Friday, December 31, 2010

Bringing in the New Year with Passion

Tomorrow we'll be heading to Atlanta GA to be part of Passion 2011.  If you've never heard of it you are missing out.  Louie Giglio, Chris Tomlin, Beth Moore, David Crowder Band, and more...Wow, it's an awesome time.  It's designed for college students 18-26 and if you're older you can participate by volunteering (as we'll be doing).

What better way to ring in the new year than serving our Lord and these students.  There will be over 20,000 of them. These young adults are our future.  We have to show them Jesus in a way that they'll hear Him.  It's not like my grandma learned about Him.  Jesus never changes.  He remains the same.  But the way the message is delivered (technologically speaking) has to match the culture.

I know of a lot of people who'd disagree with that statement.  And that's OK.  But really, would you go door to door on a college campus handing out cute Jesus tracks and expect to get somewhere?  NO!  They'd laugh you right out the door.  But if you go in with a concert or free dinner or something else that appeals to college kids and you introduce Jesus to them they're more likely to listen.  Especially if the deliever of the message is their age or can relate to them on their level.

So, that is what this weekend is all about.  Showing Jesus to these students.  Serving them.  Going out of our way to be a light in their darkness.  Empowering them.  Encouraging them.  And in return we have the satisfaction of knowing that we made a difference in this generation.  Please join with me in prayer for the event.  The leaders, volunteers, students, the venue, the hotels, and the people whose lives are touched just by seeing what is going on.  That would be the CNN center workers, security for the venues, hotel owners, the homeless people, and anyone else that may be touched.

'Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.'  1 Peter 4:10

I hope everyone has a happy New Year.  On Monday, I'll be guest posting over at Living a Changed Life.  Check it out.  I'll also post it here too as I'll be down in the depths of the Georgia World Congress Center serving students!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Same Ol', Same Ol'

The title today is Beltonian for 'I make the same New Year goal every year to lose weight and get healthier, but blow it by Jan. 2'.  Yep...every year.  And I know a lot of other ladies who do the same.  Well, this year it can be different. 

Lysa TerKeurst co-founder of Proverbs 31 has written a new book entitled "Made to Crave".  It's gonna be awesome.  You can click on the link above to see it for yourself.  I know that God loves you just as you are.  It doesn't matter what you look like.  And I totally agree.  Thank God for that!  But what if your relationship with food overshadows your relationship with God?  Is that what He wants for your life?  I think not.

So pick up the book and a cup of coffee.  Read it.  Pray about it.  Seek Him.  Then head over to Melissa Taylor's blog January 17 at and join her and over 850 other ladies in the 6 week study on Made to Crave.  I think it'll change your life and your way of looking, thinking, obssessing about food!
I'll be there and I'm praying that my love/hate relationship with food and scales and all that goes with it will be history.  I can let that bondage go and move on with my relationship with my God.  Join me?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Winding Road of Encouragement

As you probably know by now I've been doing Beth Moore's 90 day journey with Paul and I am making progress.  90 days may take me more like 120 or something, but that's OK...that's where God's grace comes in.  He loves me even when I miss a day.  It's me that suffers and misses out on a blessing or encouragement if I skip a day.

Anyway, today we were in Acts 14:21-22 when Paul and Barnabas are in Derbe, but to get there they had to backtrack through several places. 
'They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.'  Acts 14: 21-22
Places where they had barely escaped being stoned, Paul had been stoned, and another where they were persecuted and expelled.  Which leads to the question of why in the world would they do that?  Were they just out for punishment?  Crazy? 

I think that they loved Jesus so much and wanted other converts to have the same kind of love for Him that they did.  They went back to encourage the new believers to stand firm and not be swayed or scared by the hardships that may come their way.  They wanted to show them that He was worth anything that happened due to their belief in Him. 

'In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.'  John 16:33

I'm sure that the new believers in the cities they revisited were glad that Paul and Barnabas came back.  I think it reaffirmed what they had originally been taught.  If He wasn't everything Paul said He was, then why in the world would he have risked his life just to come by and encourage them?  Doesn't that make you think about what new believers in our time see when they look at our lives?  If we say that we trust God completely but then we fall apart at the seams when the stock market takes a tumble or the price of gas goes up what is that showing them?  What is it saying about our trust in Him?

Not too much I'd venture to say.  Sometimes actions speak louder than words.  So  make sure that your actions are following your words.  We are the light of the world, through Him, and I know I want to be a good ambassador of the torch I've been entrusted with!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuesday's Unwrapped

Today I want to take the time to unwrap the concept of the 'New Year'.  What is it about the start of a new year that has everyone scrambling around making promises to theirselves that they won't keep?  From a diet to a new job or having a better attitude...there are all kinds of resolutions being made.

I usually don't make a New Year's resolution because I know I won't keep it.  I never have and probably never will keep the " I am going to eat healthy everyday and exercise four times a week" one.  But this year I am making a commitment to study the Word and seek my God daily no matter what.  No matter what distractions come my way or how many times I fail I will keep striving towards my goal.

