Sharp Paynes

Never a dull moment…

Archive for the month “January, 2012”

When Saying “Thank You” is Just Obedience

I tell myself that I must model thanksgiving for my kids, that they will do what they see me doing.  When they were younger there were always the prompts.  “Tell Mrs. So-and-So ‘thank you’.”  “Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.”  “What do you say when someone gives you a gift?”  Now I am needing prompts.

Is it ok to say it just out of obedience?  Because you know it’s the right thing, the thing you should feel and say?  And because, cognitively, you know you have much to be thankful for?  But sometimes you just don’t feel it.  Ugh, this not feeling it affects everyone around.  They will do what they see me do.  It’s easy to say that doing the right thing leads to feeling the right thing.  Will it happen that way?

“Where’s the Thankful Book?”  he asks.

I wonder what he’s writing, this husband of mine who sees me out-of-character and loves me ugly.  He tells me I’m beautiful this morning, and I laugh!  Just like Sarah (Gen. 18).  Another area of obedience…choosing to believe.  And there he is on a Monday morning, ready for another crazy- busy week of building and going, with a sulky wife who has to ponder being thankful.  He writes thankfulness about things that are uncertain, questions we’ve been asking, direction we’ve been seeking.  With all that still before him, he’s thankful and taking the time to write it down.

He is my prompt today.  I am thankful for him.

Two [are] better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. 
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him [who is] alone when he falls, For [he has] no one to help him up. – Ecc 4:9-10 NKJV

God gives me exactly what I need.  I am thankful for Him.


101.  a lazy day in the  middle of the week

102.  Adventures in Odyssey

103. encouraging words

104. birds singing on a gray morning

105. Sharp Paynes : )  rockin’ the tests

106. Shelby’s smiles on my run

107. chocolate kisses

108. movie night

109. mommy making apple crisp

110. multi-grain pancakes, served by Shelby

111. ora et labora

112. my cast iron pans, from D

113. reminders…

114. God establishing the work of our hands (Ps. 90:17)

115. my husband – reminding me to be thankful





One of my favorite words.  Simplicity.  Clean and tidy, uncomplicated, unpretentious, unassuming.  Why is the pursuit of it so complicated?  Why is it too often an ‘idea’ and not a thing to be lived?

Today, I want to simply believe God, simply love my husband and children, and simply accomplish what the Lord has before me for this day.

I won’t worry about tomorrow; I won’t fret about the what-ifs and the maybe-I-shoulds.  I will accomplish kingdom work today, right here in my home, with these beautiful people.

The end.

The Great Interrupter

I am very into schedules.  I have a whole computer file full of different schedules for different children and seasons and activities and moods and maybe-this-one-will-be-the-one.  Ah, to have life all neatly out on paper…with time slots and check-boxes.

When my children were babies their days were planned and there was no eating or sleeping happenin’ before the ‘planned time’.  Pooping and crying were allowed at random, but not much appreciated.  If someone came to watch the babies while daddy and mommy went out for a few sane moments, I had to have a detailed account of how their time was spent – how long did they nap, did they eat the right amount at the right time, did they burp…

And then came homeschool, a scheduler’s dream.  From 6:30 a.m til 2 p.m. I have every move calculated.  Sometimes, it even goes as planned.

Alas, the Great Interrupter will not leave me to my own devices.

Children grow, seasons change, my husband changes occupations, and with all the unexpected, schedules get scratched for real life.  So I have had to learn (am still learning) over the years to be flexible.  Allow for changes.  Use the schedule as a framework, made of wood and not immovable stone.  Suggestions, really.

OK, and some days we even forego the schedule altogether.

But I am learning to allow God room to work, and to actually look for Him to do something big.  I am praying prayers that are not safe, for things that are not scheduled.  Just between my God and myself, I am asking for Him to be big and ‘show Himself strong’ on my behalf (2 Chronicles 16:9).

