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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

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Are You Ready for Eternity?

This past weekend we learned of three deaths - two elderly men from our church that have been battling cancer and also my husband's cousin who was his same age. As we sat through one of the funerals today, I was struck by the importance of knowing where you will spend eternity. Both of the men from our church loved the Lord and followed Him. We do not know for sure if my husband's cousin was a Christian or not.

I am only forty two years old, but I was struck today with getting down on paper what I would like to have done at my funeral service. Today's funeral was a celebration of a life and home going to heaven. I have been to numerous services through the years and am convinced that I want my funeral to be a celebration of the life I lived, and hopefully godly example to those around me.

So my dear bloggy friends, if you would die today, do you know how you will spend your eternity? Have you made that life altering decision to radically follow Jesus and ask Him to be Lord of your life? If you have been holding back, don't wait another day. You will not ever regret making a decision for Christ.

"From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' (Acts 17:26-28)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Crockpot Blessings

I mentioned in my previous post that my mother had come for the weekend. She surprised me with a crockpot. Last time I washed my crockpot I noticed a hairline crack all the way across the bottom of the pot. I was discouraged when I saw it because I had planned to take it on vacation next week when we head to Florida. Funds have been extremely tight and I knew that I could not afford to go out and buy one. I prayed for God to somehow provide because that cookware was to be our main method of cooking meals while we are gone.

We leave next week to head to Pensacola Christian College for my eleventh grade son to see if that is where God is calling him to go in just a little over a year. We will spend a few days there and then head to the Orlando area for about a week. We have a time share that someone gave to us for the week, so that will be no expense. We plan on taking all of our food to make our own meals, so there won't be any extra expense with that. We have tickets for Disney World for one day that were left over from a couple years ago. We were told they would still be usable.

Our main expenses will be the gas for travel and the hotel for three nights in Pensacola. My mom surprised me with a check that will pretty much cover the expense of the hotel. We won't be able to do anything other than some free things, but we plan to take along games and just enjoy having family time together.

It shouldn't surprise me, but it still does when God provides for our needs (and wants) in ways that I least expect. We recently decided to get much more serious about having a budget and being good stewards of the resources God has given us. Since we decided that, our money has seemed to be stretched thinner than ever imagined. I cry out sometime to the Lord wondering what He is trying to teach us. We finally are at the point of making radical changes with our finances and then things get even tougher. But then again He surprises me with blessings of a little extra money and a crockpot.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Snowy Day in PA

It started snowing last night around 9 PM and went through a good portion of the night. We have four inches of snow on the ground and were supposed to get ice on top of that. So far no ice. Because of the threat of bad weather my teenage son did not have to go into work today, and the local schools are closed, which means no swim practice. My husband works at the local college and they too have the day off due to weather as well.

So here we are near lunch time and I have vegetable beef soup simmering on the stove and my dear husband is preparing dough for homemade pizza this evening. I love those days when we are house bound and have nowhere we have to be. What a wonderful blessing it is to have a day to just kick back and relax some.

Fridays are typically family night when we have pizza and watch a video together. Our local library gets in a lot of the current releases so we are able to watch things without cost. What a blessing. Especially when funds are tight. We typically have a light day of schoolwork on Fridays and are completed within an hour or less.

I found myself with a few minutes to blog before it is time to eat lunch. Perhaps we'll spend the afternoon playing games or trying to catch up on some things around the house. Right now I'm thinking a nap sounds pretty good. :)

My Mom is here as well. She came for the weekend. Tomorrow is the annual Grandma/Grandson Valentine's Dinner. Ever since my boys were toddlers we started a tradition where they have a special dinner with their Grandma. They help prepare the meal, dress up in their best clothes, prepare small gifts for her and seat her at the table. Often it is a candlelight dinner. My almost 17 year old son has learned to cook this year so it looks like he will be handling most of the cooking himself. While they have their fun time together my husband and I slip away for our own date night.

Well lunch is calling so I will sign off for now. Hope you have a pleasant weekend with your own family.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Two Steps Forward and One Step Backward

Well I continue on the quest for balance in my life. I did great on Monday. Yesterday, well, not as well. It seems on the days that I am more tired, or not feeling up to par, it is easier to fall back into old habits. I did not get as many things accomplished and found myself on the computer a little more than I should have. I guess that is how sin is in our lives. It is so easy to creep back into that sin nature and not realize it.

But today is a new day. I praise God that He loves us and continues to love us even when we fail. Today is the day to start tackling that stack of home school papers that need to be filed and to make plans for tomorrow's writing club. It's a day to tame the paper stacks on my kitchen counter. So I'm off for a hot cup of tea and to finish up school work with my sons.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Balance

One of the things that I find difficult in my day to day life is balance - trying to get everything done that needs to be accomplished. Sometimes I just end up spinning my wheels, because I am indecisive about what things I should focus on first. I can not always determine which should take precedence, so sometimes I end up getting nothing accomplished because I am unable to make a decision.

One of the new areas in my life that God is working on is, trying to find that healthy balance in my life with my various activities. So far today I have done fairly well. The last load of laundry is in the dryer, I have a plan for supper, and I also managed to take down all of the Christmas decorations and tree in our basement as well as do home school with my two boys, work on finances as well as get together breakfast and lunch. I also hung up laundry in the basement, put clothes away from last week's laundry. (It has been a crazy week with sickness and my husband's surgery, etc.)

I find on days like today when I am able to remain focused and get things accomplished, I feel better about myself. On those days where I can not make a decision and I just end up filling my time on the computer or other tasks, I feel pretty negative about myself. This is something that I have been struggling with. I have been sick off and on the past several weeks and have not had a lot of energy. With no energy it is easy to lapse back into vegging.

