Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Resolutions?

Are you the type of person who vows to do {insert the improvement here} starting on January 1? Do you tend to give up on that certain something by the end of January? Doesn't that get you down? Talk about feeling like a failure before February even begins.

So don't do it!

The only resolution I have ever made and kept is to floss my teeth daily. I made that resolution about 7 years ago and have been flossing ever since. My dentist is so proud! All the other ones, hmmm, I can't even think of another failure.

Instead, make a list of a few goals that you would like to accomplish within the next 12 months. Below are some goals that I thought I'd share for the year 2012:

1. Make a list of a few books (not sappy, romantic, vampirish books - but books that make you think outside the culture and challenge your mind) that you'd like to read in the next year. Maybe it is even just one book. If you need a suggestion, I recommend Water from a Deep Well: Christian Spirituality from Early Martyrs to Modern Missionaries (it is on my list to read in 2012).

2. Get your passport (either first time or get it renewed). You never know when you might have the opportunity to go on a short term (or long term) mission trip. It takes about 6 weeks to get the passport back, so it is always good to be prepared.

3. Choose something "big" to clean out (like the garage or basement). Now remember, this doesn't need to be finished by the end of January. Break up the one huge goal into smaller tasks and reward yourself for the progress you have made. Tell your husband (or someone) that you have this on your "to do" list so they can hold you accountable (and sing your praises when it is finished).

4. Volunteer more time. There are so many worth organizations in need of volunteers that it should be easy to find one near you. Choose something that you are passionate about so that it will be an easy fit for your personality. If it isn't something you care about, it can easily be pushed off until 2013 (or beyond). So if you love dogs, volunteer at your local humane society and help walk the dogs. If you are passionate about helping the less fortunate, you might call a shelter and see when you can help serve meals. Maybe you can just help clean the kitchen after meal times? If you have a heart for the elderly, maybe you can take your kids once a month to a local nursing home and visit the residents? They love it when we take homemade cards to them for different holidays (we usually do this for Valentine's Day).

5. Strive for holiness. Ok, I that know this sounds like a giant goal, but take it in small steps. First of all, pray. Pray for God to shine a light on an area (just one) that you should work on. Next, start the “put off – put on” process.

6. Pray more. We can never pray enough. Think of creative ways to remind yourself to pray each day. You could put up a prayer board (we have a white board in our kitchen to remind us of prayer requests). Use birthdays and other special dates to remind you to pray for loved ones. When you hear of a tragedy (newspaper, TV, prayer requests), use that as a reminder to pray that God be glorified in that situation. We are to pray without ceasing – so let us constantly look for reminders to continue our conversations with God.

7. Reduce the distractions in your life. Do you spend a lot of time, money and energy on entertainment such as TV shows, movies, going out to eat, reading books that serve to entertain rather than to teach? Pray that God would open your eyes to the distractions in your life and choose to eliminate one (or more) of these. Spend that time more usefully – either with your family or by serving others in the community or church. You’ll never regret it!

8. Spend time remembering lovely stories from your childhood and tell them to your own children. Help them to see that you were once a child. Help them to see you as a person, not just a Mom or Dad. Tell them the things you did for fun (I doubt it had anything to do with an iPod or Nintendo). Tell them about books you read and loved and then see if they want to read them, too. Tell them about heartaches that you experienced. But please remember to always respect and honor your parents in these stories (even if you have to omit portions of the story).

9. Clean out those closets. If you haven’t worn an outfit in a year (or more), then why not give it to someone who will wear it? Look through all your clothes and if it is still in good shape, but not something you will wear, donate it to a local shelter, Goodwill, or American Vets.

10. Seek out someone to “mentor”. God has given you some life experience (some good, some not so fun) for a reason. Do not waste it – use it to help someone else and glorify God. Find someone (teen, young Mom, friend of one of your children) and take them under your wing. Explain that you are not perfect (that should not be news) but that you would like to be their friend and be someone they can trust for advice. Hmmm, who will you (I) choose?

Remember to post your list some place where you will look at it. If you don't do this, there is no way you'll remember the goals you set in October.

So what are your goals for the new year? I’d love to hear from you.

Church is Church

"Church is Church"

Someone over the holidays said this to me and I have been thinking about it ever since. This was from someone that I think is an unbeliever (this assumption is based on a seemingly disinterest in the things of God, but really God only knows a person’s heart) and they were choosing to spend time in a church service that is not a Bible believing Christian church.

