Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

 “Arise, shine; for your light has come,
         And the glory of the L
ORD has risen upon you."
Isaiah 60:1

And His name shall be called
The Mighty God,
The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace
Isaiah 9:6 

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matt 1:23

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11  

Celebrating the BEST GIFT ever today and throughout the year!!!! Merry Christmas to you! And Happy Birthday to Jesus, my Savior!


Monday, December 20, 2010

1000 Gifts: God With Us

Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel!

Have you ever really stopped and considered what these words mean? The enormity of the concept of God leaving His throne to be born in a barn among the animals?  It was probably pretty cold.  The stench of the animal dung lingering in the air... no place for a baby - much less a King Creator who spoke everything into existence! 
God with us - every. day.  Every step we take, every decision - be it wise or foolish - He is with us.  While we are alone and hurting or celebrating and joyful - God remains with us.
Counting on that truth today.

583 - 600.
~an early snowfall - God's reminder that we are as unique as the fallen snowflakes - no two alike.

~ a Christmas cookie exchange with a friend - time with ladies who love Jesus
~walking into Bible Study and having friends loving on the new baby
~ homemade pumpkin bread from generous friends
~God knitting together friendships that are eternal
~impromptu taco dinners 
~hearing my oldest whisper to my youngest "God loves you!"
~being a tv star - if only for a day and helping out some folks in a bind
~God blessing something that I wasn't looking forward to by making it fun just like I asked Him
~meeting new people and falling into friendships with them - with our KING being the common thread
~ a sweet sister - organizer extraordinaire - who came over to help me purge and stage
~the tree finally up - the blessing of a new (to us) prelit tree - for much less than we expected

~ my Jesus - healing my hurts, being with me, removing "log jams" - making it more able for me to hear Him.
~ already two months old - our quiet time together - nursing then talking about all sorts of secret things. 

~my awesome husband - completing a tedious task so I don't have to - Jeremy, you are AWESOME!
~remembering that I am called to think on "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, or excellent or praiseworthy!"
~ our oldest's first ever Christmas program - hearing songs over and over - practicing and worship - and our oldest grasping the true concept of what Christmas means.

~ a song in Bible Study - a new Christmas favorite - bringing tears to this momma's eyes - to think of the love of a Savior  - God with us!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Matthew's Begats

One of the pastors of our church sang this with his family at a luncheon yesterday.  Usually he has a scroll on stage and as the song is sung the kids unroll the scroll to show the names of Jesus' lineage.  I love this song and will someday memorize it with my boys.

The reason for the memorization is to remember that God's grace is abundant in allowing several, who were, by human standards, unworthy to be in the lineage of the KING of KINGS!  But only by God's infinite grace did He include harlots, murderers, and commoners in his lineage! And to remember that He was born for me!

Take a listen!

Monday, December 6, 2010

1000 Gifts: A Change of our Hearts

When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

~Johnson Oatman, Jr.
(Thanks Heather)
This past week was rather harrowing.  A trip to Kroger with three boys in tow - meltdowns abundant.  Children who were less than obedient and rather rambunctious throughout the week.  Complaints about having to "do school", and just general disgruntledness among all in our household. HOWEVER, this blog is about thankfulness - things that God has done. Seeing the better side of things and how His blessings are abundant. every. day.
So with that I continue to count blessings!

569.  The season of Advent - preparing our hearts for the coming KING!
570.  After a melt down in the store - my older two discussing how they were loved and known by our Father before the beginning of the world.

571.  warm tears from this mom and the idea that they are "getting it" 
572.  Practice for Christmas programs declaring the coming of a Savior with Monkey participating in song

573.  Supernatural - 24/7 Children's Church at CF
574.  Watching my two older boys dance and sing - "Jesus is my Superhero" 
575.  The blessing of four straight days of seven uninterrupted hours of sleep as the little one goes through a growth spurt - rest for momma.

