Friday, September 30, 2016

to ask

"God teaches us to ask so that He may answer our prayers.

Let's never forget that some of  His greatest mercies are His refusals. He says no in order that He may, in some way we cannot imagine, say yes. All His ways are merciful. His meaning is always love."

That first statement up there reached out and took hold of my heart this morning. I hadn't ever really thought about it that way. We are encouraged, taught, invited, challenged again and again to ask...

Then the words following met me just where I am today. It's Mom's birthday, one of my favorite days of the year. Though I am missing her deep, so deep, the Father took the time today to remind me of His great mercy and love. And so I celebrate so many things today. Just. so. many. things. ♥

quote from EE

Monday, September 26, 2016

as His

From my reading this morning...

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility,
gentleness and patience.

Bear with each other and forgive one another
if any of you has a grievance against someone.

Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

And over all these virtues put on love,
which binds them all together in perfect unity. 

Colossians 3:12 - 14

Joy for the week ♥

Saturday, September 24, 2016

simple things

The sweetlings have been out and about with Jamie all day today, so it's quite a different morning and afternoon here all by myself in our house. Just now, I am counting blessings...

a quiet day

a trip to the grocery store

cleaning the bathrooms

cutting and arranging flowers

doing laundry

preparing for Sunday

planning and prep for supper

working on school plans

studying for CBS

writing a little

reading a little

Oh, to be able to do these simple things! As I was working just now, the thought struck me again, what a privilege it is to be able to work, plan, prepare for my family. To have the time to stop for a little break to write or to read is a gift, a gift! A few quiet hours in which to be alone (thinking in a straight line ^_^ not speaking a word aloud), and then that these hours will find me at their end longing for my JMSI to return.

Can you imagine? Me with all of the grand plans I made and make still, enjoying -more than I ever thought possible- a day like this? Standing in the kitchen, grinning madly over the ideas that popped to mind for our meal this evening? Imagining the children's eyes alight when they come home to find that I have made homemade lime-aid (using Grana Jane's lemonade recipe) as a treat, just because there was a gorgeous bag of limes at the market? Cleaning bathrooms, not as drudgery, but with a mind only to bless my family?

So, I add to my list... a transformation in me. That God would take the time to help me learn again and again the gift of contentment, and that He allows me to see. And then, finally, this: "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, just as we told you." What a day ♥

quote is 1 Thessalonians 4 verse 11

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

a radiant example

"Have I a true servant-heart? I should have.

I will not be anything like my Lord Jesus if I haven't,
for He came not to be served but to serve.

He set for us a radiant example of how He meant it.
He washed feet.

Knowing His own origin and destiny,
He did it with grace and He did it with love."

Thankful for this reminder today ♥

quote from Keep a Quiet Heart by EE

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

the fourteenth day

One morning when Ila and I were at the beach, we sat down on the couch together to work on a school project. As we began talking, we realized that we both had forgotten to read our devotions for the day when we first woke up. We ran back to our bedrooms to get our books and settled in to read them together. Ila read hers to me first, and then I read mine to her.

On that day EE was sharing the story of her friend, Nina Jean. It seems that Nina had been reading in Deuteronomy 1 about when the Israelites were within fourteen days  of the Promised Land. Do you remember the social climate of that time? Moses was at his wits' end to put up with the people. They were complaining about absolutely everything! And do you remember what happened to those people? Not a one of them entered the Promised Land!

Nina Jean shared that she made up her mind that if complaining was the reason God's people were denied the privilege of entering Canaan, she was going to quit it. She then set herself the task of no complaining for fourteen days.

As I finished reading to Ila, she said, "Mom! I need to do that!" I agreed that I did, too, and asked if she would like to work on it together. And so we made a covenant not to complain for two weeks. We prayed and asked God to help us as we worked to learn how to serve Him better with our words. We also found pretty matching bracelets to wear to help ourselves and each other to remember.

Well, today is the fourteenth day! We have smiled and hugged and celebrated all along through the day. We wore our bracelets and shared with the rest of our family what we have been up to --and we plan to have a tea party here in a little while to crank the celebration up a notch or two yet.

