Tuesday, December 31, 2013

All Who Are Thirsty

My time with The King was so moving and precious this morning that I just had to share it. I usually share an excerpt from the devotional I read from on my FaceBook page, but there is no way I could pull just a little bit from it and post.  This entire devotional reading illustrates the depth of Christ Jesus' love for mankind. I was brought to tears and repentance this morning. 

John 7:37 - Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.

Patience had her perfect work in the Lord Jesus, and until the last day of the feast He pleaded with the Jews, even as on this last day of the year He pleads with us and waits to be gracious to us. The long-suffering of the Savior is truly admirable as He bears with some of us year after year despite our insults, rebellions, and resistance to His Holy Spirit. Wonder of wonders that we are still in the land of mercy!
Mercy expressed herself most plainly, for Jesus "cried," which implies not only the loudness of His voice, but the tenderness of His tones. He entreats us to be reconciled. "God making his appeal through us," says the apostle, "we implore you on behalf of
Christ . . ." What earnest, pathetic terms are these! How deep the Father's love that causes Him to weep over sinners and, like a mother, to tenderly call His children to Himself! Surely at the sound of such a cry our willing hearts will come.
Provision is made most generously: Everything that man needs to quench his soul's thirst is available. To his conscience the Atonement brings peace; to his understanding the Gospel brings the richest instruction; to his heart the person of Jesus is the noblest object of affection; to the whole man the truth as it is in Jesus supplies the purest nourishment. Thirst is terrible, but Jesus can remove it. Even if the soul were utterly famished, Jesus can restore it.
Proclamation is made most freely, that every thirsty one is welcome. No other distinction is made but that of thirst. Whether it be the thirst of greed, ambition, pleasure, knowledge, or rest, he who suffers from it is invited. The thirst may be bad in itself, and not be a sign of grace, but a mark of inordinate sin that longs to satisfy itself with deeper lust; but it is not goodness in the creature that brings him the invitation-the Lord Jesus sends it freely and without respect of persons.
Personality is declared most fully. The sinner must come to Jesus-not to works, ordinances, or doctrines but to a personal Redeemer who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree. The bleeding, dying, rising Savior is the only ray of hope to a sinner. Oh, for grace to come now and drink, before the sun sets upon the year's last day!
No waiting or preparation is even hinted at. Drinking represents a reception that has no special requirements. A fool, a thief, a harlot can drink; our sinfulness is no barrier to the invitation to believe in Jesus. We need no golden cup, no fine china, in which to convey the water to the thirsty; the mouth of poverty is welcome to stoop down and drink of the life-giving stream. Blistered, leprous, filthy lips may touch the stream of divine love; they cannot pollute it but will themselves be purified. Jesus is the fount of hope. Dear reader, listen to the dear Redeemer's loving voice as He cries to each of us, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink."
Did you see Christ's love illustrated in this? Oh how He loves us!

This morning I was reminded of His love, not only for me, but for everyone! This morning I could not hold back the tears, weeping over the condition of my own heart; the sin that is still present. I have moved an inch or two closer to the King this year, but I have far too much further to go to reach that most intimate place in Him. 

I will always be in need of Him as long as I am in this mortal body on this corruptible earth.

This morning I cried to God to fill me with His love, His tenderness and His compassion. I asked for His eyes that I may see others through them. I asked for His heart that I may love with it the perfect love that casts away fears. And I asked for His tenderness that I may grow my children in His grace. 

Glory be to God that His mercies are new every morning!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 - One Amazing Year!

I cannot believe that 2013 is almost gone! Where does the time go? Is it just me, or does time move faster the older I get? This is one good reason to take a look back at this year and thank God for all the difficulties He has carried us through and for all the blessings He has bestowed upon us.  

We got SNOW last year! My kids prayed for it.  :-)

I live 12 hours away from my family so it's always a highlight when I get to see them. 

My little man turned 4 years old. When he took his birthday shirt off that night, he said, "Will I still be 4 tomorrow?" Talk about some major cuteness!

