Saturday, October 27, 2012

Part 2: Stress....or Blasphemy?

A stressful couple of weeks culminated in  me at home yesterday with a migraine.   In my blog I was sharing my favorite definition of stress and it's impact in my life.  Remember when I mentioned my support group would show me if there are other deeper issues that needed rooted out?  Well God delivered during my quiet time this morning!!!!

Matthew 12:31-32 jumped off the page at me in a way that left me searching for more.  What exactly is 'blasphemy' and why would it be forgiven to blaspheme Jesus but not the Holy Ghost? 

In my KJV study Bible it notes that the main issue was attributing Jesus' miracles as Satan's power rather than from the true source.  Further search of other verses and notes suggest that the unpardonable sin is when you are attributing power/control to anything other than Holy Spirit.  It also states in Mark 3:29 that it puts you in danger of eternal damnation.

As I'm reading it makes me wonder if that is the same thing I've been doing.....attributing control for my life to me rather than with God's Holy Spirit which indwells a person upon trusting Jesus for your salvation.  Why is it that we as humans trust Jesus for salvation but then often want to take back the reigns soon after we handed them over?   Still not sure about the definition of blasphemy or why Holy Spirit takes precedence over Jesus, I grabbed my Zondervan's Handbook of the Bible and Smith's Bible dictionary. 

Zondervan's points out that Jesus's miracles were not about demonstrating his power.  Rather the true intent was about him pointing people to the truth of God's Kingdom.  While our fleshly viewpoint of "kingdom" involves power and wealth, God's kingdom is about mercy and empowering ordinary, weak people just like us to live according to His will.  Jesus speaks of all this in John 14-16.  The Holy Spirit's role is to dwell within us, comfort us, teach us and bring God's Word to remembrance when time is right.  Reproving the world of sin is another important duty.....however, that can only occur through the believers whom He has been actively working in. 

Smith's definition of 'blasphemy' starts off with "speaking evil of" but continues on with other explanations.  It was the last statement in that paragraph that really hit home.  According to that definition blasphemy is "a state of willful, determined opposition to God and Holy Spirit that no efforts will avail to lead to repentance." 

So are my "control issues" stress or good old fashioned blasphemy?  Am I attributing blessings/changes to anything or anyone other than God?   Do I live with even the slightest bit of willful opposition to God and Holy Spirit?  I really hate to even answer those questions!!!!!  And essentially since actions too often speak louder than words am I pointing others to self-control or God's control?  

Friday, October 26, 2012


Hi,  I'm Sherri and I am an obsessive Type A personality!

Does it sound like I'm at a support group?   That's very close to the truth right now!  I am a K-1 Reading Specialist who takes it personally when I can't a) meet the needs of a 200+ building, b) help 14 teachers take on new curriculum/assessment tasks, c) have an organized classroom, d) have an organized house/yard, e) estimate my time constraints, f) be "perfect", g) etc.  For several years I vowed "this year is going to be better!"  Well, "this year" never came! 

 .....until this year.  This summer I realized that my life was creating havoc with my relationships, creating havoc with my health, not allowing me to create new relationships, and not being the joyfilled believer that God intended.  A few years back I read a definition of stress that stated "the perception that you can control something in which you truly have no control over".  Wow, that stopped me dead in my tracks because it is so true.  We often think we are "in control" but truly we are not!  Can anyone human control the weather, illness, death, etc?  Only God can control those things.  The stressed out Sherri comes when I forget that!!!!

So at the beginning of this school year I put some physical boundaries in my life that helped immensely.  Also I put an accountability partner into place who checks in periodically.  This woman is bold and can be brash but that is what I need....and above all I know what she says is out of love!  God is so serious about this change that he has placed her in a position in my school district & placed her in the next door office about once a month! 

Life had been going really well for about 8 weeks.  School was getting a little more demanding but that's to be expected occasionally...especially around report card time.  Last two weeks a couple early meetings and a new thyroid medicine was throwing off my schedule so I missed a few appointments with God and His word.  Then a few "I really need to get in early to finish_________" or "Innkeeper's run before work is sounding really good" and back down the slippery slope I went!!!!!! 

Fast forward to this week of being back into my morning quiet time but VERY cranky and critical. I've reinstituted those boundaries that had waned.  I even quarantined myself in bed with a good book two evenings and on another went to hang out with my neice which are all things that usually help me readjust bad moods but nothing worked.  At first I blamed the lack of sleep and thyroid med which has mood changes listed as a side effect.  Then there are the really bizarre "good vs evil" dreams.  Truth be known I have just switched my unrealistic school expectations to home, have overcommitted myself, and am trying to control things again rather than allow some projects to be on back burner.

