Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Grateful Comparison

Does is bug you when someone says, "Oh, I totally know
exactly how you feel?"

Although we may be able to relate to someone on some level,
we don't really know exactly what they're going

So, with this truth in mind, I humbly make the following
comparison between ministry families and military families.

The "ministry family" part I know... I'm living it and
loving the life I'm called to.
The "military family part"... I don't pretend to really know
what their lives are like, but from those I've known and the
blogs I read and the few I currently know, I've seen some
similarities between the two.
I'm listing this comparison ONLY to heighten our respect
and admiration for them & the courageous lives they lead.

Here's my observations:

- Often live away from their families

- Move from place to place

- Must force themselves to make relationships even though
it's possible that they'll move again soon

- Learn to rely on friends as family (we find this a blessing!)

- Good at packing boxes & moving

- Are acquainted with "lonely"

- Knowing that their husbands are on the front lines for the cause

- Risk is a way of life

- Strong Wives/Moms who must function for long periods
of time while the husband is away
(NOTE: my husband travels quite a bit, but I don't even pretend
to relate to the military wives who are separated from spouses
for months/years!)

My comparison must end here... I know there's so much more that
they endure,
that they sacrifice,
that they give...

I'm so VERY grateful to the countless families who live a completely
different lifestyle than I could ever truly relate to... all because they
have chosen to serve our country...
to serve us!

With tears in my eyes I write...
Thank you, Service Men & Woman and your families!
Your sacrifice is unlike ANY other!
I respect you, admire your courage and pray for you regularly!
Our freedom, our flag, our country means SO much to me!
Thank you for protecting all that we hold dear!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Leader or Parent?

Even in the best of circumstances, chances are...
There's Someone who is unhappy.

When there's 5 kids, age ranges span from 17 yrs. to 3 yrs...
there's gunna be
someone who is bored,
thought we were doing something else,
"just knew" this would happen,
is thrilled & delighted,
or is quietly containing their frustration with the others.
That's what parenting really is...

The qualities of leadership should reflect those of
parenting in many, but not all, ways!
Looking out for the best of everyone
Looking out for the best of each individual
Seeing ahead
Being willing to have others angry at you for making a decision
Still caring for the ones who are angry with you
Keeping no specific hours
Showing the right way to live by living the right way
Following through with what we say we'll do
Carefully explaining what's expected
Disciplining & correcting
Taking Risks
Believing in those who are following
Oh yeah, and loving, more... and more!

The list could be for PARENTS or LEADERS!
Kinda weird, huh?

Obviously, Leaders don't have the authority that parents have,
and leaders don't "make" people do things, and leaders are
not responsible FOR making people do the right thing.
Leaders DO have a huge responsibility TO other people.
But not FOR them.

Godly decisions are always gunna tick off someone...
but when we're leading we must expect it.
We must please GOD! And follow the leaders God's placed
over us!

Hopefully, the 21+ years I've been a leader has been sharpening
my parenting skills.
And, I trust that my nearly 18 years of parenting has been
sharpening my leadership skills.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

FEET! I'm blogging about Feet?

(Guys, don't click away yet. It's not really a girlie post!)

Last week my Mom took my 3 daughters & me to get a pedicure.
Our FIRST ever!

I hate feet. They creep me out.
Because of that, I've kept my feet decently-cared-for
and nails polished since I was in 4th grade.

That said, going to a salon to willing let someone ELSE
touch my feet was a big step. iiiickk
But ... it was OK... really.

when she first touched my feet
I squirmed... it tickled
when the little medal tools came into sight
I turned away
when the giant cheese grater-thingy came into view
I closed my eyes & concentrated on breathing

When it was all said & done... I liked it.
Honestly, My feet looked the same as they always do.
But they didn't FEEL the same!
They were different!
Softer. Smoother. Deep down- much better!

Much like our hearts...
(I know, I'm comparing feet to hearts...and that's kinda gross!)

We do what we've always done...
-normal Bible Reading
-routine prayer
- casual Christian conversations..

and the results of those efforts seems fine enough
good enough
our hearts aren't gross or dirty looking
we appear fine

But if we let the MASTER perform the heart-treatment
of His choice, then we find out that there's MUCH to change!
He soaks us in His loving kindness
He softens our edges
Smooths away hurts that have turned into harden calluses
Gently uses the tools of His Spirit to reshape the unseen areas,
Makes us more confident.

We may appear the same to other people,
but we know that our heart is different,
our attitudes & motives are changed...
because we let the Master, JESUS, do what He loves to do.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Random Ramblings

Totally Random thoughts!

(some may tick you off or offend you... sorry)

Front Porch picnics are nice

"Nickname-kinda-words" that I can't stand
- Hubby
- Wifey
- Kiddos
- Preggo

It's a bummer when someone gives you a gift but
it comes with so many expectations attached that
you can't really enjoy the gift. (The kind of expectations
that make the giver "feel" or look good,)

Stress isn't all about scheduling.

