Saturday, April 27, 2019

In the books of Revelation, we see this description of God.

“Who was, who is, and who is to come”

I like the message translation.

“The God who is, the God who was, the God about to arrive.”

I like that. He’s almost on the scene. Get prepared. He’s almost there!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

healed as they went

"As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, crying out, 'Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!'

"He looked at them and said, 'Go show yourselves to the priests.' And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.

"One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, 'Praise God!' He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.

"Jesus asked, 'Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?' And Jesus said to the man, 'Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.'" -Luke 17:11-19 NLT


I've had a phrase that I've been thinking on over the past few weeks.

"healed as they went"

The concept comes from this passage of Scripture. The lepers were healed as they went. Consider how odd it must have felt for them to walk away from Jesus without seeing immediate change in their bodies. Maybe they expected that because lepers were thought to be contagious, and they knew they shouldn't get close.

Jesus didn't even touch them, yet they were cleansed through their obedience.

They had to turn around and walk without seeing immediate change. That must have been hard. I'm not exactly sure when the change came, but it says they were healed as they went to see the priests... I imagine it came slowly. Once they started to see a difference, I bet their excitement rose.

Placing myself in that story helps me imagine that God doesn't always answer as we plan or want Him to. Obedience is key. Trusting Him is key. Don't stop believing if He doesn't do as you expect. Anything is possible when you believe.

One reason this is a big idea for me is because my hubby has been going through a lot of health issues. Right now, he has some opportunities that I believe as he walks them out in faith and trusting God, he will be healed as he goes!

Now, God may not answer exactly as I plan, but I'm learning to trust Him through the process as these lepers did, even if I don't see things right away. HE IS STILL AT WORK! All caps to remind me it's always the case.

Monday, April 15, 2019

passing on the love of books

I've hit a busy season with work! Through it all, my goal is to keep reading to my kids.

I finally remembered to ask Erik to take our pics... I've been reading with these kids on couches and next to beds for years, and the space we need as we read keeps expanding as they get bigger. 

Here's our latest pic and I love it. 



Keep reading to your kids... and grandkids! Which prompts an extra shout out to my mom, who reads to the kids via Facetime! YAY! 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

don't despise the little things!

We're hosting a baby shower at my house on Sunday, and so we are in full pick up the house and clean mode!

Yesterday, my five-year-old was vacuuming the stairs and when he stopped he said, "Mom, mom! I figured out how the vacuum works!" He went on to explain how our hands hold the vacuum down and air comes out that pulls up the crumbs/dirt. 

It was a really fun moment, because a couple days ago, his older brother did something similar with a zipper. He had been zipping his coat and must have  been contemplating how it actually worked, and then told me, very excitedly, how interesting it was and how he figured it out. 

It goes to show you that kids are always trying to figure out life! This is one reason I value homeschooling. I get to hear all those moments of discovery... and they happen all the time, even when they are helping with chores or putting on a coat. They don't need tons of extra stuff to learn. They just need a safe place to learn and someone who will guide them through it! 

I'm certainly not perfect, but I'm enjoying it! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

sap to syrup!

Happy April!

Wowza, it's amazing how quickly time goes by. Already April! I think it helps that we have more than enough to do as moms and wives and workers and such to fill each day and week. I remember realizing how a kid's calendar goes by so slow when they are waiting for a big event that is weeks out because all they have to do all day is play / school... the days are much longer then!

Well, clearly I'm off  my normal devo routine, and I'm rethinking what my blog will look like going forward. I may switch it up and mix in devos with 5 things I'm grateful for as well as homeschool stories.

Yesterday was a fun homeschool day because we boiled down maple sap into syrup for the first time! It was something my hubs and I were interested in for a while, and it finally happened yesterday. The syrup was delicious! And it smelled so good as it boiled down. It was fun to realize how that experience was so good for the kiddos. They got to watch evaporation first hand as the sap changed to syrup. I think we are all excited that we get to do this all again each year! A lot of work, but it pays off. Oh and I ran to the gas station last night for vanilla ice cream to eat with our syrup! Delish treat after a long day of work (much of it my hubby's patience as it boiled!).

We still have sap to gather. I think it might run for a few more days. We also have more sap to boil. Yay! more syrup.

Anyway, I hope your week is going well! Thanks for reading about what is going in my world!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

5 things 3/30/19

1. Weekends.
2. Family.
3. Girls nights.
4. Chocolate chip cookies.
5. Singing

Thursday, March 28, 2019

5 things for 3-28-19

1. Music.

2. Pianos. They are beautiful.

3. Colored socks. So much more fun than regular, and yes, I wear them mismatched! It's easier than matching socks regularly.

4. Our old sofa. I'm sure I'll have to get a new one eventually, but this sofa has seen many times of bedrest and stories.

5. Tutus. I still am amazed to look at my little girl! What a blessing! I sometimes still pinch myself that it's real, for I fully remember when we just had the two boys and I was happy and loved it, but my husband and I would talk about a girl. SO much fun to have that become a reality... especially after my first baby was born prematurely! I remember the days when I didn't know if I could have a baby, and now I have three to hold.

Thank you, Lord.

How about you? What five things are you thankful for?


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

5 things 3/27

Hellooooo!

Loving spring! How about you?

Today's five things.

1. Proverbs 3:5-6

I love this verse. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Everything. All of it. He will take care of you.

2. Sweets

Ahhh, I know, I know... I'm working on keeping my sugar cravings under control!

3. The Bible

It's a road map. Encouragement for each day!

4. Parks

Today I got to go to a park and just sit and let all my kids play! So nice after years of following them around to keep an eye on them! My youngest (1.5 yrs) is adventurous and loved walking/climbing/going down slides on her own. It was fantastic!

5. The Internet

I know this is a two-edged sword, but today I am thankful for all the research that can be done in a few clicks! And yes, double check your clicks since you can't believe everything on the Internet!


That's all for today... how about you?

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

today's 5 things

Things I'm grateful for today....

1. Being outside and talking to people in not freezing weather!
2. Kids running around outside, getting fresh air and wearing themselves out before bed!
3. Fun adventures in trying international food! This week we tried chicken souvlaki and baklava from Greece!
4. The time after kids go to bed. It's wonderful and refreshing to take a moment to catch up on things and/or have a moment to just be me. Love it!
5. Erik - he does all these woodworking projects around the house and outside and lets the kids do it with him and learn. Great learning opportunity for them.

What are you thankful for?

Monday, March 25, 2019

God helps in daily life

There’s more: God’s Word warns us of danger
    and directs us to hidden treasure.
Otherwise how will we find our way?
    Or know when we play the fool?
Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
    Keep me from stupid sins,
    from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed,
    scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.
These are the words in my mouth;
    these are what I chew on and pray.
Accept them when I place them
    on the morning altar,
O God, my Altar-Rock,
    God, Priest-of-My-Altar.

Psalm 19:11-14 Msg.



I was just listening to a retelling of the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar, and this phrase describes what they did perfectly as well as what we often do: "Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I can take over your work;"

Sarah thought she could help God finish His plans by having Abraham hook up with her slave Hagar. But the promise was for Sarah & Abraham, not Hagar.

