Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Joy in Giving


If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11

My heart was filled with such joy as I stuffed my shopping cart to overflowing late last week with CHRISTmas gifts for my children. I wanted to get most of my shopping done in one quick trip and I am proud to say, "I SUCCEEDED!"

I came home and went through the gifts. I was delighted by my selections for each of my children knowing how much they would appreciate the choices I'd made. I was so excited that it was hard to hide them away until CHRISTmas day, but I knew the effect would not be the same if I gave them their gifts earlier than intended.

It was in those few minutes of reflection that it hit me how the same is true of our Heavenly Father. He delights in blessing His children. He sits on His throne watching us thinking, "That's my girl!" He's a proud daddy and loves watching our faces light up to the many gifts He gives us. He wants only what is best for us, but sometimes we have to wait for the best appropriate time to receive His gifts. He can't give us everything at once or it won't have the same effect for which it was intended. He says, "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

Sometimes God's gifts for us are obvious: a new life to celebrate, a promotion, restored health. But most of the time His gifts are in the simple things we often take for granted: a smile from a stranger, fall leaves, laughter. James 1:17 says, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

This CHRISTmas season instead of getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of things may we all take time to reflect on the many gifts God has placed into each of our lives.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

O Holy Night



My favorite CHRISTmas song of all time is "O Holy Night" as sung by Martina McBride. For this Then Sings My Soul Saturday, I wanted to share it with you!



Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Thankful Heart

From Homeschool Memoirs: This week, you guessed it, is going to be about having a thankful heart! Yes, of course, we should always be thankful for everything we’re blessed with, but it’s not too often we actually sit and ponder what. This week please join me in writing 27 things you’re thankful (There’s got to be at least 27things!). I picked 27 because this year Thanksgiving is on the 27th of November.
Also, share a Scripture verse for this week!




There is a Veggie Tales song that says, "a thankful heart is a happy heart." It's so true. Regardless of what you have or don't have, if you are really thankful for the things you have been blessed with you will have a happy heart.




Sometimes I feel as though my heart is overflowing with gratefulness. God has been so good to me.




Here are just a very few things that HE has given me for which I am so very thankful:



1. Salvation..... I have three sons and can't imagine sacrificing any of them for anyone let alone mankind who so often spits in His face. Yet God did. Thank you, Father!



2. Jesus... Thank you for loving me enough to go to the cross for me.



3. The Holy Spirit - my comfort and my friend



4. My husband - my best friend, my soul mate, and the half that makes me whole.



5. My daughter, Dacey - you have the biggest heart of anyone I know. I'm so proud of you!



6. My son, Jaden - you can always make me smile. You'll never know how thankful I am for you.



7. My son, Isaac - you give the best hugs! I love your caring personality and how you try to help everyone.



8. My son, Connor - you've brought me such joy! I am so thankful God sent you to us.



9. My parents - for better or worse you've seen me through almost 32 years and I'm thankful for you!



10. Our pets - I am thankful for the companionship and comfort they give.



11. Our church - I am thankful for being in a church where my whole family is taught the Word and how to apply it in our lives. Our pastors and our church family, we love you!



12. Our house - yes, I often complain about the old, drafty thing, but I am thankful that we have shelter and a place that is "home".



13. Tommy's job - they have been good to us through the years and I'm appreciative for that.



14. MY FRIENDS - they have seen me through so much and loved me through it all! I love them like family!



15. My van - it's paid for... HALLELUJAH!



16. Music and my family's love for it - It has brought me such joy in recent months to watch my children begin to have a sincere appreciating and love for music. Watch out, Jo Bros! The Siv Kids are hot on your trail!!



17. Blogs - I love writing and sharing, and I love reading from other peoples hearts. It's therapeutic!



18. The USA - she is still my home and I am still proud of her!



19. A CHRISTIAN heritage that was passed on to me that I can pass on to generations to come!



20. Chocolate - what more needs to be said?



21. Nature - I love flowers, the colors of the rainbow and the sky. I am thankful that God shared His masterful artists skills with us!



22. Children's laughter - it has gotten me through many days!



23. Girls night out! I enjoy spending time with Dacey and am thankful for a husband that allows me to go and entertains the boys while we're away.



24. My children's friends - I am blessed by the kids God has put in our children's lives! They all share a strong love for Christ and are growing together in that.



25. CHRISTmas!!!! I CAN'T WAIT FOR CHRISTmas!!!



26. Our pet therapy ministry - I am so thankful that God has enabled us to share on the level we are able to while being blessed so much ourselves!



27. HIDDEN MICKEY'S !!! You'll have to check out my daughter's blog to understand that one better: SouthernJewel4Jesus.



You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever. Psalm 30:11-12

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sometimes CHRISTmas Makes Me Cry

It's no secret that I am READY FOR CHRISTmas!!! With only five Saturday's to go before the big day, I've decided to share some of my favorite CHRISTmas songs the next few weeks for Then Sings My Soul Saturday!



