Saturday, December 24, 2011

Advent Adventure #24 & 25

Today's adventure will be easy to follow - all you have to do is STOP reading, turn off your computer, and leave it off until Monday morning - enjoy a bit of a Computer fast as you celebrate Christmas with family and friends.  And since I will also be doing that - I am going to let you in on tomorrow's adventure - read the Christmas story found in Luke 2.  Enjoy some time together as you celebrate the Christ child's birth by attending a worship service together!

Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Advent Adventure Day 22 & 23

Well I made my best effort to blog from my phone yesterday on my way to my parent's house - however, sometimes my best efforts don't lead to a successful ending...so needless to say - today's advent is a "twofer" as my husband would call it.

Today's adventure is to sit back and enjoy a little holiday cheer right here on your computer - over the month of December Joel has a tradition of posting a new holiday video each day.  There are so many different ones to choose from, so today head over to his blog http://www.joelsnyder.net/ and enjoy a little holiday cheer as you are surfing the web, wrapping presents, or just killing some time as you relax and enjoy the evening!

Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #21

Can you believe there is only five days until Christmas!  Wow - how the time flies!  Thankfully I think I am finished with my Christmas and birthday shopping (my hubby is a New Year's Baby).  As I laid in bed last night I was thinking about there only being five days and thought today I would have a theme of 5!

For our advent adventure today I am encouraging you to take a moment or two and come up with a list of five things that you are thankful for about each family member.

I am thankful for Joel....
1.  I am thankful he is a Godly man
2.  I am thankful he is like Mary (I am like Martha) - he chooses relationships over tasks.
3.  I am thankful he is compassion and forgiving
4.  I am thankful he is an awesome daddy!!!
5.  I am thankful he is a man of integrity

I am thankful for Ella....
1.  I am thankful that she is fearfully and wonderfully made by God
2.  I am thankful she is a happy and content baby
3.  I am thankful for the times that I can just sit and watch her smile and chatter
4.  I am thankful she sleeps through the night
5.  I am thankful she is so loved and prayed for by so many others

and yes I am also thankful for our furry friend - Tucker
1.  I am thankful he is good with Ella
2.  I am thankful that he listens (most of the time)
3.  I am thankful he is a good traveller
4.  I am thankful he is likes the dog food that I get on sale with my coupons
5.  I am thankful he likes to cuddle (aka he thinks he is a lap dog!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #20

I hope you are enjoying the Advent Season as much as we are.  It has been so fun to be creating memories and traditions with each other and with our little girl.  This past week at our women's bible study we talked about Christmas traditions and we each shared different traditions.  One of the traditions that I would really like to start this year is to have a book each Christmas that Ella can open on Christmas eve and we will read it together before she goes to bed.  I have yet to pick her book out for this year, but I do already own one of my favorites of the Christmas season - The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado

Whether you are a family with little kids or big kids - I believe we never grow too old to have a story read to us.... in fact most of the books in Ella's collection are my favorites that I collect when I was in my Twentys.  So tonight grab a Christmas book - or any Children's book and sit down together and read.  Maybe even consider starting a Christmas book tradition.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Advent Adventure Day 18 & 19

I do have another good excuse for not posting yesterday.... it was Sunday!  I was resting.... I wish - it was a busy day of ministry concerts and fellowships..... and it is quite funny that yesterday's advent adventure was going to be about attending a concert.

One of the best ways to bring in Christmas is with music - and I especially love listening to Christmas music.  If you haven't attended a concert this Christmas season - check out a church or a school near you - I am sure you will find one.

And if you haven't found one but live in our area - our church is hosting a Cantata on Wednesday night at 7:30pm we would love to have you join us.

Now for today's advent adventure..... today I want to challenge you to look at a passage in scripture.  Just yesterday we got a Christmas letter and this was on the bottom and I thought it was a great passage for us to read and reflect on as we think about the purpose of Jesus life.

John 1:9-14


"The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who received him, to those how believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.  The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #17

Happy Saturday Everyone!  Today is family day!!  I want to encourage you to spend time today with your family!  God has blessed us abundantly with a little girl who brings us joy and today we celebrate his coming as a baby with our baby.

Maybe you don't have a family to spend time with today or over the holidays - remember your church family is your family - call someone up today and ask them to spend time with you... or you can go and join them on a family outing.

Last night we got together as a family and made cookies - not only was the end result and the product wonderful it was a blessing to have those memories and traditions to share.  Make a tradition today with your family - maybe it is getting a tree together for those late folks or making cookies together.  Maybe it is a road trip, or my favorite going to look at lights.

But whatever you do today - do it as a family!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #15 & 16

Today is a double adventure!  I apologize for note getting my blog in yesterday - it was one of those days that I had a bunch of things on my to do list and only got through a couple and by the time I got to my computer it was already 11pm.

So your double adventure today starts with a call to a friend.  I have so many friends that live long distance and we don't often get a chance to chat and catch up, so I encourage you today to call a friend that you haven't talked to in a little while and catch up.

Your second adventure also involves a friend - send a message to a couple friends and schedule a time in the next couple days to get together for a meal or a night of games.  One thing I have realized over the years is the importance of friendship within my church family.  Scripture talks about friendship - "a friend sticks closer than a brother","a friend loves at all times","greater love has no man than this that he would lay down his life for a friend".

Have a friend filled day!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #14

I love getting mail!  I will be so disappointed if the post office closes.  Our mail isn't delivered to our house so each day I make a trip down to get the mail... if I miss the office hours I literally get frustrated and disappointed thinking I may have missed out on a personal piece of mail (bills don't count).

Just this week we went away for a couple days and the first thing I wanted to do when I got back was to get the mail in hopes of seeing a box filled with Christmas Cards.

This year since our kitchen addition is complete I am hanging the cards from a clothes line that is strung between two doors - I love how it looks.

Today's Advent Adventure activity is to select 3 cards from your pile.  You can select them randomly or pick your favorites - either way once you have picked three take some time this evening as a family and pray for that person or family.  It is such a joy to know that you are being prayed for.... then after you do that - drop them a message on facebook just so they know you lifted them up in prayer.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #13

Just the other day I finally got out my Christmas nativity.  Despite the dog knocking off the shepherd and breaking his arm (which my mother in law fixed) it finally found a new home instead of being scattered all over my living room.