When God has a promise for you, wait for Him to fulfill. Be obedient and patient in the process, and He will fulfill it for you - not your attempt at a plan, but His fulfillment of your plan.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

my first missed day! **

So Sunday I missed blogging! (First time since starting it daily in 2019)

I usually catch up in the afternoon ... But I had the best time prepping for the babysitter coming over. My hubby and I had a delayed celebration for our ten year anniversary. A night of sushi and a movie and memories made.

I loved it.

I didn't finish up work for the day. I lost track of blogging. I focused on the moment and it was lovely.

It refreshed my mind and heart and our marriage.

It was lovely. Off to bed.

**EDIT: Oh, I just saw that blogger's time zone must be different than my time zone, for it looks like I didn't miss a day. I posted after midnight my time, but it captured it as a Sunday post. Yay!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

five things!

Today I'm thankful for...

1. Friends
2. Sunshine
3. Outdoor parks
4. Spring!! (I love the symbolism of rebirth and fresh start!)
5. Steak cooked by my hubby over the fire!!

How about you?

Friday, March 22, 2019

God is unlike any other

"How great you are, O Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you. We have never even heard of another God like you." -2 Samuel 7:22 NLT

God is unique. No other God can compare to who He is. 

He is beautiful. 
He makes beautiful things. 
He tells beautiful stories. 
He is big, powerful, and unmatched. 
He is love. 
He is joy. 
He is peace. 
He is patient. (so important - I need Him to be so patient with me when I mess up in my life and when I'm impatient with others!)

And I love what my son said: He is welcome. 

He is welcome in my life. He wants to be invited into our lives. So big and powerful. And not only does He want to be welcome, but He willingly comes in and brings all these good things with Him. 

Whoa. 

Is He welcome in your life today? 

We welcome You, Lord! You are amazing.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Psalm 23

This is a favorite verse of mine. I turned it into a song for the boys (and eventually Brielle!) to learn. Well worth memorizing, in whatever translation you want. It encourages me that God is leading and helping me through life!

Psalm 23 NKJV

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

prayer works

"The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with." -James 5:16 Msg.

I think we too often forget that our prayers matter. We pray about everything and then if we don't see results, we stop praying.

That shouldn't be!

Our prayers should continue whether or not we see what we think we should... because our prayers are powerful.

Keep bringing your prayers to God in faith! He is working on your behalf!

"Tremendous power is released through the passionate, heartfelt prayer of a godly believer." -same verse, Passion Translation

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

take your choices to the streets!

Hebrews 13:16 talks about doing good to others. There's something in particular from the Message translation that stands out to me.

"God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship - a different kind of 'sacrifice' - that takes place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets."

God doesn't want our Christianity to be stuck in our homes or in our heads. He wants us to live it out in our daily lives. He wants us to choose wisely and choose kindness and love in our relationships. The best way to do this is to be aware that He is with us throughout each day. He can help us center on His kindness and grace and ability to choose love, even in difficult times.

And we don't have to do this on our own. As my son just reminded me when he saw the word "grace"...

This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That you would take our place
That you would bear our cross.
You lay down Your life
That I would be set free
Oh, Jesus, I sing for
All that You've done for me

(This Is Amazing Grace by Phil Wickham)

Monday, March 18, 2019

today I'm thankful for...

...it's so close to spring! I love spring. Such a beautiful time of year where we see the rebirth of a cold season where everything is closed away.

It's a time filled with mud and the beginning of bugs, so that's not as fun... but then again, I have kids, so mud (for them) is awesome!

It's a time filled with puddles and wet dogs, which often equals a beautiful wet mess.

There's something wonderful about watching kids see puddles and just feel the need to jump! Yesterday, Brielle (1.5 yrs) put on her rain boots and went to a puddle and jumped. She just knows puddles are awesome fun!

So nice to be able to head outside in the melting of snow and ice and have fun!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

five things for 3/19

Five things I'm thankful for today:

1. NASCAR ... I grew up watching golf on Sunday afternoons with my dad. My kiddos are growing up watching NASCAR on Sunday afternoons with dad. I enjoy it too. A fun relaxing family activity.

2. My husband's creativity and quick abilities ... today my hubby heard someone was thinking about starting a woodworking project With a few questions and an offer to help, the project is now at our house, almost completed, ready to be given to the person who wants it tomorrow.

3. Friendships ... I'm learning to value the advice and input of people and their experiences from all ages.

4. Worship ... Erik and I got to lead worship at an out-of-town church this morning that we hadn't been to before. It was fun. Loved being a part of the body of Christ I hadn't yet met, but somehow, they feel like family because we all have the same Heavenly Father.

5. Stairs ... They are a great way to enable us to build floors of our homes on top of each other and expand our houses in unique ways! :-)

What are you thankful for today?

Saturday, March 16, 2019

love God!

"Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that's in you, love him with all you've got!" -Deuteronomy 6:5 Msg.

God is worthy of our love. I'm so grateful of all that God has done for me. He provides me with purpose and security. He is my friend who I turn to. I try to turn to Him in need and in plenty... when I'm frustrated and when I'm thrilled. He can truly be that to you.

Have you ever asked Him to join your life? It's one of the best decisions you can make.


Friday, March 15, 2019

responding to tragedy

Last night, evil touched New Zealand through a shooting at two mosques.

What do we do about these tragedies?

For me, they need immediate prayer to help resolve what they are facing. First responders and leaders need to know what to do to best help the people harmed in this situation. Our prayers do make a difference, so lift them up to the Lord.

Next, the people who have lost someone need God's love to surround them today and going forward in the future. They need comfort and peace. I can't necessarily touch them directly, but I can pray that God will impact their lives and show Himself on their behalf.

Lastly, leaders need to know if there is a need for response. Most often a call for gun resolution follows, but is that truly the best path? Our leaders need wisdom to know if that is the best course of action. What can happen that will truly help curb crime?

For me, the answer lies not in legislation, but in turning back to the morals of the Bible.




"Who stood up for me against the wicked? Who took my side against evil workers? If God hadn't been there for me, I never would have made it. The minute I said, "I'm slipping, I'm falling," your love, God, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up." Psalm 94:19 Msg.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

grateful

You know, a lot of junk goes on in life. A lot of things that make you wonder and question what you believe.

And then you have moments like this this that steal your heart and make it worth it.

Have a wonderful day!


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

finally ... and five things

So sometimes the days tick by pretty quickly and you don't take a moment for yourself until late at night.

Apparently today was that day for me!

I had gotten out of the habit of starting with my blog the past couple days, and then the day just gets off running. It probably didn't "help" that we woke up later than normal (which is wonderful!). I'm rejoicing any time the kiddos and pups don't wake me up too early!

So what are you thankful for today?

I missed my five things on Sunday... so it's a great time to look back on today and say thanks. I'm grateful for:

1. Cheese. It's yummy.

2. Keto supplements. Yep, I did something I don't ever do and I jumped in and got some Keto supplements to help me jumpstart the diet for a short time to hopefully get rid of some of the baby weight (+) that has stuck around for a while. I've been on it fairly well (I think!) for a week, and I'm back to the weight I was last spring when I was doing well at exercising regularly. To be honest, I don't know what I started at, but I am sure I've lost a few pounds, so I'm grateful for that too.

