Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The first gleam of dawn


Proverbs 4:18 "The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day"

Ah, there is something so encouraging to me about this verse!  I am righteous because of what Christ has done for me - and though my light may not be quite as bright as I'd like it to be, it is slowly but surely brightening - and one day will be as bright as the sun on a beautiful summers afternoon!  What a wonderful and amazing promise!

Prayer: Lord, thank you that you don't leave us where we are at.  Thank you that your Holy Spirit continues to work in us and through us - helping us shine a little bit more with each passing moment. May we be encouraged knowing that You are at work in us and that one day we will be a perfect picture of your holiness.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Blessings, 1790 - 1805

1790. Getting a great bean bag sale that wouldn't have worked out if we hadn't just changed our plans
1791. My new kitchen island and blinds that my mom brought with her from Florida (though the blinds came with their share of heartache as we tried to install them)
1792. My mom joining us at church
1793. Our family visiting her in her new home for popcorn and a movie
1794. Avonlea standing on her own in the middle of the room - and how proud she is to be able to do so
1795. Working side by side with Matt as we try to improve our website
1796. Running errands with mom and the kids
1797. Enjoying tweaking my blog
1798. Getting lots of laundry done - and the kids playing together nicely while I did so
1799. Making 3 cauliflower pizza crusts ahead of time (even though my house smells like a giant cauliflower)
1800. A quiet evening reflecting on life, choices, and habits with a few dear friends
1801. My mom's new part time job and the incredibly sweet lady she is working with and helping take care of...and the way her attitude shines despite her disabilities
1802. The Holy Spirit softening my heart this morning even though I woke up on the wrong side of the bed
1803. The fact that beautiful flowers often come from stinky manure - and the hope that God will use the "stinky places" of my life to grow beautiful things
1804. Friendship that stands the test of time, trials and tough conversations
1805. A God that never, ever, ever, ever, ever - gives up on me (I know I use this one over and over again...but I would be nothing without this one).

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Blessings 1757 - 1789

1757. Woody, Buzz Light Year and Jessie - Lecher versions :)
1758. A kind hearted young boy giving Blake and Cole his Woody & Buzz Light Year toys, when he found out they were dressing up like the Toy Story characters
1759. Jumping in balls and bounce houses with my three precious blessings...and their laughter whenever Matt turned off the air and we went "down, down, down"...and back "up up up"
1760. Praying with friends
1761. Two wide eyed boys watching the winters first snow
1762. Miniature snow men
1763. Celebrating a new friend's birthday and looking forward to the many blessings God is going to pour out on her this year
1764. Heavenly Bean Bags 10th year anniversary...and the ability to display it beautifully at the Artfull Gifts fine art show and Camden's festival of lights craft show.
1765. How Matt makes everything he touches beautiful & artistic
1766. The three day trip across the country that my mom and GiGi made...though it wasn't easy - they made it safe and sound...and just in time for Thanksgiving.
1767. An absolutely gorgeous and delicious Thanksgiving dinner straight from Grammy's heart
1768. Celebrating Thanksgiving with our boys Great grandmother and 2 grandmothers (and grampy, of course)!
1769. Hot pink curtains for Avonlea with love from GiGi
1770. GiGi spending hours playing, cuddling and enjoying Avonlea
1771. Boys chasing mini remote control cars
1772. Paper airplanes
1773. An adorable cabin 3 miles from our house & GRANDMA who LIVES there!
1774. Getting my mom settled
1775. Protection in a dangerous situation
1776. My friend and neighbor, Dee Dodge,  who dropped everything to come help me fix a big mess I made just minutes before my mom's winter warming shower.
1777. Showering mom with warm gifts and love from my incredible friends
1778. My mom modeling her high heel boots
1779. My sister joining our celebration via skype
1780. Tracy's diner with GiGi, Grandma, and our little (getting bigger) family
1781. Cole turning 3! Firetruck birthday cakes, play dough gifts from Grammy and him telling everyone he runs across about his little party (even though it was just our family, grammy & grampy)
1782. The boys jumping off of just about everything saying "to infinity and beyond!"
1783. Watching "little house on the prairie" in our little house on Pine Lane.
1784. Enjoying  "A Walk Through Bethlehem" with friends that we didn't know were coming & Grandma, GiGi, Grammy & Grampy
1785. The boys enthusiastically noticing every house we pass that is decorated with Christmas lights
1786. The tree Matt spent sooooo much time COVERING with lights - that we get to enjoy every year
1788. Receiving a hand painted  nativity scene (by my grandmother) and the way it fits so beautifully in our window seat.
1789. A God who continuously pours out blessings upon our family, even when I barely take the time to thank Him...and the life He has given me in which I can continue to learn how to thank Him and grow in Him.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

