insights on my kids

Watching my kids grow is simply fascinating – full of delight, awe, pleasant surprises & very astounding.  Here are some recent developments:

David – wants to buy a box of girlscout cookies & keep them for awhile & then re-sell them for more than he bought them for.  He COMPLETELY came up w this scheme on his own.  Furthermore, he also has the plan to sell part of the ABC juice (apples, beets & carrots – uber healthy) that we make to mimi (grandma) twice a month to make money.  This entrepeuner thing just surfaced recently.  Needless to say, I’m speechless bc i didn’t even consider thinking this way until at least high school & probably more like post college.  (pawns in chess are ponds)

Isabell:  the long hair is pretty much lost on me, given that i’ve enjoyed short hair & its simplicity for close to 2 decades.  She is growing her hair to cut if off & donate it to locks of love for kids w cancer.  Furthermore, its really cool to watch her confidence grow as she overcomes various insecurities to achieve goals that she has set for her self – selling girlscout cookies has been the recent platform for this personal growth.  I see her thinking, growing & living in the present w great contentment.

Benji:  everything he does has some wiggle (except now as I’m watching him play Reece in chess – take it back, he just went to the bathroom).  Anyways, he’s wonderfully generous & relational, with eyes full of life, creativity & happiness.  And today, we got to ski w Benji & he was simply fantastic.  I love that he watches his older brother to grow, learn & play.  I’m glad he’s a kind person because a mean person with his intelligence would be scarey.

I’m blown away by my kids.

fasting – mistakes & suggestions

The picture below is my Ethiopian friend, Menelik, trying to teach me about Ethiopian culture & protocol before I met the Mayor of Gondar.  He did a GREAT job & I didn’t mess things up too much.  Because of Menelik’s help, I had a good experience w the Mayor & I am less intimidated because of this good experience. 

With fasting, all too often we may have a bad experience, or it didn’t go like we wanted it to, so its easy to quit & not fast again.  Ever had this experience?  Instead of quitting, could I suggest that you consider learning from the mistakes to grow & try again w God’s leading?  Also, I recently spoke in our church about fasting & thought you might find some practical advice below to be useful.  Pls be sure to leave a comment above to help others w things you’ve learned as well!  🙂

menelik_coachingMistakes & Suggestions:


Be mentally prepared for possible caffeine / sugar withdrawals

don’t neglect your appearance, Brush your teeth more often

Be mindful of your physical activity level while fasting

Consider pre-fasting:  get body ready for fasting (half decaf, cut back on soda)

Be ready to increase your fluid intake

Personal Mistakes: trying to workout, lift heavy, while fasting, trying to snowboard A LOT during a long fast, eating wrong food going into / coming out of a fast



Attitude check:  Is 58 says that fasting can be a bright time – even though its uncomfortable to your flesh

do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do,

Motive check:  why are you fasting?

        Various reasons:  to be noticed by people, to lose weight, to manipulate God

Don’t Try to fast more than what your body can handle

Relationships – schedule socializing around coffee / tea & not meals

Ask God to help you!

Plan – look at your calendar & work on a plan

Personal Mistakes:  Being sharp & impatient w my kids & husband, trying to fast for dual reasons – lose weight / slim down & sense God, trying to go longer than the grace God had given me, trying to fast when God hadn’t directed me to



It’s really helpful to increase your prayer & Word time during a fast

Keep a journal – questions, thoughts, the things God speaks to you

Personal Mistakes:  Not letting God direct me, Not asking God for help during a fast


Fasting Rewards:   your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you (Matt 6:18)

Greater clarity w God:  Hear Him more clearly, Greater sensitivity / awareness of God’s presence, Decreased self-reliance, Help in coming through tough situations

fasting failures

Have you ever tried to fast, from a spiritual premise, only to feel like you failed?  One time, i was fasting & there was a point where i hit the wall & just didn’t sense any life – it was more than just being physically difficult.  it was like i hit a dead end.  i tried to power through it, but after a few days, i just felt drained, empty & lifeless.  i came to the conclusion that God’s grace had lifted from the fast & that He intended me to finish my fast, but i was trying to “power on” without His grace or help.  Consequently, my efforts were flat, futile & even energy draining.  big learning from that mistake.

