Passion results... *updated*

>> April 30, 2008

Yes, I am finally posting the results of me asking you what you think I am passionate about.

Here's the list of what most everyone said:
* your husband
* your children
* serving others
* your friends
* worship

Here are a few quotes from some really good friends:

"You are passionate about...becoming the woman God has created you to be even when it's very hard."

"You are passionate about...finding out what God has you here for and loving others that may appear unlovable towards you."

"First and foremost is being a wife and mom. Then I would say your friends. In our friendship I have known you to be selfless and moved towards the 'betterness' of my life, and especially my relationship with God. It seems like you are passionate to see the best in all your friends. I'd say being a friend is one of your biggest strengths. The last thing is the call God has placed on your life to be a worship leader."

"Well a lot of things come to my mind but I would have to say one thought that popped into my head (after thinking about what an awesome mother and example you are to an aspiring mother like myself ) is that you really have the heart of a servant. If I had to answer this in one sentence I would say, "Rhonda is passionate about being an unselfish servant of God." I really feel that you are passionate about being an example of Christ through serving others with your time and patience."

Honestly, I hoped for responses like these, but wasn't so sure that was what showed.
These are the passions that I was talking about in this post, when I was talking about having passions that God is passionate about.

This whole conversation about passion has really taken me to that place. I mean, being passionate about my relationship with God is the obvious one for me that I need to focus on, but what do I do with all of the other passions in my life. We all have passions that, on the surface, are the same passions of those in this world that couldn't care less about God.

I need to make sure that THOSE passions are in line with what God is doing in my life.
I need to make sure those passions are motivated by my passion for God.
I need to make sure those passions are there because God gave them to me.
I need to make sure that when people notice those passions in me, they see God, not Rhonda.

Again, I say THANK YOU Leslie for starting this conversation. I look forward to the next challenge.
Thank you my dear friends and family for answering my question.
And mostly, thank you God for being patient with me as you continue to mold me.

And for those of you who have been pondering the question, but haven't had the opportunity to get back to me yet, I still want to hear what you have to say. God is using you to sharpen me.

By the way, this post says *updated* at the top because only a couple of sentences in, before I had really even gathered my thoughts, my little 4 year old helper decided to come see what I was doing and clicked the mouse, that happened to be positioned on the PUBLISH POST button.


Baseball and the Park

>> April 26, 2008

WARNING: Lots of pictures!

We are trying to make the most of the weather (before it gets too hot!).
And since Molly decided she is a walker (she hardly crawls), we have been to the park twice this week.
She LOVES it.
She walks all over the place;
Hollers with (and at) the big kids;
Climbs on the slide (from the bottom - just what I tell her brothers NOT to do.)
She enjoys sliding, swinging, playing with all of the gadgets on the playground.
I think one of the things she enjoys most though is being like the big kids.

Mason is loving the park too.
Its one of the first things he asks me to do in the morning (after asking if he can go to Mia's house.)

Merritt has missed out on the park fun because of school and baseball, but he is LOVING baseball. I have been awful about forgetting to take the camera to his games, but I did remember it for practice this week. Here are a few shots of him in action.

Mason wasn't old enough to play tee-ball this year, but Merritt's coach has been great about making him feel like a part of the team.
He is the runner when they are practicing fielding.
And does whatever else Coach Dave asks him to do.
He even got the team ball after Thursday's game for being such a great support team member.
He tells me often that he's a part of the team too.


New Hair


I got a new doo!

I got it 2 weeks ago but haven't had a picture to post until now.

(Thank you Brandi and Jen!)



>> April 19, 2008

As I have continued to ponder the question on what I am passionate about, and I have read your emails to me and several blog posts, I am more grateful than ever that we serve such an awesome God.

One of my dear friends said this to me in her email...

"When I read your blog this morning I was totally taken back cause it's the exact thing I've been thinking and praying about...what my passion is and where I want it to lie. I've been praying and telling God that I just want Him to be what I am passionate about again. I don't want to focus on what I don't have, what I look like, what will make me feel better for the moment, but I just want Him."

This seems to be a theme. When we think about it, God is what we really want to be passionate about but somehow we get sidetracked.

I responded to the email above saying, "God is so good and he longs for us. I think that is why we as Christians get in a funk when we get lost in life and our auto pilot starts filling the place of longing with something else. I know that I never do it purposely, but it happens and then I start feeling lost somehow. I praise God that He waits paitently for me."

God does wait patiently for us. What an AWESOME GOD we serve!!! And not only that, as we become passionate about Him, He fills us with passion for the things that He is passionate about and, I believe, that makes our light shine brightly. It's those passions that others see and determine whether they see Christ in me or not. I mean, when I am passionate about God, then I can't help but be passionate about loving others, about serving others, about helping others know that God loves them too. And that doesn't mean that I have to have the gift of evangelism or teaching or any other thing that may seem so out of reach. That means that my passions that on the surface may seem less than spiritual, when motivated by my passion for Christ, are how the passions God gave me are played out in everyday life. For example, I believe that my friend Jen's passion for photography stems from a passion to love and serve others. Just have a conversation with her about why photography is exciting to her and you will come to the same conclusion. I believe that my friend Brandi's passion for writing music stems from her passion to help others see God. Again, just have a conversation with her. I believe that my friend Christy's passion to be a great mom and wife stems from her passion to be Christlike - you'll agree, have a conversation with her. And I believe my friend Annie's passion for teaching grade school kids, stems from her passion to make a Godly difference in those kids lives. We all have passions that show up in our life, sometimes for a season and some that last forever. For me, I pray that the ones that shine brightly stem from having God's passion and the ones that don't come from that place get quenched so they can be replaced with ones that do.