This song is called "Sometimes CHRISTmas Makes Me Cry." It is performed by Mandisa and Matthew West. It is a beautiful song. I hope you enjoy it!





Thursday, November 20, 2008

Memories in the Stains






I use to be a very particular person. Everything had to be a very specific way, organized, in order, and proper. The least little deviation from my plan made me uncomfortable, unsettled and ultimately unhappy. That was life before I became the mother of four kids.


One of the joys of having four, small children is the unexpected. One of the first things I learned early on is that the best laid plans do not usually go as one would always hope. I can remember planning birthday parties and CHRISTmas's when Dacey was very young and having such high hopes for perfection that I was almost always disappointed when something would go different than I'd wanted it. I remember the kids wanting to play outside but being in good clothes, so I couldn't just let go and let them be kids. They had to look nice for what might happen later. Ten years later I have finally gotten over myself. I have learned that it is the unexpected that most often makes for the happiest moments and best shared memories.


As I've mentioned before, earlier this year when we went to Disney World, Isaac made it a point to be kissed by each of the Disney Princesses. Jaden, on the other hand, had a much different idea of the kisses offered. "THEY HAVE COOTIES!" or "THAT'S GROSS!," he'd proclaim. So as it happened on our last full day at Disney World when Isaac was kissed by Belle, Jaden became totally grossed out. He was quick to wipe the lip prints from Isaac's face using his own shirt to accomplish his purpose. In doing so he left a great big stain on the shirt that he was wearing! We teased Jaden afterwards that he just wanted that kiss for himself.


Not too many years ago I'd have been upset that Jaden had ruined that shirt, but not so anymore. Now every time that Jaden wears that shirt, I smile. I'm reminded of our trip to Disney and all of the memories we made. And I'm reminded of Isaac's last laugh . Not only did he get more Princess kisses that Jaden was not allowed to wipe away, but now each time Jaden wears that old, blue t-shirt, he wears a kiss from Belle too.
So this week I am thankful that not only have I lightened up over the years, but I'm also thankful for the "memories in the stains". I was reminded of our happy stains earlier this week when Isaac ruined a pair of light colored jeans rolling down a hill. While I certainly do want my children to take care of the clothes, I also am really glad that I have chilled out enough that I can just enjoy them just being kids and that even in our mistakes something good can come from it. (The stains/mistakes created the memories.)


I have had other stains in my life. Stains that did not create such good memories. I'm talking about the sins that separated me from God. Of all the things in my life that I am thankful for, I am most thankful for Jesus washing my stains away.


Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18


Thank you, Father, for loving me enough to wash away all my sins. Thank you for maturing me as the years have gone by and helping me to be able to see the happy memories in the stains instead of the mistakes. Thank you for sending Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. Amen.




Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And the awards goes to....

From Homeschool Memoirs: You post the category that best describes each of your family members and write something about why you nominated them in that category, and you’re welcome to post photos.





Dacey is being nominated for "cutest monkey" and "friendliest fairy" because, well, she is! Dacey is always climbing on or getting into something. She is also a social butterfly and makes friends with great ease!



I have nominated Jaden for "class clown" and "best helper." Jaden keeps us in stitches with his crazy antics. He also is always watching out for his baby brother and enjoys helping Connor with things he can't yet do on his own.





Isaac is the best snuggler around. He can most often be found in mine or his daddy's lap. We've also nominated him for biggest flirt as he loves pretty girls. He kissed or was kissed by ALL of the princesses at Disney World!



It is said of Connor that the only reason he is ever still is to figure out what he can get into next. How true that is! He's a character and keeps me going ninety to nothing, but he is also the coolest, cutest tot around!




Tommy is the best husband I could have ever dreamed of or asked for. Yet he is pretty goofy sometimes... which is just one more thing I love about him!













WORD-FILLED WEDNESDAY!

In honor of my anniversary this week:

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

My beloved is mine, and I am his. Song of Solomon 2:16

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. Song of Solomon 8:6-7a





Monday, November 17, 2008

JULIAN DRIVE CONCERT

Last night our church hosted a concert with Christian recording artists, Julian Drive. IT WAS AWESOME!! We left Connor with Nana so that we could enjoy the evening without having to run in and out since Connor still doesn't like sitting still too much. Dacey, Jaden, and Isaac had a great time!! We even got to watch them record a Christmas video for CCM before the concert began.


Here's a pic of the kids with the band:

Here they are worshipping during the concert:


Jaden got a set of drum sticks and even got them autographed by the band:


Dacey was thrilled that after the concert three of the band members ATE AT HER TABLE!!