Big big hail during a thunderstorm. That was crazy.. and a little scary listening to the big balls of ice smacking the rooftop. We were lucky enough blessed to get only one little ding in the hood of our Trail Blazer. 

My Sugar Bear turned 6 years old. She is getting big way too fast. 

Inspired by a shirt one of my friend's husband was wearing, I made this hand embroidered shirt for my Hunny for Father's Day.  He says he needs to get the "real" shirt. Being my first hand embroidery project, I didn't get the picture on the shirt straight and the image is a little small for the size of the shirt. *SHRUG* Live and learn, right?

My Mama, sister AND niece came down for a visit. This is the time that my mom got real sick and ended up needing my Dad to fly down here to drive them back home. 

Not pictured:  I was baptized in water June 9 as a public confession of my decision to follow Christ no matter the cost.  You can read my full testimony here

I made my very first flower arrangement. 
Not too bad for a non-crafter. 

We participated in the Summer Reading Program at the library and Adelle won 3rd place for reading the most books in her category (independent readers). 

Jonathan won 1st place in his category (read-to-me)!

After beginning a contract on a house end of March (looong story), we finally got to close the deal and move in! 

We got to have a mini-vacation in Branson, Mo with my family. The kids enjoyed seeing their cousins again. We certainly got to see my family a lot this year. I am so blessed! 

Remember these? We found this outside the Walmart there in Branson. I couldn't resist taking a picture. 

Ah yes. What is a vacation without a BANG ending? That's just what we did.... literally!

I made my very first wreath for my front door. This one was just fall colored fabric scraps tied onto a wire circle. Add a bow and voila! I'm quite proud of this one. *Patting my own back*  You have to understand.. I am one NON-crafty person, so to accomplish something like this AMAZES me! 

Adelle has begun learning hand embroidery too.

I attempted another wreath. I'm really enjoying crafting wreaths. Can you tell?

We celebrated our first Christmas in our new house. 

I am looking forward to what God has in store for us in 2014!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Meant to Be. Forever.

Paul and I had a very interesting conversation last night......

When Paul asked me to marry him, we didn't set a date for a while. At some point, he said it's now or never. Then we planned a wedding in 5 months time.

I'll never forget those words he spoke. "Now or never." 

A very interesting phrase to say. God has a plan for our lives and it was so clear to me then and even clearer to me now, 16 years into marriage, that God brought Paul and I together. No doubt about that. Not a single ounce.

So when Paul asked me last night where I thought I might be if we hadn't married, I couldn't think of anywhere else I would be except with him. I may have lived with my parents for several years longer and I'd still be in my hometown attending services at my home church house. Would I have ended up with someone else? I seriously can't see it. However it may have happened, Paul and I would've been a couple again and planning a wedding. Whether it was right when we did or a couple of years later, I am certain that we would be married to each other. Paul is the man God had for me. Period. 

To further this thought, we have stayed together through all kinds of junk. We have had plenty of situations where one or both of us had good reason to walk away.  I admitted to Paul last night that the times I wanted out, I couldn't, just because it wasn't the right thing to do. Apart of being scared to follow through those thoughts & feelings, it just wasn't right. That is what kept me there.  

I am so glad both of us have stayed in this life-long journey together.

Now we love each other so much more than the day we got married. We are stronger, individually as well as a couple. And we are witness to God's faithfulness through all the rough "I-can't-go-on" times. We started off young, immature and ugly (in our conduct), but God has worked in our lives.  He takes the broken and makes something stunning out of it. Our marriage is proof of that. 

Sixteen years and two beautiful children later, we are still relying on God to mold us into His servants as we continue to commit ourselves to Him. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Super Simple Homemade Gift

I learned how to make this hand scrub a few weeks ago with a small group of moms from our homeschool group. I'm not sure where our leader got it from (the internet, I'm sure and quite possibly Pinterest. Ha!), but it is so easy even my 6 year old can make it! 

It only requires 2 ingredients. That's right, TWO

1. White granulated sugar  
2. Dawn Hand Renewal Dish Soap - Now I will say here that you certainly could add essential oils or scents, but this dish soap already smells and feels so wonderful that you really can just leave the scents and oils out. 