I think that is a worthy resolution.  One that is vital in my life.  Sure exercise is important and we all need to eat a little healthier, but God is so much more than that.  His place in my life is a must.  He restores my sanity!
One of my fellow bloggers is seeking to memorize the book of James (yes, the entire book) this year.  I'm thinking to give it a go too!  Scripture memorization is something we are instructed to do:

“Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live."  Proverbs 4:4

As I said yesterday, no matter if you make a resolution this year or not, seek to place Him at the forefront of everything you do in the coming year.  He deserves it and you will be better for it!
Happy Tuesday...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Manic-I mean Marvelous-Monday

Oh the dreaded Monday...and the one after Christmas no less.  I called it Manic Monday because that is what I feel when I look at the disaster that is my house.  It looks like Christmas blew threw here and left pieces of itself everywhere.  I'm not brave enough to post a picture!

We had an awesome Christmas at any rate and I hope you all did too.  I have to say that I thought I'd bought less for my kids this year, but judging from the stuff that is blocking my path I think I just kidded myself.  But I am putting in writing right now...Next year I will not buy toys with small parts that need assembled and I will not buy so much stuff. 

The new year is upon us and everyone seems to be talking about what is going to be different for them 'this year.'  I can tell you that for me I want to house and my life.  I want to get rid of some stuff so we can walk easily and not have to move stuff around just to get to the stove so I can cook dinner.  I also want to apply the same to my spiritual walk.  I want to declutter everything else going on around me so I can see Him.  I want to see what He has in store for me.  I can't see clearly when I'm carrying all of my junk with me.

What's your resolution for the new year?  To lose weight?  Get out of debt?  Eat healthier and exercise?  Whatever they may be make sure you put Jesus in the mix too.  Make Him part of your new year whether it be starting a bible study or just having a quiet time with Him...anything that puts Him in the center of your life!

Enjoy a few Christmas pics of my boys...
Charlie chewing on one of his Christmas presents

Just what Sam wanted....GUM!

That is pure Zach excitement (my hubby and his sis in background) and Mama's biggest nightmare...the small parts!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry CHRISTmas

'Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.'
Luke 2:11

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Unwrapping Christmas Love

It's the final installment of Unwrapping Christmas over at Faith Barista so pop over and take a peek at the discoveries you'll find there.  As for me, my final installment has led to the greatest of these:  Love (1 Cor. 13:13). 

It was His love that brought Him to our world over 2000 years ago.  It was His love for me...for you...for all of us.  His love that nailed His hands and feet to the cross all those years ago.  For my sin...your sin...their sin.  His love for a broken, lost world.  His desire to see all of humanity saved from the wrath of His Father to come. 

'The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.'  2 Peter 3:9

His gift to us this Christmas, every Christmas, is His love.  Unconditional.  Forgiving.  Merciful.  Grace-filled love.  Without it I would be lost.  Without I would be NOTHING.  Oh but with Him I am EVERYTHING.  I am forgiven.  My eternity with Him is sealed.  He is my friend, deliever, sustainer, Daddy. 

He is my gift.  He is my prize.  Together we are unstoppable.  Nothing can separate us.  His love is unfathomable and I am the grateful, humble recipient of the best gift ever given...  So Happy Birthday My Jesus!  And thank You for all You've done for me...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Know Jesus, Know Christmas

Isaiah 9:6
Without His birth there would be no cross.  Without the cross there would be no reconciliation.  Without reconciliation we would be lost.  Lost and wandering.  Searching and waiting for a Savior.  Just like the world was over 2000 years ago.

But blessed be to God that He loved me enough to send His Son...His one and only Son...into this cold, dark ,and dreary world.  He sent Him to save me.  To redeem me by the blood of His one and only Son.  Me.  And you.  And oh what a gift!  None other can EVER compare.

He is better than silver or gold.  Diamonds or mansions.  He is mine and I am His.  Forever.  Together.  He and I...and you too if you so desire.  He is waiting.  Waiting to be known for who He is.  What He can do for you.  He came to set us free.  Free from sin...fear...anxiety...worry...bondage...ourselves.

He came to this earth as a baby.  He left it as a man.  He will return to it as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and every knee shall bow and  tongue proclaim that He is...Have you accepted the ultimate gift?  I have and I am eagerly awaiting Him...

This blog was written in response to Rachel Olsen's Devotional Carnival and Internet Cafe Devotions

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday's Unwrapped

We shared a beautiful night of community with our church family on Sunday night.  We started out by carolling and then our pastor and his wife invited us all to their home for games and refreshments.  We had a blast!  As I've thought back on the evening I wondered if that is what the New Testament church in Acts was like.  And that's where I want to pick up this Tuesday unwrapped... 

'All the believers were together and had everything in common.  They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who 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.'  Acts 2:44-47

They were in essence a community.  And of course, you know me, I looked up the definition of community and this is what I found:

Community:  a unified body of individuals or a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society.

Isn't that what we (as well as the Acts church) are as Christians?  A community.  A unified group.  All loving the Lord and looking forward to our heavenly home.  All working together towared the goal of furthering His kingdom for eternity.  I am so thankful for my church community and for others I call part of my community.  I think He meant for us to function together as a whole not as each one doing his/her own thing.  Together we can get something done.  Together we can make change happen in our larger community.  Together we can show others in our community the love of Christ.