Little Cream Waffer cookies are ridiculously yummy
and should only be made once every few decades...
cuz they're so small you can just pop'um in your mouth.
Not good!

House hunting in Detroit is an adventure... to say the least
(and that's a subject for a whole 'nother blog post)

My daughter graduates this weekend

I'm thankful for air conditioning

Personal growth hurts... but it turns out to be
a good hurt

I'm an organizationally challenged person,
but I've learned heaps of tricks over the years
that work for me... Thank You, Jesus!

In a few weeks I'm gunna go to bed and not
have to get up for ANY reason... and I can
just sleep & sleep that day! (I'm smiling with
a dreamy look on my face right now!) hee hee

My youngest daughter is completely finished
with her school work for this year. Besides some
online testing she... We ... are done! Again,
thank You, Jesus!

Oh, the laundry calls my name.

What are you ramblin' about today?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ode to the Couch Cushions

It's raining outside... AGAIN!

So.. couch cushions have become many, many things...

A bouncy (aka "Moon Walk")

A stage for all types of musical talents to be showcased

An Olympic Diving platform (thanks to the sturdy
coffee table nearby)

A reason to make up some funny names from some far-away
countries while you pretend to be in the Olympics

A balance beam

A bridge across a raging river

A boat lost at sea

A excuse for little boys to take off their shirts cuz they're

A high flying plane crossing foreign continents

A good cause for sister to put on her swimsuit

A giant drum set

and many more... yet to be thought of

Monday, May 17, 2010

Menu Plan Monday, May 17, 2010

It's a big week... and weekend!
I'm going for casseroles that can be made ahead
and familiar foods that I can whip up blindfolded.

Lunch- ABC Sandwiches (Avocado Bacon Cheddar)
Dinner- Little Mamas (Sorta like a Tostada)

Lunch- Ham & Scalloped Potatoes
Dinner- Boxed Mac & Cheese, veggies

Lunch- Lasagna, salad
Dinner- Cottage Cheese, Fritos, carrots

Lunch- PB & J, Peaches
Dinner- Creamy Chicken Enchilada's (a variation of this)

Dinner- Meat Roll ups

Dinner- TBA

Dinner- Pizza


Lunch- TBA

Lunch- Warm Chicken Sandwiches, carrots & celery sticks
Dinner- Waffles, peaches, yogurt

For more ideas click on

Thursday, May 13, 2010

She's growin' & I'm sorta Freakin'

Our oldest daughter went to Prom last night...
and I'm freakin' out.

It's not about "boys & all that can happen at prom."
She's with solid Christian girls at an unusual type of "prom."
(a Christian formal at a golf/country club w/her girl friends)

It's not about "getting older" or whatever other weird
thoughts that float in & out of my head.

It's not about "wanting my baby back" or anything that we
often hear in times like this.

It's about relationship.

Nothing stays the same.
Even family relationships grow, change, reshape, etc.

As I watch my oldest daughter experience the last few
events of her "high school years," I'm very aware that
things are about to change. Not only will she be moving
out this fall, but our relationship will forever be different.
DIFFERENT does NOT mean "bad"... just different.

But an era of her life (and mine) will be ending soon...
and I can hardly stand it.

She's lovely... and she loves JESUS.
I couldn't wish for anything more in her or in our relationship...

But, life is changing.
And, as much as I feel strange & weird about this huge impending
change, I trust Jesus.
He knows the plans He has for her,
for me and how all that fits together.
Yes, my oldest daughter's life is changing & growning...
and so is mine.

And, that's about all that I manage gleen from this experience
at the moment... I think I'll go watch "America's Funniest Home Videos"
with my younger kids now!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Talk-to-Myself-Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

- Thankful for a sweet & relaxing Mother's Day. Lovin' the pretty
hanging baskets of flowers on my porch & the tough tires on my
car (truck/suv)!

- Thinking about many of the woman who have invested in my life
over the years: Mom, Grandmas, Mother-in-Law,
Aunt Doris Buxman, Aunt Millie Bay, Cindy (Hoke) Huey,
Pauletta Mickley, "The Sisters"who taught so many S
unday School Classes, Beth Burough,
Lisa Buxman, Marcia Buxman, Judy Young, Mrs. Dunn,
Trish Anderson, Cindy Steel, Susie Buxman, Kathie Thomas,
Lois Graber, Mrs. Garnsey, Mrs. Fleenor

- So happy that the livingroom is painted... and I'm really
wanting to get started on the kitchen, but it must wait

- My oldest daughter is graduating in a week & half...
I'm freakin' out! She's lovely and we're incredibly proud
of the lady she's become!

