Do You Like Me?

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“Do you like me?”

“Mommy, do you like me?” my 4 year old asks me as I wash the dishes.

“Of course, Elijah, I love you!” I respond.

“But do you like me?” he asks with his big brown eyes peering into mine.

A question like that begs for reflection as I try to figure out why he would question whether I like him or not. Surely he knows I love him!

Then as I thought about it I realized what he is really asking.

He knows I love him. He has no doubt about that but deep inside he just wants to hear that I like him too. How can you help but love someone you like? So in his mind if you like someone it’s automatic that you love them too.

You have to realize a little bit about this sweet boy of mine. He’s a friend to everyone. He doesn’t go anywhere without having made a new best friend. He has always been that way.

One year at a large meeting of churches there was a time for Missionaries and their families to stand up in front of the crowd. They invited anyone that wanted to go up there and pray with the Missionaries during a song to do so. Elijah in all of his young excitement burst up there to find a new best friend to pray with.

Yet the question still lingers, “Do you like me?”

We all want to be liked. Don’t we?

That’s why we are afraid to make mistakes. We want people to like us and be our friend and the friends we already have we don’t want to lose.

Elijah’s question reminds me of the question Jesus asked Peter.

Peter was going through a rough time in his life. He had chopped a soldier’s ear off in order to defend Jesus from a whole army. Jesus told him to stop and healed the man’s ear. Then Jesus went with the soldiers without a fight. While outside waiting for Jesus’ trial, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times. Then he ran away as Jesus was killed.

Jesus rose from the dead and revealed himself to the apostles. 

Peter must have still harbored doubts as to his purpose on earth. He was at a point of wanting to give up on his ministry. What good was he after he had denied Jesus? What was he supposed to do now? Finally he throws his hands up in the air and announces to the others, “I’m going fishing!” And his friends followed him.

Then Jesus shows up. The apostles are in their boat and Jesus shouts to them from the shore. Peter jumps overboard and swims to the shore. Then this conversation took place.

“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?’

He saith unto him, ‘Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.’

He saith unto him, ‘Feed my lambs.’

He saith to him again the second time, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?’

He saith unto him, ‘Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.’

He saith unto him, ‘Feed my sheep.’

He saith unto him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?’

Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, ‘Lovest thou me?’

And he said unto him, ‘Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.’

Jesus saith unto him, ‘Feed my sheep.’ “ – John 21:15-17 KJV

Peter was sad when Jesus asked him this 3 times. Peter knew when he returned to fishing he was giving up on the ministry that Jesus called him to and he was influencing those around him. The other apostles that returned to fishing were following Peter not Jesus.

So Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me? Do you even like me?”

Things changed for Peter that day. He rededicated his life to following the Master.

Do you love Jesus? Do you like Him?

Don’t just tell Jesus you love Him. Show Him by following Him everyday. It doesn’t matter what you did or didn’t do for Him yesterday.

Today is a new day. Start now!

If you want to know how or where to start feel free to contact me. I would love to show you from the Bible how to have a closer walk with the Master. 

Do you already have a close relationship with God? How about your family? Would you like your whole family to draw closer to God and each other?

I’m working out my blogging plans for 2015. If there is a subject you or your family are struggling with that you would like me to talk about in a future post please don’t hesitate to ask. We have big plans this coming year for building up our Rock Solid Family and I would love for you to join us.

~~ Anastacia “Stacie” Maness ~~

“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24 KJV

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Catching Up in Argentina

We have been so busy and I haven’t had a lot of time to post. I’ve been writing everything down in my journal and will try to give you a quick overview of what we have been doing since my last post.

Sunday, September 7, we visited a non-denominational church that morning and a Baptist Church in the evening. We arranged to have dinner with a Missionary’s family on Monday and lunch with the Pastor of the Baptist Church on Wednesday.

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Angel really liked having someone scratch behind her ears.

After services Sunday night we were a little nervous about walking back to our hostel across town in the dark. Sometimes when we are a little afraid God provides some comfort to show us we are not alone. In this case God sent us a very friendly dog that I affectionately named “Angel”.

Angel is a smart dog. She knew to only cross roads with people. If people were waiting at a stop she waited. She walked with us the whole way back to our hostel. Scott and I dubbed her our guard dog and were glad she paused to let us take a few pictures of her before we parted ways. If we lived here we probably would have kept Angel as a pet.

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I think Angel might be asking us why we stopped here.

Monday, September 8, we visited with the missionary family we met at the Baptist Church. That is another interesting meeting. The man we met at the church Scott had actually met on Facebook first. The group that we met when we first arrived in Argentina had told him about us. He sent my husband a message saying he would like to meet us for coffee or dinner sometime. We didn’t know that his family actually goes to the church we visited that night.

