Sharp Paynes

Never a dull moment…

Archive for the tag “intentions”

Meeting One Person {Risk Part 2}

Friday, I said that risk was good and that we need to meet lots and lots of people.  Then I drove off to the big city, full of people, and ran into several that I already knew.  I gravitated towards them, the known and the safe, and walked by hundreds I didn’t know.  Hundreds I didn’t meet.

Dinner at The Horn of Africa {in Portland!}

Stopping for fuel

I suppose I took my turtle shell with me.

Saturday in the Goodwill, two men mocked Christians and laughed at one very dear, very devoted and well-known saint.  They bantered and built their conversation around lies, and I just looked at the clothes on the hanger.

A real risk-taker, I was.

I was a country mouse in the big city without my husband and I just felt little.  I felt sure that my husband would want me to keep to myself in that situation, but honestly, I was happy in my shell.  Happy and risk-free.

Then Sunday, back in familiar fellowship, there was a new family.  I swallowed hard and fought down the self-doubt and really, fought down the pride that worries about self.

I extended my hand and forgot names and had to ask again and I may have talked too long or too loud or too irrelevant, but I did it anyways.

I actually introduced myself to someone new.  And today we talked for 30 minutes on the phone.

I had thought that I had failed after the Goodwill incident.  I felt guilty for not standing up for the truth and for being timid.  I read about Stephen this morning,  his boldness and his risk, and thought again about my lack of both.

But another good friend put it this way.  What’s risk to you is not necessarily risk to me.  What’s hard for you may be natural to me, but there other things that scare me, and other places for me to take risk.

Introducing myself to new people really is hard, as silly as that may seem to some.  It really seems like risk to me.  That’s one of the reasons I write.

So I overcome, one baby step at a time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Giving Thanks for all this:

281.  Good friends

282.  A day with far-away friends

283.  Working on the dam with Jake

284. Being with my sister

285. Catching Fred {?I’ll be asking some questions ’bout this one?}

286. Jacob making soft pretzels, and taking bits of mom’s granola

287.  Bailey saying something not funny, and only her laughing

288.  Three people asking if we’re sisters : )

289.  driving 8 hours round trip  for a few good books,  a homeschool shot-in-the-arm,  and lots of good memories

290.  Good stories from the kids at home


Choosing Rightly {Overwhelmed by Your Options?}

How do you  make choices in this world of infinite options?  And are some decisions just too small to fuss over, or do you think He cares about them all?  I’m curious.

Sometimes the problem is not that you don’t have enough options.

It’s not that you have a big decision to make and your choices are just too few, and you feel forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.

The problem  sometimes is that there are just so many good choices.

Whether it’s which charity to support, which cause to throw your voice behind, which restaurant to eat at, which outfit to wear, or what books to read.  Being in the Land of the Free can be such a huge burden.

A friend asks for homeschool advice, which curriculum to use, what do I love the most?  Do I open up the myriad of catalogs-websites-books-opinions out there and boggle her with the next 12 years of planning her child’s life?  Do I tell her all the pros and cons and finish with, “But whatever works for your family!”?

I need toothpaste.

Whitening, natural, sensitive, mint, cool mint, peppermint, or spearmint?


And do I expose my kids to this smorgasbord?  Do I give them so many choices for breakfast that they feel entitled to always have it their way? 

It used to be nothing but oatmeal.  Why did I waffle?  What have I done to the simple life I wanted for us?

I like having choices, don’t get me wrong.  I like what I like and sometimes I like to change what I like.

But I get easily overwhelmed.  When it seems like the decisions are huge and there can only be one choice that’s right, I feel like that man at the fair, juggling knives.

You’d better get this right.

But there are a few things I’ve learned about making decisions, mostly from my husband.

1. God knows your heart.

This brings me peace in the swirling.  He’s not waiting to pounce if I choose A instead of B, not crossing His fingers hoping I make the right decision.  If my heart is right with the Lord and I am not purposely ignoring Him, I can trust His guiding.  I can rest in His grace.

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you.  But to do justly, To love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? – {Mic 6:8 NKJV}

Doesn’t He make it simple for me?

Yes.  Because I need that.

And I need to know that He sees me as His child, trying to please Him but getting sticky jam-fingers all over the kitchen.  Would He scold me for the jam and tell me that He wanted eggs, not toast?

2.  Once you make the decision, go with it.

I had to choose a sink recently.  I stressed over it, really.  Stainless, I knew for certain.  One-hole, definitely.  Deep enough for a big pot.  But in order to have a row of drawers to the left of the sink, I had to order one narrower than my current sink.

