Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, December 14

Outside my window...dark yet aglow with Christmas lights.

am thinking...that I am tired and should go to bed but am so enjoying the quiet right now. 

I am thankful for...so many things/people. God used November to get my attention about all the blessings He has given me.

From the learning room...a lot of learning about Jesus' birth and why he came. We are taking it pretty easy since we are leaving to go visit family on Monday and we have A LOT to do before a 13 hour drive (that includes potty breaks with three kiddos).

From the kitchen...cookie baking time has begun! 

I am wearing...a pink t-shirt my hubby designed for a Disciple Now a couple years ago, and fleece leopard print pajama pants a friend made me for Christmas a few years ago. What a combo right?

I am creating...family traditions that will hopefully be enjoyed years and years from now.

I am going...to bed soon! LOL!

I am reading...Choosing Joy by Nancy DeMoss, and the One Year Bible by God (haha)

I am hoping...for SNOW while we are on vacation in places that have snow :)

I am hearing...silence. Yay!

Around the house...lots of packing, baking, playing, cooking, and trying not to forget about the real reason for the season.

One of my favorite things...my church family - they have blessed me and my family so much and I will never be able to repay or thank them enough. God is good!
A few plans for the rest of the week: pack, bake, pack, clean, bake, clean, pack, pack, pack, bake, clean, clean, clean, bake, pack, pack, pack...

Here is picture I am sharing...

From last year - the one time it snowed! Wish we had a little of this now :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

When You Just Don't Make the Cut

      I give praise to God that He uses the least likely to accomplish the impossible. This fact is such an intricate and important part of scripture and such a huge part of who God is and how He works. Often, in our humanity, we get so down on ourselves. We see our brokeness, our weaknesses, our sin, all of our short-comings big and small, and we wonder, "How in the world can God possibly take THIS and use it for good?" It's easy to look in the mirror and say, "I am just one person, far from perfect, so how can I really make a difference in this world? Is it worth even trying?" My answer (and God's too!): YES. 

      Jesus' disciples didn't even make the cut by their culture's standards. The ones who did were already studying under a rabbi, not learning the family trade as they were. Still Jesus chose to use them to do His work. He loved them and had a great confidence in them, even when they didn't quite "get it" - which was a bit often :) Think for moment about the people God uses throughout His mighty word. David was a scrawny sheperd boy, the run of the litter if you will, and yet with a rock and a sling, defeated a giant! Moses was not the most eloquent speaker and yet God chose to use him to lead His people out of Egypt. Paul persecuted Christians for a long time, hated them, and yet God used Him to spread the gospel to many people and used Him to write a good portion of the New Testament. Paul became the very thing he had once despised! Talk about the power of a changed life!!! The stories are numerous: Noah, Esther, The Disciples, Rahab, Mary Magdalene, and the list goes on and on and on! God used the ones that everyone else looked over and dismissed as normal, nothing really too special. And let me tell you, He is still doing the same thing today. All we need is to be available, willing, and obedient. 

      Satan wants nothing more than to break us down and make us think that living for Christ isn't worth it. He wants to convince us that God can't use us. Sadly, there are many Christians, I having been one myself,  sitting defeated on the sidelines, merely warming pews because they are convinced that trying to make a difference isn't even worth the time and effort. Yet we have a lost and dying world crying out in desperation for something more, something deeper, while many of us are stuck staring out into the distance like a bunch of deer in headlights wondering what to do next. We have THE one and only true message of hope, of truth, and the ultimate source of power in Christ Jesus our Lord, so why are we sitting around wondering why the world is the way it is? Stop worrying about not making the cut. God wants to use YOU.  How long will we continue to underestimate the power of God? How long will we refuse to let Him truly transform our lives and use us to impact His kingdom for His glory? MOVE! Get out of the way and let God in! Let Him use you in ways you could never imagine even in your wildest dreams!  It IS possible and we can't deny it anymore. God wants to use YOU and ME. So what are we going to do about it?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Unforced Rhythm of Grace

         So, if you've read my previous blogs you know that our patient and loving Father in Heaven has been giving me a spiritual third degree for the past couple of months. I thought that I would ramble on the sheer awesomeness of grace and what God has been speaking to me on the subject.  