He and his wife helped us with a lot of information we needed. We now know how to catch the right city bus to our desired destinations and where a Wal-mart is in Córdoba.

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Walmart and McDonalds all in one picture.

Tuesday, September 9, Scott and I took a city bus to the Wal-mart on the edge of town. We compared prices of some of the things we would have back home. The prices are higher on many things and there are cultural differences. We were glad to see that there is at least a store we are familiar with despite some of the cultural differences in the items they carry.

Oh and they do have McDonald’s here.

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Scott and I posing for a picture in front of the restaurant where we ate on Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 10, we met the Baptist Pastor for lunch. We had a very good long discussions about Churches here in Argentina. He was able to tell us the cultural differences between the customs many Churches have in Argentina compared with the United States. He was also able to tell us some of the differences between some of the different Churches in Argentina. There are some Churches in Argentina but not very many.

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The church in Cordoba we visited and took some pictures. We only took pictures in churches we saw other people taking pictures. Some are more tourist friendly than others.

After our visit we walked back to our hostel. There was a large Catholic Church we looked at. It was a beautiful building! I had some very deep thoughts while standing there looking around at the beautiful artistry in the room. I will need to share more about my thoughts and some more pictures in a later post.

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I know how heavy that smaller suitcase was when I pulled it half way. I was really impressed with my husband pulling both. Oh and my luggage is actually the larger one. What a gentleman!!!

Thursday, September 11, we checked out of our Hostel and carried our luggage to the bus station. Okay, I did say we carried our luggage but according to this picture you might find it hard to believe there was much “we” involved in the process.

My sweet husband saw that I was worn out about half way to the bus station and took my burden along with his own. So I guess I should say Scott carried our luggage while I took pictures of him. 😉

At the station we caught a bus to Villa General Belgrano where we had an amazing time with a homeschooling family and their neighbors who also homeschool. There are a lot of challenges homeschoolers in Argentina face.

In order to keep this post from being too lengthy, I will share more about our stay in Villa General Belgrano in another post.

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My husband and I about to board the bus to Villa General Belgrano.

 
So much has been happening. I have been writing a lot in my journal every opportunity I have. My blog posts are actually written in my journal before I type them into a blog post and add pictures. I find it easier to write pretty much anywhere that way. I may have to write about my writing on the go as well.

Thank you for following along with me. I’ve already committed myself to two almost 3 posts now, one about my deep thoughts in a beautiful building, another about our stay in Villa General Belgrano, and another about my writing while traveling. 

I know I am skimming over rather quickly our trip but if you have any thoughts or questions come to your mind please feel free to share them with me in the comments. I will try to answer them as soon as I can. If there is a question that I see frequently I will answer it in a blog post as well.

We will probably not have internet tonight as we will be taking a train to Buenos Aires. I am going to try to get my next post up as soon as I am able. 

Dios te bendiga! God bless you!

~~ Anastacia “Stacie” Maness ~~

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Unexpected Blessings

The Lord is amazing! Really truly amazing. 

Have you ever doubted God’s will for your life? You may wonder if you are doing the right thing and then have everything fall right into place.

I don’t believe that is just coincidence or happenstance. I truly believe God is showing us what it is we are suppose to be doing. He is opening the doors all around us and we finally let go and step through in Faith. 

10537436_10203473154247598_5162626495376514052_nI mentioned in my previous post our plans to go on a survey trip to Argentina to see what doors God may open there. 

One thing I chose not to talk about was money. How were we going to afford this trip? It would be an adventure indeed if we were going with very little money.  Here is a list of 10 things God blessed us with this past month.

1. Scott told me that he had prayed about our finances and asked God to provide for our trip. After that prayer he went by the bank to deposit his normal check from our church and realized he had never cashed the check from the week before.

Even though that was a small thing to some people to my husband it was a little whisper from God that everything would be okay. 

After that we discussed some other ideas of raising some money. I thought about having a yard sale. We had some successful yard sales in the past. We also thought about other things around our house we could sell.

2. I really felt like I needed to explain to our karate instructor why we hadn’t been in class for a while. It takes a lot of humility to admit you can’t afford to do something. We have been trying to save money by not going places we would normally want to go. So that included our karate class. I mentioned that we were discussing the possibility of having a yard sale. Our instructor was very understanding and told us that she would pray for us.

ElisabethThat was on a Thursday that I talked with her. That Friday my husband and I were discussing the possibility of a yard sale and what we actually had to sell. Most of our items were small items and not something that would draw people to come. 