3. Scales. Yeah, this is kinda grateful, kinda not, since they tell the truth (lol!), but I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to step on that scale and get an idea of how I'm doing. Do I have wiggle room for a treat or do I need to be super controlled to stay the same weight? I don't have to be controlled by it, but it can guide me. P.S. I learned this from my Grandma! Mom says she did it every day and that's how she stayed trim! I bet I can follow her lead. :-)

4. Blogs. It's a unique format to share your thoughts with others, and I've learned a lot from reading other people's blogs! Glad for an opportunity to have my own. I am considering what mine will look like going forward. Should I stick with a daily Scripture and a few thoughts? Should I jump into homeschooling/mom-ing thoughts? Should I do five things I'm thankful for every day? Considering if I should be specific or do a mix. We'll see as it evolves over time!

5. Aldi. Yep, I like their food and their prices and their random assortment of things you can buy throughout the year that keeps changing.

There you go! Happy Wednesday night to you!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

be flexible!

So today we were planning on heading to a play date at a friend's house... and then as I was coughing while getting ready, I realized I shouldn't pass on my germs to their home.

Thankfully, she was flexible and had another idea for a get together!

I appreciate her grace. She was willing to go out of her way to make new plans, and I am grateful. I want to learn to extend that grace to others.

Sometimes it's harder to extend grace to the people close to us, but they are the most important to give grace to. So always remember... Give grace! Be flexible! It helps you and others!

Monday, March 11, 2019

you can handle it!

"No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it." -1 Corinthians 10:13 Msg.

I love this verse! 

Some people interpret this verse differently as to what exactly is the test or temptation God will bring you through... but I think the basic point of this verse is important. God's got your back! He will help you through what seems to be your hardest days. Rely on Him for strength, grace, and the patience you need. If you work to be aware of Him throughout the day, you can become aware of the ideas He supplies to you as well! He'll supply you with ideas that will help you be patient and filled with love and kindness. 

I'm grateful for His help! 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

act on the Word

"Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like." -James 1:22-24 Msg.

The Bible has been written for our encouragement and for wisdom for living. When we read the Bible, we should listen to it as though a best friend is giving us encouragement in how to live.

Live with integrity? Yes
Live with wisdom and care for others? Yes
Put a premium on love? Yes

That's a pathway to successful living!



Saturday, March 9, 2019

a holy life

"He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time," -2 Timothy 1:9 NIV

God's purpose is that we are holy... but it's not because He wants us to live boring or without any fun... it's because a holy life is the best life you can live! It is the most fulfilling life. Now, we get tricked into thinking the things of the world are better and more fulfilling because we can't see past our current way of thinking... but if we can just get an image of the potential fulfillment in holiness, it can help propel us forward!

God's way is best and more fulfilling than anything else we can encounter!

Friday, March 8, 2019

when life is hard

"Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." -Psalm 42:5

Read through the Bible and you'll find that life was both hard and hard to understand for many, including David. How he handled it is a good example for us. He'd talk about his troubles, and then he would encourage himself in the Lord and remind himself that his hope belonged in God.

I like that there are two things Paul did in Psalm 42:5. First, he put his hope in God. To me, this means he deliberately moved his thoughts to hope. He chose to think about God's goodness and the possibilities that He provides, rather than the problems he faced.

Secondly, David praised Him. He lifted Him up in his own mind and imagination. He let praise remind Him of His power and glory.

So if you're stuck in a difficult time today, don't get stuck in the land of questions. Put your hope in God and praise him. He is your Savior.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

God loves you!

This morning, all three of my kiddos were up early and at least 3/4ths of us have a sore throat/cough. So cough drops and lots of water for us and whatever else I can find that will help the germs move thru us quickly! 

So before I started my morning projects, we read Psalm 139 so they could each here how special they are to God! 

"For you created my inmost being;  you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 ""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.

17 "How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,  they would outnumber the grains of sand...."

What a wonderful reminder of how much God cares!


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

why we should avoid sin

Joel 2 (Msg.) says, "Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God. And here's why: God is kind and merciful. He takes a keep breath, puts up with a lot, This most patient God, extravagant in love, always ready to cancel catastrophe."

God's patience amazes me. Right about that time I get super frustrated with someone else, I remember, God is patient with me as I struggle to change. Why can't I be patient with them? It's a fascinating topic... and one we probably will never be able to wrap our heads around. We are prone to point fingers and blame, but God wants us to learn from His patience and give people the time they need to change.

Change takes time for all of us... just keep going. Keep coming back to God. Keep moving toward personal change... and if you mess up, start again, for God is patient with us. He doesn't control us and He doesn't hold a whip over our heads ready to punish when we do wrong. He's patient and kind and so eager for us to change, not to lord it over us, but because He knows how much of a blessing it will be when we do change.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

free will

Okay. The very mention of the phrase "free will" could launch people into an hours-long discussion about what exactly it means, if we have it or does God ordain all our choices.

However...

Let me just say I believe that we have free will.

Because I believe that, I am grateful for it.

God is a gentleman. He does not force Himself on anyone, although I think we wish He did sometimes! He is gracious and patient, waiting for the day we invite Him into our lives and choices.

That is very respectful and honors our choice.

Revelation 3:20 says, "Look at me, I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I'll come right in and sit down to supper with you."

God wants to be wanted.

That is amazing that Almighty God wants to be our friend and have a daily conversation with us and interest in our lives! He cares about us!

Monday, March 4, 2019

worship enhances your life

God is worthy. He is glorious, worthy of praise. I picture Him as a massive being up in heaven, who sits on a throne. My boys and I were reading recently how all of heaven is lit with the light of His presence.

Wow.

He is a glorious, all-powerful being. He raised Jesus from the dead - breathed new life into Jesus'
lungs after He had been beaten and hung. He changes dead circumstances into living opportunities. He is worthy of all praise!

I just needed to praise Him today... for it readjusts my vision and reminds me who I am serving! He is my friend, but He is my Lord and King. Awesome God.

Amen.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

five things - 3/3/19

Happy Sunday!

It's time for five things I'm thankful for.... what are you thankful for?

1. Fruit! I love fruit. My kids love fruit. Fruit is amazing! Berries of all kinds are probably my favorite. I do love places where you can get them for cheap (aldi!!!) and then freeze them. I eat them in my cereal. And plain. What fruit do you love?

2. Cucumbers. Probably my favorite veggie and my kids love them too (of course!). We go through them quite quickly. I finally started buying 5-8 (when they are a good price) at a time.

3. Cribs. Just last night I realized that Brielle (my 1YO) is slowly outgrowing her crib! Another year or two and we'll be done with cribs for good. Wow!!!! But I do love them... keeps them contained so well! 😏

4. Smiles. I love how everyone's smiles make them look beautiful/handsome.

5. Psalm 23 - there are certain Scriptures I have gone back to again and again and again and this is one of them! I like the Message translation, because of the variety in thinking about it... but I love just the regular KJV translation.