Would I like it?  Would it work for our family?  Should I choose a bigger sink instead of the drawers?

Because now  is the time to decide…this isn’t something we can just change later if it doesn’t work out.

I ordered the smaller one and decided  I would like it.  It would be perfect and I’d be happy and it all would be great.  And guess what?

It is.

That’s not to say that we need a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude.  Not to close ourselves off from other opinions or suggestions or, especially, clear direction from the Lord that we are wrong.

But just that convincing yourself is sometimes the biggest obstacle and once you’ve narrowed down the choices, prayed, sought counsel, and have peace, go for it.

And I know, it was just a sink.

But if you’re choosing something a little more life changing than a sink,  pray, read, ask, pray again, check your heart, and go for it.  Move forward until God tells you otherwise.

In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge. – {Pro 14:26 NKJV}

3. Deal with your mistakes.

You will choose the wrong thing sometimes.

Some mistakes only require a little paint to fix, or a phone call or a letter or some elbow-grease.

Some mistakes really can’t be fixed, but you can start doing things right from this point on.  You can own up to the mistake and endure patiently, you can trust God through the consequences, and you’ll have gained wisdom when it’s all said and done.

We’ll know more when it’s over,  my husbands says.

Maybe you chose the wrong job or the wrong neighborhood or the wrong way to spend your time.  Maybe it was the wrong ‘parenting technique’ and now you feel like it’s too late.

It’s not.  Start doing the right thing now.  

Maybe you feel like you chose the wrong spouse, in which case I would refer you to #2 above and pray that you pour yourself into  being the right spouse.

Whatever the mistake, there is grace sufficient for a repentant heart, and times of refreshing will come (Acts 3:19). That’s always the best choice.


Choosing thanks….

250. starting over, again, because Mercy is new every morning

251. friends and family that stop by

252. my ‘new-to-me’ computer hutch, given by a friend

253. unprompted apologies

254. Jan : )

255. Academy for Character Education

256. odd jobs

257. two red-winged blackbirds out the window

258. sunshine and fresh air in the morning

259. 5 flat acres, a creek, good neighbors, and no oak trees  : )

260. crazy kids in the creek

261. 6 minuscule fish that become 22 whoppers in Ethan’s retelling of it

Tending Sheep

“When God speaks, many of us are like people in a fog, and we give no answer. Moses’ reply to God revealed that he knew where he was and that he was ready. Readiness means having a right relationship to God and having the knowledge of where we are. We are so busy telling God where we would like to go. Yet the man or woman who is ready for God and His work is the one who receives the prize when the summons comes. We wait with the idea that some great opportunity or something sensational will be coming our way, and when it does come we are quick to cry out, “Here I am.” Whenever we sense that Jesus Christ is rising up to take authority over some great task, we are there, but we are not ready for some obscure duty.” ~ Oswald Chambers

I get lost in the fog of small, obscure tasks.

Today I want to do them for His glory, with the awareness that He is in every detail.  To do them without  the anxious longing for the next thing, the big thing, the thing that surely pleases God more than this menial task.

I have laundry, meals, packing, and more packing to tackle today.  This threatens to fog me, but not if I do it with ears open.

Moses was just tending sheep in the desert and I don’t think it gets much more mundane than that.

So if he can hear over the bleating of sheep and mind-numbing solitude, surely I can hear over the hum of the washer and the sound of Babe the pig entertaining my ‘helpers’.

Are you doing the obscure and the mundane today?  Watch for the burning bush.

Get a Job

Ethan put a sticker on Bailey the other day that said, “Good Job!”.   He slapped it on her hand and proclaimed, “Here you go, Bailey.  Get a job!”

He is a new reader who sometimes gets in too much of a hurry.  The work of decoding words and sounding out phonograms is bothersome for a little boy who has places to go and things to do.

Get a job.

Was that encouragement?  The sticker was supposed to be for commending a job well done, for congratulating someone on their accomplishment.  Wouldn’t it look nice at the top of your paper?

Of course he didn’t mean it to be offensive.  He wasn’t telling his sister that she was lazy and unproductive.  I don’t know what he was thinking, really.  Why would “Get a job!” be a nice thing to put on a kid’s sticker?

She covered it with grace and laughed when she shared the story with me.

But you know how sometimes we hear the wrong thing?  Someone intends to ‘help’ us but their words, they just sting?  In some twisted audio-conversion, a compliment can even turn into criticism.

Dinner was delicious tonight mysteriously becomes It’s about time we had a decent meal.

I like your hair  is translated I’ve been waiting for you to do something with yourself.

I really like so-and-so’s mom  is rendered  I wish you were more fun,  like her.

