Tag Archive | thankful

Simply Scripture:Praise!

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

Proverbs 31:25

 

I will extol the Lord at all times;  his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;  let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
 Glorify the Lord with me;  let us exalt his name together.

Psalm 34:1-3

There is so much to be thankful for. Let there ALWAYS be a testimony of praise on my lips.

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I have really let myself go!

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My son painted the most beautiful picture of a cardinal in art class at school. It’s simple and vibrant. A brilliant red bird resting on a branch with snow falling in the foreground. I love the things that he creates.

When he brought it home…while I raved and gave praise over this mini-masterpiece, he did not. He said, “It’s really not that good, but…Well, I guess it’s OK.” WHAT?! How could he think that?

 

 

We have our children’s art on display all over our home; some framed and some hung with care on the refrigerator to be displayed for a time. This one needed to be framed. Yet, I knew the moment I saw it that it would occupy a special place outside of our home. It would go to Grandma and Paw’s house. Paw loves birds. He had a stained glass cardinal hanging in the window of their home for years and has a very large print of various birds in all colors hanging in their bedroom. Yes, this would be the right home for this very special bird…with someone who would appreciate the beauty of the bird and the loving hands that created it.

Sometimes I look at myself the way my son looked at that bird. “Well, I guess…I’m really not that good…yea, I’m just OK.” But, thanks to my kids I was able to see something this past week that I had not seen or appreciated in this particular manner before.wpid-20150402_154111.jpg

While I was looking for a frame to showcase his regal, red cardinal- I found a portrait. It was in a frame in the basement and tentatively appeared to be holding a print of a ship. When I took the backing off of the frame, I saw a portrait…one of me. It was taken around 1998-99 or so. I was about 60 pounds lighter (YES SIXTY!), I had longer dark hair and was dressed in what would have been my standard attire for work. Back then, I was a Marketing Representative for an insurance brokerage. I always had my hair done, nails done, and was usually pretty trendy (at least for the time). I was definitely a very different person. I was wrapped up in ME.

 

So there I was; face-to-face with myself. Skinnier, put together, dark-haired, well dressed me. My initial reaction was to adjust the t-shirt that I had paired with my baggy jeans.  Then, I took a peek in the mirror at the gray hair that I have surrendered to over the past four years. Yikes.

” I have seriously let myself go.”

Just for giggles, I carried this throwback picture to my kids. I braced myself for the reaction I expected and then showed them. The reaction I got was NOT what I expected.

“Wow! We like your hair so much better now. Mom, we love the way you look today better.”

What?? Are they blind? It must be time to see the eye doctor again! 

What I had expected to hear was “Mom, you used to be so pretty.” But, what I heard was just the opposite. And after the initial shock wore off…and as I looked at the picture again….and I AGREED.

Yes, I like the me now much more than the one in that picture. Sure, the superficial stuff looked great- but, I was my focus then. God is my focus now. My husband and kids are my ministry. It’s not about me anymore. I am genuinely happier and mentally and spiritually healthier now by a long shot. I have been gifted a loving husband and two amazing children and am blessed beyond measure. None of the blessings I truly cherish can be changed by gravity or age. Praise the Lord.

Could it be that my kids could see at first glance what I didn’t? They appreciated this old bird and the hands that lovingly created her. (ha ha ha! I couldn’t resist.) I know that my kids didn’t know me then – and I am glad. But, the thought that they can see and appreciate the Jesus in me is a thought that thrills me to my soul.

God is in control.

So I now, I will take a deep breath (inhale)…

…And I will say that again

…and I will rejoice in it…

“Yes…Yes indeed. I have seriously and thankfully let myself go.”

 

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Psalm 139:14

This is me. My five-year old daughter took this picture this past Friday while we were on a field trip. It’s the most recent image…not posed, not edited. Just Real.

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Two peas in a pod

Spiderman suitcase

wpid-20150122_094032.jpgThis is a Spiderman suitcase. It came into our home on Tuesday and will not depart until tomorrow. With this suitcase came a super little someone…and something wonderful.

