Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Newlyweds and Prayer

Yesterday marked the 4 month anniversary of Charsie and Jesse's wedding.
The newlyweds are doing great.
It's fun having them live close and see them often.

One of the main reasons I am so confident that they are doing so well and will continue to, is that they started out on the right path.
  Their wedding and marriage has been covered in prayer at every turn.

This is one of my favorite moments of their wedding.
We had a plan to take this picture and have them stand on either side of the door, but not see each other.  
They hadn't seen each other at all that day, they were pretty traditional throughout.
And then, before they went their separate ways Jesse said a prayer and we all got to stand with them and witness and agree.

His prayer was one of the most heart-felt sweetest prayers I've ever heard.
  The reason I know it was heart-felt was that he had no time to prepare. 
 We just threw it on him, and asked if he would mind saying a prayer before they went back to their separate areas, and he covered his bride and their lives in a gorgeous prayer of blessing.
It was truly a sweet and  holy moment.  

These 2 have prayed together from the very beginning of their relationship. 
 They are both prayer warriors and it is evident in their individual lives and now in their life together as husband and wife.  
They have had some "life situations" to wade thru together already, and they have handled it with prayer as the first line of action, and they are definitely seeing the favor of the Lord.

Psalm 90:17English Standard Version (ESV)
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
    and establish the work of our hands upon us;
    yes, establish the work of our hands! 

This picture blesses my heart.  

The photographer, our good friend, Cassie from Cassie Goossen Photography, had just arrived at the church and I started banging (yes banging, because we were running a tad behind schedule) on the door to the guys' dressing room area, and Charlie came out and told me to hold on and give them a minute because they were praying; and he promptly shut the door so he could continue to join them again.
I paused for a moment and looked at Cassie, 
my beautiful, Jesus loving, prayer warrior, photographer friend,
 and explained that we needed to wait a they were praying over Jesse.

  We both looked at each other like WOW...that would be a beautiful moment to I proceeded to bang on the door which my loving hubby came to the door slightly annoyed and I whispered our request of letting Cassie get some pictures. 
 He was happy to let Cassie in because he knows her and he knows that she has a very personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, and she would just bring even more unity and blessing to what was going on in such an intimate moment,
 get some awesome pictures to remember it all by.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

What Does the CROSS OF JESUS Mean to Me?

The question that has been running thru my head this Easter season is:
What does the cross mean to ME?

The CROSS OF JESUS means Jesus - the Son of God took on the wrath of God for my sin and shame and HE died, and was buried, and after 3 days came back to life so that I might have life everlasting with Him. 
 This is what the cross means for everyone who believes. 
 Thank you Jesus for the cross.  

The thing that has been on my mind though is on a personal relational just Jesus and me heart to heart kinda level....what does the cross mean to me?

I am forgiven!
I was bought with  the price of God's only Son - HIS VERY LIFE - and He paid for me,
 and then He set me free!!!!  
 is what the cross means to me.  

When we think of the world's terms of paying for a person, we think of slavery, and it's wrong and it's gross, but as with everything in God's kingdom, it's the opposite of the world.
I have been paid for to live in 

Jesus payment is beautiful and loving!
Jesus set me free, free to live as a beloved child of the almighty God, whom I can now call 
And once I looked to Jesus and repented of my sin and looked to HIM and HIM alone for my right standing with God almighty,
 I became a child of God forever!!

His payment was for my adoption into HIS family. 
 Now I have all the benefits of a beloved child of God!!  

Even on my best day I will never deserve it or earn it,
 I just am
 a child of the 
When I blow it ROYALLY, I'm still HIS kid, the payment was in full, and had no contingencies, no refund, no returns, paid in full forever! 

Thank you Jesus for the CROSS!!!! 
 Thank you!!!!  Thank you!!!!  Thank you!!!!

I think of how much I love my kids,
 and that love times infinity is how much my FATHER loves me.
Every day all day, good days and bad days.  

My actions and behaviors do not change HIS love for me.  

Thank you Jesus for the saving me and making me righteous before God almighty


I live in freedom and have all the benefits of being a daughter of the 

Psalm 116:12-19The Message (MSG)

What can I give back to God
    for the blessings he’s poured out on me?
I’ll lift high the cup of salvation—a toast to God!
    I’ll pray in the name of God;
I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do,
    and I’ll do it together with his people.
When they arrive at the gates of death,
    God welcomes those who love him.
Oh, God, here I am, your servant,
    your faithful servant: set me free for your service!
I’m ready to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice
    and pray in the name of God.
I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do,
    and I’ll do it in company with his people,
In the place of worship, in God’s house,
    in Jerusalem, God’s city.

I get to spend my freedom thanking HIM and responding to HIS great love and sacrifice for 
Not because I have to, but because I get to. 
 He even gives me the voice to praise Him and the arms to raise to HIM! 

The CROSS means that I get to see in the WORD,  how much HE loves me and how faithful HE is to me!