- Next week is our last week of homeschool for the school year...

- Cold rain is so stinkin' yucky! I cannot stand it!

- Looking forward to seeing my Bro-in-Law & Sis-in-Law in June

- My To-Do list is large and I'm still trying to use my
organizer to the fullest

- Sleep... not getting enough... zzz... oh, wait, what was I saying?

- I need another journal, only 5 pages left

-Excited to read "Becoming a Woman of Freedom"
By Cynthia Heald with the other ladies of Real Church.
We handed it out for Mom's Day & we're all dedicated
to reading a chapter a week so we can talk about it
before & after church instead of just saying stuff like,
"How was your week? I like your hair?"

- Gunna try to find a dress to wear to Graduation...
haven't worn anything but skirts for the last 9 or 10 years!
Weird, huh? (well, skirts when I wasn't wearing pants!)

- Missing my friend, Jodi.

- Looking forward to summer.

- Praying for my friends, Stephanie & Shay

- Still being patient as we await the "Midtown Miracle!"
(are you still praying?)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Menu Plan Monday, May 10, 2010

This week I'm finding ideas from,
and also trying to use of lotsa food that we already have.
We ended up eating out a bit last week since the livingroom
was a wreak - I was painting it.
I'm proud to say that it's done!
and things are back to normal... if you call:
3 softball games, Prom, out-of-town friend visiting,
Midtown Work day, Homeschooling, Baby Shower &
regular church services, "Normal."
(But, hey, I love my life & when it's not busy I kinda go nuts!)


Lunch-Waffles, Rasberries, Yogurt

Lunch- Broccoli Alfredo w/homemade spaghetti
Dinner- French Fry Salad

Dinner- Veggie Wraps

Lunch-Homemade W. Wheat Mac & Cheese
Dinner- Grilled Chicken, Broccoli, Crockpot Mashed Potatoes

Lunch- Homemade Pizza
Dinner- Burritos, Rice

Lunch- W. Wheat Sandwich Wraps

Lunch- French Dip Sandwiches, Veggies & Dip
Dinner- ABC Sandwiches (Avacado, Bacon & Cheddar)

For more ideas check out Organizing Junkie

Saturday, May 8, 2010

House Hunting in The D

We've been house hunting in Detroit (the city... not a suburb)
for 13 months now & have seen over 50 houses. Now we're
currently in the process of buying one... but there's lotsa ducks
that still have to line up. (to coin a corny phrase... hee hee)

Walking through all these bits of history has taught me more
about Detroit, then & now. I've learned lots from our friend,
Tim, who's basically a walking Detroit-Housing-Historian.
Thanks, Tim!

As frustrating as "house-hunting" can be, it serves to enrich
my understanding & love of Detroit!

Here's a tiny sampling of the many interesting things we've seen.
(I've taken an average of 30 pics per house. That's 1500 pics.
Most are deleted, but I saved a few.)

(historic but poorly functioning kitchen)

(elevator, built in 1920's)

(Missing furnaces, water heater, copper pipes)

(bathrooms with nothing in them)

(historic beauty... and secret rooms!)

(Remains of a kitchen in a 5 yr. old house)

(If only the inside reflected the same care as the
outside of this showed)

We continue to pray for GOD's plan...
not our's!

Mother's Day 2010

Many GREAT things can be said about my Mom, Martha Hoke.
Here's just a few:

- Taught me about JESUS!

- Read her Bible every morning (I know cuz I used to check
to see if her bookmark moved daily... it did!)

-Taught me to smile evening if I don't feel like it

- Showed me how to cook

- Used to get up super early so she could have
breakfast ready for us (she still gets up early)

- Made my wedding gown (and I got married in the 80's
so it was over-the-top covered in details, including a huge
letter "C" in the train made of lace & beads, etc!)

- Used to put out the "Happy Birthday" table cloth
every year for the day & made all my favorite meals

- Didn't hesitate to let me "help" her do just about
anything regardless of my young age or lacking

- As I was growing up, I never remember feeling like I was burden to her

Thank you!!!
(and there's so much more that I could say!)

(My Mom & me this past winter)

Many GREAT things can be said about my Mom-in-Law, Lyn Chilton!
Here's just a few:

- Loves my Husband with all her heart

- Has treated me like a daughter from the beginning

- Has never insulted or put-down my efforts as a wife/mom

- Laughs often

- Remains an example of a Woman-in-Ministy

- Smiles often

- Has given me many cookbooks from her vast collection
(and now her oldest granddaughter is about to inherit a few)

- Doesn't seem to mind that I tweek the "Chilton Family Recipes"
to fit our family a little better

- Helped me cook my first Missionary Fund Raiser
(Speed the Light Dinner) for about 150 people
(a big pot of Chilton Chili)

There's so much more that could be said about you,
Mom Chilton.
I love you!
Thank you!

