Inspired to be “Inspired”

photo copyright Renay Hartman

I love to write and to talk and mostly I love to think. I love to debate an idea and I love either gaining resolve in what I already know to be true, or I also love finding a new idea and making it mine. I live with deep conviction. Conviction can be intense like fire, it can refine but as fire can consume so can conviction. I am on a journey to be inspired by the conviction that more often consumes me than inspires me. I am in need to allow the fire to refine and burn off the impurities and produce in me a something new. I want this fire that burns inside me to be something inspiring to others an “aroma of inspiration” that helps to purify the stench all around us.
For those of us that live with deep conviction, and have much discernment over many issues there can be loneliness and pain. Some will say: “backward”, but I say “upstream”. It’s always difficult to stand alone, and to pursue holiness. If God has blessed you with a personality with intense Zeal for righteousness, you must first realize failure is ahead, because “Righteousness is akin to Holiness” and holiness doesn’t come cheap. Holiness comes through the refining fire.
“Be Holy as I am Holy”, resonates over and over in my mind. Jesus has paid the price so that I can be Holy. I must take what he has given me with an open heart and mind. I must decide to run with this gift and some of the race may be through the fire of refining. For this I am thankful. For this I know I am blessed and you are blessed. For this I call myself Holy and speak it over my life and pray for it to happen.

I am Inspired to be “Inspired”……….I am praying this morning for “Inspiration”.   I am praying for the motivation the “Holy Inspiration” will bring for all things to be done in my life to the Glory of the One who made me.

For those of us who feel uninspired especially because our Zeal for Holy seems to be unattainable. While it seems that many around us are happy in their half-holy, and you are hoping for the whole of  holy but feel so unholy.   I am remembering what David wrote in Psalm 69:9: “for zeal for your house consumes me”……….. and I am inspired.   I was more inspired when I read all of Chapter 69 of Psalm and realized the chosen man of God: King David felt as I often feel.   I am “Inspired”!


Do you struggle for holiness.  Do you live with Conviction? Is your Zeal consuming?

photo copyright Renay Hartman

Psalm 69

New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 69[a]

For the director of music. To the tune of “Lilies.” Of David.

1 Save me, O God,     for the waters   have come up to my neck. 2 I sink in the miry depths,     where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters;     the floods engulf me. 3 I am worn out calling for help;     my throat is parched. My eyes fail,     looking for my God. 4 Those who hate me  without reason     outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause,     those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore     what I did not steal.

5 You, God, know my folly;     my guilt is not hidden from you.

6 Lord, the Lord Almighty,     may those who hope in you     not be disgraced because of me; God of Israel,     may those who seek you     not be put to shame because of me. 7 For I endure scorn   for your sake,     and shame covers my face. 8 I am a foreigner to my own family,     a stranger to my own mother’s children; 9 for zeal for your house consumes me,     and the insults of those who insult you fall on me. 10 When I weep and fast,     I must endure scorn; 11 when I put on sackcloth,     people make sport of me. 12 Those who sit at the gate  mock me,     and I am the song of the drunkards.

13 But I pray to you, Lord,     in the time of your favor; in your great love,   O God,     answer me with your sure salvation. 14 Rescue me from the mire,     do not let me sink; deliver me from those who hate me,     from the deep waters. 15 Do not let the floodwaters  engulf me     or the depths swallow me up     or the pit close its mouth over me.

16 Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of your love;     in your great mercy turn to me. 17 Do not hide your face   from your servant;     answer me quickly,   for I am in trouble. 18 Come near and rescue me;     deliver  me because of my foes.

19 You know how I am scorned,   disgraced and shamed;     all my enemies are before you. 20 Scorn has broken my heart     and has left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none,     for comforters,   but I found none. 21 They put gall in my food     and gave me vinegar  for my thirst.

22 May the table set before them become a snare;     may it become retribution and[b] a trap. 23 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,     and their backs be bent forever. 24 Pour out your wrath   on them;     let your fierce anger overtake them. 25 May their place be deserted;     let there be no one to dwell in their tents. 26 For they persecute those you wound     and talk about the pain of those you hurt. 27 Charge them with crime upon crime;     do not let them share in your salvation. 28 May they be blotted out of the book of life     and not be listed with the righteous.

29 But as for me, afflicted and in pain—     may your salvation, God, protect me.

30 I will praise God’s name in song     and glorify him   with thanksgiving. 31 This will please the Lord more than an ox,     more than a bull with its horns and hooves. 32 The poor will see and be glad —     you who seek God, may your hearts live! 33 The Lord hears the needy     and does not despise his captive people.

34 Let heaven and earth praise him,     the seas and all that move in them, 35 for God will save Zion     and rebuild the cities of Judah. Then people will settle there and possess it; 36     the children of his servants will inherit it,     and those who love his name will dwell there.