"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." -Psalm 23


Saturday, March 2, 2019

we have been forgiven

"Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight." -Romans 4:7 NLT

Making mistakes and foolish choices is part of life... but I'm so grateful God doesn't keep track of them. When we ask for forgiveness and make a point to move toward positive change, He doesn't think about our sins anymore.

Now this challenges me to extend that same grace to other people... and it's hard to do!! Crazy hard, but if God can have patience with our foolishness, can't we do the same for others?

Friday, March 1, 2019

"And I command you today: Love God, your God. Walk in his ways. Keep his commandments, regulations, and rules so that you will live, really live, live exuberantly, blessed by God, your God, in the land you are about to enter and possess." -Deuteronomy 30:16 Msg.

Christianity is about a relationship... that can sound like a cheesy overused phrase if we're not careful. But it's a good description. God wants to be in a relationship with us where we talk and He listens and then He talks and we listen. He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother and provides the support we need. On the other hand, we can support Him through prayer and worship. He certainly doesn't "need" us like we need Him, but He is pleased when we follow His ways.

So that's how I look at it: God is my friend. He is an awesome Being in authority, Creator of the world, but I can love Him and talk to Him as my friend.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

God will help you fulfill your plan!

"I’m writing to encourage you to fan into a flame and rekindle the fire of the spiritual gift God imparted to you when I laid my hands upon you. For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control. So never be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor be embarrassed over my imprisonment, but overcome every evil by the revelation of the power of God!" -2 Timothy 1:6-8 TPT

The middle part of this verse is a verse many Christians know: God hasn't given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. It's interesting to see this in context. This was a letter that Paul wrote to Timothy, a younger man serving the Lord. And there must have been something Timothy was facing that caused him to be intimidated by his gifting. Maybe he didn't think he was good enough. Maybe he didn't think he had the ability to handle it, but Paul told him that his gift and ability was from God and it was enough. Timothy's job was to recognize he didn't need to act out of fear. God would supply Him with the power, love, and self-control that he needed to accomplish the task for him.

That means, God has called you to accomplish big things... but you don't have to be afraid of them. You will be able to accomplish them when you rely on God!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

prayers for today

Praying today the prayers Paul prayed in Ephesians 1... You can too! Below is adapted from NLT, 17-20.

Lord, please grant unto [NAME] spiritual wisdom and insight so that they can grow in their knowledge of God.

Lord, I ask that [NAME'S] heart would be flooded with light so that they can understand the confident hope You have given to those You have called. Let [NAME] begin to glimpse how vast and immeasurable is their rich and glorious inheritance You have given to them.

I also ask that [NAME] would understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe Him. Let them begin to glimpse and understand that the power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in them. That same mighty power seated Jesus in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. It's beyond our imagination and comprehension. Let us begin to see that and know that You can change situations that are beyond our control.

Work, Lord, in their hearts! Open their eyes to see You and let Your goodness truly be seen. In Jesus' name, amen.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

a busy day

Well, today was a busy day! We had plans that ended up keeping us busy from morning to night... well, it was midday plans, but midday plans with children start when you make them breakfast earlier than planned, pack snacks and projects for midday entertainment, get everyone dressed for your venture, and then leave early to account for traffic! Then you grab food on the way home, play for a bit, get food before bed and get them to bed... and then you breathe!!

All of that meant my work was hurried in the morning too, so I missed my early morning blog... but better late than never, right?

In fact, that's something I've thought about lately. Quitting is the end. You can't win if you quit. But if you keep going. If you keep trying. If you keep putting yourself back out there, you can get the win.

That's encouraging.

Hopelessness doesn't have to be the end... it's a feeling for a season. Keep going... keep going... keep going. Don't give hopelessness the win. Search for hope. Find hope. Find a sliver of hope and know God is on your side. He will help you pull through!

Monday, February 25, 2019

a new look at Psalm 91

I grew up listening to Psalm 91 in the KJV ... so it's fun that the new Bible translation the Passion translation has come out and provides a new perspectivej!

Now, I understand that the Passion translation is more of a paragraph translation and presenting the ideas of Scripture, as the Message Bible does, rather than a literal word to word translation. With this in mind, I don't read the Passion to get theological correctness as much as a different look at what the Scripture is talking about.

Listen to Psalm 91:1-2 in the KJV

"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust."

I love that... and then look at how the Passion can add to the understanding of this verse.

"When you sit enthroned under the shadow of Shaddai, you are hidden in the strength of God Most High. He’s the hope that holds me and the Stronghold to shelter me, the only God for me, and my great confidence."

So good!

The key to God being your hope and staying hidden in the strength of God is sitting under God's shadow. I think that means taking time to be with Him and working on your relationship with Him. You're hidden there because people won't necessarily see you spending time investing in your relationship with Him. They can see the results of your life though! And we glorify God when He becomes our strength and shelter!


Sunday, February 24, 2019

five things to be thankful for!

What are you thankful for today? 

It's Sunday! So here are five things I'm thankful for. 

1. Toys - yes, these get overwhelming, and we don't always have a place for them and/or they end up in the middle of the floor, but I am grateful for fun toys that the kids can enjoy time and again. I'm always looking for new ways to organize!! 

2. Fun desserts! For homeschool, we are trying foods from different countries. Last night we tried pavlova. It is a meringue with whipped cream and fruit on top. A nice light dessert. A little over a cup of sugar and eggs, so it's not super bad for you. I think there are keto/sugar-free versions as well! 

3. Snow! Yes, I said it. Snow. It's been record-breaking amounts of snow this year, but it's been a long time since we have gotten this much snow, and looking on the bright side, I kinda like it. Glad the kids are getting a good dose of snow and all that can be done with tons of snow. It's better than brown grass and boring landscapes when it is wintry and cold but not snowy. I like to have a reason for the coldness! 

4. YouTube - From how-to videos to kids songs, I do appreciate the wealth of videos you can get online! 

5. Speaking of... Numberblocks! These are a UK show that has clips on YouTube. It's a video about numbers and a great way for kiddos to learn about numbers, how to subtract, multiply, and add. I'm grateful for it because the kids have learned a lot about math already without much teaching from me. They are learning from the videos! I can just add to what they have already learned or explain it a little more fully. 

Saturday, February 23, 2019

inclusive.

God is inclusive.

Acts 2:21 says that "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

That's pretty simple.

It's easy to complicate this and say, "Well, I've sinned. I'm not good enough."

But the truth is, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Period.

Don't overcomplicate God's love and acceptance.

Of course, this doesn't mean He tolerates sin. Sin shouldn't stay in our lives. As we grow closer to the Lord and keep calling on His name, change should happen... but then come back to this truth. everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Friday, February 22, 2019

don't give up!

Today's verse is one I have been thinking about for a while. I haven't read it yet in the Passion translation, so that's fun!

"And don't allow yourselves to be weary or disheartened in planting good seeds, for the season of reaping the wonderful harvest you've planted is coming." -Galatians 6:9 TPT

Don't give up!

One of the best ways I've found that help me is not only reading Scripture, but keeping my mind on the future, not the past. The past can get you messed up if you only remember the junky things that have happened. Focusing on the future keeps you dreaming about impossibilities. It's a much better and more joy-filled way to live!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

what about anger?

