5-Minute Friday

>> Friday, August 30, 2013

5 Minute Friday is "sort of a writing flashmob" hosted weekly by blogger Lisa-Jo Baker.  Each Friday she selects a subject and your job is to write about it for 5 minutes and link to her post.  Whatever comes to mind, even if you aren't sure what the subject is about, don't know anything about it, or haven't ever really thought about it.  Just write.  For 5 minutes.  Doesn't that sound fun??  There's only one rule:  After you've linked your post, you MUST visit the person who linked up before you and leave a comment.

Okay, ready?  Today's topic is: Worship...

GO

What does worship really mean?  I mean, other than attending church services on Sunday mornings, singing heartily, paying attention while the preacher is praying and preaching.  Is there more?  Does it really translate into everyday living?

It's supposed to.

Worshipping God is easy when I'm outside and the sky is breath-taking, or I'm sitting beside a glass-like lake at sunrise.  It's easy when I'm alone and there are no kids to distract me with constant chatter.  It's easy when things are going the way I want or expect them to go.  But what about when I'm scrubbing toilets, something is boiling over on the stove and causing horrible odors, and my daughter is constantly bugging me about something while I try to listen to Revive Our Hearts on my mp3 player... What does worship look like then??

I think I know how it's supposed to look.  But it's probably not what my family sees and hears in those moments.

O God, give me an extra measure of YOUR patience, YOUR grace, YOUR mercy.  Grow in me YOUR desire to put relationships ahead of the to-do list. Worshipping you in everyday life is SERVING you by loving others in practical, tangible ways.  Help me love being your servant.

STOP

Whew, almost didn't finish that one in 5 minutes!!  How did you do?



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Practicing Gratitude

>> Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thankful Thursday hosted in August by Iris @ Grace AloneHere we are, the last Thursday of summer.  But what an AWESOME second-last week of summer we've had!  I'm thankful we've needed the A/C on full-time, day AND night!!  It's been VERY hot and humid, keeping the humidity-adjusted daytime temps hovering in the 30s.  (that's in and around the 90s for the Celsius-challenged)  Relatively unusual for this time of year.  But I'll take it!

I'm grateful The Man didn't collapse from heat exhaustion and fall off the roof he was helping a friend shingle last weekend in those conditions!

I'm thankful for the great visit we've had with The Man's parents this week.  Virtually every year, the week before the Labour Day long weekend, they come out with their camper on their way to their church's annual family camp.  They camp on the yard, often provide brunch, and have the girls sleep-over.  This year, Mack and Grandma made black currant jam together ~ YUM! 
Their stay also afforded The Man and me the perfect opportunity to take a few hours to go to our new favourite restaurant over in the next province for date night/belated birthday supper.  We also spent a perfect afternoon/evening at the lake together yesterday.

I'm grateful for the incredible weather we've had the second half of this month.  From mid-July to mid-August we really didn't experience much "summer," so it's been a relief to many, I think, to finally get the weather we'd all been hoping for after our inordinately long winter!!




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5-Minute Friday

>> Friday, August 23, 2013

5 Minute Friday is "sort of a writing flashmob" hosted weekly by blogger Lisa-Jo Baker.  Each Friday she selects a subject and your job is to write about it for 5 minutes and link to her post.  Whatever comes to mind, even if you aren't sure what the subject is about, don't know anything about it, or haven't ever really thought about it.  Just write.  For 5 minutes.  Doesn't that sound fun??  There's only one rule:  After you've linked your post, you MUST visit the person who linked up before you and leave a comment.

Okay, ready?  Today's topic is: Last...

GO

Last night was the 41st anniversary of my birth.  For real!  I was the last child my parents had, though the first, as well.  I am an only child.  The last time I spoke with them on the phone was also last night ~ just a short conversation because our supper was almost ready ~ but it was enough to catch up a little and say I love you.

I don't mind growing older, but I wish I could remember the last time I didn't wake up with a stiff neck and shoulders.  I know there have been mornings here and there, but they are few and far between.

I don't really like to think about "lasts."  I'm always reminded by the kids book (by Karen Kingsbury, I think) where the mother is constantly wondering, is this the last time I'll tie his shoes for him?  Is this the last time he'll come to me for a Band-Aid?  Is this the last time he'll drive off this driveway? and so on and so forth.  I read it once and that was the last time.  I don't want to think about the "lasts" in my relationship with my children.  I want to ENJOY watching them grow up and mature, not constantly wonder how life might indelibly change from each moment on.