1726-1756

1726. A hardworking husband that still puts his family first
1727. Morning snuggles with my early bird (Cole)
1728. A delightful fun filled, miracle filled, two week visit with Grandma (my mom)
1729. Grandma's desire to move to Maine, and lots of open doors
1730. Learning to trust in God's timing
1731. A two day women's retreat where I was able to spend time with a dear friend, make new friends and reflect on how much God has given me
1732. Matt and Grandma spending time together with the kids while I was gone - train rides, breakfasts at the diner, and enjoying our home
1733. Our newest blessing (due in January) receiving more attention than usual...women at the retreat noticed this big ol' belly of mine a lot more than people do when I have 3 other little ones by my side.
1734. Being served meals
1735. Finally giving in to the idea of floaties, actually finding them at the store (at the end of summer...and the last two pairs), and watching the kids enjoy the water like never before
1736. The boys saying hi to just about every person we meet and/or simply pass by.
1737. Meeting Emma Grace, a sweet friends 2nd little one and 1st daughter, and enjoying her newborn noises and expressions
1738. The new maternity clothes Emma's mommy gave me (one of which I'm wearing at this very moment)
1738. Riding the T in Boston with the boys (and the girl) :)
1739. Watching Grandma enjoy the kids, the sea lions, and the popcorn as we waited in line at the Boston Aquarium
1740. Avonlea's delight as she watched the fish swim back and forth (and Grandma making sure she got plenty of time out of her stroller)
1741. Our 3 kiddos wearing 3D glasses and trying to grab the fish that were swimming towards them (at the Imax)
1742. Cole following in his brothers footsteps - getting really good at puzzles, and starting to stay in the lines when coloring
1743. Giant octopus balloons
1744. Fresh milk delivered weekly - right off an Amish farm (and the friend who worked out all the details)
1745. Enjoying time in the kitchen (only took me 34 years :)
1746. God's comfort in situations that feel out of control
1748. Clinging onto the FACT that He is never out of control
1749. Learning how to trust Him... and when I'm barely doing that, His patience with me
1750. Having a sister
1751. Hope that Avonlea will one day have the same, and this post, that made me feel a little bit less crazy for having that desire
1752. Finding a guilt free (no dates) Once a Day Chronological Bible...and the fact that its on my Kindle - so I don't even have to remember what page I was on
1753. Our new mommy's helper that makes Thursdays extra special
1754. Going to a last minute craft show (for work) and discovering LOTS of FUN for the kids right next door (jump houses, trick-or treating, face painting)
1755. Looking forward to seeing our 3 kiddos (and their little, and big friends) all dressed up for a halloween party this afternoon
1756. The many many many blessings that I haven't written down and the hope that I'll start to blog a bit more consistently...so I miss less of them


Monday, September 24, 2012

1706-1725

1706. Spontaneous evenings with dear friends
1707. Mini vacations/shopping trips
1708. Lots of beautiful fabrics from Auburn's fabric warehouse and of course, Marden's
1709. Blake and Cole helping carry fabric rolls that were bigger than they are
1710. Blake, Cole and Avonlea's delight in the water (at the hotel pool)
1711. New razors :)
1712. Boys on wood piles
1713. Boys (including daddys) throwing & stacking wood
1714. Cole's enthusiasm in the music/spoon banging tent at the Common ground fair
1715. The joy children bring to all ages
1716. Hay piles and big jumps
1717. Cole holding my hand the first 10 times he jumped - and then being ready to jump on his own (thankful that in most areas he still needs my hand)
1718. Avonlea maturing a months worth in 3 days time (pulling up, climbing stairs - wanting to walk etc..)
1719. Cole showing Avonlea the right way to eat watermelon (she was trying to eat it rind first) and then saying "Yeah, Avi" when she did it right
1720. Custom made (by daddy) art stations/desks for the boys - and how much they've enjoyed using them
1721. The reminder that no matter how heavy the storm is, God is sovereign and there is no reason to fear
1722. Counting down days until Grandma comes - 4!
1723. Counting down days until the Berea women't retreat - 5!
1724. Cole's arm wrapped around his sister
1725. Blake - my little helper

Friday, September 14, 2012

1688 - 1705

1688. Blake consistently asking for Avonlea to be by his side
1689. Kiddo compliments from strangers
1690. Housework compliments from my hubby
1691. A lunch date in Camden with 3 of my favorite people - Blake, Cole & Avi
1692. Avi's continued progress...especially her new crawl/walk (crawling with legs in walking position)
1693. Beautiful weather - and kids that notice
1694. Cole seeing Jesus everywhere (even if its actually a civil war monument)
1695. Special outings made possible by GiGi
1696. The boys impromptu dance/song when they got their special outing money
1697. A new, much less expensive payroll company
1698. Blake & Cole asking to feel the baby kick (even though they can't really feel him yet)
1699. Governor's restaurant - specifically their mozzarella cheese sticks
1700. Friends that I miss - and the hope of reconnecting soon
1701. How well Cole is communicating
1702. Weekend plans
1703. A 2 day/3 night women's retreat at the end of September (in 14 days actually, not that I'm counting :) :) :))
1704. Being there when things "click" for Blake - Ffff, Ffff, Ffff is for fish, fan, foot etc...
1705. "Explode the code" - and the friends that recommended it.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

