jump in to help. 🙂 I plan to blog a bit about this as I go. If you’d like to join the challenge, I would love the accountability!!

Well, that’s my 2 quick thoughts…time to haul myself to bed!

BIG BELIEFS, little beliefs

I believe:

  1. No matter what the weather is, people will complain about it
  2. Coffee is best in the biggest mug you can find
  3. I need Jesus WAY more than I need coffee
  4. No matter how much he may frustrate me some days, I would never wish that my Hero was not MY Hero
  5. It is easier to stay up late than to get up early
  6. Easy things are rarely right things
  7. Family living close by is a blessing
  8. It is crazy that someone’s job can be “Parkour coach”
  9. Rainy days are for books, movies, naps, and cuddling
  10. God is able to do exceedingly immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine
  11. Nothing beats knowingyou can count on your family
  12. My daughter is adorable when she chooses the wear her hair in “a ponytail on each side and a braid in the back”
  13. It is awesome that she does not know and does not care that others might think its weird
  14. Everyone has a story
  15. The more stuff you own the more it owns you
  16. The skinniest people are not necessarily the healthiest…or happiest
  17. A squared + B squared = C squared
  18. We don’t live in the Spirit accidentally
  19. The good is often the enemy of the best
  20. A parent/teacher should teach their children to love learning and give them the tools to learn
  21. My sons are Heroes-in-the-making
  22. Common sense is not common enough
  23. Giving the benefit of the doubt never hurt anyone
  24. The ‘C’ in vitamin C stands for Chocolate
  25. You need lots of Vitamin C every day

Check out more beliefs:

spouseisms

Homeschooling in High Heels

Water, Water Everywhere

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I love rainy weather; the sounds are relaxing (unless it is stormy but then I like it because it reminds me of our big and powerful God), the rain itself washes, refreshes and renews everything it touches. It is the perfect weather for reading & watching movies, for cuddling up and doing nothing. Since we currently have some kiddos feeling under the weather (ha! no pun intended) that is all we had on the agenda for the weekend anyway. My apologies to those of you who wish it was sunny and fine because you would rather be at the beach.

In the midst of this rather rainy weekend, I’ve been musing…that’s what the blog title says I do, right? I’ve been musing about water.

Water is precious, my friends. Without water there is no life. But are we grateful for water on a daily basis? Probably not…not until we have to do without it.

You see, our pump quit on us a couple of weeks ago and we spent 2 days without water. During that same time we were reading blog updates from friends who are in Ethiopia…they can only drink bottled water, the water they cook with must be put through a large countertop filter unit and for several days the water to the house was off for one reason or another. It kinda puts all this rain into a different perspective for me.

Without water you cannot wash clothes, dishes, hands, or bodies. You cannot quench your thirst and stay hydrated. You can’t flush toilets. (did you hear me? You cannot *flush the toilet*!!) Without water there is no COFFEE! Now, that is downright inhumane!

These are the short-range issues, if water is cut off or limited for a longer period of time our food is affected – plants don’t grow, animals die. So why aren’t we grateful every day when we turn on the faucet and good, clean water comes out? When we turn on our washing machine or dishwasher and they do their job because the water comes through the lines as it should? Why do we complain about the inconvenience of rain when we know that drought brings death?

If you have never had to spend a day without water I encourage you to give it a try. Plan ahead and have some bottled water to drink and make sure you have at least a few clean clothes & dishes. (unlike when our water went out!) Label every faucet with an “out-of-order” sign. Every time you go to wash your hands, stop and thank God for water and our easy access to it, then reach for the hand sanitizer. When you are hot and sweaty, thank God for water while you wipe down with baby wipes. When you go to cook dinner, thank God for water while you figure out what you can cook without it. (hint: forget pasta, try sandwiches!)

Can you make it one whole day? Would you have to break down and take a shower cause you just can’t stand it? Here comes the kicker: that evening, as your stinky family gathers together for a dinner of sandwiches. Talk about gratefulness, share what you learned. THEN ask “if we find it so difficult to live one day (or even and hour or two) without water, why do we sometimes act like we only need to be filled with the Living Water once a week?” That brings it home, doesn’t it? Is water more important to you (and me) than God? Or do we just take Him for granted like we do water? Maybe there is a reason ours souls feel parched so often. I know this is a cheesy metaphor but God is a well that always has an abundance of the purest water…all we have to do is tap into it.

So how about you? Are you grateful for water? Are you tapped in to the Living Water every day?