I woke up this morning with my neck knotted up, head pounding, and the urge to throw-up.  My roomate noted 'of course you have a migraine. you are beginning to whir yourself up again'.  My paraphrase but she was right.  No matter what external boundaries I put in place it's an internal issue as well!  For me it's a matter of making anything a priority over my morning time with God.  If there is something else that I need to put in place I'm sure my support group will tell me! ;P  Truthfully I am extremely thankful for those women who know me so well and aren't shy about telling me what they think!  Without them I'd hate to think of where I'd end up!

Sidenote:  I have to tell you something my neice is doing.  She is a 2.5 yr old version of me....which is quite entertaining  at least to me.  To her mother...well, that could be a different story!  She has had a language delay and is just now saying my name.  Even though she can say "sh" she pronounces my name as "Harry".   Of course those close would say she's calling me "Hairy" but they are wrong!  "Harry" was my great grandfather's name whom died much too young!  Even though he died when I was around 5 yrs old he left his impact on me for life and I still miss him!  Mom always tells of when I was beginning to talk how Grampa Schweitzer would do something just so he could hear me mimic my great grandma's exasperated "Oh, Harry!"   I wish my  younger(10+ years) male cousins had experienced him in their lives.  They would have loved all the time spent at G'pas Lake!  So my neice can call me "Harry" all of her life because I see that nickname as an honor!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

When life is a blur in the rearview mirror.....

Do you ever wake up and feel so very disconnected from your own life?  Has every good thing in your life just become something similar to a task that needs checked off your list?  Have you ever had people comment on how wonderful your life seems and you are left wondering 'am I just ungrateful'?

For instance I was fortunate enough to be invited to go on a free cruise to Alaska a month ago.  It was a wonderful 9 days with my sister, cousin, and BFF filled with lots of laughter and new views of God's creation.  However, two days ago my best friend and I were talking that we feel as if that much anticipated trip was nothing more than a distant blur and had just became "one more thing" on our task list.  Imagine a free Alaskan cruise being likened to mowing the lawn?!?!  We also talked about how incredibly busy we had become and often times we each felt as if the life had been sucked out of us and we were just going through the motions of life.  Even our quiet time with God was feeling that way.

Later in the day as I was taking a break from a yard project in sweltering heat, I sat down with a glass of ice water and the June issue of Proverbs 31 magazine.  Have I mentioned how incredibly busy this summer has been, yet? ;)   Upon starting Hester Christensen's article on rest, I scoffed to myself "ha, who has time to rest?" but I continued to read.  She had me at her 5th sentence when she stated life is not meant to be "like an exhausting game of leapfrog, jumping from one thing to the next."  Wow!  Prior to my conversation with my best friend that is exactly what I was thinking my summer had become.  For a second I even wondered had Mrs. Christensen been secretly sitting in on our conversation? 

As a several generations "farmer's daughter" anything written from a context of farming speaks to my heart.  As a youngster I remember our family still practicing God's plan of leaving fields to rest.  Having lived in a society that tells you the opposite "produce, produce, produce" I am seeing the wisdom of following God's plan....especially when it doesn't seem 'logical'!!!!!  Soil can be "burnt out" of it's vital nutrients if not allowed to rest....much like us.  Mrs. Christensen included a self-evaluation list to determine if your in danger of burn-out.  I found myself answering 'yes' to more than I want to admit! 

Fallow Ground was a good wake up call to the true issues in my life......"the gospel cannot take root in our lives when we are choked by busyness, selfish pursuits, and worries."    If you too are feeling like life is a blur then please go to and locate this article.  Or go to her site at  Believe me when I say the time will be well spent!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Joys(?) of Gardening

Gardening has proved to be great way to relax and sort through things in my mind.  I have been known to refer to it as "dirt therapy".  However, on a few occasions it's not fun or therapeutic! 

