The Matthew Project

…Where to even begin this post?…I’m currently taking a class by the name of Perspectives, some of you may be familiar with the name. It’s probably one of the most challenging (yet spiritually rewarding) classes I’ve ever taken — lots of reading, extra studying, and gobs of extensive vocabulary that I’m not always familiar with. This class thoroughly drives home the point of seeing Matthew 24:15 and Matthew 28:19 come to fruition as Christians literally live out these scriptures by fulfilling the calling in each of our lives.

Matthew 24:14 And the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

When our lives follow Jesus and we have a healthy relationship and right standing with Him, we as Christians know how incredibly important Matthew 24:14 truly is. And we longingly look forward to the day of Jesus’ return. In the meantime however Matthew 28:19 absolutely has to be happening and requires our obedience!

As I’ve studied in Perspectives, my little self-focused world has been rocked in a huge way as I gain a new “perspective” on my role in helping to spread God’s word to the ends of the earth…even if it’s just right in my own community — which brings me to the idea of this very post.

K stay with me!!

My son (Warren) has come down with the flu over the past few days — no extra details needed for the sake of time and a potentially repulsive visual (you can thank me later). Anyway as I’ve cared over my boy — alternating 7up and water to hydrate him, cooled him with a wet washcloth, served him chicken broth, checked his temperature repeatedly, and smothered him with love and prayers I’ve been reminded of the many kids who don’t get that kind of treatment and honestly it breaks my heart. I work in the public school as a sub often enough to know that there’s a high amount of kids living in situations at home that are less than ideal — even when the flu isn’t present.

Soooo this has me considering that fact (and I’m sure my participation in Perspectives has caused some prodding too) …what can I do to help these kids who are living in poverty right here in my own town when flu season hits and they end up with the bug, and are perhaps left to fend for themselves?

I’m convinced the solution doesn’t need to be a complicated one. I’m thinking maybe put together bags filled with cans of 7up, bottles of water, and some Campbells chicken noodle soup, kleenex packages, etc.

This is all still very much in the beginning stages of planning. I still need to tie together details and communicate with the schools in regard to this idea, weighing out the options, and then how these kiddos would actually receive these care packages, maybe even some volunteer deliverers to the child’s home.

Any comments or advice are welcome but above all if you could just pray. Pray that if this is God’s will doors would be opened, that plans would come together tastefully so as to not offend the child or family. And then also pray over these kids who are dealing with influenza right now and don’t have these extra resources available at home to help encourage healing and build up the immune system.

I truly believe, given the right approach and attitude this could be a great ministry opportunity.

In Perspectives we learned that of the six billion people in the world a quarter of them have not yet heard the gospel message….they won’t until believers in Christ step up and share it with a great hope and mission. Some of these kiddos are in homes of people just waiting to be reached. Romans 10:13-15 serves as a good reminder — ‘for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Thanks for taking the time to read and if you could please offer up some prayers as I take the next steps in what I’m calling The Matthew Project.

He❤️rt Lessons

This is my son Warren’s first year in public school and he’s loving it! In fact the other day I casually asked him if he wanted to be in public school or homeschooled again and he informed me that no way was he doing school at home again… “sorry mom,” he said, “but I can actually understand math now!” …well okay then son!

This past week they had to make Valentine boxes. I wish I had thought to take a picture of it for the sake of this post but I wasn’t that organized and it’s at school now, so no picture at the moment. He made a shoebox to look like a Pokeball (Pokémon) by painting it with red, white, and black. It turned out nice and was super simple. I bought him a large bag of individually packaged Skittles candies with Valentine cards to attach and pass out for their class party.

The evening that he made out the Valentine cards he happened to have his homeschooled sister help with the job. I didn’t think anything of it and heard the two of them spouting out his classmate’s names along with teacher’s names as they wrote them out.

After I had put kiddos to bed that night, I gathered up Warren’s Valentine box and cards and quickly noticed that on the from line where his name should go, it instead read ‘From: Somebody.’ I rifled through the cards and to my dismay observed that each card had been signed in the same way…

From: Somebody

Oh boy, I thought!!! He’s made an ex-homeschooler, rookie-Cupid mistake!! I headed straight to my groggy boy’s bedside.

“Warren, um why did you write from ‘Somebody’ on each of the Valentine cards? I should’ve explained it better that your name should’ve been signed on the ‘from line.’ Now your classmates or teachers won’t know the card was from you,” I gently declared.

“Mom it doesn’t matter, it’s just for fun and I’m not worried if they know it’s from me or not.”

I paused for a few thoughtful seconds, “you know that actually reminds me of a verse in the Bible that talks about not letting others know specifically of your good deeds toward them because we don’t need to be looking for attention when we give.”

“See mom I helped you think of that,” he replied with pure satisfaction and was soon fast asleep.

Matthew 6:2-4 says, “When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”

Candy isn’t a necessity, although it is a special, sweet treat every now and then. The above verses obviously aren’t referring to kids celebrating Valentine’s Day with a class party but these verses echo the scene and heart of my son. He wasn’t concerned about receiving recognition, praise, or thank you’s from his cheerful giving; he simply wanted to have fun — without the desire to draw attention to himself in the midst.

Oh how often I tend to be the opposite! I love to give gifts but quite honestly I (selfishly) love the reaction from the receiver as well! Like I want to know that I was able to bless that person!

Giving is a beautiful thing…but if it’s done with the slightest bit of selfish intention it’s not in the best interests of the receiving end. This awareness causes me to take those verses from Matthew 6 into deeper consideration.

