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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

Friday, April 30, 2010

Grateful for Small Things

Today is a catch up day for me. I would like to be working on my writing project, but right now so many things are demanding my attention. With leaving in less than a week, there are many things on the 'to do' list. I am extremely grateful that I didn't need to drive my son to work today, or pick him up. This allows me almost three extra hours to be home and get more things accomplished. What a blessing!

For most people, not having to drive a son to work, would be a very small thing. But for me, it is something that I am very grateful for! In the past two months, I think I have had to drive my son each week. So, I praise God when he is able to catch a ride, and I don't need to do the driving! :)


I am slowly working through the things that need to get accomplished, before we leave for the homeschool fair and then Florida. I still have 1/2 book to read and write a review for, before this Monday. I am thankful that I have worked through the other book and booklet and those reviews are already written, and are just waiting to be posted on my blog on Monday.

Yesterday I was able to finally get a good handle on what curriculum I need to pick up at the homeschool fair, for my son's schooling next year. I still need to complete (alright - start) the paperwork needed to submit for his homeschool evaluation. That one will take a while to do.

I also have a writing assignment that is demanding my attention. I need to crack open the book and get started on that as well. I am eager to get started on this, but feel I need to take care of the most pressing things first. I guess in the process of all this busyness, I am learning how to better manage my time.

So I guess, no deep spiritual thoughts for today, other than to take time to be grateful for the little things in your day! Blessings to you!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wisdom

"Teach us to number our days aright,
       that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12


This will be a short post, since I still am experiencing difficulty with my left eye. The pain remains as well as blurriness. I perhaps have been doing too much reading and time on the computer, so I'll keep this short.

This Bible verse keeps playing through my mind. Somehow lately, my schedule has gotten incredibly busy. I know that it is just a cycle that I am going through, and hopefully won't last overly long. But in some ways, it has been a good thing.

I have some new endeavors that I am branching out into doing. It's an area where I debated whether I should do it or not, because I know of the amount of time it will require. It may mean having to say 'no' to some good things in my life, in favor of the 'best.'

This verse helps me realize that I need God's wisdom to order my days. Only He knows what I can handle each day. My being busy right now also is helpful. I'm able to see what I can handle, and also when I realize I have taken on too much. It is helping to teach me to better balance things. I pray in the process I will develop that heart of wisdom that only God gives.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Slow Fade

It's been a crazy few days, and the next several weeks will also be incredibly busy. We are in the midst of finishing up my son's 10th grade school year - only seven more days to go!! The end of a school year is always busy. We are playing catch up here at the end, making sure we have all of his requirements accomplished before we finish.

Then there is all the paperwork to prepare...a portfolio of all of his school work. He also will need to be evaluated, which is set up for the end of May. Two weeks prior to this appointment, I need to send paperwork, credits, and writing samples to his evaluator. Only problem is, that is the week we will be in Florida, picking up our oldest son from college. Which means, the paperwork has to be emailed by next week.

Also next week, I have two books and a booklet that I need to write a book review and post on various sites. That means this week is busy with trying to get those books read. Then there is the chapters to read, and Bible study to prepare for next week too. In between there I have several appointments, and a writing assignment to complete, as well as a doctor visit.

I haven't even mentioned that we need to pack for our trip.... Right before we leave for the trip, we will be out of town, attending our state's Homeschool Fair for two days. Immediately following this, on Mother's Day we'll be starting our journey to Florida. We'll be traveling on Mother's Day, my birthday, and at least a couple more days after that as well.

Whew! I'm getting tired, just writing about all of this! :) Then there is the potential visit with the in-laws on the trip home. We have a time restraint that we are dealing with as well, since that weekend we are to be getting a new roof put on our house.....

I'm sure I have missed some things that will also be squeezed into these days. I know my husband has physical therapy. I don't know if I will have other doctor visits to schedule for my foot. Then once we return, my husband will be having a procedure to hopefully help with some of his pain.

Today I am trying to get caught up with laundry, and really need to look at some of my son's school work. But for some reason, the past week or so I have been very exhausted. I also have been dealing with headaches almost every day. I don't know if it is allergy related or what. Perhaps it is just too many things that are going on in my life right now. I don't know. I had hoped to get caught up with some things today, but am not sure if that will happen or not.