Just as I was giving up the whole idea I received a phone call from a mother whose son is in our karate class. She said that she was moving and that she heard we were having a garage sale and that if we could pick it up she had some things that we could have. 

After I hung up from that conversation I looked up at my husband and said, “I guess we’re having a yard sale!” 

We needed to have our yard sale the very next weekend. I looked at the classified ads of one of our local newspapers. It said that Ads must be turned in by noon on Friday to be in Tuesdays paper. It was 10 AM Friday morning when I got the call.

Now tell me that just happened!

I wrote out an advertisement and went to the newspaper office with plenty of time.

3. That Saturday we scurried to get ready for karate class. My husband left early in the truck with Hannah. The rest of us came later in our Suburban. After class was over Scott told me about the envelope and offering that was given to us by our karate family. I missed that exchange or I probably would have cried. 

The money they gave us was more than enough to pay both our reciprocity fees and some of our hotel expenses.  

4. We let friends at our church know that we were having a yard sale the following week. There were more items donated for our sale. We collected those items during the week and had a very successful sale and met a lot of people.

10565136_10203473155007617_1858224442171588789_n5. The following Sunday morning we had a couple visit our church that my husband was able to witness to. We also met another couple at Wal-mart that afternoon who wanted to buy one of our items that didn’t sell in our yard sale. They lived further away and so we met them part way.

6. Sunday night we had a lady stop by and give us a box of food and toiletries that she felt the Lord wanted her to give to us. She had met us at our yard sale and couldn’t get us off her mind. She felt she had to come back and bring us something.

It had to be hard for her to come to us like that not knowing what our reaction would be. Would we be offended? Not at all. God has provided our needs so many times during the years and we have learned that God’s provision doesn’t just fall from the sky. He usually provides through the love and generosity of friends. 

7. Scott had one last Friday off from work and we were able get a final visit with my brother and his family before they head back to France. We had a fun time and were able to visit my sister’s family as well and get some good siblings and cousins pictures taken. It was good to get to see them and I was glad my husband had that one last weekend off. We also found out that my sister is expecting her third child.

8. We received a check in the mail for another donation from another friend wanting to help us with our upcoming trip.

9. My husband received an email this past week. We have another offering coming in the mail. We do not know who sent it nor how much it is. We do know that our God is good and He knows what we need to make this trip successful.

Where we go and how many cities we see will be up to how much God provides for. So far we have our first week planned.

10. And the biggest blessing that I am excited to share with you all is our son, Jonathan (6) accepted Christ as his Savior Wednesday night after our Bible Study. 

He had been wanting to be saved for a long time. I will need to write another blog post about the struggle he had and the moment he finally understood. I love seeing the light come on in a child’s face. :)

I could write a whole lot more about God’s provision and blessings. It’s hard to keep these posts short. In my next post I will give more details about how Jonathan finally found Jesus and a really cute story of his witnessing to Elijah.

Only 10 days left!!! I am going to do my best to keep you all up to date on where we are and how God provides for us each step of the way. Be watching for updates and more pictures!

Thank you for following along with us. Having you for a friend is a blessing too! 

~~ Anastacia “Stacie” Maness ~~

 

“‘Bring ye all the tithes into the store house, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith,’ saith the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.'” Malachi 3:10

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Choose Wisely

I really wanted to get a blog post finished this week. Perhaps doing a quick Five Minute Friday post with Lisa-Jo Baker would help me get out of this horrible case of writer’s block. So here we go. The rules: Write for 5 minutes flat. No editing. No overthinking. Just write. Then link up and encourage the blogger in front of you. Today’s word: Choose.

I’m setting my timer and …

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Go!

Today I am choosing to do Five Minute Friday. I haven’t blogged in so long. This month was so busy and I chose to take my daughter every Friday to her basketball practice. Then I chose to attend her basketball games with the whole family. We loved watching her play. With a family of 8 you always have a large cheering section.

In basketball my daughter wanted her friends to choose to throw the ball to her. Sometimes she was chosen and sometimes they chose to throw it to someone else. No matter who was chosen she still got excited whenever they scored.

I want my children to make good choices in life. I want them to choose to follow God. Right now my husband and I make the decisions for them but one day they will be on their own and I hope they choose to do what is right even when we, their parents are no longer watching them. I need to teach them now so that they are prepared for that day. I want them to choose wisely.

Stop.

Ooh… This was good for me. This helped open my mind and unlock the writer’s block.