Are you thankful for the community that God has placed you in?  Are you involved in it?  If not, step out and make an effort to be a functioning part.  It can make all the difference in your life...and maybe in someone else's also.  Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Marvelous Monday

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere you's almost here!  My kids are so excited!  Thankful that we're keeping the reason for the season at the forefront this year!

On this marvelous Monday I am thankful for the opportunity to take our Sam to the Shriner's Hospital in Greenville, SC.  It almost closed its doors last year due to the economy failing, but I am thankful that people stood up for our children and as of today it's still open.

It is a blessing to us to have a clinic where we can take Sam that has so much experience with Cerebral Palsy.  Although they really just look at him at this point I am glad that it's there for his future needs. 

I am also glad to have my oldest out of school for two weeks.  He'll being going to his Aunt Lana's tomorrow until Friday, but we are glad to share the blessing of him with her as he meant so much in the weeks after Mimi passed away!  He's excited and has a list of all he wants to do...go to the zoo, play with her cat, and eat shrimp!  Too cute!

Hope everyone has a blessed Monday as it leads up to Christmas day.  Remember that Jesus is the greatest gift of all!  Share His love with someone else today through your testimony or your actions!

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  Luke 19:10

Friday, December 17, 2010

Season of Suffering: A glimpse into the journey of Paul (and us)

I've been doing Beth Moore's Paul 90 Days on His Journey of Faith devotional every morning (OK, so almost every morning) and today's was entitled Season of Suffering.  It doesn't sound very enticing or like something that we want to read about, but it is truth.  Paul suffered for Christ more than any one person should be allowed to, but he was glad to fellowship with Christ in his sufferings.  He was beaten, shipwrecked, lost at sea, stoned, hated by Jews and Gentiles alike, hungry, thirsty, cold, alone...and so on.  (2 Corinthians 11: 23-27)

He got it.  Paul grasped what it was to really live for Christ.  He knew what was on this earth was temporal and he was living, striving for his heavenly reward.  He knew that when he got to see his Jesus face to face that every single trial would be worth it.  Just read his writings.  He shows us his heart over and over.  He was a willing servant.  He took what came to him with grace and perseverance.

Don't you want the same to be said of you?  I know I do.  Do I want trials or sufferings?  NO!  I like life to be easy and carefree.  Is it?  Absolutely not!  I can make a list right now of all that is 'wrong' with my life and it would be insignificant compared to many of yours.  But we have been called, as Christians, to live our life in faith and obedience to Him.  If He puts a trial in our life it is for our own good.  To refine us as pure gold is refined by fire.  To draw us closer to Him and let us know that we are 100% dependent on Him and Him alone.

So if you are in the midst of a trial today remember that He is on His throne.  You are His child and He loves you.  Nothing that has come to you that hasn't passed through His hands first.  He is giving you the opportunity to show your faith in Him.  He is allowing you the privilege of seeing Him 'work all things for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose.' (Romans 8:28)
Just rest...'be still and know that I am God.'  (Psalm 46:10)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Unwrapping Christmas Joy

It's Thursday Jam time over at Faith Barista so get your cup of coffee and head over at take a look at the other posts for today!  Today's topic is 'Unwrapping your Jesus discoveries' so far this Christmas season.  I've been keeping my eyes open and my heart tuned in to what Christ is doing all around me this Christmas.  There've been several things I've seen and my heart has been touched by so far, but the one that has taken the cake occurred yesterday afternoon...

I work at an Endoscopy center with four physicians.  They are great to work for and our office collects money and buys them a gift each year to show our appreciation to them.  We've bought things from pen holders of a man on a toilet (we do colonoscopies to) to making them a sports team throw.  But this year we decided to do something different.  We sponsored a little boy's Christmas at the local children's group home, the Calvary Home for Children.  We collected enough money to buy him a Nintendo DS with 3 games and a new outfit, tennis shoes, and a stocking filled with goodies.

This is what the Christmas spirit is all about.  People coming together and pooling their resources to make a difference in a child's life.  This boy was taken away from his parents due to a very bad home situation.  He was taken from school and arrived at the group home with only his backpack.  God pieced the timing of the events together so that we would have the opportunity to put joy in this little boy's heart this Christmas.  Our doctor's didn't need a thing that we could give them, but the irreplaceable joy that will be this child's on Christmas morning is priceless.

This is what Christ wants from His followers at Christmas (and any time).  He wants us to be His hands and feet.  His desire is for us to bless others with our resources and to be a light for Him to this generation.  Because someone else sacrificed a meal out for lunch one day a child will experience Christmas joy this year.  He'll know that someone cares about him.  It may even open his heart to Jesus and how much He cares for him. 

So look around you this season.  Who could benefit from a small sacrifice on your part?  Who could you share a little Christmas joy with?

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  Matthew 25:40

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Today is the day that my post about Sam is running over at Incourage so hop over and take a peek!

Our Sam...

Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.  Psalm 127:3

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday's Unwrapped

Incourage is having their December devotional carnival today so pop over and take a look.  Don't forget to take a peek at my devotional that will be posted there tomorrow under Daily Guests!

