Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Few Little Blessings. .

I'm a holiday kind of girl. .
I love 'em all. .
though this is one that usually provokes a little more heartfelt consideration of the occasion!
I am truly blessed in many different ways. .
I hope you took a minute to read my post from earlier this week describing the One I am most thankful for. .
and most grateful to. .
 but I wanted to share my other Top 10 list of thanksgivings this season. .
It also blesses my heart greatly to read about your blessings too. .
so, even if you never comment any other time. .
Please, leave a quick list of your thankfulness at the end of this post! 
10.) A safe community. .
that is both physically safe for us and our children to go about our daily lives uninhibited by fear. .
and emotionally safe. .that we can be who we are without fear of rejection.
9.) Transportation to get us where we need to be in a short amount of time. .and technology like phones and internet to keep us connected to our friends and family when we need to be! I'm thankful that the miles between us can seem relatively few with our modern day advances!
8.) Easy access to abundant and healthy food. .
both in the stores. .and in my own neighborhood. .
7.) The opportunity that Jeremy and I have to perform our work passions in settings that both challenge and satisfy our hearts and our minds. As well as the determination to help our children learn the value of a hard day's work. .and the satisfaction of a job well done!
6.) The luxury of being able to "leave it all behind" for a few days of escape from the reality of life. .
and the ability to return with the desire to persevere.
5.) For the life of my dad. .Though cut short, in our eyes. .
The legacy that he left in our lives and our personalities is priceless. .
and the thought of never having to see him suffer through the aging process is comforting!
4.) The warmth and comfort of a rather large, loving extended family on both sides of our tree! We've learned more about one another in the last 6 months than we have in years. .and we still love each other! To know that someone will love you through the thick and the thin is a commodity not to be taken lightly!
3.) A sweet little retreat that we like to call "home". .
 where we can hang out and be ourselves.
It is cool in the heat and warm in the cold. .
A place of safety that sees all the tears, anger, promises, and love!
2.) The little flock of 4 that God blessed two kids with over 16 years ago. .that continue to frustrate and bless us, all at the same time. .that challenge us and bring laughter to us. .that give us extra purpose in our mission. .that will carry on what we stand for. .as we carry on what our families before us stood for!
And the top thing that I am most thankful for. .
aside from my Savior. .
1.) this man. .the one whom I have loved for the last 21 years. .
The father of my children (all of them). .
The one who makes me laugh. .
And scream in anger. .
The one who can make me scream in anger and then laugh in the same paragraph!
He isn't perfect. .
but then neither am I. .
Our life isn't always wonderful. .
And many days I have to CHOOSE to love him because the emotion just might not be there. .
but there isn't another man I would rather spend my days and nights with. .
And as we grow old in each other. .
and mature in the Lord. .
It just gets better and better each year!!
Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Psalm 100:1-5
Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart!

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire
Hebrews 12:28-29

In this season of Thanksgiving. .
I can not help but consider. .
how my life and my heart have changed over the course of a year.
I am a different person. .
Just as most of you are probably different as well!

This was going to be a little post about all the things that I am thankful for. .
which are many. .

But. .

As I tried to choose a scripture that I wanted to share today. .
The Lord just grabbed me by the depth of this verse from Hebrews. .
and I just can't get beyond that today!

So. .
My post took a bit of a different turn. .
If you are in a hurry today. .
Come back later. .
because I want you to read it slowly. .
and truly consider. .

Look around friends. .
Check out our world. .
Extraordinary tsumamis. .
Devastating earthquakes. .
incredulous acts of terrorism. .
Shifts in the weather system causing excessive droughts. .
as well as extreme variations in climates!
Frightening changes from what we understand as "normal."

Look around at the cultures. .
People are caught up in all sorts of wickedness. .
We live as if there are no consequences. .
Morals and values have slipped away. .
Selfishness runs rampant. .
So many of us SAY we believe in God. .
but we place our FAITH in ourselves. .
what WE can do, how WE can do it. .
misguiding our OWN selves from the real Truth. .
The One who IS Truth. .

How long can it go on??
Some will say. .
not much longer!!
Only He knows for sure. .
but it seems that the labor pains are underway!

So today. .
for THE Kingdom. .
that CANNOT be shaken!
I have read the Book. .
I KNOW how it ends!!
God's people. .
Those that have TRULY received Him (John 1:12; Colossians 2:6)
will win. .
An eternal life. .
And the rest. .
Those who have disregarded Him. .
those who chose to put themselves in a higher place of honor than Him. .
those who never made the time to find out WHO He really is. .
will be consumed by the fire.

If you can't remember the last time that YOU were truly still. .
to KNOW God was in charge. .
Truly still to be IN AWE of Him. .
Truly still to consider the magnitude of Him and His work. .
I encourage you. .
No. .
I challenge you. .
Be Still. .
And KNOW that HE is GOD (Psalm 46:10)
Don't just be thankful this week. .
If God is saving YOU. .
Find the gratitude in your heart. .
and offer it to Him FROM your heart as worship. .

Because if there is one thing I have become acutely aware of in the last year. .
It is that. .
is the only thing we can be sure of!

God bless you all. .
and a Happy Thanksgiving to you!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Life. .

