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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room

SAM_0565

♫Joy to the world! the LORD is come;

♫Let earth receive her King;

♫Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room,

♫And heav’n and nature sing,

♫And heav’n and nature sing,

♫And heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing!

Today, we began our advent celebration by preparing our hearts for the coming of our King. I can’t think of a better way to honor our LORD than to truly give Him what He wants for His birthday~ all of me!

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to 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.” ~ Romans 12:1-2

My Autumn Blessing #75…
…preparing our hearts and home for the coming of our King…CHRISTmas has never looked as lovely as it does in the Light of Jesus.

LORD Jesus, Thank you for Your gift of salvation! Following You has been a continuous growing process and I am so thankful that You continue to mold me, change me, love me. Help each us to prepare room in our hearts for You this CHRISTmas season, to last the whole year through. Help us to not be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Help us to discern what is Your will, what is good, acceptable and perfect. Thank you, King Jesus!

My Autumn Blessing #76…
…hearing my family sing CHRISTmas carols together…off-key…and loving every minute of it!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Treasure Hunting

“You’ll find what you want to find, if you look hard enough.”
Sneaking away this morning to have coffee with ‘my girls’ was the perfect start to my day. Sharing Thanksgiving stories, victories and struggles, family dynamics…all come tumbling out onto the table, like a giant collective EXHALE. *sigh*
While discussing the difficulties of being critiqued (and sometimes judged) by well-meaning family members, one friend stated that “You’ll find what you want to find, if you look hard enough.”  Hmmm…really??
At first I didn’t agree…Do I do that? Do I just wait (like a predator) for that one relative  who always gets under my skin (my chosen prey) to just rub me the wrong way so I can say “See what I mean?! He’s impossible!!” (ATTACK!!!) or does that friction just exist and sparks are sure to fly, no matter what?
But, my God is so good…He got me thinking about this in a positive way, a godly way…What if I choose to find the GOOD in people? What if I look for the person God sees? What if I hunt for the treasures this one person…this beautiful, created-by-God individual…holds, until I find it?
A pretty big “what if?”
What if I looked for the blessings in every circumstance? …in every person? …in all Creation?

My Autumn Blessing #74...
...godly friends who challenge me to think.

Father God, Thank you so much for these beautiful women you have placed in my life that challenge my thinking. I know Your Hand is at work here! The big “what if” can be answered by the Great I AM. To see others as You see them, to love them, to treasure them…for Your Glory, LORD. Thank you also for the challenging people you place in my life that keep me focused on Your Beauty in all Creation, seeking You through it all. You are my Treasure, LORD! ♥
Treasure Hunting for the Kingdom of God…
what if we all looked at life this way…

Friday, November 25, 2011

Preparing for His Coming

Christmas carols before Thanksgiving? I am usually one to wait…until December!
Not this year.

Honestly, this grateful heart could not wait to celebrate the coming of Our King! I’m not talking about Jingle Bells and those silly Santa ditties (whoa…I just said ditty…who am I???) you hear in every retail establishment this year with their subliminal message *shop, buy, spend* being chanted through every aisle. No, I’m talking about True Christmas.
♫♪O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.♪♫



Free from Ann VosKamp
Our family will spend the next month preparing for the coming of Our King. We will (re)turn our focus towards Christ Jesus by creating a Jesse Tree during this advent season with our children. We will make simple, thoughtful gifts for our loved ones. We will fellowship with each other without distractions (so long, Facebook!Winking smile). We will take God’s gift of love to the streets & spread CHRISTmas cheer wherever we go!

My Autumn Blessing #73…
…streaming unlimited CHRISTmas music anytime I want!

Mighty God, You are Lord of Lords, King of Kings,  Emmanuel, the Great I Am, and the Prince of Peace. And I will worship you, love you, adore you any time of year, any season, any place, any time!


♫♪O Come All Ye Faithful
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,

Christ the Lord.♪♫

I invite YOU to come, let us adore Him…together! Rejoice with me! ♥


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Full

I am full…
Thankful.
Joyful.
Prayerful.

I am full.
“Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Full of thanks.
Full of joy.
Full of prayer and praise.


LORD, from the bottom of my heart, thank you… This blessed season of Thanksgiving should last the whole year through! I am truly humbled by Your love for Your children, Your love for…Me. Thank you, LORD. In my thankfulness, I say YES! to your grace! My joy is complete in You and only You…now and forevermore…

My Autumn Blessing #72…
…experiencing the FULLness of Thanksgiving with my family and my friends! I could not have asked for a better day ♥ and yet You knew, LORD!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How Great is Our God!

