Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Blessings

Blessings come in many forms.  God uses His vast array of resources to send us blessings.  The blessings may be little, bitty things, or they may be so large that our socks get knocked off.  A blessing is a blessing whether it is tiny or magnificent.  And truly some of the "tiny" blessings have the most impact when they arrive at just the "right" moment.
In March, my husband and I were heading out of town on a Wednesday to spend two nights away together in honor of our upcoming anniversary.  We were getting hungry so we got in the drive through line at a fast food restaurant.  When we arrived at the window to pay for our food, we were told that our food was payed for and God bless.  I couldn't help it...I began to cry. We hadn't ordered much, but the impact of that "small" act was a sweet balm to my soul.  With a job hunt in the works, since my husband had lost his job earlier in the year, money was tight.  Little do some people know of the impact their act of kindness, their stepping out, their open-handed approach to giving to others can create in the recipient's life.  True blessings don't just bless the recipient, but they also bless the giver.  God is good!  He has shown up in my life with the "perfect" blessing for me at just the right moment.  Those blessings are part of His care for us.  He does know our heart and what would speak the most to us at just the right moment.  He hasn't forgotten us and sometimes He is kind enough to give us that very reminder at just the right time for our heart to get just the boost it needs to keep going.
He loves us so much!  He created us!  He gave us our tastes, preferences, etc.  He is the great designer.  Why does it surprise us then when He sends the most amazing, unique blessing our way at just the right pick-me-up-needed moment?  He is all-knowing.  He is so good!  Count your blessings, friend!  Focus on them for a few minutes each day.  Remember all the good, great, amazing, just-right things God has done in your life.  Each little blessing, each faith-building miracle is a stepping stone to take you past your fear to the place He has for you to walk next.  Trust Him!  Lean on Him!  He has a plan...a good plan!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Boldly

Today is the day to step boldly into the future God has for you.  No more holding back because of fear.  Leave fear behind.  Tell the doubts to hush up.  Bring on the faith...the faith of Peter stepping out of the boat...the faith contained in a mustard seed...the faith to move mountains.  We have been given that faith through our relationship with Christ.  Boldness may not come naturally to you, but with Christ you can walk in it.  He will equip you.  It is Time!  Your path is before you.  He has set it for you.  There will be obstacles along the way, but if you lean on Him, He will guide you through, around, and over them.  No more fear!  Just faith...prayer...God's grace, mercy, and leading...and a lot of joy. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

God is good...even when life is hard

Life is hard.  This is not new information for many of you.  I pray it's not your life motto right now.  Instead, I hope your life motto is more along the lines of: God is good even when life is hard.  That's something to hang onto and embrace.  You can count to ten and then remind yourself: God is good even when life is hard.  It's a simple thing to acknowledge the truth of that statement, and remind yourself that it doesn't just have to be: life is hard.  God's goodness flows over the hardness of life and smooths away some of the jagged edges.
This is a good reminder for me right now as some struggles are happening in my family.  I try hard to not put my family's concerns out in the public eye because I don't feel that's necessary.  However, with one of our recent struggles, I have turned to five dear ladies for prayer.  They are my prayer warriors, and I am beyond thankful for them.  If it weren't for my Abba Father, my handsome honey, and my five praying friends, I would be having a very difficult time right now.  Don't get me wrong...life is hard right now.  Not all of it.  Just pieces here and there.  The truth is: God is good even when life is hard.  That's my driftwood in these big life waves.  True the waves could seem bigger than they truly are because my focus is directed too much toward the struggle and not enough toward my Abba Father.  Our focus needs to be first on Him.  We need to run to Him first...a reminder from a wise woman on Tuesday morning.  He has to fill the hole in my heart that is just His size.  I can go to Him with everything...He wants me to.  This is a time when I need to do just that.  Prayer needs to be right at the top of everything I do.  Everything!  Not an afterthought.  Not just when it's a really big thing or when I can't figure out the solution in my own mind.  Every time.  Everything.  Pray continually, without ceasing.  A constant conversation during the day between me and my Father.  He is always there, always listening.  He doesn't leave me.
If you're feeling the life is hard motto strongly right now, take some time in the next week to bring your heart concerns before your Father.  As you do that, you will start to see and feel the change in your heart, in your thoughts, in your attitude.  You will begin the walk toward "God is good even when life is hard."  You will have fresh vision as you keep your focus on Him and not on the struggle you are in.  Grab that driftwood!  Cling to it!  He is steadfast, loving, and good!  Blessings, friends!

