Feb 172015
 

Over the weekend my computer got hit, hard. I lost everything I didn’t have backed up and it took me two attempts at fixing it, reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling windows.

Many people would be furious with working for some 14 hours over the long weekend to get their computer up and running but instead I praised God, not that my computer needed fixing, but for giving me the education to fix it myself and to not give up and spend the money on hiring someone to do it when it seemed like I was getting nowhere after the first 8 hours. I don’t consider myself to be tech savvy by any means, but I am quickly able to research what I don’t know, find solutions and I am not afraid to trust that God has things, has me, even in such a seemingly superficial way.

You see, nothing is to small for God. Not battling Satan’s servants out of my computer, not knowing the amount of tiny hairs on my head, not a single thing is too small for Him.

God, He has the big things too.

Those 21 men being slaughtered by ISIS simply because they had the Lord in their hearts, God was there. He felt the pain of their losses and used them to teach us to stand strong in our faith because this life is short but everlasting life is, well, FOREVER. No one on this earth can steal us away from an eternity with God. Jesus came and He wore the cross and the cross wore Him and the darkness of the sins of the entire world –past, present and future- washed over Him and He saw all that pain and He pledged with His sweat-mixed-blood that through Him everything would be alright.

I am proud to be a Christian, to co-lead a Hello Mornings group with the wonderful Jen (registration opens soon!!!), to be maintaining a group for Moms of Boys on Facebook that started when (in)courage spoke to my heart.

So, let them come. Let Satan’s soldiers come and rip me apart bit by bit. They can cut off my head, they can rip out my heart, but they will never be able to access my soul. They will never be able to take my soul from the hands of my Saviour.

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.
~Deuteronomy 31:6~

Because of my computer issue I wasn’t able to join in with the linkup’s I normally do on the weekend. Sort of makes me sad but I know that with everything fixed it only means I can get back to an awesome schedule and back to my study’s and reading plans.

Yesterday I joined up with Tyndale publishers to review books for them on this blog! I am very excited to get started. I also review books through Bethany House and Chosen Publishers.

One book that I need to review but definitely recommend right now is Atlas Girl by Emily Wierenga. I will put a link below to her book. It is awesome and an easy read! I am so excited that I was able to get this on Kindle at a steal several weeks back! I will definitely be ordering a paper copy when I make my next big book purchase!

So lovelies, how was your long weekend? What have you read recently? I am always looking for recommendations!

I am excited to hear from you all soon and to talk to you on Twitter and Facebook!!

In this lyrical memoir, a disillusioned pastor’s daughter searches the globe for God and finds him in the most unexpected place-back home.
$14.99 USD
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 082014
 

Advent Week TwoAdvent week two began yesterday, lighting the PEACE candle was very special for me, ceremonious if you will. I haven’t had a count down to the cradle wreath before, counting each day of December up until Christmas Eve. So, as I lit the first candle and then the six between to mark each day of the week, and then finally the peace candle marking the second week I felt excited and joyous.

Christmas is normally one of the worst times of year for me. Three years ago I spent 8 weeks in bed starting on December 26th. I didn’t leave the house for anything during that time. I just slept. Even though God was the center of my life I wasn’t putting Him first the way I thought I was.

Studying His Word and creating a relationship with Him has definitely turned things around for me. Back then, I read, I prayed, but I didn’t listen and I didn’t obey Him or the plans He had for me. Without realizing it, I had only been going through the motions of a “good Christian” rather than truly putting God first in my life.

Over the last two years my values and morals have definitely become more concrete. I stopped being an in-the-closet-Christian and decided to wear my faith in God with pride. I began to edit the negative out of my life and keep the people who I knew had faith too and would help me in learning and in getting through. I decided that being modest and feminine is important to me and have been trying to implement more and more of that into my life. Constantly removing clothing and other things that just didn’t say what my heart does, out of my life. My cleansing out the bad and negative things I have found a few things out about myself.

I am beautiful. Overweight and all. My heart is beautiful and I was perfectly created by God – and He doesn’t make mistakes or typo’s. He knew exactly what He was doing when He created me and I have faith that the people who He has put in my path are there for a reason, even if I don’t always see it.

Jesse TreeI have bought home décor that celebrates my faith, and how I feel as a Christian woman. Those things that I have purchased can be used throughout the year and be switched up easily without having a ton in storage.

Not having to go through a million storage bins to prepare for the holidays has been amazing. I literally spent less than ten minutes in my closet to pull out some candles for my Advent wreath, my Advent scrapbook page and a wax melter in the shape of a Christmas ornament. Everything else was transformed with simple things like red candles instead of white, glass I already had out was moved to reflect light better.

