Thursday, February 28, 2013

Be Still My Child: A Lesson About My Father That I Learned Through My Son

He sat there in my arms silently, legs wrapped around my waist.  His arms tucked in warmly under his chest against mine.  His head on my shoulder.  No talking.  No eye contact.  Just cuddling.  I would rub his back or cheek, then stop to hug him tighter. 

Eventually he put his arms around my neck and squeezed.  We couldn't get any closer. His blonde locks in my face, I breathed in his scent. I was  determined to remember every part of it...his smell, his touch, his heart beating against mine.

It doesn't seem that long ago that I held him as a tiny bundle.  Night time feedings and constant care guaranteed plenty of cuddle time.
But it was a rare moment for me and my, now, six year old.  Normally he doesn't have time for such things.  He's a busy little boy.  Very active and always thinking.  He has things to do and see and learn.  No time to be still.  In fact, from the time he began tummy time this child has rarely been still.  A fact that made this time with him even more special. 

We sat there on the couch for ten minutes maybe.  This momma's heart was taking it all in, cherishing every second.  I didn't ask any questions.  I just held him, knowing full well that moments like these will become even less frequent as time continues to press on.

When our cuddle time was over he got up with a sweet smile, kissed and hugged me.  Then, ran off to his next activity.  My heart felt so full.  I was so thankful for the time we had.  Yet, longing for more, more time with the one I love so dearly.  Wishing we could stop time and just be still (and aware) more often.  My heart rejoiced that it was me he wanted to cuddle.

My heart cried out, "Do this more!  Be still more!  Be still, my sweet, precious, little child!"

As I thought about this rare, yet priceless, encounter I began to wonder, "Is this how my Heavenly Father feels when I sit still in His presence?  When I, His beloved child, spends time with him, uninterrupted and undistracted.  Does His heart fill with joy?  Does He celebrate those rare moments when I am simply still and unbusied long enough to sit with Him?

All too often I'm following my own agenda, checking off lists and hurrying about my day.  Even my Bible reading and prayer time can be hurried.  How often do I sit with Him, quiet in body, mind and heart? 

Does He cry out, "Do this more!  Be still more!  Be still, my sweet, precious child!"  I think He does.  But He gets muffled out by the busyness of life.  I think in this quiet moment with my little child, I was still long enough to hear Him.

I sometimes find it hard to be still as a mom of growing little boys.  To see, really see as I should, and cherish this very short and wonderful season of life.  To give undistracted attention to all the details that I want to remember and cherish always.

In much the same way, I sometimes find it hard to be still as a child of the Loving Father.  To see, really see as I should, Him and His goodness.  To give Him the undistracted attention, adoration and praise He deserves always.

The fact is: Hard or not, both are worth my time.

Can you hear Him saying, "Be still, my child!"  Why not make the time to sit with your beloved Father today?
"Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth"
Psalm 46:10
"We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing."
Psalm 39:6
Another post you might enjoy: Be Still
My busy boy then and now:
So thankful for his him, his love and how God uses him to teach me!
A note he wrote to me this week.  :)
Oh, to cherish this time!

Monday, February 25, 2013

FUN DAY Monday: Homemade Silly Putty Goop ~ Simple Sticky Fun!

Today I introduce to you a new series on this blog:
For the most part I've kept this blog rather serious, focused on my personal relationship with Jesus.  "Seeing God in the Everyday Stuff of Life".  And that still is the theme of this blog.  But the main title of this blog is Life in Beranville.  A big part of my life here in Beranville is Fun.  It's in many of those lighthearted, fun times that I see God the most!
I homeschool our oldest son as our younger son follows along.  We jokingly call what he does "two year old preschool".  We do fun science experiments and hands-on activites to reinforce our lessons.  And a lot of other things just for fun!
My husband and I work together on do-it-yourself projects around the house.  Thanks to Pinterest I have all kinds of ideas just waiting to be created! 
On FUN DAY Monday I will share these kind of things.  Then, later in the week, I hope to share other insights on what God is showing me. 
Today let's talk about Silly Putty Goop.  Shall we? 
We have made this several times.  It doesn't last as long as the store bought stuff (it either dries out or gets overly sticky after a few days).  But who really cares, it's cheap and fun!  My boys like making it as much they like playing with the finished product!  A BIG thank you to my cousin, Beth, who originally gave me the recipe a couple of years ago.
Things you will need: 2 Simple Ingredients!
2 Tablespoon of Elmer's Glue
1 Tablespoon of Sta-Flo Liquid Starch (found in the laundry section of most supermarkets)
Measure these out and pour them right on the kitchen counter. It's a gooey, icky mess at first.

