Dec 072015
 

Yeah, it’s already week two on the countdown to Jesus, God with skin on. We lit the Peace candle and the light grows strong and excitement and joy over what comes next grows.

Mary heavily pregnant with the messiah inside, kicking her ribs and tickling her sides. Following her husband dutifully to Bethlehem.

I wonder what she was thinking and how she felt. Knowing that she was carrying the Son of Man.

Was she scared every time she didn’t feel the baby move, did her ankles swell and ache? Was she excited to get the pregnancy over or did she want to keep Him safe inside forever.

As mama’s we deal with so much through a pregnancy from wondering what our baby will wear and how we will afford diapers to fears of miscarriage, stillborn, a disability, SIDS. We worry. We wonder if we will find out the sex and if we should tell if we do. Yet beautiful, young Mary knew!

She knew before the first flutter kicks that she was carrying a child. She knew it was a boy! She knew what His name would be. She knew that the world would forever be changed but surely had no idea to what degree. She expected to have a healthy baby because He was the Son of God. All of the things we consider while pregnant she knew and so did Joseph. And they didn’t need an ultrasound or some sort of techie gear to reassure her that everything was going just right.

So imagine the shock, the momentary fear, when her water broke and contractions came hard and she had nowhere to rest, nowhere to lay her child’s head. Imagine wondering if you could properly parent Jesus?!

The world contracted too while she struggled to catch her breath. The stars aligned to announce the coming of the King. The angels came and began to sing. The nations heard of this boy-child who would be king and began to slaughter every little boy forcing them to run and protect the only true innocent One.

There is a reason that we look to Mother Mary and strive to protect, defend, and be grace-filled as we chug along praying for the best.

And prophesy of old was fulfilled because out of the stump of Jesse grew a shoot and that shoot did in fact bear fruit –Jesus!

Dec 042015
 

I saw someone tweet today about God looking for us. I see that in a completely different way than what I believe that person was pointing to. I don’t see it as Him looking for us at all. In fact, I think when He is walking through the Garden of Eden and is looking for Adam and Eve that it is metaphorical because He is God and knows exactly where they are. It’s part of the omnipresent and omniscience thing God has going for Him. So, no I don’t think He is literally looking for us when we are told that He is calling our names and is searching for us.

Rather, I think that this has to do with us and our season of life. “Where are you….?” In your heart? Your spirit? Soul? Mind? Where would you like to be? How do you believe you can achieve this?

I think it is a reality check in the making as we are running around eating forbidden fruit and covering ourselves from the Lord in a season of sin He startles us to the present and says “Where are you?” in order that WE may look around and see the chaos we are in.

Maybe we aren’t even doing anything “wrong” but feel like we could be doing better. Maybe it is shouting at our children or our spouse when we are trying to mind our words and have control over our emotions. Maybe we are deep in sin and are having an emotional or physical affair with someone when we shouldn’t be and God asks where you are and YOU are able to see.

As we travel through the many seasons of life, and of scripture, we are going to be faced with struggle and strife and all things that are far from nice. That is Satan’s way.

Sure we will likely fall a billion times but God is always there to pluck us up and put us back on our feet. Speaking with Him, learning His Word and meditating on our actions before we do them (or after if it is spur of the moment) while keeping God first is the ONLY way to grow in a positive and healthy manner. It is what will cause us to lean in when we can’t see the light, pray for the person whose driving is insane instead of getting angry and adding to the negativity and rage.

Have you ever walked into a room or a house after there has been a fight and you can feel the tension in the air? That is life. All that we feel is spewed from us as energy and I want the energy I am releasing to be peaceful and most of all, something that I am not ashamed to bring to the Lord.

While you walk through Advent and Christmas this year, where do you want to be and HOW can you tweak things to get yourself there?

This is the week we celebrate Hope.

Let’s Hope in the Lord as we navigate this almost always stressful season of the year!

Nov 262015
 

Today in the USA people from corner to corner sat around table’s big and small enjoying family and friends and good eats. Up here in Canada we did this in October which is equally as fun, though I will say the emphasis seems to be a lot more on family and friends than on the sales the day after. I mean, I get wanting to save money but there is more to this day than the sale on Friday.

They say that Thanksgiving was started with Pilgrims and Indians and all of that Jazz but really, from my perspective as a Christian, I see Thanksgiving beginning at that famous table that da Vinci painted of the last supper. Where Jesus and friends are passing bread and sharing wine. Where the Bible tells us about the upcoming crucifixion and the prophesies that will be fulfilled.

Jesus gave thanks. He sat or stood or did whatever Jesus did and He gave thanks to God the Father, teaching us to give thanks in all things, in all ways, always.