He’s five years old- just like my little girl. Together, they have conquered a few villains this week while running the house in their super hero capes. I even saw him melt a mountain…all with a hug and three simple words.

“I love you.”

I will tell you that his presence in our home is divine providence- 100%. If I hadn’t been cleaning up the Christmas decorations in the church that day, his mother and I may not have met. She’s a missionary who serves the Lord in another place far away. She has a heart for kids…a BIG heart. She is a private lady. (Something I really appreciate in a person because I am, too.) But, wonderful things happen when two “private” people to jump in a car together and run around town. I have really enjoyed her company.

When this week started I thought I was the one helping out…serving her…blessing him. Last night, as I watched the scenes playing out before me, I realized that God was really blessing me the whole time.

Hubby had just gotten home from a business trip. He laid down on the floor and our new little friend hopped onto hubby’s stomach (quite literally). Our daughter jumped in and they all wrestled and played for a bit. When hubby relocated to his resting place of choice- the rocking chair, this little one wiggled up onto his lap. “I love you” he said. And the mountain-of-a-man before me melted. Yes, super powers indeed.

We tucked them in one by one and he wouldn’t let go of hubby’s shirt tail. Sweet, sweet spirit. The little masked man made off with all of our hearts this week.

So who is really serving here?? Who is really being blessed?

From my perspective- our family was blessed beyond measure. WAY BEYOND measure!

I am so thankful that this Spiderman suitcase found its way to our home this week…and even more thankful for its owner.

He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them,  “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

Mark 9:36-37

Amen. When this child entered our home, there is no doubt that he brought the love of Christ with him.

Thank you Jesus for this gift.

 

Joy to the World!

I just love this season.

When I look around our home, there are so many things that make me happy.

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Stockings hung with care

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Salt and Pepper Snowmen…

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…and window snowmen…

...and more snowmen.

…and more snowmen.

 

 

 

 

Their nativity...

Their nativity…

...and our nativity...

…and our nativity…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...both displayed together.

…both displayed together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A beautiful gift from a beautiful friend.

A beautiful gift from a beautiful friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A unique and vibrant nutcracker painted created with love by my son.

A unique and vibrant nutcracker painted created with love by my son.

But, most of all- I love the reason for the season…Jesus Christ. There is so much more to Christmas than giving gifts or even decking the halls with the trinkets around my home. They make me happy, but Jesus gives me true joy.

Jesus is the reason for the season and a relationship with him is the only source of true joy. 

Happiness is a response…joy comes from within.

For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given,

and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace

there will be no end.

He will reign on David’s throne

and over his kingdom,

establishing and upholding it

with justice and righteousness

from that time on and forever. Isaiah 9:6-7

wpid-20141218_094624.jpgMerry Christmas! From my family to yours.

Chocolate Covered Cranberry blessings

Let’s talk fruit.

Cranberries…deemed a”super fruit”because of it’s nutritional qualities and anti-oxidant power. Beautiful in a floral arrangement and red and vibrant on the dinner table; these diverse and delicious fruits can be enjoyed in many forms- dried, as a relish, juice, sauce or chutney. In addition to delighting the taste buds, these red rascals also hold benefits for hair, skin, and health. Super fruit indeed.

My last post was about being in constant pursuit of God, inviting Him to fill us with the Spirit…less me, more Him. God knew before I did that I was going to need to go back and read that post. After a long Thanksgiving week- busy with family, travel and sleepless nights- I was empty. Just a few days before I had been thanking God for every blessing I could count and even those which are unseen. What happened? Sunday…Monday…Tuesday…I found myself feeling empty and way too focused on myself. There were things I couldn’t control, aches and pains that have been pinching and plucking my emotional and physical nerves, frustration and fall-out,  and a “to-do” that I don’t think is quite what God had in mind for me. My will over His. The trinity was at war within me and I am not talking about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit either. ME…Myself…and I.  What made it worse was that I knew that I was complaining. I knew that I was unhappy. I knew that I was too focused on myself and what I thought God had planned (all “think” and no “trust”) -not focused enough on who God is, His blessings and His plans. Full had turned to empty and there I was- staring at my own reflection in the bottom of my empty cup.