This morning I had my second laser procedure on my eyes, so now I'm dealing with blurred vision, slightly swelled eye, and some pain. I do hope to get the laundry accomplished, but this afternoon might find me crawling in bed to try and catch up on some rest. In fact, I could go right now......

After I had the eye procedure this morning, that will hopefully open up the channel in my eyes to allow the fluids in the eyes to drain better, which should hopefully alleviate some of the pressure, I was driving home with a very blurry left eye. The concern is that the longer you have elevated pressure, the more likely it is that I will develop glaucoma. I already am on drops to try and help with the pressure. I know that glaucoma can slowly creep up on you - you gradually start to lose peripheral vision. Once it is lost, you won't get it back, hence the concern to try and get things under control.

While carefully driving, a song came on the radio by Casting Crowns called Slow Fade. I believe this song was also in the movie Fireproof. I have heard it many times before, but was struck by the words of the chorus:

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day

These words are appropriate for many circumstances in our lives. I first thought of my eyes in that my vision could start to fade without me realizing it. It's scary to think that I could lose some of my field of vision, which can't be returned.

But then I thought of other areas in my life as well. I can become so busy, that I allow things to crowd out my time with the Lord, or things that I should be doing. I think as Christians, each day we need to take it before the Lord, and ask for His help with our schedule.

I pray that my relationship with the Lord will remain red hot coals, and not slowly fade to dying embers. May I not give into that trap of slowly fading, but to eagerly desire each day to be in the Lord's presence. May I be careful with how I order my days.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sticking to the Path Set Before Me..... and Reminder

"And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." Isaiah 30:21

There are times in your life when you can see clearly the path that God has set before you, and other times when things are a bit murky. Perhaps the water is muddied by indecision, or conflict, causing you to question the path to take. Maybe you know the path, but are unsure, fearful of what lies ahead of you.

I feel that God has set me on a new and different path. It's exciting and at times unsettling, but I know beyond a shadow of doubt, that it is where God is leading me. There are times when Satan does his best to confuse or ensnare me. Just when things seem to be progressing smoothly, he throws a wrench into the works. I cling and rely on God's faithfulness, to not give me more than I can handle with His help.

I choose to walk on the path that God has set before me. At times my feet are shaky and uncertain, but I rely on His direction in my life. He has created me for a purpose and I need to follow and seek it wholeheartedly. 


Reminder: Sign up for the book giveaway for your opportunity to win a free book.
Leave a comment on my book giveaway post.
Drawing to be held May 3rd. 
 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Joy and Laughter

"Our mouths were filled with laughter,
       our tongues with songs of joy.
       Then it was said among the nations,
       "The LORD has done great things for them."
 The LORD has done great things for us,
       and we are filled with joy." Psalm 126:2-3


"A time to weep and a time to laugh,
       a time to mourn and a time to dance." Ecclesiastes 3:4 



Last evening I had two hours of joy and laughter. My Bible study girls met at the high school track to walk together. We paired up as we exercised, and shared what had been happening in our lives. It was an opportunity for our hearts to connect. Our walk was only limited by my foot beginning to protest that it was at it's limit of exercise for the evening.

We then proceeded to our local Rita's for a cold refreshment. Since it was a little chilly, we sat in the car and chatted and laughed. We were laughing so hard, that we steamed up the windows of the car. I know that I haven't laughed as much as that, since the last time we had a fellowship time together. My cheeks were sore when I got home. They had a real workout. :)

When I came home from our evening of sharing, my heart was filled to overflowing. I found the verses in Psalm and thought about how they described the way I was feeling. I also like the verse from Ecclesiastes. If you read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 you will learn about there being a 'Time for Everything.'

I have had a long time of weeping and mourning, and now feel I'm in a season of laughter and dancing. There still are times when Satan tries to stir things up, and to get me discouraged. However, I am choosing the time of rejoicing and drawing close to God. I praise Him for the gift of joy and laughter and fellowship.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What's On Your Resume?

"Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine." Isaiah 43:1b

Yesterday I had to do something that I don't know that I have ever had to do before - write a resume. It took me a while to figure out what to include from my vast experience. Cough. Cough. All right, not so much actual job experience.