There is something majestic about the Christmas nativity.... it is so peaceful to look at.  Joel's mom collects them and she has close to 200 different renditions of the nativity.  But there is another part of me that each year when I put of my nativity I realize that this is not anything close to what it looked like that day Jesus was born.

So for our Advent Adventure today - check out this video we showing at CRUX a couple weeks ago - I think they did a great job revealing the myths behind the nativity.  Hope you enjoy it and though I know my nativity is a bit commercialized and does not show the exact picture of his birth - I still love to look at it and display it as a reminder of His coming to the earth as a baby.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #12

As we have mentioned before Advent is a time of preparation....we look forward to remembering Christ's birth as a baby and we anticipate his return to take us all home.  As we look back and remember the story of Christ's birth I want  you to take some time to look back and remember your journey to this point.  Beth Moore said in one of her studies - you can't have your destiny without your history - we each have been on a journey to this point and that journey has shaped us into who we are.

Today I want to encourage you to get out some old photo albums, maybe an old year book and remember!  This journey we have been on up to this point is shaping us into who God wants us to be.  Not all the memories will be good ones, but it is often those ones that do the most shaping!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #11

This past Wednesday we did an Advent activity with our youth group.  We had 11 prayer stations set up throughout our sanctuary.  It turned out so well!  One of the stations that we did was a Shepherd station.  Throughout scripture there are many references to us being the lambs and Jesus being the good Shepherd, He teaches us and leads us.

At the station we had several little lambs for the students to pick and reflect on their spiritual journey as lambs - they were asked to then write down who were the people in their life that shepherded them in their spiritual journey as they wrote their names down they were to pray and thank God for them and how they have invested in them spiritually.

Who are your shepherds - the people who have helped to mold and shape you as a Christian - it can be friends, parents, pastors..... take a moment today and drop them a note to say thanks!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #10

Sorry I am a little later in the day posting this advent adventure, but it has been a busy morning of working and decorating our youth room at church.  I hope some of you were able to go out on a light tour last night.  My family enjoyed our drive - we saw many beautiful houses and some very unique houses.  My favorite house was very unique - I tried to take a picture but it didn't turn out.  Their entire from lawn was covered with lighted Christmas gifts of all shapes and sizes - it was really cool!  And speaking of gifts.... that is today's adventure.

Many of you today will be shopping, some in our area will be out hunting - either way you can give a gift. One of the best gifts we get each year from a family in our church is meat for our freezer - a couple steaks, some hamburger and other assorted pieces.  It saves us lots of money and is very practical.  Today I want to encourage you to give a gift of food... maybe to a food bank, maybe to a family in your church or a shelter that is near your home.  For those hunters out there - you can share some of your meat with a neighbor or a co-worker - what a practical way to give!  It has been a blessing to us so I hope that we can in turn give that same blessing to others!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #9

The weekend is upon us and it is time for a big adventure.... but before I start with todays adventure - let me remind you that you have until noon EST to send me a picture of you with your Christmas socks to be entered to win another pair of socks.

Now for today's adventure.  Pile in your car with your friends or your family and go on a Christmas light tour.  If you evening schedule has you running to pick up the kids - take a different route home to take in some new house lights.  As a family take a vote for your favorite house!  And if you think of it - take a picture of your favorite and pass it along to me.

I just can't wait for tonight as we take our little girl for her very first Christmas light tour!  And if all else fails and you aren't able to get out on a house light tour then check out this video

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #8

I loved Christmas time when I was in school - especially elementary school.  As soon as I got my homework done I was given permission to sit at my desk and create a one of a kind masterpiece - a snowflake - or my hope many snowflakes.

There is something so beautiful and creative about a snowflake - maybe it is because no two snowflakes are the same.  They so pure and clean and a great reminder of what scripture promises - "though your sins are like scarlet they will be washed white as snow"

Take some time today to create some snowflakes to hang at your home or in your office or maybe the youth room at your church.  For those with little kids - just fold the paper and begin creating.  For those that would like a little more of a decorative elegant snowflake - I have just the pattern for you.  The directions are found here 3D Snowflake Pattern.  If you want more snowflake ideas go to a site called Curbly.com for more ideas

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #7

It's the most wonderful time of the year..... is the song playing in your head yet?  I love Christmas Carols - I do usually hold off until Thanksgiving to listen to the publicly however they go through my head as soon as I see the first sign of Christmas and/or winter (whichever comes first).

If I wasn't so shy (I know hard to believe but true) I would just go to random houses and go caroling by myself since it does seem to be a challenge to get people together.  So last year I came up with an idea called Phone Caroling - I got a few of my girls from Crux together and we called a dear friend of mine who is also in Youth Ministry - Stephanie Caro.  The answering machine picked up and after the tone we sang our rendition of Silent Night.

Well just last week - that same group of girls quickly reminded me that it was time again for our phone caroling call to my friend Stephanie - so the only quiet place to make the call was the bathroom at the church so off we went and as people came in they joined in the singing of Joy to the World.  The girls were thrilled and Stephanie was blessed!

Who can you bless today by doing a little phone caroling?  It is so easy all you need is a phone and a joyful noise!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #6

It's game day on our advent adventure.  Our little girl is too young to understand the importance of family time now, but I know that if we don't get into the habit of doing that now - it will be much harder as she gets older.  So tonight I want to encourage you to have family time (if it doesn't fit tonight please schedule a time during this upcoming week!)  During your family time - play a Christmas game together.  Maybe it is name that tune with Christmas Carols, or Merry Christmas Jumble Words (try to come up with as many words as possible made from the words Merry Christmas)  Maybe is a game that you found online.

If you are really bold and want to do a fun messy game you can play one of my favorites - Santa Beard - put shaving cream on someone's face and throw cheese balls at them to see how many you can get to stick!  Such a mess but what a laugh you will have.  Christmas Tree Dress up - have a volunteer be the tree and dress them up with tinsel, lights and ornaments.  If you don't have family of your own - this is your chance to branch out and invite a family over or do this with your youth group!

