Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in Review

Some people write Christmas card letters. I used to do that, too, but to be honest I've gotten out of the habit. Plus there is the factor of the pretty paper, getting a bunch of copies made (or the ink from my printer required to print a bunch of them), and well....most of the people we send cards to are online & read about us on Facebook or this blog or by email. So there isn't much point to it. I still like the idea of it, but it's just not happening. Instead, I've decided to do a year end review of things I wrote about, situations that changed me, events that marked special days in our family's life. Scroll down & click the links. Enjoy a little walk down memory lane with me.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sickness, be gone!

On Dec 13th, Savannah went to the doctor because she was running fever & had a sore throat. It was strep throat. Ugh. She ended up missing 2 or 3 days of school that week while we waited for her antibiotic to kick in & kill her fever & yucky throat. The kids got out of school for the Christmas break on the afternoon of the 17th so she missed 1/2 of that last week of school.

On the 23rd, Sarah came down with a stomach virus. We had no idea that we'd been exposed to it the weekend before. My niece had it the day before Sarah did and we'd all been together that weekend, so we figure someone there had it & just didn't know it yet. Anyway, last Thursday, Sarah got it. I worked like a mad woman all day Lysoling, stripping sheets, wiping things down with Clorox wipes. Throughout the weekend, I was queasy off & on and had a headache. I was the only one who was in real close contact with Sarah while she was sick (cleaning up after her, etc) so I figured that was why I was feeling yucky. But it never turned into anything for me, so I thought we'd beat it.

Today is December 30th. Samuel went over to a friend's house to spend the night tonight. The mom called me about 8:00 & said Samuel had an upset tummy and a headache. She gave him some Pepto for the stomachache and he promptly threw it up. Luckily, they just live around the corner, so they walked him home right away.

Is it too much to hope that this was just a fluke thing & we're not STILL dealing with the stomach virus from last week?

Ugh...I tell ya, it's been a party a minute over here since mid-December. Come on new year! Let's start January healthy!

Friday, December 24, 2010

An Original Christmas Carol by Liz Reeves

Yesterday morning, my status on Facebook said something like "It's just not Christmas til someone throws up." Oh yes...yet another year of a stomach bug at Christmastime in the Reeves house. It seems like we're always "blessed" with some sort of intestinal "disturbance" at this time of year. Lovely, huh? This year (so far!) it's only attacked Sarah and she seems to be on the mend now. We're praying we don't all get it! And so, yesterday as I sprayed Lysol & did laundry, I began re-writing a Christmas carol to fit our family's (apparent?) tradition of holiday vomitting, diarrhea & fever. Sing along! (Make sure you scroll down & pause the music before you sing my song, though!)

(to the tune of "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire")

Children heaving near an open toilet...
Lysol tickling your nose.
Yuletide carols being sung 'round the porcelain
And moms dressed up like surgeons. {Note: I know it doesn't rhyme, but think rubber gloves & sterile gear to prevent the spread of a virus!}

Everybody knows some germs & bacteria
Help to make the cheeks glow bright {with fever}
Tiny tots with the buckets all full...
Will sleep next to a towel tonight.

You know diarrhea is on the way.
With lots of Fever & Gatorade today.
And all of this mother's children will start to sigh,
When I say "No way are you touching the pie!"

And so I'm offering this simple word...
For moms from 18 to 93.
Change the sheets & spray the Lysol and wipe down things with bleach!
And then you won't spend Christmas like me.

ha ha...yeah, we're a little warped over here....that's just how we roll at the Reeves house.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Interview with the Reeves kids

I love asking my kids questions from time to time about different things. Today I printed out some questions from an email I received recently about relationships, dating & marriage. These were their answers. (Everything, including spelling, was left as they wrote it.)

1. How do you decide who to marry?
Savannah, 14: Through dating, prayer & how they treat you.
Samuel, 10: I date them.
Sarah, 9: You need to know that it's the right person and they believe in Jesus.

