Monday, February 28, 2011

Valentine's Fun

OK, I know it's the last day of February. Don't beat me up. I'm trying.
In spite of my family fighting illness off and on the entire month, we were still able to celebrate Valentine's with each other.
Here are some simple (and cheap) ways that we shared the love :-)... I spent $10 total.
inflatable hearts hanging from our ceiling...
I realize they look a little funny... but, the boys loved them!

hanging banner

festive cups and plates... enough for the boys to use
almost the entire week of Valentine's Day

all of the boys helped bake and decorate heart shaped cookies
Side note about children decorating cookies. I like to put the cookies inside of a pan, sometimes a cookie sheet, sometimes a cake pan (like in this picture). This helps to catch the sprinkles, and makes for easier clean-up. Which, for Mommy, makes for a very fun time of decorating :-).
treats waiting on the table in the morning on Valentine's Day
Another side note... sorry. But, these lollipops... I have to tell you. I got them on the clearance, after Christmas clearance rack, for $.25 a piece. They were originally $2 each. I also picked up some green and white ones that I'll break out on St. Patrick's Day. I love looking for deals on after holiday racks, with the upcoming holidays in mind.

A Super Fun Game!

Our family loves this game, and I thought your family may love it too. We were given this game by some dear friends at Christmastime. While having the game makes things easy... you don't have to think about the objects to find... you could easily make up some lists of your own.
I love that the game rules state that all things must be put away as well as found. In fact, the rounds of play are... first find, then put away, and so on.
I also love that this game keeps the boys moving. It's a great rainy day game that allows kids to use up some energy while indoors.
We're all usually laughing throughout the entire game. It's hilarious to see what household items the boys come up with that fit into the hunt category.

racing back with 1 of the items

some of their finds.... a belt, food in a container, a book with a black cover...

cracking up over his 'food in a container' find... cut up peppers from the refrigerator.. HA!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Forever Changing

My 10 year old has been sick with the flu. So, we've been trying to find quiet, yet fun activities for him to do this week. He's watched movies, played games, read, looked at pictures, and slept (A LOT). He has been so exhausted... bless his heart.

Anyways, having tried almost everything we could think of that he was interested in... today, he asked if we could get out all of our family movies.

This is a slight undertaking, as some of them are on large VHS,  and some on small VHS. These small ones need a larger tape that they're designed to slip inside of. And, quite frankly, I didn't know where that larger tape was. Then, there are some more movies on small DVD's. These cannot be played without hooking the DVD recorder into the television. And, of course, there are the movies that we've recorded on our digital camera, and are on CD's that you can watch on a computer.

One can literally see the technology movement within the past 15 years, just by looking at our collection of family movies. My plan is one day to have all of them put onto one type of video device. Of course, I don't know when to do that, for fear that the media I choose will change yet again... HA!

For now though, they're all on these different types of videos.

I was able to find all of the necessary pieces to make all of the different types of movies play.
(hooray for me!)

Caleb chose the first movie to watch. It was one from when he was a baby.

All of the boys and I laughed and cooed over the images of the babies on the screen, who are now 11 and 10. We listened intently to the sounds coming from the screen, baby babbling and words trying to be formed. We watched them play in the snow, and in a sandbox, as well as eat cake and open presents.

I was hit hard by the realization that TIME DOESN'T STAND STILL. I know this truth more and more. I had heard this and probably even said this then. But, I didn't live my life like I believed it. I didn't take those years seriously with my boys. And, watching them on the screen, part of me wished I had the chance to live those moments over again, with the knowledge that I have now.

Of course, the boys weren't the only ones in the movies. Our family, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, and Dave and I were also in them. I watched and enjoyed seeing the boys. But, I also watched myself.

I watched myself on these movies. I remembered how I felt then. Going through the motions, in a fog, mostly emotionless, with a tough layer of indifference around me. I didn't want to hurt, I didn't want to do, and I didn't have joy.