"But don’t let the passion of your emotions lead you to sin! Don’t let anger control you or be fuel for revenge, not for even a day." -Ephesians 4:26

Sometimes people think anger helps a situation. They feel like it hurts the person they are angry at... however, the anger only hurts themselves. Holding onto anger may feel productive, but it only holds you back.

You can be angry. Jesus was angry. Using that anger to propel you forward is possible. Don't hold onto it... that's key! Be angry, but don't let it control you or fuel revenge. You can be angry, but make a plan and let go of it. Your plan may be to come to peace with something or proactively do something, but it should be productive for you and the people involved.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

overlook offense

"Overlook an offense and bond a friendship; fasten on to a slight and—good-bye, friend!" -Proverbs 17:9 Msg.

A lot of people are willing to hold onto grudges so they justify their feelings or make sure they are treated right. They disregard the friendship or relationship as a result. However, overlooking offenses holds up others above your own self, and this is the better path.

We make mistakes just as other people do, so give both you and others grace. That means you will need to patient as other people make mistakes... and it means you will need to be patient with your own self. Extending grace in both directions is wise!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

what are your habits?

Whoops!

My timing was off today! I've posted every day this year, but didn't remember it this morning because I decided to do something out of my routine. I decided to eat breakfast early (I was hungry!), and as a result, I didn't remember to post. :-)

That shows me two things:

1. We are creatures of habit! Our routine because instinct... so it's always good to reevaluate what our habits are and make sure that they are leading us in the path that we want.

2. Keep going, even if you miss it! I missed blogging this morning, but I won't let that stop me! In the same way, keep pursuing the habits you want in your life, even if you miss it. Read your Bible every day. Pray. Do what draws you closer to God... and if you miss a day, pick it up the next day!

Creating consistent habits is work, but it pays off!

Monday, February 18, 2019

God loves us!

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 8:38-39 KJV

I love this!

This is similar to one of my "go-to" prayers for people... that they would know the breadth, length, depth, and height of God's love for them. (Eph. 3:19) Nothing can separate us from that love.

By the way, I memorized this verse using a song... when I was little! I highly recommend that singing is a great way to remember Scripture.

Rizers is our favorite family song choice! I find them on YouTube. Seeds family worship is another. Honestly, one way my kiddos know certain Scriptures is because I type in a Scripture verse on YouTube and include "kids song" at the end and then we listen to ones that show up and find a favorite!

Memorizing Scripture is well worth it because it can rise up in your mind when you need it the most. And when it does, it brings me peace... for the Word is powerful and at work!

Here is how we found out about the Rizers and a great way to learn John 3:16!




Sunday, February 17, 2019

five things I'm thankful for today

It's Sunday, so here's what I am thankful for...


1. Hot showers ... Not everyone gets them so I am glad I do!

2. Church ... Glad for a chance to meet with others who believe in Jesus as I do!

3. Comfortable clothes ... Need I say more?

4. Instant pots ... They make lunch easier!

5. My parents ... They have done so much for me and my family!


What are you thankful for today?

Saturday, February 16, 2019

a favorite Scripture

Here's a verse I remember when I need to calm down... God is with me! He can shepherd me through life and bring rest to my soul! So grateful.

"The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.

"Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.

"Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever."

Psalm 23 NLT


Friday, February 15, 2019

we reflect God's love

"This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins." -1 John 4:10 NLT

Our love should reflect God's love for us. When we don't know how to love people, we can look to His example. If He can be constant in patience and kindness for us, He can give us the grace and ability to be constant in patience and kindness for others!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

happy valentine's day!

Today we celebrate relationships and love.

Makes me grateful for my family.



My husband, Erik, has taught me what love is. Movies paint a picture that love is romance, but love is a foundation. Love is the decision to care for another person through every part of life.

After marriage, the ups and downs of life hits - the boring parts, the exciting ones. The sad and the happy ones... and through it all, I have always known that Erik and I have chosen to love each other. 

That's a wonderful constant. 

And you know who helps me love him? God... because the choice of love in marriage is a reflection of God's choice to love us without condition. 

I'm very grateful ... and happy Valentine's to my favorite person and our three favorite littles! You make life wonderful and you are God's gifts to me. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

the power of love

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." -John 3:16 KJV

Love changes people. Well, let me be more specific... agape love - unconditional love - changes people. That type of love has patience when you don't want to be patient, kindness when you are annoyed, and care when concern has left.

This type of love is almost impossible for us to do on our own... but when we turn over our thoughts and ways to God, He can help us be patient and kind and loving beyond what we can do on our own!

I'm so grateful for this is the type of love that God has and according to the apostle Paul, that type of love never fails. That means it is always at work, even when you can't see it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

it's possible!

"Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'"
-Matthew 19:26 NIV

You know what I love about this verse? That God makes things possible. Everything has the potential to change. You don't have to figure out the path to that change. You just have to know that it can happen!

I love that!

Monday, February 11, 2019

creation speaks

Watching creation is amazing. It just goes and goes and goes and is and is and is.... No matter what humanity does around it, the caves, the canyons, and the rivers will be there. They walk through seasons of life just like we do - rainy season, winter, fall, dry season. As you consider both the complexity and the simplicity of nature, I think you see a constant reminder that God is present.

“Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the seainform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” (Job 12:7-10)

Jesus talks about creation in Matthew 6. He says, "Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?" (verse 26).

The birds go through winter when food is hard to find and instinctively know how to survive. They don't need to worry about it; they just do it.

I think God wants us to be the same way. He has built within us an instinct on how to "find food in the winter" and survive in the heat of the summer. He walks us through life... we just have to trust Him! Our worries can get in the way because we think we know better and we follow our worries over our God-given instincts. So a goal in life is learning to not trust our worries, but follow our prayers.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

put on God's armor!

"Put on all the armour that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil's evil tricks." Eph. 6:11 GNB

Oooh, I don't often use the GNB Bible, so it's fun to see this verse! The devil has a "bag of tricks" and here's how we combat them:

1. Helmet of salvation. (Accept Jesus and make Him a part of your life... then you start to mentally picture life through this lens of salvation.)

2. Breastplate of righteousness. (Because of Jesus, we have right standing with God.)

3. Belt of truth. (God's Word has truth. Stand on God's Word. It keeps all things together just like the belt holds things up!)

4. Shield of faith. (When we are uncertain about life, faith is our shield! We can believe in the hope that God is greater than what we face!)

5. Sword of the Spirit. (Our one offensive weapon is the sword, which is God's Word. Speak it! Use it!)

6. Gospel shoes of peace. (We bring God's Word to others in peace!)

Listen to how the Message Bible puts it: "Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon."

BTW, I just remembered it's five-fact Sunday. Here's what I'm thankful for today.

1. Warm weather! Yes, I'm enjoying warm weather today. So grateful!
2. Time to not think about anything. Everyone needs rest!
3. Pajamas. Isn't it nice to get into comfy clothes for bed?
4. Scripture. It's nice to have something filled with good things to think about!. Very helpful in this world of crazy things.
5. Conservatives in Congress. Very grateful we have some people who are still willing to stand up for truth, morality, and principles!


