Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Spiritually Speaking!

 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16

While away this past week at my annual homeschool planning week the Lord spoke to me through His word.  It was funny.  The Lord wants me to know who's in charge.  When I sat down to have my quiet time I wasn't getting much.  When I went to bed HE woke me up and poured out more than I could have ever dreamed of.  I love this amazing God I serve.  He is no pie-in-the-sky kinda fairy tale.  He is a living, breathing, loving Savior who holds the power of life and death in His hands!

Mary’s destination is destruction, her god has been her stomach and her glory is her shame.  Her mind has been on earthly things. But, Mary's citizenship is heaven.  She eagerly awaits her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Who by the very power that enables Him to bring everything under control, WILL TRANSFORM her lowly body so that it will like HIS glorious body!  Phil 3:19-21 
God doesn’t want His children to hold grudges. (Phil 2b)  Remember their names are also in the book of life. (Phil 3b)  Celebrate God all day, everyday.  I mean REVEL IN HIM.  Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them.  (Phil 4:4-5)

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things that are TRUE, NOBLE, AUTHENTIC, COMPELLING, GRACIOUS, THE BEST not the worst, THE BEAUTIFUL, not the ugly, THINGS TO PRAISE, not things to curse. Phil 4:8

But one thing I do-- Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead.  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  Phil 3:13

That I may gain Christ and be found IN HIM.  Not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ- The Righteousness that comes FROM GOD and is by faith!-- Phil 3: 8b-9

Consider it a sheer gift, Mary, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.  You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the opening and shows it’s true colors.  So, don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.  Let it do it’s work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.  James 1:2-4


Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Messy means creativity and idea's are abounding!

Clean and organized are her key to sophisticated success!


Practical, Organized and Ongoing to-do lists are her key to amazing organization!

Simple and Sophisticated makes Brenda fun and flexible!
I love how the Lord created each of us so very differently and how He allows us to compliment one another with our unique gifts and talents!

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.-- Ephesians 2:10

You saw me before I was born.  Every day of my life was recorded in your book.  Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.-- Psalm 139:16

For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you a hope and a future!-- Jeremiah 29:11


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Who Am I?

Who Am I?

That I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-- The righteousness that comes from God and is by faith."-- Phil 3:8b-9 

As I am away this week praying, preparing, renewing, reviewing, seeking and searching, I am asking the Lord to show me how to transition into our new school year.  

It's the official beginning of a new season. 

One without the responsibilities I have held the last several years.  (though there are new and different ones, there are less)  I am moving from unit studies to figuring out what Classical education looks like on me.  It will not look like it does on others, but my goal is to figure out how to make it exactly what Jesus wants it to look like in my home.  I'm sure it will be a more relaxed version. 

My weekend started by taking a stroll down memory lane with the Lord.  In 23 years of marriage, and 13 completed (Whew!) years of homeschooling, I've learned a lot through trial and error. 
(And error and error and error and error!)

 I have watched my amazing husband grow into a man that I would not have even know was possible when we began dating 25 years ago.  My 17 year old heart could have never contemplated how much it was able to love this man.  But here, all these years later I would choose exactly the same life God has given me.  I feel so grateful to have been loved by one who is loyal, loving, steady and strong!  His love has made me a better  mother, a better friend, a better person! 

 We graduated our first little homeschooler!  Brandon loves Jesus.  He loves his family.  He loves others.  I am thrilled to watch him launch into his life.  He still has no idea what he wants to do but he continues to work on his educational goals through our local college, while serving others in our community when there's a need.

 Colton has grown into a wonderfully responsible young man who is now 15 years old.  He is our detailed, organized thinker and has shown a strong interest in web design.  (Any thoughts to encourage that are welcome)  I love watching him work.  He is very determined and has a strong tenacity to follow through and complete any task given.

 My 7 & 9 year olds are now 9 & 11 year olds!

Seth, loves to think, ponder and figure puzzles out.  He reminds me very much of his daddy.  I can't wait for him to get old enough to take his strengths test.  I am sure strategic and deliberative are in there.  Just the other night I watched him sit for hours to figure out how to put together his own circuit panel.  This child amazes me!