Have a great time celebrating with your family!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #5

Happy Monday Advent Adventurers - during the Christmas season you will find that many people will be sporting Christmas T-shirts, jewelry, and even the imfamous Christmas sweaters, but to me the most important piece of Christmas attire is the socks!  I love crazy fun socks and that love is multiplied during the holidays.   In fact when I was a Phys. Ed teacher back in the day once a month I would have crazy sock day and my students would get extra credit for wearing their crazy socks to class.

So today - let's pull out a fun pair of Christmas socks and if you dare - wear them with sandals so you can get the full affect.  If you want participate in this, take a picture of your feet (with your socks on, of course) and mail it to me for a chance to win another pair of Christmas socks.  Just send your picture with your full name and email address to janalynn8@gmail.com  Pass this blog along to your friends so they can also have a chance to win.  You have until Friday at noon (EST) to send your picture.  Help to pass the word by liking my blog or leaving a comment.  Let's see if we can get 100 people to participate.

A winner will randomly be chosen on Friday!  Can't wait to see your Christmas socks!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #4

Today is the day the Lord has made - let us rejoice and be glad!  Today is a very special day in the life of our family... Ella's being dedicated in church today and we couldn't be more excited.  While I was pregnant and having some complications in the early pregnancy we felt God's peace knowing everything would be okay and that he had a special plan for our little one.  We had countless friends (especially our group of Youth Pastor IT team members) who committed to praying for our little girl!  We were overwhelmed to know how much she was loved and prayed for before she was even born.

Today we present her before the Lord and the congregation trusting he will do great things through her - I just know He is going to use her in a mighty way.

As part of our advent adventure today I want you to pray specifically for your children - ask for wisdom in raising them.  If you don't have children yet - pray for the ones that God may provide in the future.  If children are not on your radar then choose a child in your church and spend time praying for them.

As a special gift to the child - write out your prayer and give it to them - if they are too little to understand read it out loud and save it in a special place for them to look at later.  As we think about Jesus coming as a baby what a perfect time to look for a child or an infant around you to lift up to the Lord.

Happy Sabbath Day my friends!!!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #3

Happy Saturday everyone!  I know many of you will be heading out to shop today so our adventure for the day includes a little shopping.

One thing I have learned as a new mom is how expensive it is to clothe and diaper a child and thank goodness for breast feeding or I would have that expense as well.  This time of year can be hard a new mom especially one who is just trying to make ends meet, so you have an opportunity to help them out just by getting a pack of diapers, a sleeper, a bottle or a container of formula.

Find a Pregnancy Care Center near you and drop off your donation as a family or as a group so they can see the ministry that occurs right in your own neighborhood.  I had a great opportunity to work for a center for a year - I had no idea how many expectant mothers came through the center for counseling, support and for baby items that they needed.

As we celebrate the birth of the Christ child this year - think about all those other children that God has blessed our world with and take time to love on them by making a donation!

Happy Shopping!!!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #2

I don't know about you but there is nothing quite like snuggling up with a blanket, some hot chocolate, some popcorn and the ones you love and watching your favorite Christmas movie.  It would be hard to pick a favorite - but I do love How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the old cartoon one).  

It is amazing that up until last year I had never seen the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" where had I been all those years that I missed out on that classic?  I am sure it will make an appearance this year as well.

Just two days ago I was having a Tastefully Simple party and one of the guests (an Adult) had to leave the party early so she could go home and watch Rudolph.  It is just something that we never grow out of I guess.

So call up some friends, some youth group kids, or your family and pick a favorite Christmas movie to enjoy as you sit back relax and enjoy the evening.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Advent Adventure Day #1

The Advent Adventure Begins today.... for the first day of our adventure I want to encourage you to do some kind of Advent Calendar or Jesse Tree or something that you can do a daily something for Advent.  If you don't have anything available maybe that is something that you can make each day so that next year you will have an Advent Calendar to use.

Here are a couple ideas - one of the Sunday School teachers at my other church would do calendars each your made out of felt and match boxes and each of the 25 days before Christmas were filled with tiny gifts or symbols of Christmas that would fit in a match box.

Another idea is to make a Jesse Tree - if you have never heard of a Jesse Tree - you can take a branch or dowel rods and make a tree out of it.  Then you will use different items that you hang on string to tell the story of Christmas.  Check out the picture above for an example.

Our French class in high school used to sell advent calendars that were filled with Chocolate - that was a fun treat to have each morning during school!

If you have a great advent calendar idea - please share it with us!  Happy Adventing!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Advent Adventure is about to begin!

The Advent Adventure is about to begin.... so please join me and celebrate the season of Advent through creative ways that you, your family, your friends, and your Youth Group can do together to fellowship, to create memories, and most importantly and renew and refresh your relationship with the God of the Universe that came as a baby to save us from our sins.  Wow - what a reason to celebrate.  

Colossians 3:17 says, whatever you say or do - do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ - so this year whether you are shopping, fellowshiping at friends house, attending or participating in a program we are to be an example of Christ.  

So now I invite you to join me in the Advent Adventure Journey - it begins tomorrow and will appear daily until Christmas.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Operation Christmas Child Collection Week

It is hard to believe how the time flies but it is National Collection week once again for Operation Christmas Child - this is a project that we have been involved with for over 15 years..... and this year we are even more excited to introduce the project to our little girl.  Though she isn't old enough to know what is going on - she loves to participate even if she ends up just being a cute little baby sitting on the large pile of boxes that were packed yesterday at our packing party.

The party was to go from 2-8 so we arrived around 4:15 to help do some boxes, maybe do some wrapping, but as we walked in the door they were packing the last box - 360 boxes were completed in a little over two hours.  How awesome!!!  Thank you to Vonna Knouse, Teresa Shaffer, and Rachel Mingle for all your hard work!  (and any one else that was in charge that I am forgetting!)

Check out our little video!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mommy/Ella Time

I had my first overnight away from my little girl.  It was a great get away for me to spend with some girlfriends doing some scrapbooking.  So when I returned today all I wanted to do was have Ella time so after feeding her I decided to try on her new snow suit and this is what she looked like..... I know I am biased but she is too cute!  And seems to be a little immobile in her new suit!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Thankful November

Last year my sister in law Michele came up with a great idea.  She decided that for each day in the month of November she was going to post something that she is thankful for.  I love the idea!!!  Not only do I want to steal it - but wouldn't it be great if for the next four weeks we turned our focus towards that positive!  You don't have to just say something you are thankful for on facebook - the sky is the limit!  You could send a note of thanks to someone by email or snail mail each day of the week.  You could also take this idea to your children.  Each night at dinner time you could share something you are thankful for.

