Sin City…More Than Just a Vegas Thing

Las Vegas has been referred to as “Sin City” for decades and some senseless man’s recent incongruity couldn’t more accurately fit the nickname, as bullets poured down on an innocent group of people who were expecting an evening of pleasure only to end up in a realistic nightmare.

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Instances such as this leave citizens wondering why…

Why is it that families can’t participate in movie outings, attend church or school, and other events without the lingering thought of safety issues?…

These are places that have been fabricated to fulfill the desire of happiness, fun, and necessity in the lives of children and adults alike, more importantly as ways to promote healthy family memories. Yet in the news it’s becoming the normal to hear of an event or location saturated with merciless sin as a result of one’s act of carelessness.

I don’t understand when these places became a monster’s playground. I don’t understand why some people are motivated by destruction and hurt.

What I do know is that evil exist this side of Heaven; it’s been in effect since Eve’s disobedient bite of fruit thousands of years ago in the Garden of Eden as she gave in to Satan’s evil lies (Genesis 3). Sin has been an ongoing disaster generation after generation and it will inevitably continue until Christ’s return to gather His followers.

However God has created each of us with minds that can choose― choose to follow Him or deny Him, choose to render positive influence and encouraging examples to the world, or choose to ignore or even contribute to the ugliness…and if I’m real with myself, often times I choose the latter of these.

God’s word tells us, “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31)…meanwhile I’m so wrapped up in my own busy life that I’m neglecting to realize people who are desperately in need exist outside of the responsibility of my home and family, therefore I allow a void in one of God’s most important commandments that He’s given.

The distressing truth is that “Sin City” isn’t just a Vegas thing. It has penetrated every part of the world. It’s found in our neighborhoods and sometimes inside the doors of our residence. It shows up in the form of lying, killing, stealing, cheating, hatred, neglect and is by no means limited to these things.

I believe without Jesus’ words of hope pressed into our hearts and minds our world will only slip further away from God’s desire of love for one another.

I must admit I’ve been deeply convicted in the past few weeks between personal relationships and listening to my pastor’s messages each Sunday morning as he has been teaching a series on “Heaven and Hell”. I can’t help but notice the lack of care and concern for others that occurs in my own self…you see, sometimes “Sin City” is a little closer to home than I care to admit..sometimes it resides right in my very heart. Continue reading “Sin City…More Than Just a Vegas Thing”

Lego-building vs. God

One of my favorite things about God is His ideal timing…

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God’s Word always provides the answer to our problems; we just have to be willing to go there.        

I’m perpetually guilty of getting caught up in the crazy-business of life and losing focus on the things that really matter. Attempting to search for the bottom of a to-do-list just to realize the rest of my calendar is filled with activities, deadlines and appointments, sometimes just doesn’t settle well with me. Raising children, planning meals, a demanding job…the list goes on― these are things that keep my husband and I and most other grown-ups on the go. Let’s face it, sometimes “adult-ing” is tough… in the heat of the moment we often forget to breathe and allow God to direct our steps.

So far homeschooling my son this school year has proved to be somewhat stressful and difficult…second grade started and my boy has brought to the table not only his school books, but an exasperating attitude nearly every day.

Recently I sternly but rationally discussed with him the possibility of maybe focusing a little more, in light of finishing Math in an hour’s time, rather than three hours. And it’s not that he struggles with the work or expectations, he’s perfectly capable, he’s just preoccupied with other interests and therefore it distracts him from the matter at hand.

Needless to say the conversation didn’t appeal well to him and it left me feeling helpless and as a result I slowly walked away from the table and plopped down on the sofa and sighed, most likely dramatically. Continue reading “Lego-building vs. God”

The Three “F” words: Faith, Family, and Four-wheelers

Originally written and posted on 9/4/17, reposting on 9/4/18

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him. Psalm 127:3

“It was either a grasshopper or a mouse—just smacked me in the face and bounced off!”, I joked with my kids and they giggled and snickered behind me wildly.