Saturday, February 9, 2019

today's top five

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 8:38-39 NLT

Nothing you do can make God stop loving you. Isn't that crazy? God isn't just "in love" with you. He loves you. He won't fall out of love with you. He likes you too! Now, He doesn't like everything that you and I do. Love and approval are not equal... but He always, always, loves us. 

I'm so grateful. 

Friday, February 8, 2019

praying for other people

Good morning!

Today my husband is in need of healing. So, here are some Scriptures I am meditating on as I pray!

Matthew 19:26 ESV
"But Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'"

James 5:16 TPT
"...tremendous power is released through the passionate, heartfelt prayer of a godly believer!"

"Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’—no shuffling or shilly-shallying—and it’s as good as done. That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything." -Mark 11:22-24 Msg.


It's easy to get caught up in thinking that this hasn't happened in the past, so prayer doesn't work... but that's not the case! We can't see God at work... and our job isn't to see Him move. Our job is to believe. Our job is to picture the possibility that He can move impossibilities.

Lord, thank You for the possibility that the sickness facing my husband right now doesn't have to stay. Thank you that You are Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals. You can heal my husband. Restore Him right now to the full health that you always intended him to live from. Bring wholeness to his body, soul, and spirit. Though the mountain we face seems big, I thank you that you are bigger, greater, and stronger.

I pray that he would be well now, in Jesus' name. That this mountain of impossibility will move and be thrown into the sea, in Jesus' name... and for anyone who is reading this and needs to pray for other people, touch their situations too. Bring full restoration, body, soul, and spirit, in Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

a willing heart

"I just want to obey all you ask of me. So teach me, Lord, for you are my God. Your gracious Spirit is all I need, so lead me on good paths that are pleasing to you, my one and only God!" -Psalm 143:10 TPT



The daily hum of life can keep us so occupied that we forget that our direction for each day isn't necessarily coming from us. God wants it to come from Him. He has plans for us that He'd like us to fulfill. Remembering to connect with Him throughout each day is important. 

For me, having a willing heart has to do a lot with this. Keeping my heart turned toward Him helps me keep my willingness to follow in that direction as well. Those little nudges throughout each day, then, I can more easily recognize when they are Him.

What do you do to check in with the Lord each day? Putting down the phone and truly giving moments to God isn't always easy because technology can so easily capture our attention... but it is worth it! Let Him direct your steps!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

no impossibilities

So today's verse on the Bible app is one I've been trying to wrap my head around for a while.

"Looking straight into their eyes, Jesus replied, 'Humanly speaking, no one, because no one can save himself. But what seems impossible to you is never impossible to God!'" -Matt. 19:26 TPT


Nothing is impossible with God. Every situation is possible. There's a way through or around every situation we face. What?!?

Trying to wrap my head around that is crazy! Sometimes I think, "Well, that person's free will is involved." Well, God knows how to work through what seems impossible, even if that means another person. He knows how to do it in a way that respects their free will and just softens their hearts and gradually draw them in a God-honoring direction.

Patience is key. Impossibilities (and people!) don't change overnight... so don't give up! God is on the move, whether or not you can see Him. Keep praying for that impossibility to change and thinking about the possibility it could become... for it can! All things are possible with Him!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

who is God?

"For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth. He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord." -Psalm 33:4-5 KJV


I just love this verse! It brings comfort to me. God's Word is right. Granted, we don't always interpret it perfectly, but keep trying, keep going, keep asking God for understanding! He will bring it as you need it.

Another thing I've learned is that questions are okay. Questions help you bridge the gap to a stronger faith. And one of the foundations that make questions is okay is knowing that God's Word is right and His works are done in truth as it says in this verse. When you believe that God is good regardless of what happens, you can have hope and faith through all circumstances.

Monday, February 4, 2019

hope is powerful

"Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.

"Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind.

"So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie.

"Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek." -Hebrews 6:15-20

Today I have been thinking about the power of hope. Hope always hangs on to something. Hope wants prayers to be answered just as asked, but hope in God's unwavering promises also knows that if things don't work out as planned, things will still turn around and work out. But hope is always hopeful that the answers will come, even if you don't see what you think you should see.

Hope keeps you encouraged and joyful, always thinking about the possibility of God-things around the corner.

I truly believe God is a safe space for our hope and a place where we can rest our hope knowing He will pull things together for good!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

thankful for today

It's Sunday... maybe I'll start naming five things I'm thankful for every Sunday.

1. Thankful for the people in my life. I could spend a long time writing down all the people I'm thankful for and why, so I'll just start here and say I'm thankful for the relationships God has brought me!

2. Thankful for a fresh start every day. I've come to appreciate that mornings provide a clean slate. Even though it doesn't always get rid of problems, it does give you a fresh perspective on them.

3. Thankful for little girl ponytails. They are adorable... and they keep the hair out of her eyes!

4. Thankful for the changing seasons. Even though I don't like every part of each season, I'm grateful for variety. No matter how cold it gets, I know it will eventually be warm... and vice versa.

5. Thankful for computers. Yeah, they can lead to a lot of frustration, but they allow me to work from home and access a lot of good information and then send my projects in!

What are you thankful for?



Saturday, February 2, 2019

God still cares

Every morning when we wake, we are flooded with thoughts, cares, and concerns. Lists of things to do run through our head... and through it all, God still cares. He's available to help us through the big and the little.

Yesterday, one of the key things running through my head was keep going. Sometimes things move a lot slower than we expect, plan, or want, but that doesn't change the fact that we should keep going! Keep moving! Keep kindness and unconditional love as central as you can.

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." -Galatians 6:9

Friday, February 1, 2019

think about heaven

"Christ’s resurrection is your resurrection too. This is why we are to yearn for all that is above, for that’s where Christ sits enthroned at the place of all power, honor, and authority!" -Colossians 3:1 TPT

We are to yearn for all that is above.

I am very excited for the day we meet Jesus. I imagine that day when I see Him and everything that I've worked for will be rewarded. It will be like... I was right! I mean, I'm sure I won't think those thoughts exactly, but it is very nice to have that thought, one day, I'll see the unseen I've believed in.

That's one thing that keeps me going. This earth won't last forever, which is nice sometimes to think about when the world seems to be going crazeeeee! I also know that people who no longer live here and believed in Jesus, I'll get to see again!

Oh yeah, and it will be fun to see what heaven looks like one day... the perfect place. Gold streets, no light, only the light from God. Trees that just provide fruit. What will the fruit taste like? What will the colors be? How magnificent! So cool!

Those things keep me going. Yay!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

what love looks like

I'm still thinking through yesterday's blog on love.

In 1 Corinthians 13, it says that love "puts up with anything."

Finding how to make that a reality is quite interesting for it's easier to judge and complain than to put up with things. Also, I think there are situations where we do need to speak up for things - usually these are more group-related items. When it comes to our individual relationships, I think that's where you put up with things.

I bet this phrase would work as well: Love puts up with anything because love isn't offended.