Then God hit me yesterday as I was preparing to go a service for a dear friend and Bible study partner who lost her battle with cancer. “Lost”…not really. She was positive, prayerful and just as fixed on God as ever during that nearly year-long struggle. She didn’t lose. She’s face-to-face with Jesus, and there was a multitude of souls in that church who were touched by Jesus as a result of her faithful service to the Lord. So, I’d say the victory was won. Praise the Lord. I started reflecting on the past two months. During our Bible study, she was so prayerful and concerned- but, NEVER for herself. It was her husband who consumed her thoughts and prayers. She prayed that God would lighten her husband’s load, that he would take better care of himself and not be so focused on her, that he would find men in the church to lean on. Every prayer, every concern, every tear she cried was one of unselfish love. What a stark contrast to what I was seeing in the mirror. (sigh) I fail.

So yesterday, I prayed…”fix my eyes on You, Lord.” Over and over. More Him, less me. Resuscitate this shriveling vine and produce fruit.

Last night, I had the unexpected blessing and honor of helping a friend. It was one of those needs that God placed in my path in a single moment in time. “Be the hands and feet, ” He said. There is no pride in this statement, but I will tell you that the fruit was so much more than I could have ever imagined. I had done something I was CREATED to do…in the name of Jesus and for Him. I was fulfilling my purpose and not seeking myself in that moment. Today, I woke up renewed and refreshed. Fruits of the Spirit…the joy, peace, goodness, kindness and gentleness. They flow from us and extend to others. It was these very fruits of the Spirit (God in me) that enabled me to help a friend. Trust me…nothing good was coming from this rotten apple.

I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” Psalm 16:2

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Corinthians 12:9-11

…filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:11

Today, in the grocery store, in found myself smiling wider at passers-by. I walked past a tower of trail mix and reached for something that was not on my list and something I do not ever recall having before- a container of dark chocolate covered cranberries. Hey! Dark chocolate also has several health benefits associated with its consumption, too. When I got home and dug into them I was amazed! Oh my. This was the tastiest treat ever.

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Fruit…covered in sweet. Both with known benefits.

When we do what we were created to do, the giver also becomes the receiver. Fruits of the Spirit covered in unanticipated sweetness.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Luke 6:38

Imagine the glory to God and the blessings experienced if we all acted to fulfill the purpose that God has laid out before us. Daily- not just on one single day.  More Him, less me. His blessings overflowing…fruit wrapped in the sweetness of blessing.

Birthday Presence

Presence not presents.

Today marks 41 completed trips around the sun for this blooming blogger. So today, I want to share 41 gifts…evidence of God’s presence in my day in the form of blessings and things that simply bring a smile to my face.

1. A cool crisp morning inside the walls of our home.

2. …which created the perfect opportunity to snuggle a little longer with one of the gifts God has given me…

3. …my hubby. A gift straight from God.
4. Seeing his cow-licked swirls peeking from under the covers as I climb to the top bunk to wake him.
5. He moves mountains just to hug me in the morning…mountains of blankets and stuffed animals.
6. Soft music in the morning. Sing praise to the Lord.
7. Lunch boxes in a row
8. Her hair looks like corn silk when I brush it.
9. A smile from under her hoodie as she counts her Lucky Charms.
10. His disbelief that it’s his mother’s birthday…no way! (Oh yeah…because I never age. Right?)
11. Sharing notes from the weekend marriage conference, I Still Do, with a friend.
12. A crystal clear sky…not a cloud.
13. A soft breeze.
14. The slow and subtle change in the color of the trees.
15. A long hug extending from big, strong shoulders.
16. Eating oatmeal together over a morning devotion.
17. That moment of silence in the house as the garage door shuts…Ahhh…just me and my Bible.
18. Manna. Daily bread.
19. A 6 a.m. birthday text from a friend. Years and miles between us, but I feel like we never miss a beat.
20. My Debbie (no need to elaborate…she is amazing)
21. Leopard prints in the Fallwpid-20141006_194651.jpg
22. A long fuzzy sweater
22. And the purchase of a new pair of jeans that my hubby will approve of (not another pair that I can pull on without unbuttoning them)
23. In a smaller size
24. Two days of phone silence…broken by a birthday song from my sister.
25. Sunroof open letting in the light of the sun
26. Singing at the top of my lungs
27. Alone time with God. Praying in the car or at the bedside…blessed to have that freedom and privilege.
28. His fresh buzz cut under my fingertips.
30. A nuzzle from the pup…an example of unconditional love in flesh and fur
31. A warm home

