December 18, 2014

A Sad Goodbye

10 years ago this month we brought Grace home from the ARL shelter.  She was a unique cat, beautifully fluffy and petite and though shy at first, obviously a people oriented cat that had chosen our family to be her own.
Grace's first Christmas with us - 2004
Today she went to wherever it is that good pets go when they pass on from this life.  I like to think that there is a special place in heaven for our animals, though scripture doesn't speak to that specifically.  I trust that the one who loved me enough to let me enjoy Grace's company in this life will possibly allow me to see her again at some point.... God is good all the time and He comforts those who mourn.  A promise for which I am very thankful today.

Grace will be missed dreadfully... our hoity-toity beautiful fur-baby.



I'm thankful for my dear daughter who came with me this morning to the vet and to our awesome vet Dr. Nancy who was so kind during a very difficult morning.

December 17, 2014

Almost Ready

Happy Almost Merry Christmas - less than a week to go!

This is our new Christmas tree.  We bought a pre-lit one this year and are happy with the fact that that we didn't have to fight with light strings and all that this year.  We did have a minor kitten mishap where Fender ate through one strand on the tree 2 days after we set it up, but thankfully Steve is handy and was able to strip out the bad section and re-wire so it all works again. Yay!

I'm way ahead of myself this year with all shopping done and all but 2 gifts wrapped - even the stocking stuffers are bought & wrapped already!  This never happens and I'm not sure what I did that God has so thoroughly blessed this year in these areas.  I'm beyond thankful for this gracious gift of not stressing about these things.


I managed to finish two special projects and it's killing me to not post photos.  Sometimes being done ahead is a nuisance when you really want to share. :-)

Today I did the first of my holiday baking things and had a minor mishap getting the cake out of the pan.  Thankfully there is a nice glaze that goes over the top and it'll be sliced onto a platter to go to work with Steve tomorrow.  So no one will notice a few cracks and given that it is a rum cake that I only ever make for Christmas, I doubt anyone would care anyway.  Win-win!

Tomorrow and Friday I'll do a few batches of various other yummy goodies to send a platter to youth group with B for the Christmas party on Friday evening.  Then I'll be making a batch of cinnamon rolls on Saturday for our church Christmas breakfast on Sunday morning.  This is our first Christmas at this church and I'm feeling very blessed to be able to offer to do something useful to share.  

Enjoy the last week... be kind to yourself and don't stress!  Things will get done or they won't... but none of it impacts the true love and gracious gift we've already received - Jesus!

Blessings,

December 3, 2014

Another Birthday - My Amazing Daughter

It seems just a few days ago that I hit publish on this post for her last birthday, and now here we are again and the year has flown!

How can it be that my girl is already 17!

She is the best and I could not be more proud of the amazing young woman she has become.  God has so richly blessed our family to have her as our own.


She has an awesome sense of humor and is a loyal fan of Dr. Who.


She shares important events with her brother and is a great friend to him.
They laugh a lot and are always there for each other.



She is really smart, beautiful, caring, quick witted and sometimes sarcastic, kind, loving,
thoughtful, talented in more ways than I can count, works hard, dreams big, and loves Jesus,
her family, and her orange cat (hopefully in that order!).

Every day I am thankful that God gave me this wonderful person and I'm honored to be her mom. 

Happy Birthday Jess!  I love you more than you can know and I continue to be amazed by your gifts and your joy in life.  Follow Jesus and dream of great things because God has big plans for you my girl!

With all my love always,
Mom



November 26, 2014

Chapter 12 Lines



Chapter 12:  Normal at Last: Heaven

"All their life in this world... had only been the cover and title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before." ~C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle

p 225  No word in the English language moves the human heart in quite the same way as the word 'home'. Jesus recognizes that the deepest yearnings of the human heart - to belong, to be safe, to be prized - are really a yearning for heaven.  When we get there, it will not seem strange to us.  When we get there, we will say, "This is home."

My notes:  This chapter focused extensively on what the bible actually says about heaven  - most specifically from Revelation and John's vision of the throne room, Jesus, etc.   It also talks a bit about the fact that many of us have a seriously distorted view of heaven based on opinions and fantasy instead of what Scripture teaches.