It was a wonderful evening. It was great to watch the children and youth in unabandoned praise to God. Tommy and I really liked Julian Drive's music and pre-purchased their next CD due out in January. To listen to their music, visit their MYSPACE page here.


















Sunday, November 16, 2008

CHRISTmas Edition of Getting to Know Me


Yes, it's a bit early still, but if you know me, you know how much I LOVE CHRISTmas!! As a matter of fact my Dear God ornament for this year says, "Dear God, I JUST LOVE CHRISTMAS!" My anniversary is tomorrow and then will come Thanksgiving, my birthday, Jaden's birthday, Jesus's birthday, and finish up with Tommy's birthday two days after Christmas! So this is a very busy, exciting, fun and happy time of year at my house. Or as I like to sing, "Tis the season to be broke...fa la la la la..."

I just can't wait until CHRISTmas!


1.Wrapping paper or gift bags?

Wrapping paper. What's the fun of pulling something out of a bag for a kid? Each of our children have their own wrapping paper so they can quickly spot each of their gifts under the tree. I'm sure this year all the wrapping paper will be Disney themed.


2.Real tree or Artificial?

I prefer real, but until the kids are bit older I'll stick with artificial!

3.When do you put up the tree?

the day after Thanksgiving

4. When do you take the tree down?

New Year's Day

5. Do you like eggnog?

Nope

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Cabbage Patch Kid

7. Hardest person to buy for?
this year it is Dacey... she has announced that she is too old for toys, but is still too young for make-up and clothes... I have no idea what I'm going to get her!

8. Easiest person to buy for?
Isaac... he'll just take one of everything, thank you very much!

9. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes, it is rather small, but I bought it one of the first Christmas's after Tommy and I were married and I still put it up every year.


10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail...I LOVE CHRISTMAS CARDS!!!

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
hmmm, I'll have to think on that one!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Oh goodness, I love Christmas movies, but my all time favorites are It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street (the newer one).
I love watching the 25 days of Christmas on Fox Family every year and of course the Christmas movies on Hallmark!

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Over the summer... when you have as many kids as I do and all of their birthdays fall in the three months before Christmas, you have to plan ahead!

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Nope

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Cherry Pie Salad and Pecan Pie

16. Lights on the tree?
LOTS of bright, multi-colored lights

17. Favorite Christmas song?
Oh Holy Night as sung by Martina McBride and Sometimes Christmas Makes Me Cry by Mandisa and Matthew West... both songs move me to tears every time I hear them!

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
it is my preference to be at home... of course we always enjoy eating lunch at Momma's

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's?
Well yeah! I have four small kids... it's a job requirement!

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Star... although Dacey really wants me to buy a Tinkerbell tree topper this year... don't think that's going to happen.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Christmas Eve at Nana's then at home on Christmas morning

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
people who aren't celebrating for the right reason and don't really have the CHRISTmas spirit

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?
our ornaments are very eclectic. each year we each get a new one. this year we've each gotten two new ones... a disney one and a "dear god" one... we have everything from tonka trucks to m&m's to golden retrievers to crosses on our tree and I LOVE IT!!

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?
Turkey and dressing, green bean casserole, broccoli casserole, deviled eggs, rolls

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
Tommy to be recovered from his Christmas Eve-Eve surgery with good results!

***UPDATE:I had so much fun doing this that I quizzed the kids separately with the same questions. None of them read mine or each others answers until after they had done their own. The results were a lot of fun! You can check them out at their blogsites: Southern Jewel, Bibleman, Sharkbait.***

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone!



I really like the many different blogging subjects that different sites host for each day of the week. Today I came upon "Then Sings My Soul Saturday". I have a passion for music. It ministers to me in a way that few things do and I love singing praise to our King. So I decided this would be a great one for me to participate in.

For my first go at this, I decided to share the song Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone by Chris Tomlin. The song Amazing Grace is one that God used many years ago to see me through one of my life's darkest periods. The verse that says "and grace has brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me on" gave me hope and encouragement at a time when not much else could. Chris Tomlin's update on the song has made it even more precious to my heart. "My chains are gone! Hallelujah I have been set free! My God.. My Savior has ransomed me!"

Enjoy!


Friday, November 14, 2008

My Hubby - The Love of My Life

After years of doctors visits, cortisone shots, and physical therapy, it has been determined that the only option left to help ease the pain in my hubby's shoulder is surgery. He is scheduled to have bone spurs removed and a tear in his rotator cuff repaired on December 23rd. The doctor had wanted to do it sooner, but we opted for later so that we could have a couple of paychecks before Tommy's off work for four to eight weeks.

I am very hopeful that this surgery will help relieve his pain once and for all. He has suffered with this shoulder for so many years. The kids can't wait to be able to get in the yard and play ball with their daddy again and to tell you the truth, neither can he.