Honestly, this brought me to tears. Tears that I was who I was then, with sorrow because of it. Tears that I am who I am now, with joy that God has made that change in me.

None of these changes have come easily. I remember days when I could barely get out of bed. There were days when changing diapers and feeding my children were the only things I did. And then, I didn't even do those tasks with the love and care that God would've had me. But, as I relented to God's control and strength in my life, I was able to do more and more. I was able to care for the family God had blessed me with. I was able to love them completely, because I had finally realized His great love for me. And, because of His love, I had JOY, unspeakable JOY!

"Just as the Father has loved Me, I have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full."
John 15:11

WOW! Isn't that a reason worth living?! Jesus' JOY lives in me! That makes me want to jump out of this seat , jump around and dance! If that fact alone can't excite you... well, as my husband would say...
 "check your pulse".

I am far from perfect, but, God has changed me. And do you know what the best part is?

Praise be to GOD, He's not finished!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

SNOW much fun with "Cuffies" :-)

This may be a little after-the-fact. But, a few of you had asked me about the "cuffies" that my boys wear when they play in the snow.

I read about this idea in a magazine, years ago. So, it's not original. But, I can tell you, it's very useful!

Do you remember playing in the snow as a kid, and the snow would get in between your gloves and coat? Your wrists would get very cold, and sometimes scalded. I recall constantly pulling down on my coat sleeves, trying to keep it overlapping my gloves.

Well, this is a helpful solution to this problem. It also recycles a useless item. As to why they're called "cuffies"? I'm not sure. That's what they were called when I first read about the idea.
-Take an old sock... slightly longer ones, not an ankle sock... and we only use one's that have a hole in it.
-Cut off the tip of the toe area, and another small hole in the side for the thumb to fit through

Slip the "cuffie" on, then your coat, then your gloves.

They do get wet, but it's better than snow directly on your skin. My boys love them!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Just Some Fun Fire Tales

As winter kissed us once again with a blanket of snow, our household has had a steady fire in the fireplace.  This is the first house we've had that has a fireplace. We've lived here for 4 years, and I have to say, the fireplace is one of my very favorite aspects about this home. To me, there is no more comfortable place to be on a cold winter's day than sitting in front of a nice warm fire.

It's a wonderful place to sit near and read, or study God's Word. I've also had many moments of cuddling with one of my boys in front of it. 
We dry snowy, wet coats, gloves and boots in front of it.
I allow bread and pizza dough to rise in front of it.
I also put cinnamon sticks and orange peel in water inside of an old teapot. When it gets warm, a sweet aroma permeates the area.

We make grilled cheese...

...and, of course, s'mores!

We enjoy gathering in our living room while the fire is going. It has been soothing and warming on very cold days, and helped to keep our oil bill down (that's always a plus!). It even kept us warm one night when we accidentally ran out of oil.

Overall, I have loved having a fire in the fireplace. It's been fun.
But, honestly, I'm ready to say good-bye until next year.
I'm ready for warmth of a different kind... called spring! :-)

Completely Content

"Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure and turmoil with it." Proverbs 15:16

A dear friend of mine posted this verse a couple of nights ago. When I read it, it struck a chord within me. It brought to mind what we, as Americans, consider the norm. All of our stuff, that is.

I've had numerous discussions about this subject with friends. One particular discussion, we were talking about when we go in to a store with a list, and how the marketing schemes... *REDUCED*... *CLEARANCE*... *$1 RACKS*.... they all scream our name, and seem to get in our head. We find ourselves reasoning that "it's on sale", "I've never seen a better price on this". But, bottom line, it wasn't on the list to begin with, and I don't need it. I know I've found myself reasoning all of these things, and still placing the item into my shopping cart.

I've also had discussions with my boys concerning this.  Ever since Christmas, we've gone from room to room in our house, trying to clean out, get rid of the things we don't use and organize the things we do. "A place for everything, and everything in its place." That's the well known motto. But, let's face it, staying organized like that is a never ending battle. At least it is for me.