1.       The first thing I have thought about is my response. It was, “that is not true.” But that quickly shut down the conversation. I wish I had answered like Jesus and probed a little deeper into the heart issue. I wish I would have said, “Do you really believe that? What if it is was the church of Satan? Or a Hindu temple?”  If it is a church (based on the shape of the building), but they do not preach the Word of God, then it might as well be a Hindu temple. There is no such thing as a little bit right when it comes to eternal salvation.

If I had responded with a question, it might not have shut down the conversation so quickly. I regret not being able to talk more about this with her so that the Holy Spirit could use it to bring her close(r) to God (that is my prayer).

2.       How many people believe that “church is church” – otherwise known as “universalism”? This is a problem. There are so many people who believe that as long as you are sincere about your faith, you are “alright” with God. Which god? Not the God of the Bible who says that He is a jealous God and Jesus Who says that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father but by Him. Biblical Evangelical Christianity is exclusive. It does not include all roads. The way is narrow and we need to be clear about this. If people think there is a fuzzy, gray line and that “any sincere religion” will work, they are on the broad path to destruction. That is exactly what Satan wants – confusion. We need to warn them! Sound the alarm! Blow the trumpets!

3.       I also wonder how many people think they are pleasing God by attending church on these special occasions? They may be attending a bible believing / preaching church, but they attend out of duty. They feel their attendance is a sacrifice that God should appreciate. Maybe it is even at an odd time, like sunrise service for Easter or midnight service on Christmas Eve. Maybe they even serve the homeless a meal on Thanksgiving. Oh what a sacrifice (sarcasm)! God should appreciate all they do for Him, right? Wrong. It does not matter what (seemingly) sacrifices a person attempts - if they have not accepted Jesus, the Son of God, as the Sacrifice for their sin and made Him Lord of their life, it is a futile effort. We read (below) about the Jews who were sacrificing and recognizing religious holidays, but they did not respect or love God with their whole hearts:

Bring no more futile sacrifices;
Incense is an abomination to Me.
The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—
I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.
Your New Moons and your appointed feasts
My soul hates;
They are a trouble to Me,
I am weary of bearing
Isaiah 1:13-14

Just a little note – please still invite the unsaved to church. God may not add it as a “good mark” to their account, but there is a chance they will hear something convicting. There is a chance they will realize the depravity of their sinful condition and give their life to Christ. Keep inviting and keep praying for their souls.

4.       How many believers will stand up for our God and our church? Will you? We are the bride. We are part of His Church. There is only One Church. It is precious and was bought with the sacred blood of Christ. It is worth standing up for. Please do not hesitate to speak truth (with grace and love of course) when someone tries to marginalize Christ or His church. Bible believing Evangelical Christians are not the same as Hindus, Muslims, Catholics, or Jews.  Many have died in order to defend the faith and preach the good news around the world. Let us not ever take our freedom of religion lightly. Let us not ever allow a true faith in the Creator of the Universe and His perfect Son to be mixed in with all the other religions of the world. It sounds cheesy – but it is true – this is not about religion, but a relationship. Religion fails (works based). Only a relationship that was paid for by the blood of Christ can save (faith based).

Remember that even though religious holidays, sacrifices, rote rituals, ceremonies and even taking communion makes our hearts feel warm and can make us feel closer to God, that feeling can be deceiving. Our feelings cannot be trusted. We are fallen, sinful humans. In order to truly be close to God, we need to spend time with Him. We need to obey His commands. We need to strive for holiness. We need to humble ourselves and serve others. We need to pray for wisdom like King David:

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Our Savior, Light of the World

Our Savior, Light of the World

Rejoicing, we tell
the Nativity story,
when the Light of the World
came in brilliance and glory.

But still we remember
there is more to be told -
His great sacrifice
that was yet to unfold...

For His mission as Savior
could not be complete
until heavy nails pierced
His hands and His feet.

So may we recall
both the gift of His birth,
and the gift of salvation
He gave to all on earth.

- Lisa O. Engelhardt

photo credit Marie58_bucket at

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Gift Idea - Save a Life

What better present than to change a child's life? Have you considered supporting a child trapped in poverty? You could be the key to changing their life and showing them the light of Jesus.