So if you will bear with me I’ll continue my above thought a little bit further. :)

I have been wanting to write about friendship. But every time I tried it seemed to just fall flat. Now I know what it is I’ve been wanting to say.

I want my children to choose their friends wisely.

How do you choose your friends? Friendship doesn’t just happen.

“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

                                             — Proverbs 18:24 KJV

You have a choice. Who will you lead? Who will you follow? Who will you defend? Whose team will you choose to be on?

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.

                                       –Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 KJV

Will your friends lift you up when you fall? Are you willing to help them up?

“Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.

                                                        –Proverbs 27:10 KJV

With whom will you choose to be friends?

Five Minute Friday

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Three Steps Toward a Happy Marriage

sselephantsDuring the early years of our marriage, my husband and I had to learn to work with each other. We also had to learn how to communicate. It wasn’t always easy. I mentioned in my last post that since divorce was not an option we could either learn to live together for life as two miserable individuals or we could work hard to learn how to have a happy marriage.

Today I’m going to share a few steps my husband and I took to build a happy marriage.

1. Don’t give up!

First, we did not give up. This is very important. We may have had moments where we felt like giving up.

“He won’t listen to me!”

“She isn’t paying attention!”

“What is so hard about putting away a simple dish?”

“Why won’t he take out the trash?”

These were all questions we internalized. It would have been pretty easy to keep all those problems internal and not even try to communicate. Neither of us like conflict. If we kept our feelings pent up inside then we wouldn’t have to risk making the other person angry.

But by giving up, are we the only ones truly affected? Will the feelings that I think is being kept on the inside really not affect my relationship with my husband? When I have a problem, I can’t give up and hope it just goes away. I have to be proactive and work with my husband not distance myself from him.

2. Read books on marriage.

This is one thing that my husband and I did a lot of. We really liked self-help books and would read and read. There were some books that I remember really benefiting from. Then there were others that left me crying and feeling hopeless. My husband looked at the ones that made me feel bad and he said not to listen to those. You have to consider the source. Some people are writing from a selfish world view. Even if they are popular books that does not mean they are good.

Some books that helped me were

  1. Wife After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George
  2. Opposites Attract Attack by Jack and Carole Mayhall
  3. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
  4. Making Love Last Forever by Gary Smalley
  5. The Act of Marriage by Tim and Beverly Lahaye

Those are just a few of the books that impacted my life. I may think of more but those are the ones that come immediately to mind.

From these books I learned that it is a good thing to do whatever you can to show your spouse that you love them. Don’t be selfish with your love. Learn their primary love language and find ways to show them you love them not just in your own preferred way but how the way they like to be shown love.

For instance if your spouse loves to be given gifts and your preferred method to show love is quality time. Then find someway to put the two together. Perhaps you can save up your money and invest it in quality time shopping together for something you specifically need or want. It doesn’t have to be an expensive gift to show you care.

3. Show you care about your spouse’s hobbies.

Do things together. Does your spouse like music. Find an instrument you can enjoy playing along on. Art? Find ways to be creative together. Writing? Find ways to help. Exercise? Put aside your pride and sweat a little.

I had problems with this early in our marriage. I worried over everything. Is taking karate classes with my husband very lady like? There weren’t very many other women in the class. Most just sat on the sidelines. I don’t want to get hurt. I’ll just watch. But just watching and actually taking part are two totally different things. I’ll talk more on this in a future post.

I also had a problem with learning the guitar. My husband was teaching me how to play the guitar. He was impressed with how fast I learned and how well I remembered chords. I was afraid what if I got better than him at guitar? I didn’t want him to feel bad if I was getting that good at it. So I quit trying. I backed off. Then I read, I believe it was in the Opposite’s Attack book, that my husband actually wants me to take part in his activities. He isn’t jealous if I get better at it than him. In fact, he finds it something worth bragging about.

scottstacieocarinasThat little piece of truth had me crying. I told my husband what I read and he said that it was true. He likes it when I take part in what he is doing and isn’t jealous of my learning something faster than him. He is just thrilled that I am willing to join him in the fun.

Now I play chess, take karate class, play various instruments, draw, and write. Any activity that my husband is interested in, I now take an active part. I play games with him. I go outside my comfort zone and take short term mission trips with him. Even shy little ol’ me took a picture with an elephant giving my hair some extra conditioning. (At least I’m not describing what I got in my hair in the above picture. My expression should tell it all.) :)

Right now our biggest project together is my writing. He has been painting some really beautiful pictures to illustrate anything I write. We’re partners and best friends.

Did you find resources that helped you get through the hard times? Do you have a hobby that you enjoy with your spouse? Please share with us in the comments.