I read this verse, and know for certain that I do absolutely fear the Lord. He is my Saviour. I know Him personally and intimately. I'm awestruck by His holiness and almighty strength. But, I also read the verse and am hit with the realization that having a lot is a distraction to serving Him.

The stuff in my life becomes the nagging clatter that rings in my ears, not allowing me to fully hear and listen to the Holy Spirit that lives in me. Part of me says to just get rid of everything, begin anew. Then, the rational side kicks in and reasons that there are things that we need. There are also things that we don't necessarily NEED, but we do use them, and they're not bad to have in themselves.

I don't know. Perhaps I'm not making much sense. But, I know reading this verse has prompted me to wrestle with the "American dream" mindset a little further.

I WANT to please the Lord in everything I do, and with all I have. Although, sometimes I think it's a little harder to do so when I have so much.

I was reading a book with my youngest this morning, You Are Mine by Max Lucado. The story is about feeling like you don't have enough. The main character in the story, Punchinello, gives up everything that truly matters in order to gain more things, that don't buy him happiness. At the end of the story he finds himself in his makers house, admitting that he isn't happy and that he'd made a mistake. The final line of the story finds Punchinello content.

"And so that night Punchinello slept on a bed of wood shavings. He slept well. It felt good to be in the house of his maker."

I suppose that's where I want to be. Content in the house of my maker.

I know that for me, that means I will have to continue to clean out, probably for the rest of my life. I have 4 boys, and they're constantly growing and changing. That means that their interests will develop and change, bringing new and exciting things into our home. It also means that I will make a point of sticking to my shopping lists, avoiding the sales racks :-).

In all of this thoughtful wrestling, this verse came to mind...

"But godliness is actually a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either." 1 Timothy 6:6,7

Yes, Lord, complete contentment is my desire.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

"I wish I had a steamer."

This happened a while back. Last fall, to be exact. But, I was looking through some old pictures and was reminded of it, so I thought I'd share.

I'd had "one of those days". CRAZY busy! I had tons to get done in the house, the boys schooling to conquer, piano lessons to teach, and I had to be ready to jump in to my clothes right after I taught piano, for a banquet I was attending with my husband. Plus, I had to get dinner ready for my boys and the family that was coming to be with them while my husband and I were away.

Normally, my normal day, going out in the evening and getting dinner ready wouldn't stress me out. That's probably because most of the times we have somewhere to be, it doesn't usually land on the day I teach piano from 4-6pm.

Anyways, this day was stressing me a little.

That morning, I'd picked out what I wanted to wear that night. It was a pretty green, silky top. It's one that I don't get to wear very often, as it's a little too fancy for church. Having not worn it in a long time, I found it in the back of my closet, extremely wrinkled!

When I brought it downstairs, I laid it on the back of the couch. I recall thinking, I'll iron that in a little bit... if I'm able to get the wrinkles out at all... it's silk... I'll probably end up with a black mark on it from the iron... I wish I had a steamer...better have a backup plan...

I went about my day, first making a fire in the fireplace, starting some laundry, breakfast, school with the boys, more laundry, lunch, some cleaning, and figuring out what I could make for dinner.

It was about 45 minutes before I had to teach piano that I went to get my top and see what I could do with it.

This is where I found it...

Follow this series of events...
Apparently, at some point in the day, my top had fallen off of the back of the couch, on to the ground. One of my sons had picked it up, and kindly hung it on the basement door knob.  Whenever we have a fire in the fireplace, we run our humidifier, which sits behind the couch in the living room. After lunch and school being completed, the boys went to the basement to play. They opened the basement door, leaving my top hanging right above the humidifier.

I couldn't believe it! When I picked up the top, I initially noticed it was a little wet, not soaked, just damp. That's when I realized where it had been for almost 2 hours.

No joke... every single wrinkle was gone!  I laughed so hard!

GOD had steamed my top!!!