As I mentioned before - I just love this idea!  And when my little girl is old enough I want to be sure I have some special tradition we do in November to remind her how important it is to be thankful.  Just last night I was looking at a catalog that had a large tree made of fabric and 30 leaves on it that were numbered and were pockets (very similar to an advent calendar) and each day you put a note or something special that you are thankful for.  What a great idea - I would love to make one of those by next year!!

So let me start my month of thanks today - Joel's Sisters

I am thankful for Michele (Joel's sister) not only was she my favorite for the first year of our marriage (that was manditory since she helped me do a bunch of wedding stuff for me)  But I am thankful for her friendship to me but also to Joel (they were both single for a while and were best of friends!) Thank you for loving Joel as a best friend, thank you for welcoming me to the family and thank you for using your shopping skills to find me great deals!

I am thankful for Andrea - she loves to love!  She gives the best hugs and loves to jump on the bed when at retreats!  (long story)  Thank you for planting seeds in my mind about how wonderful your brother was, though I was resistant at the time, it was the best gift you could ever give to me!

I am thankful for Melanie - I am thankful for your kind spirit.  You are caring and compassionate and you have an amazing gift for decorating!  I will always remember the day we were sitting by the pool at the outer banks and you were wondering about Joel and I and if we were going to get married.... oh how fun it is to look back to that time.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Marriage and Ministry


Assuming the Worst

Why is it that I always assume the worst?  What do I mean by that?  Let me explain…. In the past several years of marriage and in my decade of serving in ministry I find that my mind often goes directly to the negative.  For example, if I ask my husband to help me take out the trash and he neglects to do so (or do it in the time frame that I have allotted in my mind) I assume he doesn't care about me and the things I need help with.  In ministry I may plan a huge event only to have 5 students show up, then I automatically assume – the kids don’t like me, they don’t like the activity, other commitments are much more important. 

Both of these scenerios though drastically different are completely related – they both have to do with my mindset – my negative mindset – and that negativity can easily creep into my marriage or my ministry if I don’t make a conscious change!  Assuming the worst is a common plague in our “half empty” that feels that constant need to compare ourselves to those around us.  This plague can ruin your marriage and your ministry if you don’t make an effort to make a change.

Here are a few things that I have learned over the years in ministry, marriage and counseling that have helped me pursue truth and not assume the worst.

1.     First you need to evaluate the value of what you are dealing with.  The value of the relationship or the value of the task.  For example, it seems to be rather pointless to spend hours worrying about what someone said about you, your spouse, or your ministry if you do not value that person’s opinions or actions.  The same is true about tasks, if I look at the garbage example – in the large scheme of daily life, how much do I really value the fact that my husband may forget to take it out 1 out of 5 times.  It sounds crazy but maybe it is not garbage taking out that is your issue but insert your situation and ask yourself that question – how much do I value that task or that person’s opinion in the large scheme of life?

2.     Next you must evaluate the action.  Did my husband really leave the garbage on the porch and not the curb because he wanted to make a point that he doesn’t like taking out the trash.  No – he forgot!  There was no vicious action planned to ruin my evening, he just forgot since he is still in his church counsel meeting waffle!  How about those youth group kids that never showed up for your big event?  Well with a little research I found out there was a big event going on at the school that was planned last minute even though I had checked months in advance to be sure there was no conflict.

3.     Give your spouse, your students, and the church the benefit of the doubt.  Next time a situation arises take a moment to think before you react (sometimes easier said than done).  Find out the facts before you jump to conclusions.  Talk to those involved before formulating an opinion. 

Assume the best!  Just a simple change of mindset can change your marriage and your ministry in minutes!    

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Grand Return!

Stay tuned..... tomorrow I will make my grand return to blogging!!!  The two months off for maternity leave has been amazing!  I am excited about what I have in store for all my faithful readers!  Check back tomorrow for the first official blog!  Also my other blog which focuses on MS, Babies, and motherhood will also make its comeback tomorrow you can check that out at www.msbabyandme.com 

Have a great day!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mom's Are the Best

As I prepare to become a mom in less than three weeks I am reminded how greatful I am that I have an amazing mom!  Last week I was so blessed that my mom was able to come for five days and help me get things ready for our little one.

There was no job that was too big or small for her - she was worker bee!!  She helped me clean, organize, paint, do laundry, and pick out some things for the nursery.   She even helped us move our bookshelf and she dusted and cleaned the whole shelf.

She had great ideas and she was willing to help me figure out some things I just had no idea what to do with - the office for instance!

It seems as though becoming a mom has drawn me closer to my mom - that I am so thankful for.  She is an amazing woman and I hope that I will be able to raise my little girl in the same way my mom raised her five children.  

It was hard to see my mom go home - but I think she will be excited next time she visits to see how great the nursery looks - especially with her little granddaughter in it.

Thanks again Mom you are the best!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A birthday Party!

So today the coolest thing happened.  I was sitting in the parking lot at CVS and I got a phone call from a family at our church.  She was calling because she wanted to invite us to her youngest daughter's birthday party, but truth be told.... the only reason we were invited to attend was because our "son" was on the guest list.

Can you believe it - Tucker was invited to a four year old's birthday party!  I hope she doesn't think he is a pony and try to have all her ride him....hahaha!  She just loves Tucker so we are planning to attend with him.

I will hopefully have a few pictures from the party to share later so check back on Monday!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

It only took 3 years!!!

Today marked a momentous occasion for me!  After three years, I finally finished reading through the Old Testament of the Bible.  There is a part of me that is a little embarrassed that it took me three years to complete this, and it took me this long in my Christian walk to make reading through the Bible a goal of mine.... but then there is the other side - I finally did it!

God's word is so full of instruction for us, and as a young Christian I often avoided reading the Old Testament because I just didn't understand it.  Don't get me wrong there is so much that I still don't understand but there is so much in the Old Testament that needs to be read and understood so you can better understand how important Jesus' sacrifice is in the New Testament.

Tomorrow I will start the chronological journey through the New Testament and I am looking forward to seeing how the Gospels flow with one another.