As servants of God, we must learn to make room for Him-to give God “elbow room.” We plan and figure and predict that this or that will happen, but we forget to make room for God to come in as He chooses….Do not look for God to come in a particular way, but do look for Him. The way to make room for Him is to expect Him to come, but not in a certain way. ~ Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

I read Oswald most mornings as part of my devotions, and sometimes I think he’s pointing right at me.  This particular morning, I also read about the ‘exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe‘ in Ephesians 1:19…and is it just me, or is God pointing at me, too?  That I would leave room for God to be big, because His power in my life is exceedingly great.  Not ‘just enough’ power.  Not  power for only the biggest of problems.  Power in every circumstance, because no job is too big or too small.

Because I believe.


Times of Refreshing

The beach was blustery and violent this last weekend, but the time away was refreshing.  I am encouraged to put a stake in the ground and begin anew, with a rested mind and and sharpened vision.  God is so good to bring me these wonderful women who inspire and challenge me!

Also encouraged to come home and find new handwriting in our family’s thankful journal…someone who was reluctant to put it on paper.  Lord, fill our hearts with thanksgiving!  We keep counting…

64.  Dad playing the Wii

65. Uncle Troy’s pizza

66. Good friends like Grace

67. I love you

68. hot tub with my WHOLE family!

69. Roger Miller radio : )

70. Snow flakes on noses

71. knowing I made someone’s day better

72. running in the snowflakes

73. comfortably fitting into jeans that used to be uncomfortably tight!

74. Big brothers playing with little ones

75. uncles

76. All the help that came to unload the first U-Haul of the new owners of our home!!

77. Eating ‘daddy cereal’

78. Selling our house

79. hearing the rain on the roof

80. sitting with daddy in the morning

81. lots and lots of GOOD FOOD

82. I’m thankful for you guys

83. I’m thankful for God’s help in finding the broken waterline in MC

84. God’s protection over mom and her friend as they went north for a few days

85. thankful for no school!

86. mini pizzas from Papa Murphy’s

87. my lego blog

88. siblings to make lunch for

89. coloring and making playdough

90. Linkology

91. I’m thankful for you, love Ethan

92. Going to birthday parties, friend’s house, and then having friend’s over!

93. a weekend away with lovely women and no agenda

94. hearing all the fun things my family did while I was gone

95. fresh coastal air

96. good friends who feed my family

97. funny things my kids say

98. lego fortresses

99. compliments from my husband

100. an impromptu visit in the produce aisle



The God Who Answers

The God Who answers by fire, He is God. ~ 1 Kings 18:24

Elijah had confidence in his God.

The prophets of Baal spent an entire day wailing and flailing, cutting and calling on a mute god for answers.  They tore their clothes, they danced about, they repeated their requests.

But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention. ~ 1 Kings 18:29


Three times, Elijah directed the people to drench the offering.  Pour the water, the thing you’ve been lacking in this drought, not only on the offering but also on the wood…and fill the trench.  See if God will not answer.

And the fire fell and the people fell.  The offering, the wood, the rocks and dust and every drop of moisture was consumed.

 The LORD, He is God!  The LORD, He is God! ~ 1 Kings 18:39

My faith may not be as great as Elijah’s, but I worship and serve the same awesome God.  The God who takes ‘mustard seed prayers’ and answers them.  The God Who hears every small and large request, prayed once or prayed repeatedly over the course of years.  He looks on the memorial of our prayers and does not forget.

Lately I’ve been blessed to see small faith rewarded.  Why am I sometimes surprised by answered prayer?!  That amazes me.  How I forget Who it is I’m taking to…the God who answers by fire.  I am learning to watch and pray, and then watch again.  See it.  See the fire, see the God of the universe loving me enough to answer prayers that don’t necessarily change the world, but do change the kingdom in me.

I am believing God when He says:

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! ~ Matthew 7:11

No question mark at the end of that.  It’s an exclamation – ‘showing sudden or strong feeling’.  I tend to over-use that punctuation mark, but how appropriate here.  How much more!

So I am asking, though it sometimes is a sheepish and timid request.  And this just sticks with me – that the God who hears my prayers is the God who answers by fire.  So thankful.




Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly [places] in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. ~ Eph. 1:3-6

It’s only 2 days into my study of Ephesians with the Good Morning Girls and already I am blown away.  How slowing down gives time to hear.  Time to savor and appreciate.  My tendency is to want to read big chunks of scripture, to move on and do more and check off another chapter.  How spiritually unproductive.

The verses this morning struck a chord in my heart.  One of my sisters shared this from Ephesians 1:5-6 ~

He knows the baggage that we bring with us and it is for His pleasure that he accepts and welcomes us, the broken, fearful, hopeless orphans of the world.

He knows our baggage, and chooses us anyway.

Last week my 7 year old poured out his heart to me after a time of discipline.  Sometimes the sting of discipline opens us up to spill out the deep things.  Even 7 year olds have deep things, and I am always thankful when a tough lesson brings sweetness and tenderness between mother and child.

“Mom, why did you and dad even get me if I do so many bad things?”

Gasp.  Could words hurt anymore than those?  Hurt for my son, and how long has he been thinking these things, and what else is in that tender heart?  And what have I conveyed?

“Son, mommy and daddy didn’t get you…we loved you before we ever saw your face and we worked hard to bring you home.  We chose to adopt you, honey.  And mommy and daddy do bad things, too, but that doesn’t stop our  heavenly Father from loving us.  He knew we would sin.  We knew you would sin, just like your brothers and sisters and even Pastor Travis and everyone else in this world.  But we will never stop loving you and neither will Jesus.”

Even Pastor Travis?!”

“Yes Ethan.”

End of conversation.  Hugs and kisses, apology and forgiveness…onto legos.

But the lesson is still in my heart, and this morning’s Word only served to deepen it.  I’m so thankful to be loved despite all the bad things I do, to be chosen before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blame before Him.  Amazing love!

This is one of those ‘toodays’ (as Ethan spells it).  Too much to comprehend.  Too much not to notice His goodness.

Giving Thanks

I’m thankful for these people…

(they’re as goofy and fun as they look!)

We’ve started our own ‘Give Thanks’ journal this year, to cultivate eucharisteo and to open our eyes to all His gifts, and give us perspective.  Each day, each in his own writing, counting down all the ways we are loved.  Some write more than others, and I try to let the Spirit lead and not nag about how we need to be more thankful and why don’t you go write something in the journal…just live the thankfulness.

  1. rainy days and soup for lunch
  2. hail bouncing on the porch
  3. the sound of the salt shaker as mommy makes lunch
  4. whole wheat pancakes, made by Jake
  5. sunshine on a cold morning
  6. hot coffee with my husband
  7. good food to put in lunch boxes
  8. company coming!
  9. the tape on mommy’s nose : )
  10. school books all over the place
  11. smudged ink from lefties
  12. hamburger stew
  13. Just So Stories
  14. Grandma Sharri bringing fresh eggs
  15. daddy making hot breakfast
  16. I am thankful for Jesus
  17. my dog, Oliver
  18. un-real sky colors
  19. Sharp Paynes with straight-A’s
  20. Ice cream on the way home from ACE
  21. mommy and daddy kissing
  22. CNN student news during breakfast
  23. listening to mom smack on her breakfast (?)
  24. Hearing the keyboard
  25. siblings who serve and thank each other
  26. kids getting up with their alarm
  27. quiet evenings
  28. I am thankful for my family
  29. family lunch time
  30. family laughter!
  31. working together to move out of the garage (making room for the next owners!)
  32. blogging
  33. watching mom shoot dad with the Nerf gun
  34. a warm happy birthday from Ethan, Bailey, Jacob and Shelby
  35. the nicest birthday card ever from my beautiful wife
  36. Sundays in Camas Valley
  37. my handsome Prince Charming (daddy)
  38. On a Sunday morning, 45 years ago today, God blessed me with a beautiful baby boy and gave me a promise that he would be God’s warrior.  What a gift!
  39. Jacob helping Shelby do her dishes
  40. having friends over to play
  41. watching mom pay bills
  42. watching dad’s face as he talks on the phone
  43. Jacob being willing to learn a new game with dad
  44. Young friends still wanting me to do their hair
  45. daddy’s chocolate
  46. quiet mornings and hot coffee
  47. Shelby doing Bailey’s chore for her
  48. my handy husband
  49. Bailey’s smiling eyes
  50. the opening of Bravo’s
  51. my good friend
  52. God’s helpfulness in difficult times
  53. listening to mom and dad talk about our Wildcat house
  54. chocolate chip cookies after dinner, served by Bailey
  55. four kids in the hot tub together
  56. father and son discussing herbivores and vertebrates, playing Linkology
  57. Shelby’s animated communication
  58. seeing the cat fall asleep in his food dish
  59. watching baby Hope look at the fire
  60. seeing Hope’s face as a I walk out of my room
  61. seeing my sissy ask for milk and graham crackers for breakfast
  62. Read alouds
  63. tea-time and poetry