I ran my top upstairs, where it had enough time to dry. I taught piano, and quickly got dressed. Then, I enjoyed an evening out with my husband, wearing the top that God had made ready for me. :-)

"God is amazing!"

"For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?"
Matthew 6:25-26

My husband spoke about Matthew 6 last night. So, as the boys and I were gathered this morning for school, these verses were at the forefront of my mind.

My oldest was actually the first to notice all of the birds outside our window. When he pointed them out to us, we were able to count 16 of them in 1 tree.

We paused from our school work for a few minutes, and opened the window to listen to them sing, chirping loudly, but beautifully. We watched them fly around, darting from tree to tree. We watched them eat berries, and marveled at how God provides nourishment for them at just the right time. If they arrived back in this area any sooner, the berries wouldn't be ready. The boys also noted that there are plenty of sticks and twigs on the ground, from the winter storms, for the birds to use for their nests.

I was able to talk to the boys about this verse, and how God provides for the animals, in this case, birds. The boys were able to see God's provision firsthand. We talked about how God provides for us, His children. And, because He is our provider, that we have no reason to worry.

The pinnacle moment in our conversation was when my little "I" said, "God is amazing!" He'd been listening intently to me and his brothers talking, while watching the birds fly around and eat. I knew when he said this that he'd "gotten it". He'd realized, as best as he could, just how amazing God is. He was truly in awe of our incredible Creator.

As I listened to my children talk about God , my prayer became that I would take more moments like these to notice an Almighty Creator. I don't want to miss a moment that I could use to teach my children to stand  in awe of Him and His creation.

I'm so glad that this morning my children were the ones who took the moment to notice and teach me.

Here are few pictures that I caught this morning...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Enjoy your cookie. Love, God

I recently wrote about having received tickets, and going to a Washington Capitals game.  My sister-in-law has access to these tickets through her work, and asked us if we'd like them for a couple of games to take our boys to, with the choice of NHL and NBA. Our 4 boys split evenly, the oldest and 3rd wanting to go to a Wizards game, and the 2nd and youngest wanting to go to the hockey game.

We went to the hockey game a couple of weeks ago, and last week, we went to the Wizards game.

Much like the hockey game, our tickets included incredible seats and a dinner before the game. Our seats were literally 3 rows from the floor. We were right next to the players as they ran out. One of them even threw a shirt to our sons.

We also had the honor of meeting a former Washington Bullets player, Gheorghe Muresan, who's 7'7".
No, Dave isn't standing on a step below, this picture is for real.

This time we were able to take part in the Coaches Club, where they serve practically any food you can think of. There's anything from sodas, Chinese food to hotdogs, salads, pastas,  both hot and cold, to ice cream, popcorn, and an array of desserts. A HUGE perk of this is that you can fill a plate and take it back to your seat... at no cost... the entire game. Seriously, it's crazy.

Our 3rd son is a HUGE fan of chocolate chip cookies. I cannot emphasize the HUGE enough. He loves them!!! He's a pretty picky eater, and his pickiness flows into the dessert department as well. Basically the rule is chocolate cake or chocolate chip cookies. He'll pass on most anything else. Well, can you believe that in ALL of this available food that there were no chocolate chip cookies?! They had oatmeal raisin and what seemed like some type of sugar cookie, but no chocolate chip. Bummer.

Our son was fine with the fact that he wasn't going to have a cookie, but... I know this may sound ridiculous, but I wanted him to have something that he liked. This night was about doing something extra special with our boys, and my desire was for it to be the best possible. I searched and found a brownie. I brought it back to him, but it had nuts all throughout it, and he really doesn't like them. So, that didn't cut it.