If you have never read through the Bible - I really encourage you to do so!  Here are a couple tips that I found useful and maybe they will help you also!

1.  During your first time reading through the Bible - choose a chronological Bible that has daily readings - although I often didn't finish a whole days reading at a time, it was great to see it in the order that it happened to better understand the content.

2.  If you start to get behind, don't get frustrated and start over.  I can't tell you how many times I started over in Genesis, but you have to just keep on keeping on - don't worry that the dates on the top of the page don't match the actual date you are reading - just keep reading.

3.  The first time you read through - don't try to study or understand everything.  I just tried to read a section and be able to summarize it - My goal is to go back through many more times, but the more I read the more I study.  This time of reading was for getting familiar with the content.

Hope these tips are helpful for you as you journey through reading God's word!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Coupon Excitements and Woes

With the upcoming arrival of a new little baby in our family, with me not working much over the past 9 months, and with remodeling costs that went over budget.... we are recognizing our need to cut costs!  So over the past week I have been collecting coupons, looking at flyers, going online and printing off more coupons.  I even signed up for several emails that give you couponing tips.

Let me set this up by saying, my goal is not to be an extreme couponer.... my goal is to be a good steward of my time and our finances and save some money.  With that being said - after a long morning of organizing all my coupons - I headed out to the stores to get my bargains.

I have mixed feelings about my experience today.... but I know that I am just learning and it will take time to collect coupons, to come up with a system, and to master the tricks of the trade.  Anyway - with that being said - here are a few things that I learned today and in the past about couponing!

1.  Couponing takes time!  It takes several hours to collect and organize, but it took all afternoon to go to all the places that I needed to to get my deals.  I had to plan out my route so that I wouldn't have cold items sitting in the hot car.  I may be a little over sensitive to being on my feet since I am great with child, but I was exhausted when I got home, so much so that some of my groceries are still sitting on the table.

2.  Sometimes you need to spend money to save money....today I saved a lot of money - in fact it was in the hundreds!  I saved 1/3 of my costs today - to that I am very excited, but I spent a ton of money!  And when you spend a moderate amount at five different stores it doesn't seem like as much - until you come home and add up your receipts - then you kinda get sick to your stomach.

3.  Shopping more than once a month can possibly relieve some of that overspending.  We haven't been home much so we haven't shopped for food - let's just say we were low!  So not only did we have to go out and get the staples, we needed to stock our pantry!

4.  Diapers are expensive!  Even with coupons!  We didn't get many diapers for our shower - in fact I only had one small bag of size one - so we needed to stock up - we spend 100.00 on diapers alone.  I did find out that if we sign up for Amazon mom we can get discounted diapers with free shipping but we had some coupons and needed to stock up so we spent the money today - and we did get a lot of diapers - the cost was only 19 cents a diaper when we figured it out.

5.  Don't cut coupons for things you don't normally use..... coupons make you feel like you are saving, however many coupons you have to buy three of the product just to get 50 cents off - it is not worth it - especially if you don't have the storage space, or you aren't sure you will like the product.

6.  CVS - I saved a ton there today but since we are just starting the couponing journey I realized that I was going to have to spend a little to start collecting my extra care bucks - but now that I have a stash of that - it should be much less expensive.

Well - there you have it!  Will I continue to coupon shop?  Yes!  I will just continue to work towards spending less and saving more.   I do feel better now that we are stocked up a bit so I can be making some food and such to freeze for when the little one arrives.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Birthday Blessings

On this rainy July 8th day - I am finally sitting down to relax for a few minutes before the wedding rehearsal.  It has been a busy day of working on camp things and doing a big mailing, not a lot of time to just relax and enjoy.  Joel isn't feeling great so he is laying down - and as he did he was very apologetic that this birthday is not very exciting.... but I was quick to respond that my life is filled with blessings, despite the day's schedule.  So this year I thought I would start a new tradition - Birthday Blessings.   I will come up with a blessing for each year that I am old.... so here goes 36 Blessings!

1.  I am blessed that I have a heavenly Father that loves me, forgives me, and cares for me.
2.  I have an amazing Godly husband - Joel
3.  I have a little girl growing inside of me - to which I am in awe of how God has and will continue to knit her together in my womb.
4.  I am thankful for my parents, who took me and loved me as their own.
5.  I am thankful for my siblings, and my sibling in laws who make life much more exciting.
6.  I am thankful to be an Aunt to 13 awesome "kids" ranging from age 2 - 23 years old.
7.  I am blessed to attend a church that loves the Lord, each other, and those around us.
8.  I am thankful that I have been able to serve the in 3 foreign countries.  (Hope to go back one day)
9.  I am blessed to have been a part of so many teenagers lives over the last 15 years - I just pray that I have made an impact for the kingdom.
10.  I am blessed to have a house with a beautiful addition - trusting that one day it will get done.
11. I am blessed that we will soon have a nursery (I am thinking positively! Since currently we have no walls)
12.  I am thankful for great friends! Friends who despite the miles, you can pick up the phone and it seems like just yesterday.
13.  I am thankful for Mission Meadows, Lakeside Christian Camp, and Krislund Camp - these camps were huge parts of growth in my life!  I love camp!
14.  I am thankful for Mini Vinnie - my car - it keeps chugging along - hoping to get at least 3 more years out of him - if I can still get in and out of him - my next car will need to be a little higher off the ground.
15.  I am blessed to have a great dog - who loves people, gets a little excited, but is gentle and protective, can't wait to see how he cares for his little sister.
16.  I am blessed that I live in the USA - despite the current economic and political situation we still have more than most and we need to be thankful for what we have.
17.  I am thankful for music - it has been my escape at many points in my life, it allows me to enter into worship, it let's me relieve stress, and it brings me great joy!
18.  I am thankful for Raspberry Ice Tea - it just makes me happy - I haven't had much during my pregnancy - less than glasses of it - but when I have it - it makes me happy!!!
19.  Orange Blossom ice cream has been a blessing during the last 8 months!  Can't wait until Cruiser's Cafe has it again!!! (hint hint!!!)
20.  I am blessed to have talents - the ability to stand up in front of people and talk without getting nervous, the ability to listen and ask questions to help people find emotional healing.
21.  I am blessed to have birth parents who chose life!  And were willing to bless others when they knew they were unable to care for me.
22.  I am blessed to have hope that despite having MS - God has used it and will continue to use it as part of my testimony of how he changed my life.
23.  I am blessed that God continues to provide for us financially even when I am unable to work full time.  Why do I worry or ever doubt?
24.  I am blessed to have time to sit and reflect on my blessings today as I celebrate 36 years of life.
25.  I am thankful for the beauty around me - especially the tiger lillies on the side of the road during the summer months!
26.  I am blessed by my In Laws - they are so giving of their time and talents and always willing to help us out.
27.  I am thankful for swimming pools and air conditioning on the hot days of summer.
28.  I am thankful for our new LED flat screen TV that we got for free from our credit card points because it takes up much less room on our dresser.
29.  Thankful that I have a brother who is an excavator so he can come and fix our back yard.
30.  Thankful I have a sister who is a landscape architect so she can help me make that yard look nice, and maybe score me a discount!
31.  I am blessed because I know that I will spend eternity with Jesus
32. I am blessed because I have a husband who makes me laugh!
33.  I am blessed because I have a dishwasher - no joke it really is a blessing to me!
34.  I am blessed because I have a beautiful kitchen now that is bigger than a closet - thanks Brian we love it!
35.  I am blessed because I no longer have to climb my steep stairs to get a shower!
36.  I am blessed because I have life!  Abundant joy filled life!