I came up with some of the following: blogger for almost three years; book reviewer for almost six months; feature columnist for 1 1/2 years; and home educator for fourteen years. In the career world, that probably doesn't amount to very much.

How do you include being a mother for over nineteen years? Being with your spouse through many ups and downs of 22+ years of marriage. Losing a parent through death, experiencing a miscarriage. Being alone in a foreign country with no support while going through these deaths, and our nation was at war. Experiencing the trauma of a son with a fractured spleen, and a husband with a broken pelvis.

All right, some of those were the hard things of life, but what about the joys as well? Times like when I married my best friend. The joy we experienced with the birth of our two sons, and the joy when they both came to salvation. The blessing of obtaining our first home, where we still live. The excitement of going on two mission trips. The joy of each day learning what God has for me.

I know that the things actually on my paper resume are not too impressive. But on the resume of life, you will see a woman that is called by God, and He says that I am special. No matter what I hear back from the job possibility, I know that I have found favor with my Heavenly father, and that is most important to me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Book Giveaway

I have been given an extra copy of David Platt's book Radical - Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream. If you are interested in reading more about this book check this out.
http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9781601422217

I will be reviewing this book during the week of May 3-7.

Leave a comment concerning your thoughts of what it means to live a radical life for God. A winner will be picked on May 3rd.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Open Eyes

"Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law." Psalm 119:18

I purposely chose the color green for the verse written above. It was close to the color of light that I saw during a laser procedure to my right eye this morning. Ever since I have had my eyes tested back in November, I have been struggling with ocular hypertension. This means that I have elevated pressure in my eyes. Not a great condition to have, since prolonged time of having it can cause glaucoma, which untreated, causes blindness.

I have been on eye drops each night for quite some time. Last week I had a check-up to see how the pressure was doing. Even with being on drops, the pressure is higher than the doctor would like. So she decided to perform a laser procedure that should hopefully help to alleviate some of this pressure.

I was told it would be relatively painless. I had a lens placed in front of my eye, so I wouldn't be able to blink throughout the procedure. Then I had 100 pin pricks of laser  light in my eye. It was painful, but not unbearable. I could feel the tears rolling down my face during it. After the doctor was finished, my vision was blurry in my right eye. I was told it would take a few minutes to clear. It actually was about 20-30 minutes.

Next Tuesday, I get to go through the whole process again, but this time to the left eye, all in the attempt to help reduce the pressure in my eyes. Hopefully the pain will be worth the gain. I guess only time will tell.

I didn't enjoy having to go through this procedure, but it made me think of the importance of keeping my eyes wide open each day. I want to see the things that God places in my path. Sometimes it may be a word of encouragement from a friend, a smile, or some other subtle way that God uses to inspire us. God used my devotion time this morning to speak His words of encouragement to me in regard to a decision I am facing. I know it wasn't a coincidence, but instead something God ordained.

May my eyes be open each day to see what He has for me.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Refresher Course

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

This verse was the scripture theme for the sermon I heard this morning in my church. The guest speaker entitled the sermon, "How to Untie the Nots In Our Life." He then pointed out the four 'nots' that were in this Bible verse. I found his message very poignant and meaningful.

I was thinking about the opportunities you may have to take a refresher course on something you already have learned. Perhaps you want to re-certify in CPR. You need to restudy the information and be tested to make sure you remember how to save someone's life. Sometimes it costs money for the refresher course, but sometimes it is free. It still will require you to set aside time from your schedule to delve into the material.

As I sat in church this morning, I was burdened and heavy ladened. I had felt that way since last evening, and it continued through the church service, until God gave me my own refresher course. While the speaker talked about the nots, I was reminded of the lesson that God taught me through my month long spiritual retreat in February.

I remembered the freedom I have to choose. Even though I was feeling frustrated and overwhelmed by a situation, God reminded me that I didn't need to stay in that camp. I could choose to continue to carry the load and be burdened by it, or I could choose to put it on His ample shoulders and allow Him to haul it for me.