We were on our annual camping trip, complete with four-wheelers, miles of sandy trails shaded within a thicket of pine trees, and of course marshmallows toasted over a camp fire in the evenings. My two youngest children rode securely behind me on our four-wheeler while my husband and oldest daughter trailed behind, each on their own ATV.

Just for the record, safety is a must…pony tails fly in the wind under tightly strapped riding helmets and boy hair shows sweaty evidence whenever the protective headgear is removed, chicken legs are always covered with blue jeans, and little toes are snug in a pair of boots or sneakers.

We’ve come to this particular state park a number of times now and it always proves to be a nice break from the routine of chores, work, and electronics back home. A wide array of colorful wildflowers dot the many hills of sand amongst thousands of acres of tall conifers; and Poison Ivy trail comes by its name naturally. In a playful manner sunsets seem magical, although I know it’s really God’s hand at a work of art. Finding time for relaxation, writing, and Bible reading always seems to occur effortlessly for me when visiting this home away from home.6EC270E2-8CDC-457C-866F-7701FD8595AF

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Labor Day weekend 2017

Some of our most favorable memories as a family can be traced back to four-wheeler tracks left on a sandy, winding trail at this campground…

I recall one time when we pulled along side a sand-covered path to enjoy a picnic. While I made sandwiches the kids picked up large pieces of tree bark and began using them as shields as they pretended to play a game of what must have been ‘Knights in Shining Armor.’ My son chose what he thought would make the best shield of all, but upon examining it further we all laughed hysterically when we realized he was actually holding a hardened “cow-pie”.

…Fast-forward a few years to the bittersweet outting I’m referring to as I write (Labor Day weekend 2017)— I felt a strong urgency to make every endeavor of having a good time, hence the reason for my silly comment to my bubbly passengers.

To be honest, at times I get stuck in discouragement realizing that my kids are growing up and this was one of those instances where I was struggling with those depressing thoughts. The problem is I focus too much on time quickly passing by, rather than soaking-in the moments of precious memories with these kids. Inevitably though, the years of camping and four-wheeler riding in the sand hills along with every day fun spent together as a family will cease as they mature and go out to experience life on their own and frankly this thought doesn’t settle well with me!

Realistically speaking, when I find myself tormented by these feelings I realize it’s Satan trying to swoop in and steal the joy I experience with the family God has blessed me with. To counteract this false logic Satan longs to impress on me, I have to remind myself that God’s desire for me is to find peace through Him (Romans 15:13).

These years on earth are temporary and pass quickly; I want to do everything possible to live in a way where I bring glory to God by what I say, do, and think (1 Corinthians 10:31). True lasting joy comes when I place my faith in the Lord daily and seek Him wholeheartedly. If I allow Satan to intervene without considering God’s truth I’m left standing at the risk of not enjoying the life God has graciously given me.

Even though my kids are growing up at a rapid rate I need to appreciate every minute I have with them without allowing Satan to interrupt. Life experiences and mine and my husband’s Godly influence will help mold these children. Through prayer, God’s word, and His grace-filled love I am reminded that He has chosen us as their parents.

Maintaining a positive perspective and watching my son and daughters grow in the Lord and love Him on their own will make every moment I spend with them worth it as I focus my attention to them rather than a swirling clock-hand. And if it includes shouting silly comments from the seat of a four-wheeler to keep this optimistic attitude then I’m in. I want my children, and my husband and I to be able to reflect back on these years we’ve spent together as welcoming ‘hill climbs’ in our growing faith.

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**UPDATE..Below are some pictures from our most recent camping experience, Labor Day weekend 2018… amazing how God works, I was able to fully enjoy my time this particular outting without dwelling on how quickly the time passes;) CEE759C3-31CA-47D6-B371-A57C140D102274426E4E-0E68-4964-9E85-E14D5025E7852BE51DAF-93D9-4AA0-B8C4-39FFE1B30E6EF638DB2D-7C1D-47CB-BCF4-C7AC1A9E774E

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