        God's grace is a gift that He lavishes on us freely and extravagantly. There is nothing we can do to earn it and, even though He has the right to withhold this gift, He doesn't. His Grace is not something that is bartered for or begged for. Grace is not something that we, His children, have to force our way in to get. Our Father in Heaven, who loved us enough to condemn His own flesh and blood to die on a cruel rugged cross, gives grace every day that we are alive - every hour, every minute, and every second we breath. To think that God has the power to throw His hands up in the air with disgust, wipe the entire earth clean and start completely over - and chooses not to - well, it blows my mind! He extends grace because He wants to. Not because He's forced to or talked into it. When I think of Grace I think of the rain falling softly to the ground, saturating the dry earth, the trees and plants drinking it all in and growing tall and green where they used to be brown and brittle. He does that for us in our lives too, refreshes us, replenishes the dead parts within us. I think of the ocean lapping gently against the shore, the tide going in and out. What a peaceful scene. Yet, with a single swoop he could engulf the entire earth with one giant tsunami and still He doesn't. Not yet anyway... 
        I find it interesting that many consider God in the Old Testament to be a wrathful or vengeful God and God in the new testament a loving and merciful God. Hopefully you understand that the God in the Old and New testaments are one and the same and the only. God's love and mercy are displayed from Genesis to Revelation and to this very day! Think about Adam and Eve, how they bought a lie from Satan and went against God's commandment not to eat from a specific tree. Their eyes opened, naked and ashamed, Adam and Eve clumsily clothed themselves with foliage and made a sorry attempt to hide from their very own creator, something, I dare to say, that we all do at times. The hiding part I mean :) So here we have two people, created in God's image, given the most amazingly beautiful home, The Garden of Eden, and free reign over it. Yet, ONE tree was off limits. One. You know the saying, "People always want what they can't have" right? I believe the phrase was inspired by Adam and Eve. To top it off, they hid, made excuses, and pointed the blame elsewhere instead of straight up confessing. Still, God, in His neverending mercy and grace, tailored them adequate clothing and spared their lives. Yes he punished them as sin does have consequences, but He took care of them. He supplied their needs. God could have ended it all and just returned them to the earth from which Adam was formed, but instead He extended grace and let them live. If that doesn't show that God was loving and gracious in the Old Testament, I don't know what will. 
        From the beginning of time, God set forth in motion this intricate design, a glorious plan, for the redemption of mankind. He knew that it would take more than a long lecture or getting angry. No, instead a spotless lamb would have to take on the sin of the entire world and die in their place. Our place. Wow.. The beauty of His mercy and grace, the profoundness of it all leaves me simply speechless - with a huge smile on my face, a song in my heart, and a bounce in my step. He's untouchable and unchangeable. So awesome! I've become more and more in awe of just how powerful and mighty a God (THE God) we really do serve. 
        Are you as awestruck as I am at how such an infinite, mighty God could love and care about someone as finite as you or me? Psalm 139 says He knit us in our mother's wombs. Knitting is such an art, such a skill, and my Heavenly Father took time to knit me together...wow! We have much to praise Him for! Let us not forget what we have and may the power of grace truly transform us from the inside out so that we may extend that same grace to others. 
        Lord, we love you! Amen!

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Great Pruning Process That is my Life

I logged into an old blog this morning for the first time in at least two years. My intention was to delete my account but as I began reading my old posts, one stuck out to me and glared at me straight between the eyes...and penetrated my heart. This has been a season of painful but necessary refinement for me. I want to share this post because even though it was written a long time ago, God used it to remind me what He is doing in me NOW.  

November 9, 2007:

Things have been really crazy lately. My heart is heavy and my head feels as though it will explode any minute now. It would not be a suprise if I were to sponaneously combust in the next few days or weeks. There are so many things in my heart that God has been dealing with me on for the past few weeks: surrendering, conviction, reconciliation, forgiving, releasing, healing, grace, mercy, love, faith, believing, hope, trusting...just to name a few, HA! 

Some things I have learned from my conversations with the Heavenly Father:

True forgiveness is forgiving someone even if they don't deserve it...and even if they fail to ask.

True forgiveness does not worry about what the other person will do with it but rests in peace that the right thing was done.