In that one instant, He brought my troubles into complete clarity. Do I want to carry it alone and have it affect my health? Or do I want to give it to Him, and allow Him to carry me instead? Hmm..not much of a choice there. I immediately placed the burden in His capable hands and felt His peace. I choose this day to rest in Him!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Raining Pink Petals

The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad;
       let the distant shores rejoice. Psalm 97:1


As I look out my window, pink petals are raining down upon the grass. The breeze is slightly blowing, causing our Japanese cherry petals to float to the earth below. Spring has hit early in PA this year. We have had many things bud and bloom, much earlier than normal. Our tree usually is not in full blossom until around the first week of May.

My favorite scene every Spring is waiting to see our cherry tree. The tree has grown quite large and is usually loaded with blossoms. I get such a pleasure and joy out of seeing it each year.

While enjoying it today, I also expressed some sadness with seeing the petals covering the ground. The beauty of the tree will not last much longer. This caused me to think about my life as a Christian. I allow the Lord to reign in my life and be in charge of it. There are times that I can take back that control, and try to rule things, thinking I know what is best. When I do that, I always learn the hard way, that things are optimum when I choose to give up my right to control, and hand it over to the Lord.

I pray that each Spring as I see the pink petals carpeting the ground, I will be reminded of the need to let the Lord completely reign in my life. Only He knows what the future holds, and what is best for me. I can trust Him to hand sift my life, allowing things into it that will help me to grow and be more like Him.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cherishing God's Presence

The LORD is my strength and my shield;
       my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
       My heart leaps for joy
       and I will give thanks to him in song. Psalm 28:7

Light is shed upon the righteous
       and joy on the upright in heart. Psalm 97:11

 I am taking a quick break from my research to write a blog post for today. I have been having such an incredibly fun time working on the planning for my novel. Each new discovery I find, brings me joy. My mind starts whirring with all the possible scenarios and possibilities.

I have been able to find some great information about the town where I am setting my novel. I have discovered old maps online that show businesses, street names, etc. As the town becomes more concrete before my eyes, I can begin to see my character walking through it. I start to see things through my character's vision. It brings me joy and excitement.

That joy in turn brings me to my Heavenly Father. I know that He has called me to write, and has gifted me in this area. Following in this passion He has given me, brings me great joy. As I continue to learn and discover new information for my book, I can't help but praise God for the path He has me. I am cherishing His presence as I work on this new endeavor. I am greatly blessed. My joy is overflowing again and I had to share it! :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Follow the Light

In just a few short weeks my husband, son and I will be attending our state's homeschool fair. It is an event that we eagerly look forward to and enjoy each year. We only have two more times of attending before we finish our homeschooling journey. It seems hard to believe.

I was captivated by the postcard that we received in the mail, to remind us of the fair. The theme for this year is, "Raising up a generation to follow the Light." The card included a picture of a lighthouse on rocky ground. Of course it grabbed my attention because of the lighthouse. I kept it as a reminder of the fair, but also to have on my desk to see as I am writing about lighthouses.

As I looked at it this afternoon, I was struck by the phrase, "Follow the Light." My 'light' is Jesus Christ. Each day it is my goal to faithfully follow Him. Sometimes I do pretty well, other times, not so well. Above all else, I desire to be known as one of His. I also pray that I am able to share His light with those I meet. Each day, it is a good idea to examine how you are doing with "Following the Light."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Jeremiah!

Wow! It seems hard to believe that today my youngest son turns 16 years old. Where has the years gone? I can't go over how much he is growing and changing into a fine young man.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to read a story that he is writing. It is a school assignment, but he is enjoy being able to work on it each day (all right, some days he grumbles). I was impressed with his writing ability. He has been growing and maturing before my very eyes.

My husband will be heading home around lunch time, so we can spend the afternoon and evening participating in some fun activities with our son. Before we head out for the day, we'll have his traditional birthday meal - hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. I was trying to remember when this tradition actually started.

When Jeremiah was five years old he fell out of the top bunk bed and completely fractured his spleen. He spent a week in the pediatric intensive care unit. After returning home, he had a month of not being able to run, jump, etc. Not exactly something easy to follow for an active five-year-old boy! After his convalescent time was over, we had a "Praise God" party to celebrate. The food he requested to have at the party was macaroni and cheese and hot dogs! Every year since then, that has been the menu for his birthday.

Today I celebrate Jeremiah! My six foot tall 16 year old that has a heart to serve the Lord. I was inspired by his faith last summer, as he stepped out into the unknown to follow the Lord's direction and head to China for almost three weeks.