576.  An evening of fellowship - Bible study Christmas Celebration - White Elephant gifts galore - and some regifts from last year bringing tons of laughter.
577.  A clean living room - ready for decorating.

578.  Friends who take the boys and the husband out of the house to the park so the living room can be cleaned - thoroughly!
579.  Laughter

580.  A restful Sunday afternoon 

581.  A dusting of snow

582.  Christmas cookies from friends

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Worth It!

The past several weeks we have been thrown into a new life station... now we have three boys instead of just two.  Some might not think that that is a big deal... I would definitely argue said point.  I only have two hands instead of three, and although the baby doesn't really need to be corralled at this point... my other two require my two hands and four or five others at times... making for an interesting trip to the grocery store - or anywhere else we may go.  

Speaking of the grocery store... it was today's adventure.  Sometimes after I go places with my guys I wonder what I was thinking after the fact.  Today was one such day.  I prayed on the way to the store - out loud for the boys to hear - for God's favor, for a calm trip, for sanity.  We were good until about half way through.  

My boys were permitted to push the little carts - first mistake.  I was trying to be accommodating for them... not a wise choice. I was initially hoping my oldest would want to push his baby brother in the big cart - to no avail.   I'm sure several customers got a chuckle of the cart parade winding up and down the aisles of Kroger - like a momma duck with her ducklings... however,  my ducks kept running into me and each other. Half way through the trip I ditched both little carts because it was getting ugly.  This brought about fall out number one.  

Fall out number one subsided rather quickly for my oldest - although he made it clear in no uncertain terms that his heart was NOT happy anymore and that his attitude was having a hard time adjusting.  BUT there wasn't falling on the floor accompanied by a heaping helping of screaming and crying for which I was so thankful. BECAUSE fall out number one which DID include a heaping helping of crying and screaming continued with my now middle child through the rest of the trip (about 20 more minutes of shopping) until we reach the check out.

Commence fall out number two:  middle child screaming because he wants gum instead of the M&Ms I promised for good behavior (only because I had a coupon for free M&Ms :) ).  Laid out completely on the floor in line at checkout.  Screaming.  Wailing.  Like I'm the worst mother in the world.  All I could say was "Jesus!"  "Jesus!" - not in an expletive manner, mind you.  But calling out for help - because at this point - He is the ONLY ONE that could help.  The cashier actually asked me how I was doing.  I looked at her and asked in complete honesty (not sarcastically or rudely)- "Do you really want to ask me that question now?"  Reassuringly, she encouraged me by telling me we have all been there - I smiled weakly , picked my child up off the floor, and paid for my groceries.

While we are driving home - at this point middle child has calmed down - (praise the Lord Jesus!) my oldest says to calm middle child - "Isn't it so cool that God knew us before He created the world!"  Middle son said, "Yeah! Before He created me."  Then I jumped in and added, "He knew us AND HE LOVED US!"  

My children ministered to me in the midst of my crazy afternoon.  I was brought to tears, not because of behavior that was uncontrollable, but because my children are getting it.  They can be challenging sometimes.  BUT they are getting it.  The realization that my LORD not only knew me before the dawn of time, BUT He also LOVED me.  He knew my issues!  He knew my inadequacies!  He knew my sin - and LOVED me.  It brought me to tears because my kids are getting it AND because of such huge shortcomings I have to hurdle as a parent.  I wonder why God thought that I was enough to parent these young men.  How He saw that I was the best choice - I'll never know.  But I will press on... the race isn't over.  I may struggle sometimes - many times... but my goal is to raise Godly men who love their LORD.  And after the struggles of today (and yesterday - but we're not going there) I'm pressing on with enough encouragement - just those few words spoken by my boys.  

It's all WORTH IT!