What is the best gift you've EVER gotten on Christmas?  I can't think of just one that really stands out.  I've racked my brain, but I just can't put my finger on the 'best' one.  Some people can name it off without even thinking about it.  Not me.  Was I just spoiled?  Probably.  I like to think it's the fact that I can't seem to remember anything.

After giving this question some thought I realized that the best gift was the same for everyone--Jesus!  His birth was the greatest gift this world has ever seen.  Most don't realize it and won't until it's too late, but for those of us who DO know it--WOW!  How humbling a thought that the God of this universe would take on the form of man in order to die on the cross some 30 years later for the sin of all humanity.  What a gift.  No gift can beat that. 

The question we need to ask ourselves is what do we do with this gift?  Do we keep it wrapped up and hidden in our hearts just for ourself?  Or do we open it up and share it with everyone we can?  I think the latter.  Don't keep Him hidden.  Let your life be a testament of the gift you've been given.  I mean, really, it's eternal life!  Forever in His presence.  It's salvation from not only the darkness in this world, but also of self.

So unwrap a little Jesus today and share it with those around you.  Don't keep the best gift of all hidden away.

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.  John 10:28

Monday, December 13, 2010

Marvelous Monday

Ah, Monday...again!  The days just seem to fly by!  I guess the saying that time goes faster the older you get is true because my 6 year old thinks that Christmas is taking FOREVER to get here.  It seems like we were just at the beach a few days ago...and that was 6 months ago.

That brings me to our Marvelous Monday topic...time.  He established time.  He gives us time every day that we are alive here on this earth.  But for what?  To spend it chasing after temporal things?  To build up our wealth and success?  To spend time with our family and friends?  For most of us that is what we are spending our time doing. Seeing what we can gain for ourselves.

But is that how He wants us to spend the gift of time He's given to us?  I don't think so!  We were created for a relationship with Him.  We were created to glorify Him.  A relationship takes time and work.  We have to be in the Word and talk with our Father daily to have a relationship with Him.  To glorify Him we have to know Him.  We can't do that if we're running around like chickens trying to gain earthly pleasures for ourselves.

On this Monday that He has given to us may we be ever mindful of what our purpose is here:  To glorify Him and to have a relationship with Him.  Let's make an effort to spend our time wisely getting to know our Savior and what He would have us to be doing for Him.

 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."  Matthew 6:19-20  

Don't forget I'll be a Daily Guest over at Incourage on Wed. December 15!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Unwrapping Christmas Hope

It's Thursday and time for another Faith Barista Jam!  The topic for this week is my hopes for Christmas.

As a parent, my hope this Christmas is that my children will realize that it's not ALL about them and what they want.  Of course I want them to have a great holiday with all the fun it brings...lights, Santa's magic (yes, I said the S word), candy canes, eating way too much....but I want them to really KNOW that Jesus is why we celebrate Christmas.  He is the reason for the gifts and the celebration.  Without His coming to earth as a baby we'd have no hope for eternal life...

As I pondered Christmas hope, I had the thought to look up the definition of the word.  According to good ole Webster HOPE is defined as:

to desire with expectation of obtainment or to expect with confidence

Hmmmm....'expectation of obtainment'....that's a good one!  We expect that we are going to obtain what we wish for this Christmas...a realization that Jesus is the central character in the drama that unfolds this time of year.  We expect with confidence that He is going to make Himself real to us and our family by His Spirit until we see Him face to face...ah the Blessed Hope!

So at our house this year we plan to unwrap a little Christmas Hope...something that we can hold onto all year long...all eternity long.  How about yours?

'It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,  while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ... '            Titus 2:12-13

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Memories

We had our office Christmas party today...we had more "balls" and dips than you can imagine...sausage dip, spinach dip, guacamole dip, cheese ball, veggie ball, sausage ball, meatballs, and the infamous orange ball (made by yours truly)...

As I was making the orange balls last night the smells took me back to my childhood.  My GeeGee and I used to make them every year.  We'd sit at her kitchen table and get out the ingredients and put our hands in the orange goo, mix, pat, roll, and eat--I mean, put in the storage container!  What a great memory...she'll be so proud that I did remember something.  She always says that she tried so hard to create memories with us, but we didn't remember anything.  That's usually true, but I do remember making orange balls...and cracking pecans!

I can't express how important it is to make memories with our children that they will remember in their adult years.  Even if they don't remember most of them there's bound to be at least one or two that'll stick with them.  But the most important thing we can teach our kid's about is our Jesus...remember that this holiday season...

The infamous orange balls (minus the coconut)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday's Unwrapped

What a cold Tuesday....winter is here!!  On this Tuesday Unwrapped I just want to take a quick minute and share a little from my bible study this morning.  I'm doing the 90 journey of the life of Paul by Beth Moore.  Today we made it to where Paul was blinded on the road to Damascus.  In search of Christians to persecute.  He was stopped dead in his tracks and a blindness overtook him.  He was completely helpless.  Couldn't see.  Didn't know what in the world had just happened to him...

Has God ever just knocked you right off your donkey?  Just slapped you upside the head and said, "LOOK!"  Paul thought that what he believed in was right.  He was sure he was doing everyone a favor by getting rid of the Christians...but God had other plans for Him.  What about us?  What about the things that we are so sure that we are doing right?  What if the path we've chosen seems like the right one, but God has other plans for us? 