Mom Chilton with her Grandkids in Aug. 2009

Thursday, May 6, 2010

HE Started it

It just happens.
It probably already has...
if not, it will.

You're involved in ministry.
You give,
and give.
You invest yourself
your time,
your ideas & creativity,
your family,
You give yourself to the people that God's called you to

But it still happens
A few of those recipients get restless,
stop liking what you're doing,
discontinue their involvement
and arrive at the conclusion that YOU,
yes YOU,
are the reason their lives are not going well.

You're the one who is called to love them!
You're the one who HAS been loving them.
Of course you're human,
of course you've failed the perfect-test,
but you LOVE them!
You've given & given to them and many, many others.

But ... it's still your fault!?

Now what?

A wonderful pastor's wife & I had a short but formidable
conversation about this recently.
Should you...??
Try to separate yourself & your personal life from your ministry?
Keep the two apart?

I think NOT!
If you're truly giving yourself
(and all those areas of your life that are listed above)
then it's impossible to separate ministry from self.

If you love people ... that's who you are ... it's you!
You... anytime, any place.
Not limited to "classic ministry moments"

Love's gunna hurt.... it does, it will, it already has.
But love is wonderful!!!!
The call of God to ALL His followers
(not just "ministers")
(and as Toby Mac said many years ago... "Love is a VERB!")

We have to keep smiling,
& knowing that it hurts,
all the while keeping our arms open to the "hurter,"
so they'll realize they're always welcome back into our lives

continue fighting to keep our hearts open to everyone else,
whether we know them yet or not,
whether they "deserve" it or not (in our opinion)
because, quite simply...
JESUS keeps on loving me
& I often find myself
wearing the "hurter" badge in our relationship.

"We love because He loved us first."
1 John 4:19

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Menu Plan Monday, May 3, 2010

Things I take into consideration as I sit down to plan my weekly

- Family's schedule: If we're comin' & going then I'll plan
crockpot meals so I'm not tempted to "just go out to dinner."

- The Weather: If it's nice, grilling. If it's hot, crock pot so I don't use
the oven. If it's rainy/cold, maybe soup & sandwiches, etc...

- The Pantry: What do we already have

- The Sales Ad: This applies only if I'm NOT shopping at Aldi. I'll plan
the menus around what's on sale & what I have coupons for, too.

- The Season: What veggies & fruits are in season right now. They're
plentiful and usually a cheaper price.


Lunch- Monte Cristo Sandwiches, Cucumber Tomato Pea Salad
Dinner- Fresh Veggie Plate

WEDNESDAY - Cinco De Mayo
Lunch- Chili Cheese Rice Burritos
Dinner- Do overs (leftovers)

Dinner- Scalloped Potatoes with Ham, Green Beans

Lunch- Pasta Salad (with tons of veggies)
Dinner- Pizza

Lunch- Toasted PB & J, Strawberries, chips
Dinner- Crockpot Potato Soup

Lunch-Messy Max's (aka Sloppy Joes), Carrots, Pickles
Dinner- TBA

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Frustration, Lies & more...

Several friends
Different conversations
Same topic

Frustration, anger, resentment, unforgiveness

Any form of these most often comes from the same thing...

Sounds harsh

Before you start listing the exceptions, let me say that
this is NOT always the case... but often!!! Often!

For example... Think about it:
A loved-one fails to recognize a rather significant situation
in your life (or they fail to respond the way you think they should).
You feel sad.
You thought they would paid attention to you & your needs.
They used to.
Maybe they're too busy now.
Maybe they care, but not really as much.
Hmm, You probably are good enough anymore.
Your friendship isn't good enough for them.
They have been hanging out with lots of new people lately.
Your relation is definitely heading in a bad direction.
This changes everything.
Wow, my other friends haven't really contacted me either.
I'm probably not too valuable to them either.
I don't feel like connecting with anyone either.

Sounds like a sitcom.
But it's fairly true of how quickly we allow our brain to think the
worst and then start believing it.
We think the worst of others.
We think the worst of ourselves.
Lies devalue everyone involved.
(That's the opposite of JESUS)
The more we think about something the more it becomes truth to us.
We'd like to blame to devil, but we do this lying to ourselves.

Honestly, it's an on-going battle to refuse the lies that wanna live
in our thoughts. But it's up to us.
Feed our minds the truth.... THE WORD OF GOD!
and keep reeling in our thoughts to the TRUTH!

When unforgiveness has a hold of you ask the Holy Spirit
to point out what lies you've been believing!

I choose to believe TRUTH!
JESUS loves me enough to give His life for me.
He loves others.
I trust Him. I give up my "rights" and love others.
There's such freedom in that!