Tuesday, November 27, 2012

One of those days!

It amazes me how fast I can lose my focus some days. I felt so good this morning. I woke up early, curled up on the couch with my laptop and Spark, and enjoyed the lights of the trees and the scent of the burning candle. I was able to read my Bible, do my Advent study, and work on a few things before the kids got up. I had high hopes for the day - lots to get done since I will be subbing for the next two days.

To say things did not go as expected is such an understatement. By lunch I was overwhelmed with fear about our finances, one child was not working on assignments like he should and then...CRASH! Our beautiful Christmas tree was on the floor. I don't know what happened to make it fall but I could see pieces of ornaments as I picked it up. I lost it at that point - I just busted out crying while my three babies stood there looking at me. I was upset that some of my special ornaments were now in pieces, I was upset about our finances, I was upset that nothing was going my way today even though it started off perfect! I felt like Satan was doing everything he could to ruin my day.

So what did I do?  I went back to what I had studied that morning - HOPE. We have hope because of a special baby that was born. No matter what life brings our way, we have hope!

The rest of the day went a little better especially after the hugs and kisses from my children. They didn't know everything I was crying about but they knew their Mom needed some love and support. I am looking forward to tonight when we all sit down and do some of our family activities for Advent. I hope that my day will end like it started - relaxing and peaceful and focused on the one who gives us hope.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

Have you ever had "one of these days"? Do you ever feel like Satan works harder against you when you are striving to follow God's will? I'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Making Your Home a Haven - Week 4 - Decorating

Have you started decorating for Christmas yet? We were able to get most of ours done this weekend. I love this time of year - the trees, the lights, the handmade ornaments made by my sweet children. I love the way my home feels when we decorate for Christmas - so warm and relaxing. This part of the challenge was easy for me!

Decorate! The holidays are upon us. Ann Voskamp says “Creating is good theology. In the beginning God created.” Be creative as you make your home warm, cozy and inviting for the holidays. Think about ways you can keep Christ in Christmas even in the way you decorate.  Decorate – to the glory of God!

How do you celebrate Christmas?

How do you celebrate Christmas? Is this a stressful time ~ shopping, cooking, parties, worried about finances, seeing "those" relatives, no time to relax? I know I have spent too many years stressing about all of these things and if you have children you might have the added stress of finding THE present they really, really want. :-) I have decided that this year will be different. The birth of Jesus won't be something we remember here and there and at church on Christmas Eve. This year His birth will be the focus - our greatest gift!

Have you ever celebrated Advent? This is the first year for my family and I am so excited! God put the right people in my life (other bloggers) and made it very easy to find some great resources for our celebration. We even have a live Advent tree for all of the ornaments the kids will make. My step-dad and oldest son went out in the woods and cut it down for us. I am ashamed to say that I got a little aggravated with the tree when we were putting it up. It is a prickly tree and I ended up with a few thorns in my fingers. After we got it set up and I sat down to look at it, I thought about the crown of thorns they put on our Saviors head. I was complaining about a few very small thorns in my fingers. My attitude definitely changed after that. Our Advent tree is my favorite one now. I look at it and think about that sweet baby that was born to save us and how he was ridiculed, beaten, and died for each one of us. His gift to us was and is eternal. It is a gift that we need to share with others. Do you know someone that needs His gift of salvation? Don't wait, share it with them today. Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.
I have always loved this time of year but this year we will truly keep Christ in Christmas.

If you are interested in Advent, here are the two books I plan to use this year (one for me and one for the kids).
Keeping Our Hearts Focused on Jesus-
Truth in the Tinsel-

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Love & Appreciation

Thinking about my Mom today and how blessed we are to still have her here with us. She loves to help take care of us. When I was working we would go by her house and have breakfast and then she would help me get the kids where they needed to go or they would stay with her. Now that we are at home, she sends us breakfast most mornings. And we are not talking any kind of breakfast - she sends homemade biscuits, bacon, ham, and one of my favorites - deer sausage. That is just who she is - she loves to find ways to help take care of us. I know I have been blessed to have her help with the kids all these years. I could go to work and know that they were going to be taken care of and get a little bit spoiled. :-) It also fills my heart when I see the relationship my children have with their grandmother. They love spending time with her and they may not know it now but they are making memories that will last a lifetime. I still think about all the times I spent with my grandparents. I miss them so much but I have so many wonderful memories to hold on to.

