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Mandy’s Monday – Beautiful Healing Mix
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I have an important announcement…I have a mix to share!

I have dreamed, thought up, planned many other mixes but never gotten them accomplished.  So I am excited to share this completed mix with you!

Beautiful Healing (Winter 2011)

Tracks:

1. Beautiful Day by U2

2. Hold On by Toby Mac

3. We Live by Superchick

4. Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North

5. Beautiful by MercyMe

6. Your Hands by JJ Heller

7. Healing is in Your Hands by Christi Nockels

8. We Will Follow by Jars of Clay

9. Invitation Fountain by Jeremy Riddle & Robbie Reider

10. Beautiful Things by Gungor

11. A Little Longer by Brian and Jen Johnson

12. Psalm 145 by Shane & Shane

13. Shifting Sand by Caedman’s Call

14. Glory of it All by David Crowder Band

You can download it here. (85MB .zip file)

Each song was purposefully picked and placed in this mix.  It is my personal walk through beautiful healing that the Lord has been bringing me through.  If you have things in your life that you are struggling through or have done so recently I pray this mix can bring you through the different emotions and declarations that trusting the Lord takes us through.

May your listening time be a beautiful healing!

Mandy’s Monday – Inquiring
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Intentionality in prayer has been on my mind recently. It started when last week I asked myself…“How can I make prayer a greater part of my life?

As I read in Scripture this week I found it so amazing and so simple that David inquired of the Lord and the Lord answered him!  You can find this account in I Samuel 23.  David wanted to go to war against the Philistines and he inquired of the Lord about this plan.  So simple and yet we often go about our plans and actions without this crucial component that in itself is a simple act.  I need to seek the Lord and ask him what he desires for  my day, for my year, for my life…  When David inquired the Lord answered!  His answer came very clearly through a prophet or direct revelation to David himself, so at times I can think “if only God spoke directly to me as He did in the Old Testament, I could follow him better.”  However, I love the way the Lord speaks to us today directly through his written word.  We have the written word of God, a letter straight to His church, to His people.  I can read it at any moment and see His heart and His passion…His plan, His ways.  I once heard that when we memorize God’s word we give the Holy Spirit vocabulary to speak in our minds. (a quote from Elizabeth Elliot I believe)   I love that!  When making a decision in life I want the first thing I do to be to inquire of the Lord, not pull out my iPhone to check my calendar.

I plan to continue my prayer pondering and intentionality to make it greater in my life.

1. How do I need to rearrange my schedule so that my prayer times are more attainable?  (In other words how can I make sure I am spending time in concentrated/dedicated prayer?)

2. I am always motivated by trying something new. What new prayer tool can I give a try? (prayer list, prayer calendar, prayer journal, praying through my Facebook news feed, iPhone prayer app...)

Several years ago I began using Lisa Whelchel‘s book The Busy Mom’s Guide to Prayer.  I have found it to be a wonderful prayer tool.  For awhile I stayed away from the book due to the title.  I did not want to read something that indicated I thought my life was too busy for prayer.  But I got over my little hang up and found this guided prayer journal to be very helpful.  Lisa lays out 20 days of prayer prompts.  Each day includes a topic, Scripture passage and prayer prompt for the following six categories: Praise, Self, Husband, Children, Personal Influences and Reaching Beyond.  As I work through the book over and over I cover my family with Scripture based prayers…I am praying the Lord’s heart and will over my family and others.

I am inquiring of the Lord and asking that He answer me.  I am not David and I don’t live in Old Testament times but the God of David is still God today and He desires for me to seek Him in prayer…that I will do!

Mandy’s Monday – Mind Battle
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Last week Brian and I watched Inception, a science fiction film about the stealing and planting of information into the subconscious of individuals at their most vulnerable moment…when they are sleeping!  I found the movie fascinating and a challenge to follow.  I thought the film was well done and I enjoyed the fact that there were no embarrassing uncomfortable scenes.  However, this blog is not a review of the movie and beyond that fact it is not even a blog about the movie, but more what thoughts I was left with after viewing it.

My first thoughts were…”Wow, I need to be praying more for the power of the Lord Jesus to protect our minds and permeate our home at all hours of the day and night!”  What is seen as fiction in the movie, I believe has a truth element in life.  Their is a battle for our minds.  A battle to plant lies at the deepest part of us, our subconscious, our dreams, our hopes and our desires.

Yesterday, Brad Mullen preached a sermon at our church focused on John 5, the story of the crippled man who waited by the pool of Bethesda to be healed.  Jesus finds this man waiting for healing from the pool, and offers him true healing that only the Lord Jesus can bring.  Brad referenced Romans 1 and laid out ways that we can be suckered into believing that which is not true.  In Romans 1 Paul declares men/women have chosen to suppress the truth (vs 18) and gone as far as to exchange the truth of God for a lie (vs 24).  The devil is at work in our minds indeed!