Jacob, is our comic relief.  He loves to perform and get attention for being cute and funny.  He reminds me very much of Brandon, except he is not as easily influenced by others.  (He doesn't struggle with being the people pleaser that his older brother and mother seem to.) 

The Arnold's established in 1988

I look back and see God's hand of mercy and grace through every single step.  He was there through the season of diapers and dishes when I felt completely overwhelmed and forgotten.  He sent amazing women to remind me:

The days are long but the years are short.  

Then the next season came where the Lord moved me to serve in places that filled my cup and energized my soul, while at the same time stretched me to know that HIS strength is complete and perfect in my weakness.  

But, no matter the season; there are three things that have stood true through every second of every moment:

Nothing energizes me more than being a Jesus follower, a wife and a mother!

Who am I?

Her citizenship is heaven.  She eagerly awaits her Savior the Lord Jesus Christ.  Who by the power that enables Him to bring everything under control  He (Jesus) will transform her. -- Phil 3:20-21a

I am still a work in progress!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day Woobie!

Happy Father's Day to one of the most incredible dads I know.  I still remember giving him the news 20 years ago when we found out we were going to have Brandon.  The shock that overcame his 23 year old face.  (Still makes me smile)  

All these years later and he must have adjusted well because we've added quite a few.  We are so honored to be the parents of four sons here on earth and we have two waiting for us when we get home to heaven one day. 

What many of you may not know is that Scott actually taught "me" the practical parts of being a mom.  You see, he is the oldest of four and was a huge help to his parents.  The first time he placed Brandon in my arts I was 21years old and was scared to death.  I remember him helping me "adjust" so that it was more comfortable.  Scott changed just as many diapers as I did and gladly, without complaint helped get up in the middle of the night for feedings.  He took/takes his job as father seriously and has invested consistently into their hearts and character.  Some women like flowers but for "me", watching my husband play with his children is the most romantic thing I've ever experienced. 

Thank you Scotty for being such an AMAZING dad!  I love you...., XOXO

P.S.- Seth said to tell you he likes it when you take him to the park to throw the football. (hint, hint)


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Falling Down & Getting Up!

So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too.  For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.  You won't spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.  You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy-- their immortality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parities, and their terrible worship of idols.-- 1 Peter 4:1-3

I can breath again!  Oh the joy of clearing my plate so I can enjoy life to the fullest.  I broke many of my own rules the last several weeks.  

I have a plate analogy:

When you're full nothing tastes good.  

I learned this after going to the all-you-can-eat buffet with my family.  We had gone back more than we should have (dramatically rolling my eyes) and so when I sat down to have dessert with my boys I realized I was so full I couldn't even taste what I was eating.  

The Lord showed me that this is true of busyness as well.  When I get too busy nothing tastes good.  I am not able to enjoy anything we're doing, no matter how wonderful it is.

Knowing and owning this are two different things.  I had been so good, so careful the last few years at keeping an eye on my plate that I pridefully forgot to remember and heaped WAY TOO MUCH on my plate of responsibility!

Praise the Lord for Phil 3:13..., "Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead":

I am officially done with my PPEA board duties, officially done with convention, officially done with Classical Conversations practicum, officially done with our school year and I want to run singing through the sprinklers with my hands up in the air. (Okay, maybe I've just had a little too much coffee?)

Seriously though, in the midst of completing those big projects on my plate I got off track with a few things that are BIG and GOOD in my life:

1-  Weight Watchers!  Yes, I've been going to the meeting and I've been maintaining or losing and gaining the same two pounds since May.  But I lost my first love, my vision, my strong commitment in the midst of busyness.

2-  Walking!  I had a great system in place where I was walking with my husband or friends consistently.  Not only did this help me be accountable it also gave purpose.  I miss how good I felt when I walk walking.

3-  Daily e-mails with Bonni!  Bonni, is a new friend I met at weight watchers this year.  She has lost 80 pounds and is a beautiful christian.  We had started every morning with a daily e-mail talking about our weight watcher goals for the day.  The one thing helped me to be a planner, so I could practically prepare myself for the day eating wise.  She and I have talked and I am very much looking forward to getting back on track.

As I have been praying and asking God to help me get back on track I have been reminded that I am going to have to do things I don't want to do.  I am going to have keep a better eye on my plate so that the things of this world do not sneak in and steal my heart.