We are having some communication breakdowns in our home today, and I wonder how many of them have been birthed from misunderstandings and bad hearing?  Relationships are most important, but I wonder if the stress of the day has left us with too little time to decode words and search out hearts?

As people called to relationship, brothers and sisters called to live together in harmony, maybe we aren’t giving enough time for  encouragement.

Maybe our meaning gets lost in translation, or past offenses stop up our ears.

You’ve probably heard of the ‘sandwich criticism’, giving your criticism sandwiched between two compliments?  Wouldn’t it be better to just naturally be so encouraging that you didn’t have to plan out soft landings for your criticisms?

How would my kids respond if encouragement was plenty and nagging was rare?

Someone, everyone, needs encouraging words today.  A tired  traveller can go a long way on one or two encouraging words, and aren’t we all trying to get somewhere?

I’m trying to get to a place where my correction is received because my children know that I see good in them, that Christ is not done with any of us and just because you make a mistake, doesn’t make you  a mistake.  It’s so easy to see what’s undone, but I don’t want to be the one undoing with my words.  I want to be a builder.

The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands. – Pro 14:1 NKJV

And I also want to get to the place where I receive criticism without  offense (praying, “Lord, show me the truth in this.”), and where I hear compliments as just that, not as veiled criticism.

{How about you?  Do you struggle to receive correction?  Do you hear compliments as veiled criticism?  How does this affect your walk with the Lord?}


Our family’s thanks continues, #225-232

 So many offers of help with our move that we’ve lost count

Derek coming to help finish the flooring with Dad


Christ is risen!



Sunrise service on the  mountaintop

Chocolate and coffee

Project Simplify Week 3

Paper clutter weighs me down.

Throwing things away is one of my favorite hobbies, but alas, it gets me in trouble sometimes.  I am technically the secretary for my husband’s business, and more than once I’ve ‘lost’ something important.  The boss is pretty forgiving but I really need to work on my bad habit of tossing things I don’t want to deal with.

Last year my in-laws gave me a money gift for my birthday and I was ecstatic (really!) to buy this simple file for my kitchen.

It just makes me happy.  A place to put things, to clear them off the counter, to hide the paperwork I loathe and the bills that stack, the newsletters I really do want to read, just not now.  Pretty little file folders to go inside and cover the things I don’t want to deal with.

Can you see the problem here?  I’ll let you draw your own spiritual analogies, but go easy on me.

Remember peek-a-boo with babies?  If something is out-of-site for more than a few…seconds, it really is out-of-mind.  I’ve stashed several important things in this nifty box that really needed prompt attention, rather than hiding.

So today I semi-dealt with them, and I let go of a stack of things that were just never going to be read.

A little freedom!

This handy-dandy file sits on a not-so-lovely shelf in my kitchen.  It’s one of those things that you just look at differently one day, and smack your forehead and think, “That looks really hideous.  I’ve been living with that for how long?”.

We are moving in about 648  hours, so I was tempted to just dump everything in a packing box and show you a lovely-but-fake ‘after’ picture.  I resisted.  I reassigned and rearranged and came up with something not quite so disheveled.

I even labeled the boxes!  I guess this will do for a few more weeks.

Last but not least, the infamous drawer-of-homeless-items.




All these little tasks just make me happy.  Pretty simple!





If the words ‘simple’ and ‘organized’ make you happy, click on the Project Simplify button on the right to check out some great stuff.

Launch Out to the Deep

On Sunday I take my class of 4th-6th graders downstairs to sit in service.  We are blessed by a visit from Amy, on leave from her mission in Asia, and I think the kids should listen in.  They sit with Bibles and paper, drawing what they hear and chatting a little with their neighbor.

Amy tells us in her second-tongue what the question always is…

“Aren’t you afraid?”

Aren’t you afraid to live alone?  Don’t you get scared at night?  Aren’t you afraid, being a single-woman in a strange country, where alcoholism is rampant and women are often subjected to violence?

She can answer a resounding, emphatic, faith-filled, “No.  I am never afraid because I’m never alone.  God is with me, always.”

God has called her to The Deep.

After Amy comes our pastor, sharing verse-by-verse from Luke 5.

When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” ~ Luke 5:4

Verse-by-verse we hear how Jesus called them to do the thing that was illogical.  To fish during the day on the Sea of Galilee, after a night of toiling to bring in empty nets.  To go out in front of everyone, everyone who knows better than to try to coax fish into the net in daytime.

Nervertheless at Your word I will let down the net. ~ Luke 5:5

Give Jesus an inch, just a smidge of grudging, this-is-ridiculous-but-if-you-say-so obedience, and watch Him work.  Watch how big your God is.  See how He blows all your logic out of the water.

