Sunday, December 4, 2016

Second Sunday of Advent 2016: Peace

Last year, we made our first advent mosaic for the first week of Advent:  Hope.  We are adding a new mosaic every year. 

Peace Mosaic

Finished product 

Michael also started a Christmas Bible study with one of his friends this week.  We made kid-friendly advent wreaths from battery operated tea lights and some garland.  The boys painted the sides of the tea lights to match the purple and pink candle colors for advent. 

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
John 14:27

Thursday, December 1, 2016

30 Days of Thanks 2016

It's always an eye-opening experience for me during this month of thanks.  It challenges me to look at my gratitude the other 335 days of the year.  I find myself lacking at times. 
Yesterday, I went out in the rain multiple times and promised myself I would not complain about the rain.  It wasn't pleasant, but I kept thinking of all those battling the fires nearby.  How bad they needed rain. 
Other things happened around the house due to the rain and I stopped myself from complaining when I remembered those who have lost their homes this week.
I wish throughout the year when I was tempted to complain that I would be thankful instead.  I wish that my first response would be to praise the Lord in the midst of difficult circumstances. To look for His purposes and goodness in the hard times.  To be ready with my thanks in the best of times instead of forgetting it in the moment.

My goal this upcoming year: 

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

30 Days of Thanks 2016: Day 29

Today, I give thanks for friends that message me just to make sure we are okay.  Those are the friends that you keep forever! 
I'm thankful for our tree full of memories with new ones added each year. 

I'm thankful that we are almost done with school for the semester and we will be able to enjoy some much needed downtime this Christmas season.

I'm thankful for opportunities to pray with/for people who are hurting and grieving.
I'm thankful that even though JP and I don't always see eye-to-eye on everything, we will always be "us". 
I'm thankful that this day is almost in the books and I can go to bed for some much needed rest, just as soon as I pick Daniel up from his flute rehearsal. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

30 Days of Thanks: Day 28

Tonight, I'm thankful that the rain came just in time to help put out the fire that was only a quarter of a mile from my grandmother's house.

I'm thankful for God sending us the rain we need here.

I give thanks for protection for my brother, who was out helping people.

I'm thankful for the people that were checking on my grandmother and willing to help her evacuate.

I'm thankful for phones and internet to keep connected to the people I love.

Three Stories

She was seven years old in a tiny, country church as she made her way up to the front at the end of the service.  Her mother prayed with her to receive Jesus as her Savior. 
He was 21 in a meat cooler wrapping fish when he prayed the prayer of surrender.  His grandparents were evangelists and he had asked Jesus into his heart when he was a child, but he had become the prodigal.  He gave his life back to Jesus in that one simple prayer. 

She was a good person, a straight "A" student and one of the kindest people you could ever meet.  After she went to college she mailed a letter to her best friend that had prayed for her for years,  telling her that she now had a personal relationship with Jesus.  
Three stories, all very different; yet, all the same.  They all made the same decision that changed each of their lives. 
Have you ever wondered how to make that same decision?  It's really not as hard as some people try to make it. 
God sent His Son, Jesus to earth to become the ultimate sacrifice;  so that we could have a way out of our sinful life into a right relationship with God. 
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  John 3:16
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
All three people in those stories had to admit that they had done wrong things and couldn't save themselves.  They admitted they needed someone to save them.  They asked for forgiveness for the wrong things they had done.
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23
They believed and had faith that Jesus was who the Bible says He was; the Son of God and that God had raised Him from the dead. 
"That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9
"For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:13
They accepted salvation as a free gift from God that is not earned, but freely given.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."  Ephesians 2:8-9
Three people from different backgrounds, yet all connected.  You see, I'm that little girl that married the prodigal and prayed for one of the kindest people you could ever meet.
Three stories with the same ending....
What's your story? 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

30 Days of Thanks: Day 27

I am thankful for the Messiah that came to earth as a baby born in a stable.

I give thanks for the prophecies that were fulfilled in the entire birth, life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior.

I am thankful that Jesus was willing to demean Himself for my sake.  He was willing to die on the cross for mankind, which includes you and me.

I give thanks for the promise of the Holy Spirit.  That when Jesus ascended into heaven, He sent a Comforter to us.