This day also makes me realize that I don't tell her enough how much I love her and appreciate her. I will definitely do that today and make sure I do it a whole lot more. So many friends have lost loved ones this year and I know we are not promised tomorrow. Starting today I am going to make sure everyone in my life knows how much I love and appreciate them. Do you have family and friends that you need to talk to? Do they know how much you love and appreciate them? Will you join me in making it a habit of telling others how we really feel?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I know tomorrow will be filled with lots of activity from the time I get up till the time I go to bed so I am using my quiet time this morning to think about all the things I am thankful for. After the year we have had, I could be bitter and could focus on all of the negatives. I refuse to do that because I know God has used all of the hardships to change me and to change our family. I am learning to let go of things that just don't matter. I am learning to forgive hurts from the past. I am learning to stop and pray and ask God for help when I start trying to do things on my own.
I am sure I could list over 100 things I am thankful for but I will stick to my top 10 here. :-)

#1 I am so thankful that our Father loved me so much that He sent His only son here to die for me. I just have to stop sometimes and think about that. He sent His son to die for me. Amazing Grace and Amazing Love!

#2 I am thankful for my husband who has put up with me for 20 years! Patrick took this picture last year when we took the kids by the church where we got married.

#3 I have been blessed with three amazing children! Each one is so unique and I love them with all my heart!
#4 After dealing with the hurt and pain of a divorce, I am thankful for my Mom, Dad, and Step-dad. My Mom has always been there for all of us and I'll never be able to thank her enough. I am also thankful for my husband's parents. My children are lucky to have 3 grandfathers. :-) (Just realized I need more pictures of our parents and children!)

#5 So thankful for my grandparents who loved me and spent time with me. They were examples of how to live and show God's love. I miss them all so very much!

#6 I am thankful for my two brothers who loved to aggravate me everyday when we were growing up. :-) I am also thankful for their families.

#7 I am thankful for two very special cousins. I was so blessed to grow up with them and wish I could see them more. (Just couldn't resist adding this picture. Love you both!)
#8 I am thankful for all of the wonderful friends I have made over the years. These three have been there for me so many times. Love you bunches!
#9 I am thankful for our home. We came so close to losing it this year. I will no longer complain about things I want to change. I will just be thankful we are still here and will continue to make wonderful memories here.

#10 I am thankful for a healthy family and the wonderful friends I have made through AdvoCare! I love that God brought Kelli and Angie into my life so that I could change myself and my family and help others.

I'm telling you - I could go on and on and but I won't right now. What are you thankful for? Make your own list of 10 today and let those people that are still here know how much you love them!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Making Your Home A Haven - Week 3 - Cooking!

Time for the next challenge - cooking! Since Thanksgiving is this week I have already planned to be in the kitchen making some yummy stuff. I even have a few recipes for the kids. It is a little crazy but fun when we are all in the kitchen cooking and working together. So this week we will have our candle burning, music playing, and making memories together in the kitchen. I am so thankful for my family and our home.

And so we come to this week’s challenge:Focus on the kitchen, the heart of the home. Cook things with pleasant aromas – like homemade bread, pies, and cookies. Don’t wait to have a reason to make something special – do it simply to show love to your family. Invite your kids and/or hubby to cook along side of you – make memories in the kitchen – test tasting, being creative, laughing and loving. Remove discontentment and give thanks to God for the home God has given you in which to create a haven for your family.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Changing & Growing

As we move into the holiday season, I have a different focus this year. My family has been through so much this year. So many changes. So many ups and downs. The good thing is that God has been with us through it all. He definitely has my attention now. As I look back over the past three years, I can see how he used the hurts to help me grow and change. I had spent so many years just going through life and knowing I was saved. There is a BIG difference between being saved and having a relationship with our Lord and Savior. I was saved as a child and even though I never doubted that I was going to Heaven, I wasn't living or serving Him like I should. After all those years, I had not grown and become the person He wanted me to be. I have spent so many years just trying to be whatever others wanted me to be or do whatever others expected me to do so I could have their approval. I was a people pleaser! Avoid conflict at all costs! Did that make me happy? Absolutely not! Change is hard and doesn't happen overnight. I still struggle with situations but now I don't have to do it alone. I stop and pray about it and ask for direction. I want to be a God pleaser and do what He has called me to do. God has definitely had a strong hold on me since January and called me to do things that I would not have done before. It has been a scary year, a healing year, a growing year, and I am excited to see how He ends this year.
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

Monday, November 12, 2012

Making Your Home a Haven ~ Week 2

The first week began with lighting a candle and praying for peace each time the candle catches your eye. What a wonderful reminder for me. The best thing is that my children wanted to participate too. I love that we are all praying for peace with each other and in our home. This is something we will continue to do even after the holidays. Now for Week 2...
So let’s begin. Light your candle, crank up your music and continue praying over your home. Every time the glimmer of the candle catches your eye – pray for peace. Peace with each other and peace within your soul. (Find out more by clicking on the Women Living Well blog link.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pray for Revival

I have to say that I am still in shock about the election. I did the only thing I could do this morning and that was turn to the Bible. I found this verse and it reminds me that God has a plan and His plan is best. We may not understand it but He is in control. When we are at our weakest, He is at His strongest. I'm thinking that He allowed this to happen so more will turn to Him. This could be the start of a revival. This is a time as Christians that we can show compassion and God's love to others. It is a very scary time right now in our world and I will continue to pray that God shows me what I can do for Him. 