Keeping it simple really is the key to my survival this year. Starting off with a list of things to purchase for décor and gifts and getting everything in one trip was really helpful. My back is very messed up so I can’t do much else right now even if I wanted to, but I have to admit I am loving the little vignette’s that are dedicated to God and the reason for the season, Christ’s birth. One antique chest hold my wreath and my countdown flip calendar. The top of my printer cabinet has my Jesse tree, a candle lantern, my Advent scrapbook page and a wooden wick candle. The coffee table has a candle trio on a black platter that I keep out in different places throughout the year, right now it adds extra warmth to the unfinished room. The nativity set is in the family room where everyone can see it.

It smells SOOOO good in here with all of the candles! Even when they aren’t lit there is a lovely fragrance that brings a warmth all on its own. Finally cranberry tea, pumpkin spiced hot cocoa and cinnamon sticks add seasonal flavors.

Reading The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas each day and answering the questions has also been awesome. Ann Voskamp writes a lot like I do when I do poetry or journaling so I can really feel her emotion and understand her heart.

I am also doing the Hello Mornings Power Pack study with my Hello Mornings group, except I do it each evening once I have lit the Advent candles. For more information you can click on it in the sidebar. It is really a great study and I am blessed by it each day!

This is the first year that I have really been excited for Christmas, decorating and finding that what I already have is MORE than enough to bring the Lord praise! It took me a year of writing what I am grateful for to see that I actually have it all.

 

Nov 172014
 

Join me during Advent with the Hello Mornings Advent Power Pack!

 

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Nov 092014
 

Christmas Card It is hard to believe we are already a week into November. God is always on my mind but as the season in which we celebrate the Christ-Child’s birth I feel ever more close to Him. I feel the Gift that is the gift.

This year I have had a lot of fun counting my One Thousand Gifts in my plain old notebook. I am at over 1700 gifts and I am still counting and I wonder what the prompts will be for next year!

As I look back on the past year I have not only begun counting my gifts but I have had the privilege and honour of helping others to see the Gift through co-leading a group through (in)courage and now Hello Mornings with the always beautiful Jen.

I have the advent to lent wreath handmade by the Voskamp children that I am excited to set up this year. It is beautiful and smells wooThe Greatest Giftdy and natural. The heart of God really works through their family and it is amazing that these young people are so giving of their time and energy and they donate all the money to the children they sponsor through Compassion International.

This year is the first year I have thought about setting up a Jesse Tree. From what I understand you place a handmade ornament on the tree each day of Advent as you count down to the birth of the Christ-Child and give thanks in all things. Each member of the family can do their own ornament or you can create one as a family.

I am not yet sure what type of tree I want to use this year. My allergies are bad so I know the Christmas tree will likely be artificial, but I am considering a potted rosemary “tree” to use as my Jesse Tree. They smell amazing and don’t bother my allergresinies and best of all I can keep adding to it throughout the year as it continues to demonstrate new life.

Have you done a Jesse Tree before? How did you do it and what type of tree did you use?

I am going to be reading Ann Voskamp’s book The Greatest Gift again this year. If you purchase a copy you get free paper ornaments which she uses in the book.

You can also purchase the ornaments in resin or a fancy paper from DaySpring. While you are over there you can also save if you are a new customer and right now there is a great deal on boxed cards. This year Ann Voskamp also has a Christmas card available which is an absolute blessing! Finally, Ann Voskamp has also released a family version of The Greatest Gift called Unwrapping Unwrapping the Greatest Giftthe GreatestGift. It has beautiful illustrations for people of every age to enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 012014
 

31 days day 1 moveToday is the first day of 31 days of writing, or in my case 31 Days of Grace. I am not sure why I chose that title or what I intend to do with it but I do know that this is a community full of grace, grace on being late, on being quirky, God’s abundant grace. Yes, I get a full dose of grace every single day and I don’t even have to move from my cozy bed or couch. I don’t have to change into nice clothes, or change at all if I feel like wearing jammies all day –which for the record I totally do fairly often. I figure I live in the middle of the boonies and I am not seeing anyone so I may as well be comfortable! That’s grace right there.

The word prompts will mostly, probably, be from the list that awesome Kate created for us FMF girls to use, though, five minutes I can’t guarantee. I give myself grace like that too!

I am so excited with how God is moving in my life right now and I am even more excited that this whole crazy part of my life right now stems from God working in mysterious ways months and months ago.

