Tuesday, December 30, 2008

two invitations...


I would be delighted to have you join me in studying Beth Moore's Esther
at Southeast Christian Church
on Tuesday nights
starting
January 13th, 2009.

(If you are interested, click
here to register.)




I would love to have you join me in reading through the Bible chronologically in 2009.(Yes, I am doing it again. I feel that I missed so much and God has impressed upon my heart to do it for at least one more year. After all, I can never learn too much about Him, can I?) I will be posting the monthly reading schedule here if you'd like to join me.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cover to Cover: the end is near...




I cannot believe that there are twelve chapters left to read. While I never thought I'd actually reach this point, it seems like only yesterday that we were beginning this journey. Wednesday we will be ending this journey...and I am not the same. As the writer of Hebrews says, "For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12,13. I know that these words in this Book were meant for me this year. Too many times His Words have coincided with whatever events were going on in my life. I have been so blessed to live in a country where I can read my Bible through. Without persecution or fear. Actually, I am blessed to live in a country where I can choose to read my readings from one of several Bibles I own.



I struggled some with Hebrews. I don't know if it's changing the rhythm of writing after reading nothing but Paul or if it was the content itself. I found myself having to go back and reread certain passages to be sure that I didn't miss anything. Here's what lingered in my heart this week:

...but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. Hebrews 4:2b I never want to hear that His message is of no value to me.

But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:14 The words "constant use" fascinate me. Am I allowing His teachings to permeate every part of me? Do I constantly use the Word as a measuring stick for all that I encounter?

...and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him. Hebrews 9:28b I love the picture of the believers waiting for Him. Are my mind and heart focused on Him? Would He consider me to be waiting for Him?

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 Enough said.

Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:6 Can people see by my walk that He lives in me?

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 1 John 3:17 I was recently reminded of this verse through a situation that we encountered. Once again, am I reflecting Him? Do I see the opportunities He places before me to be "the body of Christ?"

We covered many standards in this week's reading as well. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock", "faith is being sure of what we hope for", and "without faith it is impossible to please God" to name a few. I love reading along and coming across these gems...it's like finding an old friend nestled in amongst new concepts.

While I find much of Revelation confusing and beyond my grasp, I have to marvel at the pictures John paints for us. Most endearing was this:

Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Revelation 7:16-17

It has been a privilege and a pleasure to take this journey with you. I look forward to seeing each of your precious faces one day, whether on this earth or in heaven.



...let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus...

Friday, December 26, 2008

post-Christmas wrap up (no pun intended)


I walked into my kitchen on Christmas eve and noticed that something didn't quite look right. The light looked funny. I checked the bulbs and the switches and then finally realized that the "funny" looking light was actually the sun streaming through the windows. It's been so long since we've seen sunlight! (and winter has just begun.) It seems like it's been unusually grey around here lately. So I got to do my happy dance in the kitchen!
happy dance Pictures, Images and Photos

Before we begin our Christmas baking, I am always amazed at how many bags of flour, sugar, powdered sugar, brown sugar, bricks of cream cheese, sticks of butter, bottles of vanilla we have collected. I tell myself each year that there is no way that we can possibly use it all. However, Josh found himself going to two different grocery stores on Christmas eve looking for more cream cheese and butter. Because one can never have enough baked goods containing lots of butter and cream cheese, right? (for inquiring minds, we used nine bricks of cream cheese this baking season. NINE!)

Christmas deco smiley Pictures, Images and Photos


My hair is now long enough to tie in a knot. (I know that has nothing to do with Christmas but I have been meaning to say that for four weeks!) I think I'm going to let it get long enough to tie into a bow and then decide what to do about/with it.


Christmas deco smiley Pictures, Images and Photos


We went to the Christmas eve services with my parents and my father-in-law. It was a wonderful service. Absolutely beautiful. (have I mentioned lately how much I love my church?)