How Great is Our God….Well, let me tell you!


In trying to stick to a budget, we bought our November groceries a few weeks back and, even though we had figured Thanksgiving into our budget, when it came time to shop, we had enough money for everything but the turkey.

“We can't have Thanksgiving
without a turkey!”

I told my family to just wait patiently and see if the Lord would provide one, but that we should chose to be thankful regardless.


With the big day getting close, we were all kind of sad that we had no one to celebrate with and...no turkey. A chicken would have to do and since it was just the 4 of us, it would be plenty. *sigh*


On Sunday, after church, one of the other wives was asking what each of us was making for Thanksgiving dinner. I told her ours would be simple, that we had everything but the turkey -literally- but that God's provision is perfect and complete.

Would you believe she gave us her turkey?

They were thawing a bird they didn't have room for in their fridge, but they didn't need it since they were eating at their inlaws’.


God's provision IS perfect and complete! And now we also have company coming for dinner :)

My Autumn Blessing #71…

…God’s perfect provision in the form of a turkey. ☺

LORD, how can we ever doubt you?? Thank you for your Perfect and Complete Provision! My heart is swollen with thankfulness and love for You, Father God. Your loving blessings are poured out on us, even when we don’t deserve it. Your Grace covers us, Your Mercy astounds us. Thank you…thank you…

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oh, the beauty of Your Majesty

The battle between snow and rain was waged today. Though the rain won in the end, I crave the snow…I long for the calm overtaking as it blankets the world around me. Oh, the peacefulness, the silence, of a moonlit night on a snow-covered land!

My Autumn Blessing #70…
…the hopefulness of snow…even when it doesn’t come today, it WILL come someday!

Lord, I long for YOU this way too… to take over the land, filled it with Your Perfect Peace. Thank you for these beautiful reminders of Your Never-ending Presence! Oh, beautiful blessed day!

♪♫When the storm is raging all around me
…You are the peace that calms
my troubled sea
And when the cares of this world
Darken my day
…You are the light that shines
And shows me the way

Oh, the beauty of Your majesty
On the cross You showed Your love for me!

storm
The battle begins....between snow and rain ♥

♫Beautiful Lord
Awesome and mighty
I'm captured by this love I see
♪Beautiful Lord
Tender and holy
Your mercy brings me to my knees
It's Your mercy that has made me free
♫Beautiful Lord
When my sin is all that I can see
Your grace remains the shelter that I seek
And when my weakness is all I can give
Your gentle Spirit gives me strength again
And oh, the beauty of Your majesty
On the cross You showed Your love for me
And I am lifted by Your love to sing!

It's Your mercy that has made me free!
You're beautiful, my Lord
You're beautiful, my Lord♫♪

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

And still I will count…

I have been sick and tired this week…of being sick and tired. And still I will count my blessings…

♪♫How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing♫♪

To know I am loved by the King is more than enough, isn’t it? ♥

My Autumn Blessing #66…

…finishing my keepsake wreath using the paper flowers from my vow renewal celebration. Love it!

wreath

#67...

…the gentle pitter-patter of rain lulling me to sleep at night, no matter how long it takes…

#68…

…having children that are responsible enough to fend for themselves while I rest.

#69…

…having those same children take care of me too.

Heavenly Father, Your Provision is perfect in every way. I don’t have to understand it to know that I am loved by You, my King.
Thank you for each season, each lesson learned, each day I have to sing your praises!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sisters of my heart

When I was 2 years old, God gave me a little sister. When I got married at 24, God gave me a big sister. They are both my “very bestest friends” and I love them dearly!
I’ve noticed lately that God’s not done yet.
Who am I that He would bless me with the sisters of my heart? Those special friends who just bless your socks off~ every one should have at least one in their life!
“…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”~ Proverbs 18:24

My Autumn Blessing #64...
...my sisters who make lovely friends♥

and #65...
...my friends who make lovely sisters♥

Father of Lights, You truly are the giver of every good and perfect gift! That You would send me gifts from above to be sisters of my heart, to walk in this world, to journey alongside me, to encourage and exhort me, to edify me…Thank you. I do not deserve these special friends, and yet here they are. Guide me, LORD, help me to be a godly friend to them, to love them, to be a good listener, to be their sister in Your Holy Name.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Straight-faced Circle Time

I really do try to be serious when necessary, but I will admit, there are times when I just HAVE to laugh…or it’ll burst out of me!