Have you counted your blessings today?  You should try this your next birthday!!!

Birthday Blessings

On this rainy July 8th day - I am finally sitting down to relax for a few minutes before the wedding rehearsal.  It has been a busy day of working on camp things and doing a big mailing, not a lot of time to just relax and enjoy.  Joel isn't feeling great so he is laying down - and as he did he was very apologetic that this birthday is not very exciting.... but I was quick to respond that my life is filled with blessings, despite the day's schedule.  So this year I thought I would start a new tradition - Birthday Blessings.   I will come up with a blessing for each year that I am old.... so here goes 36 Blessings!

1.  I am blessed that I have a heavenly Father that loves me, forgives me, and cares for me.
2.  I have an amazing Godly husband - Joel
3.  I have a little girl growing inside of me - to which I am in awe of how God has and will continue to knit her together in my womb.
4.  I am thankful for my parents, who took me and loved me as their own.
5.  I am thankful for my siblings, and my sibling in laws who make life much more exciting.
6.  I am thankful to be an Aunt to 13 awesome "kids" ranging from age 2 - 23 years old.
7.  I am blessed to attend a church that loves the Lord, each other, and those around us.
8.  I am thankful that I have been able to serve the in 3 foreign countries.  (Hope to go back one day)
9.  I am blessed to have been a part of so many teenagers lives over the last 15 years - I just pray that I have made an impact for the kingdom.
10.  I am blessed to have a house with a beautiful addition - trusting that one day it will get done.
11. I am blessed that we will soon have a nursery (I am thinking positively! Since currently we have no walls)
12.  I am thankful for great friends! Friends who despite the miles, you can pick up the phone and it seems like just yesterday.
13.  I am thankful for Mission Meadows, Lakeside Christian Camp, and Krislund Camp - these camps were huge parts of growth in my life!  I love camp!
14.  I am thankful for Mini Vinnie - my car - it keeps chugging along - hoping to get at least 3 more years out of him - if I can still get in and out of him - my next car will need to be a little higher off the ground.
15.  I am blessed to have a great dog - who loves people, gets a little excited, but is gentle and protective, can't wait to see how he cares for his little sister.
16.  I am blessed that I live in the USA - despite the current economic and political situation we still have more than most and we need to be thankful for what we have.
17.  I am thankful for music - it has been my escape at many points in my life, it allows me to enter into worship, it let's me relieve stress, and it brings me great joy!
18.  I am thankful for Raspberry Ice Tea - it just makes me happy - I haven't had much during my pregnancy - less than glasses of it - but when I have it - it makes me happy!!!
19.  Orange Blossom ice cream has been a blessing during the last 8 months!  Can't wait until Cruiser's Cafe has it again!!! (hint hint!!!)
20.  I am blessed to have talents - the ability to stand up in front of people and talk without getting nervous, the ability to listen and ask questions to help people find emotional healing.
21.  I am blessed to have birth parents who chose life!  And were willing to bless others when they knew they were unable to care for me.
22.  I am blessed to have hope that despite having MS - God has used it and will continue to use it as part of my testimony of how he changed my life.
23.  I am blessed that God continues to provide for us financially even when I am unable to work full time.  Why do I worry or ever doubt?
24.  I am blessed to have time to sit and reflect on my blessings today as I celebrate 36 years of life.
25.  I am thankful for the beauty around me - especially the tiger lillies on the side of the road during the summer months!
26.  I am blessed by my In Laws - they are so giving of their time and talents and always willing to help us out.
27.  I am thankful for swimming pools and air conditioning on the hot days of summer.
28.  I am thankful for our new LED flat screen TV that we got for free from our credit card points because it takes up much less room on our dresser.
29.  Thankful that I have a brother who is an excavator so he can come and fix our back yard.
30.  Thankful I have a sister who is a landscape architect so she can help me make that yard look nice, and maybe score me a discount!
31.  I am blessed because I know that I will spend eternity with Jesus
32. I am blessed because I have a husband who makes me laugh!
33.  I am blessed because I have a dishwasher - no joke it really is a blessing to me!
34.  I am blessed because I have a beautiful kitchen now that is bigger than a closet - thanks Brian we love it!
35.  I am blessed because I no longer have to climb my steep stairs to get a shower!
36.  I am blessed because I have life!  Abundant joy filled life!

Have you counted your blessings today?  You should try this your next birthday!!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A humbling experience

This week I am speaking at the RMC Soccer camp.   Most of my speaking is usually with middle school, high school and older.... however I do branch out every once in a while and speak to the elementary level students.

Well this week we are looking at different Bible people that were Champions of faith.  As much as I try to have all my information accurate and straight from the word of God, I do make some errors from time to time.  Last night was one of those times.

Let me set the scene by saying, I was tired (super tired) and hot and not fully with it - in fact I fell asleep as soon as I got home I was so tired!  Anyway - I also have prego brain - you hear stories about women and they forget things while pregnant - I think that is also me!