If you wonder how your sponsorship might change a child's life, watch this short video (but keep the tissue handy).

What a wonderful feeling for your child to find a "friend" in their stocking. The name and picture of someone they will grow to love. Someone they will pray for. Someone they will write to. Someone they may even someday meet in person and see firsthand how this small amount of money (at least here in the great USA) changed this child's life (and the life of their family).

$38 a month - less than $10 a week. How many fancy coffee drinks do you have a week? How many dinners do you eat out? What small thing could you sacrifice to rescue a child in the name of Jesus?

Won't you consider sponsoring a child this Christmas season?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thank You Letters - Printables

We are trying to give our daughters the gift of thankfulness. One thing we started with our 6 year old's last birthday is to have her fill out a thank you letter for each person who blessed her with a present. Not only does she fill in the personal information, she also says a prayer for the gift giver. I explained that this is a way that we can return the gift. What better gift is there than to ask the Creator of the Universe to bless that person?

After my daughter's birthday, we said a prayer for all the people who had given her a gift. Later that same day, I showed her the thank you notes and after she read it aloud, I noticed her eyes were filled with joyful tears. She loved the idea - which warmed this Mama's heart!

Below is a link to an example of the letter we will send out after this Christmas season. Feel free to copy the idea and use it in your own family.

Christmas Thank You Letter printable

Blessings and Merry Christmas!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Showing Compassion As Celebrate

This is a wonderful time of year.

The wonderful celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus the Christ!

The sparkling lights and glittering garland as we travel in the dark (it sure is dark a lot, eh?).

The wonderful time we get to spend with family and friends.

The super yummy food that we savor during this month of calorie free (it’s free if you’re not counting them like me) eating.  

Speaking of food – do you realize that 8% of children under the age of 18 (that’s about 6 million) kids are allergic to one or more foods? This increases more and more each year.

I will not get into the particulars (too much) on why there are more food allergies and intolerances – but just know that it has a lot to do with genetically altering and FDA regulated processes (e.g. pasteurizing) that may have started with good intentions, but ended up actually changing the food. So the milk we drink (well, not my family, we are dairy free) is not the same milk that our grandparents grew up drinking.

Of course we also know that it is partially due to the results of the fall of humanity into sin. Our bodies are decaying and each generation shows more and more signs of this.

Back to the holiday celebrations.

Imagine a little girl loving the time she spends with her family on Christmas Eve. She is singing Christmas carols. She is opening presents and smiling for pictures. She’s kissing Grandpa under the mistletoe. And she is loving the holiday food! It is decorated so beautifully. It tastes divine. What a wonderful Christmas Eve.

On the way home, her tummy starts to cramp and hurt. She goes to bed crying from the pain. Christmas day she wakes and still does not feel well. She tries to put on a smile as she opens more presents, but her eyes are dark and puffy and her tummy is cramping so much. She spends much of Christmas morning in the bathroom. The homemade cinnamon rolls that her Mom made especially for her family (leaving out all the ingredients that will make her feel ill) just sit on the counter. She does not feel like eating much of anything. She decides to go back to bed and sleep most of the day.

 Not a fun way to spend Christmas morning, is it?
Imagine another situation where a child grabs one of the cookies that he saw someone eat one and declared it to be the best cookie he has ever tasted! He grabs the cookie and before he finishes it, his lips and tongue start to swell. He struggles for his breath. He sees his Mom in the distance and gives her that look of panic that she fears. She grabs the needle and stabs the epi-pen into his leg. Slowly he starts to breathe better. Slowly his mouth stops itching. Slowly the hives start to disappear. In his shallow breathing and tiny voice he asks if they can just go home.

So as you gather with friends and family this season, consider the people you are meeting. Do any suffer from allergies? The adults have probably learned to cope pretty well, but it is especially difficult for the kids to understand they are not able to eat the food that everyone says is so delicious. It feels like punishment. It feels like torture. 
Here are some things you can do to show compassion:

1.       Know the food you are bringing.

a.       If it is homemade, bring the recipe (or remember what you added that might be an allergy (egg (e.g. whites, yolks, egg beaters, and marshmallow cream), dairy (e.g. butter, sour cream, whipped cream, cream cheese, and cheese), gluten (aka flour), nuts or peanuts).

b.      If it is something you purchased at a store, be sure to have the ingredient list.