1667-1687

1667. Quiet mornings before kids wake up
1667. Reading the word and other inspiring books on my kindle
1668. A fun last minute road trip with a friend (in which I got a new charger for my kindle)
1669. REALLY good news from a friend's doctor concerning her HEALTHY baby girl
1670. God working miraculously in another friends job - after she asked me to pray about it ("The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective" James 5:16" KIDDING - I'm not exactly righteous...well, ok, ok - I am through his blood :)
1671. I am righteous through His blood
1672. I am learning how to make imperfect progress in many areas of my life
1673. Baking (yes, I baked) yummy sugar/flour free cookies
1674. Blake and Cole throwing a ball with Avonlea - and her sheer delight
1675. Realizing (and recording) how much Blake and Cole have grown in 6 months
1676. How much joy stickers bring to Blake and Cole (and to mommy who uses them to encourage them to do their chores)
1677. How proud Cole is when he sweeps the kitchen floor
1678. Cole singing "the brocolli's in my way, the brocolli's in my way" as he dug through his dinner
1679. The prayers of a two year old and four year old boy
1680. Singing through a kids song book with the boys - and the continual request for more.
1681. Being encouraged and motivated through my Heart & Home friends
1682. The unexpected and wonderful news of a dear friends pregnancy
1683. My pregnancy - and the precious little BOY being formed within my womb.
1684. Dinosaur zoos - made from legos, soft blocks and TONS of dinosaurs (thanks to last weeks yard sale binge)
1685. Breaking free from my sugar addiction and how much of a difference it makes in my physically & emotionally
1686. Second chances, and third - I've probably mentioned breaking free of my sugar addiction in the past...but obviously it had come back :)
1687. Did I mention quiet mornings before kids wake up? :)  Well extra long ones are even better...I haven't heard a peep yet this morning!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Out of control

     I finally got my hands on the book Unglued that I mentioned in my previous post.  I haven't even finished the second chapter and I'm already feeling inspired enough to write again.  Sweet.  Inspiration feels so good these days, and having the energy to follow through with the inspiration - even better!  Anyway, back to Lysa TerKeurst (the author of Unglued).  So she had another one liner that really stuck out to me... "I can face things that are out of my control and not act out of control."  She proceeded to tell of a time when her computer broke down mid project and she totally lost it (or should I say became unglued).  She ended up having to get a new computer, but luckily the tech-support guy was able to make a copy of her hard drive - so she still had access to pertinent files.  A few months later, her new laptop was stolen.  She held it together a little better this time, even though she thought she'd truly lost everything.  Eventually she remembered that she had backed up her entire hard drive because of what happened with her last computer...and she wouldn't have done so if it wouldn't have broken down.  She would have truly lost everything. It was another one of those blessings in disguise types of situations.  Though at the time it felt like nothing good could possibly come from it, something did.  Using that example, and others, she encouraged the readers by reminding us that if we trust that God is at work even when we can't see it or feel it, it is much easier to "face things that are out of...control and not act out of control."
     I'm sure I could think of a million personal examples of ways that God has been working and/or blessing when it feeels like the opposite - but I guess I'll go with the most recent one.  This afternoon the kids and I picked up lunch, picked up daddy and headed down by the water to eat (we actually stay in the car and enjoy the view).  Well Avonlea, who is the happiest baby in the entire world, wasn't acting herself.  She fussed on and off and most of the time, so we cut the trip short.  We headed back to the sign shop/bean bag shop (our sole source of income).  The moment we pulled up, a big white truck pulled up next to us.  Some enthusiastic customers jumped out and headed straight for the store.  We weren't even fully parked yet, so they didn't know we were there.  They saw the sign that said "be back soon" and looked incredibly disappointed.  Well, of course we quickly greeted them (once the vehicle came to a complete stop) and let them know we were back.  They were thrilled and proceeded to buy one of our biggest bean bags.  
     I really look forward to our Friday lunch dates, so it would have been easy to get really frustrated at it being cut short, but I dealt with it better than usual - and surprise, surprise God was indeed pouring out blessing behind the scenes.  I'm hoping that it is going to get easier and easier to "face things that are out of my control and not act out of control" as I learn to fully trust God is truly active in EVERY situation.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Imperfect progress

     More than a year ago my mother and I started a project.  Puzzles.  My kids love puzzles.  There were pieces everywhere - and broken boxes - and missing boxes (not to mention missing pieces).  I had the bright idea of getting rid of all the boxes, numbering the puzzles (so when I find a random piece I know where to put it) and hanging them, in order of course, in perfectly crafted plastic bags.  So we started.  We numbered the puzzles...well at least half of them - and then decided to go shopping for the perfect bags and/or rack to hang them on.  We couldn't find either.  So there I was with a whole bunch of puzzles out of their boxes and shoved into zip lock bags (and not even the kind with those cool slider things).  Well, there wasn't time to finish the project - so all the bags got shoved into a box and plopped in the basement.  I kept thinking I'd either find the perfect bags or at least borrow my husbands gromitt machine and make the perfect bags.  Well it never happened.  Occasionally the boys would pull out the box and try to find a favorite puzzle, but they'd usually give up.  A few days ago I went downstairs to find almost every puzzle all put together.  Our 4 year old had spent his rest time hard at work.  I was amazed that he could do so many puzzles in such a short amount of time.  After thanking God for the genius He has blessed us with :), I thought to myself - thats it, I've got to get these things organized.  So I grabbed a screwdriver, poked a hole in the zip lock bags and shoved child sized hangers through the holes.  I was supposed to be working on the mountain sized pile of laundry behind me, but once I started on the project - I couldn't stop.  I hung the puzzles in their highly imperfect zip lock bags on a rack above my head.  I knew the kids couldn't reach them, but at least they were organized...and, they could ask for one if they wanted to.  Today I was changing Avonlea's diaper and remembered that my mom and I had bought a few shower curtain rods thinking we could place them in the boys closet between their bookshelf and the wall - and hang the perfect puzzle bags on them.  Well, all of the puzzles were labeled and hanging in their bags downstairs...it wouldn't take long to move them to a new location.  So Blake (our 4 year old) and I spent our morning transporting and organizing the puzzles.  Cole (our 2 year old) was entertaining Avonlea (our 1 year old), so it worked out perfectly.  When we finished the project we spent over an hour putting together different puzzles - even Avonlea joined in on the fun.
     About an hour later, while I was in my prayer closet (the shower), I thought about the phrase that has been running through my mind over the past few days - "imperfect progress".  I stole the phrase from a book I haven't even read yet, Unglued - but have heard lots about on KLOVE (a Christian radio station).  I'm planning on reading it as soon as I can get my hands on it.  The little I heard about "imperfect progress" has been so encouraging - it has something to do with moving forward, little by little, even though we are far from perfect.
     The now complete (though far from perfect) puzzle closet is a perfect (no pun intended) picture of the idea of imperfect progress.  When we first started the project, things looked great - the idea to move forward seemed brilliant.  But, when we couldn't find the perfect bags or the perfect place to hang them, moving forward seemed pointless.  So the poor puzzles ended up shoved into the deep dungeon of our basement.  I thought the idea was forever lost.  Even though I couldn't see it at the time, however, they were still in "imperfect progress".  Eventually I dusted them off and moved forward.  And today, I am genuinely happy with our puzzle closet (though I wouldn't be surprised if I eventually do borrow that gromitt machine and make it even better.)
     Well, you can probably guess where I am going with this.  If you ever feel like you've messed up too many times to move forward, or your too far from perfect to even bother trying - don't give up.  Take little steps - progress is still progress, even if it is imperfect.  And if you happen to be in the dark dungeons (of which I am only recently stepping out from) - more than likely there is a whole bunch of "imperfect progress" going on...it's just a little too dark for you to see it.