The ladies of my small church were invited to gather tonight for a time of crafting and getting to know one another. I had (foolishly?) assumed that we would just kind of “land” wherever when the time came to get settled, probably depending on who we were talking to when that moment came. I was wrong. Instead, we joined together for prayer (yay!), vision, and Straight-faced Circle Time.

I mean no disrespect…I loved the purpose and intentions motivating this activity. To build relationships, to foster community, to possibly get to know someone new. But while we were in Straight-faced Circle Time (sorry, I had to say it again!), we were each asked to write down on a slip of paper an “I wish…” statement in regards to our church. General or personal, it didn’t matter because these slips of paper were to be anonymously read to the group in hopes of prayer and possible action.

What…?

What if I wrote “I wish I could tell who my REAL friends are-not just on Sunday, but the rest of the week too." Or some other embarrassing statement??? I’m a girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. My face reads like an open book. Sitting in a circle with a dozen women who I’ll see every week…what if my face gives away which one was mine??

So, I crack jokes. I can’t keep it inside. I need an excuse to laugh…or the little girl in me might just cry with anxiety.

Ha ha…now I’m the only one laughing…even more embarrassing! So, I laugh at myself…solo. Now I just sound like I’ve had too much caffeine!

Straight-face Circle time was productive and everything turned out just wonderful. I don’t think anyone figured out which one was mine (or so I’ll be telling myself!) so I guess my anonymity remains intact. I’m just thankful I can laugh at my self…or by myself!

My Autumn Blessing #63…

…I can laugh at my own jokes, even when nobody else does. And then I can laugh at myself!

Thank You, Father God, for giving me a sense of humor. Please, please, please help me to control my mouth when my laughter (regardless of how nervous I am) is inappropriate.

Thank you for a beautiful, unique time of fellowship. Thank you for the smiles and the tears, the laughter and the joy. Bless each of those that came and those that couldn’t, as well.

Lastly, LORD, thank you that laughter is good medicine. And a smile, hug or laugh shared with a friend is twice as good!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Shades of Gray

One of my favorite things about this time of year is the drastic variations of the colors all around me. Everywhere I look, from the vibrant colors of the leaves to the heavy rainclouds in shades of gray, all Creation is God’s canvas. I ♥ His work!

I was blessed with a good, productive morning followed by a peaceful afternoon with my children. This evening I was able to visit for a bit with two dear friends and one had pointed out how beautiful the gray skies were today. I don’t normal find gray attractive...it often leads to (feeling) blue! But today, when I looked up, the sky was AMAZING.
There were so many different levels of clouds, all in their own shades of gray. And there, in the midst of all that gray, bursting through, was the beautiful sun.

Sometimes life’s like that. This fallen world we live in, full of sin, pain, illness, hurts…so many shades of gray. And right in the middle of it all, bursting through, shines the Beautiful Son.

My Autumn Blessing #61…

…the vibrant colors all around me. The changing leaves on the trees remind me of how different each of us are, how beautiful, how unique. Oh! I am so thankful!

#62…

…gray clouds. To remind me of just how bright the sun is, persistent to do what God created it to do. To shine!

LORD of all Creation, Thank you so much for the love letters you sent to us through your Creation, if only we would open our eyes to see! I am amazed at how different each of us can be- How You created each of us to be-  yet essentially we are much the same…and You know each of us by name. Thank You, LORD.

Thank you for blessing me with gray skies so that I can see your Son shine through. Thank you for the time with friends…Bless them, LORD, as they have blessed me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Brand New Day

Yesterday was a bit difficult…okay, it was a LOT difficult! Today was proof that God’s mercies ARE new every morning…

At 1 am, I made the decision to turn off my alarm clock. I didn’t have to be anywhere in the morning and there wasn’t much sense in waking up early, if I hadn’t slept! I finally fell asleep and slept through the night.

My Autumn Blessing #59…

…restful sleep! Woohoo!!!

It gets better…

I received good news today…Many prayers have been said for my brother, the prodigal son, and today they were answered, Praise the LORD!

#60…

…answered prayers!

Thank you, LORD! I am so blessed to know that You are in control and nothing happens without Your knowing. Thank you for the rest I find only in You, only…in You. It is perfect. Peaceful. Plenty. A lovely gift.