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Joys of Gratitude

How would your life look if you spent a few minutes each day pondering what you are thankful for?  Little things, big things, medium things, doesn't matter...  Instead of concentrating on the things that cause you angst and stress, take time to truly consider the amazing things that are worthy of your gratitude.  When you woke up this morning, you could thank God right then for another day to enjoy, to be with those you love, to share God's goodness with others.  Gratitude produces a response in us...joy, excitement, happiness.  The response that is created when we consider the things that stress us out is not one that we want to encounter repeatedly, but who doesn't want to be filled with joy when considering all the things they are grateful for?
I want to challenge each of you to take some time over the next five weeks leading up to Thanksgiving to contemplate the joys of gratitude.  Get a piece of paper or a little notebook and take time each day or once a week to record the things in your life that you are truly thankful for.  Remember to consider all angles because you might be surprised by what produces gratitude in you.  With gratitude comes joy!

Here are a few items from my list to get you thinking:

I Am Grateful For
1. My Father
2. My husband
3. My four living children
4. My two children in Heaven
5. My parents
6. My brother
7. My home
8. The ability to read
9. My five senses
10. My Bible
11. Our car
12. My husband's job
13. Being a homeschool mom
14. The colors of Fall
15. Miracles
16. Food to eat

There are sooooo many more things that I'm grateful for, but this was just a little list to get you thinking.  I hope your list helps you to have the joy of gratitude in your daily life instead of the stress of so many other things.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Treasures of Family Time

Today, we went on our annual family pumpkin hunt.  This tradition started when our firstborn was less than a year old, I believe.  A tradition that has continued now for 9 years.  My husband and I enjoy the time with our kids searching for the right pumpkin for each family member, including our 2 miscarried children.  This year we also got a pumpkin for my husband and me and for my parents.  Eight pumpkins are now lined up by our front door...representing ten lives.  Some lives lasting over 60 years, others lasting less than 9 weeks in the womb.  Lives that matter, lives that we have been woven together with.  To say that our family pumpkin hunt is just that would be an understatement.  It really is a time to bond, to enjoy the beauty of God's creation, to remember those precious to us, to create memories that will (hopefully) last a lifetime.  Family time is not something to be lost in the shuffle of too much activity, too little interest in the lives of your family members, too much interest in the latest happenings on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  Family time is a precious commodity.  You cannot buy, sell, or trade for it.  You can't replace it when it's lost.  It is a priceless, valuable, incomparable, amazing gift given us by the Father that gifted us the precious little people that look like us or joined us through the delight of adoption.  How can anything ever compare to time spent with family, with the littles that look up to us, want to be like us, and love us wholeheartedly?  In a time when Facebook, your phone, your emails, and so many other things are stealing away time that CANNOT be replenished or replaced, take a moment to stop...truly stop and be still and think.  Think about what you truly value, what God wants you to value, what your family needs you to value.  It isn't the latest like you got from friend #212 or the latest photo posted by your sister's best friend's uncle's girlfriend.  Do you really even know her?  Is she the one that gives you a hug everyday and tells you you're beautiful?  Is she the one that brings you a leaf just fallen from a favorite tree in the yard?  Or the one that draws you an amazing picture of the most unique creation you've ever seen?  No.  Nope.  Don't think so.  That would be your 4-year-old son that tells you you're beautiful.  Your 8-year-old or 5-year-old daughter brings you a leaf so you can admire the beauty of the colors like she did when she discovered it in the yard.  And your 6-year-old son has an amazing knack for creating scenes you could have never conceived of in your own imagination.  Yet, that phone buzzes in your pocket and you just have to see what it's all about...
Friends, today I enjoyed the treasure of time with my family.  My gifts from God...my honey and our 4 adorable children went on an adventure.  We went on a hunt.  Could anything ever be as special as that?  Could the latest comment, like, post, or photo compare to the treasure I experienced today?  I got to see three of my babies enjoy a corn maze - an experience they'd never had before.  I got to watch all my babies enjoy climbing on hay bales, see them look at goat and roosters, and observe them tasting a kind of apple they'd never had before.  I got to look in my honey's eyes and know that we were both enjoying this time with our precious gifts.  Time that truly goes by much too quickly.  Friends, this time is THE time.  TODAY is THE time.  Not tomorrow.  Not next week.  Certainly not next year.  The time to enjoy the treasures of family time is NOW!  Don't let another day go by that doesn't involve a hug for each of your amazing littles, a kiss for your man, and some good quality treasure...family time.  You could never regret skipping the dishes, the Facebook check, or the endless emails to take time to truly connect with and enjoy those most important in your life...your family!