2. What is the right age to get married?
Savannah, 14: I don't know...over 18 I guess.
Samuel, 10: 18
Sarah, 9: at least 19 or 20

3. How can a stranger tell if two people are married?
Savannah, 14: Check for a ring.
Samuel, 10: a ring
Sarah, 9: If they are holding hands or have a ring.

4. What do you think your mom & dad have in common?
Savannah, 14: Sarcasticness, silliness, and a love for God.
Samuel, 10: Christ
Sarah, 9: humor

5. What do most people do on a date?
Savannah, 14: Get to know each other & have fun
Samuel, 10: eat, see a movie, kiss
Sarah, 9: hug, hold hands

6. When is it okay to kiss someone?
Savannah, 14: I don't know. Once you've gone on a few dates, I guess.
Samuel, 10: almost always if you daiting or married
Sarah, 9: When you have a strong relationship in marriage or in dating.

7. Is it better to be single or married?
Savannah, 14: Either, but God made us to want others, so I guess married.
Samuel, 10: married
Sarah, 9: Married so you can have kids and never be lonely.

8. How would the world be different if people didn't get married?
Savannah, 14: It would be lonely & sad.
Samuel, 10: no answer
Sarah, 9: Everyone would be lonely & crying.

9. How would you make a marriage work?
Savannah, 14: Marry the right guy and...I don't know.
Samuel, 10: buy her stuff and love her
Sarah, 9: Get along, don't fight, have faith


I know this isn't your usual holiday post like most of my blogging friends are writing at this time of year. But it's something that is on my heart right now, so I need to write it.

I should warn you...this may get a little PG 13 or even R rated toward the end, so with that in mind, either X out of the site now or read on.

Hopefully this post does not apply to you. Hopefully you & your spouse are in it for the long haul and are facing no 'issues' -- or at least not ones that have you heading to a divorce attorney. Unfortunately, several close friends of mine are not on the 'long haul' boat right now and my heart is breaking for them. None of these couples entered into their marriage with divorce on their minds. None of them got married & said "if this doesn't work out, we'll just break it off later on". They all intended to be married 'til death do us part'. But in every case, somewhere along the way, something happened. Someone's feelings were hurt, which led to bitterness, which led to anger.....or someone else caught their eye....or a need went unmet for too long....or any of a hundred other reasons. Whatever it was, each of these couples have slowly fallen apart. It's a slow fade from falling in love to falling apart. None of these couples reached this place overnight.

In an ideal world, people would follow God's commands where relationships are concerned. They would wait until they were of an appropriate age to begin dating/courting. They would wait until their honeymoon to have sex. They would always seek their spouse's best interest and yearn to live a life that works for both partners. They would spend their days looking for ways to please their spouse and encourage them in life. But alas, we don't live in that world.

In an effort to help some of my friends and whomever else might be reading this, I'd like to quickly touch on the 5 Love Languages. I am so far beyond grateful for reading this book years ago. It has given me a perspective on marriage that has been life-altering. You see, when you really understand what it is your spouse needs to feel loved & you make a conscious effort to act in that manner, many problems dissolve. How many times have you heard a person say "I just don't GET him/her" in reference to their spouse? That's where this comes in. When you really understand the way your spouse needs to be loved, you won't be frustrated & bitter that he/she is not responding to the things you're doing/saying for him/her. Maybe what you're doing/saying is not his/her love which case, you might as well go beat your head against a wall because your greatest efforts aren't going to amount to much.

The first love language is Words of Affirmation. Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important— hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirit skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. Encouragement & support are vital to you. Feeling like your spouse is your biggest cheerleader in life is huge! Mark Twain once said – “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Psychologist William James said that possibly the deepest human need is the need to feel appreciated. Haven't we all, at some time or other, felt that we just weren’t being appreciated – that we were simply being taken for granted? If ‘Words of Affirmation” is our Love language then we will especially sensitive in this area. And on the other hand, we will also respond most warmly to words of affirmation and appreciation. Words of Affirmation need only be simple expressions like - ‘That dress looks fantastic on you.’ or ‘You look fabulous in that suit’ or ‘I really admire you for all the hard work you put into that job day after day that provides for the family.’ or “That was a great meal you cooked – exactly what I felt like.” How often do you say those or similar words of affirmation to your husband or your wife? If ‘words of affirmation’ is your spouse's love language – then in using those kinds of words to him or her you are strengthening (affirming) his or her spirit, and filling up their love tank. If you haven’t been doing that frequently – then their love tank is going to be dangerously empty – and like all the other love languages – if you don’t speak the love language your spouse understands, the result will be a vacuum in their love-tank. And as we know, vacuums will always attract something or someone to fill it.