Are we willing to sit up and take notice when He upsets our little world?  Are we willing to search His Word and spend time with Him to find out exactly what His plan for our life is?  When you get knocked off your donkey (as Beth says) get up, dust off your traveling robe, and take notice of what He is trying to tell you!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Marvelous Monday

It's here again...Monday.  My marvelous tidbit for this cold Monday is a little definition to get your minds unthawed! 

Ambassador:  an authorized messenger or representative. 

The beloved apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 6:19-20:

'Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,  for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.' 

So what does that mean for us on this Monday centuries later?  The same thing it meant for him as he sat in a jail in chains for His Jesus- we are HIS ambassadors.  We are His messengers to our co-workers, friends, or the clerk at the grocery store.  We are His earthly representativeses of His goodness and mercy.  It is our choice.  We can be good ambassadors or we can be bad ones.  We can show Jesus to others by our lives and our actions.  Or we can hide Him in our house and bring Him out to church on Sunday.

I choose to show Him to everyone I come in contact with.  He is my God, my Savior, my All and I will not be ashamed of Him or His Word.  I will 'declare it fearlessly, as I should.'

Our Zach declaring his love for His Jesus by serving others!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Fun

I am so excited.  The Christmas celebrations are gearing up for this weekend!  So I thought to give a run-down of what we're case anyone is looking for something to do!

To start things off, we'll be traveling to Greenwood (my old college town) to the Connie Maxwell Children's Home to enjoy the Christmas celebration.  They are their own little community and they are decked out in Christmas lights.  They also have a live nativity, singing, horse-drawn carriage rides, and so much more.  It runs tonight and Saturday night from 6-830pm. 

Tomorrow from 1-6pm we are heading to Pendleton to Timm's Mill for the annual Christmas party.  There will be milling (grits/cornmeal), grits/cider, Tugaloo Holler (blue grass band), horse back riding, and more.  This is always a great time!  One of the doctor's I work for, Dr. David Wortham, owns the mill and puts on a grand affair!  Just click on the link above for directions.

Lastly, on Sunday at 2:00pm, we'll be heading over to the Hospice House in Anderson for the tree lighting ceremony.  We've purchased a ribbon in Mimi's name as well as an inscribed bell.  Bittersweet, but we want our kid's to remember her and all she meant to us!

And I almost forgot!  Zach will be going with his Royal Rangers group from church to ring the Salvation Army bell at the Central Walmart from 2-4pm!  What a great opportunity to teach our kid's it's not all about them this Christmas!  They'll also be invading the toy department to shop for their 'Angel Child' they've adopted this year!  He is looking forward to a great time!

Get out and do something with your family this weekend!  The things I've listed are free of charge and should be a good time for all!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Unwrapping Christmas

It's hard to believe it's that time of year already, but ready or not here it is!  Bonnie over at Faith Barista has kicked off a Thursday jam today and the topic is 'your hopes for Christmas' this year.

I can honestly say that my hope for Christmas this year is rediscovery.  Rediscovery is defined as:
the act, process, or an instance of discovering (something) again.  I love that.  Discovering something again...what is your something this year?

I want to rediscover the basic's of Christmas.  The real meaning we even celebrate the holiday...JESUS.  It is His birth into this world and His eventual redemption of a people for Himself that is celebrated.  Without the birth there would have been no hope for me or you.

I want to rediscover the innocence of a child's smile when they see the first grand display of Christmas lights.  I want to see their happiness when we drive through the local 'live' nativity scenes.  To see what they have gotten under the Christmas tree...

I want to rediscover the Christmas story through the eyes of a child.  The wonder of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus being born with the animals.  The wise men that came from far away to visit.  The shepherds that came running...

Take a step back this year before your Christmas gets too hectic and filled with parties and events to really see what Christmas is all about.  Share the real meaning of the holiday with someone else.  Share it with your children.  Don't leave Christ out of Christmas...make Him the center of it as He deserves to be!

'While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.'  Luke 2:6-7 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Glimpse of Tomorrow...Yesterday

Yesterday I caught a glimpse of what my future with my sweet Sam could hold.   Most of you know that I am a nurse at a local Endoscopy center.  We had a patient come through that was soon to be 59 years old.  His mama was with him and she had to be every bit of 80 (if not more).  So sweet.  But what made it even sweeter for me was that the man had Cerebral Palsy.  His mother told me that he took care of her and she him...but that he did most of the care-giving.  They have taken care of each other for almost 59 years...

This made me think about our Sam.  I pray that he can become independent and have his own life.  My hope for him is that he will go to 'normal' school, college, marry, and have kids.  But if that is not what He has planned for our Sam then I pray we can be like the mother and son I saw yesterday.  Taking care of each other-no matter what.  I want him to know that he always has his mama.  If that is not in His plan then I pray that there is someone else who will step in for me and be our Sam's 'mama'.