"The light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it".  John 1:5

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

1649 - 1666

1649. Avonlea's delight as she puts things in and takes things out of small boxes, cups etc...
1650. A receptive heart
1651. Blake looking for ways to help his mommy, daddy and siblings on a regular basis
1652. Losing the letter "E" of a vowel game - and then, finding it after praying I would
1653. Helping a friend create an inviting and comfy place to chat with friends
1654. Enjoying time with friends
1655. A curious little mouse
1656. Dishwasher soap - you don't realize how much you appreciate it until you run out :)
1657. Thankful list reminders on pre-scribbled paper
1658. Watching Avonlea interact happily and bring joy to her Drs and therapists
1659. Begging God for contentment and joy, feeling so far from it - and Him pouring out more and more blessing - until I couldn't help but smile
1660. A friend who prayed for me as soon as I asked her to
1661. Watching God answer her prayers
1662. Being used despite myself
1663. An unexpected break and evening with a friend who reaches out to me, even when I don't make it easy to do so.
1664. A steam engine filled with curious and excited little boys (and a little princess)
1665. Seeing a friend I haven't seen in years twice in weeks time
1666. God's relentless pursuit of my heart


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Walls

Wow, it has been a while since I've blogged (other than my gifts list)- and, to be honest I wasn't sure if I'd blog again.  I've been putting up walls in so many areas of my life.  Letting hurts control me...not wanting to let anyone in to this broken soul of mine.  But, tonight I realized that the walls aren't protecting me - their just hurting me...and probably, hurting others.  So here I am.  I'm ready to stop protecting myself and start being myself again.  The thickest wall I've built has been between God and I - but luckily he sees right through the bricks I lay.  He loves me - bricks and all.  He is longing for me to accept His love.  He isn't witholding His love until I  read 15 chapters of scripture a day or spend hours in an uninterrupted prayer closet (though I'm sure He longs for me to long for Him).  He just keeps loving me, and keeps pouring out blessing after blessing.  His unconditional love is something that I will spend my lifetime trying to grasp - at times fully accepting it, at times running from it, and probably at times just ignoring it.  But, He and His love are forever constant.It's funny - I've read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 countless times, and I've never read it with His love towards me in mind.  But this evening it is those very verses that He is whispering to my soul - and perhaps He's longing to whisper them to your soul as well?

"4 Love is patientlove is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

1628-1648

1628. A friend painting my toe nails
1629. Avonlea giggling, jumping and swinging in her Johnny Jump Up.
1630. God's patience with me.
1631. Intercessors
1632. Blake asking if we could pray for Avonlea at dinner (after he brought up the bible story where Jesus heals a mans eyes)
1633. Sharing our favorites/least favorites at dinner
1634. Friends coming over for dinner and entertaining & enjoying our kiddos for more than an hour
1635. Skyping with GiGi & Gdad
1636. Running out of clothes for Avonlea, & getting beautiful dresses and pjs from GiGi
1637. Blake - after getting a new plate from GiGi "I am so, so, so, so happy - I think I'll go out and buy GiGi a big ol' present."
1638. God's sovereignty through difficult times - both in my life and in the lives of those I care about
1639. Answered prayer - in the form of a table and chairs
1640. Unexpected time to myself
1641. Psalm 127:3
1642. Playing "vowel games" with the boys
1643. Daddy and the boys listening to "The Chronicles of Narnia"
1644. Blake - his daddy's shadow
1645. Beautiful weather & a backyard to enjoy it in
1646. All the ways Matt has made our yard so special
1647. The many, many, many gifts I don't take the time to count each day
1648. New days and new opportunities to keep counting