I think a majority of my giving goes toward tithing — but if I wasn’t getting to sign my name on my check would I be as excited to turn it into the offering plate on Sunday morning? If the elders, deacons, or church staff didn’t see my name attached to my share of giving would I be okay with that? And I think the harsh reality, as I ponder that idea, is a big no — I wouldn’t be as content with tithing.

Too often I get caught up in the “I’m doing the right thing by giving” rather than being content with being an unknown “somebody” kind of giver.

1 Samuel 16:7b reminds me that, “people look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”…Such an important perspective in this.

So as I reflect on this scenario with my son and those Valentine cards from “somebody”, I want it to serve as a heartfelt reminder of the words in Matthew 6 and 1 Samuel 16 — remembering that giving (whether it’s through random acts of kindness, tithing, or gifting) should never include honor and glory for ourselves and it truly shows off best when done in secret for only God to see and for His purpose. Our giving (as Christians) should fully point to God who gave us the best gift through Christ — with unconditional love as His primary motive!

Patience Required

I was introduced to someone this past year and as necessary have needed to maintain communication and a relationship (with this person) due to responsibility.

This relationship has absolutely tore me to pieces as we haven’t connected too well.

There have been times I feel like I’m walking on egg shells—not knowing if the next thing I say is going to offend or build positive character…wondering if my quirky demeanor was understood or rejected…if the quietness of this person is caused by something I’ve done or if it’s just a normal characteristic of theirs. Continue reading “Patience Required”

A She Shed in the Making part 1

In my last post I announced Nathan is building a she shed for me…I also wrote (by accident) that it was for our ten year anniversary. My husband quickly informed me after reading my post that it should’ve said fifteen year anniversary, not ten. Oops! And then he also reminded me of the wonderful gift he surprised me with for our ten year anniversary…

Nate and I were newlyweds and I can remember the first time I ever spotted a Yorkie, I thought “I need to get me one of those!!!” I BEGGED Nathan for nearly ten years…now we have a sweet and tiny, seizure-filled, five year old Eli who literally falls over at the drop of a feather with fright! Goodness I just love him! He’s so darn cute!! Nate calls him a genetic mutation but I know he actually thinks the world of him!😉

So now for the fifteen year gift…my husband said to me a few months ago he wanted to build me a she shed as an anniversary present. My exact words: “a sh-what?!” I had no clue about these little gems and as he began to describe the possibilities a “she shed” offers I jumped right on the trendy bandwagon.

Just Pinterest or google she shed if you don’t know, and your search will render all sorts of overwhelming results. It’s creative, weird, and exciting all at the same time! I kinda feel like I’m getting my very own ‘mom’s little playhouse’.

We discussed size, material preference, location, and everything else in between.

I’m always amazed at what my husband is capable of doing outside of his oil field work so I cheer him on enthusiastically. Men need that, and in a marriage conference Nathan and I recently attended I learned that a majority of men would rather hear the words “thank you and good job!” over “I love you!” They often identify their worth in this way. I’ve done both for years but this helped me be even more mindful of how important it is to encourage and to be sure to not take for granted the good things he does for our family and especially with this sweet she shed gesture he’s working on.

The number one question I’ve been asked by family and friends, “what are you going to do with your she shed?” And to be honest this was a concern of mine from the get go. I’m not great at accepting gifts but when I saw how excited Nate was to make this for me I was determined to graciously accept it but also wanted to be sure I would use it, it wouldn’t go to waste, and it would serve a purpose. Continue reading “A She Shed in the Making part 1”

Furry Pinball and Faith

My girls spent the past week at church camp with my mom…in return I watched my (special needs) brother for her…and her crazy, wiry, ball-of-fire dog.

**don’t let his cute looks deceive you**

My brother was the easy part, but the dog (Beardsley) exhausted his stay after the first five minutes when he marched into my home like he owned the place and wanted to mark his territory. That was Friday evening.

Saturday he barked most of the day.

Sunday, before church, my husband and son went on a high speed chase after him on foot for 45 minutes; he’d slipped out the door and thinks this kind of thing is a game. In reality the only one enjoying their self is the dog.

Early Monday morning we put Beardsley out to potty and within minutes the neighbor pounded on our door like the police to dramatically inform us the dog was obnoxiously barking…thank you Captain Obvious. Continue reading “Furry Pinball and Faith”

Oh This Ladder! (Poetry)

If you read my post last week you know that I acquired a ladder that my dad used to use for his construction business—it’s not just any ordinary ladder—it’s rustic and wooden, and has a lot of wear and tear.

This was super exciting for me because my dad has been gone for nearly twenty years…meanwhile this ladder has just been hanging out in his retired garage…BUT I salvaged it! Continue reading “Oh This Ladder! (Poetry)”

I’m So Glad You’re The One Taking Care Of Me Today (PART 2)

Losing someone unexpectedly is one of the hardest parts of life.

There’s the ‘what if’ questions…

What if (he or she) was still here? What if I could’ve told them what I didn’t get to? Or what if I’d have been more present?

I wrote in PART ONE of this post that my dad, in his helpless, quadriplegic body, looked my mom in the eyes the day he died and said, “I’m so glad you’re the one taking care of me today.”

What if, like my dad, I looked at the glass as half-full, rather than half-empty?

What if I focused on the sweet memories I have of my dad? What if I held onto the time I spent with him, rather than dreaming of times that never got to happen?

Well, what if???Continue reading “I’m So Glad You’re The One Taking Care Of Me Today (PART 2)”