2.       If you know that someone in the group cannot have a certain allergen, try to find a recipe or purchase a food that is allergen free.

a.       There are many websites that provide yummy recipes that do not require a bunch of “odd” ingredients. Sometimes all you need to do is google the substitution for the allergen would be. For instance, if you were making cookies, you can replace an egg with half of a mashed banana or applesauce. (e.g. Living Without, Go Dairy Free)

b.      You can also ask a parent for a recipe that their son or daughter can have. Most parents are more than willing to share a recipe.

3.       Remember that people are rarely allergic to fresh vegetables and fruits. They are always a good choice!
4.    Most importantly, be compassionate. The people who suffer from food allergies and intolerances do not choose to suffer this way. They would LOVE to eat the peanut butter fudge, mozzerella stuffed mushrooms, or even order a pizza. But they have learned the (very) hard way that it is not worth it.

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another;
love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous
[1 Peter 3:8]


Making Cookies

What a wonderful treat to have my Mom and Dad come up and spend some time with the girls. We made cookies, including decorating some sugar cookies. Kudos to the Moms who do this by themselves (they are in the same category as the Moms who think moon sand is a great idea)! It takes a LOT of patience and clean-up effort - but knowing that I am loving on my girls exactly the way they crave love make it worth it. Oh, and the yummy cookies were a good payoff as well.

 Enjoying some Rudolf the Reindeer with Grandpa.

I attempted to make 2, that's right, just 2 of these ridiculously time consuming, but adorable, cookies. I have not let my girls eat them yet (although my oldest is begging). We need to just relish in their cuteness for at least 24 hours. ha ha!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Character of God Bible Study - Free Download

Ok, this is the first peek of what I have been working on (and I am hoping to finish by the end of the year). I love learning and meditating about God. I never want to get to the point where God is just a pocket-sized version of me - something I have created in MY own image. I want to know that He is all powerful, all knowing, always there, and holy. The more I reflect on His true nature, the bigger He gets and the lower my own head bows.

Studying God's character helps to develop our own sense of humility.

So I am creating a Bible study for Moms and their kiddos. This is something I want to work through with my own daughter and I thought there may be other Moms who would want to as well. Not only will this help me to continue my own study of God's character throughout the day (when I am teaching her), but it will also share wonderful truths about God with her. You are never to young or too old to learn about God's character!

So this is a first peek at the study. This is the Chapter on God's Holiness and it is available as a free download.

I am doing this because I would love feedback. This has just been developed out of my own personal study and I am sure it is far from perfect - so please give me your input.

Follow this link for the God is Holy - Adult Lesson

Follow this link for the God is Holy - Children's Lesson

Again, I would love to hear from you. If you can, please take a look at these and let me know what you think (complimentary or constructive is welcomed - derogatory or insulting is not).


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Apple Pie Dip

Need to whip up something quick for a get together? This is the perfect dip! It is easy to make. It is made with things you typically have on hand. Best of all - it is super yummy!

Apple Pie Dip

2 cups of diced apples (this is about one large apple)
1 Tablespoon of brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (or allspice)

  • Stir together in a microwavable bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes (until the apples release their juices and are boiling).
  • In a small bowl, stir together 1 Tablespoon of warm water and 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch.
  • Stir corn starch and water into the apple mixture.
  • Microwave for one more minute
Serve warm with cinnamon pita chips or cinnamon tortilla chips.
That's it. I told you it was easy. My Mom found this on pinterest so I have no idea who to give credit to (other than my Mom - thanks Mom!),

If you have extra time, you could make your own Cinnamon Tortilla Chips.

I shared this at the following site(s):
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Happenings

I can hardly even believe it is December already!

This is such a precious time of year because we are reflecting on the birth of our Saviour. Not only do we celebrate the birth on that one special day, we cram pack every last second of celebrating, decorating, and preparing into the entire month.

One thing I especially need to be on guard about is keeping our family schedule in check. Making sure there is still time to reflect on Jesus. Making sure I still have the quiet time I need with God each and every day. Making sure that we are not too busy to eat as a family and rest when needed. Making sure there is still time to toilet train our toddler (I am hoping this is MY Christmas present - it'd be the best one ever!).

This week, the first week of the month, is filled with making a Christmas wreath, sewing costumes for our church Christmas program, seeing a wonderful performance of the Sound of Music, a birthday party, viewing a live Nativity (and also seeing local Christmas light shows) and the dress rehearsal for the children's choir - whew! I'm already tired.