I recently got to thinking about the things going on in my life and some of the feelings  towards others I've held inside. It is so easy to hold something against someone else but the person it hurts the most is me. By harboring unforgiveness I am hurting myself in the process, allowing another person to have control over me that they don't deserve...and most of the time they have no clue!

Christ walked the hill to calvary and in his final moments on earth his grace and mercy was absolutely astonishing. Looking down at the very people who yelled, "Crucify Him!, the people who spit at him, mocked him, beat him, shoved the crown of thorns upon his head, pierced his side, and nailed him to a cross...the same people who stripped him of his clothes and earthly dignity...he still pleaded to his father, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!" How amazing it that?!?!? So I was thinking in light of all that Christ has done for me, who am I to not forgive someone?

If I am not willing to stand up and admit that I have made mistakes and am not perfect, and ask for forgiveness from others, how can I expect those I lead to follow me?

There are many many many other things floating through the raging sea that is my brain but they will have to wait for another day.

Thank you for another day in which to praise you. Thank you for my husband, my children, for meeting our needs, the crunchy autumn leaves, a blue sky, the sun, and your Son who died for the sins of man. You are mighty, you are awesome and I am believing you for a miracle in my life and the life of the church in general! May there be a great awakening in your bride all accross the world. May we each open our eyes to the things in us that need to change and may we be willing to take the necessary steps towards that change. There needs to be a change, Lord. Let it begin in me. Amen!

I think that post says it all. I hope it speaks to your heart as it did mine. Have a wonderful day and God bless!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A Wee Bit of me Wednesday

{one} what kind of camera do you have? 

Two broken Canons! One was dropped and one just died :(

{two} you just won $1000 and you have to spend it on yourself on one item. what do you buy? 

I have no idea...I don't buy a lot of things for myself. One item? Gotta get back to you...

{three} if you had to choose, would you rather live with your parents in the same house forever or 5000 miles away? 
Far away. NO offense to my parents, I love them, but living together is not a good idea lol!

{four} is your christmas tree up yet? 

Yep! Put it up a few days ago! 

{five} do you bring reusable bags to the grocery store? 

When I remember.

{six} which would be worse: listening to the same song on replay for the rest of your life or having to eat the same meal everyday for the rest of your life? 

Listening to the same song. I love music and variety. As long as the meal  included steak it would be all good :)

{seven} name 3 things you are thankful for this season. 

My salvation, my family, my friends

{eight} do you dye/highlight your hair? if so, do you do it yourself or have it done at the salon? 

Not anymore. Too expensive to keep up! 

{nine} would you rather watch a movie at home or at the theater? 

Home for certain movies and theater for other movies. Depends on the graphics.

{ten} would you rather win $1000/week for life or $5 million all at once? 

$1000 a week. I think I'd be able to budget it better in smaller amounts and be able to give more of it away to those who need it!

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

Thought I'd share a few pics of our tree decorating fun! I loved watching my kids pick our ornaments and look for the perfect spot on the tree. They were so excited and proud of themselves!

Drama Mama decorating the tree

Can I get away with touching the tree?

Maybe mommy doesn't see me...

I also had an adorable picture of Wiggle Worm crying when I told her no but for some reason it will not
post correctly. Boo :( Our Christmas season is getting of to a great start! Check back for more
updates on what's going on in our lives! God bless!

Our Thanksgiving

I am sorry it's taking me so long to put up new posts these days. Been busy! And family comes before blogging so, just trying to keep a right perspective and right priorities ;) We had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving! We were blessed to host some wonderful Korean students from the local University for dinner. It was a wonderful time of fun, food, and sweet fellowship with some new friends. Here is a look at our Thanksgiving:

My first homemade pumpkin pie ever!

My first homemade apple pie ever!

Our Plump and Perky Turkey

Getting roasted to perfection

Our simple table

Perfection! Big Daddy T said this was the best turkey he has ever eaten!

Carving the turkey

We had some guests from Korea join us. Tater Tot enjoyed playing the Wii with our 
new friend. You pronounce his name "Day-Sohn"
Gloria and Drama Mama had a tea party

Enjoying yummy food!

Tater Tot hiding

Gloria and Me

Eden enjoyed being read to by Gloria

The only thing that is missing is the picture of everyone together which is on
my hubby's iPhone. I will post it as soon as I can! God bless!