The second love language is Quality Time. In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. One "dialect" of this love language is Conversation. In other words, undistracted talking with your spouse about something more than the weather, is high priority. A central aspect of quality time is togetherness. I do not mean proximity. Togetherness has to do with focused attention. A husband who is watching sports on television while he talks to his wife is not giving her quality time, because she does not have his full attention. A husband and wife playing tennis together, if it is genuine quality time, will focus not on the game, but on the fact that they are spending time together.

Since this one is my top love language, you would think I'd have lots more to say about it. But I don't. It just boils down to one thing: pay attention to your spouse & spend undivided time with them.
The third love language is Gifts. Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures. A gift is something that you can hold in your hand and say, "Look, he was thinking of me," or "She remembered me." You must be thinking of someone to give a gift. The gift itself is a symbol of that thought. It doesn't matter if it costs money. Gifts need not to expensive, nor must they be given weekly. But for some individuals, their worth has nothing to do with monetary value and everything to do with love.

The fourth love language is Acts of Service. Can vacuuming the floors or taking out the trash really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. Doing something for your spouse that you know they would like for you to do. Cooking a meal, washing dishes, taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn, changing the baby’s diaper, and painting the bedroom, etc. Similar to the previous love language, the acts of service language is not so much about the act itself, but more about the way the receiver can see "He really saw my need & went out of his way to meet it." or "She knew I needed to get that done but didn't have time, so she did it for me." It's less about the act & more about the thought & effort that went into it.

The final love language is Physical Touch. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy-feely. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial. Hold her hand at the movies, put your hand on his leg in the restaurant. Kiss her EVERY morning before you head to work. Hug him as soon as you wake up in the morning. And remember folks, if your spouse's top love language is physical touch, he/she needs to be intimate on a regular basis. That doesn't mean once a month when you have 5 minutes free on your calendar. Sex within a marriage is important for every couple, but it's especially important for people who "speak" this love language. So go for it...shake the headboard, make a mess of the blankets & sheets. As far as God is concerned, whatever goes on behind your bedroom doors, so long as it includes only you & your spouse, is perfectly acceptable!

There are lots of tests online to determine what your love language is. Most of us have 2. One is a little higher in value than the other. While all 5 languages appeal to me on some level, my top love language is Quality Time and my 2nd one is Physical Touch. Larry's are Words of Affirmation & Acts of Service. When I praise & encourage him and do sweet things for him to help him out, he feels like King of the World. And I love that! (especially since he will then turn around & make me feel like the Queen!)

Take the time to take the quiz or purchase the book & figure out yours and your spouse's love languages. It is worth the time & effort and may just save your marriage!

(note: Some info for this post was taken from websites all over the internet. I did write much of this post, but some info was copied & pasted from elsewhere. All images came from Google image searches.)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pardon me while I brag on my kids...

I've always known I have the best kids ever, but as they get older & more mature, I see more and more sweetness oozing from their pores. I'm so proud of them, so I have to take a minute to brag. And more than bragging on them, I need to point (upward) & brag on Him! I totally know that every ounce of sympathy & compassion in these kiddos' hearts is put there by God. I can't take credit for any of it! I am astounded over & over by their pure hearts.