I pray that I can each day have a single minded focus on getting accomplished what God has me to do for that day. I first need to bow my desires to my Heavenly Father's will. Only He knows what the day holds and knows what I need to accomplish. I pray that with each day I become more and more like my Daddy.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Renewed Love

Happy Valentine's Day! I started this morning by reading the love chapter in the Bible - 1 Corinthians 13.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a)

Yesterday I had a renewed sense of love for my dear sweet husband. He had surgery in the afternoon and I saw him when he was in the recovery room. He looked so cute sitting in his hospital gown with his hair mussed from the surgical hair cap. I had a fresh, and also renewed sense of love for this man that I had married over twenty years ago.

Our Valentine's Day will be a little different this year since he still is recovering from surgery and quite sore. We won't have the opportunity to go out for a romantic dinner or anything like that. But I find myself blessed that we can spend the day home together. Love isn't about the things that we can do for each other or buy. It is showing patience and kindness. It is being peaceful and not easily angered. It's not keeping track of all of the wrongs. It's always protecting, trusting, hoping and persevering. May you have a joyful day letting someone in your life know how special they are to you! :)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Reckless Abandon

My mind has been mulling all week over a Bible passage I read in the Gospel of John earlier this week. It was the part that talked about Jesus calling his disciples. I was struck by the fact that they abandoned all that they knew - their livelihood, friends, family - and just walked away to follow the Savior. They had no idea what they would face in those years ahead, but they still chose to follow a man that they probably knew very little about. But when Jesus spoke, they followed. They came. Some even went and told a friend or a brother to come follow as well.

A few years ago Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a song called "For the Sake of the Call" and it talks about this very topic. Jesus called and with "reckless abandon" the disciples came. The song goes on with the chorus:

We will abandon it all for the sake of the call
No other reason at all but the sake of the call
Wholly devoted to live and to die
For the sake of the call

I ask myself, how devoted I am to the call of God on my life. Am I willing to recklessly abandon all I know to follow Him, no matter what the cost? Am I willing to do whatever it takes to follow His leading in my life? Most days I can answer a definite YES!, but other days are sometimes shaky and not so sure. I pray that He moves me to the place where I can be like one of His disciples, where I am willing to lay all that I know aside, in the quest to follow my Savior. 100%

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Stomach Woes

It has been an interesting week and a half for me. Last Sunday and Monday I ended up with a stomach bug of some sort. Fortunately I quickly bounced back from it. Then came this Monday. My son and I both contracted a new variation of the stomach bug. Monday was pretty severe. Let's just say that I lost five pounds in one day. I teased my husband and said, if I could go like that for a few days I would have my 20 pounds lost. :) Okay, I know that is not the desired way to lose weight.

Here it is Thursday and my stomach still is not back to normal food. I've been living on crackers and applesauce basically. Don't know why it is taking me so long to recover. My son was better by Tuesday and ready to eat doughnuts and all kinds of a variety of food. Not so for me. Along with the queasy stomach I also have been fatigued. It took everything I had yesterday to do the laundry and put supper in the crock pot.

Well as you can see, I don't have any deep theological thoughts to share today. I am thankful that God understands and loves us even when we can just barely go through the motions of our lives.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Single Minded Focus

Last night I started reading a book I had received in the mail entitled The 7 Hardest Things God Asks a Woman to Do by Kathie Reimer and Lisa Whittle. It was a gift from Lisa Whittle. Thanks Lisa! :)



It is the type of book that gets your attention right away. I have read a lot of fiction and nonfiction through the years and I love when a book can grab you from the first page. I have not finished the first chapter yet, but it starts with talking about having a single minded focus on Christ. This is often for us women because we are constantly multi tasking.



God started pointing out areas in my life lately where I haven't been single minded focus on Him, and have allowed other things to come in the way. They aren't necessarily bad things, but they can become that when they become more important than my Heavenly Father. So how are you doing with having a single minded focus on Christ?

Friday, February 1, 2008

From the Midst of a Whirlwind Week

Have you ever had one of those weeks that seems to fly by in a whirlwind, but also crawl along at the same time? That is how this week has been for me. The first two days started out sluggish for me as I fought a stomach bug. Tuesday the whirlwind began. Between home school, taking my son to his two college classes, picking him up again, quickly inhaling lunch before heading off to the pool for his high school swim meet. Getting home to eat supper and soon fall into bed. Wednesday was also busy with school, swim practice, teen and adult choir practices and church services. Thursday (yesterday) was a repeat of Tuesday, although we also threw in a trip to the orthodontist for extra measure! Whew! I get tired, just writing about it all! :)

Last evening was the last dual meet of the season. I was so happy for my son as he continued to have his times drop for his individual events and one of the relays may qualify for districts. It was an exciting night for him. Today we awoke to freezing ran and icicles everywhere. He headed out early for his job. I was so thankful that he had a ride this morning and that I did not need to drive. (1 1/2 hour round trip). More good news in that the local school canceled classes for the day, which meant no swim practice this afternoon. So I can actually have an entire day where I do not need to actually drive him somewhere. I look forward to spending the day inside. Perhaps I can finally work on putting Christmas things away. :) (It has been a crazy month!)

I also wanted to ask for prayer for my sweet husband. He developed an infection in late November that has never healed properly, so he will be undergoing surgery on February 13th. We sure would appreciate your prayers. He looked at it positively by saying at least he would be able to be home to spend Valentine's Day with me. :) What a guy!

I hope this day finds you able to take a deep breath and just enjoy the moment.