At LAST, my time is up and I can quit rambling!!  ;)

STOP

You know, this really is tougher than it sounds!  Sheesh.  Are you up for the challenge??
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Practicing Gratitude

>> Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thankful Thursday hosted in August by Iris @ Grace AloneYou know what I'm thankful for today?

 
41
YEARS
OF
LIFE!!
 
Yep, today's my birthday.  Forty-one years of God's extreme grace and mercy.  All those mornings I've enjoyed, all the senses with which to experience and savour life, all the family members I've been given, all the breaths I've taken...  It's been a really good ride.

It's curious how our minds seems to freeze certain aspects of life in time, isn't it?  You know, like the reflection in the mirror.  It's only when I see photos of myself from even just a few years ago that I realize I really am aging visibly, just like everyone else!  (nuts, I thought for sure that was just happening to OTHER people!!)

I'm thankful for growing older and wiser.  And yes, I think I can safely say I'm doing both, thankyouverymuch.  I'm grateful for the ways in which God has intensified my desire to know Him, my hunger for His Word, over the last handful of years.  I'm thankful He gave me at least enough time to realize I really didn't know Him very well at all, despite growing up in a Christian home and attending church and Sunday school all my life.  And then also for the additional years to begin remedying that problem.

I love Proverbs 16:31, which says, "Gray hair is a crown of glory; attained in a just and righteous life." (combination of various translations)  We all end up with grey hair, but I think for those whose desire is godliness, aging is something to aspire to, not to dread.  The older we get, the
more Scripture we know.  The more Scripture we know, the better we understand God and how He wants us to live.  The better we understand God and His commands, the better we can live out a legacy of faith for others to follow.  Who wouldn't want that for themselves??

I'm thankful for a healthy perspective of aging in our anti-aging culture, where the concept of growing old gracefully has been almost completely lost.  SO many products and devices are on the market today to keep us from looking older, but they don't just hide the physical signs of aging... they feed our fear of how the signs of age will affect our appeal to others.  God tells us showing our age is a beautiful thing if done His way.  He also says our attractiveness has very little to do with our outward appearance. (1 Peter 3:3-4; Prov. 31:30)

I'm grateful for my life ~ for what I've learned along the road, and all the blessings that have made it a very rich ride.  I could never be thankful enough for what I have NOW, even if I'd spend the next 41 years attempting it.  God has been so good to me!  I can only imagine how much more goodness I'll see as I get older.

And wiser.  ;)






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My Family

>> Tuesday, August 20, 2013

This past weekend was the annual gathering of my dad's huge family.  What an awesome time!  The weather was absolutely PERFECT for spending at the lake; the food was good (and altogether too readily available!); and catching up with aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and new-comers was such a great blessing and encouragement.

In what I like to refer to as "the glory years" (probably about a dozen years, spanning all my teens and adding a few extra on either end) this gathering would last 5-7 days.  The official gathering was ~ and still is ~ Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, but in those happy golden years, many of us would stay for a full glorious week.  They lasted forever, those days.  They live on even now in our memories and when I get together with the cousins I used to always hang out with at these things, time and the circumstances surrounding our individual lives disappear and we are the way we were ~ carefree, ridiculous, laughing...

I am so thankful I was born into a huge family!  I don't know all my aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins' spouses, and cousins' kids very well, but I've made a point over the last several years to sit down and converse with at least one person each day that I don't normally talk to or hang out with.  It's been so great to "get to know" my family in this way.  It's a bit of a struggle for me sometimes to approach those I don't know well, particularly the cousins who are more than about 5 years younger than I am.  I never really got to know most of them because by the time they came along, I had a fairly large, close-knit group of cousins my age that were always together.  But whenever I connect with someone "new," I always come away feeling fuller, like my life has been enriched.  It definitely binds them closer to my heart.

