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Christmas Contentment

It's December. Winter has been held at bay here in Texas as the temperatures have hoovered around 80°. For me, exchanging the grandeur of this year's autumn for the celebrations of the winter has been difficult. Our house is sparely decorated this year...and I think it will stay that way.

My daughter told me a few days ago that she loves that we don't put up a lot of decorations. She said,

"We have lights on the house and some garland, your snowman that you've had since you were 2 and the manger...what more do we want?"

Out of the mouth of babes, right?

I can so easily get caught up in the "stuff" of Christmas that it pushes aside the focus I am trying to keep in the forefront our hearts and minds during this season of celebration. I love, love winter decor and Christmas "cheer"...but it's just packaging, right?

NOW...Don't get me wrong! The twinkle of the lights and the warmth of the garland makes me smile just as much as then next person! And I know that beauty is such a reflection of our marvelous creator...but this year, I'm going to lay my desire to adorn our physical home in its winter array and practice contentment with the abundance that I already possess, spending my time resources to intentionally adorn our hearts with the Joy that comes from family and friends gathering, stories being told and reflections on the sweetness of a child King born to save the world.

WHY? Because Jesus is the LIGHT of our home, the heartbeat of who we are as a family, and the glue that ties us all together.

I am looking forward to joining creation as we Praise the Father for Jesus' birth, life, death and Resurrection...showering gifts on my sweeties, friends and family...eating good food...enjoying the festivities that bring people together...soaking in the joyous music that exalts the Lord... and even the relishing the memories of a year passing as the Christmas season concludes and a New Year is Born.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!  May you be blessed as you follow the Spirit in your celebrations this year and may the reason for Jesus' birth move you in a new and powerful way!

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Stopping to Give Thanks

I am so thankful for so much! As this week begins, with a monster list, I have chosen to stop for a moment and remember all the things for which I am thankful! I have learned that it is a CHOICE to be made.

"Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice." Philippians 4:4

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

"A thankful heart is a happy heart. I'm glad for what I have...that's and easy place to start." -Jr. Asapragus, Madame Blueberry VeggieTales

Instead of focusing on the list I need to accomplish over the next 2 days...here is my list of WHY I am thankful:
  • My God! Through Him I can do exceedingly abundantly MORE than I could hope or imagine, including my list. (Ephesians 3:20-21) He has a plan for MY life, and YOUR life, that is FAR beyond our imaginations. I am never alone. I can be filled with JOY even as things are falling apart around me. Peace is a salve that is readily applied even in chaos...because of HIS love for me.  Thankful doesn't say how I feel about the price Jesus paid for me on Calvary! Word cannot express my utter love for my Saviour.
  • My Hubby! LOVE him more everyday! I am thankful for the 23 years I've known him and the 20 years he's been my significant other. He is my knight in shining armour, my best friend and my soul mate. I cannot imagine my life without him in it. 
  • My Children! LOVE THEM!! I can't say enough how much joy they bring to me. There is so much I could say about their smiles, hugs, jokes and sweet conversations...but that would take a LONG time! I am truly blessed! Psalm 127:3
  • My HomeIt is a peaceful place to be. It's not the things that fill the walls that makes our house a home...it the people that fill it. The family and friends that pass through our doors every week just sharing life with us. Friends and Family...the door is ALWAYS open! Come on by!
  • Family & Friends. How God has woven deep friendships into our family structure is priceless.  We love one another...but more than that we LIKE one another! We also have precious families God has place in our lives. People who love Him and are seeking Him. People we can pray with and play with...share our hearts with. What a blessing! I love you all!
  • Church Body. As we gather each week...true community is experienced. CHURCH is not the building we meet in, or the programs we have...it's the LIFE we walk out together, arm in arm, as the hands and feet of Christ to those around us. I am thankful for body of Christ that I can come together with each week to worship, serve, and pray with. They are truly Lovers of Jesus that don't mind getting dirty when the need arises, that will pray, even at 3 o'clock in the morning, and fills their cups with the Word of God that they may testify of the HOPE that is in us. (1 Peter 3:15) Praise the Name of Jesus!!!

I know I could go on and on today! The fact that family and friends will be in and out my doors this week is so exciting to me. My list is NOT the most important thing this week. In all reality it WILL get done...it always does.  The most important thing is keeping in mind the end result...to be hospitable and peaceful and most of all...Thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving week to you all!

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Authentic Community

Allume: a French word meaning to kindle, illuminate

One word…one weekend…hundreds of women changed, molded, directed, loved on and in community with one another.

Over the past 4 days I have been blessed by so many of these women and even by the Sponsors of the Allume conference. The spark of friendships began on Twitter and Facebook have been kindled in to live, real, authentic friendships.One word…one weekend…hundreds of women changed, molded, directed, loved on and in community with one another.

Authenticity is important to me.  I want to live a life of authenticity with God, myself and others.  It can be hard to do sometimes…getting lost in the myriad of Hats we wear…to remember who we are and how to be authentic in the relationships we have with those around us.

It is even more difficult to remain authentic when you write…when you aren't actually having the two way, face to face conversations…when you REALLY don’t know the ones reading the words that are flowing from rapidly typing fingertips.

This week I was able to connect with some FABULOUS women, whose hearts are so engorged with the love of God that it spills out in their smiles, their laughs, their conversations and…their writing.

This week, I have spent time getting to know ladies that have ‘kindred hearts,’ as Jennifer calls it.  I love that they want to touch others with the Love of Jesus they know to be True. I love their hearts for their husbands and children…and that they come before the writing.

I can’t wait to introduce you to them!  Trust me…you’ll love ‘em!

There is so much still to write…little things here and there that the Lord whispered into my heart, affirmations from the One who Loves me and has put the desire to write in my heart and the sweet savor of community. Authentic community.

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They Fell to The Ground

This was so poignant to me as I read it last night.

Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?  They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I Am. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. John 18:4-6

Sadness encompassed my heart for these soldiers. They had come seeking to arrest a main "claiming" to be the Son of God. What they encountered was the Truth that He WAS the Son of God. Don't you know they KNEW, at that very moment, that Jesus WAS who He claimed to be?  At the sound of His name "I Am"

"They went backward and fell to the ground." 

We don't hear anymore of the soldiers' story.  We don't know if their hearts were hardened to the saving grace that bled before them on Calvary   We don't know if they ever grasped the magnitude of who Christ was and that He died to save them from an eternity of darkness, grief, pain and sorrow. I hope they did.

Sadly, I see the same response in people today.  There is power there, but they cannot accept it and they turn to journey down the path they have carved out for themselves.  Not that this path is filled with evil, NO...It's just void of salvation, redemption and power.  I pray that I may be a vessel, void of my selfish pride, that will give hope to the hopeless and grace to the ones that need it most.

What a compassionate Savior I serve.

I, too, want to share His love with others so they can voluntarily bow and confess that He is Lord and see the life change that occurs.

Lord, prepare those, whom you love, to hear your voice. Soften their hearts to hear and receive Truth and be set free, rescued, redeemed and filled with hope.

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