But most of all, we are starting our advent season. We are beginning to read, remember and meditate on the fact that God became a Man and walked on the Earth. He came as a baby and lived a life like you and I - but without sin.

So I will not be posting daily posts this month. But I will post as often as time allows; some things just need to be shared.

Remember to make time in your busy schedule for Jesus. He really is the reason for the season.

Draw near to God and
He will draw near to you.
James 4:8a

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thankfulness {Days 24-30} Summary

What a wonderful month this has been!
I love spending time to think about all of the non-material things that I am so very thankful, number one being my salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Thanksgiving weekend was very busy - full of family, food and Christmas decorating. Our house looks so festive now! Just in time for the snow that is falling today. It sure feels like the holiday season now! I was having a hard time getting in the spirit when it was in the 60s and sunny outside (although my husband didn't mind it when he was hanging the outside lights).

So let me take some time to catch up on my days of thankfulness and to reflect on this month. I have loved spending this time with my family and finding out what they are thankful for. There were times when, because  of grumbling, complaining hearts, that it was difficult to think of our blessings (an ugly truth). But most of the time, it was fantastic to thing about all the blessings we have.

It was a good feeling to see my six year old run to the calendar so she could fill out the tag for each of us. She loved hearing what everyone wanted to put down each day.

It was very funny to find out what our two year old was thankful for each day. Most of the time her first response was "ice cream" or "cookies", but we'd finally get her to name something she liked or made her happy that was different than the other days. Her big sister was more than happy to help think of something for her.

What a wonderful family tradition this has turned out to be!!

{Day 24}

I am so very thankful for our religious freedom. I cannot even imagine what it must be like in other countries where Christians risk their lives in order to meet for church, learn about God and sing praises to Him. I am so very thankful that the Pilgrims left England during their time of persecution and travelled across the Atlantic to America where they were free to worship God.

Thank You, Lord for the freedom to worship You. Please help me to never take it for granted.

{Day 25}

I am so very thankful for 6 years of marriage to my wonderful husband. He is wonderful (even though I am not always the best at expressing this). He puts up with me, right? We have had a roller coaster ride during the past 6 years (sin, surgeries, babies, forgiveness, love, dislike, screaming, kissing, blessings, and troubles) and all for the glory of God. There is no way we would ever be together if not for the grace and love we find first from Christ, which in turn allows us to grant it freely to one another. God knew that Ed was the perfect man for me and I am so very thankful!

Thank You, Lord, for my marriage and help us to continue seeking You first in all that we do.

{Day 26}

I am so very thankful for the Holy Spirit. What a blessing it is to not only have the Comforter living inside me, but also to have the convictions for the things I should or should not be doing. I have the power of God living in my heart (and so do you if you are a Christian). So when I am watching something on TV and all of a sudden I get the "feeling" that it is not something that is appropriate (sometimes this happens just with commercials), that is the power of the Holy Spirit inside. It is like sitting on the couch with our holy and perfect God.

I need to be sure to actually listen to the Spirit. The more and more a person ignores the prompting of the Spirit, the harder He is to hear.

Lord, help me live my life so that I am sensitive to the Spirit inside me. You have given me the Spirit for my sanctification and comfort and there are just not enough words to express my gratitude.

{Day 27}

I am thankful for the warm days at the end of November. My darling husband was able to put up the outdoor Christmas lights and we were able to play outside. What a wonderful treat when I know we will soon be hunkered down during the long, cold, gray days of winter.

Thank You, Lord for these last warm days in November.

{Day 28}

Laughter. I am so thanful for a sense of humor and the ability to laugh - mostly at myself. There is a danger with comedy and humor that I plan to write about very soon, but for now, I'm just going to reflect on how wonderful it is to laugh!

Thank You, Lord for my sense of humor. Laughter can be like medicine to my soul and I am so grateful!