Today we wouldn't dream of discarding our disabled children into an institution or 'home', but back in the 50's that was something that was recommended for some of these children.  I admire the mother who has spent her life taking care of HER son.  Not casting him off on someone else.  So admirable...I'm sure she didn't imagine her life this way as a young girl, but now as an elderly mother of a dear son--I know she wouldn't have it any other way...

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.  Isaiah 55:8

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday's Unwrapped

It's Tuesday again...and time for another Tuesday Unwrapped!  Remember you can hop over to Chatting At the Sky and take a peek at other posts!
This Tuesday I am taking a minute to 'Be still and know that (He) is God.'  Psalm 46:10

In my every day life I usually end up relying on my own abilities and resources to make my day turn out the way I planned for it to.  If something comes up that was unexpected I don't take a step back and think, "What is God trying to say to me?"  I immediately go into, "I can fix it by myself" mode.  I am a woman on a mission and NO ONE can stand in my way!

Take yesterday for example.  I went to work at the crack of dawn as usual.  Before I left home I posted yesterday's blog.  No sooner did I get to work that my face and neck started to itch, burn, and swell.  So what did I do?  First, I went to CVS (after driving all over town because nothing was open) and got Benadryl (took 2 of them) and hydrocortisone cream.  I intended to wait it out and call the doctor's office when it opened.  But my manager had different plans...she sent me to the ER.  That opened a whole new can of worms...waiting...waiting...and more waiting.  And then to top it off they weren't gonna let me out of the place until I paid my $100 co-pay.  She even asked me, "What about the wage assignment?"  You've gotta be kidding me.

So anyway, the point to of the story above was that not once did I stop (be still) and know (realize) that He is God (and in control of the situation).  My mother texted me and reminded me of what I had just posted not 2 hours earlier.  Oh Lord, I need all the help that You can give me to 'Be still and know that (YOU) are God.' 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Marvelous Monday!

I don't know about you, but I think the above saying is just...MARVELOUS!  I can trust Him with any problem I may run into today.  Nothing is too big for my God.  Nothing is too small for my God.  If it is over my head it is still under His feet!  Praise Him for that!
Did you also notice that He doesn't need your help?  That may come as a surprise to some of you, but really--He doesn't need our help to fix our problems.  All He needs is for us to be willing and to cooperate with His plan for us.  He doesn't need our resistance, our 'trying to fix things myself' mentalities, our stubborness...He needs nothing for us just to be still and let Him do His job in us!
Are you willing to get out of the way today and let God? 

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I'll be back on Monday!!!  Taking a little blogging vacation :-)  Hope everyone has a blessed day tomorrow and for those who dare the shopping on Friday--Good Luck!! 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesday's Unwrapped

Good morning!!  For this Tuesday Unwrapped I want to unpack a word:  Discipline.  I went to a women's ministry meeting last night and the topic was about our time with God (or for most of us-the lack of it).  She ended with a challenge for us to intentionally make time for God in our lives every day for 6 weeks and notice the difference in our lives.  The one word that the women's panel kept using was the D word....Discipline.  I so have this more ways than one.  I lack the discipline that I need to keep a clean house, a schedule for my kids, and most importantly time with my God.  What was said last night hit one of my "Duh, why didn't I see that!" buttons and so I did what any good bible study girl would do--I blew the dust off my study bible and looked up the word discipline. 
Most of the scriptures had to do with God disciplining his children, but I did find one written by Paul that I could unpack.  I was so excited to actually have something jump off the page at me and I understood it!  I guess when He tells us if we seek Him we'll find Him--He really meant that!

'No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.'  1 Corinthians 9:27

At first glance, you may wonder what in the world this has to do with discipline, but on closer examination it has everything to do with it.  In my notes I made today I wrote that Paul meant to live in the Spirit and put to death the misdeeds of the body (from the notes at the bottom of the scripture).  The misdeeds of the body are different for everyone:  laziness, messiness, procrastination, envy, disobedience, and so on.
He beat his body and made it submit to doing the 'right' things, not worldly passions.  By 'right' things I take that as prayer, studying the Word, mission work, loving others, etc.  To discipline yourself to serve Christ is a choice.  It is not automatic once you become a Christian.  He puts the desire in your heart for a relationship with him, but YOU have to act on it (and have the discipline to follow through).
As far as the prize Paul is referring to:  I think it means eternal life (the ultimate prize), but he could also be referring to the fact that if he didn't practice what he preached, he'd be a hypocrite and may lose some of his eternal reward.  Not lose his eternal life, but part of his reward (the bible does say we'll be rewarded for our good works done for His kingdom Matt. 6, 16:27, 1 Cor. 3:8).  So, in other words, practice what you preach.  If you tell someone they need to study the Word and pray daily, then you better make sure you are doing the same!
I have made the commitment to God to give him at least 30 minutes of my day-every day-for...well, until He comes or calls me home to Him.  If I mess up, I'll start over the next day.  He deserves at least that much from me after all He's done for me!  How about you?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Marvelous Monday

What could be marvelous about Monday you may ask?  Any day that we are given is to be celebrated as marvelous!  It's another day that we can glorify our Lord with our lives.
So, in celebration of Monday's I'll be posting something that I find to be marvelous on what can otherwise be described as just a plain old bad day of the week!  You are welcome to chime in with your thoughts also!
For the first marvelous Monday I'd like to share a photo that I think is, well...marvelous. 