I know God has great things in store with you and I'm proud of you. Happy Birthday Son!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Question About the Top Ten Struggles That Christian Women Face

Almost two years I polled over 200 women nationwide (with a few results outside the US) ages 18-80's about what were there top ten struggles as a Christian Woman. I started compiling the information and have gotten about half way through the material. Lately I have been debating of whether or not I should continue the research, or just let it drop and solely focus on the novel I am writing.

Even though it has been almost two years, I still have women that find my blog due to this topic. Each day when I check the statistics for my two blogs, I often see that the blog entry that was perused is the struggles we have. I can't help but wonder whether or not this is something that I still am to continue working on. This is your chance to chime in to let me know whether or not this is a matter of importance to you. Let me know your thoughts.

Sweet Fellowship

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25 

I have been blessed by three sweet friends. We have gotten to know each other through a ladies Bible study this past year. Two of the ladies are dear friends that I have known for quite some time. We have been studying God's Word together for a few years now. A new lady was added to our midst this Fall. Our choice of study for this season is Lysa TerKeurst's new book entitled Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl. This is a DVD series, which is giving me a bit of a break as the leader of this group.

I'm not sure whether it is the topic of study, or just how God moves, but we have drawn exceptionally close to each other since we started this series a month ago. In our first session, the Holy Spirit was present, allowing us to have a deeper level of communication with each other. Since then, we all seem eager to be together and are even seeking fellowship outside of our scheduled 'study time'. When we are in each others presence, much laughter can be heard.

Last night was no exception. I left our study reveling in the blessing of being together, being able to be open and honest in the areas we struggle. It was a sweet time of fellowship. I know that the prayer requests we share will stay with these ladies. I don't fear having my trust betrayed in any way. What a joy to be able to rest in this fact.

Our focus for the next two weeks is on our relationships, particularly with other women. Women often seem to struggle with insecurities, which in turn affect our relationships with our friends. God desires for us to find our security in Him. When we look to Him for our acceptance, only then are we able to reach others with God's love.

As I was reading Lysa's book today I was struck by these quotes. 
  •  "A friend who guards her words is a gift."
  • "Words spoken by friends are especially powerful. They can lift us up and spur us on to achieve things that wouldn't have been possible without the encouragement of a friend. But hurtful words can also be the very thing that renders a woman powerless and shuts her down."
I believe most women have been hurt by a friend at some point in their life.  I feel that God desires for us to get past the pettiness, and seek out the sweet fellowship that He has for us in our friendships with other women. I find myself extremely blessed by these three women and I am thankful for them.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Catching Up with Life

 And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'  
"Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." 
'"But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'
"This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God." Luke 12:16-21

The past few days have been a blur. Our oldest son was home from college from the wee hours Friday morning, through yesterday morning, when we took him to the airport. It was nice to see him in person - to talk, and also to hug him. He only has a month before he will be finished with college for the summer. The time will pass before I know it.

Today I have been trying to get caught up with some things - catching up on sleep, laundry, cleaning up around the house, etc. I also am in the process of preparing for leading a ladies Bible study this evening. A few of us have been working through Lysa TerKeurst's DVD series of Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl. We will be on session three tonight. I look forward to a fun time of laughter and fellowship with these three other ladies. They are a real blessing in my life. This study has particularly drawn us closer together.

Tomorrow I plan to start working more on finalizing the setting for the book I am in the process of writing. Each step brings me closer to the goal of actually writing. I still need to work on characterization as well, before actually writing. I have written the first three pages, but realize I need to finalize my outlining before I can continue.

Isn't that the way life can be? Often we get so excited about something, that we jump into doing it, before we fully plan. God encourages us to plan, and to count the cost before proceeding. So too, I need to plan and figure out the details before I write this book. I must admit that I am quite eager to actually begin, but I know things will go much easier in the long run if I have a plan to guide me along the way. So for now I need to be patient and faithfully plan the direction I need to take.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Joy

"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalm 16:11   

There is a joyful sound in my home this evening - the sound of young men playing video games, laughing, and having a good time together. Early this morning (in the wee hours) we picked up our oldest son at the airport in Baltimore. He flew home this weekend to help celebrate his younger brother's birthday, a little early. We didn't return to our home until 4 AM. It has been a joy to see my oldest son. We haven't seen him since, close to the end of January. 