I would love to see more Jesus around the table and less shopping. And any shopping to be done with Jesus in mind. How about supporting Compassion, World Vision, Gospel for Asia, shopping fair trade and supporting the stay at home mama’s who are working from home with their home businesses. Like myself, Plexus is an awesome product that has given people health back, then we have the wonderful Mama’s (and wives) who are selling Avon, Scentsy and so many other amazing and GREAT products that support the seller instead of the billionaire chain store.

Did you know that for 30 dollars you can give medication to 10 children who are at risk of dying from preventable diseases? Did you know that for a couple hundred dollars you could buy livestock for a family so they can not only eat but make money? Did you know that while we sip on coffee and eggnog and all sorts of beverages there are millions of people who are dying, literally -for a single sip of something safe?

So let’s take our Thanks and GIVE because we need to be giving in order to truly receive the bounty of the Holy Spirit. All because Jesus mindfully spoke words of thanks around that table all those years ago!

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Dec 252014
 

It’s Christmas day and everything went pretty well! This was probably my most stress free Christmas on record. Normally I am a wreck, think full on tantrums, and I am never ready. However this year I prepared early and decided NOT to spend much money which meant less to wrap, which was a good thing because the few things I did need to wrap hurt my poor aching back.

We have a flu running through the hockey team, the real flu, not the stomach flu and because those hockey players of ours love to share it seems like no one was safe. My dad spent much of the last few days laying down. Today he was feeling like he was going to pass out from simple things, like setting up the tv’s for the kids, which was literally four screws and my dad is like superman, my mom often calls him Hercules because he is this ball of strength and energy who just goes so for him to be laying around and complaining of feeling like he is going to pass out is definitely not normal. Fortunately he was feeling a bit better tonight J However, I laid down this afternoon because I was feeling not right and I woke up shivering and drenched in sweat. So YAY ME I got the flu too!

I had a bath in the middle of the day! On CHRISTMAS! Say what? I know, but when you’re not feeling great why not indulge a bit? Yes, Grace!

So, I am feeling a bit better now that I have got my fever under control so I thought I would say Hi and update y’all since I have been missing for a little bit.

I have had some serious back pain since the end of July and I finally was able to get a CT scan done. I got my results yesterday morning and they weren’t great but they weren’t horrible. Apparently from having babies, being over-weight and having undiagnosed arthritis my lower back, L-5 and S-1 are showing signs of wear and tear and there is quite a bit of inflammation due to arthritis and a flare up. A six month flare up sounds insane BUT it is MUCH better than having a crazy injury that could require surgery. I was getting scared to do things simply because if I was injured I didn’t want to be making things worse. With the mild weather and rain we have been getting I am experiencing extra pain. I was given some exercises to do when I am not in pain and some exercises to not do, which will hopefully be helpful. Could definitely be worse and to have a diagnosis finally deserves a Praise God!

Last but not least, yesterday we lit the Christ candle at the center of our Advent wreaths as we counted down to Christ. I used the Cradle to Cross wreath that has been seen in Ann Voskamp’s Advent videos.

My little Jesse Tree didn’t like me playing with it so I switched up to a pretty awesome fake tree that is lit to hang my free Jesse Tree printables that came with my purchase of The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. I really enjoyed reading this devotional and found it a bit of a challenge to do for 24 days straight as most Bible studies that I do tend to be a 5 day type schedule and then I do separate Bible verses and stuff over the weekends to change it up. Whatever the case, the book is awesome and totally worth it. I decided to use post it notes on the answer pages so that I can reuse the book over and over each Advent and have the fun of looking back at answers from the year before to see where God has worked in my life when it isn’t so completely obvious.

I hope and pray that everyone has had a stress free Christmas and that you have been able to keep the focus on Christ and His coming so that you and me and everyone can be saved!

How was your Christmas and what are you praying for in the new year? Do you have something that you would like me to pray for in your life? Please feel free to contact me or leave a comment by clicking the comment button by the title of this post!

Many prayers to you dear Friends! I pray that we can have a fun and encouraging time getting to know more about each other through our writing and conversations on Twitter! God has definitely blessed me with some amazing people and aside from Jesus, y’all are the greatest gift this year!

Hundreds of thousands of readers have already fallen in love with Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, and this Christmas, Ann invites readers into the rich and meaningful celebration of Christmas we all long for — a celebration of the complete love story that’s been coming for you since the very beginning.  
 
In what is certain to become an instant holiday classic, Voskamp reaches back into the pages of the Old Testament to explore the lineage of Jesus — the greatest gift — through the majestic advent tradition of “The Jesse Tree,” each day featuring its own exquisite ornament highlighting the Biblical story (free download of each of the 25 ornaments available from Voskamp’s website, annvoskamp.com ).
 