For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.-- 1 John 2:16


Monday, June 13, 2011

Do you have a husband struggling spiritually?

"In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands.  Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words.  They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives."-- 1 Peter 3:1

It seems like yesterday that I was praying for my sweet husband to accept Jesus as His Savior.  I love this man so very much.  He was/is one of the most moral, upright human beings you could ever hope to know.  However, if he had died he would have spent an eternity in hell and this single thought grieved my heart beyond anything else.

As a new christian I was a bit over zealous.  I would come home and sing the praises of my new found faith.  I so wanted my husband to be a part of my new life.  Thus began my new career of personal evangelist.  I thought it was my job to "help" my husband.

I would invite him to church, men's dinners, marriage retreats, anything that would get him around other believers.  He was never put off or rude, but simply not led to accept Jesus Christ as His Savior.

A precious, older, Godly woman encouraged me to quit bugging him about it and to just live my life in front of Him.  I asked the Lord to show me how to do that and He was faithful.

Each week I would get up and get my two babies ready.  I would Pack the diaper bags, get the bottles, get the boys dressed and GO!  The Lord honestly helped me to not feel frustrated that Scott was not going.  I just loved him and desired that he know Christ too.

As the years began to go by one by one I would worry that I wasn't doing enough.  However, God's time and man's are two totally different things.
(This picture is actually 23 years later but whatever, lol)
9 Years Later:

I was singing a solo one Sunday morning. (This was the only thing that would get him to church.  He loved me and always supported me when I sang)  We had a traveling evangelist visiting this particular morning and as Lucien Behar spoke truth into our hearts, little did I know that God was speaking to Scott.  

As Lucien gave the alter call at the end of the message I was surprised to see my husband get up and go forward. I truthfully don't remember even going with him.  It was surreal. I felt numb.  Here God was answering the cry of my heart and I couldn't believe it.

Later that night when we were talking I asked him what had taken so long.  He didn't know exactly, but he did share with me I had preached so much in the beginning that he had shut off.  

He said, that one of things that had begun to bother him was feeling like he was missing out.  He would watch us get excited about church every Sunday and come home fulfilled. He saw me reading my bible.  He saw me mess up and watched how I would get back up and keep on going.  

I share this because I had had no idea what he was thinking and often worried that I should be doing more.  NO!  My job is not to be anyone's holy spirit.  I speak and live truth but I have to remember not to get in God's way.

Thank you, Jesus!

Do you have a husband who is not saved?  A husband who is struggling spiritually?  Do you wish your husband would read the bible more?  

The answer is not in us teaching our husbands, but in loving them where they're at, and modeling before them a strong relationship with Jesus ourselves.
"In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands.  Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words.  They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives."-- 1 Peter 3:1


Walking Humbly...,

God's umbrella of protection can only take place when I walk under HIS complete authority.  

You who are slaves must accept the authority of your masters with all respect.  Do what they tell you-- not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel.  For God is pleased with us when we do what we know is right and patiently endure unfair treatment.

1 Peter 2:18-19 (NLT)


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Anita Renfroe & Mandisa!

 Such an amazing night!  Bonni got us VIP tickets.  We were able to go into a special entrance that allowed us front row seats (we'll 3rd row) and we were able to participate in a Q&A with Anita and Mandisa.

 This is my beautiful friend Bonni.  She has lost 80 pounds on weight watchers and is such a huge encouragement to me!  Thank you, Bonni....XOXO

 A total God moment was when my dear friend Terry McGory walked in and happened to sit right next to us.  I had no idea she was going but it blessed me beyond belief.  Love this mama!

 There were many friends there!  Brenda and I were only rows apart.

 I was totally surprised to see Lisa and Nicole but so excited.  Love these girls!

 If you have not heard Anita Renfroe you should Youtube her.  She is a 49 year old christian comic who bring laughter and levity to hotflashes, marriage and kids.  She blessed my heart beyond belief.  My stomach and cheeks still ache from laughing.

 WHOA!  Mandisa rocked the house!  Her voice is beautiful but it's her heart that inspires me.  She shared her struggle through food idolization and how God has been her deliver.  She has lost 120 pounds. 

I would LOVE to do this again very soon!  I told my husband I want to see The David Crowder band when they come November 6th.