Both of my sons had plans to go to a church activity together this evening. We found out at the last minute, that the event was canceled. This allowed us opportunity to have a more leisurely meal, to celebrate my youngest son's early birthday. Afterward two of my sons' friends arrived for an evening of playing video games.

At the moment, I am hearing a lot of laughter and joy coming from our living room. It's a pleasant sound. I enjoy hearing them laugh and have a good time together fellowshiping and experiencing male bonding. 

I have been especially thinking lately about joy. I have shared some recently on this blog, as well as my other one, about the joy I have been experiencing through returning to the passion that God has given me to write. I have had tremendous joy and excitement. I truly believe that when we are following in the passion that God has placed in our hearts, we sense this overflowing joy. It is something that we cannot contain, but it just spills out of of lives.

I talked with my friend in Georgia yesterday, concerning this topic. I was expressing the joy that I have been feeling. She commented that my joy was contagious. Even though she doesn't have a passion to write like I do, she still was affected by my joy. I can't help but wonder if this isn't the way that God desires for us to be as Christians. When we are truly following the passion He has placed in us, we have a joy that is contagious. It spills out onto others, causing them to see what it truly means to be a Christian. Is your joy showing?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Stitches and Sewing

"The Lord is a trustworthy tailor who knows how to stitch together our hours and our days. He has never once failed us in the past, nor will He leave or forsake us now." (Quote from David Jeremiah's book Signs of Life).

I read this quote this morning as part of my daily devotions. I am slowly working through a book by David Jeremiah on the 'Back to Basics of Authentic Christianity.' It's designed to read over forty days. It will take me a little longer than that, since I have had a few days when I have been unable to read.

I shared recently that God has renewed in me my passion for creative writing. I have been immersing myself in researching, planning and writing, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I still am in the process of learning how to balance everything in my life - time for the Lord, my family, homeschooling, the house, my writing, blogging, reading, etc. Some days I do all right, others not so well.

This quote encouraged me of the importance of bringing each day to the Lord, preferably first thing each morning. I need to ask for His help in ordering my day and my schedule. How true, that only the Lord "knows how to stitch together our hours and our days." Only He knows what is best for my day.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hot Day in PA

It was a busy morning. We had been getting low on groceries, so I decided to travel to a nearby town to go to their bent and slightly broken merchandise store. It had been a very long time since I had been there - not since before Christmas.

As I drove I was amazed at the amount of leaves that are bursting, as well as buds and flowers. I guess spring has finally sprung here in PA. Although you would think that summer had arrived, with the way the temperatures have been the past couple days. Yesterday the thermometer crept to 87 degrees, and it is mirroring that today too! Now I love the beauty of spring, but I'm not quite ready for those hot days! I much more enjoy the coolness of spring, fall and winter.

While on my way to the store, I had a lot of things on my heart and mind. I had checked the email before leaving and discovered two women that are facing some difficult health issues. My heart went out to them. Even though they are far away, I know that God cares about what they are going through. One of the ladies echoed a lot of the things that I have gone through the past several months. I remember what it feels like to be in her shoes, and also know the despair.

I still marvel at the places that God has brought me the past couple months. I stand in amazement at how much God has changed my heart, my life, and my outlook. I know that only through Him can true strength be found. I continue to rest in His presence and rejoice with where He has me. May I be faithful to the call He has placed on my life.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Resting

Yesterday I was on my feet almost the entire day, except for sitting briefly for meals. It was another gorgeous day in PA, and I was in the mood to get some cleaning accomplished. It was the first time this year that I was able to actually hang my laundry outside to dry. I love that fresh scent from being hung outdoors.

I also spent the time sorting piles - I don't know how they seem to accumulate when I'm not looking! :) I was able to unearth my kitchen counter and table. For now the dining room is covered with a mass of paperwork, since my husband is in process of working on taxes. He hopes to get them finished before the end of this week.

One thing led to another. I looked for something in the fridge and realized some of the apples were going bad. So I pulled them all out and decided to make some homemade applesauce. I also stripped the beds to launder the sheets. I got caught up with paying bills. By the time I say down for supper of homemade chicken Alfredo, I was exhausted, but unfortunately the applesauce was still cooking.