Grab a glass of water, sit and listen to the rain, and muse along with me.

Thank You, Lord, water and for this much needed rain.  Thank You for refreshing us with Your Holy Spirit today.

Not everything lasts

Lets face it, not everything lasts. Flowers fade, clothes wear out, shoes get outgrown, toys break, LEGO masterpieces get accidentally smashed, clean houses get messy again (sometimes frighteningly fast!) and fads come & go.

We live in a disposable culture. You can find almost anything you can imagine in a one-time-use variety. From plates & cups to medical supplies to socks & underwear. Use & toss, it’s so convenient!

But what about things that were meant to last? It seems like even relationships– marriages– are expendable. It’s all good, so long as you make me happy, we can float along. Life isn’t all happy, though, the sad/bad/mad times come. What then? Can we live counter-culturally? Is an indispensable marriage possible? How do we build a lasting marriage in a world where nothing lasts?

Here is what I’ve learned:

1. Keep God at the center of your marriage (pray, study and discuss God’s Word together)

2. Be humble (Admit it when you are wrong and ask for forgiveness)

3. Forgive (not always the easy thing but always the right thing)

4. Give the benefit of the doubt (“A favorable judgment granted in the absence of full evidence”)

5. Never assume (it makes a you-know-what out of you & me)

6. Be on the same team (cheer for each other & back each other up)

7. Watch your words to and about each other (that sticks & stones rhyme is a lie)

8. Keep short accounts (deal with stuff the day it happens not “later”)

9. Keep on flirting & dating (each other, of course!)

10. Laugh together (laughter is the best medicine after all)

“Wow, Heidi,” you might be saying, “how did you get so wise?” Here is the secret…I’m not! I did not figure those out for myself and I am not really good at any of them. “So what makes you think it will work?” is your next question.

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The proof is in the pudding, says I. These are my parents. Today is their 37th wedding anniversary. Everything on that list I learned from them, whether they said it, taught it or just lived it. They are not perfect, nor is their marriage perfect but they are willing to work for a marriage that is lasting.

I guess that is the secret, really. Things that last take work. It takes keeping on in the hard times and enjoying the good times. It takes getting up every day and choosing to love your spouse, choosing to begin again, choosing to “press toward the mark” (Phil 3:14) and realizing it is all possible only by the grace of God.

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!

The 5 Ws and an H

– why am I writing a blog?
I have been a writer for as long as I can remember. If you dig through any of my many notebooks and journals (and I ask that you please do not!) you will find story ideas, character names information, bits of poems, random quotes and inspirational sayings. Life, however, is busy and I have written very little over the past few years. I’m hoping that blogging will give me the opportunity and incentive to write on a regular basis.
– what am I going to write about?
Life. Relationships. Parenting. Home education. Scripture. Hilarious happenings. Basically what’s going on in my life and, hopefully, some encouragement for your life. That is a key word for me: encouragement. I love to encourage and challenge others so expect some of that along the way.
– who would read this?
Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe no one. Time will tell.
– when am I going to find the time to write and how will I keep it from taking over my life?
I’m still figuring this out. 🙂 For now, my goal is to write a little each day and post at least once a week. Of course, I may find that I have lots to say and post more often.

So that’s my 5 Ws and an H. Not an exciting post, to be sure, but remember, I am just getting my feet wet here. Wait ’til I get going! (comment if you recognize that as a quote!)

It begins…

So, I’ve done it.  I am now a blogger. Be afraid, world, be very afraid.

Actually, it is probably my family who ought to be afraid…they may never have clean laundry or a home-cooked dinner again! Ha!

Welcome to Musings of the Bleary Eyed! My space to be me, to encourage others, share what I’ve learned, and ask for help.

Wondering about the name? It comes from a poem I wrote when my herd consisted of a preschooler, a toddler and a newborn– my mornings started slowly as the caffeine in my coffee seeped into my veins.  Now that I think about it, not much has changed!  Perhaps this poem will make you smile…some of you may even nod (or cheer!) in agreement. Either way, enjoy.

Musings of the Bleary Eyed
Oh, Sweet Sleep
Why must you flee so swiftly?
Scarcely do I close my eyes
and dreams begin to dance
when rudely I am shaken from my blissful slumber
As day breaks yet again
Cursed alarm begins to chime
demanding that I wake
Glorious caffeinous nectar
coursing through my veins
maintains the facade of living
’til twilight comes again.
© by Heidi Johnson, 2009