{Day 29}

I am thankful for the first snow. I love how beautiful it is! I love how each tiny snowflake is so delicate and detailed. I love how God covers the brown and gray Earth in a blanket of white. The Christmas lights are seem to glow even brighter in the white snow. What a wonderful treat! I need to be reminded of this in February. :)

Thank You, Lord for the beauty of each season - and especially now for the shimmering beauty of the first snowfall.
{Day 30}

Today, I am thankful for suffering. When I told this to my daughter, she looked at me all puzzled and said, "Why?!" I explained that I am never closer to God than when I am suffering in some way. As soon as I am hurting, unable to "fix it myself", sad, frustrated, helpless and at the end of my rope, I cry out for God. Just like when Peter saw Jesus walking on the water toward their boat...

And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 
So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”  
And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him.
Matthew 14:28-31

I need the Lord each and every day, but the times when I am suffering, I am able to see it more clearly. My own abilities are insufficient and my need of God is so obvious. 

I love the hymn, "I Need Thee Every Hour". It reminds me that whether I am suffering or not, I still need Him.

I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
no tender voice like thine can peace afford.

I need thee, O I need thee;
every hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.
Thank You, Lord for the suffering I have endured in the past and what I know I will endure in the future. Help me to suffer well and to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus.

Thank you for joining me during this month of Thankfulness. I hope you were encouraged (as I was). We are to be a people of Thanksgiving, not only during November, but the entire year. We need to thank the Lord for everything - even during times of trouble. Our children are watching our every move and developing their theology, not only on what we teach them, but how we live our lives.

Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
 Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
 Know that the LORD, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
 For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.
Psalm 100

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Wonderful Post!

I love to read other Christian blogs and share these from time to time. This is an excellent post from Jacinda over at a Growing Home.

She talks about what it means to be a stay-at-home Mom (or wife) and ways that we are tempted to be distracted and neglect our responsibilities. Even though we are at home, our heart and mind might be busy with our cyber-lives (oh the conviction!) - you know blogs, facebook, twitter, email.....

Click below to read may be convicted (as I have been) and God will be glorified!

Growing Home

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankfulness {Day 23} Heaven is Full of Babies

Did you know that God loves babies? You say, of course. But did you know the Bible tells us explicitly that He does?

Our pastor preached out of Mark 10:13-16, where the people brought their children (the actual words indicate these are infants and young children) to Jesus and then He touched them and blessed them. Why wouldn't He? He created them.

Even though we are all born sinners, babies and young children have no idea they are sinning. They are not at an age where they are accountable for their sins. Therefore, if for some reason a baby or young child does not live long enough to be accountable for their sins, they go right into the arms of their heavenly Father. They spend the rest of their forever in heaven.

So when a young baby or child has an illness and passes away - they are in heaven. When a Mom has a miscarriage and never gets the chance to meet that child, they are in the arms of God. When a woman is deceived into thinking she has a choice about whether the life inside her lives or dies, that baby is alive in heaven with their Creator.

Another place in the bible that supports this is in the passage in 1 Samuel that talks about Kind David grieving the loss of his baby boy (you know the story, right? He had an affair, then had her husband killed and part of the punishment was that the baby they had conceived became ill and then died). When the child was sick, David was terribly upset. It says that he refused to eat and went in to lay on the ground the entire duration of the illness (seven days). When the baby died something strange happened. We find it here in 2 Samuel 12:20-23:

So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate. 21 Then his servants said to him, “What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child died, you arose and ate food.”    

David's servants were confused, so David explained....

 And he (David) said, “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again?
I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”

So David is declaring that He will one day be with his child again in heaven. What a wonderful blessing to know that heaven is full of babies!!

So if you have ever had a miscarriage, abortion or lost a child to an illness, you can be sure to know that baby is waiting for you in heaven in the arms of our loving Father.

Thank You, Lord for loving all babies,
even the ones that seem to be 'unwanted'.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

We have a winner!

To celebrate more than 50 followers, I randomly chose (using one lucky winner of the Thirty One fold-and-go organizer.

This is a wonderful case for a Kindle or iPad. It is also nice for just an old fashioned pad of paper (does anyone take notes on paper anymore?).

And the winner is....
Barbara Walker!

Barbara - please message me on Facebook your address so I can get this in the mail. I hope you enjoy it!
Thank you so much for following this blog. I appreciate all of you!

Have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Thankfulness {Day 22} Family and Healthy Tuesday

Thankfulness {Day 22} Extended Family

I am so very thankful for my family. Not just the people who live in my house (I have already mentioned that I adore them), but even my extended family. My family is complicated. It would be easy to let time and distance be the wall that separates. I have been fighting this. I love my family and I do not want to be one of those people who looks back with regrets. I want my daughters to love their Aunts and Uncles (even the greats). I want my daughters to adore their cousins.