Then call for your friends to come out to the The Deep and help bring in the catch.

“Do not be afraid.  From now on you will catch men.”  So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him. ~ Luke 5:10b-11

Two boat-loads of fish, enough for maybe a whole years’ wages.  They forsook all?  To follow Someone Who wants to catch men, the way Peter and all who were with him had been caught – astonished.  Mouths agape and common sense shredded.

The Deep is calling because that’s where Jesus is.  That’s where your logic drowns, where your livelihood is magnified, where your knees buckle and your boats sink and Jesus says do not be afraid.

I’m looking for The Deep, warily looking and cautious.  As much as I can talk about launching out, the doing is another thing altogether.  It looks nice on paper, sounds nice when it’s someone else’s boat sinking, but me?  I have this comfort-zone-thing and I need those fish to feed my family and can’t I just surrender…some?

The Deep is calling us all out of that, in every little and big way.  Read Luke 5 and see how radical this calling is, how in-the-face of religion it flies.

Amy is not afraid, because she has gone out into The Deep and never found herself alone there.  Even when the emails don’t come and the language falters and the food is not comforting.  Even if it seems everyone else forgets, God never does, never leaves nor forsakes.

Will He do any less for me?  Even if my ‘deep’ is somewhat shallow?

I’ll never know unless I launch out.

{This “do not be afraid’ comes up to me again, in Matthew chapter 1.  I’m reading with the kids this morning and I hear the angel telling Joseph to not be afraid, this thing is of the Lord.  I hope I’m getting this.  Launch out.  Do not be afraid.  For those of you that I am blessed to fellowship with on Sundays, do you remember those words from a month or so ago?  About going out in the deep, over your head?  Without fear?}


I write and remember all He’s done.  Giving thanks, counting to 1000.

That’s not true, actually.  These are just the things that I noticed and took the time to write down.  He does so much more!  My family writes them down with me and we attempt to notice more, and I love it.

188. a dad who stays home with a sick kiddo

189. ice cream – Shelby’s treat

190. getting my baby-holding fix

191. sun shining in on sick Ethan

192. transle googlate : )

193. Friends in Mexico

194. Picture blogs

195. email

196. 6 yrs. with Ethan Shashwat

197. quiet morning in the hot tub with my husband

198. working with an end in sight

199. thick slices of Uncle Troy bread for breakfast

200. the repeated “do not be afraid”

Click on the picture below to visit Ann and be blessed with a wonderful gift today…

Why I Need to Lose My Mind

Sometimes I think I already have.  If being forgetful means I’ve lost my mind, then I am so there.  Sometimes I forget if I’ve forgot something…you know, that feeling that you have when you think you’ve forgotten something important but aren’t sure if it really was important, or if you really did forget it in the first place.  Whatever ‘it’ is?

Am I the only one?

Am I the only one who can’t remember when child #3 learned to walk, or how much each child weighed at birth, or who it was that said that cute thing about such-and-such?

Am I the only one who has to ask her kids questions like who was it that used to say “hot lemons” because they thought that’s what we said when something was ‘off limits’?  Who got stung by the bald face hornets?  Who had their tooth pulled, and have any of you had chicken pox?

I’m not the only one, am I?

Alas, I’ve let it go.  My mind, that is.  I have just given in to the gaps in memory, and I always carry paper with me.  If it’s not written down, it probably doesn’t happen.  I have pictures, and now I blog, so it’s there till everything crashes, right?

Of course, there are things I can’t forget, hard as I try.  Why is that?  Why do I remember all the ungodly things I’ve seen, heard, read or said, but can’t remember important things like the name of the sweet lady I met at church last Sunday?

My kids used a phrase the other day that was completely harmless, yet reminded me of a phrase that was not so harmless, from a movie I’d watched probably 20 years ago.  I asked them not to use the phrase and told them why…told them how what we choose to put in our minds can stay with us and affect us for years.

Maybe all they got from that talk was that mom used to watch bad movies.  And now she’s a little hyper-sensitive.

But God is a Redeemer, even of minds.  

He actually wants me to lose my mind.  And He offers a brand new one in its place.

…be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. ~ Eph 4:23-24 

Because my old man was growing corrupt, rotting, wasting away.  My thoughts were futile.  Like “the rest of the Gentiles” (vs. 17), I used to live by those futile thoughts and vain imaginings, justifying my actions with an “it will all balance out in the end” attitude.

Why do I still have futile thoughts sometimes?  Putting off and putting on, continually being sanctified, and living out this righteousness and holiness He’s given.  It’s a process till the end, and His grace is sufficient.