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Empty to fill……………………………..

I just finished Ann Voskamp’s book~~One Thousand Gifts. I was taken by her writing style and more so by her revelation of finding JOY in the mundane of the day-to-day. Her pain in life was raw and you could identify with her search for God in the dark places. It was no struggle at all to immediately identify that even in our mundane or in our darkest hours God has placed gifts for our joy over and over and over and over again.

Her book is based on giving thanks to God for his goodness and counting it all joy. After reading the book the part that stayed with me most was “Empty to fill”.

Empty to Fill~~ on page 197 of her book she cites Isaiah 58: 10-11

Feed the hungry,
and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
The LORD will guide you continually,
giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like an ever-flowing spring.

She then simply writes: It’s the fundamental, lavish, radical nature of the upside down economy of God.
Empty to fill.

And I mediate on what this means…………..

Empty to fill………..Empty to Fill………

It is here in her book that I realize that the fullness of God, the fullness of Joy is when we empty ourselves to be filled with more of the Holy Spirit. One definition of empty was vacant. If this temple becomes vacant then there will be plenty of room for the fullness of Christ. One definition of full was: completely filled; containing all that can be held; filled to utmost capacity: a full cup. It is here that I truly can visualize “my cup runneth over”.

Psalm 23

King James Version (KJV)

Psalm 23

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

And so now I pray: Empty to Fill, so that I not only can dwell in the house of the Lord forever but that he too will take this vacant temple and fill me with His Spirit. It’s a whisper of a prayer that I am determined to continue to repeat until the fullness of God and his Joy overflows with in me. Empty to Fill has become a prayer for me……………everything in our lives must empty to be full.  Everything from pride to an extra drawer with too many items. We must empty to fill. We must abide in him to be ever-present to allow him to work in our temple. I am praying this whisper of a prayer “Empty to Fill” will help to free me in a thousand ways to fully enter into a fullness of God and all the Joy that is therein.

I will be displaying this in my kitchen for a while........Empty to Fill.......

How will you be thinking on Empty to Fill?????????? &

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Running Your Socks Off?

Our littlest one has been racing around so much lately that she literally runs her socks off!

Tonight I am listening to the Sleep Sound in Jesus CD. The soft sounds of this music by Michael Card is echoing down the halls and through our home. It reminds me of years gone by because all of our babies have listened to this cd while asleep in their beds! Its a blessing! As we push forward for another year of homeschool, it is good to remember how sweet God has been! He got us through sleepness nights with our babes and he will carry us through each phase of parenting.

I have been away from my blog and it is merely because I can’t keep up with myself. I seem to run passed myself sometimes and I have to remind me to slow down. Ha!

But I am still here and I am still clickin’! Taking hundreds of photos a day and thousands of them just in my minds eye. I am continually making mental notes of my childrens daily activites. Striving always to seek out learning experiences and make memories! That was what our summer was made of: learning experiences and memories! We traveled all the way to Teleuride CO and back and made memories. I took tons of photographs! Perhaps as our schedules get back to normal and our days come to a close as night blankets us earlier. I will be able to share our photos and memories and let you “get the picture”.

For now I just wanted to stop in and say hello and let you know I am still clickin’!

And since I have been running passed myself recently I looked up one of my favorite verses and decided to think on it a while.

Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat dow at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

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Little boys are warriors! We must teach them self-control.

The middle of last week was rough.  While the snow was piling up in other areas of the country and people were praying for a “meltdown”; I was praying for the “meltdown” to freeze!  My little boy all of five and the epitome of “snakes and snails and puppy dog tales” on this particular occasion, had lost his ability to choose the right course of action.  A disagreement about a toy among his peer had led to instant anger and then the immediate “meltdown” effect.  He lost it!  Not only did he lose it but he could not get it back and it was intense.  There I was a the end of the hall stooping down and trying to coax this now very powerful little boy back into my reality.  Geesshh!  We were literally going around the mulberry bush which in this setting was a large square hallway, and I prayed, “Lord, please help me.” 

Have you ever been there?: embarrassed, humiliated, at your wit’s end, and just trying to figure out how to reach your child and make him/her understand: this is not necessary, this is only making it worse, stop already, just do it my way it’s easier!  There I was and there he was: the standoff.  I felt as if we were two cowboys in the old west and I wondered who was the fastest draw? Who could make the straightest shot?  Who had more willpower? Amazingly I was able to withstand and stay patient.  Although I had to swallow my pride and give up on forcing an apology or trying to gain any ground with my paternal authority or my awesome parenting skills I learned a lot that evening. During the lecture of lectures with the stern “No Mario for a week, and no Toy Story toys until you do better next Wednesday” came a lesson of large proportions.  I told my little boy that he should not do this to me when I am alone with the three of you (my children). A small tearful voice said, “Mama, you are never alone.  God is everywhere you look.”  I cried. He cried.  We talked about forgiveness, grace, good choices, self-control, kindness, love, and we prayed.