We learned that breaking the habit of complaining is a tough thing, and we were surprised to find how many "little" negative things pop out in our speech in a day. We also learned that shouldering a challenge together - bearing a burden together - makes the task lighter, even fun.

And best of all? God made Himself known in another significant and special way in our lives: He honored our prayer asking for His help. We found that when we were having a tough time, the other would pop up and say, "Remember your C's!" He gave us the courage to begin and the desire to keep going when old habits started trying to sneak back in. And He has helped us to want to continue!

Praising the Father for His goodness today,
and catching a glimpse from the fourteenth day into "for always" ♥

story from EE's Keep a Quiet Heart

Monday, September 19, 2016

butterflies on the beach

By the great kindness of a precious friend, Ila and I were able to take a little retreat a couple of weeks ago, just the two of us. Oh, what a sweet time! We sang and played, read stories to one another, worked on school, laughed a LOT, talked about some heart things, danced, watched the water and boats and creatures, played in the sand and the sea, cried a little, watched "Little House" episodes, met new friends young and old...

Among our favorite things about the lovely place we visited were the butterflies. They were everywhere! So pretty and lively and fun to watch, they accompanied us through all the hours of our adventures. Particular to this beach, though, and to our great delight and endless wonder, was their presence with us on the beach. I don't remember ever seeing more than one or two on a beach anywhere else ever.

Moment to moment we could look around and somewhere within our frame of view there would be one or, most often, two little butterflies dancing away across the sand and then out over the water. They continued on to disappear out of sight far away over the ocean.

What a joy to dream up the places they might be heading off to and the adventures they might have along the way and once they arrived. We laughed to think of them visiting with friendly dolphins and whales when they wanted some company and of them stopping to rest on a pretty sailboat or a large ship. We wondered how they might find food, whether the salty spray of the sea might make their wings heavy and their flight longer, and where they found the energy to fly and fly and fly.

Perhaps the most challenging idea of all was the courage / inclination of such a tiny, delicate creature to strike out over a huge ocean on a seemingly endless journey. We talked long and long about the butterflies on the beach. What a beautiful picture of trust and hope! What sweet remembries ♥

Friday, September 16, 2016

blue

What a privilege to pray with precious friends we've not even met yet. What a privilege to cry and mourn with them, even as we celebrate a life well lived - a life of service. What a privilege to honor and support those men and women who are first responders in our community, state, and nation - even as our hearts break with loss ♥

This morning, Ila asked me to please tell her again what happened to Officer Brackeen. As I shared with her, her eyes filled and she became so angry! She asked me what would happen next, and as we talked she said, "But Mom! What can I do?" So I shared with her the story of two children who lost their fathers this weekend. We discussed how neither of those precious little ones had the opportunity to help or decide, and that both of them will always be working to deal with what happened. And then we remembered what she can do - what we can all do - we can PRAY. It's the single most loving and powerful thing we can do.

And so we did that specifically, purposefully standing and holding hands in our kitchen at 2pm. We will continue to do that as often as the Father brings these precious folks to our hearts and minds. Any time we hear a siren of any type, wherever we are, we pray for the first responders and the folks they are going to help - and we will continue to do so. We will smile and wave and pray when we see them out in their vehicles around town, and we will stop to say hello and thank you whenever we can.

We will also pray for families who are dealing with the consequences of poor decisions, remembering that sin is something that every single one of us deals with every single day.

We will remember that God calls us to respect authority, and we will pray as our nation tries to re-learn that lesson. We will pray for parents to remember to teach their children and for the children to hear and take it to heart.

Proudly and prayerfully all in blue here ♥


Thursday, September 15, 2016

His smile

Not a shadow can rise,
Not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;

Not a doubt or a fear,
Not a sigh or a tear
Can abide while we trust and obey.

This precious tune is on my heart this evening. So much on my mind.
Thankful for His smile, His heart, His plans, His grace... ♥

From the hymn "Trust and Obey" by JH Sammis