Friday, June 29, 2012

Photogifts - a bit behind...and still not caught up :)


























1607 - 1627

1607. A care package straight from GiGi's heart
1608. Avonlea blowing kisses
1609. Petting a camel
1610. Evening strolls in down town belfast
1611. Blake and Cole throwing sticks for a cute dog named Una
1612. Pink clouds
1613. Ice cream cones filled with animal feed
1614. Cole's expression each time he shouted "he eat it mamma, he eat it" (referring to the goat he was feeding)
1615. Chicken on the grill
1616. Avonlea in the sand box
1617. The boys running from their dad (who happened to have a hose in his hand)
1618. Reading lessons with the boys ("The ordinary parents guide to teaching reading")
1619. Close calls in the water - so thankful for God's protection
1620. Kids piled up in a small car
1621. Daily rides to Seth's (our mechanic) - luckily he lives on our street :)
1622. Cole making Avonlea laugh on a regular basis
1623. Blake counting down the days to things he is looking forward to - the latest, "my cousin's house"
1624. Bean bags, snacks galore, & good friends
1625. Spending time with a friend I miss
1626. Cole - "Dear God, Thank you for mommy's food, daddy's food, blaker's food, coley's food and Avi's food"
1627. A God who hears our prayers - loves us even when we don't even take the time to do so - and waits for us so patiently.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

1589-1606

1589. A change of plans (thought I was staying home with the kids and end up having a family adventure)
1590. Tricycles cruising down the mini mall halls (where the sign shop is)
1591. A very sweet and encouraging note from a sister in Christ
1592. Blake, Cole and Daddy playing their first round of Hungry, Hungry, Hippos
1593. Broccoli slaw - I never knew it existed
1594. Cole's constant affection towards his sister
1595. Blake counting down until his cousin's dance
1596. All three kids sitting through and enjoying the entire dance - for 3 hours :)
1597. Little and big dancers with beautiful smiles
1598. Avonlea dancing right along
1599. An unexpected dinner invitation
1600. Chatting with old friends until wee hours of the night - while their children entertained ours
1601. The sound of Blake's laugh as he jumped on a trampoline
1602. Learning to look forward to Christ's return - on good days and bad
1603. Encouraging words from a father figure
1604. Good decisions...like marrying Matt (actually, I think that is the best decision I ever made)
1605. Enjoying Blake, Cole and Avonlea more every day
1606. Growing as a parent, a person, and a believer

Thursday, May 17, 2012

1576 - 1588

1576. Heat lightning
1577. Last minute adventures
1578. An incredibly generous husband
1579. Blake excitedly running up our sidewalk with a bouquet of flowers for his mommy
1580. A wonderful Mother's day spent with my mom, my grandmother, my mother in law and of course Matt and the kids
1580. Stumbling across a restaurant in Boothbay where Moms eat free for Mother's day
1581. Curtain shopping
1582. Spending almost an entire day with just my grandma
1583. Seeing a dear friend who lives an hour and a half away two days in a row (the second day being a total surprise)
1584. Riding the trolly in Bath with 6 tow headed kids (ok, well maybe 5 considering the newest one is totally bald) and two wonderful gals
1585. God's unconditional love and grace
1586. The world's cutest apron - made even cuter because of who bought it for me.
1587. Cole's great grandmother buying him a stuffed owl without even knowing he loves owls
1588. Blake organizing the shoes in our mudroom (which is where we keep ALL of our shoes) without being asked - and the proud look on his face when he called me over to see what he'd done

Thursday, May 3, 2012

1567 - 1575

1567. Tiny braids
1568. Ticklish hands
1569. Drop in visitors
1570. A side of hot fudge
1571. "School time" and how excited Blake gets about it
1572. Accountability in prayer
1573. Christ's sacrifice
1574. Counting down days with my kids (Grandma and GiGi are coming in 5 days)
1575. New mercies every morning

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

1551-1566

1551. Morning kicks and laughs from a baby girl SO EXCITED to see her mommy :)
1552. The boys playing together more and arguing less
1553. The look on Blake's face when he saw his birthday cake (diggers and dumpers).
1554. A baby doll bed complete with home made sheets, pillow & blanket - made for Avonlea with love by her grammy.
1555. Red polka dot pajamas on a fluffy haired baby girl.
1556. Morning snuggles with my FOUR YEAR OLD!
1557. Fixing my computer with a simple google search
1558. Avonlea saying "more" in sign language
1559. Remembering Cole dancing to Easter morning worship
1560. Playing frisbee with my boys
1561. Avonlea playing in the sandbox
1562. Friends that pray for us
1563 An adorable surgery patient
1564. Looking at my daughter - and her looking directly back
1565. Chubby hands running under cool water (Avonlea's, not mine :) )
1566. Boys picking flowers for mommy


Saturday, March 31, 2012

1538 - 1550

1538. A new home for my computer (upstairs off the beaten path)
1539. Two boys giggling, laughing and quite thrilled tossing balls around
1540. Cleaning our mudroom
1541. Organizing my desk
1542. The way Avi looks at her brothers
1543. Getting a second opinion (the same) about Avonlea's eyes (infantile esotropia) - surgery would be a hard decision if there were varying opinions.
1544. The Lord's prayer
1545. A sweet email from my dad
1546. The boys in full winter gear playing in the sandbox
1547. Knowing that won't be necessary too much longer (the winter gear)
1548. A daily walk with the Creator of the universe
1549. A very unexpected compliment from someone I'm pretty insecure around (perhaps God's trying to tell me something)
1550. The fact that God communicates with His people - and that somehow, I'm one of His people :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My flesh

