“It won’t cost much…just your voice”

As of lately, my son has been slightly obsessed with watching the Little Mermaid. It’s not the singing mermaid he loves he is obsessed with Ursula (maybe that is cause for concern). He will skip ahead scenes to get to her singing “you poor unfortunate souls”. I think he loves her voice….and she is of course most clever of all Disney Villains. She goes beyond poison apples. She takes the power of persuasion to a whole other level.

I have a theory behind that. First of all, I know….I have allowed my kids to be in the presence of too many movies as of lately. I know that this is a problem when I suddenly have an entire sermon series based on them. Don’t even get me started on ‘Horton Hears a Who’! I know that I am not alone….

My theory, while sounding a little strange, I find truth in it. You see, Ursula, in one quick song and speech, convinces Ariel to give up her voice. In order to get what you want, it won’t cost you much, just your voice. Ariel, in her love sick state, gave up her voice. Thinking that it was a well thought out plan, that her voice really wasn’t necessary….not thinking of the value of her voice.

I think it begs the question “what has cost us our voice”? Pastor Lori Champion used to say (I’m sure she still does  :)) “know who you are at all cost”.

So many of us, in one way or another have given up our voice, convincing ourselves that it is not necessary or it doesn’t matter. We have resigned to silence….allowing circumstances or choices to be the seal on our lips and our hearts.

We are indeed, NOT “poor unfortunate souls”. There is hope, we have hope, silence is NOT the answer, nor is it a verdict with no way out.

I love the visual in Ezekiel 37 – the valley of dry bones….what happens when those dry bones have life breathed into them and they stand a vast army! Think of the possibilities when we realize that our voices are not lost..embrace the grace and life that Christ has given us…and we stand…

That is my thought….

You might be a parent if…

Just walking around my house this morning, thinking of the things I say on a regular basis. I say funny things. I say funny things in response to kids doing funny (it’s just a nicer way of putting it) things. My daughter has quickly turned into a 2yr old, counter climbing ninja! Seriously! I’m not sure what phrase to use to stop her from doing it but I’m sure I will think of something.

Last week I said something that immediately screamed “I am a parent”. My son likes to express his frustration with me by saying “okay, okay, okay”. I do not like it. My response was “I don’t want okay, I want obey”. Yes, it rhymed and it happened without any thought…it just came out of my mouth. It was a moment that shocked me! I think even my brain was shocked by my mouth…if it’s possible….it happened.

As parents…even with small children, we have said “because I said so”, “don’t make me stop this car” and “if you do that one more time”…

So today, in honor of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck if…”. I ask what is it you say or do that screams to you or those around you….”I am SOOO a parent”! You might be a parent if…..Go!

A Funny Confession

You know those little kids that run everywhere? You may be one of those people that stares at them and their parents in disbelief. You may have eyes full of compassion towards their mother and are quick to offer the reminder that they will survive. I ran around a lot as a kid. My family still talks about how busy I was. I hated naps and anything that required sitting still, including watching TV (not that I hated TV, just don’t make me sit down while watching). I remember asking my mom “is it time to get up yet”, minutes after being told to take a nap. Can I just say that I now understand why she needed that quiet time…and I too have been asked many a time “is it time to get up yet”? No, I wasn’t ADD, just a busy kid. I am the oldest of three girls. I’m glad that for my parent’s sanity, all three of us are very different. I still run everywhere. Most of outgrow that fun little stage….I never did. A good friend of mine called me “Forest”. I can’t seem to help it. If I’m not running, I appear to be walking quickly. I currently wait tables…it makes me very efficient!

My son runs everywhere (wonder where he got that…)! For a couple of years, he was always running from me (he just turned 5). I have quite a few memories of chasing after him, running up the street in heels on a Sunday morning. I have a lot of memories of just having to chase after him period! People around me just kind of laugh…they are familiar with seeing him for a moment, and him being gone. I have said often that if he doesn’t end up with some kind of track scholarship, I will wonder what this was all for….maybe just to keep me on my toes! My kids keep life interesting and they keep me running. Sophia seems to get a thrill out of running too…she doesn’t go quite as far as her brother. She just thinks she’s funny.