For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 2 Corinthians 1:8-9

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

After the election is over...

Saw this on Facebook tonight and had to share. Takes the anxiety out of waiting for the results tonight. 

Tonight, after the election is over, we can predict (and guarantee) the following results:
1. God will still be on His throne
2. Jesus will still be King of kings and Lord of lords.
3. The Bible will still have all the answers to every problem.
4. The tomb will still be empty.
5. Jesus will still be the only way to heaven.
6. Prayer will still work - it will still make a difference and God will still answer prayer.
7. The cross, not the government, will still be our salvation.
8. There will still be room at the cross.
9. Jesus will still save anyone who places their faith and trust in Him.
10. God will still be with us always - He will never leave us or forsake us.

Source: Linda Leighton

Election Day

Well today is the day - Election Day! Will we have a new President tomorrow? Even if we don't, I have peace knowing that God is in control. Pastor Kevin reminded us that we need to continue to pray for our country and our leaders. He also reminded us that we have a voice. We should speak about what we believe   and it should be based on God's Word. We should not be afraid or silent. Today I think about about all of the men and women that died for the freedoms we have today and those still serving our country. We have the freedom to serve our God and to speak about our beliefs so what is stopping us?

I saw this today and wanted to share it...
I will vote for the most pro-life candidate, because God hates the shedding of innocent blood (Prov. 6:17)

I will vote for the most pro-Israel candidate, because God blesses those who bless Israel & curses those who don't (Gen. 12:3)

I will vote for the most pro-debt reduction candidate, because the borrower is servant to the lender (Prov. 22:7)

I will vote for the most pro-work candidate because God says if a man not work, let him not eat. (2Thess. 3:10)

I will vote for the most pro-marriage candidate, because God is for marriage as He defined (Gen. 2:24)

I will vote for the candidate who most closely believes government's purpose is to reward the good & punish the evil (Romans 13).

I will vote based as close as I can on God's Word (2Tim. 3:16) Knowing that whoever gets elected, God is the one who puts all men in authority (Dan. 2:21)

I voted and I am proud of the choice I made.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Making Your Home a Haven Challenge

I am doing a new type of challenge - one that will change the mood in our home. How about you? Come take the challenge with me!
This is from Courtney's blog...

Here’s this week’s challenge:
Go buy an extra large candle and light a candle everyday in your home. I will be starting mine in the morning! But you can start yours at dinner time. Do what makes sense for your family. I will be placing mine in the kitchen – the main hub of my home. Each time the candle catches your eye, say a prayer for peace in your home.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Give Thanks!

I love November! It is neat to see everyone putting on Facebook what they are thankful for each day. But what about when the month is over? Do we still thank Him each day for what he blesses us with? I read Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts last year and I loved how she gave thanks for even the things she didn't like to do - like laundry. How many times do we complain about doing the laundry or cleaning up the house? If we concentrate on the gifts in our life then we can give thanks that we have clothes to wear and we have a washer and dryer to help us get it done. We almost lost our house so I am very thankful that I have a house to clean. After Patrick and I went to the Dominican Republic this summer, we came back and were thankful for so many things that we had taken for granted. So as you give thanks each day this month, I pray that it will become a habit for all of us to give thanks to our Creator each day. Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Stressed-less living

I have started reading the book Stress-less Living: Finding God's Peace in Your Chaotic World by Tracie Miles. I am only on Chapter 6 but it has already made such an impact on me. I wish I had this book years ago. Something that stood out to me today..."No matter how long we have been away, how much we have sinned, or how long we have tried to do life without God, he is always waiting to shower us with the love and peace that he promised." I think back to all the years when I thought I could do it on my own. Well I can tell you that did not work for me. I never had the peace that I longed for and was always looking for something to fill a void in my life. Well God was there all the time just waiting for me to look to him. I can't fix the past and I can't dwell on it but I can remember how I felt and that I don't ever want to feel like that again. Tracie also talks about self-doubt in this chapter. This is something that I struggle with and have asked God to help me. Some days it doesn't take much for me to start asking questions like...Why would God want a relationship with me? Why would he love someone that has disappointed him so many times? Why would anyone want to spend time with me? Those kind of days used to get me down and keep me from doing anything that God would want me to do. That is exactly what Satan wants me to do - stop doing what God has called me to do. He knows that I have a weakness and that I struggle with self-doubt so he pounces on that. John 10:10 says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy". He knows what all of our weaknesses are and will use whatever it takes to pull us away from our God and his purpose for us. I am getting better about fighting those thoughts and questions. I just have to remind myself that God made me and he loves me and wants a relationship with me. He wants me to turn to him during these times and other times of stress and trouble. Only he is able to give me the peace that I long for. The other part of John 10:10 Jesus says, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full". He wants us to be happy and live for him and show others his love and forgiveness. We just can't ever forget that Satan is watching and waiting for any opportunity to stop us.