Those of you who know me well (ok, even just a little) know I have a tendency to beat myself up.  I often think things like, if I was a really a Christian I wouldn't have such a strong battle with sin.  I have always felt like my sin nature was beating my new nature.  But last night a good friend said something so wonderfully freeing and encouraging.  She said your battle is not against your sin nature - you don't have a sin nature.  It is against your flesh.  At first I didn't really understand the difference...even as Matt and I were driving home I still didn't get it.  I pondered it as I fell asleep and when I woke up this morning it just hit me.  Yes, I was born with a sin nature - we all are!  But the moment I accepted Christ as my Savior I was (and am) a new creation.  Where does that leave me though?  I still struggle with sin. Who cares whether we call it "a sin nature" or "flesh".  I was praying about that very thing and I asked God to give me some sort of analogy so that I could visualize the difference.  I almost immediately pictured one of many images I have seen of animals nursing a different type of animal.  For example a dog nursing a kitten, a pig nursing a puppy etc...and remembered how often in those situations as the kitten or puppy grows up they tend to act more like the breed they are spending time with than their own breed.  However, whether they act like it or not, they are and will always be DIFFERENT!  Before I had even fully thought through that analogy another one popped into my head - the velveteen rabbit.  This one might even be a bit more theologically sound (because the bunny does not start out real - he starts out as a toy).  Later in the story, after he has become a real bunny - it takes him a little while to learn how to use his legs.  I am like that bunny - I am new, I am real - it is just taking me a while (and will take my whole life) to learn how (and allow the Holy Spirit in me) to be who I really am.

So, how and why does this whole idea effect me so positively?  Well when I am heading down the beat myself up, I'm such a bad person path - I am going to try to remember that though I may have made a bad decision, had a bad attitude, fallen into temptation once again, that is not who I am.  I am not a bad person.  I am a new creation.  It is Christ who lives in me and not myself.  And as far as the battle against the flesh (not my sinful nature - that is gone) - yes, it will continue. There is a lot of reprogramming that needs to be done.  I continually forget who I am and act more like who I used to be.

New International Version (©1984)
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

Monday, March 26, 2012

1514 - 1537

1514. Seven turkeys in our front yard - two thrilled boys.
1515. A week of incredibly rejuvenating weather and thankfulness for all seasons
1516. II Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 
1517. Being encouraged by the struggles and weaknesses of fellow mommies this weekend - remembering that I am not alone, parenting is challenging for all and God is glorified in our weaknesses as they lead us to His throne.
1518. Holding Matt's hand
1519. The sacrificial love of a dear family who watched, played with, loved on and encouraged our three kiddos this weekend
1520. Spending time with friends I've missed - even those who only live a few miles away
1521. Feeling the prayers of a friend
1522. Jesus is ENOUGH - http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/ (highly recommend reading Katie's incredible journey - she's given up, and therefor gained, everything for the Lord, and yet it is still in her weakness (and honesty regarding it) that I find much encouragement.
1523. "It is finished" John 19:30 - My sin (past, present and future) not in part but in whole is totally and completely forgiven - and has been from the moment those words passed from our Savior's mouth.
1524. Pushing two laughing brothers (together) in our hammock swing
1525. Sea shell collections in March
1536. Blake and Cole saying "hi" to people passing us on the beach, UPS drivers and those many of us (including myself) can easily walk by without so much as a glance.
1537. The sound of wind chimes outside my window and three waking babies (ok, one waking baby and 2 big boys)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

1500 - 1513

1500. Chunky baby legs
1501. Compassion where there was once anger
1502. Tricycles on the Belfast bridge
1503. Praying with Matt
1504. Christ's blood that covers me
1505. The book Because He loves me, and the friend who gave it to me
1506. The song "His banner over me is love" which keeps running through my mind
1507. The promise that "He who begins a good work in me will be faithful to complete it"
1508. A faith family that lovingly, encouragingly accepts us even when we are making difficult decisions
1509. Friends who not only pray for me, but ask for prayer
1510. Avonlea's bottom two teeth which I can almost always see - because of the HUGE grin that she wears constantly
1511. Singing boys
1512. Hymns - and pandora
1513. Family, both immediate and extended, that love me no matter what.

Friday, February 10, 2012

1486-1499, Ephesians 4:25-32


Blessings
1486. Matt encouraging me (and himself) to go to bed by 9:00 - and me doing so with a really good attitude (ok, the last part is an exaggeration lie ;P)
1487. Feeling so much better physically and emotionally because of more sleep and less sugar (both, thanks to Matt)
1488. Blake and Cole playing hide and seek - and cracking up every time they find each other
1489. Avonlea's pig tails 
1490. A weekend just around the corner
1491. An encouraging "chat" then phone call from a friend I haven't spent much time with lately
1492. A grocery store run/parking lot chat with a "bosom buddy"
1493. Blake
1494. Cole
1495. Avonlea

Blessings in the word (Ephesians 4:25-32)
1496. The following examples of the "Putting off/Putting on"concept
 - Put off FALSEHOOD - Put on SPEAKING THE TRUTH 
 - Put off STEALING - Put on WORK/SHARING
 - Put off UNWHOLESOME TALK - Put on BUILDING OTHERS UP
 - Put off BITTERNESS, RAGE, ANGER, MALICE - Put on KINDNESS, COMPASSION,      FORGIVENESS
1497. The fact that anger in itself is not a sin, and the reminder that dwelling on it gives the devil a foothold (which will quickly lead to sin)
1498. Though at times we grieve the Holy Spirit, we (if we are believers) are SEALED FOR THE DAY OF REDEMPTION
1499. God forgave me/us!