Aren't they the sweetest things?!  What a blessing they are to us!  My three boys that are being woven into the tapestry that is life.  Something to find marvelous about this Monday's are never mundane with these three in the picture.  God has been so good to me that I want to say:

'I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.'  Psalm 7:17

Thank you Father for the goodness that You've given me in my children!  Let me not take them for granted and treasure them as the treasures from You that they are!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful Thursday...

It's time for another Thankful Thursday.  I can't believe next week marks the big day of celebration...but time is one thing that you can always be certain will move forward no matter what.  This week I am thankful for the special children that have blessed my life (and the special people that take care of them). 
My niece, Mary Beth, turned 6 yesterday!  A celebration of a life that is not like yours or mine, but is special in His sight (and ours).  You see, sweet Mary Beth was born with a condition called CHARGE syndrome.  In a nutshell, she is deaf/partially blind, has a trach, PEG tube, and cleft palate (among other things).  But she is ours and she is loved.  I don't know why God chose for her to be the way she is, but I do know that He has a purpose for her.  Maybe to teach us humility.  Or maybe compassion.  Or maybe just to astound us with the miracle that is her life and the things that she has accomplished that no one thought she could.
Either way, she is a life and a child of God.  She is our niece, a granddaughter, a sister, and a beloved daughter.
 I am thankful that she has a mama like she does.  My sister-in-law makes it look so easy to take care of her.  When she pulls her trach out it's like when my little one falls and skins his knee.  So calm...I would be frantic (and I'm a nurse)!   Mary Beth knows who her mama is and she adores her.  As our Pastor calls her, Saint Betsy, and I must say that it is a fitting term.
So on this Thankful Thursday I want to thank Him for the miracle that is Mary Beth and the 6 years He has blessed us with her.  We look forward to how He will continue to astound us with her life.
Mary Beth riding the 'bull'
'Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.' 
 Psalm 127:3

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday's Unwrapped

Unwrapping the extraordinary within the ordinary experiences of everyday life.  That is what Tuesday's Unwrapped is all about.  Hop over to Chatting At the Sky to unwrap some more Tuesday's...

My gift for this Tuesday is the quiteness in my home at 5:00am.  There are no little boy voices, no pattering of feet that belong to an off-kiltered walk, or crying baby noises this early.  It is a reminder of what I do have to be thankful for during the busy parts of the day.  What a gift the voices are...we weren't supposed to have children (according to the 'medical professionals').  And oh the gift of the sound of Sam's walking...we didn't know if he'd even be able to walk.  And the baby?  What a blessing!  Our Charlie....named after his Mimi who left us too soon.
What is your Tuesday gift that can be unwrapped today?  Look around and notice the extraordinary things He has given to you!

'Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.'  James 1:17

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's Way Too Early...

Way too early for Christmas music that is!  We haven't even gotten to Thanksgiving yet!  The Halloween candy is still on my counter!  Stop and let me collect myself!!!
OK...I'm over that little rant!  But it really is too early for non-stop, all day long, same songs over and over Christmas music!  I guess hearing it at work and at the shoe store today did kinda put a little spring in my step...but I'm really not ready for it yet!  I better get over it quick because my kids tell me daily---"Mama, it's time to get ready for Christmas!"  I just want to get to Thanksgiving first though...please?
On a more serious note, it is time that we, as Christians, should be looking at how we can share the love of Christ this season.  There are numerous things you can do as a family this year to share the blessings that you have been given.
Zach's boys group at church will be adopting an 'Angel Tree' child as well as ringing the bell at the Salvation Army kettle.  I think that is them it's not all about them and the toys they want.
I'm also planning to do a shoebox with the boys for Operation Christmas Child (our local Chick-Fil-A is collecting them November 22 and I think Lifeway is also).
We'll also be giving an extra donation to our World Vision child so the sponsors in the area can go buy what he and his family need for Christmas.  Also, if you head over to Incourage you can send a card to a Compassion International child for $1.99! 
There are numerous Christmas light displays around that collect donations and give the money to charities.
This year why not make Christmas about what it really means?  The birth of Christ and the hope He represents for all mankind.  Give to someone else.  Teach your children to give to others and not to think just about themselves.
Back to the Christmas music-I really do like it-just not so soon.  I'm gonna leave you with one of my favorite songs...

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Night to Remember

I am so excited today.  Jon and I are volunteering at the Show Hope booth at the Steven Curtis Chapman and Family concert at Brookwood Church tonight!!  I know it's going to be a great time.  We love to help out in any way we can when it comes to adoption and promoting it.  We have walked the road of international adoption and are eager and willing to help others find their way to their forever child also!
But Show Hope is about so much more than adoption.  As you probably know, Mary Beth and Steven's youngest adopted daughter, Maria, was killed in a tragic accident a few years ago.  Mary Beth has recently released a book about this time in their lives, Choosing to SEE.  It is a must read...awesome testimony of God's grace and love.