Christmas deco smiley Pictures, Images and Photos


We had a good Christmas with only a few "bumps" in the road. Our Christmas day is always extremely busy because we go all day long. (My parents over in the morning for breakfast, next we go to Josh's parent's house for lunch, then his mom, dad, brother, sister, niece and her husband come to our house, and finally we head over to his sister's for dinner. In spite of some poor behaviour by those who shall not be named (and it wasn't the kids), we still had a wonderful, blessed day. I took several pictures (of course) and some video. This is probably my favorite picture of Christmas eve.



That's my baby!

Christmas deco smiley Pictures, Images and Photos
I have very few plans today. (I am not working today!) I am going over to church this morning because I left my Bible on Wednesday night. Then I promised the dogs we would stay in and take a nap. They are very excited.

Christmas deco smiley Pictures, Images and Photos

I hope your Christmas recovery is going well. Have a most wonderful day!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Christmas Blessings
to each and every one of you!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cover to Cover:models of goodness




I do not consider myself an "older" woman. I'm fairly certain that title belongs to someone else. Recently though, I've realized that I am not as young as I used to be. (Believe it or not, I used to be the "baby" at work. I am still not the oldest, however. For now.) My babies are not babies any more. My oldest will begin wedding plans in earnest this upcoming year and start her senior year in college. My youngest ordered his senior ring a month or so ago and will finish up next year planning which college he wants to attend and what he wants to do with his future. Nope, no more babies. And unless God Himself leaves a little bundle of joy on my doorstep, there will be no more babies in this house (other than puppies) until grandchildren make their blessed appearance. In addition to not having any babies, I am no longer a newlywed. Josh and I have been married for almost 22 years now. While I will never know everything about being a good wife (much less put it into practice), I should be able to speak to a thing or two about marriage.

All this said, I read Titus 2 with my normal, "oh, he's talking about someone else. I wonder where the older women are?" Then, all I can say is that God caught my attention and had me reread those verses. You know the ones.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:3-5

This prickly, uncomfortable feeling began to creep over me. The one that tapped me on the shoulder and said, "you are this woman." (kind of like, "you might be a redneck if..." only it was "you might be this woman if...")

My first reaction was, "I do not want to be this woman." I think it was the "older" thing that really threw me. Because I am still sixteen in my head. (a much smarter 16 than I really was.) But you know what? I don't remember seeing or having older women in my childhood church who were willing to be mentors. Who were willing to teach us what it meant to be godly young women. I'm sure our church had them. I just needed them to be visible. I don't know if they might have helped me to avoid some of the mistakes I made, but I would like to have found out.

So, while I don't like the idea of being an older woman, scripture instructs me that I am live life as a model of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. (message)

Which means I'd better get started.

Other verses that caught my heart this week were:

...many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ Philippians 3:18-20

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

...we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:10

...set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 1 Timothy 6:6-8

...be prepared in season and out of season; 2 Timothy 4:2

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 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 glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14

May you find peace this week as we celebrate His birth. I pray that you remember the blessed Gift that God has given to each of us...an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you. (1 Peter 1:4)


And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11

Friday, December 19, 2008

fireworks Pictures, Images and Photos

FREEDOM!

I am off work for the entire weekend.
Hooray!

holiday stress...

My mom had a car accident yesterday. She is fine but very sore. (However, the car is not.) God is gracious and thorough in that she had her accident in front of the police station and across the street from her insurance man's office in the small town they live in. So she had an immediate response. She did not, however, allow them to take her to be checked out so I am trying to insist that she go to the doctor today. She's no spring chicken (maybe I'll threaten to reveal her age if she doesn't agree to go) and doesn't seem to recall exactly what happened so I am somewhat concerned.

hmmm....the holiday excitement never ends.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I miss blogging.

It's not like I don't have random things happening on a daily basis, giving me plenty to blog about. It's just that the days are a crazy whirlwind right now.

Every time I think I might take a moment to actually blog, something comes up and off we go again.

I guess the only real consolation is that Christmas eve is one week away (can you believe it?!?) and things might settle down then.

So, I offer my sincerest apologies for my hit and miss style lately. We are finishing up finals this week, working retail and trying to prepare everything for a family Christmas while battling medication reactions and other bizarre health thingies.

I am looking forward to the weekend (it's my one Saturday off in December) but we will be baking up a storm here.