After the family gathering three years ago where I was asked to give the devotional at our Saturday night fireside, I felt God compelling me to specifically pray for each of my family members every week.  That's currently 152 born- or married-in family members, plus a steadily growing number of significant others, honorary members/pseudo-relatives and hangers-on!  Like I said earlier, I don't know nearly all of them very closely, and as a result it's often difficult to know what or how to pray.  Many times, it's the relatively generic requests for love for God and hunger for holiness to increase, or for sight to be cleared, a renewed breath of the Holy Spirit in hearts and minds, many times for healing and restoration physically or otherwise...  For some I pray for resurrection, a freeing from their spiritual tombs.

Above all, I pray that God's glory would be seen in my family.

What I've found so incredibly interesting and encouraging is that in the course of conversations with my relatives at these annual gatherings, I have discovered that not only has God been answering my prayers, but He has been initiating and directing those prayers all along.  When you don't really know someone and yet you find yourself praying for sort of the same thing over and over for them without really knowing why, exactly, and then you find out ~ without specifically asking anyone about it ~ that that prayer has been answered?  THAT is truly awesome!!  It has happened at every one of the gatherings we've attended over the last three years.   I AM SEEING GOD AT WORK IN VERY SPECIFIC WAYS IN MY FAMILY!!

It is an immeasurable blessing to have a huge, wonderful family.  But it is even greater when those same family members are not only related biologically, but spiritually as well.  I am praying that someday we will all be doubly related.  When I think of the potential spiritual impact our diverse and geographically widespread family could have on this world and in future generations, it's absolutely mind-blowing. I am praying for world domination!

Not that my family would rule the world, but that Christ would rule in us and that the world around us would be deeply, positively, indelibly affected as a result.  May God continue His great work in us that His presence in our lives would be unmistakable and His glory brilliant and clear for all to see.


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Friday Fun

>> Friday, August 16, 2013

I saw this idea yesterday while checking out a Pin and thought it sounded like a fun, fresh idea to try out.

"5 Minute Friday" is the brainchild of blogger Lisa-Jo Baker and is, to use her words, "sort of a writing flashmob."  Each Friday she selects a subject and your job is to write about it for 5 minutes and link to her post.  Whatever comes to mind, even if you aren't sure what the subject is about, don't know anything about it, or haven't ever really thought about it.  Just write.  For 5 minutes.  Doesn't that sound fun??  There's only one rule:  After you've linked your post, you MUST visit the person who linked up before you and leave a comment.

Okay, ready?  Today's topic is SMALL.

GO

Small.  Today, that's kinda how I feel.  Such a small part of my huge extended family, such a small part of my community... a small part of my world.  How much can I really affect all those people?  How much good can I really do?  Why bother trying?

And then I remember the story of The Widow's Mite and a portion of a verse from the book of Zechariah -- "Who dares despise the day of small things...?"  God doesn't discard the small.  He doesn't discount the value of a small person giving their all, even if that contribution is minimal by human standards and in relation to the contributions of others.

The point is to contribute, to live for His sake, for the sake of His Word, the Gospel.  Which is Good News for all the world, for my community, for my family.  One person at a time.

STOP

Whew, that was harder than I thought it would be!  My heart is a little heavy this morning and I found myself stopping and thinking all too often in that 5 minutes!  But it was a fun exercise nonetheless.  Care to join??

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Practicing Gratitude

>> Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thankful Thursday hosted in August by Iris @ Grace AloneMan, it's tough to believe it's the middle of August already.  Summer is entering the home-stretch, sadly. School will begin in two weeks and 6 days.   ::sniff, sniff::

I was hoping for some "lazy days of summer" but that has not happened this year!  A day here and there, yes, but not the endless weeks I remember from my childhood!

I'm grateful that a return to routine is just around the corner, even though I'm really not ready for summer to be over or for the girls' return to school.


I'm thankful for the location of our home ~ just far away enough from town to be out in the country, but close enough for the girls to bike to the school playground, a couple of their friends' homes, and the little grocery store that sells slushies, chips, and chocolate bars.  I'm grateful for the sense of freedom and independence it gives them to head out on their own and I'm SO thankful they are responsible, obedient little ladies whom we can trust to look at their watches from time to time and make their way home at the time we've told them to.

I'm thankful for the kind of friendships where you can ask your guests to bring their own dessert when you have them over for supper.  Because the dessert you made earlier in the day literally ended up in flames and you didn't have time to make another one.

You know, just in case that situation ever arose...