Just look at those happy faces! :)
Just when you think there's no hope for this stuff, that you're going to have a sticky mess and nothing else to show for your time...wall-ah!  All of sudden it's the pefect texture.
Leave it sitting on the counter for 15 to 20 minutes. 
Then, play away.
Don't worry if it gets on their clothes, it washes out.  It washes right off the counter too.
To make it even more fun add 2 drops of food coloring at the end.  If you don't want the color all over your kids' hands, I recommend dropping 2 drops in the almost done putty over the sink and kneading it in yourself.  Wash your hands immediately to remove color.
Here's the finished product:
We call it Silly Putty Goop 
Closing thoughts:
Life can be sticky! Be sure you know Who holds all things together.
"He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."
Colossians 1:17
Hope you enjoyed my 1st FUN DAY Monday post.  If so, join me again next week.
Follow me on Pinterest  or sign up for e-mail updates in the righthand side bar.
For Health related topics check out my Health In Beranville blog.
Coming up:
Homemade Playdoh Recipe and Fun Ideas
Homemade Shoe Hook project (get those shoes off the floor and stop tripping on them!)
An attempt at Unpoppable Bubbles (and an old fashioned bubbles recipe too)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

My "Perfect" Marriage ~ A New Definition

We started out so sweet; an incredibly romantic, nearly perfect love story.  It was love at first sight (or should I say first chat?). 

God can use whatever tool He wants to bring two people together.  In our case it happened to be a cheesy, so called Christian website. 

We started chatting at the end of March.  We talked on the phone for hours.  We met face to face, half way between my home in Midwestern Indiana and his in Northeast Iowa, at the end of April.  We got engaged at the end of June.  And married at the end of August.  Some people saw it as a fast and furious courtship.  When you know you've found what you've been looking for, you just know.  That's how it was for us. 

Just look at us...
We were blissfully happy on our wedding day!

Then life happened.  It just did.  Even worse, we happened. 

Eight and a half years later I post pictures like the one below on my Facebook. All smiles. Looks almost perfect, doesn't it?  It's easy to give off this "perfect life" persona, not even meaning to.

Reality check: Marriage, parenthood, LIFE can be hard. 

Yes, we still love each other.  Yes, we're happy and incredibly thankful for all our blessings.  Yes, he's a terrific guy and he says I'm a terrific gal.  Still we've had our ups and downs like all people do.   

We've been blessed with healthy babies, 2 precious boys.  Then, there were the 3 miscarriages that challenged and increased our faith (not to mention the ways parenting has stretched us!). 

We've experienced good weather and hearty crops.  Then, there were the droughts and low cattle prices.  Big deals for a farmer and his wife, our whole livelihood.

We've faced health and family issues, sleeplessness, bad attitudes and parenting dilemmas. 

And, guess what, we don't always see eye to eye.  Gasp!

Even though we're followers of Jesus Christ and we desire to honor Him with our lives, we fail.

God never promised us that this life (or our marriage) would be easy. He did promise that He will go with us, helping, guiding and enabling us through this journey. He also promised that if we do it His way He will bless us. His way is Perfect

The problem is we don't always follow His way, we follow our flesh.  We're imperfect.  Therefore our marriage is imperfect.  Or is it?

A few months ago our pastor preached on Matthew 5:48.  "But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."  These words were spoken by Jesus himself.  Being the perfectionist that I am that word "perfect" always bothered me.  How can we ever be perfect as He is perfect?  When our pastor explained the definition of this word in the original language the way it was used in this text, it all made perfect sense (no pun intended). 

