If you have visited here before, you can probably see that I have changed the name of the blog again. I started blogging at 4URuthie to tell the story of our journey to adopt our 1st daughter. I changed it to Mountains for Maggie when we were praying for God to move mountains on behalf of our 2nd daughter. Well now it is no longer just Ruthie’s or Maggie’s stories. It is now our family's story, and the stories of those we share life with, as we Conquer Mountains together. Both ConqueringMountains.net and 4URuthie.blogspot will lead here.

About Me

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I am a pastor's wife, mother of 4 kids (2 adopted and 3 with special needs), physical therapist, and photography junky. This is where it all comes together for me. Feel free to join along as I process life out loud.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Back To School

Back to school pics were a bit challenging this year.  I tried several times but the kids were abundantly excited about participating and I didn't want to torture them.  So I snapped a few here and there when I could sneak up on them or steal them away.

I didn't leave Ruthie out, she got her own session. Coming soon.  ;)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wondrous Wednesday

"I think my work has to do with a sense that we are attempting, all the time, to create a logical, rational path through the day. To the left and right there are an amazing set of distractions that we usually can't afford to follow. But the poet is willing to stop anywhere. . . . And it's that willingness to slow down and examine the mysterious bits of fluff in our lives that is the poet's interest." 
--William Collins

This week's Wondrous Wednesday was not something in nature, as I expect most will be, but rather a moment in our week that I choose to take my camera along for.  Trent took Sam to Mardel to buy his first official Bible.

He has had children's Bibles up until now but expressed his desire for one that matched the words daddy was reading.  Sam is so blessed to have a daddy who cherishes moments like this with him.

May you search those pages son and find the answers to all of your hearts deepest needs and questions. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Those Who Get It - Part 5

Good news friends- this is the last post in this series on what separates those who really seem to "get it" from those who just go through the motions of each day.  You can read more of an explanation on this in my other posts Those Who Get It 1-4.

So here are the character traits I have observed in those who "get it":  

1. They see God in the everyday.  (More about that HERE)

2. They make space in their life for good inputs. (More about that HERE)

3. They live with a "get to" attitude. (More about that HERE)

4. They have a Biblical Worldview that transforms their lives. (More about that HERE)

5. Their righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and pharisees.

Matt. 5:20 says, "For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

At first glance, that verse is a bit intimidating because we often think of the Scribes and Pharisees as the best keepers of the law or those who must have done all the right things necessary to enter into heaven. But that's just it:  their actions were purely external.  Jesus desires for us to be transformed from the inside-out.  He requires a kind of righteousness that is not demonstrated merely by performance but rather by authentic transformation.  

Those who "get it" don't see God in the everyday so someone will say "good job."  They don't make space for good inputs so they can sound smarter when they speak up in Sunday school.  They don't have a "get to" attitude so others will look at them with approval and envy and they don't act on a Biblical Worldview so people will notice their sacrifice and give them praise.  Instead they do what comes naturally and normally out of a heart and life changed by Christ.  They do what they do because that's who they are.

We have a lot of catch phrases in our house to help remind us of truth and one if them is, "Sometimes you have to fill the role before you can feel the role."  What this looks like for a lot of us is that we may have to choose to walk out the practices of those who "get it" before they become natural and normal for us.  What separates us from the Scribes and Pharisees is our motivation.  If our motivation is Christ and not the approval of others, we are on the right track.  And we take it one day at a time. 

Thanks for following me along in this and for your encouragement.  I am going to keep posting Wondrous Wednesdays as I try and fill the role of seeing God all around me.  Feel free to join along. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wondrous Wednesday

Wondrous Wednesday is a place where I post a picture from the week that reminds of how wonderful and beautiful God is.  It is a discipline in slowing down enough to see God at work around me.

I would love for you to link up to this post and share your own Wondrous Wednesday picture.

Psalm 86:10 For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.

Last Monday, we took a field trip as a family to the Houston Museum of Natural Science.  In the museum is a butterfly exhibit set in a rainforest environment.  The butterflies were beautiful and I could have spent hours watching them fly around and interact with each other.

My kids were ready to leave before I was and just as we got to the door, I talked them into walking back in for just a few more minutes.  I am so glad we did.  Sam spotted this little guy below and noticed that he was hurt.  His wings were tattered and he couldn't fly as well as the others.  With nothing to lose, he walked right onto my hand and then onto Sam's.  It was the best part of our trip.  Sam released him onto the food bowl and then we left. 

Taking a few extra minutes to look for God around us, way exceeded our expectations.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Those Who Get It- Part 4

This is the 4th part in a series I am writing on my understanding of how those who "get it" live the Christian life differently from those who just get caught up in the events of each day.   