My kids have taught me many things. God has used many of the things that they do to teach me a thing or two (thousand). They have taught me the importance of rest. It almost sounds ironic with the runners that they are. They affect every aspect of life as I have ever known it and I can’t imagine life being any different. I am starting to see why I never stopped running…

Psalm 84 – Part 2 (an over-thinking moment)

I had every intention to have a post ready the day after the last one was posted. In the land of mommy…and heading back out of town for a quick trip….it didn’t happen.

The thought continues though on Psalm 84. I hope you have taken a moment to read through that chapter slowly, taking it all in.

This post is kind of an over-thinking moment. I have admitted before that I over think certain words. What got this thought going was a J.Crew e-mail. Seriously! I’m not trying to turn cute (and expensive) clothes into a spiritual moment. I just want you to think about the words in this e-mail….and how it all pertained to Psalm 84 (at least for me).

The e-mail said “the cardigan you have been longing for”. “Longing”, really??? As soon as I read that e-mail my brain went to Psalm 84:2 – my soul “longs” (there is that word again) and even faints for the courts of my God.

It was an over-thinking moment for me. What does our soul “long” for? I mean, REALLY long for. What is that deep rooted desire? Don’t be afraid to ask yourself that question. I doubt that it’s a cardigan, no matter how cute it may be. I feel that quite often, we miss the mark. We all do at some point. I think of the words I use to describe things. I got a great sermon illustration after hearing my boss describe how much she “LOVES” cupcakes. What was even funnier was the dialog that followed the “love of cupcakes” statement. It was hilarious and it’s possible I’ll use that story for a good long time. It was all about the verbiage. All about what our words really mean.

I love the verbiage the psalmist uses….I love the pictures it paints. What does it look like to “long” for the presence of God? I pondered this word for a little while after getting that e-mail…I don’t see it as a waste of time.

That is my thought 🙂

Better is One Day – Part 1

The Ortiz family just got back from our summer vacation. Last year we said we would never take one that late in the year again. So of course this year we took it later. We were grateful for some down time, time with family and the friends that life just wouldn’t be the same without. You know those friends you can talk with, dream with, pray with and laugh so hard you cry your make up off???  I am grateful for that!

Now we are back to life (“back to reality”…the song was suddenly in my head). Back to our own beds and routines…and blogging. It is good coming back refreshed. The next couple of months don’t exactly slow down. ‘Strong’ Women’s conference at our church is in less than a month!

Yesterday I was looking through Psalms, looking at what I have highlighted.  For someone who tends to talk fast, surprisingly, I take the time to read at a slower pace. I stopped at Psalm 84. It has been one of my favorites since I was in high school. I had the words “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere” taped on my wall. I blame the Passion CD that someone got me for my 16th birthday. I listened to it over and over again. I loved those CD’s. I swear I learned to harmonize listening to Christy Nockels on those CD’s. The words to the song Better is One Day….and the chapter/verse were captivating to me. They still are.

Just think over these words:

How lovely is your dwelling place O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord. My heart and flesh cry out for the living God….for a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

There is a lot of awesomeness in between there. I love reading the passion in those words. To say “my soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord”. Wow! I’ll have another post on those words tomorrow.

Today, read and read slowly…take it all in. Better is one day….

I So love this…

Last night was our “Back to School: Close Encounter” at CFC. I stood in the back, as the room was full of students.  You couldn’t see my face, but my expression had to have read simply “THIS is AWESOME”!

We kicked off the night with ‘Not Without Aim’, a band that one of our leaders is the vocals for….they were great! I loved seeing the hardcore dancing in the front of the room and the genuine worship that came from those guys. I must also mention the white girl getting down off to the corner…she is a leader too and has the absence of shame…and that is why we love Katie 🙂 I only wish I had a picture to show the awesomeness. Next was hip-hop with Prophetic Flow! Then we continued worship with our youth band and my husband preached. It was a night that made me stand back and say “I so love this”! Youth ministry is awesome! Having different genres of music and seeing the diversity was amazing. It really all was for the glory of God.  Don’t give up on this generation people…don’t be scared….they aren’t!  When they catch vision and purpose, there is no stopping them!

Can’t help but think about it and smile!

We have an incredible group of students and leaders. It is an honor to be a part of their lives and serve alongside them!