That’s the first 15 days of a new year, counting down gifts with these lovely ladies.  And today I’m also thankful for the blanket of snow wrapping our little valley.

Saturday mornings…

Coffee and bible

Quiet house

Frost outside, fire inside

Adventures in Odyssey for the kids


And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands. – Psa 90:17 NKJV


A few moments of craftiness

I am an impatient crafter.  When I want to do something, I just want to do it, not spend time gathering the proper materials and analyzing the best methods.  Just get it done : )

I’ve been wanting to make my own Kindle cover for some time out of an old book ($35 for a Kindle cover?  It‘s an empty book, for crying out loud!).  I love old books.  Plus, I wanted to maintain some respect among true book-lovers, some of whom think that the Kindle is to books what velveeta is to cheese.  (Yes, I struggled.  But the thought of having 1000s of books at my fingertips over-ruled my altruism.)  

Anyways, I have this wonderful old copy of The Merchant of Venice on my piano that was perfect for this project…but to my homeschool-heart’s delight, my son objected.  “I love that book, mom,” he says.  Melt.  Shakespeare is saved.

So I went to a used bookstore (favorite place!). It was one of those tight, cramped, overflowing bookstores, the ones that play classical music and smell like old books…the kind you don’t take toddlers to.  Love it.  Scanning the floor-to-ceiling shelves, I heard a voice say, “Now which one of you will be the sacrifice, having your words torn from your binding with an exacto knife and your thoughts dumped in the trash like yesterday’s junk mail?”  

I left empty-handed.

This was taking way too much thought. 

Yesterday, I had a few moments between math tutoring and orchestra, so I pulled into Staples. I came out $11.84 later with new inspiration!


A journal in my favorite green and some velcro : )  I found the scrapbook paper when I got home, and in about 15 minutes I had a Kindle cover!



Did I mention that I’m not a perfectionist?  Someday maybe I’ll do some pretty ribbon or something to hide the border, since in my haste I cut the paper too short.  But for now, I’m happy.

*No words were harmed in the making of this cover.


“…you did well that it was in your heart.” – 1 Kings 8:18

I have a lot of good intentions.  Send that card, make a meal, just pick up the phone and call.  Most of my good intentions end up being the burdensome-undones, though; the things I coulda-shoulda-but-didn’t do.  If everyone was just blessed by my thoughts of them and the things I could do for them, life would be grand!

Doesn’t really work that way, though.

And it’s good that it is in my heart to do these things.  I know God sees those intentions.  But I really need some follow-through, some tangible evidences of my thoughts.

I’m always comforted by King David’s life.  The man-after-God’s-own-heart who had Good Intentions, but was sometimes derailed by sin or bloodshed; God saw his heart.  God saw David’s life as one whole pursuit of Him, and the bumps along the way didn’t negate the intentions of his heart.   Like when your 7 year-old tries to bless you and ends up baptizing the floor in milk – you know his intentions were for good.  His humanity just got in the way.

I’m not making light of David’s sins.  And I’m not making excuses for my un-done good.  One of my words/goals for the year is intentional, because I desperately need to live and love on purpose.  And if Christ is in me and moving me according to His purposes (Ephesians 2:10), then every Good Intention is an opportunity to obey Him and bring Him glory.  Every missed opportunity is a chance to do it right next time.

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