Leslie has followed up the question with a challenge to ask our friends and family what they think we are passionate about. So I pose the question to you, "What do you say I am passionate about?" Email me, reply to this post or give me a call. But please be honest with me, and please do it soon. AND I don't want you to just tell me what you think I want to hear. I want to know what really shows, because that is the only way that I can grow.

I'll follow this up with what I learn next week.


Passion and Longing

>> April 16, 2008

Warning: this is a long one!

I read several blogs, mostly they are my friend's blogs, but there are a couple that I read because they are inspiring to me. One of those is written by Leslie. I love reading Leslie's blog. She challenges me to cling to God more and I don't even know her. She doesn't know me either, not even by my blog, because I have just been a blog stalker to her. Since the first day I read her blog I have felt that God led me there not only so I could be inspired by her, but so that I could pray for her and I have remained silent because it was just something between me and God. God has even used that secrecy to encourage me - to show me that He is bigger than our circumstances, bigger than our circle of friends, BIGGER! When I have a need, he can put me on someone's heart who doesn't even know me to be praying for me. AND I don't need to know that or understand that. We don't know the whole picture, I am convinced that we never do. God is TOO BIG for us to see the whole picture. The Bible is clear that "our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." And in that fight, God is the commander in chief on the winning side. So the reason I am bringing this up and "coming out of the closet" now is that Leslie has posted an awesome challenge for us to first, consider the question "What are you passionate about?" on a deeper level than chocolate and scrapbooking, then to share it and inspire others - to get in a conversation on a deeper level in this world of blogging. I love this, because I have noticed again and again that (not only on my blog) when the post is about spiritual things, the conversation is pretty small or even non-existent compared to when we blog about our kids or American Idol. So go here to read Leslie's post and see how to join in the conversation.

So what am I passionate about?
This question is pretty timely for me and my current place in this journey.
Honestly, I have been in a strange place lately - kind of in this limbo.
I have had such a deep longing for something I haven't been able to put my finger on.
A longing for intimacy.
And I have felt, more than ever before, unsure of my place - my place in my friendships, my place in my ministry, my place in the bigger picture.
As I have drawn to God, He has been so faithful to be there in tangible ways (at least for me).
It seems as though my senses are more keen as I notice God in my day.
And as I have been praying about this place that I am in, I have tried to slow down and observe as I wait to hear God's voice.
Honestly, this is very hard for me. My tendency is to grab hold of what is going on around me and join in, or try to make it be what I want it to be.
But I want what God wants.
On Sunday, Bruce continued his series on intimacy with God teaching from Psalm 50. And one of the things he said that has stuck with me this week is that we are NOT givers. Nothing we have to give was ours to start with, so all we can really be are receivers. When we give to others, we are merely passers, passing on what God gave to us. And when we tithe, we are returners, giving back to God what he gave to us. As I have pondered this I realize that this is bigger than just material possessions or money. It relates to time, wisdom, talents, spiritual gifts, etc...
So as I wonder about my place, I realize that I only have any kind of place because God gave it to me. I need God's perspective, and I need to stop thinking those things were mine in the first place so that I can have a heart of gratitude (not just be thankful for the good things).
We sang a new song Sunday morning called I Worship You (by Steve Merkel), and one of the lines was "You alone are worthy of the longing in my heart."
As I sang that line it struck a place in me that I have been searching for. Not only is God the only one who can fill any kind of longing in us, He is the only One who is worthy to do so.
Why do I lose sight of that? Why do I try to satisfy my longing in other places when the longing is still small and graspable. Why do I feel such a need to be self-sufficient, when I REALLY DO want to be God-sufficient?
So, today, I am at this place where the cry of my heart is that I will be passionate about being intimate with God and following Him whole-heartedly. I want to be a light that shines in such a way that God gets all of the glory from this life that I am living.

There is a song I have been singing by Mark Altrogge called One Pure and Holy Passion. I know many of you know it, but for those who don't here are the lyrics...

Give me one pure and holy passion
Give me one magnificent obsession
Jesus give me one glorious ambition for my life
To know and follow hard after You
To know and follow hard after You
To grow as Your disciple in the truth
This world is empty pale and poor
Compared to knowing You my Lord
Lead me on and I will run after You
Lead me on and I will run after You

So what are YOU passionate about? Even if you don't follow this with Leslie, I would love to read about it on your blog or in the comments on mine.


Quick update...


As of last Monday I have lost 18 pounds. For me, that is almost 1 pant size. I bought a belt!

Molly finally cut that top tooth I was waiting for, and a bottom tooth, and she has 2 more that we can see but haven't cut through her gums yet.