I hope things are not as hectic with you. May you be blessed this day. (I'm reminding myself that I am grateful that I have a wonderful job and that even though it's finals week, that means school finishes up on Friday. We aren't even going to discuss grades.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cover to Cover:Life Principles




Be very careful, then, how you live-- Ephesians 5:15



I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Ephesian 4:1



Two things lingered with me this week. Not two verses. There were so many to choose from once again. But two main thoughts. First was how passionate Paul was about convincing his reader. As I read, I could almost hear the desperation in his voice. Desperate that they would believe. Desperate that nothing would turn them away from his Lord. For many years I was not a huge fan of Paul. I felt he was wordy. After completing To Live is Christ, I felt I understood him better. It wasn't until reading through this year, maybe even this week, that I began to look at him as a passionate soul whose only real desires were to bring others to Christ and to instruct believers in how they should live. And it's a beautiful thing.

Perhaps this realization made the other thought linger this week. It seemed to me that Ephesians and Colossians were clearly instructing us in how to live. We are called to be:

Humble (Eph. 4:2)
Gentle (Eph. 4:2)
Patient (Eph. 4:2)
Bearing with one another in love (Eph. 4:2)
Speaking encouragement (Eph. 4:29)
Kind (Eph. 4:32)
Compassionate (Eph. 4:32)
Forgiving (Eph. 4:32)
Serve wholeheartedly (Eph. 6:7)

While I know these things, it means so much more to hear them in a voice of a man so passionately committed to Christ that he was willing to die for his Lord. In other words, these are not principles that can be easily overlooked or followed when I feel like it. These are my life principles. At a time of year when we say goodbye to old, bad habits (put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature... Colossians 3:5) and consider new ones,(Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12) I cannot think of a better list to work on.

We'd love to have you join us over at Bev's place for a recap of the week.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:7

Sunday, December 14, 2008

2008 Christmas tour of homes

Welcome to our home!

I hope you enjoy your visit. Be sure and drop by anytime.

video

(Cover to Cover will hopefully be posting on Tuesday this week.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

down memory lane

We don't do themes at our house. At least not for Christmas. The one year we tried a "color" theme, the kids were very disappointed and wanted their old ornaments back the next year. So our tree is basically a hodge podge of memories.



I suppose I should also mention that I don't particularly like decorating for Christmas. Sometimes it seems like an awful lot of work for such a short time. (Of course, once it's all finished, I love it. Until it's time to put it all away again.)



What makes putting ornaments on the tree bearable (I make it sound like it's a chore like picking mushy walnuts up out of the yard on a cold fall day.) is recalling the memory behind each ornament. Of course, we have the regular standard ornaments but some ornaments have especially sweet memories attached to them.

This was our first ornament as a dating/engaged couple in 1986. Eons ago.

This was the ornament we got to celebrate our 1st Christmas as a married couple. (I had a thing for precious moments at the time.)We were so excited to celebrate our first Christmas that we put our little tree up in October and covered it with so many ornaments that it kind of leaned to one side. But it was cute. This was one of the many ornaments that we added to our collection that year.The next Christmas, our baby girl was 6 months old and of course she had to have a "first" Christmas ornament.

Four years later, we welcomed a little boy to our house and this was his special ornament. (He also has a turtle ornament and his very first Sunday School ornament that still hang on our tree.)

So tell me, what memories do your Christmas ornaments hold?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

would you pray...

for Josi's family? Her adoption was final, her birth certificate signed and her family was expecting to bring her home before Christmas. Instead, she and her foster family were killed in a home invasion in Guatamala. I know Carla and her family would appreciate your prayers.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cover to Cover



I have to wonder if Mary Jane will be glad when I finish reading through the New Testament. I've been peppering her with questions such as "who is the brother mentioned in 2 Corinthians 8:19?" or "why don't we follow Paul's instructions when dealing with members of the body who are wallowing in their sin? why do we close our eyes and pretend that it doesn't exist?" (for the record, I'm still waiting on her answers.)



Well, we are in the final weeks of our reading through this year. Bev asks us what lingers in our hearts each week. I have found these past weeks to be so chock full of goodies that it is difficult to pick just one or two. I suspect that's a good thing. Because all of the Word should be lingering in my heart.