Beginning with Jesse, the father of David, The Greatest Gift retraces the epic pageantry of mankind, from Adam to the Messiah, with each day’s profound reading pointing to the coming promise of Christ, so that come Christmas morning you find that the season hasn’t blurred past you but your heart’s fully unwrapped the greatest gift you’ve always yearned for.
 
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Dec 212014
 

Jesus comesThe kids and I sat around the Christmas tree, loaded with presents from my mom who just can’t help herself and we look at each gift trying to guess what they are. My daughter and I don’t like surprises but over the years I have *tried* to accept that surprises can be a good thing and I pray that my daughter will get there too.

My son is holding up gifts and asking what each one is including the ones that aren’t his. Finally he says “it’s so weird how I can’t wait to know but I don’t want the surprise to be ruined either!” I smile at him as he picks up his hockey stick and starts to toss the ball around with the dog. The dog gets one up on him by finding another ball and so the double-puck hockey game begins.

Buddy backs up trying to prepare for where the ball will go next and he sits on baby Jesus laying there in the manger. I say “Buddy get your butt off Jesus!” my daughter freaks out that I am talking about “that guy” again and my son is laughing so hard that when the dog finally moves he picks up the little Jesus and he says “sorry”.

Then he begins to talk as he tosses that ball around some more. Asking about Jesus and guessing that at least one animal in that “stinkin barn” must’ve licked the face of the Christ-child. My mind wanders away from the scene in front of me and to that space of time all those years ago and I wonder to myself if the baby Jesus was as powerful as the Man. Did the mothers who ooh’d and awe’d over this special baby receive healing when they cradled Him or kissed His chubby cheeks? Did those animals that knew no better and reached in and touched him fill up with this new Master’s love and grace?

I am brought back to reality when my daughter says she doesn’t believe in God and she would rather go to Hell anyway. I see the damage that the past has done to her and her fear of anything good happening to her so instead she expects the worst because then anything better is a bonus. My heart breaks just a little more and yet I understand exactly where she comes from and how she feels. I want to hold her in my arms and whisper to her that she will always be loved. I want her to realize that God’s love is eternal and real. I want to be able to wipe her tear stained cheeks and pull her out of the deep that she has planted herself in and yet I know that I can only pray for her because I have been exactly where she is, stuck in a hole of black.

My son announces through slap-shots against the wall that he is going to Heaven because He believes that Jesus is our Saviour and the only way to eternal salvation. My ten year old boy says “why would I want eternal damnation when I could have eternal SALVATION” and it all makes sense to this mama who looks over at the angry daughter and prays.

She begins to giggle at her dog and gets excited about Christmas and I see glimmers of hope and deep down I know that she will be okay. I realize maybe for the first time that getting her the physical stuff that she wants isn’t going to help her heal. No hamster in the world can replicate God’s great love. So I hold my nearly empty mug of hot cocoa and for the first time in months I feel peace. God is with us. Immanuel. Right there in our messy, hockey filled living room with the TV showing the game and the kids playing and the dogs barking and yes, He is right there in the here and now changing our ugly into beautiful and like water into wine the hopeless is given grace and the room fills with hope.

Dec 182014
 

I am sure that right now there are people writing on this prompt all over about how they adore God and how God adore’s us, His children. But I am not going to write about that because well I hope/pray that it is clear that I adore God and I trust in His unconditional love.

So instead I am going to write about all the wonderful things that He has blessed me with over the past year. Most of which are people. It is amazing to me that God has worked in ways to place people I absolutely respect and adore in my life path, with thousands of miles between us.

After my kids, there is Jon. A man who I respect and adore more than anyone else, a person who not only helps me get through the brutal hard but who has helped me to heal in ways I never thought possible. While his beliefs aren’t the same as mine I know that God placed him in my life because his presence has answered so many prayers.

Then there are the Five Minute Friday ladies. Without them I don’t think I would be where I am with my walk with God. In a lot of ways this five minute ministry has become my church and a place that is safe where I can worship God and always feel like my feelings are valid. Their words of encouragement on the Thursday night party’s are an awesome way to get to know each other, what they place on my blog in the comments though? Those are inspiring, they get me through those rougher days and they make me feel like I belong even when I have doubts. God didn’t make any mistakes in me stumbling across this ministry or with any of the friends I have made along the way.

Finally there is Hello Mornings and the wonderful ladies I have met there and how I felt led to AC with one of the people from FMF. It seems so random but I know that God had plans for it and I am so grateful to have Jen in my life. She is so sweet and has such a heart for serving the Lord and being in the Word.

Each person I have met and each group makes me want to be better and I absolutely adore that. I lived so many years wanting to hide in the shadows because of fear and now because of all the wonderfulness I would rather live in the Light and be killed than hide in the dark waiting to die.

I adore each and every one of you and I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings us and how God works in my life over the next year!

Dec 132014
 

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