In Exodus 33:18 Moses asked God to "show me your glory".  He wanted more than God's presence with him as he carried out his tasks.  He wanted to see the fullness of God all around him.   I don't know about you, but when my life becomes dictated by my to-do lists and personal goals, I operate on a level independent of my awareness of God around me or His involvement in my life.  Sure at the end of the day I can feel good that I got my stuff done but for what? To what end and what gain beyond the here and now?  Like Moses' cry for God to show him His Glory, my cry to God this year has been for Him to help me "get it".  Like really "get it".

So here are the character traits I have observed in those who "get it":  

1. They see God in the everyday.  (More about that HERE)

2. They make space in their life for good inputs. (More about that HERE)

3. They live with a "get to" attitude. (More about that HERE)

4. They have a Biblical Worldview that transforms their lives.  

Let me start by saying that there are people out there A LOT smarter than me who have A LOT more to say on this topic so don't go to this source as a definitive statement on the topic of Biblical or Redemptive Worldview.  I will tell you how I see it though. 

I believe that someone with a Biblical Worldview sees the world and their response to it through their own salvation, Christ's example on how to live here on earth, and God's call on their life as a response to both of those.   But it goes one step further for those who "get it".  They don't just understand this but THEY RESPOND TO IT IN OBEDIENCE!

I had a conversation with a friend this summer about all the suffering overseas and the person I was talking to said,  "I know some people who go over to help others in places like India, but I don't want anything to do with it.  I don't want to go to any of those places until after Jesus comes back and makes them right."   My friend believes in Jesus, and I am not questioning her salvation.  However, I think it is fair to say that her life has not been transformed by a Biblical Worldview. 

There is a song by Hillsong called Hosanna (you can hear it HERE) and in it are the lyrics:
Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for your Kingdom's cause.

I think people who "get it" mean those lyrics when they sing them and then their actions when they walk out of church reflect it.  They do crazy things like spend their vacation time overseas serving others, or adopt multiple children, or instead of spending extra money on more stuff they support causes that reflect a Biblical worldview.   

Please don't think that I am suggesting that in order to have a Biblical Worldview you have to spend your life overseas, because I am not.  Our world is most commonly here and now, so let me give a more familiar example.  People with a Biblical Worldview look at groups like the homeless, foster children, mentally handicapped, or economically disadvantaged not as inconveniences to their personal way of life, but with compassion.  

Those who get it embrace verses like..
Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations... Matt 28:19

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.  Matt 25:40

...And their very lives are transformed by them.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Those Who Get It- Part 3

I have been working on a series about those who "get it".  It is something that God has been stirring up inside of me for a year now.  I so desire to live a life that consists of more than going through the motions of the everyday and I think the secret is to learn from those who really "get it."   You can read more about it in my previous 2 posts which I have the links to below.

So now, I shall continue on with #3.

Character Traits of Those Who Get It (according to me)

1. They see God in the everyday.  (More about that HERE)

2. They make space in their life for good inputs. (More about that HERE)

3. They live with a "get to" attitude.

So what do I mean by a "get to" attitude?  Well, they see life through a different lens than most people.  Instead of complaining about doing things like laundry, sitting in the car rider line, or going to work,  they embrace those through the lens of thankfulness.  Doing your husband's laundry means he came home safely from that business trip.  Sitting in the car rider line means you get to see your kids right after school.  Going to work means you are fortunate enough to have a job and a means to provide for your family.  They don't have a list of "have-to's."  They have "get-to's."

I believe these people are able to see the bigger picture and use that perspective to generate thankfulness.  Do you know people like that? I call those people, the ones who get it.

It goes one step further though.  The ones who really get my attention are those who have a "get to" attitude even when enduring suffering.  Now this is when names start coming to mind for me.  This quality is so rare that specific people stand out in my mind as their impression on my life has been that strong.  Have you ever know someone who has lost a job, a house, or even a close family member and when you go to try and conjure up something comforting to say to them, they end up amazing you? Their response sounds something like, "I am okay because I know that God has this under His control and whatever comes my way, He is going to walk through it with me."  Honestly, my first thought is usually to assume they are still in the denial phase of grief.  But they aren't.  They just "get it."

Romans 5:3-4 Not only so but we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Yep, those who "get it" live a life of "get-to's."

As I try and put this into place in my own life, I am fighting off my desire complain about the fact that it is the last week of summer before my kids go back to school.  Instead I will choose to be thankful for all the things we "got to" do this summer and embrace our "get to" opportunities that await us this year.

These pics are from a day in the life of summer around here.  Sam and Ruthie working on an art project together while Jack types up the slides for our next family worship time.  Love those kids.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Those Who Get It - Part 2

On Tuesday I started a series to discuss the characteristics of those who "get it."  What do I mean by someone who "gets it?"  I am talking about people who don't spend their lives going through the motions that are dictated by their to-do lists or waiting projects.  I'm talking about those people who really "get" the Call of God on their lives.

You can read that first post HERE.