Onto the bragging.... Every year, we try our best to make sure that our entire month of December is focused on GIVING not GETTING. Sure, the kids (& Larry and I too!) love getting presents. Who doesn't? But we make it our sole purpose of the month to GIVE GIVE GIVE GIVE and make sure the kids get to be a part of that. We want them to grow up to teach their own children the same. And really, it should go far beyond the Christmas season --- after all, people need help year-round. Just because it is December 26th doesn't mean that everyone's tummy is full & they all have roofs over their heads. We try to make a point to continue in this manner year-round, but we definitely make a point of it in December.
In October, our church's youth group went to the Salvation Army to serve a meal. While this wasn't really during the "Christmas season", I'll explain why this is connected in a minute. As it turns out, when we got there we found out that no one under 18 was allowed behind the serving line. I was bummed that my kids would have to "just mingle" in the the crowd of residents. (There were other adults with them....I wouldn't have felt safe letting them do that without an adult!) THAT ended up being a totally God-ordained event. I never would've thought to let them mingle with the people without being by their sides, but they ended up being so humbled & honored to help serve the people there. I saw them sitting & talking, playing with babies, going to fetch napkins or refill drinks. It did my heart good to see them serving and enjoying it. And they made a few friends that they came home telling me about. One in particular was a young girl (maybe 18 or 19) and her almost 2 year old daughter. They came home asking questions about how she got there, what happened to her family, etc, etc. We don't know her story, so we just prayed for her. It's all we could do. Her name has come up often since then.
In early December, we got the chance to ring the bell for the Salvation Army. We ended up getting the chance to do it twice this month. All three kids were there each time. While the bell ringing gets monotonous (ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding ding ding ding ding....) and they get bored before it's over, they really do "get" it. They see people empty their pockets & dig handfuls of change out of their purses. They see the people who fold up a $20 bill & put it in. And afterward, those people come up in conversation a lot. "Mom, remember that lady who wrote a check & put it in the box?" or "Mom, remember that man that looked so mean, but he smiled when he put a dollar in the box?". They never let Larry & I pass a red bucket without putting in some change --- they start begging for a quarter the minute we open the car doors & they hear the bell ringing, so they notice the people who walk by without giving. And while it frustrates them that those people don't give, it breaks their hearts more. They want to see everyone help. We have to talk afterward about the fact that not everyone CAN give. Maybe they need help, too?
Around Thanksgiving, our annual Azleway mission report 'magazine' came in the mail. (Click on Azleway to learn about them.) Included in the magazine was a Christmas wish list for all the kids who live in Azleway facilities. Looking at the lists is a little overwhelming. There are hundreds of kids listed with 2-3 items a piece. It is easy to flip right past those pages of the magazine because it would take forever to sift through the long lists & find someone you could afford to help. But my sweet Savannah did just that. She went through first & highlighted the individual items she could afford to buy by herself and then went back through the list to make her selection. She ended up finding a 2 year old little girl who wanted a teddy bear. She made the phone call to Azleway herself to let them know to check that item off the little girl's list. She bought the teddy bear & packaged it up with a sweet note. Talk about melting a mama's heart!
Sometime in mid November, we went to our local grocery store & found a familiar face checking out groceries. Remember the girl the kids met at the homeless shelter when we served a meal? It took many visits through her check out line to find out she was walking the 10+ miles from the shelter to this store to work. Wow. Talk about dedication. How many teen mothers do you know who are that dedicated to doing what it takes to care for their child? She recently got an apartment here in town so her walk to work is now MUCH shorter (like about 8-9 miles shorter!). We decided to "adopt" this young lady for the next few months so we've spent the last few weeks collecting gift cards & items for her. I have been totally humbled to see that every time we're in a store & walk past a rack of gift cards that my kids will stop & say "Mom! We need to get one of these for ___." They see her needs & they want to help.
In early December, our church offered boxes for Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan's Purse, run by Franklin Graham (Billy Graham's son), to reach poor children all around the world. You fill a shoebox full of little gifts & $7 to pay for shipping & return it to a collection site & they do the rest. It was a lot of fun to shop with the kids to fill the box and then to return it knowing that their hearts went into the box with those little gifts.
Samuel & I were in CVS a few days ago. There was a rocking horse near the front of the store. It had a price tag on it. Every little child who walked by wanted to ride the horse & take it home. This one little boy in particular, probably about 2 years old, stopped to admire the horse & pet it. Samuel was watching him while I anxiously patted my foot & waited in line. I didn't know he was watching him. The mom smiled & enjoyed watching her son's pleasure with the horse, but when she looked at the pricetag, Samuel said she looked discouraged & sad. He said they were kind of dirty looking. When they walked away, the little boy cried quietly about the horse. That's when Samuel tapped me on the shoulder & said "Can we buy him the horse?". It was all I could do to keep from running over & grabbing the horse to buy it. The compassion in Samuel's voice & the look on his face made me so happy. I was touched by his desire to give this child a gift.
Last week, Larry & I went to our small group meeting with friends from church. As we sat around the dinner table, one of the men suggested a game where we'd go around the table & name our very best Christmas present ever and our very worst. Every person at the table thought & thought, having a hard time coming up with anything. It struck me as I sat there watching everyone struggling to name anything how screwed up our focus is at Christmas time. I mean, if 10 adults can't even think of a specific awesome gift they've received in their 35-45 years of life, then why do we worry so much about buying "the perfect gift"? No one will remember them!! Sure, there were lots of funny stories about the worst gifts, but most of the "best gifts" were not about a gift at all...they were about something someone did for them, time spent with a friend or family member....nothing that could be unwrapped. THOSE are the things we remember from year to year.