Thursday, September 28, 2017

A New Beginning

Have you ever found yourself in one of those seasons that begs you to stay at home and not venture out to try again at relationships and life?  Have you wanted to just throw the towel in, call it a day, and find the perfect cave for the hermit life you're longing for?  I am guessing that if you're honest with yourself you've had those seasons and moments in life not just once but two, three, five times...  Many of us want everyone to think our life is picture perfect.  "All the pieces fit in my puzzle...what's wrong with yours?"  Yet, in the real world, behind closed doors your "picture perfect" is far from being perfect.  In fact, if anyone asked to take a picture, you would find a nice, sweet, hopefully calm way to tell them that your world wasn't the right one for their picture.
I have been the one recently to not want to be vulnerable with those around me.  I have been through many acquaintances and even some friendships that have burned to the ground for one reason or another.  Sometimes I was to blame for some of the breakup, other times I was at a complete loss as to why this or that relationship had to come to an end.  In either case, the hurt was real.  What do we do with the hurt?  Do we put it in a box on the closet shelf to save for later...just the right time to take it out and look at it and have a good cry with our bowl of cookies and cream ice cream with chocolate syrup and a warm brownie?  Or do we kind of just wear it as a new blouse...see my new shirt full of holes and pointing fingers and band-aids?  The thing that I do is withdraw and regroup.  And live in fear.  Fear?  Yes, fear.  Fear that there never will be the right relationship...that dreamed of, sought after, always just right relationship.  The truth is that I don't want to put myself out there.  I have with the wrong people and they've run far, far away.  Is that really the person that I was meant to be friends with.  Unlikely...but in that moment the pain and shock are real. 
Isn't it nice to know that God knows what we need, when we need it, and will never run away from us?  On the contrary, He pursues us wholeheartedly.  He wants a relationship with us.  We need to remember that always!  When the going of life and, particularly, relationships gets tough, we need to hang on to the assurance that God wants a relationship with us.  That should be number one on my awareness radar!  He wants to know me and me to know Him.  When my relationship with Him is on the right course, then the longings for dreamed of friendship can become prayers to a Father who loves me and knows me best.  He knows the longings of my heart and the fears of being vulnerable and abandoned.  He knows me inside and outside better than I do.  And He's got the big picture to consider too.  I can only see just a teeny bit of what He sees!  And my teeny bit becomes my focus instead of Him being my focus.  Keep your focus aimed at the right person, friends!
I have been going through that throw in the towel, forget this phase until recently.  I don't know if the Holy Spirit lit a fire in me or what happened, but I decided to put myself "out there" again.  It feels like the umpteenth time, but if it was prompted by my Father, then I know it's going to be good.  And it has been.  I have started doing three new things in the last month.
I've started attending a once-a-month group for homeschool moms, a weekly group with lesson for moms, and my husband and I are attending a weekly marriage class.  Going outside my comfort zone is NOT fun, but connecting with other people in even little ways is a blessing to my sometimes parched-feeling landscape.  A little trickle of water can lead to a great source of refreshment.  A new beginning has come to this blog and will continue on here.  It was prompted by a conversation I had this past Tuesday morning with the other three moms at my table.  They were very encouraging to me regarding finding the balance of motherhood and pursuing my God-given talents.  One lady really encouraged me to consistently write and so much more.  It was truly a God-ordained moment in my life for me to really hear what was being said to me.  God does use those around us to speak to us in meaningful ways.  And He did that for me this past Tuesday!  If I had continued on in my pursuit of the perfect cave and decor for my hermitage, I'd have missed out on a God-moment meant just for me.  They have come from two of my three new groups.  Moments, gifts, delights for me from my Heavenly Father.  He has seen the parched landscape of my heart and life and has started the trickle.  He has a great plan for me, and He has the same for you!
Call on Him...get your cup of tea or coffee, curl up in your favorite chair, grab your copy of the greatest Book ever written, and take at least five minutes to dive in.  Get the trickle...savor it.  Next time make it ten minutes and bring your notebook and pen along...be still and listen...and take notes.  He is waiting for you to take that deep, cleansing breath and...call on Him...

Friday, October 9, 2015

Moments


Life is a series of moments…  They vary from day to day, week to week, year to year.  There are the moments that take your breath away, the moments that fill your eyes with tears, the moments that draw you closer to your Father, the moments that make you want to stay in bed forever, the moments that bring a smile to your face…  Each of these little bits of time weave together into an amazing tapestry that makes up who we are.  A smell can bring us back to that day we first had fresh baked cookies at Grandma’s house, a song can bring us back to the time he asked for a date, a sound can remind us of little feet running through the house.  These moments, these glimpses of life that happen in a flash are part of an ever growing mosaic that is your life.  They fit together into the perfect puzzle of you.  Some moments you want to wish away, you want them to always remain boxed up never to be looked at or touched again.  You struggle to understand why those moments had to be part of your story, yet you grew from them.  The heartache of loss, the hurt of betrayal, the question of loyalty, the reality of dishonesty can appear to overshadow the fun moments and joys of time spent building with your children, praying with your spouse, adventuring with your family, enjoying an outing with a friend, reminiscing with your mom, praising God with your church family, and so many other precious scraps of time that when sewn together cover us in a soft, warm quilt of comfort.  Thinking about how quickly your baby grew into a toddler and ran into a young adult may cause you to pause and shed a few tears, but always remember each moment is precious and worth investing your whole self in.  The moments of sharing memories with your spouse and dreaming of the future are moments to be cherished.  If your moments right now are filled with struggle, joy, worry, excitement, or a bit of sadness, then you need to lean on the One who gives you all your moments.  He knows your heart and He loves you and He is in your moments every time.