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"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." Matthew 5:14-15

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." Matthew 13:45-46

Monday, December 31, 2007

End of Year Praises

As we come to the end of 2007, I can't help but praise God for His goodness and how He constantly provides for me and my family. Here are just a few of my praises for this year.

  • I praise God for Jesus.
  • I praise God for my beloved husband and dear sons.
  • I praise God for being able to attend the She Speaks conference and for the impact that it has made in my life.
  • I praise God for opening up the world of blogging to me, and the fun I have had getting to know other Christian women.
  • I praise God for the Proverbs 31 Ministry.
  • I praise God for how I have deepened and grown in my relationship with Him.
  • I praise God for sweet times of fellowship with other Christian women.
  • I praise God for all that He provides for me.

Thank you Lord for you presence in 2007. May I continue to look to you in all the years to come.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Twenty Years

On December 26th my husband and I celebrated our 2oth wedding anniversary. It seems hard to believe how quickly the years have flown. A dear friend stayed with our boys for a couple days so we could get away to a bed and breakfast. It didn't cost us anything for babysitting (I guess you don't really think of it as babysitting when you have two teen-aged sons!), the bed and breakfast is a getaway that friends from church provide as a ministry, and we even were given an anonymous gift certificate to a local restaurant. We were/are truly blessed.

Our trip was a time of reflecting all that has happened in our lives in the past twenty year. A time to praise God for how He continually provides for us, and how our heart's desire is to grow to be more like Him with each new day. We enjoyed going to the matinee and seeing National Treasure 2, eating out, doing a little shopping, going to visit the doctor to learn my husband has bronchitis, soaking in the tub, as well as just relaxing and enjoying each other's presence. We also looked toward the future, and both felt the need to be more intentional with our time as a family and not allow time to slip through our fingers. Our oldest son only has another year and a half to be with us before heading to college.

It amazes me how I am more in love with my husband now then the day we were first married. Our love has continued to mature, deepen and grow. We have had our share of rocky times, but we made that decision that we will stay together, and work hard at our marriage. It took me a while to grow up and realize that it wasn't all about me. In our early years of marriage, I was the one in control. God has taught me a lot about having a servant heart, especially in the area of my husband and children. I praise Him for the changes He has made in my heart and life. I pray that over the next twenty years we grow even closer in our love for each other as well as the Lord.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Triple Blessings

When I grew up, we always had an orange on Christmas morning in the toe of our stocking. That is a tradition that we have carried on with our two boys. This year, I debated about still doing it because of the price of oranges right now. I had been praying about it, because I knew my boys enjoy them as well. I figured I would just have to bite the bullet and just buy four of them, so we each could have one. Funds have been tight, so I really felt that we couldn't afford more than that.

Last week as I went out to do our holiday grocery shopping, I scanned the store fliers one more time to see if oranges were on sale. I had been watching the ads for several weeks. I was so excited when I saw that the store in town was advertising that you could buy a five pound bag of navel oranges for five dollars and get another five pound bag free. I was so blessed. Not only could we each have an orange this year, but an over abundance than what I had expected.

A day later I dropped a gift off at a dear friend of mine. She surprised me with yet another five pound bag of oranges! I was almost moved to tears. All I had prayed for was just four oranges and God supplied a triple blessing of three bags of them. What an awesome God we serve!

Friday, December 21, 2007

It's Not About Me

It has been an interesting month. We have had several 'unplanned' situations. I usually am a planner. I like knowing what is coming up with our schedule so I can stay on top of things. I don't always handle things the best when things go differently. Sometimes I do well, other times not so well.

Yesterday I had two situations when the unexpected happened in my already packed day. The first interruption I took in stride and handled fairly well. The next one I didn't do so well. I could tell you that I was tired from a long day, had a headache, etc. All these things were true, but I realize that still in the midst of all that, I still could have chosen to do the right thing. I eventually did, but not without some whining first.

I awoke this morning with unease with the situation, and again placed it in God's hands. I questioned God about why the sudden disrupt in plans. I felt Him saying to me, "It's not about you." I was humbled and pray that God uses me to be His witness no matter what I face. Above all else I want to bring glory to Him. I keep saying, "Less of me Lord, and more of you!"

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fine Tuned Ministry

As this year quickly comes to a close, I already have turned my thoughts toward 2008. I have begun praying about how I can be a better steward of my time, and better witness for the Lord. I realize that there are many activities that I can involve myself in doing. But I have been feeling that God is calling me to do some fine tuning with my ministry next year.

I first had to seek out what area of ministry that God desires for me to participate. I read somewhere this week I think, that our time is often not spent working on the things that are our ministry. Our time can easily be wasted. I feel the need to be more specific with the time that I do have. As I prayed about where God wants me to serve, three main areas stood out in my mind.
1. My family.
2. Encouraging women to have a deeper relationship with Jesus.
3. My writing.

I pray that I will be more intentional when it comes to these three areas. I find that I will need to say no to some activities that are good, so I can focus on what is best. I pray that in all I do, I will exemplify God.