After that night with the small group, I started trying to work that question into conversations with our kids. And you know what? Pretty much the same thing held true with them. They had brief comments about one gift or another, but most of what they told me had to do with things we DO every year, not about things they've opened from a bag or a box. And I love that.

It makes this mama's heart grow til it feels like it will explode when I hear them talk about having a birthday party for Jesus every year, fighting over who gets to read the Bible story on Christmas morning, the time when we rang the bell at the mall's entrance, the traditional Christmas day trip to the movie theater to see something as a family. All those special memories and the fact that they love to GIVE & HELP remind me that God is working in their little lives. He is shaping them & growing them.
Oh Father, thank you. Thank you for letting me be a vessel of your Spirit, for allowing me to borrow these sweet children from you & guide them through these years. Lord, thank you for working in them & molding their hearts to serve, to give, to care. Please help me to raise them right, to always reset their focus on YOU. I am so beyond grateful for my kids. Thank you, Lord, for giving them to me.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Shhhh! Don't tell...

I think I know what Larry got me for Christmas.

A month or so ago, I told him that I really wanted a Flip Video camera. A couple of days ago, he told me "If a box from Best Buy comes, don't open it. It's your Christmas gift."

Hmm.....see where I'm going with this?

I'll let ya know if my suspicions are right on Christmas morning.

Monday, December 13, 2010

At the risk of making my friends hate me....

You may remember that a few months ago, I read the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan & blogged about it here. (If you missed that, scroll to the bottom of this blog & click on the "Crazy Love" label. That will take you to all the posts on that book.) I was WOW'd and amazed by the book, convicted & moved. I LOVED it & recommended it to many, many people after I finished it.

Lots of people told me that Chan's Forgotten God was the logical next book to read. I bought it before I finished reading Crazy Love so I could go straight into the "sequel" as soon as I finished the first book. (It's really not Crazy Love's sequel, but many people view it that way.) But it didn't "hook" me. I couldn't get into it and had a hard time forcing myself to read it. After a couple of chapters, I gave up, put it on & sold it. It just didn't do anything for me. All this time, other friends were telling me that Crazy Love, Forgotten God & Radical (by David Platt) were all similar-styled books that should be read together. After reading a ton of great reviews about Radical, I decided to buy it. Right off the bat, I enjoyed David Platt's honesty & writing style and felt like I'd fall in love with this book as much as I did with Crazy Love.