Then, during half-time, our oldest son and I took a walk. When we came back, this is what we found!
Apparently, a lady had come by with a basket full of these giant cookies, just handing them out. And, guess who she gave one to? That's right, my chocolate chip cookie lovin' boy!
I know this may seem silly to some of you reading this, but I sincerely see God is this. He knew the desire of my heart. Sure, I knew that my son didn't need a cookie, but I wanted him to have one. I knew that it would be a highlight of an already wonderful night. And, God knew it as well. In fact, He knew it better than I did. He totally outdid my pathetic, nut-filled brownie, and delivered the biggest chocolate chip cookie my son had ever seen! God has the best since of humor!! Really, He does. I know, because when I saw the cookie, and the happy look on my son's face, my eyes welled up in joy.  I knew that God was smiling, singing over me, and, if you will, I imagine He chuckled with me. His love is astounding!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

from the Darkest Depths of Depression to the Dawning of Delight

"It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Thy name, O Most High; to declare Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness by night." Psalm 92:1-2

I've recently been thinking about my life, what it could have been, and what it is, only because of God's grace. I'm reminded that people, where I live, have only seen the person I am now, not the person I was before learning how to love God with all of my heart, soul and mind. I want God to have the glory. It's His strength that is perfect, I am far from it!

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him , and I am helped; therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him." Psalm 28:7

Although God has brought me to the point I'm at, I have much further to go. I've learned that whatever I do though, that I really cannot do it on my own strength. This is part of my journey.

There was a period of my life, right after our 2nd child was born, that I felt extremely overwhelmed and spiraled into a severe bout of depression. We'd had 2 children within 12 months of each other. While tiredness and hormones surely played a part in it initially, it soon became a severe spiritual problem. The following 3 years were the darkest of my life. I'm certain that I made life miserable for those closest to me as well. I depended upon my own strength, struggling on a daily basis to get out of bed, care for my family, and love others. I failed at the latter two miserably.

It wasn't until I was pregnant with our 3rd child that I began hearing what God was trying to tell me. I recall literally feeling as though I was being begged to rely on Him, to go to bed with a thankful heart, and wake up ready to lean into Him for strength and guidance for each moment of my day.

I still allowed my stubbornness and laziness to get in the way though.

Then, our 3rd baby was born. My delivery with him was like no other I'd experienced. His umbilical cord came out, and I ended up having to have an emergency c-section. I remember lying on the bed, the nurse literally straddling me, having to manually keep the baby in the womb, and me crying out to God, "Please, let my baby live." When I woke up (I had to be put under general anesthesia), the first voice I heard was the nurse telling me that I had a beautiful baby boy. Despite the extreme physical pain I was in, I remember laying there, crying joyful tears, and telling God that I was His, me and my family. I knew right then and there that things were going to be different. Different, not because I was going to make them, but different because  I was going to truly rely on God to make them different. I was ready to do more than just hear, I was ready to listen. I knew that it meant that I would need to spend a lot of time in prayer, thanking God for what He'd blessed me with, and that He would teach me how to care for the people and the things around me. I knew that He was prompting me to truly listen to Him, through His Word, as well as going through each day aware of His presence in my life, hearing and listening to the Holy Spirit. He was willing to guide me through every moment, from lifting my head from my pillow, to teaching my children, loving my husband, doing chores, and every detail in between. In fact, He wasn't only willing, He desired to be my guide.

"For such is our God, our God forever and ever; He will guide us until death."
Psalm 48:14

"To give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high shall visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." Luke 1:77-79

From there on, I've honestly realized the joy of my salvation. God has brought me on a journey, a journey that, thankfully, isn't over until the day I stand before HimHe is continuing to lead me. It isn't always easy, but He is my daily strength and sustain. I delight in serving Him with my life.

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

Are there moments, in my humanness, that I fail? Absolutely.