Anyway - I was talking about Esther - a book of the bible that I feel that I am pretty up to speed on - now don't get me wrong I am not a biblical scholar, but I do my best to bring truth in my presentations.  Well as I was sharing I mentioned that Mordecai was Esther's Uncle, and one of the students yelled out - he was her cousin - but I was sure that I had my info correct and insisted that he was her uncle, and told him to look it up.....well needless to say - I was wrong and he was right - after the talk I went to the car and there it was - Mordecai  was Esther's uncle.  I felt badly - for two reasons - number one - I gave incorrect facts to the students (which by the way I will correct tonight) but I also made it a point that I was correct and the student needed to check their facts.  It is very humbling when you have to be corrected by an elementary student!

At least either way you look at it - we know that they were related, it was a harmless miss spoken fact for which I will make right tonight.  Oh the joys of speaking!  Hoping to get a nap today so I have a bit more energy tonight as well as have my brain a bit more alert so I can keep my facts straight.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Paper Towel Cake

I was just at a bridal shower this weekend, and I saw the coolest thing - a paper towel cake.  As you can see in the picture - they put ribbons around the paper towels and attached some small kitchen utensils as well as some dish towels and to top it off - the centerpiece at was a floor mop - how clever!!!  I just had to share this!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Barn Quilts

I think I am turning into my mother..... but in this case it is truly an honor.  My mom is a quilter and she has such a gift with fabric, but recently she has taken that gift and used it with wood and has created this beautiful barn quilt for their barn.

If you have never seen a barn quilt before - they are beautiful!  Some places you are even able to take a whole "Barn Quilt tour"  I personally have never been on one however, my mom has lots of pictures.  It is my hope that by next year (or two) we will have our very own barn quilt attached to the back of our little house as a backdrop for our garden.... but until then I will just enjoy being able to go home and visit my family and see my mom's beautiful creation!  And lucky for them - they have another barn which means she is now working on her second barn quilt.

Monday, June 06, 2011

RMC Service at the River

We didn't have a camera to take pictures but my camera on my phone worked pretty well. This post, these pics, and everything was done on my phone. No computer needed! Check out this video I made on my phone with Animoto

Sunday, June 05, 2011

River Service

It is hard to believe that it has been two years that I have been attending RMC.  How time flies!  Today is one of my favorite days of the year on the church calendar.... the River Service.  Despite all the rain and storms last night we were able to have our yearly service at the Hoffman lot on the Susquehanna river.  It was a beautiful morning - just warm enough with the sun finally peaking through the clouds.

It is a come as you are picnic type service - though I like dressing up on Sundays as a sign of honoring  God, I also love and respect that God wants us to come just as we are - and that we did - toting our lawn chairs and our picnic food we gathered at the river.

One of the reasons I love this service is - worshipping the Creator in his creation.  I think too often in our busy lives we miss out on what God has for us because we are so busy running from place to place.  God talks about "if we don't cry out the rocks will"  today we had a chance to proclaim God without the confines of the church walls.  Don't get me wrong I love our building and I am blessed that we have it however, I long to be in God's creation and to me it is there that I can fully worship!


Another reason I love this service is the fellowship.... our church members are talkers and this just allows everyone to mingle even longer.  We didn't leave until close to 3pm and there were still many families playing games, talking and just celebrating down time with one another.  I love it that we provide many opportunities for people from both services to get together!


I can't even begin to guess the numbers in attendance but it seemed like a lot - at least when it came to the length of the food line of which I didn't get in soon enough and was too tired to wait in, but there was at least a little mac and cheese by the end when everything else was gone.

Thank you Lord for your sunshine after the storm!  Just as Paul spoke about in his sermon this morning you showed us that with your mighty hands this morning.  We are blessed to be called your Children!!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Babymoon....to Williamsport!

I never heard of a babymoon until recently - basically it is like a honeymoon before the baby comes and you start your new life as parents.  To be honest I thought there was no way we would be able to afford to go anywhere this summer due to me not being able to work very much and all the projects (such as the nursery) that we have going on at home.

Also due to the high risk factors in my pregnancy it has been suggested that we don't wonder too far from home.  So last week Joel informed me that we would be taking a little trip (a babymoon) to Williamsport.  Three nights away!  I was shocked and to be honest a little surprised that he chose Williamsport, but thrilled.

We are having a great time!  It has been so nice to relax and enjoy some time together.  We have enjoyed lunch with the Sweetings at Haywoods on the River - talk about big sandwiches - I wish I would have taken a photo.  Then we relaxed in the hotel pool which was nice and warm (but don't worry - wasn't too warm)  Then off to Wing Night on the Hiawatha Paddleboat.  Oh and not to forget - I also convinced my hubby to take me for ice cream at Bruester's.

What a great time we are having!  Today we are off to Alabaster Coffee Company (which a friend owns) and then to shop for an outfit for our little girl to come home in from the hospital!  To finish off the day we will to to First Friday which is a downtown late night shoppers and arts festival type thing.  Oh and not to forget dinner at Franco's Lounge!

This little get away was just what I needed!!  So thankful for a husband that loves me and cares for me - he is going to be an awesome dad!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Taraja Ministries Update

It is hard to believe that it has been almost two years since the idea for Taraja Ministries came about.  I am so honored and blessed that God would chose to use me to share joy and encouragement with countless people over the past 2 years.  I have been able to speak at one day events, conferences, retreats and camps.

Another aspect of ministry is the counseling portion.  I have really enjoyed getting to know a variety of people through this avenue over the last two years.  I am blessed to have an office that I am able to use to see clients.  I would have to say that one of my favorite counseling times are those that Joel and I can do together for Pre-Marriage counseling.  It is so fun to talk to with couples and help them become aware of some of the things they may face as they begin their life together.

Although I have had to change my ministry schedule quite a bit over the last couple months and the summer months to come because of the pregnancy I am so grateful that I can still do some of these smaller events and still see clients.  I have also been able to do some writing for YouthMinistry.com which is a ministry of Group Publishing.

If you would like to hear more about Taraja Ministries or receive my monthly e-newsletter, go to tarajaministries.com   I would covet your prayers and support over the next few months as I plan my schedule for the fall and spring as well as begin my new journey as a mother.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Our bundle of Joy!