I’m giving you this example because i’d like you to share about your fasting failure(s), so we can hopefully learn from each other & not repeat someone else’s mistakes.  honesty will make this invaluable for both you & others.  🙂

distance #1: personal space can be too expensive

distanceI learned alot about personal space when I took at train ride in China for a few days.  In short, Americans get REALLY hung up on this idea – especially compared to my thoroughly lovable Asian friends (big hugs!). 

This whole space & distance thing can really trip me up – most of my closest friends don’t live in Denver which has been an interesting thing for me to consider.  In the last month or so, God has really been speaking to me about this idea of distance – most specifically in the ways I keep Him at a distance.  So I’ve been on a bit of a journey with Him to explore some of the ways I keep Him at arms length, discovering the great expense to myself.  Here’s something to think about:  in Luke 7:2-10, a centurion sent some Jewish leaders to ask Jesus to come & heal his servant.  When Jesus got close to the centurion’s house, the centurion sent his friends out to Jesus & told Him not to come any further but he still believed that Jesus could heal his servant.  His servant got healed, but the distance the centurion kept was extremely expensive. 

So, I’d be totally interested to know your thoughts about distance.  🙂

Answer me these questions three: 

  1. how do you keep God at a distance?
  2. why do you keep Him at a distance?
  3. how does it work for you when you keep Him at a distance?

distance #2: getting closer

There are lots of reasons to keep one’s distance in relationships.  There are also lots of reasons to allow one’s self to get close in relationships.  I’d really like your input on some reasons in both categories – so can you please leave a comment?

Also, I’m excited because Sunday I get to share about this topic & I feel that God’s given me some pretty amazing things to consider & apply – don’t miss Sunday for any reason.  You also need to come because Mark Thomas is leading worship & it will be really powerful.  It will really be worth your time!

distance #3

Ok, sunday i had the privilege of speaking about letting Jesus get close.  Just to be totally honest – i had way too much fun getting to share on this topic.  Seriously, this was a blast for me!!!

Here’s my gist:  i think that we keep Jesus at a distance for lots of reasons, but some common ones include: 

  • busy-ness (i’m too busy, like Martha in Luke 10, i think),
  • hurt / emotions (i’m disappointed or hurt by Jesus so i’m going to keep my distance, like Mary in John 11)
  • unworthy (i’ve got WAY too much garbage in my life for Jesus to get too close, like the centurion in Luke 11).

Its unfortunate that we use these reasons to keep Jesus at arms length.  I’ve found that if I ask Him to help me w my busy-ness, i feel closer to Him & He often does help me!  I also find that Jesus is deeply moved by my pain & wants to be involved in helping me resolve it.  Finally, the reality is that we all have huge quantities of garbage – but Jesus came to make us worthy.  Keeping Jesus at a distance from our personal lives isn’t constructive.  the end

the joys of history

I’m very excited about the inaugration of Senator Obama!  I’m excited on many levels:  the making of history, our 1st person to become President who was raised by a single mom,  the acceptance & recognition of the 1st African American to lead our nation along w many other firsts.  Let’s make it a priority to pray for President Obama.  The weight he will shoulder is extremely heavy, particularly in this year.

With that being said, living in 2009 is very exciting!  I believe that this year will be a highly significant year from an historical perspective.  Most importantly, let’s make this a massively signiciant year in our spiritual lives.  If you want something you’ve never had, you probably have to do something you’ve never done.  Be historical, be spiritual, be more filled w Jesus than any previous year.

fasting notes #2

Continued from yesterday:

NOW:  What does “fast” mean to us today?  Definition – adj:  to move quickly;  noun / verb: to abstain or refrain from (food)

The original meaning was “hold firmly,” & the sense evolving is via “firm control of oneself”

hold tight – to one’s self / to another moving quickly

A godly inconvenience we impose voluntarily on ourselves



HOW:  Matt 6:16-18

νηστεύητε: present indicating action in progress: Whenever ye may be fasting.


Do: check your motive – anoint your head and wash your face  18 so that your fasting will not be noticed by men (between you & God)

Don’t:  16 neglect your appearance (so that they will be noticed by men)


Fasting isn’t the goal, but rather a path to the goal – to be discussed next week



Œ  how can you integrate fasting into your life – to be embraced by your lifestyle?

fasting notes

Ok, a few of my friends haved asked me to post the notes from what I shared Wed night – so if you’re interested, I’m posting them in 2 parts:  fasting in the OT & NT; the 2nd part, I’ll put up tomorrow, fasting now & how.  🙂

Let me know if you like me putting up these notes (you can print them off if you want) or not (just more clutter).  Here they be!