I took this picture 2 years ago recognizing the difference between girls and boys. I loved how my little boy turned this doll house into a parking garage!

Raising little children is hard.  It is the most difficult part of my life.  Every single choice I make has eternal ramifications.  These children are mine and my husbands charge to keep.   One thing that I am learning from raising children is that: “I am not alone. God is everywhere I look.”  Raising children continues to bring me to the throne of God. I am daily working on my own character and even when I am not trying to change my flaws they are clearer in the light of little children who imitate the best and worst of us.  I also recognize on a daily basis that if my love for my children is a reflection of God’s love for me, I am overwhelmed by His awesome love and grace.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

My prayer is that my character and integrity will be a reflection of Christ.  I pray that my children will lean toward salvation and experience grace.  I pray that they will make right decisions and seek the kingdom.  I pray that as a family we can hide His word in our hearts and not sin against God. (“Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.“)

And the terrible thing is in the middle of those trying moments we do feel all alone.  We question what in the world can we do to reach this little life.  We are not alone!  God is everywhere we look!  (make sure to scroll down for a few more pictures of how creative little boys play)

Psalm 139 (New International Version, ©2010)

Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. 1 You have searched me, LORD,
   and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
   you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
   you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
   you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
   and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
   too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
   Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
   if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
   if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
   your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
   and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
   the night will shine like the day,
   for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
   How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
   they would outnumber the grains of sand—
   when I awake, I am still with you. 19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
   Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
   your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD,
   and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
   I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
   test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
   and lead me in the way everlasting.

Why do little boys love the toughest character?

"fast cars and awesome art work delight me!"

"My little boy is always paying attention to the details. I am sure he is paying attention to the details about his Mama too! I need to stay in prayer and focused!"

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Today has been a long day.  Nothing out of the ordinary but I feel as if it has been drawn out.  I feel exhausted.  I need my coffee but I have decided on a fast to pray for several areas of life and for several people I love very much.   Maybe that is why the day seems longer?

going for a hike in the winter wonderwoods

The last week or so has included a long list of “Cancellations”. And if you put this blog in your RSS you probably thought I “cancelled” that too!  The snow finally came to our area and with the white blanket of flakes came the call to slow down and stop life as we know it.  I have to say I LOVE THAT!  I love it when snow slows everything down!  We seem to be slightly happier in many ways, we read more books, take longer naps, and we slow down.  We watched movies, built houses out of boxes, built snowmen, and took walks in the winter wonderwoods beyond the warmth of our front door.  We even do school better on snow days. All of those wonderful activities plus the ones I did not include like: playing Polly Pocket, American Girl, Toy Story, Thomas the Train, and baking cookies, cup cakes, and chocolate lava cake kept us really busy.  At the end of each night I could not bring myself to the computer to blog all about it.  It has been vacation in many ways.  I love snow days when this family can gel together and enjoy a slower pace.  Our home becomes our own small town.  It’s almost as if we take a long walk down a sidewalk full of shops and discover many things we never knew or just never thought about at all.  We have loved it. 

the nephew made this great "box house" for the kids


these were a sweet treat I made for a birthday we celebrated with friends

Playing Toy Story

We finally took down our Christmas tree and that was kind of sad.  Keeping the family on task was a bit of chore but we got it done singing Go Fish Christmas songs from the “Snow” album… appropriate! 

oh the view of snow

So I did not “Cancel” the blog I just got wrapped up in living life here in my Igloo!

building snowmen


a winter wonderland



awesome tree

going for a hike in the winter wonderwoods

I have decided to take on a “fast”  to “Cancel” the enemy’s attempt to defeat me in this life and to defeat my loved ones.  So as I fast and pray in the days to come I am looking forward to “Cancelling” the plan of the enemy!  I am looking toward the plans the Lord has for my life and listening for His voice.  I am praying for loved ones to make good decisions and I am praying for lost sheep.  I am also praying for my little family that we may love more purely and find more purpose. I pray that we are more gentle with one another and that we are forgiving of each others shortcomings.  I am praying for an attitude that reflects Jesus Christ.  I am praying for the Lord to create in me a heart like His. 

How have you handled a slower pace in life? Will you spend anytime in prayer and fasting soon or have you already been in prayers and fasting in 2011?

{Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may life you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him becasue he cares for you.  Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls aroudn like an roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your borthers throughout the world are undergoing the same kid of sufferings.  And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  To him be the power for ever and ever.  Amen 1Peter 5:14}

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Brace Yourself!