She took 8 steps last week and now tries to walk all the time, with A LOT of success as long as she doesn't try to go too fast.

This is how I found her playing a couple of days ago...

This is where I found her last night... (in case you are wondering, that is the cabinet that the drawer with the trash is usually pushed into.)

And this is how I found them playing on Sunday before we left for our worship gathering... (I LOVE how he plays with her.)

How's your week going?


Typing Test

>> April 15, 2008

I found this fun typing test on Jessica's blog. It's been a long time since I've actually timed my typing and was quite surprised that I did this with NO mistakes. Thanks Jessica!

56 words



>> April 8, 2008

I am still loving this series on Intimacy with God.

This week Bruce taught from Psalm 8.
We serve a HUGE God.
And not a typical human perspective of huge, but so much bigger.

Have you ever considered exactly how huge the universe is?
We watched a computer rendered depiction of what physicists theorize our universe looks like, starting from here on earth and zooming out (over about 10 different frames) to as far as they are able to see from the best telescopes they have. This rendering doesn't even measure the ends of the universe, it only goes as far as scientists can actually theorize from what they are ABLE to see. In the rendering, our galaxy (not our planet) isn't even distinguishable from the other galaxies. It just looks like another star in the sky.

Psalm 8 calls the heavens the work of God's FINGERS. When I consider how immense the heavens (the work of God's fingers) actually are, I marvel at just how HUGE God really is. And then when I consider humans in relation to that I have to join David in saying "What are mortals that you should think of us?" (vs 4) We are sooo much smaller than we usually make ourselves out to be.

And think about that. God DOES consider us. Read on in Psalm 8.
The Bible says that the very hairs on our head are numbered by God.
Consider that, because of His love for us, He made Himself like us and died on a cross (see Phillipians 2:7 & 8). God desires intimacy with us.
WOW!!!! David GOT that. Do you?
I do, but I obviously forget it, because I surely don't always ACT like I get it.
And quite honestly, it really makes no difference how much my MIND gets it if my actions don't reflect that. Forgive me, Lord.

So here are the questions to consider and reflect upon this week...
"Did you have any moment this week where God's name was majestic?"
I am making it a point to not get too busy in my day to notice God, and go beyond that to looking for God in my day. He is there always if I just stop to notice.

"Have you gotten too big?"
(Too big to humble yourself when others are looking, not just in your quiet place with God?) Consider verse 2 of Psalm 8. The praise of infants and children silence the enemy. This also makes me consider Matthew 18:3&4 where Jesus says we must become like little children, specifically noting a child's humility. Children are unhindered in their praise. They haven't gotten too big.

"Are your eyes focused too low (in consideration of God)? Do you need to raise your perspective?"
For me, this is a moment by moment consideration.

This week (and in all the weeks to come) let's make it a point to (as the psalmist puts it), "worship God in the splendor of His holiness."

Let's make this entry a statement of praise to God.
Comment on how God's name was majestic to you this week, where and how you saw God, how you raised your perspective and God was HUGE, etc.

"O Lord, our Lord, the majesty of your name fills this earth!" (psalm 8:1 & 9)


Molly is 10 months old!

>> April 3, 2008

Molly turned 10 months old this week.

She took her first steps this week too.
Only a couple at a time, but she keeps trying,
especially when no one is trying to help her.

She still only has 2 teeth, but we can see the third one (which seems to be having an incredibly difficult time cutting through. I've been able to see it since Easter.)
It's a good thing she likes Tylenol.
I expect it will find its place any day now.

She loves having grandma (and grandma's dogs) here.
They play pat-a-cake all the time.

Molly loves playing - peek-a-boo, pat-a-cake, this little piggy.
She's not partial.
She also loves squealing and laughing (I like that too!)

(couldn't resist this one of her brother playing with her)

You're getting so big my sweet, sweet girl.
We love you!!!!




So I am finally able to sit down at my computer for more than a few seconds.

We had quite the week after Easter - that actually started on Good Friday.

On Easter we drove to Southern California to attend the SoCal AG District Council. Actually, it was only for the Women's Ministry lunch that Bruce and I were a part of, otherwise we wouldn't have made the drive this year. So while we were there, we made the most of it. We took the kids to a very crowded Disneyland on Monday (thanks Daniel for the passes); after the lunch on Tuesday, we packed my mom into a moving truck; Wednesday we (meaning Bruce) drove the truck to Hanford; Thursday we moved my mom's stuff into a storage unit; and Friday she made the drive to Hanford and moved in with us (until she can find her own place).

Here are some pictures...

These are from the preparation and finished set up for our Good Friday prayer labrynth:

Molly was looking pretty cute, hanging out, having dinner with those who came to our Good Friday gathering.

A couple of images from EASTER that I particularly like...


Molly had a great time!
We're so glad that Uncle Derek and Aunt Stephanie were able to fight the crowds and have LOTS of fun with us!

Moving my mom...
Merritt and Mason had a great time helping out too.

We're glad that week is over, even though we had a lot of fun. Now we're trying to get caught up from the whirlwind of it all (and the lack of sleep).


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