It's only when I begin to be stubborn, and depend upon my own thoughts and desires, that I begin to struggle. But, when I willingly submit to what He's telling me, through His Word, and the Holy Spirit, I don't become easily overwhelmed. He is my overwhelming peace.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:6-7

"The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise Him; my father's God, and I will extol Him." Exodus 15:2

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lesson Learned in the Midst of Minor Illness(es) :-)

So, this winter has proven to be one of the worst we've dealt with concerning illness. It began the week before Christmas, when a couple of boys came down with strep and 1 with an ear infection. They got over that, and felt "okay" on Christmas day and through the weekend. I got to go to church that weekend! Thanks to my parents, who willingly stayed home with the recouping boys.
All was well on Monday. I was praising God that day, for a day of everyone feeling pretty good. It seemed that we'd made it through the week of illness and could move on with our fun winter festivities. Perhaps bake and decorate some cookies that the boys hadn't felt like making. At the very least, put away new toys and games that we'd received for Christmas.
Tuesday morning I was awakened by our 7 year old. He said, "Mommy, I'm really sorry to wake you. But, I just threw up all over my bed." He was followed by his older brother 2 hours later.We spent that day with buckets at an arms length. That night, our 5 year old got sick as well. They were all feeling better by Wednesday evening. I am thankful for this....because... Thursday morning, the tummy virus struck me.Then, early Friday morning, Dave was hit with it.
The following week was a pretty decent one. Although, we all struggled with upset tummies now and then, and couldn't quite regain our strength. The entire week, my prayer was for God to please fully restore our health, so that we could be who He needed us to be.
The following Saturday night, I found myself still not feeling totally "with it". I was still tired, and not understanding why. I felt that I should be over feeling badly at that point. I pleaded to God that night. I remember my prayer vividly, as I prayed that God would restore my health so that I could face the daily spiritual battle that we're in renewed. I didn't want to continue to have health burdens to distract me and not allow me to be the wife, mother, friend, etc.. that He needed me to be.
I woke up at 1 a.m. with what I'm pretty certain was food poisoning, and was sick for the next 24 hours.
The next few days proved to be better. The boys and I were able to get schoolwork accomplished. We even made it to church on Wednesday evening!
Then, Thursday morning, I woke up feeling slightly congested. By Friday morning, my throat was a roaring fire. I knew I had to see the doctor, where I was diagnosed with strep throat. I'm happy to say that, after a healthy dose of antibiotics, my throat healed within 3 days.
I share all of this not to complain. I'm certain that when I read these memories years from now, that I will laugh, and remember that through it all, God was teaching me.
Not to bore you with the details of our up and down battle with illnesses, but I think you'll now understand when I say I've had a lot of time to sit, pray, read and think. During this time, God showed me some areas in my life that needed some discipline. He also enlightened me that my to-do-list needed to be flip-flopped. What I'd thought was the most important simply wasn't.
My original list had the fix-ups that need to be done on our main floor, the one that everyone sees when they walk in. On the bottom of the list was a room that is a designated craft/creative area. I know, there are many of you out there who would love to have an area that you could designate for just this, and would use it constantly. I, however, had set it up nicely 4 years ago, used it for the first year we were here, and pretty much "let it go". Sure, I'd venture in and grab some supplies for the boys to do a project every now and then. Then, we'd toss the supplies back in there when we finished. It had gotten terribly out of hand. Meanwhile, I had 4 children who love to create. It dawned on me that we're constantly telling them to be creative, use their brains. We restrict their time on video games and the like, but I hadn't made it feasible for them to be able to create on their own accord. No, instead of being the last room to conquer, it became the first.
I cannot tell you how wonderfully gratifying it's been to see my children go in to that room and create. Everything they could need is at an arms reach, and they are all enjoying the freedom of being able to use their creativity whenever they get the opportunity and desire.