I made the mistake one day of laying it down one day. My husband picked it up & got really involved in the book & read it. And then he lost it. I really wanted to read it, but couldn't find it! Over the next month or so, I asked friends if I could borrow their copy. I looked for it in the church library. I never could get my hands on a copy until I got a Barnes & Noble gift card for my birthday in early November. I hopped online & bought a new copy of the book that same day and anxiously watched for my favorite UPS driver to show up on my doorstep in the coming days. The day I got the shipment, I dove in headfirst. Here we are nearly 6 weeks later. I'm just now finishing the book. I typically devour books that really move me. So I guess that tells you about my level of enthusiasm for this book. (which is why I titled this post the way I did....I hope my Radical devotee friends don't hate me...ha ha)

The full title of the book is Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. This sort of faith is something that Larry & I are passionate about. It's hard to put into words exactly how passionate about it we are. Having almost always lived most of our married years with financial struggles, we're totally in tune with what it's like to have to live on little. Long ago we learned how to scrimp & save and pinch pennies. So when we hear about a church spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lights & sound equipment & fancy new buildings & parties for the church members, it grates on us. Couldn't that money have been better spent feeding hungry children, buying Bibles for missionaries to share, paying for clothing & shelter for homeless people....and on & on? Wasting money on temporal things that only affect your status in the world really strikes a chord in me. So when this book told a story early on that made me squeal "YES!!!", I knew I'd found a book I would enjoy. The story goes something like this:

The author picked up a Christian magazine of some sort & was reading through it one day. Two articles side by side jumped out at him. The first article's headline was in a big, bold font. It talked about the new $23 million dollar building that the First Baptist Church had built. The marble design in the flooring, the beautiful stained glass windows, all these details & a long article about it. Then, immediately beside that article was one in a smaller font. The title read "First Baptist Church raises $5000 for Sudanese refugees". The article went on to describe nearly 1/2 a million refugees who were dying from malnutrition.

Seriously? We can fundraise & do building project dinners for the church & ask for building fund pledges & work with a building committee to work up an enthusiasm to build a multi-million dollar building....but the level of compassion we show to a starving people is about 2% of that. How screwed up are our priorities??

That, in a nutshell, is the whole book.

With that story being so near the beginning of the book, I felt like I would be 'hooked' all throughout the book. I will be honest. There are a LOT of awesome, poignant reminders throughout the book of these sorts of stories---examples of how messed up we have become, choosing to live "the American dream" rather than living out the gospel the way the Bible tells us. I will share those high points here. But I spent many pages of this book flipping pages to get past what seemed to me like the author tooting his & his church's own horns. I realize he's proud of what the members of his church are doing. And I really don't think he meant for things to come across the way that I felt like they did, but from the angle I was reading it, I saw a lot of "look at how great a people we are...look at the good things we're doing." And there were lots of not-so-powerful stories & quotes & such.

There were convicting parts to this book, but there were lots of underwhelming pages that made me yawn. I won't dare say that maybe Larry & I are already living a "Radical" life & perhaps the book was a yawner because of that. While we may have a few details down, we still have miles to go before we 'arrive'. And I pray that we never fully 'arrive' this side of Heaven. If we stop pressing onward to living a radical faith based on the love of Christ, we will become complacent and I don't ever, ever, ever, ever want that to happen! So why didn't I enjoy this book as much as some of my friends? I'm not sure....but I think it might be that Crazy Love was still so fresh on my heart & mind that perhaps it just didn't have enough room to sink it past all that 'craziness'. Who knows? I would still recommend this book because there are some great parts, but I can't give it 10 stars like so many others have. Still a good read for someone who's attempting to live a more sold-out life for Jesus, but not quite the life-changing, foundation-shaking book that some of my friends have felt it was.

(Ironically, Larry loved this one more than Crazy Love and I loved Crazy Love more than this one. I swear...we are perfect complements to each other!)

Here are some of the "biggies" from the book. I hope you are moved & changed by them.