Now, you may have the opportunity to be offended or start a fight, but don't stay offended. Now, don't put up with abuse. That's wrong. But encourage yourself in the Lord and find your fulfillment in Him... then it's easier to "put up with anything" from other people.


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

learning to love well

Love is a powerful force. 

Love isn't seen as much through words, but through actions. 


"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate." -1 Corinthians 13:1


Love is powerful, but isn't simply powerful moves. 


"If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, 'Jump,' and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing." (verse 2)


Love is often associated with religion, but you can be religious without love. 


"If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love." (verse 3)


What does love look like in our actions and attitudes?


"Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies." (verse 4-8, Msg.)





Tuesday, January 29, 2019

look for God's colors

"Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. ... You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world." -Matthew 5:13-14 Msg.

I love those two words "God-flavor" and "God-colors." God has hidden Himself throughout this world and we are here to shine a light on what identifies Him as truth. To me, one God-color is everything He created. From nature to our human bodies, the intricacy and detail of handiwork is amazing and truly points to Someone beyond ourselves... a God-color! a God-flavor!

Another God-flavor in this world is how he melds the lives of people together. Those moments of coincidence that leave our mouths open wondering how that happened - to me, that is the fingerprints of God.

What is a God-color in this world to you?

Monday, January 28, 2019

the winter storm that wasn't

Meteorologists are one group of people who don't always have to get it right! I certainly give them major props for what they do though... they are trying to guess the weather!

What we have to remember, however, is that their predictions aren't perfect. From what I heard, this past weekend was supposed to contain the biggest winter storm in forever... or something like that. Since we traveled, we had to keep a close eye on it. We decided to travel anyway - made the decision despite the potential of a snow storm and bitter cold - and it all turned out okay. We were going to stay longer and ended up leaving early to make sure we missed it and we did.

Which makes me think, we should always rethink our worry. Rethink what is making us shake in our boots. Not every worry will come true exactly. The worry about the storm proved untrue, so that worry wasn't worth it. We won't always know when our worry will be right, but that's where caution and prayer will come in. That's why Paul writes in Philippians 4:6-7

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."



Sunday, January 27, 2019

lift up people

“Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” -Colossians‬ ‭3:15-17‬ ‭Msg.

I love how specific this collection of verses is... God wants us to take care of our relationships. He knows that people bring us joy and love and make life worth living! Too often. I think people devalue each other or take advantage of people because they are relying on making themselves feel right or justified. They want to have a good day so they tromp on others.

God suggests a higher way: lift up people. The act of lifting up people and taking care of our relationships will make our lives better.

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Saturday, January 26, 2019

God is with us

Today, I was woken early by the dog, so I've had a morning to get ahead in some work and just chill. The silence of the house is very wonderful. I love just being and listening.

I also love when the kiddos are up! I feel like the "race" of the day has begun and all the things start to come into my head of what I need to do. (feed them, get them dressed, school, what chores should they do, etc.)

God appreciates it when we take the time to be silent before Him. It's a nice reset button. Ps. 46:10-11 says:

"Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah."

I like that last part. The Lord of hosts is with us. Now that is truly amazing and worth reflecting on today!

Friday, January 25, 2019

dare to help!

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." -Galatians 6:2

I wonder what this world would look like if we began to carry the burdens of the people around us. I mean, truly got into the "dirt" with them and helped them walked through life.

What about every woman who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant? What if we surrounded her with love and let her know we care about her and her baby? What if people didn't turn a blind eye to people, but instead tried to see life as they saw it and attempt to understand their perspective?

Understanding their perspective doesn't mean that you agree with it. Understanding means you are willing to listen to what they have to say without trying to adjust their perspective. If you believe differently, your life should be a testament to your beliefs rather than your arguments. And if they do ask for advice, that's when you offer your opinion, in a loving manner.


Thursday, January 24, 2019

it all starts with love

Galatians 5:14 has five words that we should all live by.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

When it talks about neighbor, it doesn't just refer to the person living next door. It's the people in your life... which is pretty much any person. Loving people is key... loving people gives them the opportunity to make mistakes without getting hounded by your judgment or way of thinking. Loving people tells them the truth, but it does it in a way that honors and respects them. Sometimes that means you are quiet about what they are doing because there isn't anything good to say. Other times, it means you speak up, but in a gentle, kind way.

Loving people also isn't the same as acceptance. You don't love someone by simply accepting everything they do. Again, this is where truth comes in. When you love with the lens of truth in mind, you are cautious when they are doing something you don't believe in, but you don't condemn them. You can condemn what they are doing, but not in a rude, judgmental way.

Love people always.

Not easy, but it is the power that transforms people's lives.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

why friends are important

Last night I read this verse:

"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble." -Ecc. 4:9-10

You know what fascinated me is that they added that last sentence. Someone who falls alone is in real trouble. That's something I think we all know, but it was put in there specifically. Why? Two ideas:

1. So we would remember we shouldn't be alone or stay alone.

Having people to help and surround us in every season of life is important. Whether you are single or married, you can be alone... so you have to be purposeful in letting people in. When you purposefully let people in, you give them the opportunity to help you when you fall down. They can help you get back up again so you don't have to do so on your own.

2. So we stand ready to help other people when they need our help.

Last night I had a random dream about someone I haven't seen in forever. Usually I let myself just wonder about that person, but today I prayed. I used the memories to pray for that person and make sure I did my part to help them, just in case my prayers were the hand up that they needed. In the same way, when you have the opportunity to talk to a friend, encourage them, or just be there when they need help, do it! We need each other!


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

every season comes to an end

We finally have a new dishwasher.

Yeah, it took three days, but we finally have one. It looked for a second like we wouldn't... Our new one has the start button on the handle and you have to open the handle to have anything happen. Erik didn't know that, so he tried to start it while the door was shut, and it didn't work and I think both of us were quite overwhelmed... then he tried switching something with the connection and we figured it out.

I ran three loads of dishes yesterday and I have at least two more to catch up on! The dishes feel so clean!! Makes me wonder why we didn't get a new dishwasher much earlier!! 

It's a great reminder that every season will come to an end. Sometimes the seasons feel endless, but they will end. Endurance and perseverance and staying close to God is key.

I try to remember this all the time with kiddos as well. The seasons with them go fairly fast (although the days are long!), so I try to soak up the goodness, get through the sleepless nights and other exhausting elements, and love on them and enjoy the ride. Each season will have something to love and something to worry over... but each season will eventually end. That's good! Each season should bring growth and beautiful things.


"So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." -James 1:4

Monday, January 21, 2019

dishwasher problems and difficulty

So we have had dishwasher problems. On Saturday, we decided it was time for a new dishwasher. I was fed up with having loads of dishes come out dirty.

We decided on a scratch and dent store so we could get more for our money.

We purchased one, brought it home, found that the kick plate wasn't correct, plugged it in, found out it didn't work.

All that work... and no results!

Oh and did I mention I decided to have a fun homeschool meal that night where we made a bunch of homemade recipes from Germany, since we are studying German things this month. We cut off the hot water to the house because Erik didn't find the valve until yesterday that shut it off just to the dishwasher. So that means I made a "fancy" dinner without water while they installed the dishwasher that didn't work. Plus, I have all the dirty dishes that the dishwasher didn't wash, plus the new dishes from dinner.