We've continued to work our way through the to-do-list. We've now cleaned out bedrooms, the playroom and school supply area. It's so very refreshing to go and easily pull a science experiment, or a game to play with the boys. I, and my family have benefited greatlyThe goal is to get to the things that were originally on the top of the list, but they're somewhere near the bottom now. I'm determined though to conquer all of the indoor stuff before the warm weather breaks. Until they're completed, please excuse my house if there are still some marks on the paint, and the baseboard's cracked or crooked. The boys got RipSticks (similar to a skateboard) for Christmas, and until warm weather comes, the only place they have to ride them is the living room hallway.
I feel as though God lit a fire under me, so to speak. I kept hearing, "Make things more functional, so that you have the time to do the "extras". But, don't do it merely for asthetics. Do it for your family who lives in this home. Just do it!" No, this isn't a Nike plug. 
If I could encourage you though. If there's a project that you've been putting off, thinking that it's not hurting anyone by not getting completed, dive in and get it done. I know I've felt so much better walking in to those rooms. I'm thinking you will too.


This poem was part of a devotion from Dayspring, that comes in my email. When I read it, the thought that kept hitting me was, "God honors obedience".
Continue in the things that concern Him;
He will continue to take care of the things that concern you.
Continue to give Him all that is yours;
He will continue to give you all that is His.
Continue to wait upon Him;
He will continue to be faithful to you.
Continue to seek His highest;
He will continue to give you His best.
"Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!" Jeremiah 7:23 NLT
-Roy Lessin
We're not promised the "picture perfect life" that society or this world may tell us is the best. No, we are promised something much greater. We are promised that we, as God's children, will be conformed into the image of Christ Himself.

"Now I say this, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will  sound , and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed."
1 Corinthians 15:50-52
I cannot think of a greater promise and goal to live for. I wake up each day with the knowledge that God has given me this day to live for Him. I am so very grateful that He holds each moment of my life, and allows me the privilege of knowing Him.

When times are great, and life is cruising along, I will continue living for Him. And, when times are tough, in moments of human weakness, I will continue living for Him. And, I will rest in the promise that He is using everything that He allows in my life to mold me and change me to be more like Himself.

I am grateful He is my reason to continue.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"I'll Kill an Elephant for You"

While Dave and I were talking tonight, the subject of how long we've been married came up.
We both honestly had to "do the math" to make certain we were right!
It will be 14 years this summer.... FOURTEEN!!!
I'm not sure why, but that sounds like a LONG time to me!
We are getting old... that's all there is to it. We proved it by the fact that we had to literally count the years to double check our memory.

So, I did a quick search on what the "appropriate" gift is for a 14th wedding anniversary... it's ivory.

I look at my husband and say, "Dave, the gift for our anniversary this year is ivory."
He responds, without hesitation, "I'll get you a tusk. I'll kill an elephant for you."

What a goof ball. One thing I'm sure to get though is plenty of laughter. :-)

I lovc you, Dave!

The Body

Yesterday was a wonderful Sunday.

While every Sunday is usually wonderful, (as long as one of us isn't sick. Although, even then, we try and make the best of it.) last Sunday was especially wonderful. I love being with my church family!

There are many aspects that made last Sunday wonderful...

... the sermon was great. Yes, I know what you're thinking, your husband's the preacher. I know, and while I realize this fact makes me slightly bias, I find myself listening intentally, truly "forgetting" about the fact that I'm married to the guy talking.

... worship was powerful. The music was moved from the normal time (after greetings) to the very end of service. I enjoy when we "mix it up" a little. It's not bad at the time we normally have it...don't get me wrong. While I always enjoy worshipping my Saviour and King, I just find myself more "ready" to worship after I've opened God's word.

The highlight though for me was...

... we, as a church, participated in communion, the remembrance of Christ's body and blood being broken and spilled for us, as the penalty and complete payment for our sins. Every church I've ever heard of does this a little differently than the next. We place the juice and crackers at the front and back of the church. When the time for communion has come, each person then gets it when they are ready to. I cannot tell you how much I love this.

The line of people, all so very different from each other.
The tender looks of love shared between sisters and brothers in Christ.
The quietness, stillness, amongst hundreds of people.
The sacredness of  the moment.
Knowing that you are with the body of Christ.
Thankful that I have an eternity to spend with them, worshipping and knowing our Saviour more and more.

The Body of Christ is BEAUTIFUL.

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