Other items you'll need are:
1. Mixing bowl and spoon
2. Glass jar - any type, any size.
3. Fabric, ribbon, lace, or anything you'd like to use to decorate the jar - completely optional. 

So we begin by measure out how much sugar you'll need to fill your jar. The larger the jar, the larger the amount, of course! 
I just poured the sugar into the jar almost to the top and then dumped it into the mixing bowl. 

Next, add a little bit of the dish soap and begin mixing. You'll want to add only a little bit at a time as not to get the sugar too runny.  

Mix until it's the consistency of wet snow that sticks together for snowballs......that's the best way I know how to describe it! (I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, ya know). 

If it's too wet, add more sugar. If it's too dry, add more soap. 
I'm not sure my pictures do it any justice. Sorry! 

Then just spoon it back into your jar and pat it all down until it's as full as you desire. 

And voila! You have homemade hand scrub! 
This is a perfect gift for teachers, neighbors, family members, party hostess, etc....  

This is the easiest and most economical gift I've ever made!

Monday, December 9, 2013

5 Random Things ~ December 9, 2013

This little "Random" series is supposed to be posted on Fridays... says who?  LOL  We've had a very busy last few days. 

1. We started subtraction end of last week. This curriculum has a fun way of teaching it too! I am planning on posting all about our playing "restaurant" and "store" to practice addition and subtraction math skills. Even Jonathan is in on the math learning and he loves it as much as Adelle does. 

2. This is the third scripture verse this school year we are memorizing that talks about lying. Is this a sign that we seriously need to work on being honest? I guess so. 

Jonathan used to always tell the truth no matter what, even if he did something he shouldn't.  He has recently begun to realize his right and wrong actions and is trying to cover up his unacceptable behavior by lying. Now he is learning that you get correction for choosing to do the wrong thing, whatever that may be AND you get correction for lying about it. 

3. Who knew that mixing these 2 ingredients and putting them into a mason jar would make such a great gift?  This is so simple, even Adelle, who is 6 yrs old, made a gift of her own to give to her piano teacher last Friday.  I'll let you wonder for a bit (unless you've already seen this idea online). Detailed blog post to come soon! 

4. It finally started to feel like Christmas over the weekend. We braved the 30-degree temps for the annual Christmas parade. So much fun!


5. I tried to get a good, seriously good, picture of the kids for my Christmas cards this year.  They acted so silly and I just kept snapping. I finally got a good one!


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

5 Random Things ~ November 29, 2013

I will not take credit for coming up with this post idea. Brittney over at Mom's Heart started to do this and it inspired me too. So here are 5 random things I wanted to share from last week. 

1. Adelle is really picking up on math and loves to play restaurant, being the waitress adding up my ticket for the food I ordered or grocery store, being the cashier adding up each "transaction". I love this curriculum that makes learning so much fun!

 2. Jonathan has gotten into playing learning games on the computer. He would sit at the computer all day long if i let him. He's gotten away from wanting to do his "paper school work". Not that I mind him wanting to learn differently, but the computer is beginning to take over. 

3. Oh, and I need to mention that we've been doing the McGuffey Primers over at Easy Peasy. Jonathan now recognizes the words "the" and "and". He is so proud of himself!

4. Seriously, how much food can one person consume? Why do we stuff ourselves so much during the holidays?

5. Oh Christmas tree, I think it will be a miracle if we get you put up this year. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Holiday Week

A lot, if not all, of the public schools are out all week for Thanksgiving. I know several homeschool families who take this whole week off as well. 

I feel like we've done nothing but play catch-up this school year since we started our formal lessons. We've had several set backs from the big move (trying to get this house organized) to sickness. Therefore, we are getting a full week of school work done in this shortened holiday week.  Adelle is getting up on time and we are hitting the books. 