Monday, November 15, 2010

1000 gifts: A month of thanks

 All the way my Savior leads me; What have I to ask beside?
 Can I doubt His tender mercy, Who thro' life has been my guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort, here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know whate'er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me; cheers each winding path I tread, 
Gives me grace for ev'ry trial, feeds me with the living bread;
Tho' my weary steps may falter, and my soul athirst may be, 
Gushing from the Rock before me, Lo! a spring of joy I see.
 Fanny Crosby

555.  the voice of the Lord giving direction and reassurance

556. a clear message 

557.  obedience

558.  freedom

559.  the matchless grace of Jesus

560.  a warm sunny afternoon and a chilly night

561.  a group of homeschooling moms meeting for encouragement and "socialization"

562.  a five week old boy - with crooked baby smiles and tired yawns

563.  a visit from my sweet sister... a plan to paint falling through to spend time just enjoying each other

564.  a fall trip to our favorite garden

565.  an afternoon nap for a Daddy and new son

566.  prayer - our lifeline to an all powerful Creator 

567.  two brothers - growing bigger and closer all the time

569.  a family - minus one - enjoying a day at the garden (the one was in the stroller - fast asleep)

568.  Holy! Holy! Holy is the LORD God Almighty!  Who was, and is, and is to come!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Random acts - Making His Name Known

This video was taken at Macy's Department Store in Philadelphia in October.  What an awesome way to praise the LORD and make His name known among the people.  This Random Act of Culture could have chosen any classical choral piece - but they chose one of the most famous and most God honoring pieces ever written. 

To God be the glory!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

When He Speaks

While growing up I attended a very traditional church.  I still do.  There is not a lot of talk about hearing the Lord when He speaks.  I've never heard the Lord speak in an audible voice.  As a matter of fact, 20 years ago I would have been very skeptical of anyone who had said that they "heard" from the Lord.  I just didn't think He worked that way.  I knew that He used His word to tell us things He wanted us to know... but I never took the words from His Word personally.  Like He was using them to communicate to me.  I thought they just conveyed stories and lessons from those who have gone before - compelling me to learn from their mistakes and follow their wise decisions. 

However, I can tell you now, after being in His Word, after walking with Him, after having fellowship with Him, after experiencing His goodness to me time after time after time - I have heard Him speak.   Just today I was reading with Monkey for school. We have been studying the Children of Israel and the exodus from Egypt.  For our Bible time we were reading out of chapter 14 of Exodus. Here is what the Lord had for me this morning... specifically in verses 13 and 14:
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.  The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” 

This morning I REALLY needed these verses for many reasons.  The demands of my sweet new blessing have me up several times in the wee hours of the morning with feedings and diaper changes.  The rest of my family is needing me as well.  Even more so than before. The boys demand more of my time because they are feeling the effects of my time being given to the baby.  My husband wants me to spend time with him.  I am feeling pulled in every direction.  Feeling exhausted and having nothing to give... while still my family requires more of me.  This morning I HIT THE WALL!  I could do it no longer.  

I also have realized since having children that I have some issues.  I never thought I was an angry person.  It took a lot for me to get angry.  Most things that bothered me just rolled of my back like water off a duck.  But since I had children I have seen the ugliest side of myself.  I have seen myself scream at my boys - something I never thought I would do.  And with lack of sleep and more demands my angry reactions have continued.  

Last night I was in Bible Study at church under our pastor's leadership.  Our pastor spoke of meekness - defined as being humbled before God and gentle toward others.  Wow!  A hit between the eyes.  In my anger I have not been gentle with my boys.  

Tonight I am meeting with some friends to pray over my angry reactions.  The appointment has been on the calendar for over two weeks now.  Don't even think that my hitting the wall today and my appointment tonight was sheer coincidence.  There is no such thing.  It's the desire of the enemy to keep me from going to pray... to have me continue to live a defeated life... to incapacitate me... to render me useless for His service.

All these things to say that the verse that I read this morning literally took my breath away.  As I read the verse it was almost as if the Lord held my breath.  The words - deliverance, stand firm, be still - held so much power.  Because they were from the Lord... and they were FOR ME!  My Father wants me to BE STILL and know that HE is going to rescue me!  He is going to FIGHT FOR ME!  All I need to do is be still.  What words of affirmation!  