Chapter 4 of Ephesians has some good mind-cleansing remedies.  If you are doing x, stop and do y instead.  Put off this, put on this.  Not just dos and don’ts, but life-giving, life-saving clothing to wear everyday.

I won’t quote the whole chapter here, in hopes you’ll open it up for yourself.

I am renewing my mind with scripture.  Writing, speaking, thinking, reading, and typing it here.  I am on and off with this, but I need it.  This week it’s Ephesians 4:23-24.

I believe He’ll even redeem my memory (or lack thereof) and generate new brain cells, because that’s what it is to be re-newed.  Like new again.

Would you like to hold me accountable?  And do you have suggestions, ways that you renew your mind and crowd out the old and rotting with the new He gives?  I’d love help along the way.


I have five minutes to put some words down.  So I set my watch and set out to capture something from the swirl in my head…


Just do it.  Just see the thing and tackle it.  Don’t whine about how difficult, how impossible, how painful it is.  Knuckle down, buckle down, do it do it do it!

Grit.  I want to have the grit to follow my own advice.  I tell my kids all the above, but what do I preach to myself?  I am a recovering-procrastinator, and as with most addictions, we tend to say that recovery is a life-long process.  But I want to be over it.  I want to rid myself of the weight of all the undones that loom over me, because they suck the life out of me.

I want grit.

But Iwant plush, downy compassion, too.  I want it for others (my kids) and I want others to have it for me.  Some things are just too hard.  Some things take more compassion and less push.

God lived in the grit.  He who became dust and flesh lived in the grittiness of this world and overcame.  With love, He overcame.  And He got things done.

So I just do the next thing.


Your turn!  Hop over here   and give it a try.  Leave me a comment and tell me how you liked the assignment.

Books as Teachers

Along with having a schedule in place for our family, reading books together has been fundamental.  From the time they were born I’ve read to my kids.  Partly for them, partly for me  – reading Dr. Seuss to the kids is much more fun than reading it to myself. Sharing a story together gives us common ground, something to refer to in our daily conversation, something to bring us back together when life scatters us.

A reason to snuggle, too.

The Wiggler

Sometimes it was more of a wrestling match than snuggling.  Forced-listening?  You-will-like-this and we-will-bond?  The boys always wanted to tear the books, eat the books, throw the books.  But we pressed on, and they came around.  Now it’s my son who slyly drops the book on the table next to my lunch plate.

I don’t get to read everything my kids are reading for school anymore, and I think I’m jealous.  My children are going on adventures without me.  Meeting new people, seeing new places.  They are more ‘well-read’ than I and have devoured bookshelves-full.  I taught them each to read, by the grace of God, and now there’s no stopping them.  Even the boys.  But with carefully chosen books as their teachers, there is no limit to their education.  Only a limit on my time, and I don’t have enough to catch up on all the great books.

Because I just can’t do it all.  And I have to be okay with that.

We have had family read-alouds in the evening with Dad.  We’ve read fiction and non-fiction, hero tales, fairy tales, missionary stories and silly poems.  We have forced our way through the Bible in a year of 6 a.m. wake-ups.  Just because we thought we should.

There are  many books that the youngest hasn’t been read.  There are hundreds more great books that none of us has read.  We have started several books that we never finished, and we have had long dry spells with no story.

It’s all okay.  We just start again where we left off.  Or find a new book.

In fact, we just recently picked up the habit again, in the mornings after breakfast.  Even though schedules are packed and life has changed and there are no toddlers anymore, we have to read together.  It is essential for us.  And you know what?  Nobody complained.  All made room in their schedules.

And I’ve learned (am learning) not to make Dad feel guilty about missing out.  Some seasons we can all read together.  Other seasons, life and work happen in abundance and I make time for read-alouds during the day, because I can.  Nobody needs more guilt heaped on their shoulders because of what they don’t do.  Some of the best stories we hear are the ones Dad tells at the dinner table!

Books take us beyond ourselves and our time, giving us fresh perspective, new inspiration, deeper thoughts.  We use books to teach our kids because some lessons are better read than preached.

We ebb and flow with life, but I hope we always come back to sharing stories together.

growing in thanksgiving, through the fog of sickness this week…

143. daddy’s surprises

144. goofy classmates

145. Pooja

146. The Wolfe’s

147. chocolate

148. kids

149. OMSI

15o. doggy kisses

151. Fourteen years with Bailey

152. books as teachers

153. popcorn and smoothies and time together

154. Awesome Uncle Troy!  Dropping by with unexpected thanks.



“…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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