I was kind of surprised to find so many familiar things as I read this week. So many passages reminded me of sermons heard, books read or bible studies worked through. It was like being with old friends. Let's visit a few....


..and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 2 Cor. 2:14b-15

Do we reflect Him in our daily walk? Are we a fragrant perfume, leading others to a better life through Him?


We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 2 Cor. 4:8-9

Truly one of my favorite verses. (I think it's because I'm often perplexed. It's a blonde thing.) I love the phrase "never abandoned by God." No matter what life brings, do we believe that He holds us close?

Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything. 2 Cor. 6:10

The NIV phrases it as "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." Even in my sorrow, do I rejoice? For I truly do have "everything" that matters. This is one that continues to turn over and over in my mind.


...and our prayer is for your perfection. 2 Cor. 13:9b
Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Cor. 13:11

This caught my eye because I don't find myself praying for perfection...ever. For anybody. I mean, if perfection is impossible to obtain, then why bother with it? And yet, Paul clearly states that his desire for them is their perfection. Not only that, but he admonishes them to aim for it. The Amplified Bible phrases it this way: And this we also pray for: your all-round strengthening and perfecting of soul (9) Be strengthened (perfected, completed, made what you ought to be);(11)
Made what I ought to be. Perhaps it's time to start praying for a little perfection.

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. Romans 1:28

Um...did you catch that? Since they didn't think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind. I don't know about you, but this verse scares me. It seems to state very clearly that we have two choices. We can fill our minds full of God or we can fill it full of ick. (reminds me of Breaking Free. If we don't fill our minds and hearts with God once we've broken free, ick just comes right back to stay.) Then, we follow up with this:

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; Romans 8:5-6

There are so many more treasures in these chapters. Too many to list here. I will leave you with this thought...

I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:38-39









Friday, December 5, 2008

great news...

sun Pictures, Images and Photos

I went to the doctor a few weeks ago. Not my run of the mill, ordinary doctor but a specialist of sorts. I've been struggling with health issues that have been growing progressively worse for many months now. Josh told me to go in and tell him everything and boy, did I. Bless his heart, he was so kind and patient with me. Anyway, he ordered a bazillion blood tests and made me a follow up appointment for next Friday. (I know it was a bazillion because the blood drawing lady looked at me and my chart and said, "boy, he's ordered a lot of tests for you." And then she proceeded to draw tube after tube of blood.)

Yesterday, when I came home for dinner, there was a thick envelope from the doctor's office in the mail. When I opened it, a prescription fell out. I immediately thought, "uh oh, this can't be good." After all, I am going to be seeing him next week. What could possibly be so important that he need to prescribe something before then? (He told me that one of the things that he would be testing for was celiac disease. Do you know what thought ran through my head when he said that? No more Outback Cheese fries. I guess that shows the depth of my character, huh? Good news! No celiac disease! I am so shallow, people.)

Apparently I have hyperparathyroidism. And this is great news! When I was reading Jessi the symptoms, she said, "mom, that's everything you've been complaining about for the past four years." (I'm sure that's an exaggeration on her part. I never complain. snort.) I feel like we went bowling and knocked down all ten pins! I honestly never expected him to come up with any kind of result other than "oh, you're just getting older. learn to live with it." So, while I am sure that we will be running a few more tests (checking for a benign tumor on the parathyroid...did you know you have a parathyroid?...a bone density scan...and so forth) ultimately everything should be fine. I have a prescription for a bunch of vitamin D (apparently the low end of acceptable is 32 and mine is 12.4. I've always been an underachiever!)and a whole lot of hope.

Hmmm...if it's vitamin D that I need, I wonder if I can get a prescription to Hawaii?
hawaii Pictures, Images and Photos

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

choices...

sometimes I wonder if we need to go back to kindergarten and work on our shapes since some of us seem to struggle with putting the right shaped silverware in the correct spot in the silverware drawer.

but then I wonder if I should just be thankful that someone (besides me) emptied the dishwasher. sigh smiley Pictures, Images and Photos