I just wanted to give my faithful blog readers a head's up - if you were not aware I have a special blog called www.msbabyandme.blogspot.com  - It contains postings and updates on my pregnancy journey.  Saturday morning at 9am EST a post will be published revealing what we are having.  If you are interested in following our journey or checking out what we are having be sure to go there tomorrow.

We have some friends and family that want it to be a surprise, so we are not posting it directly to facebook. Thanks for understanding and we hope you will check out my other blog!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Forty Days of Lent - Day #40

It is Day 40 - Which means it is Easter - a day to Celebrate!!!  The tomb is empty and Jesus has conquered death.  This day should be the greatest day of the year!!!!  My the Lord of all Creation and the Lord that Resurrected from the Dead transform your heart and your mind this year to come!


Luke 24:1-12 (New International Version, ©2011)


Jesus Has Risen

 1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words. 9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

HAPPY EASTER!!!!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Forty Days of Lent - Day #39

It is hard to believe that Easter is tomorrow... but that is the truth!  I hope you are able to spend some time with your family this holiday weekend, but more importantly I hope you are able to spend some time with your Savior this weekend as we celebrate His victory over the grave!

The scripture today comes from Isaiah 53:5


"He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed"  



Friday, April 22, 2011

Forty Days of Lent - Day #38

It is Good Friday and this morning I had the priviledge of reading stories to kids during our churches Eggstravaganza - in the process of telling the stories - I was able to share about the greatest true story that happened 2000 years ago.  I was first told it was Earth Day to which I said - no - but then was quickly corrected because today is in fact Earth Day - I am not smarter than a second grader after all.  We did go on to talk about Good Friday and what that meant - it was a very meaningful time for the kids and for myself.


Luke 23:44-56 (New International Version, ©2011)


The Death of Jesus
 44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”[a] When he had said this, he breathed his last. 47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
The Burial of Jesus
 50 Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. 52 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. 54 It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. 55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. 56 Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

Forty Days of Lent - Day #37

Instead of my typical scripture today I am posting the words to my favorite Easter Hymn - there is just something about this song that grips my heart - as you think about Jesus sacrifice this Good Friday - let your heart be filled with gratitude for his amazing gift to us - the only thing about that day that made it good, was what happened on Easter Sunday!

What Wondrous Love Is This
By: American Folk Hymn

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down
Beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb,
Who is the great I AM,
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free
I’ll sing His love for me,
And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And through eternity I’ll sing on.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Forty Days of Lent - Day #36

It seemed that I should have picked this scripture on Sunday but alas I am a few days behind in my mind I guess.  So consider this palm Sunday scripture even though it is Tuesday.


Luke 19:28-38 (New International Version, ©2011)


Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
 28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
 34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
 35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
 37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
 38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”[a]
   “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

His entry into Jerusalem though it was triumphant was the start of what would change all of our lives forever.  Take some time this holy week to reflect on this thought.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Forty Days of Lent - Day #35

This is the day that the Lord has made - I will rejoice and be glad in it.  The sun is shining after a long hard rain, it is a reminder of God's faithfulness.  We are headed to see my family today and we can't can't wait!  My first long trip (okay not really too long - 3 hours) in four months.

The scripture this morning comes from:


Luke 4:1-13 (New International Version, ©2011)


Luke 4

Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness
 1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.”
 5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
 8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”
 9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:
   “‘He will command his angels concerning you
   to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
   so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
 12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
 13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

Jesus spent forty days in the desert and fasted the whole time.  At the end of his time there the bible says he was hungry - I would be starving!  At the point of his physical weakness - he is tempted by Satan.  Isn't that how it usually always works for us - when we are at our weakest that is when we are the most vulnerable.  But Jesus through scripture was able to overcome the temptations.  A powerful example to us as believers to know God's word so we will be ready to defend ourselves at our our point of greatest weakness.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Forty Days of Lent - Day #34

It another Psalm Saturday.  Enjoy the words of celebration as we consider Jesus victory over the grave!


Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.
 1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
 2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
   come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
   It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
   we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
   and his courts with praise;
   give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
   his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Forty Days of Lent - Day #33

Happy Friday!  It's the weekend and today was a beautiful day!  Thankful for the sunshine and a little time to go for a walk with the dog and just enjoy the beauty of God's creation!

The scripture for today come from


Romans 13:6-7 (New International Version, ©2011)


 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

This was the verse of the day from biblegateway.com - which is a great resource for looking up scripture.  Anyway I think it is an appropriate verse for today which is typically tax day - although this year they moved it to Monday.  But so often I complain about having to pay taxes and bills and such.  But the reality is that we are called as Christians to honor and respect the government and its taxes.  Though I am not a fan I know there is a purpose and I have to pay them so I might as well pay them without complaining!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Forty Days of Lent - Day #32

Happy Rainy Wednesday everyone!  Joel keeps reminding me that April showers bring May flowers - well I am ready for those flowers for sure!

Our scripture this morning comes from Lamentations.... maybe not a book you spend a lot of time reading but this scripture stuck out to me.

Lamentations 3:55-58


"I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit.  You heard my plea: Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.  You came near when I called you and you said, "Do not fear.  O Lord you took up my case; you redeemed my life."

Isn't it encouraging to know that when we are down and out (let's just say we are lamenting) that God hears our cries.  But not only does he hear them, he does something about them, and redeems us in the process.  I know there have been times where I felt as though I was crying out but God was not hearing my cry.  Then I am reminded that he hears my cry, and cares for me - but it may not always be how I think he should - therefore it feels as though I am alone or he has abandoned me.  He promises never to leave me nor forsake me!   And my God is a God who fulfills his promises!!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Forty Days of Lent - Day #31

I tried to blog yesterday but my computer locked up!  Urgghhhh so now I am a little behind but that's okay because I have some extra days built into my 40 days of Lent.

The scripture for today is from Revelation 22:17

"The Spirit and the bride say, Come!  And let him who hears say, Come!  Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life."


I can't read this passage without getting chills - I love the invitation that Jesus gives to us!  Come and drink of this water - it's free and life giving.  It reminds me of the time when Jesus interacted with the Samaritan woman at the well.  It is one of my favorite accounts in scripture.  Jesus is asking you here to Come!  Come to him - come into His presence!  Have you stepped away from God - here is your invitation to return - COME!!!!