Quick Thoughts 
Matt and I recently attended a parenting conference that really focused on this putting off/putting on concept.  The couple who led it encouraged us not only to point out and or/discipline misbehavior, but to immediately encourage the appropriate behavior.  For example if Blake was to lie, we would say something like "Blake you must not lie, you must always tell the truth" or if Cole hit Blake - "Cole you must not hit, you must be kind to your brother".  I remember thinking that I often forget the second part - both in parenting and in my own life.  The funny thing is that it is much easier to stop doing something if you replace it with something.  Sugar, which is something that I am trying to "put off" lately often comes in the form of an intense craving for me.  I have found if I just stop eating sweets, I still find myself hungry and moody.  Recently, like for 2 days, I have been trying to make sure that when I am hungry and craving sweets I don't just "say no", I eat something filling - usually protein and/or "good fats".  I have a long way to go in this area (and the others mentioned in this scripture), but I am thankful for this encouraging reminder to not just put off, but to remember to put on as well.  Though I am jumping ahead in my walk through Ephesians, the most important things I hope I remember to put on are found in Ephesians 6:
      "put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."

Praying the word
Lord, please help me/us PUT OFF FALSEHOOD AND SPEAK TRUTHFULLY, even in the little things like exaggeration, tweaking numbers (it was only $2.99, when it was $3.00), or going along/pretending we agree with something when in our hearts we are convicted.  Thank you Father, that despite our differences, as believers, we really are MEMBERS OF ONE BODY.  Teach us Lord that when we are angry, it is possible to NOT SIN.  May we turn quickly from our anger and remember not to LET THE SUN GO DOWN WHILE we ARE STILL ANGRY.  Remind us that dwelling on our anger, GIVEs THE DEVIL A FOOTHOLD.  Lord, though I don't struggle with stealing (that I can think of), I do struggle with hoarding - I rarely share with those in need.  Oh, how I long that you will help me change in this area.  I want to be selfless Lord.  Please change this selfish heart of mine.  Oh Lord that I/we would learn how to stop all UNWHOLESOME talk and replace it with WHAT IS HELPFUL FOR BUILDING OTHERS UP. Thank You so much Father that we are SEALED FOR THE DAY OF REDEMPTION, convict us Lord when we GRIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD.  May we put off ALL BITTERNESS, RAGE and ANGER, BRAWLING and SLANDER, ALONG WITH EVERY FORM OF MALICE.  Fill us and help us choose to be KIND AND COMPASSIONATE TO ONE ANOTHER, FORGIVING EACH OTHER.  Oh Lord, thank you so much that in Christ, you have forgiven us!  Remind us of that when we are tempted to "throw stones".

The word
Ephesians 4:25-32 25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body26 “In your anger do not sin”[d]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

1470-1485, Ephesians 4:17-20

Blessings
1470. Matt hiding all the sweets in the house from me - and me not going on a massive sweet hunt (YES, this is a blessing :-P)
1471. Cole "alright, LETS GO" - his enthusiastic reply to just about everything these days
1472. Blake giving Cole potty lessons
1473. Matt swinging by the grocery store just about every afternoon - and with a good attitude
1474. Hope that one of these days I'll get our meal plan and shopping days organized
1475. A God who loves me despite my imperfections
1476. A tough conversation with friends turning out just fine
1477. Friends

Blessings in the word
1478. MUST - leaves no doubts
1479. the LIFE OF GOD
1480. The reminder not to HARDEN my HEART
1481. the WAY OF LIFE I learned when I HEARD ABOUT CHRIST
1482. TRUTH IS IN JESUS
1483. The concept of PUTTING OFF and PUTTING ON
1484. The hope of BEing made new (and knowing way down deep that even though it doesn't feel like it some days, this has already begun and will be a life long process)
1485. I (we, if you're a believer) have been CREATED TO BE LIKE GOD IN TRUE RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HOLINESS

Ephesians 4:17-20
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
 20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Quick Thoughts
Ah, if I could only figure out the balance between my choices and the Holy Spirit's action.  I tend to either try to hard and get discouraged because of my lack of perfection, or not try much at all and say it is supposed to be an act of the Holy Spirit - not of my own will.  What I feel like God is calling me to lately is to truly try my best, but know that He is there to hold me, love me, and comfort me when I mess up (rather than accuse me and discourage me...we all know where accusations come from)