Currently, in my personal Bible reading I am in II Samuel.  I recently read about David’s kingship being threatened by Absalom.  If you read through these chapters (13-19) you will see occurrence after occurrence of people being driven by false beliefs.  Amnon believed giving into his lust for Tamar would bring satisfaction.  Absalom believed revenge was the way to deal with his pain.  David believed shunning Absalom would end the turmoil.  Absalom choose revenge again.  Hushai was able to plant Absalom’s destruction in his own mind…

The power of what we think moves us to action.  I am left with a deeper realization that our minds are worth a mighty battle!  “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,  and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:5) I do not want lies to take root in my heart and mind!  I want the truth of God to be planted there, so that it might grow deep roots.  Roots that nourish my soul and direct my path, that my life might be lived in the truth of God.

1. What truth of God am I consciously or subconsciously choosing to suppress in my life?

2. What lies have I chosen to live by?

3. What ways can I make prayer over my home and family a greater part of my life?

Lord, help me take every thought captive.  May your truth grow in my heart!

Mandy’s Monday – New Oceans
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“The hour has arrived!”  I had a professor in college who always started his class with these words, “The hour has arrived”.  With them he declared the beginning of our class time.  I always found him intimidating.  Once when I was late I just decided to skip the class altogether rather than enter late and have him draw attention to my tardiness.  Today I would like to declare…”The hour has arrived!”

Today I find myself officially and formally in a new stage of life.  Yesterday, I said goodbye to being a Youth Pastor’s wife.  It is official…I am now a Pastor of Creative Ministries’ wife!  I can hear you already “What does the Pastor of Creative Ministries do?”  My response goes something like this…. “OK le’me explain…No, it’s too much! Le’me summ up!  …Humperdink is going to marry Buttercup in little less than half an hour….”  It is complicated, it is new, it is still forming, and it is messy at times.  The Lord has lead Brian to a new ministry at Calvary Church, and since it has always been our passion to be in ministry together the Lord is leading me to something new as well.

I am not going to pretend that this has not been hard, it has been.  I am not going to pretend that I am not scared, I am.  I am not going to pretend that I have all the answers or know what lays ahead, I don’t!  However, I know the one who does and I desire to serve Him in the way He desires for me to do so!  Brian will now be involved in crafting the over all program for the Sunday morning service at our church.  He will also lead teams that create our church web presence, on-screen presentations, videos, all things in print, and more…His passion is to communicate the word of God in many creative and moving forms that will inspire individuals and families of all ages to deepen their walks with the Lord.

Last night our family had Chinese food, something we always do at the end of the Winter Retreat weekend.  Isabelle had the following “fortune” in her cookie “You cannot discover new oceans unless you are willing to lose sight of the shore.”  How very fitting for the day we said goodbye to Student Ministries.  We have LOVED being involved in the lives of students for the last 18 years!  The Lord has had us serve Him in three different churches and blessed us with the opportunity to see many teenagers begin and deepen their walk with the Lord.  We have been honored that the Lord would choose to bless us with the gift of serving Him.  And now he asks us to head out to new oceans and in order to do so we much lose sight of the shore we have known for so long. As the Student Ministries shore slips into the distance I cast my eyes on the new horizon and declare “Where you lead me Lord, I will follow.  Where you lead me Lord, I will go.  Come and heal me Lord, I will follow.  Come and lead me Lord I will go…I will go!”(listen to the song)

If you find yourself standing in a boat that is leaving the comfort of a familiar shore headed out to new oceans, I pray you know the one to whom even the wind and the waves obey.  He is trustworthy, on that I stand sure!

Mandy’s Monday – Resolutions Review
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In 2010 we set a goal as a family to each read 20 books. I learned a great deal from the books I read as well as the process of trying to reach this goal. I will reveal right up from that I did not accomplish 20 books 🙁 I love to read, I have said that many times, and I loved reaching for this goal but just fell short. I read more books than I would have with out the goal. It pushed me to continue reading and therefore it is a goal I am going to set once again in 2011!

Below is a listing of the books I read in 2010. I will not be listing them in order for one main reason, I lost my list two different times this year and had to recreate it both times. There is a good chance I forgot a few books and I know I did not remember them in order!

1. Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson
2. Stomping Out The Darkness by Neil T. Anderson
3. Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
4. When People are Big and God is Small by Edward T. Welch
5. Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
6. Emma by Jane Austin
7. Mansfield Park by Jane Austin
8. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austin
9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin (why not throw it in there one more time!)
10. Jesus, 90 Days With the One and Only by Beth Moore
11. The Poor Will Be Glad by Peter Greer & Phil Smith
12. Helping Your Kids Deal with Anger, Fear, and Sadness by H. Norman Wright
13. Beyond Belief by Josh Hamilton & Tim Keown
14. The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis (still finishing this one with the kids)

I really believe there are a few books I forgot about, that I read in the beginning months of 2010 and were lost from memory when I lost my list. It is amazing how long ago January 2010 feels from today!

This coming year as I set a 20 book goal once again I decided to add a layer to the resolution. I desire to read at least one book from each of the following categories: marriage, parenting, classics (Jane Austin does not count…I have now read all of hers), NY current best seller list, spiritual walk, and theology. I look forward to reading and blogging in response!

Now to reveal a few of my new resolutions:
1. I have fallen in love with my slow cooker! Therefore, this year I will use my slow cooker at least once a week, with the exception of the summer time. During the summer I use the grill all the time…and love it completely!! I found a blog with great slow cooker recipes, A Year of Slow Cooking. Be sure to check it out if you do not already know about it.
2. Run a second marathon with a new PR! I can not say enough about how much I loved running the San Antonio Rock N Roll Marathon in November. It was such an encouragement to me in many ways.
3. Attack the basement…AARRGGG!! For years I have wanted to do something drastic down there, just too many things are down there that need to be given away or thrown out…too much clutter.
4. Do a Bible Study with Addie and Emma. They are at a wonderful age and I want to take full advantage of the opportunity to disciple my daughters!
5. In 2010 I started a twitter journal of sorts for God’s love. I began in Genesis and as I read through the Bible I noted where I saw God’s love. I tweet each of these and am currently in I Samuel. In 2011 I plan to continue with this #God’sLove twitter journal.
6. In a restatement: I will work to read 20 books this year with at least one from each of the above stated categories.
and lastly:
7. I want to be faithful to post a blog for each of the Monday’s in 2011! (I missed one last week, but I am OK with that.) Hopefully, there will be 51 Mandy’s Mondays at the close of 2011. Writing is enjoyable for me, so this goal is for me to force myself to take the time to do so!

I am looking forward to a new year, the old has gone the new has come!

Mandy’s Monday – Don’t Forget the Marshmallows! (Making December Count Idea #2)
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Welcome back!  How was your first week of December?  I hope it went well and that in the craziness you were able to snatch a few moments with your loved ones to focus all of your hearts on the true meaning of Christmas.

Our family started the reading plan I referred to last week.  We quickly learned it is best to take a look at the additional content available to understand why the particular reading is chosen for that day.  It is not a chronological reading, so knowing the main point before reading it out loud to children is helpful (today it was about giving is better than receiving).  Our family has enjoyed passing the iPhone around the breakfast table having different people read each day.  We have had a few bumps in the road, but we have kept at it and the older girls as well as Brian and I are enjoying it.  My two younger children, ages 6 & 3, are not getting as much from our reading time.  If you have given it a try, keep going!  If you want to jump on board start today!

Now it is time to give you a second idea.  I will remind you that my purpose is to give you an idea of a simple activity that does not take much time or prep and you most likely do not have to go buy anything; yet it will provide a special family moment that you can soak up as much as possible!  This week have all the family members get in their pajamas then gather the following items:  Christmas story books, hot chocolate and don’t forget the marshmallows.  Not too difficult, but a set aside time and an excited attitude from Mom and Dad can turn this into a fun family moment.  Last year this happened spur of the moment and if I remember right was really the kids idea.  I grabbed the camera and captured the moment 🙂

A little discussion on Christmas story books might be needed here.  I love books!  I love to read!!  You probably already know this about me.  Therefore, it is no surprise that I have a collection of  Christmas story books.  I try to pick up one or two each year.  We leave them out for December, but the rest of the year I have them tucked away in the basement.  It is always fun to see the kids spend time just pouring over them each year when I bring them out!  If you do not have a collection I would encourage you to start one, however the library is a great resource.  Check your local public library as well as your church library.  If your church does not have a library there is a chance a near by church does and would allow you to check out from them.

I have one Christmas story book that is my all time favorite!  I would HIGHLY recommended getting a copy of One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham.  Amazon says it is temporarily out of stock, I am hoping that does not mean it is out of print.  Graham lays out the story of Christmas starting in…Genesis!  This book is actually a condensed story of the Bible itself.  I just love it!  My kids and I have read through this since they were really little, it is a family favorite!

So send the kids to get their PJs on, grab some hot chocolate and a stack of Christmas story books and don’t forget the marshmallows!  Enjoy your family and Christmas this week!

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