I am thankful for the lineage of Jesus that was filled with flawed people just like me.

I give thanks that His redemption is for everyone. 

I am thankful that He is Lord! 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

30 Days of Thanks: Day 26

I am thankful for time alone with my husband today.  A slow waitress that forced me to slow down.  Free dessert.  A husband that knew what to order for me because he knows me so well.

I give thanks for clean water, for flush toilets, washing machines and clothes dryers.  For refrigeration.  

I am thankful for quiet peaceful days together.

I give thanks for well-behaved responsible children.  For their varied interests.  For their great friends.  I give thanks for soft beds and a comfortable, cozy home.

I am thankful for God's mercy.  That He is my comforter, the One I can turn to in times of trouble or ordinary moments.  He is my Prince of Peace and my Savior.  He is the One that changes lives.  

I am thankful! 

Friday, November 25, 2016

30 Days of Thanks 2016: Day 25

I'm thankful for leftovers.

I give thanks for time with my family. 

For memories and traditions.

I'm thankful for the cozy feeling of a room with Christmas trees.

I give thanks for finished projects. (I've been asking JP for a fire pit area for a while.  He turned my vision into reality that our budget could afford.  Now, just to get some rain, so they lift the burn ban for our area.)

For 60 year old ornaments and the ones from every year of our marriage.

I'm thankful for older kids that can put together a Christmas tree!

I give thanks for tired bodies after exercise.

For bodies resting well after a long, wonderful day. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

30 Days of Thanks 2016: Happy Thanksgiving

"O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker."

Psalm 95

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

30 Days of Thanks 2016: Day 23

I give thanks for low-key holidays with an easy menu that can be made up that morning.  And that everyone here likes it that way.

I'm thankful that we got a bit of rain today.

I give thanks for the 20 minute walk I got in while Daniel was at flute lesson.

I'm thankful Michael was feeling better this afternoon.  Every time the weather changes, he seems to not feel well. 

I give thanks for chocolate.  Even though I will have to buy more for stockings, the York peppermint patties are really yummy!

I'm thankful for the $6 I spent on sauce and ready made pizza crusts at Dollar Tree that made for an easy dinner tonight.

I give thanks for medicine when the weather doesn't agree with my head.

I'm thankful for this crazy life that is mine.  Oh, how I love it!

Thank you, Lord for your goodness to me...all the time! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

30 Days of Thanks 2016: Day 22

Today, I give thanks for my husband and how he has loved me through our years together.

I give thanks for my kids and our relationships with each other. 

I'm thankful for my mom and how she keeps me grounded.  She always thinks the best of me, even when I have trouble doing that.

I'm thankful for naps!

I give thanks for safe travels with all the crazy traffic.

I'm thankful in advance for rain that is forecast for tomorrow.

Thank you, Lord for loving me, for saving me, for protecting me, for speaking to me through your Word, for your provision, for your grace. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

30 Days of Thanks 2016: Day 21

Today, I give thanks that God gave us this big, old farmhouse with lots of places to have friends over.
We had some of our wonderful friends over today for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner.  I am thankful for their friendship.  I have the privilege of hanging with some of the sweetest people you will ever meet.  They brought yummy food and drinks and even stayed to help clean up.  I give thanks for you guys-Tammy, Tina and Akemi!  I give thanks for your kids, too! 

Today, I didn't get to spend time with some of my other closest friends, but they were definitely in my thoughts today.
I give thanks for my friend, Sarah and memories of our first "Friendsgiving". (I didn't even realize this was a thing and we were doing it long before people were hashtagging it.)  I missed you today, my friend! 
I give thanks for my friend, Lynn and her sweet, helping nature.  Our long conversations and the friendships our kids have together. 
I give thanks for my friend, Tanya  and our times spent encouraging other to draw closer to God. 
There are other people that the Lord has placed in my path that I call friend, but to name them all would take me way too long.  Those friends that can pick up right where we left off after years of not seeing each other; those friends that are always there when you need them; the ones that knew you when you had the bad hair and the big glasses; the ones that love you no matter what!
I'm thankful that I married my best friend in the world and pray my children do the same.
I'm thankful that Jesus is the Friend that sticks closer to me than any other! 
Thank you, Lord for friendship!


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