Here we are. .
in the first full week of the next to last month of 2012. .
It seems crazy. .
how fast it flies. .
but I am reminded by God's words that life is but a vapor (James 4:14)
And so it will continue to go!
We survived trick or treating. .Cami was a spider queen. .
Devin was an injured football player (with a mask. .mostly because it was a cool mask!)
We survived Salsa day. .
Lots of yummy salsa went into jars to enjoy the rest of the year. .
and lots of yummy salsa went into our tummies as the day went along. .
you know. .
testing it!!
We did a little experimenting on our original flavor. .
and renamed it the "twist." Our other 3 favorites made their yearly comeback on the agenda!
We survived a prank pulled by my husband. .the jokester!!
Lisa was chopping onions and had a mountain of them piled up on the cutting board.
While we weren't looking, Jeremy snuck this realistic plastic cockroach into the pile. .
I was in the process of asking him why he was just standing around smiling at us. .
about the same time Lisa busted into hysterics!!
We survived the change out of computers. .
from our very ooooollllddd one that completely crashed a couple weeks ago. .
to a new one (with our old information since my computer whiz BIL repaired the old one and transferred the info over to the new!). .
outfit with Windows 8. .
which is a little bit tricky. .
and equally as tricky to me as the new windows mail system is!!
But. .we celebrated the set up completion with pedicures. .
This is ONE of the reasons I am enjoying this little girl sooo much!!
We continue to survive our four kids and everything they are about. .
Many days it feels much like I would expect the inside of an ant den to feel. .
like there are many little critters bustling about. .
each doing their thing. .
trying to coincide with everyone else's "thing". .
and making a lot of commotion while they go about it!!
I'm not sure how the queen bee goes about it. .
but I have not yet mastered the art of listening to all the "things"
while trying to manage all of the "things and their things!"
Do you see what I have to work with???
Do I even stand a chance??
In all honesty, I am looking forward to a trip to Dallas this afternoon until the weekend. .
to attend a conference there designed for youth pastors, small group leaders, and other volunteer postitions within the church. .
I am excited for the chance to be taught HOW to lead. .
and expect to be able to improve my effectiveness as both a leader of people. .
and a wife and mom!!
The theme is. .
Surrender: leading people to put others before self, and Christ above all!
And I believe the most important aspect of being a good leader. .
is to practice what you preach!!
So please, if you have a minute. .
prayers for safe travel. .
for Godly fellowship. .
for Godly wisdom to be imparted into our hearts and minds. .
and for a convicted and changed heart. .
so that I can TRULY carry out the ministry that God has given. .
to ME!! (2 Timothy 4:5)
Wishing you all a safe and blessed week. .
Thanks so much for stopping by!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Is This in my Job Description?

Once upon a time. .
I worked on the yearbook staff as a photographer. .
I took photos and back in the day. .
developed the FILM. .
as well as the photos!
My favorite job was doing the group and club photos. .
 and the homecoming candidate photos at the end of the year. .
Fast forward 20 years PLUS. .
It's been a LOOOOOOONNNNGG time. .
since I have been called to use my head in that manner. .
for more than a couple poses at a time.
So when my sister asked if I would take their family photos while they were down last weekend. .
I was excited about the task. .
That is. .
until we got up Saturday morning and it was 32 degrees when we were ready to shoot them. .
(the photos that is, not the children. .or on second thought. .never mind)
Now. .
anyone that knows much about photography KNOWS that there are only a few certain hours of the day that work well for taking photos. .
And our Halloween party was scheduled to take place during half of them!!
These three monkeys were NOT. .
in the LEAST bit. .
interested in posing. .
without coats or gloves. .
in Aunt Mel's yard!
And things MIGHT have gotten testy a time or two!!
BUT. .
after weeding out about 124 photos with half opened eyes, eyes looking somewhere other than where they were supposed to. .and growl-y smiles that were smiles in shape only. .

I think. .
everyone turned out good. .
and pleased!
They were glad to oblige to my sister's instruction to act silly. .
And this. .
is actually my very favorite photo. .
Because that is SO them!!
By the end, my brother in law (forever NOW known as the "whoopie cushion") was getting into the photo-with-his-wife thing. .
And we enjoyed just shooting the two of them. .
Maybe no one but me is crazy about the spent flowers in the foreground. .
but I rather like them!
Jeremy pulled out his model A (actually, HE was even the one to suggest it). .
and we used it for several more photos. .
Of course, Chris didn't think there was enough of it showing in the above photo. .
so I had to back up. .
and get the whoooooooole car!!
I also had to ask him to remove his hand from my sister's butt. .
and we took another one. .
but apparently I got confused as I uploaded the photos to the blog. .
and you get the PG-13 rated one!
Though I guess it's not any worse than my call-to-smut photo. .
Mature audiences please!
We tried to do a little heart thing with the arms. .
and I changed them a bit for the other photos, so they are actually holding hands. .
but I just now notice Jeremy's reflection in the window right over Kristi's head. .
don't pick this one sis!!
I don't see myself doing any career changes in the immediate future. .
but I sure did enjoy the opportunity to practice again!!
Enjoy a loving. .
and very blessed weekend!!
Salsa day is today at our place. .