Perfect: maturing, growing, thriving.  Having mature motives.

That definition of "Perfect" gave me a whole new outlook.

Perhaps my marriage is Perfect after all.  Because it is in the every day stuff of life, through the challenges and triumphs that we share, that we are maturing, growing and thriving, having mature motives...a prize set before us: Perfect (see def above) Love.

The longer I'm married the more I understand the perfect love that Jesus calls us to. Not that I'm getting it pefectly right.  I'm not.  But I'm learning more about God's kind of love...
Love that casts off fear
Love that's patient and enduring.
 Love that's kind even when we don't feel like it. 
 Love that swallows pride to say sorry. 
 Love that looks past offenses and lets them go.  
Choosing to put on a gentle and quiet spirit, rather than a stormy and demanding one.  Choosing to love my husband, day by day, moment by moment, no matter what. Not because he deserves it or because I'm so good or he's so good, but because HE is good.  And I'm seeing this same kind of love being modeled through my husband! 
Nope, it's not easy.  It's challenging.  But our marriage is teaching us to be more like Jesus...which is just what we desire. 
So I embrace our "Perfect" Marriage, as we learn and grow together. 
Choosing to love. (It truly is a choice!)
Being stretched. 
Becoming more like Jesus in the process. 
Striving for Perfect Love while living in the reality of our own imperfections. 
It's a perfectly beautiful thing!
To read more blog posts on this topic check out the
Read another blog post about Marriage by me: But God...
Follow Life In Beranville on Pinterest or sign up for e-mail updates in the right hand side bar.  :)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Helping Everyone "Out There"

I listened to her talk.  Telling me all about this big thing she had been working on.  All in the name of Christ, of course. 

She had spent time, quite a bit of it. 
She had spent money, quite a bit of it. 
She had exerted effort, quite a bit of it.
She used her God given talents and interests, quite a bit of them.

She was reaching out to the needy ones "out there".  People she didn't know.  But God knows.

I listened.  I wondered.  Nothing wrong with any of it.  But still I wondered, why? 

Not that she shouldn't, because somebody should.  But why all this time, money, effort and talent for this?  For them, the unknown?  What was the appeal?  Why not help those right here in front of her?  Honestly, I thought of my own need that day and wondered why she didn't notice.

Before I could examine her any further I knew I had to stop to look in the mirror first.  Take a look inward instead of judging outward.  Why do I do what I do?  I'm afraid I'm as guilty as anyone.

Ah, I spend so much time helping everyone "out there".  Three blogs.  Four Facebook pages.  Big women's events.  A few ministries that I participate in and/or support.

Not that I shouldn't, because somebody should.  But why all this time, money, effort and talent for these things? 

First, am I so busy helping everyone "out there", that I'm missing those right here

Because ministry doesn't just happen at a big event or soup kitchen or missionary post in Timbuktu.  Sure, it happens there, but just as much it happens in our own homes, communities, jobs and churches. How am I living out the message I say I believe?  Ministry happens on Facebook and blogs, sure.  But what about at the grocery store?  What about in my own home?  Quite honestly, it's easier, most of the time, to help everyone "out there". 

Then, I asked myself, "What's my motivation?"  Because the motivation of my heart is even more important than what I actually do! 

Donating money, running ministries and writing on Christian blogs sounds more glamourous than scrubbing floors and washing clothes.  But I don't think what the world sees as important is necessarily what God sees as important.  In fact, I don't think the things that impress the world impress Him at all.  Yet, do I seek their honor above His?

"But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:26-28

It's good to check my heart.  Do I do these seemingly big things to look impressive and receive human glory?  Do I serve in the trenches when no one is looking, besides the One who matters, with humility and love as my Savior, Jesus, did?  Because scrubbing floors and washing clothes with the right heart attitude are pleasing to the One who made me and saved me.  They are service in His name just the same, if not more.

How many times in my attempt to help everyone "out there", have I missed the opportunity right here.  That sick friend who needed a meal.  The little son who needed some cuddle time.  The elderly neighbor who could use a call or visit.  A husband who needed his wife.  The department store clerk who needs an encouraging word.  I miss it too often.