Drawing by Maria found after her death
 The Chapmans and Show Hope have opened Maria's Big House of Hope in China.  It is a 'hospital' of sorts where awaiting children (or those who are dying, sick, or severly disabled) go for healing and help.  They offer sponsorship of these children starting at $35 per month.  If you've been looking for a mission opportunity, check this one out!  What a difference you can make in the life of a child!  You may never know how much until you get to Heaven.  You can also make one time donations.

If you live near Simpsonville, SC come on over to Brookwood and see what I'm sure will be A Night to Remember with the Chapmans!

Written for Maria

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday...

This thankful Thursday I am thankful for handprints.  Tiny, smuged handprints that I see several days a week on the doors to my son's therapy office.  I am thankful for what these handprints signify.  Hope, purpose, accomplishment, and so many other things that go on behind those doors.  Each handprint is that of a boy or girl that has walked, not been carried or wheeled, through those sacred doors...
I am also beyond thankful to the wonderful women that give of their time to my child to help him reach his full potential.  They are angels without realizing they are. 

I thank my God every time I remember you.  Phillipians 1:3

Smudged Handprints

I look out the doors that are so familiar to me,
and there are the tiniest smudged handprints for all to see.

"Clean them up!"  "Wipe them off!"  I hear them say
But wait!  Stop and think what they've meant today-

Boys and girls who've walked and pushed open wide these doors,
and entered into this place where they strive to be more.

More than this world tells them they can be-
Bigger, stronger, harder they will reach and acheive.

Each goal set before them every time they enter in
Is quickly claimed by victory and too soon they'll begin again

So stop, take a minute, sit down and get a good look
Notice the tiny smuged handprints and the effort they have took.

Monday, November 8, 2010

How Great is Our God

Our Galaxy, The Milky Way,
Can you imagine that you and I exist somewhere in the middle of that?  Does it make you feel small?  Insignificant?  Or this one...

Out of This Whirl: the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) and Companion Galaxy
The Whirlpool Galaxy,
 Just one of the innumerable other galaxies in the universe.  These images speak to the awesomeness of our God!  All of creation bows before Him.  It says in Genesis 1:16 simply that, 'He made the stars'.  That's it...He spoke and there they were.  There are billions upon billions of stars...
Psalm 147:4 says, 'He determines the number of the stars and knows them by name.'  All of them!
If you get the chance, check out Louie Giglio's How Great is Our God or Indescribable DVD's.  He shows the universe and how it relates to little ole will blow your mind!  The greatness of our God!
Something to think about this Monday morning...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sleepless Sunday...

It is 6am and I am wide awake...time change!  You love it or you hate it.  I have a little of both for it.  I like it when I get used to it then we change all over again.  Who made this rule anyway...makes no sense whatsoever!  Anywhoo, since I was up the beautiful Sunday morning I thought I'd share something else I'm thankful for--time :-)
We either have too much of it on our hands or not enough of it.  Either way, we always get 24 hours of it every day.  How do you spend yours?  Working?  Cleaning?  Sleeping?  Playing?  You can have too much of a good thing!  If you spend all of your time working to make that extra buck, then you neglect your family.  If you spend too much time playing, then you may not have enough money to pay the bills for your family.  It is a balancing act...but where do you put God in the span of your 24 hour day?  At the beginning?  The end?  In the car?  He is the most important part of our day...He gave us the day and we should thank Him for it!  I am thankful for the time He gives me every day.  No matter how I spend it, I know it is a gift from Him.  *Time to allow me to benefit His kingdom work. 
*Time for me to worship Him for all He has done for me. 
*Time for me to fellowship with other believers.
*Time to teach our children about Him.
*Time to glorify Him with the work we do.
He blessed us with the gift of time and it's not something you think about being thankful for...especially when you don't seem to have enough of it!  But, He gave it and as it says in Ecclesiates 3:1
There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens
So, will you thank Him for the gift of time today?  And more importantly, take a look at how you spend your time He's given you!
Time is running away...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankful Thursday...

It's the official month of Thanksgiving!  We should be thankful at all times, but November is the month that it's offcially celebrated.  So I thought that each Thursday until Thanksgiving, I'd share something I'm thankful for.  Not the run of the mill "my family, my health, God, etc." stuff, but something new and different that I didn't think I'd be thankful for (or something that is not what you'd normally feel thankful for).  Paul says to:

'pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.'  1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

So on this thankful Thursday I am thanking Him for allowing me to go back to work.  I didn't want to after 3 months of maternity leave, but I realize that I am not made to be at home 100% of the time.  It makes me irritable and I was starting to go just a little crazy.  I am thankful that I just work three days:  Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 630am-3pm.  I can't complain.  I have afternoons, weekends, and holiday's with my family.  My nurse manager is awesome!  My co-workers are terrific and the doctor's aren't too bad either. 
I am thankful that God allowed me to switch jobs 5 years ago to a no weekend, no holiday position.  I am thankful that I have health insurance for my family.  I am thankful that the few days I am at work makes me appreciate the time I am home with my kids.
So, He turned what I was dreading into something that I can appreciate and be thankful for.  He is good to me and He loves me.  He is my Provider and my Sustainer.
Thank you Father!!
What about you?  What are you thankful for on this Thursday?

I couldn't help but include a little colonoscopy humor
(I'm an endoscopy/colonoscopy nurse)