I'm grateful that after a month of sitting idle, we FINALLY had to turn on our A/C again yesterday!!  If the forecast is right, we'll only need it for about a week (unfortunately), but hey, I'll take it!


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The Lighthouse

>> Monday, August 12, 2013

How many of you remember that gospel song from the 80's?   Let's have a show of hands.

 
Come on, I can't be the only one old enough to remember that!!

I heard that song a little too often for a while there and actually got quite tired of it.  I've lived quite happily without hearing it for probably the last 20-25 years now.  I don't miss hearing it at all.

 
But last night while I was walking, I couldn't help remembering it.
 

And I thanked God for "the Lighthouse."
I owe my life to Him
For Jesus is the Lighthouse
And from the rocks of sin
He has shown a light around me
That I could clearly see
If it wasn't for the Lighthouse (tell me)
Where would this ship be?

I need to remind myself that sin isn't just in the things we DO, it hides in the things we think, the things we say.  Most times, it isn't that I need to find my way through tangible temptations, but through the temptation to worry and to fear the future.  I sometimes have trouble being the woman who laughs at the future, who faces the future with joy and hopeful expectation.  Lately, I have been the woman who, more often than not, dreads the future, facing it with a sense of hopelessness.

But I have a Lighthouse to guide me through even this.  A Lifeline to rescue me, something to hold on to until the storm is over.  The storm may not end any quicker than I'd like it to, and I may not be plucked out from the middle of it and whisked away to fields of blissfulness, but He is there with me, beside me, holding my head out of the water.

Ever shining His Light around me.







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My Own Backyard

>> Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Dear Lord, when things get hectic
And living seems so hard,
I just go out and sit awhile,
Within my own backyard.
For there it's quiet and peaceful,
Beneath the shady trees,
And sunlight through the branches,
Accompanies every breeze.

There are a dozen shades of green,
Designed to please the eye,
Chubby squirrels and humming birds,
a golden butterfly...
The honeysuckle's perfume,
permeates the air.
And though I do not see Him,
I know that God is there.

The sky so high above my head,
Is an electric blue,
And there are lazy cotton clouds,
With nothing else to do,
But sail across the heavens,
And yet I know that I
Was given hope whose sturdy wings
were also meant to fly.

This old world we inhabit,
is much the worse for wear,
Beauty fades so quickly,
And hearts forget to care.
But somehow I've discovered,
Within my own backyard,
A peaceful sanctuary...
in which I find the Lord.


~Grace E. Easley

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Practicing Gratitude

>> Thursday, August 1, 2013

Thankful Thursday hosted in August by Iris @ Grace AloneWell, first of all...

Happy August!

I gotta be honest with you ~ I actually had a bit of a tough time writing a grateful-sounding post for today.  Not that I couldn't think of anything to be grateful for, but yesterday marked the halfway point in our summer holidays, and truthfully, I was a little bummed about that.

I'm thankful the girls are growing and developing normally, but I do miss the days when they needed nothing but each other and some favourite toys and kittens to occupy them for hours on end.  I'm grateful one of Mack's friends was able to spend the day here on Tuesday to give Mack a "break" from her little sister.  I'm thankful AJ got to go to town with her daddy to run some errands for part of the afternoon, and that all three girls played so well together when she was home again. (dreaming up crazy farmkid-type fun)

I'm thankful we've crammed so much fun into our summer so far.  It's been a little busier than I would have liked at times, but it's been good to include more time with people we love.

I'm grateful for the week of "nothing" this past week.  It's been nice to just concern myself with normal, household chores and yardwork for a change.  Most of July felt like I was either preparing to paint/go somewhere, or unpacking and catching up after being gone/painting!

I'm thankful for a fun evening out as a family together with a bunch of friends at the movie theatre last night.  It started out as just me and the girls going to see Despicable Me 2, then it was going to be my girlfriend and I with our four kids, and then it became us as a family, my girlfriend and her two kids, plus other friends of ours, together with their son.  It was such a fun, ridiculous movie and a great time of laughter and nonsense.  I'm so grateful for times and friends like these.

I'm thankful for the FULL rainbow we saw last night. (And me without my camera along again, of course!!)  It has been a rather cool, damp summer for the most part and it was good to be reminded of God's promises and His goodness despite our circumstances.

What are you thankful for?


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