This book was challenging in many ways and provided a lot of food for thought.  As a person who struggles seriously with what I term ' an over-developed sense of justice' coupled with a very low threshold for lack of common sense, the commands in scripture to love & forgive are some of the hardest ones for me to obey cheerfully, and completely.  I have been greatly encouraged by parts of this book as well though because it has afforded me the chance to see areas where God is growing me and changing my heart.  These things are always exciting to me.

I would absolutely recommend reading this book thoughtfully and honestly looking at how it speaks to your individual situation in conjunction with God's heart for forgiveness.

Blessings on the journey~

November 24, 2014

Chapter 11 Lines


Chapter 11: The Secret of a Loving Heart: Gratitude

p 205 The ability to assign value is one of the rarest and most precious gifts in the world.

p 213  The one who is forgiven much loves much.  The one who is forgiven little loves little.

p 213 (Here we are at the end of the retelling paraphrase of the story in Luke 7:36-50)  
There is a great sin defiling this room. It is the sin of lips that won't kiss, knees that won'd bed, eyes that will not weep, hands that will not serve, perfume that will never leave the jar.  It is the sin of a heart that will not break, a life that will not change, a soul that will not love.  The greatest command is the command to love.  The greatest sin is refusal to obey the greatest command.

p 214  We complicate our faith and lives in many ways, but at the core, our purpose is simple: we are called to love.

p 217 The ability to assign value is one of the rarest and greatest gifts in the world.
So value what God values. There is an ancient story about a poor traveler who is amazed by the welcome he receives at a monastery. He is served a lavish meal, escorted to their finest room, and given a new set of clothes to replace the rags he arrived in.  Before leaving, he commented to the abbot on how well he was treated.  Yes, the abbot said, we always treat our guests as if they are angels - just to be on the safe side.

November 21, 2014

Chapter 10 Lines


***my note: I found this chapter challenging because my personal experience has been that the church at large - (not all - but many) - seem to be far from Jesus' heart of community and love in how they operate on a usual basis.  

Chapter 10: Breaking down barriers: Inclusion

p 186 There are few joys in life like being wanted, chosen, embraced.  There are few pains like being excluded, rejected, left out.  At the core of Christian community is the choice, in the words of Miroslav Volf's great book* on the subject, between exclusion and embrace.

p 195 Jesus is the greatest bridger the world has ever seen.  When the church understood his heart, it became a community like nothing else the world has ever seen.

p 201  ... ultimately, the choice everyone faces is the choice between hope and despair.  Jesus says, "Choose hope."

p 202-203  The most desirable society in the universe turns out also to be the humblest and the least exclusive.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are determined that the circle of love they share from all eternity should be ceaselessly, shamelessly inclusive.  It is not full yet.  They invite all who will to join them. No one is left out except those who refuse to enter.



*Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996

November 5, 2014

Reminders from Scripture

Downtown Temple, NH - photo credit: Steve Wolfe
While walking with my husband we were talking about the struggle we have had to discover the place God would have our family be to worship and become a part of the local body of Christ -namely a church home.  This has been ongoing for months now.  Steve described our disheartened state as 'being in a spiritual funk', which I (sadly) found pretty accurate.
We are slowly feeling the fog lift as God is showing us things and we are stepping seriously outside of our comfort zone in some areas to be obedient to what we believe God wants for us.  It is not easy, but nothing says that any of this life is supposed to be easy.  What we are promised is that God will be with us on the journey and give us all that is needed to take each step with Him as our guide.


I am blessed to have access to a marvelous software program for Bible study, devotional helps, etc. from Logos.com, and have just completed a 5-day reading plan about spiritual growth that has been really good.  For the 4th day, I read three pieces of scripture that struck a deep chord because they give a picture of what God's heart is for His church.

Psalm 133:1-3

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!  It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron's beard, down upon the collar of his robes.  It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

Acts 2:42-47

They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.  And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

John 13:35

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

Blessings on the journey~