So yesterday, we called and brought the not working dishwasher down and exchanged it for a different one. Erik installed that last night... almost. It's in our kitchen now, waiting for him to redo the pipe because we accidentally chose a dishwasher that has its water tube (or something) on the unusual side, so our copper tubing in our house needs to become flexible tubing today so we can finish installing the dishwasher and actually start cleaning up our crazy dirty kitchen.

Through this, I was thinking about adversity and difficulty and what we should do during it. I think God wants us to find Him in it... that means when we are frustrated we don't get cranky, annoyed mad, although I'm sure both Erik and I did this weekend because it was a very frustrating timeline of events! But I did have a few times where I really did try to be kind, instead of letting all my frustration out.

Difficulty is our chance to practice patience and endurance. We can show kindness, even when we are frustrated with the way things our going. Yesterday, I was laughing while at the store because there's not much else you can do that would be productive. This too shall pass and I shall get my kitchen back to normal again, with hopefully a much better dishwasher in place.

Hopefully, today will be the day. Even if it isn't, I will do my best to choose to be nice and kind in the middle of frustration.

John 15 tells us to remain in the vine. The vine provides our nutrition and our life. That's my goal! Stay in God and let Him help me keep sane in the middle of crazy!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

trials aren't the end

Why do we have to go through tough times? It's a question all people ask.

James 1:2-3 has an excellent response.

"Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience." (Amp.)

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."  (Msg.)

"My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things." (TPT)


Endurance is tough. It is exhausting, but it is possible. One of the things I have held in my heart for over a decade is a song by Avalon. It says, "You slowly turn me around. You slowly break me down."

We don't have to be experts overnight. We don't have to be perfect overnight. We just have to keep being. We just have to keep pursuing, and in the middle of hurt or whatever we are facing, keep looking to God and trusting He will answer.

He is faithful. He is always at work, but His work will eventually be seen!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

knowing God

I have a new goal.

During this next season of life, focus on learning more about God. Drawing closer to Him in my mind and soul and spirit. Letting myself bring a little of heaven on earth by getting to know my Creator. I know a lot about Him, but I want to spend more time with Him.

Here's how:

"Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." -Psalm 46:10 KJV

Stillness doesn't come just by being physically quiet, but by quieting your mind and soul. That comes as you simplify your life.

Okay, I can't take credit for this thought. Pastor Mac just started a series on it and started talking about it (http://www.lwcc.org/watch/the-simple-life-i/). With Brielle becoming more and more independent, the time is perfect. I can learn how to simplify and get to know God more...and bring my family with me.

Dear Lord, thank you for giving me life and this beautiful family. Help me to get to know You well and find You in the middle of a busy family and life. Help me to simplify and become still so I can hear and know you more. In Jesus' name, amen.

Friday, January 18, 2019

life's foundation

“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.

“But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.” -Matthew 7:24-27 Msg.


Sometimes I've wondered why people turn away from Bible truths they grew up with, and I think this is key: hearing the Word in Bible studies without paying attention to it and implementing it into your life may look Christian-like but it doesn't provide the foundation you need when difficulty comes (and storms will come!).

Building on the foundation of Jesus understands that God wants to be in relationship with each one of us. I'm working on teaching my kids this: they have a best friend - the God of the universe! - who can help them walk through life well. When they feel alone, He is by their side. When they feel afraid, they can ask for courage. When they are happy, celebrate with Him!

He is our friend. He is our Savior. He is who we can build our lives upon and make our decisions upon. I'm very grateful.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

not even a shadow

James 1:17 (NLT) says that God never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

That stopped me last night before bed.

Shadow means there's "a dark area produced by a body coming between rays of light and a surface" or google also defines it as "used in reference to proximity, ominous oppressiveness, or sadness and gloom."

God doesn't have gloom near Him.

If we see a shadow of something dark here on this earth, it's not Him. He is fully light. Now, I wonder if when we see things through His eyes, evil is exposed and more obvious and we wonder why He lets the evil stay. But maybe it's more important to Him that the evil doesn't cover things here on earth. It can exist and be seen in the world as long as the choice is obvious and evil is seen. It's dangerous when evil isn't seen. That's when people stumble, mistake goodness for evil, and get hurt.

There's no shifting shadow.

Nothing.

All is light with God.

That's what I'm pondering today! It's not perfect ponderings... just ponderings! :-)

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

book recommendation

The kids and I love to read. It's one of the ways we are learning history, science, how to read, etc.

The history books I am loving right now are the Ordinary People Change the World series by Brad Meltzer. I heard the recommendation from Ben Shapiro, who said his 4 year-old daughter loved them. Initially, I got two (Neil Armstrong and Abraham Lincoln), and discovered they are well worth the recommendation. Now, we are slowly gathering all of them (from thriftbooks.com!).

Each book has a topic from which the kids learn about that person's life. Yesterday we read the one on Jackie Robinson, and it was all about being brave, while covering topics of racism and bullying, all in the form of a comic-book style type design.

Well worth the read for kiddos. Here's the link:

http://bradmeltzer.com/TV-Kids-and-More/Kids-Books


a glimpse inside the Jackie Robinson book!

If you're a parent, find a book to read to your kids (or grandkids!) today. If not a parent, find a book you can read! :-) It's always great to keep learning.

Have

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

learn to be courageous

Sometimes courage takes time.

Take, for example, my little 1.5 year old.

She doesn't like her winter boots. Not sure why. As far as I know, they fit her fine, but maybe I'm missing something. When we go out, I put her boots on away from the pink cowboy boots she wants to wear instead. (Not a smart move when you are walking in snow and on ice!)

When I set her down in the snow, she barely lets her feet touch and just wants to be held.

Sometimes I feel like that too... I don't want to move. I just want to be.

Yesterday, the boys went outside to play ice hockey with our neighbors, and Brielle and I just sat on a chair and watched the boys play for the first part of the 45 minutes we were there... but then, toward the end, she started to get down and stand in the snow. Then, she moved around a bit right around next to me. Eventually, she tried out the ice (with me right behind). Her boots moved ever so slowly. Eventually she made it across the ice rink and her steps slowly become bigger and bigger as she became more and more comfortable.

I think that's the way it is with us. We don't have to be courageous on the first step. We can sit and think about the possibilities. We can sit and think through what we would like to do. Eventually, we can try it, move forward, and test out the ice. Slowly, but surely, as we let God help us be courageous, He will help us move faster and faster in the right direction until we are both moving forward... and doing it with a smile on our face.

"Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.
 -Deuteronomy 31:6 Msg.

So today, be courageous. It doesn't need to be a big step. It may just be a little one, or maybe you are making a plan as to how you will move forward tomorrow... but do it. Courage is worth it.

Here is our younger two, after Brie finally made it onto the ice. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

God loves you

Today's post is simple.

God loves you.

His love hasn't run out. It won't run dry.

Here's why I know that:

"God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left."

-Lamentations 3:22-24 Msg.

He is the best friend you could ask for, all you will ever need. His love can't run dry because it is new every morning.

Amazing.