It starts in the heart.

What should I be doing right here...with no other motivation but the love of Jesus that dwells in me? 

What should you be doing?  It's a question worth asking.

Note: God has ministry for us right here and out there. Both big and (seemingly) small. What a shame to miss any part of these divine opportunities.  Whatever He's leading me and you to do, may we do it with no other motivation but love.
"Take care! Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired, because then you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give a gift to someone in need, don't shout about it as the hypocrites do -- blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I assure you, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone, don't tell your left hand what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in secret, and your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you." Matthew 6:1-4

It begins here.  In the every day.  I serve.  But do I serve in love? 
What is my attitude when no one is looking, but Him?
The ones right here before my eyes (and their daddy) are my first ministry.
It starts in the heart.  Oh, not to forget!
Who has God put in your realm of influence?
Moms out there, check out this post I recently read about Christlike Mothering. Good!!

Relate?  Leave a comment.  I love hearing from friends...both right here and out there! :)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

No More Perfect Moms

I have attended the Heart at Home Northeast Conference (in Rochester, MN) three times. It has been such a blessing to me each time. Great keynote speakers, breakout sessions, musical guests, resources, overall encouragement and practical tips to be the mom God created me to be!
Jill Savage, the founder of Hearts at Home (and a blogger I enjoy following) is the "real deal". 
Today I am sharing a little bit about here newest book, the conference and some opportunities for you to get FREE rescources!! 
Keep reading! :)

Hearts at Home encourages moms to embrace imperfection!
You always knew you would be the perfect mom. Then you had children.

Now that you know more, it’s probably safe to say that most days haven’t turn out like you imagined.

We’ve all been there.

When life doesn’t measure up to our expectations, it’s easy to feel like we’ve failed as mothers and we begin asking, “What’s wrong with me?”

The truth is nothing is wrong with you. You are normal. Your frustrations, your disappointments and your struggles are the same frustrations, disappointments and struggles that every mom is going through.

Hearts at Home is offering two opportunities for moms to embrace and celebrate their imperfections right along with others who are doing this “mom thing,” too!

No More Perfect Moms, the newly-released book by Hearts at Home Founder and CEO, Jill Savage, will help moms rid themselves of the “Perfection Infection.” With refreshing honesty, author Jill Savage exposes some of her own parental shortcomings with the goal of helping mothers everywhere shelve their desires for perfection along with their insecurities of not measuring up to other moms.

And, if you purchase the book any time between February 3-9 (online or at a store…and yes, electronic versions such as Kindle and Nook count too!) and send a copy of your receipt to, you'll be given access to well over $100 worth of resources that will help you on your mothering journey - absolutely free! 

What will you receive? Click here for a full list of audio workshops, printables and books and all the details about how to buy the book!

Then plan to join thousands of moms, just like you, as they celebrate their imperfections on March 15-16, 2013, at the Hearts at Home 2013 National Conference, on the campus of Illinois State University in Normal, IL.

Registration is open!  GREAT speakers and music!!

Choose the two-day Friday PLUS! option for a main session and three or four workshops on Friday, plus choose three or four additional workshops on Saturday or choose to attend either Friday or Saturday. Add Moms Night Out on Friday for a great day – or two – away!

Main sessions feature keynote speakers Candace Cameron Bure – mom, producer, New York Times’ best-selling author and actress, and best known for her role as "D.J." on Full House – and Jill Savage – author and CEO and Founder of Hearts at Home.

Moms Night Out welcomes Anita Renfroe (link to:, well known for her pop culture parody of the William Tell Overture-Mom Style and special musical guest Meredith Andrews.

More than 30 workshops with titles including Seven Habits of Highly Effective Moms, Real Ways to Connect With Your Kids, Boys R Us--Raising Boys from 2 to 22, and Wise Women Raising Wiser Daughters, give you the opportunity to design the day around your own needs.

With a sell-out crowd at last year’s conference, early registration is encouraged. The Best Value Registration Deadline is February 20, 2013.

Click here for full descriptions of all speakers and workshops and to start the registration process. Group discounts are available!