This was Day 16 of 31 Days Building Commitment.

Tomorrow, I am honored to share with you a guest post by a childhood friend of mine, Jill Luna. Jill will be telling us how she found love and commitment even after experiencing failed marriages.

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Five Minute Friday: Friend

I bet you were wondering if I was going to join in at Lisa Jo’s for another Five Minute Friday today. I know I had two other posts this week but there isn’t much that will stop me from taking at least 5 minutes on Fridays to write.

Here’s the rules from Lisa Jo’s sight:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

Today’s prompt is “Friend“.

My timer is set.

And GO!

All the bride's maids in our wedding were my best friends.

My Best Friends

When I was a child, I met my first friend in Kindergarten. We didn’t become best friends until Second Grade. I don’t even remember how we started playing together. We would play on the playground and started visiting at each other’s houses. She was very popular and seemed so outgoing. I was shy. A lot of the kids in our grade at school wanted to be her friend but not mine. That was very hard. Especially as we would play on the playground and the kids would start arguing with us over my needing to share my friend. I would cry. My friend would take my hand and we would run away.

As we got older our friendship changed. We both found new friends. Then we would meet again and it was like we had never been apart. We could carry on a conversation as if we hadn’t missed a beat.

Stop

Ha! I need to get faster with my thoughts. I did delete the last half a sentence because it didn’t make sense to leave the sentence hanging. :-)

I was about to talk about how we lost track of each other but then met again in college and then we were in each other’s weddings.

I don’t talk with her much anymore. But I think the friendships we have in our childhood prepare us for how we will be in adulthood. Now my husband is my best friend that I can talk with whenever I want. He knows more about me and my life than any of my friends in school ever did.

He actually encourages me to write. That’s how I found Five Minute Fridays. Through my writing friendships I have found in the past few months. And now I have Five Minute Friday friends. :-)

Okay. I’ll stop now. I think I might have tacked on a couple of extra minutes worth to the end there. LOL It took me Five minutes just to get the thoughts flowing.

Did you have a childhood friend growing up? Are you still friends? Who do you consider your best friend now?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the word “Friend”. Please share with me in the comments. Let me know if you are writing in Five Minute Friday and I’ll check out your post.

 
Five Minute Friday

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Where to Find Real Love Guaranteed to Last

Have you ever felt all alone?

Maybe you’re in a room full of people but you may still feel alone. I know I’ve been there many times.

Did you know that even a prophet felt that way before? Yes, Elijah the Prophet!

You can read about it in 1 Kings 19. Elijah had to run for his life. Queen Jezebel wanted to kill him.

When he got to the wilderness he prayed to the Lord to take his life. He didn’t want to live anymore.

God saw that Elijah was week and provided him some food.

God asked him what was wrong. Elijah replied, “I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”(1 Kings 19:10)

Can you believe that a prophet that delivered messages from God could feel depressed and alone?

The story doesn’t end there though. God then revealed Himself to Elijah. Not in an earthquake. Not in a whirlwind. But in a still, small voice. Then He told Elijah about the 7,000 people that God still had left serving Him.

Elijah wasn’t alone.

Real Love guaranteed to last by Anne PetersonIn her book, Real Love Guaranteed to Last, Anne Peterson shares with us in a still, small voice that we’re not alone.

Someone does love us.

Through her own beautiful poetry, photographs, and true stories from her life, Anne shares with us lessons that she has learned from her own experiences.

Anne’s book is a must read for anyone that feels alone in the world.

Even if you don’t feel alone and have already found real love. You’re heart would still be blessed by Anne’s book.

If you would like to learn more about my friend, Anne Peterson check out her website at AnnePeterson.com. You can also get to know her better on her Facebook Page.

If you want to read more about Anne’s book, she wrote about it on her blog Why You Should Read This Little Book.  You can find her book for sale by just clicking on the image in this post or click here to find her book on Amazon. And if you prefer a paper copy of the book that will also be offered on Amazon soon.

Was there a time that you felt alone and then found real love? Tell us about it in the comments. And let me know what you think of Anne’s book! 

This review is my honest thoughts on a friend’s book that I received for free. I was in no way bribed, coerced, or begged to write this review. This post is my honest heart felt thoughts and I was in no way compensated for what I said.  Basically if I hadn’t of liked the book, I wouldn’t have written this review.   (And no I’m not saying that I will write a review for every book I like. If you don’t see me write a review for your book don’t feel like I didn’t like it. *sigh* I’m not very good at this disclosure stuff.) 😉

But that being said, I have been reading a whole lot of good books lately so don’t be surprised if I do talk about some of them.

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