Our eleventh anniversary is Monday. After eleven years of marriage I can honestly say that I still get twitter-pated at the sight of my man. He was a "good guy" when I married him but has become so much more as the years have passed. Tommy is an on fire, sold out, born again, Holy Ghost filled Christian. He is a loving, attentive husband, and he is a caring, dedicated father. He always goes above and beyond to put my needs and the needs of our children above his own... as is evident in the fact that he has postponed his surgery until their Christmas gifts have been bought and our bills have been paid in advance.

My husband truly is one in a million. I fall more in love with Tommy every single day. I am so thankful that God chose him for me! He is my soul mate, my life partner, my prayer partner, my best friend, and so much more. He really is the half that makes me whole.

I love you, Sweetheart! Happy Anniversary!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wordy Wednesday




To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1





"Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful"





Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Who Ya Gonna Call?

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I were relaxing on the couch when we heard Connor from Jaden and Isaac's room. "Daddy, HELP!" were the only two words Connor said, but he knew they would get fast results. As soon as Tommy heard Connor's summon, he got off of the couch and headed to find him. He quickly located Connor on top of a set of plastic storage drawers. Connor had climbed up there but knew he couldn't get down without falling. There was only one thing to do: call daddy for help and wait for him to get there. He was confident that his request would be answered. He knew when he asked his daddy for help that his daddy wasn't going to let him fall.

So many times when we have a problem or go through a trial, or when we "climb into something" we can't get out of on our own, we run to the phone or email in search of someone who can help us. We look for someone "with skin on" to pat us on the back and assure us that everything will be okay. The truth is though that only God, our Maker and our ABBA FATHER, has the answers for all of our life's drama. He is the only one who knows the beginning from the end and is working all things together for our good.

At the age of two Connor knew who to call to rescue him from his mischief. He didn't ask his brothers or sister. He went straight to the top: his daddy! He knew that even though his brothers and sister love him, in their arms he could fall. But he trusted his daddy and knew that he would be safe in his arms.


Do you trust God enough to know you are safe in His arms too? The next time you find yourself in trouble, who are you gonna call?



You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name..." Psalm 91:14

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mission Minded





One day last week as my ten year old daughter was doing her schoolwork, she told me that she felt God was calling her to be a missionary. I was excited to hear this and questioned her as to what led her to believe that. "Momma," she began, "when we go different places and I see people from different countries and hear them speak in their languages, it really pulls on my heart. I think I'm suppose to go into those countries that aren't allowed to praise God and tell them about Him." Later in the week I made a comment in passing about "one day when Dacey is President...", she was quick to correct me and said, "I'd like to be president, but I think God is leading me somewhere else." At that point my mouth fell open. Hearing her say this with such enthusiasm, passion, and conviction leads me to believe that God may very well be calling Dacey into the ministry. Even now in the things she is learning and doing, I can see where she is being prepared for what she may do later in life.


As I thought about what she said, I began thinking of how badly people in our country need the Lord right now. The state of our nation has declined to the point that we need to be ministering to the people right here as much as we need to be sending missionaries into foreign lands... if not even more. We need to be showing people Jesus and not just with our words, but also in our deeds.



During the past week my children have asked me a lot of questions as they have seen and heard things from friends and in the news. One of the questions was regarding the end of time. I told them that for Christians when Christ returns, it will be very exciting for us, but for people who do not believe it will be very hard for them. We need to be sharing Jesus in our every breath. I believe that Jesus will be returning to rapture His bride very soon and I want to see as many people as possible go with us when He comes. As I told my children, the last thing Jesus commanded we do before He ascended into Heaven was to preach the gospel before his return. We need to be busy telling people that JESUS LOVES THEM and so do we!



My mission minded daughter has taken my words to heart. Her latest blog ended with those words, "God loves you and so do I." She has also asked if we can make a "billboard" to put in front of our house stating "Jesus Loves You." While I'm not sure how to achieve her idea of a billboard in our exceptionally small front yard, we have decided to place a cross on the front of our house.




So today on this thankful Thursday: I am thankful for God opening my daughter's heart to missions and for her truly having a heart that desires to serve. I am thankful to live in a country where we are free to worship as we choose. And I am thankful that as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!





Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28: 19, 20










Wednesday, November 5, 2008

WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY

I've been doing the wordless Wednesday's for the past several weeks, but last week saw on Special K's page the "WORD FILLED Wednesday". Today I thought it was much more important to visit the Word and share the Word than to just share a trivial picture that though is special to me, wouldn't mean anything to any of you. So here is my first Word FILLED Wednesday. You can see more at The 160 Acre Woods. Enjoy!

The purpose of Word filled Wednesday is to share God’s word (no famous quotes or other literature — only the beautiful word of our Father) through photo’s & a Bible verse!


Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26












Monday, November 3, 2008

And counting...

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
2nd Chronicles 7:14