I am going to continue to introduce the characteristics one by one.  So here goes again. Lucky for you today's is pretty quick and to the point. 

Character Traits of Those Who Get It (according to me):

1. They see God in the everyday.  (Again, you can read about that HERE)

2. They make space in their life for good inputs.

What do I mean by good inputs?  I am talking about books, conferences, mentoring relationships, church, etc.  If we are truly in touch with our brokenness, we should embrace the opportunity for growth.  I hear and give all kinds of excuses for not making this a priority.  "I don't have time" is a big one.  I would argue that this is absolutely true for most of us, but that does not make it okay.  Finding the time and being motivated to find the time is what separates those who get it from those who don't.

Another argument I have heard is, "I am okay with the way I am," or, "I have what I need to fix my own problems."  Self-sufficiency makes for a great sound bite and it even makes us feel good about ourselves, but it doesn't make us good.

Those who get it make the time to seek out wisdom from good sources because they recognize it's necessary for spiritual growth.  Proverbs states the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel (Prov. 27.9) and that it's the iron on iron of relationship that makes everyone sharper (Prov. 27.17).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Those Who "Get It"- Part 1

About a year ago I read the book Radical by David Platt.   In it, he tells a story about an underground Asian church that he visited where the members left their fields and put their lives at risk for the opportunity to sit on a hard floor and listen to him teach the Gospel.  After like 8 hours, he would finish and they would ask if he would come back the next day and do it all again.    It occurred to me that those people "get it".  They get the value of Christ.  They get the Call.  They get it.  Do I really get it?  I have no doubt that I am a follower of Christ saved by grace, but do I really get it?

This thought has literally been rolling around in my head for over a year now and is followed by my cry out, "Lord, open my eyes that I might get it."   We all have fears for our families and children.  Fears of what the future holds.  I fear things like cancer, war, and untimely death, but the thing I think I fear most in the last year is walking through this life and missing it.  I fear getting to the end of my days and figuring out that I have spent X number of years just going through the motions.

So as I have wrestled with this, I have tried to determine how people who "get it" look different from those who might not.  I am not an expert on the topic but I believe the Bible and life point to a few key things and I want to spend the next few days sharing them with you.

Character Traits of Those Who Get It (according to me):

1.  They See God in the Everyday.

Let me explain.  The other day I was visiting with a new friend and she was telling me about a book she is reading where the author challenges you to see God in the simple things like the colors of a soap bubble.  I thought this was incredibly insightful.  Okay now don't think I am going all Oprah on you and trying to convince you that God IS the soap bubble because I am not.  However, I believe that when we slow down enough from our frantic pace of chasing the next item on our calendar, we are able to see the beauty all around us and marvel at a God who would create such detail and beauty.

When I am over-scheduled, I don't see God.  I just see the next item on my to do list.  Then I see the stress I am enduring because of the deadlines or short comings.  That is usually followed by a pity party of some sort.  It is an incredibly self-centered downward spiral instead of a God-centered time of growth.

Those times I have seen God most in my surroundings are when I have been forced to slow down.

One of those times was a year ago when Trent I were on a Mediterranean cruise.  I was sitting out on my balcony thinking about how people who "get it" spend their money and then God silenced my thoughts and opened my eyes to the picture below.   I ran inside, got my camera and for the first time took a picture of just water.  No kids.  No boats.  Just creation.

Who is this wondrous God who makes the oceans such a beautiful shade of blue? What does that tell me about his character? His eye? And how much delight did He get out of me stopping to notice it and saying thank you?

I think people who "get it" ask questions like that every day.  I think as they look, God opens their eyes to see His creation in ways that most of us never see.  I want to be one of those people.

As a personal practice to help me open my eyes to the wondrous things of God, I am going to start Wondrous Wednesdays here where I will post a picture of something of God that caught my eye that week.  I would love for you to do the same and join me by posting a link to your picture in my comment section.  If you guys get excited about joining along, I will set up one of those linky tool things so we can all share God's wonders with each other each week.   For me it is a new discipline in my effort to become someone who "gets it".

Oh and I have like 5 or so more characteristics of those who "get it" that I will be sharing over the next weekish.

One more thing (sorry) if you have a picture of something that speaks to you about the wonders of God, please post a link in the comment section here.  I would love to see it!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Adventures in Cookie Baking

A friend of mine posted a cookie recipe on Facebook friday and reading recipes on Facebook is like going to the grocery store hungry.  You should never do it if you are counting calories.  Luckily I am not this week so while Sam was at baseball practice, the other 2 and I embraced the opportunity to bake!

I don't normally have all the ingredients on hand when I get the urge to bake, but these were the easiest cookies ever.

1 cup sugar, 1 cup peanut butter, 1 egg, and Hersheys Kisses.  That's it!

Jack and Ruthie had a blast and I enjoyed capturing them baking together.

And Sam was pretty thankful too when he came home hungry from baseball.

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