When it is blistering hot is one occasion.  We've been experiencing such for over a week but today is a little worse for there is no breeze.  The majority of my garden work areas are shaded for a part of the day because of my grandparent's forethought in planting lots of trees 49 years ago.  Unfortunately prior to my buying the property, the yard was unattended for about 10 years as they were caring for my great grandmother.  Many a time in the middle of my "recapturing the yard" projects I am just tempted to give up and call "uncle"!!!!!!!   During one of those early episodes I had stumbled upon II Samuel 5:22-25 where David is inquiring of the Lord how to fight a battle.  God's statement was to wait until he heard the breeze moving the tops of the trees which would be God going into battle before him.  Every time I want to give up it never fails there is a slight rustling of leaves that reminds me that I can persevere through Him!

Let me tell you of the other occasion.... but in order to do that I need to back up a bit.  One beautiful October Saturday I decided to spend it reading on my brick patio.  Later in the afternoon I felt something very light on my eyelid so I brushed it off.  Whatever it was bit me and I immediately began to swell.  My eye, cheek, and one nasal passage swell almost shut.  ER and my Dr didn't know what it was but did require me to carry a epi-pen.  Six months later the same thing got me when I was out walking my dark chocolate lab.  This time it was just on my cheekbone and it was slightly swollen.  By the next morning a rash had emerged.  In another day it turned into lots of weeping pus pockets that would not go away so I was sent to allergist.  He got it healed up after many visits and medicines.

We decided that I needed to do a full out allergen test since this had been twice in six months with severe reactions.  Weirdly I had a few random hives but not on the area that was inflicted.  After a week of the common allergens test patches on my back, nothing happened.  My allergist believes that it is tied into recent vitamin D deficiency and thyroid changes which in turn causes me to be hypersensitive.  How frustrating! 

So back to my other 'gardening is not fun' occasion....because we had little to no winter we are having a very buggy summer!  Between the bugs and allergic reactions, I'm not finding gardening as relaxing as usual.  However, I may have come up with a way to fix if you drive by Gottadew Gardens and see a lady with a beekeeper's hat on, please wave hello!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Backyard Lessons from a 2 year old

Last week I saw something that got me to thinking....  I was in the backyard with my sister and my neice showing them the tomatoes I had just planted.  While we were looking intently at the garden,  my brother in law was walking down the hill towards us and called his daughter's name.  My neice stopped cold upon hearing her father's voice calling her name.  Her 2 yr old head snapped up and immediately began searching the backyard for him.  After a minute or so he was in view and those little feet ran into him with arms open wide...squealing the whole way! 

The next morning during my quiet time I was still laughing at the memory.  Then a thought hit me that it was a great picture of what anyone should do when they hear God calling.  Someday that will be me when I hear Jesus calling my name! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

So why "Gottadew Gardens"?

Well,  it is a combination of two things.  I like the sound of the word 'grotto' and an ideal type of garden I'd love to have.  But mostly because keeping up with an acre yard there is always something that you "got to do".  I don't think my "got to do" list will ever run out!  Still I'm fortunate enough to have land that has been in my family for several years, gorgeous flora that was planted by my great grandmother, a house my grandparent's built right before I was born, and the summers off to take care of it all. 

It's not exactly like I dreamed all those years ago (at 8) when I announced to the family that when my grandparents sold their place I was going to buy it!  I sure don't remember there being the weeds, bugs, or snakes!  I do have the beloved cottage but it is without the husband and 5 kids.  Regardless of that God has been abundantly good to me!  My parents and another aunt/uncle have built houses on the farm so family/kids abound all around me.  Plus my church family is rich with young families who are more than willing to lend out any child I might feel the need to entertain for the day!

Speaking of entertaining children, this will be the 5th year of Camp Sherri.  It started when friends bought a house and discovered that it really needed a major overhaul.  At the time they had 3 young children all under the ages of five so I decided the best way I could help was to take the oldest two to my house once a week to play.  We had some fun craft projects but basically just chased the dog around the yard.  They dubbed it "Camp Sherri".  Not only did the moniker stick but enrollment grew as my cousins kids began coming the next summer.  It began with two children and currently is up to seven.  It will continue to expand as my extended family have their own.  Every year I think I'm going to get more detailed but often the kids come up with the schedule and I just supervise.  However, this year I am incorporating my great grandfather's camp tradition of "rest time".  We never really napped but rather laid in bunks laughing while grandma told stories.  I imagine Camp Sherri's rest time will be more of the same. 

By November I begin to hear "I can't wait till Camp Sherri again".  I still don't get what the appeal is...but what fun memories they will have to tell their kids or those they live to influence!  Maybe one day one of them will take over Gottadew Gardens and start their own!     ....and really, isn't that what it's all about? 
Deuteronomy 6:7