What about you? What areas do you feel God is calling you to do in 2008?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Quest for the Perfect Tree

This afternoon found our family traveling to a local tree farm, riding a tractor, and tromping through the fields in the search for a 'perfect tree.' We each had our own ideas about which would look the best in our living room. After a good twenty minutes of searching we came up with one that we all agreed was the 'one'.

As we rode back home I enjoyed just breathing in the pine scent. I couldn't help thinking about a song by Ray Boltz called "The Perfect Tree." The words of the chorus kept running through my mind.

The perfect tree
Grew very long ago
And it was not decked with silver
Or with ornaments of gold
But hanging from its branches
Was a gift for you and me
Jesus laid His life down
On the perfect tree

So this evening as we decorate the tree with lights, ornaments and tinsel, I will be reminded of Jesus and how He gave His life for me on the perfect tree.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Daily Bread

I have been thinking today about the importance of going to God each morning for our daily bread or manna. There are some days, when it is easy to remember that, and perhaps others when we forget. With the Christmas holidays quickly approaching, it is easy to get tied up in all the things that need to get accomplished in the next couple weeks - cookies to bake, presents to buy and wrap, decorating to do, etc.

As we approach the celebration of the birth of our Savior, it is even more important to take time each day and ask Him for our daily portion. My prayer is that I won't get wrapped up in the busyness of the season, but instead carve time with Jesus each day. How are you doing with your daily bread? Has it been a while since you have feasted on God's Word? He is just waiting for you to meet with Him!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Snowmen, A Bank, and Jesus

Three fat snowmen stood guard in front of a bank
My son spied it on our way home that day.
"Why do you think they are there?" he asked.
Our minds created several stories right away.

Perhaps they were robbing the bank he surmised.
Or maybe they were the lookouts for the robbers inside.
They were not allowing people in or out.
We guessed the bank personnel were quite surprised.

We laughed at the stories we had developed.
My son said, "This is something to blog about."
I explained that I try to write about Jesus,
And try to be an encouragement to those who read.

I could not figure how this topic could pertain.
But then I remembered how the snowmen stood about.
They were on watch with a special purpose.
No one was allowed in or out.

Then I thought about my beloved Jesus
Who stands guard at the door of my heart.
I pray He helps me to keep evil out,
And that my life is radiant for Him.

Who would have thought that a bank
And snowmen would remind me of Jesus' love.
I guess it is a lesson that we all can learn.
Jesus can use anything to teach us of Him.

This poem is lovingly dedicated to my son.

Friday, December 7, 2007

There's a Song in the Air

I don't know how it happened exactly, but I know that it did. I had been feeling blue, and had no idea why. I usually am anxious to decorate for Christmas, but this year it just seemed like a lot of effort. Perhaps it was because I was weary after having a few rough weeks. I don't really know for sure. I just knew my heart wasn't into decorating. Then came Wednesday.

It was time for my weekly walk with a dear friend of mine. Once a week we get together to walk for about an hour. As we walk, we share what is going on in our lives, share concerns and prayer requests and then pray as we walk. This time we were slightly delayed by about a half hour. As we left my home it was starting to flurry outside. I love snow! As we walked that hour, the snow became heavier and heavier. We often had to brush the snow off of our coats as it accumulated. It was incredible walking in a winter wonderland.

My friend suggested to me that I take the day off from homeschooling and just decorate and enjoy the day. Now typically I like sticking with my lesson plans, and don't like to alter them much. But that day I felt God calling me to take a snow day. That morning as the boys and I ate our breakfast we enjoyed watching the antics of the birds outside our kitchen window. We spent time decorating the house together. We managed to get everything decorated and the majority of the boxes put back in the attic. The only boxes left are the ones for decorating our Christmas tree, that we will hopefully get tomorrow, and also lights and greenery to decorate outside - after it isn't so hard tromping through the snow.

I realized this morning that my 'snow day' was one of God's blessings for me this week. Not only did it allow me to get things ready for Christmas, but it also allowed me time with my sons, and also breathed a fresh air of hope and encouragement into my heart. I praise God that He used this time to draw me into His sweet presence. I smile each time I look outside and see the snow. Today you will find me often singing or humming a Christmas carol under my breath. I praise God for the gift He gave me when I chose to change my plans. What is He speaking to your heart this Christmas?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Snowy Day

This morning I went for a walk
And much to my delight snow was beginning to fall.
The more that I exercised with my friend
The heavier the precipitation came.

I couldn't help but glory in God's creation,
And thank Him for the beauty of the day.
I smiled as a dusting of snow started covering the ground.
And laughed at the antics of my friend's dog.

I returned home with a spring in my step.
I declared a day off school for me and my two boys.
We will spend the day decorating and baking,
And just rejoicing in the day we are having.

We laughed as we sat down for breakfast.
The birds were digging through the snow.
Birds with snow beards are a funny sight.
We praise God for this gift and pray it snows until night.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Lift Me Up Lord

Lift me up Lord
When I feel I can't go on.
I feel bruised and battered
By the storms that come along.

I need your touch Lord
Lift me up so I can see your face.
Though the storms continue to blow
Help me feel your peace in their midst.

I want to be your witness Lord
In all I say and do.
Let there be less of me
And more of You.