In reference to who God really is...."We prefer to sit back, enjoy our cliches, and picture God as a Father who might help us, all the while ignoring God as a Judge who might @#!*% us. Maybe this is why we fill our lives with the constant drivel of entertainment in our culture -- and in the church. We are afraid that if we stop and really look at God in his Word, we might discover that he evokes greater awe and demands deeper worship than we are ready to give him."

In a section about getting a hunger for the gospel..."I pray that we will be a people who refuse to gorge our spiritual stomachs on the entertaining pleasures of the world, because we have chosen to find our satisfaction in the eternal treasure of his Word. I pray that God will awaken your heart and mine a deep and abiding passion for the gospel as the grand revelation of God. ........ if preachers can't come up with something other than inspirational speeches, then maybe they should just read from the Word for their sermon. The Spirit is good to work with just that."

In a chapter about the importance of relying on God's power.... "As long as we achieve our desires in our own power, we will always attribute it to our own glory. ..... The goal of the American dream is to make much of ourselves. But the gospel and the American dream are clearly and ultimately antithetical to each other. ..... The goal of the gospel is to make much of God."

In a section called "Exalting Our Inability"....."God actually delights in exalting our inability. He intentionally puts His people in situations where they come face to face with their need for Him. In the process He powerfully demonstrates his ability to provide everything His people need in ways they could never have mustered up or imagined. And in the end, He makes much of His own name..... That is how God works. He puts His people in positions where they are desperate for His power, and then He shows His provision in ways that display His greatness."

Dependent on Ourselves or Desperate for His Spirit?
"Clearly, it doesn't require the power of God to draw a crowd in our culture. A few key elements that we can manufacture will suffice.
1st--a good performance (entertainment)
2nd--a place to hold the crowds that will come, so we build a multi-million dollar facility with all facets of the building excellent & attractive--that's what our culture expects.
3rd-- we have to have something to keep the crowds coming back"

In a chapter titled American Wealth & a World of Poverty
"Are you & I looking to Jesus for advice that seems fiscally responsible according to the standards of the world around us? Or are we looking to Jesus for total leadership in our lives, even if that means going against everything our affluent culture & maybe even our affluent religious neighbors might tell us to do?"

"There is never going to be a day when we stand before God and he looks at us and says 'I wish you would have kept more for yourself'. I'm confident that God says He will take care of me.


There are a lot of other good points that I've underlined & highlighted throughout the book, but I think you get the idea. The book is about getting our priorities straight -- finding ways to help others, to give extravagantly, to live our lives not based on the standards that the "American dream" sets for us, but by the standards Christ set forth for us in the gospels.

Radical is a great book, but I've gotta say....I would still recommend Crazy Love first.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Oh my gosh, Oh my gosh!

In late 2007...or maybe it was early 2008....someone told me about Angie Smith's blog. Angie is the wife of Todd Smith, lead singer of the Christian group Selah. Angie was pregnant with their 4th baby at the time, a little girl they were to name Audrey Caroline. Audrey had been diagnosed inutero with several conditions that were deemed "incompatible with life". Todd and Angie were told that Audrey would not make it, but they spent the final months of pregnancy praying for a miracle and talking to their other children, preparing them for what was to come. Angie began a blog during those months to keep family & friends updated on what was happening. It was during that time that I began reading her story.

Angie has a way of writing that sucks you in like a vacuum. Her words are so powerful you simply can't pull yourself away from them. I was wow'd both by her talented writing and the power of her faith during those hard months of her pregnancy. While I haven't met her in person, I feel like I have. I have laughed with her funny posts and sobbed with her sad posts. I've snickered at the silly antics of her daughters and prayed alongside her for mission trips, friends & tough situations she's shared. We, her readers, were allowed to walk through the journey of life & death with her, we were given access to her private home videos, even one that was shot in the hospital room while her sweet Audrey was alive....we were even "there" when Audrey left this world to go to Heaven. While it was incredibly tragic, it's such a joy to be a part of such a beautifully intimate place in someone's life. And so, long after Audrey's body was placed in a casket, most of Angie's devoted readers have continued to live life with her via her blog.

