December 27, 2009

Powerful words

A friend forwarded this link to me and I thought it was tremendous.  Absolutely worth sharing.


December 21, 2009

How shall you live?

I wrote about the new book I'm using for my devotional time with the Lord - in addition to my Bible of course. :-)
This morning I spent a glorious hour sitting at the feet of my Lord - figuratively of course, but there is another blog I've been reading that talks about our study time being spent at Jesus' feet as Mary did, instead of being distracted by busy-ness as Martha was... but I digress.
This morning I got up with Steve and had coffee and enjoyed the peace and quiet of a house full of sleeping children while I did my study time. I worked on chapter 3 of my book Faith of our Fathers and it was really amazing.  This chapter focused on the fact that we can not live separate from what we TRULY believe.  That is not to say that we can't make statements about our beliefs and then negate them with actions - that happens ALL the time.  Our government is FULL of people who do this constantly.  Our jobs, stores, churches and homes are full of people who do this regularly.
Be that as it may, it does not negate the fact that what we LIVE is actually showing the truth of what we believe - regardless of what our mouths may say.  And prime example of this is the person who says they are "pro-life" and then votes to support any bills or funding or whatever - that allows abortion.  There is a disconnect between the words and the actions, and we've all heard our parents tell us that actions speak much louder than words.
This is truth at its most basic level.  You live what you believe - your actions are truth more than your words.
I have often told my children a saying that I believe is valid: "Right is right, even if no one is doing it.  Wrong is wrong, even if EVERYONE is doing it."
We must live out our faith and our belief daily. This is how we are called to live in scripture. We are commanded to do what is right, live at peace (as much as it depends on us), love our neighbor better than ourselves.
In this season of Christmas, it is often easy to give or help others because our hearts are full of the "spirit" of Christmas - however, the real Spirit of Christmas is the Holy Spirit of Christ Jesus, our Lord.  He is with us all the time - not just in December.  He has called us to follow Him daily - not just when their are holly decorations.  We are to strive to live our talk - our claim to belong to Jesus - every day of the year.  When we are sick, when we are tired, when we are cranky, when the kids are cranky, when we are at the grocery store or the beach, when we are stressed out, when we are on vacation, when we are entertaining family/friends and when we are struggling - every moment, every breath belongs to the one who paid such an immeasurable price for us.  We are not our own, and we should live to show the world that we are thankful, joyful and overflowing with the love of the Savior.
I know there are days when I just plain don't feel like it, and those days when it seems easier.  God knows this about me, and He meets me where I am.  When I pray and tell Him that I'm sorry for blowing it again - He forgives.  When I ask Him to help me, give me strength, bite my tongue or loosen my tongue, give me courage, or even just put someone in my path that needs a smile - He does.
More and more often I pray that the Lord will show me some small way to be useful for His kingdom, for His purpose, and to bring glory only to Him.  That is why I'm here.  It isn't about me.  It's about living a life that reflects Him and shows His love and provides all praise and honor only for Him who is worthy.
This year I am feeling such joy and peace.  More than I ever have before during this time of year. I feel loved, valued and very blessed.  I pray that each person on the planet will find Jesus and feel His amazing gift of grace & mercy that brings forgiveness and peace.

December 17, 2009

New Study

This week I finished one devotional study titled How Do You Walk the Walk you Talk? and have begun another called Faith of our Fathers.  They are different style books, but I am sure God will use both to grow me according to His plan.
The first was a very practical, verse section study of Ephesians that addresses the obvious questions of how to live what we believe in a practical way.  What we ARE to do and what we are NOT to do as Christians.  It brought out a few things I hadn't considered before, but as I am seeking to live my faith in earnest and sincerity, it was very appropriate.  It was not a list of 'do this' - but more an outline of things we are to strive for in our walk day-to-day.  Challenging.
This new study is going to really stretch my brain.  Looking at the Nicene Creed and why it is important and foundational in Christian life.  I have only just finished the first chapter and questions, but am really seeing that this will be an excellent study for filling a need I've been feeling for more theology/doctrine.
I know that a lot of people shy away from discussing theology/doctrine because they feel that it causes division, but it is a necessary part of faith.  What you believe must be defined and that definition is your theology/doctrine.
I have been a Christian since I was a child, but have never really studying theology or doctrine in a specific and orderly way.  That is neglectful on my part and I'm am working to learn what I can as God allows the time and materials.  Doing my daily study time with the kids - which includes a devotional based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism - has been a step in that direction.  If I can learn along side the kids, it is a blessing for us all.  God is very gracious to want us to grow and learn - regardless of our age.  He meets us where we are... and I am thankful.

December 15, 2009

Busy time

I have been keeping busy.  Of course we have the normal life stuff of schooling, bible study, cooking, cleaning and laundry.
But we had our first snow-day last week on Wednesday that turned out to be such an amazing blessing to me.  All of us were home.  Steve worked from home and A's college classes were all canceled - so we were home together.
The younger kids worked for a while and then I released them to play with their big brother in the snow.  They all had so much fun!  The built a giant snowman in the yard and named him "Big Joe".  The three of them labored for a long while and though he didn't last long (it rained overnight after the snow), I did capture a photo.  If you were level with him - he was taller than our fence.  This photo was taken from up on the porch near the house.