Today was a busy interesting day.  We popped out of bed early to take the baby for immunizations and hurried home to start school.  We were more productive than usual and it felt good.  I had an appointment at my Orthodontists office to have a permanent wire fixed, no big deal, right?  Well 3 minutes in the chair and the doctor tells me we should put braces on those teeth to get them back in the best order possible!   What?  Braces? What? I had braces as an adult nearly 9 years ago and because of my special situation it has been necessary to keep permanent retainers on my lower front teeth especially. During my pregnancy my lower connections had loosened and I decided to wait until now to have the permanent retainer repaired.  So needless to say I walked out of the orthodontists office with a complete lower set of shiny metal braces~~beautiful! 

tools to take care of the "braces" ~~oh JOY!~~

Life is kind of like this all the way around and many times we have to “Brace” ourselves to deal with the next thing that comes along.  We never really know what situation may drop itself into our lives but we always know there is a source of strength and peace in our Heavenly Father.   {The name of the Lord is a strong tower: The righteous run into it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10}

It is good to dwell on the fact that the Lord is a strong tower and sometimes we need to run there!  Today (January 24 2011) was The March for Life in Washington DC.  I believe that life starts at conception.  On December 18 2008 my husband and I had to “brace” ourselves when we were told that our baby of almost 17 weeks gestation no longer had a heartbeat.  The numbness that comes from something like that is almost more than you can “braceyourself to handle.  Timothy Michael Paul was born 3 days later without a heartbeat and laid to rest on December 23 2008.  We held him, we loved him, we longed for him and we still do.  Believe in life!  I spent 3 days in the hospital trying to induce labor.  During that time I often thought of women who enter abortion clinics knowing their baby has a heartbeat and knowing they are going to take that heartbeat away.  I have been given much grace to deal with such loss, and I pray that women who have experienced similar situations have that grace also.  I also pray for women who have made that awful decision to abort a precious little life; that they may find healing and forgiveness.  And for women who have “braced” themselves to deal with a pregnancy I pray that they lean on the Lord and choose life! I pray that they can run to that “strong tower“. Today in honor of my precious little Timothy Michael Paul I pray our nation will “Brace itself and choose life!”

Timothy's little fingernails were like grains of salt. He was precious.

These little foot prints are actually Timothy's.

Today we really celebrated life! Our baby celebrated her 7month birthday!  Praise the Lord!

Celebrating Gods Grace and His gifts!

How are you celebrating life?  Are you “braced” for a particular situation? Run to the strong tower!

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Lessons from My Messy House.

It is a late morning here in our home.  Coffee has been brewed and dressed up with Raw Sugar and White Creamy creamer.  Its gray outside and I love and hate this time of year for that.  Sometimes that gray lets you stay beneath warm covers and stretch looking forward to the cool crispness of the morning and other times that is the “gray” that makes you want to stay in bed.

"gray mornings"


For me it has been the first.  I have been enjoying this week of gray days.  We have been utilizing our “home”.  Do you have one of those? You know the place you are suppose to hang your hat, and feed your soul & spirit generously in it’s shelter.  But I guess that is the thing……….how many of us “live” there.

I looked up the word live at and the definitions that interested me were words like this: to have life, remain alive, to feed, to dwell, to pass life in a specified manner, to experience or enjoy life to the full, to escape destruction, to practice in ones life. 

I love looking words up, sometimes it gives you such perspective.  And today I have perspective concerning the condition of my home.   We live here.  We have life here.  We remain alive here.  We feed and nurture our bodies, souls, and spirits here.  We dwell here. We pass life here in a specified manner.  We experience and enjoy life to the full here. We escape destruction here.  Our home is our refugee and we “live” here. 

Today it is very messy. It was messy yesterday, and the day before.  We have a tent fort that spans half of our living room.  In the tent fort there is life, we have read books and fed our souls.  We have giggled and passed time.  We have allowed our home to be the place where we are living life to the full. 

Now that is a Tent Fort

 Today the island and kitchen table are messy. It was messy yesterday and the day before.  The girlie girl has been creative with “a hundred pieces of tape” (her first item on her Christmas list), string, construction paper, pens, pencils, markers, crayons, sissors, egg cartons, and recycled Christmas cards. 

Creativity can be Messy!

Let the Creative Juices Flow!

We “live” here and I am coming to find that we need more time here at home.  As a Mama in todays world there is such a draw away from our home.  Our society tells us that if we are not out and about we are not living.   I am starting to realize “living” starts at home.  Living starts here in this space of safety and retreat. 

I have learned a lesson from “My Messy House”.  We “LIVE” here!   I realize that my recent interest in staying home more often and decreasing our outside activities is going to create a lot more “living”.  These little years are passing by very quickly, and I want to enjoy more “gray” days this winter with larger fort tents and more giggles.  I also want to spend more time inviting the Lord to join us right here in the midst of this refugee.  {He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1}

Do  you have plans to try to spend more time at home?

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