32. Chinese take-out

33. A family video game night with Super Mario

34. followed by a movie for me and hubby.wpid-20141006_194615.jpg

35. Quality time…a huge gift! I am so blessed by each day that God gives me with this family.

36. Shopping for a new parallel Bible and having so many choices…again, blessed to live in a place where that is possible.

37. Psalm 51 and Psalm 84:10

38. They play

39. A bouquet of fresh flowers

40. A whole day to just “wing-it”.

41. My favorite b-day song. I could sing it 41 times and still sing it once more.

 

Thank you Lord for your gifts; Large and small. Most of all, I am thankful for the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

 

Praise the Lord for sick days!

Oh yea…I said that…about five minutes ago. Normally my opinion is much different. When I feel ill or see that one of the kids is going down for the count- I usually say “Noooo! I don’t have time for illness!”. Not today.Today, I say, “Stop the presses!”…”Hold all my calls”…hang a sign on the door that says “Come back tomorrow”. Don’t get me wrong- there is plenty to do around here. I actually just sat down with hubby yesterday and made the Spring honey-do list. While the illness is not a choice- boycotting the daily grind is — and today I choose her (and me).

I had just expressed to my hubby that I was eagerly awaiting Summer and the end of school. Our days are so scheduled and run like clock-work but I feel like sometimes she gets lost in the shuffle. She goes to pre-school in the morning for a few hours and comes home to eat and take a nap. We pick up big brother after nap and head home for homework and play…while I cook dinner. It’s easy to get swept up in this whirlwind of life. There really isn’t anything that can be removed- that is just how the days flow. I am tired and so are they and we are desperately in need of some down time around here. She may be struggling with her allergies today, but the Lord gave this day to both of us as a gift.

Praise the Lord for sick days!

Last year, I started a study by Women of Faith called “Resting in Him: I need to slow down but I cant!”. Notice that I said “started”? Yep, I never finished. It’s time that I finish. I need to set better boundaries and be more purposeful about resting in the Lord. I need to be intentional about serving when God wants me to serve and praying over each opportunity. (As a Martha I tend to  “do” because I can…but fail to ask the Lord if I should.) I need to rest on His promises and on what HE can do through me. I need to focus on the important ministry in this home as wife and mother.  I also need to be intentional about making moments of quiet time alone with God, alone with hubby and focused time with the kids. Ok…I said the word “need” five times there. Now, it’s time for action.

 

Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 4:6

Balance.

This was scripture found in that study and one that I needed to meditate on today. As I flipped through that study notebook, I saw that underneath that scripture I had drawn a picture of me…

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…even a little peace, rest, quiet is worth it. One hand to work, one hand to rest= Balance.

Equal parts!

The note in the margin from the author says “The truth is that sometimes you have to retreat in order to advance. Retreats-times when you get away from the busy demands of everyday life- allow you to recharge physically, emotionally, and spiritually.”

Can I get an “Amen!”?

Pray for me folks. This is an ongoing struggle.

Where was I …Oh, yeah. Rest. Today, this is where you can find me. I am taking off all of my hats today except one…the one that says “Mom”.

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