Oh, we have lots of motivation to get the school work done, even if our curriculum is somewhat laid back. The kids get to visit with their good friend, whom they haven't seen in a while, all day on Wednesday. They don't know who our visitor is yet, but the excitement of the surprise is more than enough to work diligently. Baking special treats and making Thanksgiving crafts (saved for the afternoons when lessons are completed) are sure motivators as well. 

Yes, we are working hard this week, but getting a 5 day weekend is worth it!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

God is Drawing Me

As I was waiting to be baptized in water on June 9, 2013, I fell on my face before God and begged Him to let this be the beginning of my life IN Christ. IN Christ. No more empty promises to Him, no more faking anything, no more going through the motions, no more counterfeit worship. No. I crave so much to live IN Him, to move and have my being IN Him. As I surrendered to Him and made a public confession of my faith and devotion on that night in June, I believe that God has begun to make changes in me that has never taken place before. On this beautiful Saturday morning, I learned what walking in Christ should look like and where my walk is exactly. 

Colossians 2:6 -  "Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him." 
     "If we have received Christ Himself in our inmost hearts, our new life will display its intimate acquaintance with Him by a walk of faith in Him. Walking implies action. Our Christian life is not to be confined to our closet; our belief must be revealed in our practice. If a man walks in Christ, then he must act as Christ would act; since Christ is in him - his hope, his love, his joy, his life - he is the reflection of the image of Jesus; and men will say of that man, "He is like his Master; he lives like Jesus Christ.
     Walking signifies progress. "So walk in Him." Proceed from grace to grace; run forward until you reach the ultimate degree of knowledge that a man can attain concerning Christ. Walking implies continuance. There must be a continual abiding in Christ."

Stop. Is my life displaying an intimate acquaintance with Christ? No. I know that when I look at myself, I am still seeing me instead of Him. I have not been abiding in Christ on a continual basis. *SIGH* Lord, I am sorry. Please help me. 

     "Many Christians think that in the morning and evening they ought to come into the company of Jesus, but regard the rest of the day as their own: But this is poor living; we should always be with Him, treading in His steps and doing His will."

WOW! I've never thought of it like that before, but it's so true! I have been mindful of God, of Jesus, only in those times that I have set apart to spend with Him. The rest of my day is just that... mine. Oh Lord, please help me!

     "Walking also implies habit. When we speak of a man's walk and conversation, we mean his habits, the constant theme of his life.
     Now, if we sometimes enjoy Christ and then forget Him, sometimes call Him ours and then lose our hold, that is not a habit; we do not walk in Him. We must keep to Him, cling to Him, never let Him go, but live and have our being in Him."

My heart is further saddened as I am more convicted here. I have not been walking in Christ, at least not continually. This section describes me exactly - sometimes enjoying Christ and then forgetting Him, sometimes calling Him mine and then losing my hold to His hand - and the Holy Spirit is gently showing this to me. Christ is not yet the constant theme of my life. My spirit cries out to God to make me His beyond a shadow of a doubt.   

Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that because I'm not perfect, I'm not being saved. No. I am saying that I am so fickle, inconsistent, and even distant. If I desire to walk in Him, then I need to not lose heart in doing good. I need to pray without ceasing. I need to turn my mind towards Him ALL the time... not just in the mornings or evenings when I am praying. I don't want to make excuses. Jesus willingly gave his life unto death - a painful beyond understanding death - on a cross for my sins. I owe Him much more than I am giving Him.  

     "Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him"; persevere in the same way in which you began and just as at the beginnig Christ Jesus was the trust of your faith, the source of your life, the principle of your action, and the joy of your spirit, so let Him be the same until life's end, the same when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death and enter into the joy and the rest that remain for the people of God. O Holy Spirit, enable us to obey this heavenly precept."

Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness even when I am lazy and selfish. You are good and your love endures forever. Thank You for being so gentle in showing me that I have wavered. You are with me, leading me in the everlasting way, and giving me strength when I need it. Yes, Lord, enable me to cling to You fervently and continually.  In Jesus' great and mighty name I pray!

(Devotional material is taken from "Morning and Evening", written by C.H. Surgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. TruthforLife.org)