Since Audrey's death, Todd & Angie have had another sweet baby girl who is perfectly healthy! They've moved to a new home. Angie's begun homeschooling her older children. And Angie has been transformed from a sweet, shy lady who never intended to create a blog following like she did to a strong, amazing speaker who has talked to crowds of women across the country about her story and the way God has brought her through it all. She's written a book (which I preordered months before it was released & read cover to cover within 48 hours of its arrival on my doorstep). Her life is one big testimony that screams Jesus's name, all wrapped in the tiny package of a beautiful, funny, silly lady who just feels like an old High School friend. Angie & I have emailed a few times. While our email conversations have been few, I still feel a little bit like I know this amazing woman who has blessed my socks off for the last couple of years.

WELL, here's where the OH MY GOSH title comes in.

Tonight on her blog she posted that she is going to be speaking with Women of Faith in 2011. And OH MY GOSH. She's going to be at the conference I am going to in April!!!!!!! I am SOOOO excited! I know I've got a snowball's chance in East Texas of actually getting to meet her there, but wow....wouldn't it be cool if I could??!! If you hear a squeal & giggles coming from Louisiana in the Spring, you'll know I got to hug Angie's neck!

I'm really not an Angie Smith stalker or anything, but if we ran into each other in the hotel hallway in our curlers & PJs, I wouldn't absolutely hate that. (wink!) Slumber party anyone?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Something I wrote for Christmas

I wrote this for Christmas in 2003. I've re-shared it every year since then. I hope you enjoy it.

The Announcement

By: Elizabeth Reeves 12/21/03

Eight pounds, one ounce. 19” long. 7:53pm. Born in the manger behind the Inn. Mary & Joseph joyfully welcome baby Jesus into their lives. Please join us in celebrating the newborn babe.

Being a mom, I have always wondered about those birth statistics of the Christ child. Was He an easy baby? Did He eat well? Did He sleep through the night from day one or was He up during the night til well into His toddler years? Just what would the birth announcement say if that had been customary in His day? I suspect it would’ve been a hard one to write. How exactly do you word a card proclaiming that GOD is in the cradle in the bedroom? Can you tell the Son of God that He has to “cry it out”? Is it even feasible to try & feed the Prince of Peace on a schedule? How did He react to His first tooth? Did He potty train early? There are so many questions I’d love to ask Mary when I meet her someday!

Surely raising the One who would bear the sins of the world on the cross was a challenge….or was it? With Christmastime arriving soon, I wonder how Joseph & Mary celebrated Jesus’s birthday each year? Did they put up a tree & drape it with lights & tinsel? Did they have a guy dress up in a red suit & bring him gifts every year? Did they shower Jesus with gifts at all? Did they eat turkey, ham, potatoes and pie? How does Jesus feel when He watches us do this? Whose birthday are we celebrating anyway? Why do we feel the need to write a different birth announcement every year?

What if the story in the gospels read something more like this: “Come & celebrate the birth of Jesus with 15 gifts per child. Watch preschoolders throw tantrums in the line at the mall while waiting to see a fat guy in a red suit. Endure lines with a dozen shoppers waiting impatiently, trampling mobs seeking the very last Hokey Pokey Elmo…… binge eat turkey, potatoes, ham, pumpkin pie & assemble ½ a dozen toys at 10:30pm on Christmas Eve so that Junior will be pleased on Christmas morning. Oh and by the way, put a little nativity scene in the corner of the living room if you have time.”

Whose birthday is this? This year, let’s try & imagine the birth of the man who would shed His blood for us …….let’s feel the labor pains of a teenager giving birth in a barn surrounded by cattle & chickens……..let’s ponder the birth weight & length of our Savior…..let’s consider the weight of raising GOD and let’s celebrate in a way that honors Him.

Make sure He is the guest of honor at your birthday celebration this year.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I found this blog a few months back & have fallen in love with it! Missy's writing cracks me up & inspires me.

Some bloggy friends of hers have started a business & she's partnered with them for a cool give away! I want to win, but I'm going to share the info with you so you can go try to win, too! Take a peek HERE.