Praying the word
Lord I thank you for the directness of Paul's command for obedience.  Thank you for the reminder that we MUST NO LONGER LIVE...IN FUTILITY OF our THINKING.  Oh Father, how I beg you to protect me and help me no longer be DARKENED IN my UNDERSTANDING and SEPARATED from the LIFE OF GOD BECAUSE OF THE IGNORANCE THAT IS IN me DUE to the HARDENING OF my HEART.  There are so many areas in my life in which I HAVE LOST ALL SENSITIVITY and so often I INDULGE in all KINDs of IMPURITY.  And Lord, I am FULL OF GREED.  Lord thank You that you have so much more to offer than this.  Thank You so much for introducing me to the WAY OF LIFE I can be a part of because I have HEARD ABOUT CHRIST.  Thank You that I have been TAUGHT IN you and that TRUTH IS IN JESUS (apart from Him I am and can do nothing).  Oh Father, please teach me how to PUT OFF my OLD SELF, WHICH IS BEING CORRUPTED BY ITS DECEITFUL DESIRES.  Help me BE MADE NEW in the ATTITUDE OF my MIND and to PUT ON THE NEW SELF.  Jesus, thank you that you have CREATED me TO BE LIKE GOD IN TRUE RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HOLINESS.  I feel so far from this, but knowing that I have the potential because of You is wonderful Lord.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

1454-1469, Ephesians 4:14-16

Blessings
1454. Not feeling like reading the word, doing it anyway - feeling rejuvenated
1455. 3 construction paper/glitter snowmen on our fridge (made by daddy, blake & cole)
1456. the X song (the boys singing "I get an X" every time they say, please, thank you, or yes mommy - even though half the time they never actually add their Xs)
1457. Matt making me go to bed early despite my arguments against it - and him being right, it definitely feels better in the morning
1458. An incredibly fun and busy week, followed by a week of catch up...enjoying both (well, most of the time)
1459. Cole waking up from his nap and singing "happy day to you" - remembering we were heading to a birthday party
1460. Visiting old friends and being encouraged by new ones
1461. Being late (like getting somewhere halfway through), but still being welcomed and loved
1462. Superbowl parties, or as our church called it a "large screen viewing event"
1463. Avonlea asleep on her daddy's chest
1464. Church doodles by 3 year old artists
1465. Still needing a little extra "rejuvenation" and knowing I'm heading to the right place to get it - prayer (well half shower/half prayer) :) :) :)


Blessings in the word
1466. One day I will NO LONGER be an infant in the Lord
1467. The hope of learning how to SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE
1468. The hope of GROWing TO BECOME IN EVERY RESPECT THE MATURE BODY
1469. SUPPORTING LIGAMENTs - so thankful for every member of my faith family


Ephesians 4:14 -16
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.


Praying the word
Oh how I feel like an infant Christian in so many ways Lord.  I pray with all my heart that You teach me (and my friends and readers who have the same desire) how to stop being tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching.  Father God we long to learn how to speak the truth in love as we grow to become in every respect the mature body of...Christ.  Teach us how to work together and remind us that we, the whole body, are joined and held together by every supporting ligament. We would fall apart without each other, Lord.  Father, may we grow and build our body up in love as each of us does our work.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

1441-1448c, Ephesians 4:7-13

Blessings
1441. Cole and Avonlea falling asleep with me on the couch (different times but on the same day)...and the fact that I am truly treasuring these moments, as I know how quickly they will pass
1442. Looking over at Blake during Sunday's worship service and seeing him with a confused look on his face and his hand in the air (imitating members of the worship team)...what a wonderful teachable moment :)
1443. Avonlea imitating my smile over and over as the praise team sang
1444. Telling a friend who was starting a bible study that leaving my house regularly with my 3 little ones is just too tiring to commit to - and the next thing I new the bible study was in my living room
1445. Cole singing "Jesus loves me" as I type out ways that he loves me
1446. Daddy, Blake and Cole making snow forts for hours
1447. A thought provoking sermon by Matt Chandler (who I've actually never heard of, but enjoyed the sermon because of a friend's recommendation)
1448. A compliment from my husband that spoke right to my heart
1448b. Brand new life growing in a womb (no, not mine...and no, you don't know her - unless you are her -and if you are...I'm thankful for you too)
1448c.Realizing as I typed the last blessing that it actually could apply to 2 people who are close to my heart (neither of which you know :) :) :)

Scriptural Blessings
1449. GRACE
1450. GIFTS
1451. People who have been equipped
1452. The hope that God will equip me
1453. Until we all...BECOME MATURE - process, process, process
1453. One day we will sit before Him and completely and totally grasp THE WHOLE MEASURE OF THE FUlLNESS OF CHRIST


Ephesians 4:7-13
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it[a] says:
   “When he ascended on high,
   he took many captives
   and gave gifts to his people.”[b]
 9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Praying the word
Lord, it is easy (for me, at least) to question what we have been apportioned - thank You that Your grace has been given as You apportioned it.  You know exactly what we need in all areas, Father - and You give accordingly.  You gave (and still give) soooo many gifts to your people.  Give us eyes to see and ears to hear the abundant gifts you give.  Father God I am so incredibly thankful that Christ descended to the lower, earthly regions, because apart from His death on the cross, I am nothing.  Truly.  I make so many mistakes every day - and yet You see me through Your son.  Thank You, Lord, for the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers that You have used to draw me close to You.  Somehow in some way, Father I ask that You use me to encourage and equip others - especially my children Lord Jesus.  Thank You for the hope that one day we will all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God.  The church, as a whole, seems so far from that.  It is so easy for each of us to get wrapped up in our differences.  Lord, I ask that You help me and those reading this that have the desire, to become mature - and get closer and closer to attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  I thank You Lord Jesus that You are sooooo big that even if we studied You and Your word every day - there is always more.  I (perhaps, we) want more of You Lord!