You see, I joined Five Minute Friday’s when I saw that a blogger I follow had made a post. It was her first and ONLY FMF post so the fact that I followed the link to Lisa-Jo’s site and linked up myself was in itself one of those by chance things that only God could have put in place. After a long time writing on Fridays I decided to join in on the Twitter Party on Thursday night (use hashtag #FMFParty). You see, my internet allowance before sucked and I kept getting hit with 300 dollar bills for overage fees, YIKES! So I couldn’t Twitter Party like I wanted to!

In that first Twitter party on a Thursday night for a Friday post I met some awesome ladies, one stood out to me, Jen Daugherty. I don’t know what it was about her, similar in age perhaps? Otherwise we had nothing but God in common, or so I thought. Week after week we kept meeting up and I truly enjoyed learning about her struggles in coming home from South Africa during this party. (It just so happens that we are both doing this 31 Day Challenge too!)

Then we both signed up for the FMFPartySnailMail, which in essence is a bunch of us ladies thought that joining in and sending a letter each week through the mail to someone on the list would be an awesome way to brighten each others weeks and to spread the love that God has for us all. Out of several lists of 8 women, Jen and I found ourselves in the same group. What were the chances? God obviously had a plan and we jokingly stated that! I was the first person on Jen’s list to mail, she was my last.

We have continued to talk via Facebook and through those Twitter parties. Then 2 sessions ago for Hello Mornings we just HAPPENED to land ourselves unknowingly in the same Twitter group! Coincidence? At this point? NO WAY!

So, this week, we have opened our hearts and our time and energy, into volunteering for Hello Mornings and being accountability captains together. It just feels right. God moved us together for a reason. So to find that we kept getting placed in the same places for the same reason and then getting to know each other and finding out that volunteering for Hello Mornings was on both of our hearts it just seemed meant to be.

Registration is open this week and next week we start on the book of Matthew!

I love how God has moved in my life and has moved Jen INTO my life. I am so excited for all of these opportunities we have had to get to know each other and all the opportunities we continue to have that continues to let us learn and grow.

By His grace Jen is in my life. By His grace we were accepted to be accountability captains together. By His grace we will have a long friendship full of encouragement, understanding, and an eagerness to serve the Lord!

To Link up as an FMF blogger check out our Five Minute Friday host’s website, Kate Motaung!

Sep 242014
 

This year I have been taking Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gift Challenge. Where each day you write down gifts from God and in doing so you also find joy, often in the weirdest places or in the most mundane things.

It’s amazing how many things you can be grateful for when you stop and observe and think and realize that everything you have, everything you don’t have and everything in-between comes from the Lord.

However, I still manage to get trapped in that depressed place where nothing seems to matter, everything feels dire and hopeless and I just want to check out. I do my best to pull near to God each day, even when the feelings of dread hurt and the tears won’t stay away. If I pull close to Him somehow everything is okay. It can still hurt, but it is okay.

A while ago I did some shopping on DaySpring and I ordered two of their Truly Blessed Photo frames at an awesome price. I actually hung them thinking They would probably never hold anything and that they would just share their message and they would go with some of my other accessories made of the same black metal. Yet, Both of those holders are chalked full of cards sending me blessings and prayers, cards thanking me for being an encouragement and I think to myself that God is so utterly amazing by placing these lovely women in my path. These women who trust me with their ugly-beautiful and as I place each new card onto one of the overfull holders I am beyond grateful that someone took the time to think of me and more so I am humbled that my raw story and the way I communicate brings glory to God and that is so amazing to me. All these cards literally saying that I serving through God’s will.

It is beautiful to know that the years I suffered, the sins I committed, and the life I have lived wasn’t all done in vain. It wasn’t for nothing like I had feared. My prayers are answered in that all of the bad has been used to make good.

So, this awesome lady, who I have run into like a dozen times online, and I have joined forces and are going to be accountability captains for a Hello Mornings Group! It seems so amazing to know that God had us bumping into each other over and over so that we could join in on an awesome community and serve Him to the best of our abilities and so that we may learn more about Him through those in our group!

I have been humbled by being an (In)courage group co-leader in the past and I continue to be humbled by those ladies even though the group has long since been over. It is definitely going to be an awesome experience to do this type of ministry again with the Hello Mornings team.

On another note, I received a box of hand designed blank note cards by an amazing lady who I have been praying for over the past year as she has dealt with some serious health issues caused by Lyme Disease. Her handwritten note was very heart warming and I am so humbled that people with so much on their plates take the time to send a few kind words and take me by surprise.

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