Everyone that turns to Jesus as their LORD and their SAVIOR has been bought with the same price and receives the same benefit package!!! 
There is no probation or waiting period, the payment was made in full, the benefits start immediately.
The benefit package is called:
It's perfect and never runs out and provides for everything you will ever ever ever need.

 How awesome is that.  
Who wouldn't fall in LOVE with a SAVIOR that is so wonderful??  
This is what the cross means to me and everyone who BELIEVES
and repents.
REPENT,  means turn to HIM and confess that you need HIM and HE will stamp your life as paid in full and you are handed the benefit package called

Friday, March 25, 2016

My Man Is An African - At Heart.

My man is headed to Kenya in a few days.
 I love how God is always changing it up.  The minute you get kinda "comfortable" He starts something new.

Believe it or not after 7 trips to Uganda there is a certain element of comfort when going there.
  Charlie knows people and he has a bit of a routine when he goes there, so God in all his goodness and creative wonder has given Charlie the opportunity to go to Kenya.

I have no doubt God is up to something pretty cool (because He always is) and I'm proud of my man for saying,
"Yes, send me, I am willing."

Charlie is headed to Kenya with our missionary friend

This is our friend that had to endure the "pepper spray incident' with us
 he is still speaking to us. 

This in itself shows true Christian characteristics
...forgiveness and grace...,
joy in the midst of suffering,
those kinds of traits.

This guy is a Christ follower and world changer, and we are blessed enough to call him our friend.  

Charlie is not ready....and not worried about it.
  It will all come together, and the more open he is to God's plan and timing and provision, the more beautiful it will be.

  He knows God has a plan and he is just blessed enough to get to join in on it.

Also as Ben pointed out on Charlie's last trip to Uganda, Charlie is African at heart, anyone who has seen Charlie in Uganda will testify the man is more alive and free and in his element there.
I've come to realize I married an African man!!!!!  

Thursday, March 24, 2016

March Madness / Joyness

Micah 6:8English Standard Version (ESV)

He has told you, O man, what is good;

    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,[a]
    and to walk humbly with your God?

Cellie Joy turned "1"!!!

This kid brings pure Joy to all who know her.
I am so thankful to God for this JOY!!!
I'm just saying God was really showing off when he created this little life.  

I asked Cellie Joy what she wanted to do for her birthday, and I'm sure she said she wanted her big sister and her nieces to come to her party.
  So what's a mother to do, when a one year old has such a specific request????? 

 Go get the big sister and the 
GRANDS / nieces
so we can

So party and celebrate WE DID!!!

We made good use of our time together.
We were intentional about every minute because we had much to do and little time to do it.

We spent a week at high speed going from one thing to another......and now we are exhausted but satisfied and thankful for the time and the energy and fuel God so generously blessed us with.

March  goes from 1 - 10,
 the first and the last for the 
 Charlie and Jenay Bunch.

This has been our brand for 26 years. 

The oldest CJ is Claiborne Jones - he turns 22 this month,
and the youngest  CJ is Cellie Joy and she turned 1! 

This kid can dance like no other, and we all watch in AWE!!!  

I did not get the pleasure of raising the oldest CJ kid, but I can tell you my heart holds a mama's love for this kid.  I love him, and I'm proud of him.  When he calls me "Mom" it blesses me EXTRA, because he chooses to call me this.
  Claiborne is a natural leader has taken on the role of big brother so well.  He especially has mentored Mik in such a big brother way.  Mik looks up to Claiborne, and Claiborne takes the time and attention to talk to Mik and encourage him in a way that nobody else in this family can do.

I celebrate you Claiborne, and pray God's blessing over your life. 
 May He show Himself to you DAILY and you turn to Him and give Him praise and dance for HIM!
He gave you all those moves...use it for His GLORY!!!

Psalm 149:3-4(MSG)

1-4 Hallelujah!
Sing to God a brand-new song,
    praise him in the company of all who love him.
Let all Israel celebrate their Sovereign Creator,
    Zion’s children exult in their King.
Let them praise his name in dance;
    strike up the band and make great music!
And why? Because God delights in his people,
    festoons plain folk with salvation garlands!

You are a blessing and I love you.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Busy Middle Bunch

My middle kids have had us on a dead run lately and I can't think of anything that should bring me to tears more than watching these kids do so well and work so hard.  I'm so stinking proud of each of them and even though I sit there locked up and sometimes yelling for them....I am a wild mess on the inside....excited and anxious and proud and sick all at the same time.

Esther is a on volleyball team and just recently had a birthday.  She has just turned into such a lady.  She has taken on the roll of the "oldest" girl in the house so well.  She takes good care of me and all the little peeps.  She has a spark in her that would just twinkle sometimes,  and that spark has grown and ignited and she just shines brightly.

Mik is on a basketball team that has done well and he has made some good friends.  He has grown up so much.  He recently had a birthday also and he was so full of joy all day and we celebrated him big time and he loved every single minute.  He must have told me he loved me 3 times that day and he typically uses those words pretty sparingly, it made my day.  We have so many years to make up for with him,  we missed out on such a big part of his early life...but without those years..he wouldn't be who he is and we love him just the way he is.  We are thankful that he is ours and with us now and we are thankful for every part of his story, and that we get to be a part of it.  