Speak on Lord!  I'm listening!

Monday, October 25, 2010

1000 Gifts: Abundance of Blessings

 The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.
-- Henry Ward Beecher

542.  Late night feedings in the quiet of the house - opportunities to think, pray, reflect, and give thanks!

543.  Meals from friends

544.  A mountain of laundry to fold

545.  Nursing my boy to sleep 

546.  Crooked baby smiles

547. Monkey receiving his very first Bible in church - the right of passage for a first grader.

548.  Our church family providing God's Word to children - living and active
549.  the same boy waking up Monday morning to have some quiet time with Jesus.

550.  Brothers loving on the newest one - hugs that may be too tight... and wanting to hold and see him all the time... love just the same.

551.  A joyful reunion with those who have prayed together, shared Scripture, and wielded weapons of warfare 

552.  My incredible husband... taking on so much more - trying to get so much accomplished with so little sleep.

553.  Wonderful, thoughtful gifts from friends...for the newest kidlet and for me... to bless us.

554. Ghiradelli chocolate bars - for those times when you just can't cope anymore... I think I may eat two entire bars now!  Thanks Heather for helping me keep my sanity !!!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Has it REALLY been four years???? 
Four years... You have turned into my
wreckless abandon, sweet spirited, no holds barred, smart, smiling
full of life - sunshine.
You make me laugh constantly... always keeping momma on the go.
There is never a dull moment when you're around.
You are a stranger to no one... so easy to make friends.
Such a love for Jesus.
We are so blessed to call you son! 
We love you-

Happy Birthday, Chops!!!!!
We are so proud of you.

1000 Gifts: Welcoming New Life

Psalm 139: 14-18

 For you created my inmost being;
       you knit me together in my mother's womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
       your works are wonderful,
       I know that full well.
  My frame was not hidden from you
       when I was made in the secret place.
       When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
  your eyes saw my unformed body.
       All the days ordained for me
       were written in your book
       before one of them came to be.
  How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
       How vast is the sum of them!
  Were I to count them,
       they would outnumber the grains of sand.   

531. The pains of labor growing stronger - new life on the way.

532.  A trip to a mountain park - to walk, to climb, to wear boys out

533.  A gramma to come and care for soon-to-be big brothers late on a Saturday evening.

534.  A friend showing up at the hospital right behind us to encourage me through the necessary pain of labor

535.  Our child's desire to enter the world in a hurry!
536.  A healthy boy - brand new pink skin, open eyes, a sweet face - a new name

537.  Late night visits at the hospital from family and friends who rushed in to see God's most recent blessing

538.  God's humbling blessing of provision - meals and visits from friends showering His love on us

539.  Coming home
540.   Love from brothers eager to see their new sibling 

541.  Family - once four members, now five  - God's surprises never ending.

For these and so many other blessings, I give thanks!

Monday, October 4, 2010

1000 gifts: Countless blessings

A new month to celebrate more gifts... gifts given so freely by my Creator 

516. Cooler fall temperatures.

517.  God's hand of protection over our house during wind, rain, and tornado warnings.

518.  Dinner brought by a friend - to help out a momma tired from a long day.

519.  Dinner with the girls - laughter hard enough to put me in to labor... almost.

520. Much needed appointments on a Sunday morning - first in Bible study, then again in service...God drawing me nearer to Him.

521.  Conviction by the Holy Spirit 

522. Hearing God's voice

523. A beautiful Saturday - perfect for cleaning the house and a mantown adventure hike in the woods.

524.  A homeschool mom who stopped over with her crew and a dissected frog to show my boys - how cool!

525.  A Sunday afternoon nap on a cold and rainy day.

526.  Baked oatmeal

527.  Crockpot meals made in the morning... ready to eat in the evening.

528. Earning a black belt - a long awaited goal - now accomplished!

529. A new sport to try - and a coach and teammates who love Jesus - the most important thing!

530. HOPE! 

For these and so many more... I give thanks.