Thank you for restored peace, for restoration and for forgiveness. Thank you that we can offer it…and receive it…and both get blessed. Let the healing continue and, if it be Your Will and Timing, let each of them come to know where it all comes from from…soften their hearts to receive Your Gift.

In Jesus’ Name,
AMEN.

*LORD, all this in one day???
I can’t wait to see what you
have in store for tomorrow!*

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Autumn Blessing #58

Don’t you just LOVE it when your well-loved bible opens up the very words you needed to hear? Me too… ♥

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

~Lamentations 3:22-24

Yes! Amen!

Counting my blessings

Something different…

There comes a time, when life is looking a little darker than usual, and a girl must tell it like it is.

This is that time for me…

Counting my blessings started last summer as a little challenge the Lord had placed on my heart to look at all He has blessed me with, rather than the ugliness surrounding me. It is so easy to get overwhelmed by the YUCKY STUFF. It has been therapeutic to see “the little things” that God daily blesses me with!

Last week, I spent a morning having 9 vials of blood drawn. It just so happened to be Halloween, a day I don’t celebrate, and would you believe that the gal who took my blood was….a vampire? Yes…

More tests on Friday…thankfully done by a normal human being. ☺

Today, I am overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness and physical pain. The myriad of symptoms my team of doctors have been trying to diagnose and treat have left me exhausted….I also underwent a nerve conduction test this morning (OUCH!) and was informed that surgery was necessary to avoid imminent and permanent nerve damage.

Lord, WHY can’t I just be normal??? WHY haven’t you healed me yet??? WHEN can I rest??? I’m so tired…WHEN will You heal me???…I’m tired of hurting…

*sigh*

In the midst of my rollercoaster ride that is my life, I have still been able to count my blessings.

#53…I am thankful for the husband God blessed me with.

#54…I am blessed by my tenderhearted children who see the pain in my eyes and know to hug gently, but sincerely.

#55…I am thankful for friends who ask “How are you?” and want an honest answer.

#56…I am thankful for my partners in prayer, those I pray with, and for, and those who lift me up in prayer too.

#57…I am thankful that when I go to see a new doctor and have to fill out the stack of new patient paperwork, that I can gracefully, thankfully, joyfully write homemaker as my occupation.

Father God, You bless me so completely. You know exactly what I need because You SEE me…Help me to see others with the love that You see them with. Thank you for my family and friends, who surround me with Your love and grace…Help me to extend Your grace to others, even when I don’t understand why I should. Thank you for calling me to be a mother, a wife, and to be home where You want me to do what You would have me do…Equip me for each day as You see fit. AMEN.

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Autumn Blessing #52

Warm Autumn Blessings...

...a warm fire in the fireplace - the first of the season!

My Autumn Blessing #51

Harvesting Autumn Blessings...

...harvesting the last of our garden!


Thank you, Father God, for the abundance You provide. It is always "just enough" to meet our needs.

My Autumn Blessing #50

Good Blessings...

...receiving good news from my doctor! ☺

Regardless of what obstacles life may bring, God is good. No matter how I feel, God is always there for me. I will keep my eyes focused on Him, come what may.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Autumn Blessing #49

Autumn Blessings of LOVE...


...fall baking made even better when shared with a friend ♥

LORD, who are we if we don't share all that you have blessed us with? Keep me humble, LORD, ready to do Your Will, to be Your Servant. LORD, I love to spread Your LOVE!

Mmmm.... ♥

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Autumn Blessings #48

Glorious Autumn Blessings...


I am thankful for this autumn weather that invites me to enjoy the sunshine on my skin, quickly followed by a breeze that chills to the bone! I ♥ Fall:)

Thank you, LORD, for allowing me to feel the difference- the warmth of the sun, the chill of the breeze. One without the other isn't nearly as pleasant.




My Autumn Blessing #47

Cold Autumn Blessings...

...the divine combination of sunshine on my skin mixed with a bone-chilling breeze...

Thank you, LORD, for allowing me to feel the difference- the warmth of the sun, the chill of the breeze. One without the other isn't nearly as pleasant.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Autumn Blessing #46

My Autumn Blessing #46...


 ...having the freedom to slow things down and listen for those words of love God wants to speak to my heart...but I'm sometimes too busy to hear.

Thank you, LORD, for Your sweet whispers.

My Autumn Blessing #45

My Autumn Blessing #45...

...watching my son take the stage for an operatic performance of Pinocchio. Even as an impromtu extra, that kid is a natural!


LORD, thank you for allowing me to delight in my child the way You delight in Yours!