The Feast of Fasting:  Get some fast & go far!

 Then, Now & How: People who fasted & went far – Moses, Jesus, Elijah, Paul


Œ THEN:  What did Jesus say about fasting?  Matt 6:16-18 – When You Fast

Fasting in OT (>20x in OT)    Purposes:

1.        Initially a natural expression of grief – Job

2.        Spiritual infusion – Moses on Mt Sinai (private)


Personal Fasts:  often in times of distress.

·         Moses on Mount Sinai receiving the law (Ex 24:18, 34:28)

·         Hannah fasts because she’s barren (1 Sam 1:7)

·         David fasts in mourning for Abner’s death (2 Sam 3:35)

·         David’s mourns for his son’s life – (2 Samuel 12:16 – Praying for health)

·          Elijah 40 days & nights (1 Kings 19:8)

·         Ahab responds to Elijah’s confrontation by fasting (1 Kings 21:27)

·         Ezra fasts to mourn Israelites inter-marrying w gentiles (Ezra 10:6)

·         Nehemiah fasted upon learning that Jerusalem was in ruins (Neh 1:4)

·         Darius fasted all night after placing Daniel in the lions’ den (Dan 6:18)


Public Fasts:  Voluntary group fasts  – Lev 16:29-31; 23:27; Num 30:13

·         Benjamites defeats the other Israelites (Judg 20:26)

·         Israel defeats Philistines & repents re: Eli – (1 Sam 7:6)

·         Israel grieves from Saul & sons dying in battle (1 Sam 31:13 & 2 Samuel 1:12)

·         7 day fast was held when Saul & sons were buried (1 Sam 31:13)

·         Jehoshaphat calls to fast – opposed by Moabites & Ammonites (2 Chron 20:3)

·         Those returning w Ezra from the Captivity fasted for safety (Ezra 8:21,23)

·         People repent of their evil ways (Ne 9:1)

·         Esther & Jews fasted when faced w destruction by Haman (Est 4:3,16; 9:31)

·         Jehoiakim declares a fast for people to repent from evil ways (Jeremiah 36:6–10)

·         Reacting to Jonah’s preaching, the king orders everyone to fast (Jonah 3:5)

·         Fasting was done during the 70 years of the exilic period on the 5th & the 7th months, the date the siege of Jerusalem began and the date when Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians (Zech 7:5).


Fasting in the NT:  both personal & public (>10x)

·         Anna at the Temple  (Luke 2:37)

·         John the Baptist led his disciples to fast (Mark 2:18).

·         Jesus said that fasting was not suitable for His disciples while He was with them (Mt 9:14-15; Mk 2:18-20; Lk 5:33-35)

·         Jesus fasted to begin his public ministry, and have the power of God and the anointing. (Matt 4:2ff, Luke 4:14)

·         Jesus said some come out only through Prayer & Fasting (Mk 9:29)

·         Cornelius was fasting at the time of his vision (Acts 10:30)

·         Selection of Paul & Barnabas as 1st Missionaries (Acts 13:3)

·         Paul & Barnabas fasted at appointment of elders in churches (Acts 14:23)

Fasting can be from things besides food: 1 Corinthians 7:3-5
Jesus did not require fasting as a part of Christianity: Matt 9:14-17

turn it down!

Our house has lots of activity, translate that to mean noise.  Given that my kids are 5, 6 & 8 and that they already enjoy listening to Isabell’s hello kitty stereo at LOUD levels, I’m fairly apprehensive about the approaching teen years.  >:/

This all makes me think about Job 20:20,  “”Because he knew no quiet within him, He does not retain anything he desires.”

There’s alot to be said about maintaining a quiet place in your heart – a place that is still, quiet & without anxiety, stress, etc.  Our lives are full of busy-ness, demands, pressures, uncertainties & loud things – that’s a given.  But cultivating a quiet place in your heart is not a given, although from what Job says, this is very important in relation to our desires. 

snowy_nite1The quiet in my heart has become increasingly important in my life .  I find that as I keep & even protect that still place in my heart, I find that Jesus infuses more places in my daily living. 

Keep a little quiet in your heart.