While the kids were busy in the yard, I was busy sewing.  I had some, - okay, I have LOTS - of Christmas fabric in my stash.  So on a whim I decided to whip up some Christmas curtains for the dining room windows.  They are not fancy, but I think they are fun.

I've also managed to finish a quickie Christmas quilt that I started after Thanksgiving.  I had purchased a package of 30 different squares from Keepsake Quilting and just sashed them with a  lovely snowflake fabric.  It is backed in a soft red/green plaid fleece that makes it just right for snuggling on the couch with a book.  J is making good use of it so far.

 
We even managed to get the tree all decorated and are now ready to celebrate the birth of our Savior next week with family and friends. Now if I could just manage to get the Christmas cards mailed out this week....


December 8, 2009

Awesome Christmas Song

I heard this song for the first time last year and this year was thrilled to find a CD from the group who released it "Downhere".  The song is called How Many Kings and I find it really makes a great point if you listen carefully to the words.
This isn't the greatest clip - but it was all I could find at the moment. I hope it blesses someone.

December 5, 2009

Puella, Filia, Femina

I think it was very appropriate that our Latin lesson this week should include the words for "girl, daughter, woman".  Yesterday was J's 12th birthday!  She is moving from a girl to a woman, though she will forever remain a daughter. :-)
She had a marvelous day.  By planning ahead - and showing a level of maturity and work ethic which made her mother proud - she had only a Latin lesson and piano practice to do for school work on Friday. We had our normal home school swim time at the Y and she and B with their friend N & K, had the pool all to themselves for an hour.  It was very nice.
After a quick lunch at our newly opened Burger King - not something we do very often anymore - we did a quick errand and then on to her Keepers at Home class-time with her friends for more Christmas Card creativity.  We brought brownies to share and they all had a grand time.  She has decided she really enjoys this rubber stamping and heat embossing and would like to start acquiring some of her own supplies.  She has made some beautiful cards to share with family and friends for Christmas this year.

For dinner she chose CJ's (formerly Cactus Jack's) in Manchester.  We have not been eating out as much as we have in the past, so it made it a special treat to be able to go out to celebrate her birthday.  She opened gifts before the meal and a woman from the table next to us offered to take a family photo - not terribly flattering - but it's unusual for us ALL to be in a photo together.

Her favorite gift was her most meaningful one.  Steve & I bought her a purity ring to wear.  She helped to choose it after our 'girl's weekend' away -  significant because she had made some important decisions about how she wants to live in obedience to Christ.  It is very lovely and she is so proud and happy to wear it.


It was a marvelous day.  I am a blessed femina with my darling filia who brings me great joy!

December 1, 2009

December!

December 1st!  Woohoo!  I have a love/not-quite-like relationship with the month of December as I've gotten older.  I love it - it's Christmastime!  I love it - my daughter has a birthday in just a few days! Not-quite-like... shopping! Wrapping! Cleaning! Planning!
Well... it isn't that I don't like to shop generally - well, ok, I don't really like it that much.   The really hard part for me is that I am one of those people who really wants the gift to be special, personal, have meaning, etc.  I am not one of those that can just buy a gift card and be good.  Add to it that my Mom's birthday is Christmas Day, and my daughter has her birthday just 3 weeks before Christmas.  Makes for lots of shopping that requires major thought and planning - and at this point in the year, I don't always have the brain cell firing for that much creativity.  But I am trying!
I am also trying to "get Christmas feeling" flowing in my heart.  I am listening to Christmas music on XM radio, I am sewing on a Christmas quilt, Steve and I began hanging outdoor lights over the weekend, and I am working up to the big "drag out all the decorations and put up the tree" day.
One big difference that has become more noticeable is that we are working to focus more on the true meaning of this special time.  That God gave the world the ultimate gift - Jesus - to die for our sins and save us for eternity.  God is definitely no slouch in the meaningful gift department!  Daily now I find myself looking at things, even the small things, as gifts from above.  Gifts I don't deserve, though that is part of the definition of a gift anyway, but gifts for which I am thankful.
How often does something small happen and we just pass it by without offering a prayer of thanksgiving.  You found a good parking spot.  The store had just one more gallon of the kind of milk you prefer to buy.  The doctor's office had an opening the same day you called - at a time that was convenient!  You found part of your school curriculum for next year - for a song.  A friend you haven't heard from in a while sent an email.  You heard a message preached that touched you.  Your children cleaned the kitchen without being asked. (Yes - that happened here yesterday!) 
All these are reasons to praise God for his bountiful blessings.  Each breath I draw is a gift.  Each day I have to do laundry, go grocery shopping, sweep up the dog hair.... all are blessings in disguise.  We have clothes to wear, I have a washer/dryer that work and we can pay the bills to keep everything running, we have food to eat and can afford to buy more,  we have two crazy dogs that we love, that keep us company and love us.  I suppose it's all about perspective.
Back to my "not-quite-like" list... if I change my perspective.... hmmm.... I have a home to clean, I have people I love to share Christmas with and a chance to bring them joy, we have the means for some gift giving, I have a brain to use!  See!  Blessings!
Thank you Lord.