By late night I was having difficulty walking due to the pain in my heels. This morning is a little bit better, but still pretty painful. (I guess I need to break down and get some good quality shoes or inserts to help, or perhaps see the doctor). So it looks like I will spend the day off my feet as much as possible. I hope to get a bit of research accomplished. There still is more information on lighthouses that I need to study as well as learning about Maine. I'm off to hit the books. How do you plan to spend your day?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

Dealing with Disappointment

"He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him." Psalm 91:15

Isn't it hard when we pray about something and the answer is "No," or "Wait, my precious child." I have experienced some of those responses from God the past day. It isn't exactly a fun place to be in at the moment, but yet I still know that God doesn't love me any less. I know I can trust Him that He knows what is best for me.

Last night and early this morning I had those dark whisperings in my head. "You are a loser. You don't have what it takes. You'll never be good enough..." Then I saw a comment on a blog I read regularly. It said:

I opened my devotional this morning and based on a verse from Exodus, it encouraged me to keep looking up. We cannot yield to discouragement when disappointment strikes. Don't allow the enemy to harass you with doubt. "Search for specific promises of God, saying aloud of each one, 'This promise is mine.'"

I must never lose my skyward look. "I must keep faith, I must keep hope, I must keep courage, I must keep Christ. It would be better to crawl immediately from the battlefield than to not be brave. There is no time for my soul to retreat. Keep your skyward look my soul; keep your skyward look!"

Recognizing that the voice taunting 'loser' is NOT God's, His love for me is independent of my performance. Oh, how I love Him and how I love the way He daily speaks and breathes life into our circumstances when we're looking for Him.

Praying He will breathe His Word of promise and hope into each one today. 

It was just what I needed to hear this morning. I immediately prayed and thanked God for the disappointments. Even though I can't see much good from it at present, I still rely on the fact that my Heavenly Father knows what is best for me. I can trust Him! Then I moved on...and guess what happened. While I was going about my morning preparations, God surprised me with giving me a more detailed synopsis of the story He is calling me to write. I had a very basic sketch in my mind before this, but now He provided so much more. What a blessing from God! How like God to turn my disappointments into opportunities for joy. How ironic that the woman's name who wrote the comments on the blog is Joy. Coincidence? I think not! :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Put Your Faith Into Action

"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him." 1 John 4:16

I should have known that when I posted yesterday about not worrying, I soon would be faced with a 'growth' opportunity myself! Little did I realize that it would arrive just hours after my posting, and in the area that I struggle with the most when it comes to worrying - money.

My husband finally had a few minutes yesterday to start looking at our taxes. He wanted to get a ballpark figure of how much money we would be receiving in refund this year. It turns out that our nice chunk of change we usually receive from the Federal government will instead be leaving our pockets, and going back into theirs. Not exactly the type of news I wanted to hear just minutes before resting my head on the pillow last evening.

My mind immediately started whirring. We already have had several extra expenses the past few weeks than we anticipated. With the news of owing for taxes, we will have had almost $2000 of expenditures, over and above our normal bills for the month. Yikes!! We haven't even looked at our local and state taxes yet.

After announcing this news to me, my husband wanted to know how much money was in the bank, and discuss this matter a little further. I knew if I continued to dwell on i,t I wouldn't get any sleep, so I asked if we could talk about it today. He rolled over and promptly fell asleep. I normally would have tossed and turned, but instead I paused and prayed, "Lord, this isn't a surprise to you. Help me to rest in you tonight." I then quoted the verse I memorized in February. "I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe." (Psalm 4:8)

Guess what? I fell asleep quickly and had a restful night's rest. Granted the financial concerns are still facing us and honestly I don't know how God will provide, but I trust that He hasn't given us more than we can handle. I rely on His love for me. Of course there is part of me that wants to cry out. I had great hopes of starting a writing course soon, but at this point I can't justify the money to do it. I still  have struggles and times when I slip back in worrying, but I still pray that trust will become more of a characteristic of my life instead.

Those times of putting my faith into action can be extremely difficult. I choose this day to put my trust in God. I claim the promise that He doesn't give us more than we can handle. I know He loves me, and I rest in that knowledge.