Luke is the wrestler and  has wrestled like a stud.  I'm so proud of this kid.  He has taken on the discipline, and the wins and the losses with such solid strength. 
 This kid is a true true middle child, he is the middle of the middle and he takes it all in stride. 

 He made it to state in his wrestling and so we will be cheering him on this weekend.  Praying I don't sit with the "ugly" look all weekend, because wrestling is an especially hard one for me to watch. 
 Don't get me wrong, I really do like it because he loves it and he has done so well, but it goes against so much of my 
"mother nature." 
 I cant believe I sit there watching my kid in a tiny little costume
 (singlet, Luke tells me)
 getting physically attacked and turned into a pretzel in front of a whole bunch of people who are sitting in the stands and yelling at him, or for him, it's hard to tell which.
  I also know as I'm watching him, that he has had to watch and monitor every single calorie that has passed thru his lips for the days leading up to the meets. 
  It's great discipline and it does teach him body awareness and how to use food to fuel his body not just taste good and feel full...but it goes against allllllllllll the instincts of a mother to feed her growing boy.

 When I know he's hungry, I am in physical pain. 
 He doesn't complain a word, but I'm in a yank the whole hungry  time.

Luke getting an award from McKennan, his coach and big brother friend.  I'm so thankful for McKennan and all that he has poured into Luke.  Luke is getting to learn from the best!

It has been a very busy season, but it has been fun and such a time of growth for all our middle kids.  We are so thankful for the gifts and abilities and differences of each of these kids.  

Ps.  I got a private comment a couple of posts ago from an adoptive mom and I would love to get in touch with her...but her comment was anonymous and private and I have no way of contacting her.  Please email me at


Monday, March 7, 2016

I'm Locked Up and Found My Fit

Another confession:
I am pretty locked up emotionally.
I get super close to the ugly cry almost daily, 
over happy and sad events,
 and the only thing that comes out is the 
ugly, and no cry,
 so it just gives this horrid look of discomfort and distress.

This is a serious problem believe it or not,
it's not just an "ugly"'s a locked up heart.
  It's like no emotion is allowed to
it's just all stuck at ugly.

The only thing that seems to give way sometimes, is fear,
 which comes out like anger,
 which sounds like yelling.
All the other stuff inside just makes it to the "ugly" and freezes right there.

I have been talking to a few of my peeps (sisters) about this and they have experienced the same lock up.

I have been asking the Lord to show me,
 "What is my issue, why am I just stuck in the ugly?"
(if you think I'm kidding I'm totally NOT)

So I was listening to a podcast sermon on the way home from a basketball tournament and it hit me like a sock in the gut,  I even ALMOST
made it passed the ugly and  dropped a tear. 
  This is what hit me....I'm pretty transparent (as evidenced by the blog) but in all my transparency...I also have boundaries, which are good in the right way, but my boundaries have turned into walls and fences, so you can see me but I'm out of
Somewhere along the way I quit being vulnerable,
 I even quit being vulnerable with
 I would have my time with Him and talk to Him and read His word, but if I felt like He was getting in my business, I would just divert and move to the next verse or pray for something else.
I didn't want to deal with any
 that might be
 stuffed away in my heart, 
so I got locked up behind my fence and just looked ugly.

I mean seriously there is plenty to cry about,  there's so much beauty and blessing and awe and wonder and hurt and pain and suffering in this world.  
It's just that I have to be vulnerable enough to let all the beauty and pain past the barrier and let it touch my heart for longer than a millisecond.

I think a part of the problem is also  emotional attention deficit.
(I just made that up.)  
I can scroll through facebook and read the saddest thing and see the saddest picture and then with a tiny swipe of the screen and  I'm on to the funniest post of the day.

It's like we don't take a moment to feel or digest what we just saw or heard or felt.  It gives a sting or a giggle and move on to the next thing.

Bottom line:  I'm locked up and working on breaking free and once the dam breaks...look out, I'm scared to think what a mess that will be. 

In other news:

Here's a progress report on 
"fitting in".
 I have found my group.

  Middle Schoolers are my fit!!!!
  They are completely awkward, weird, and vulnerable I love them like crazy. 
 We have started meeting with a group of mostly middle schoolers at our house  a few Sundays a month to eat and play and talk about Jesus.
Modeled after Acts 2:42
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
  In years past, we had a group of kids when the older ones were in high school and we called it PB&J, for Powell Butte and Jesus, 
so this one is PB&J 2.0

 They are all awkwardly finding their way in life and I "get" that.
    They can laugh and cry in the same 5 minutes, and feel it all to their very bones.

They have amazing, questions and curious minds and they are brave and vulnerable enough to ask the questions.
  They haven't learned good or bad boundaries...they are just flailing around like wild people.