So why we may not see each other as often as my heart desires, I do the one thing I can do on a daily basis. I pray for them. I enter the King's throne room on their behalf and I pray for my loved ones. I encourage my daughters to pray for their grandparents, great grandparents, great aunts and great uncles, aunts, uncles and cousins.

So thank You, Lord for my family. They are not perfect, but they are perfect for me and I love them!

{Healthy Tuesday}

My daughter is hooked on medicine. She was sick for a few weeks in a row and now she thinks she needs a little shot of something in order to go to bed each night. As a parent, I have to choose the battles that I will fight and this is not one of them. So we give her a placebo - grape juice. Since she has only ever had watered-down fruit juice (I do not think children need to drink that much sugar, even if it does come from fruit), the powerful flavor of grape juice does taste like modern day children's medicine - sort of.

So last week I purchased an individual serving size of grape juice. She only gets a teaspoon (medicine dosage) at night. I grabbed a popular name brand that said grape juice and didn't think twice...until last night (the first night she asked for it since I bought it).

It occurred to me that I did not read the label (which is very odd) and I was shocked when I finally read the ingredient list:

filtered water, corn syrup, grape juice concentrate, fumaric and citric acid (for tartness), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), sodium citrate, red 40 (color), natural and artificial flavor.

OH MY!!! Where to begin?

- Grape Juice Concentrate is third on the list, AFTER corn syrup?

- Red 40? Corn Syrup? Natural and Artificial Flavors? Fumaric and Citric Acids? Why do they need all this additional stuff when grape juice is such a powerful flavor?

Oh, now I see it - this is only 10% juice.

No wonder our children are obese and suffering from ADHD! Remember the adage? You are what you eat!

After her one teaspoon (I don't think one teaspoon will damage her for life), this was dumped down the drain.

I encourage you to read your food labels!

I linked up at Day2DayJoys

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankfulness {Day 21} Understanding

{Day 20}

I was so very thankful for the day of rest on the Lord's Day, yesterday. I do not recall much "rest", but it is restful, encouraging and refreshing to spend the day with my family at home and with my church family at church. It is a wonderful day when we can spend our mornings as a family in our jammies, eating blueberry pancakes (dairy and egg free), singing worship songs, and then heading off to church. Things are a bit rushed at times (like when we get home and the toddler is starving and tired all at the same time), but we are together and that feels great!

So thank You, Lord for the day of rest! What a fabulous plan to work 6 and take a rest on the 7th!

{Day 21}

I am so very thankful to have a Christian worldview - to see life as God sees it. I am in no way, shape or form saying that I am accurately seeing this life (especially a lot of the struggles that we face) the way God does, but I am blessed with a different outlook than someone who does not have a relationship with the Creator of the Universe. The culture and the world tell us so much that is just wrong. They tell us to please ourselves, climb the ladder of success no matter who you neglect or step on, if someone does not make you happy then find someone else, if your kids annoy you then medicate them, you deserve to have all the things your parents worked years for right now so get it on credit - and much, much more.

Our happiness and joy are found in Christ. He is what makes me happy when I struggle with physical ailments. He is what makes me happy when my kids are screaming at the top of their lungs, dinner's burning and my husband forgot to tell me about a 5 o'clock meeting. He is why I am happy when my daughter is so sick and there is nothing I can do to fix it.

Without Christ, I would be lost. Without Christ, this world does not make sense. Without Christ, it wouldn't be worth it to even get out of bed each morning.


I have reached 50 followers!! Woohoo! I thank the Lord for each one of you! As promised, I will be randomly choosing one lucky follower to win a Thirty One Fold and Go organizer. I post the winner of that tomorrow - so check back to see if it is you.

{Christmas Gift Ideas}

Have you visited the Vision Forum website lately? They have some fantastic products that would make excellent gifts for your loved ones. There are some fun old fashioned toys (like this rubber amo 8 shooter for $5.25) and wonderful DVDs, books and even homeschooling curriculums.

They are also running a buy 2, get one free sale! So if you purchase any 2 items, get a 3rd of equal or lesser value for free. Who doesn't like free?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thankfulness {Day 19} Encouraging Scriptures

I am so very thankful for encouraging scripture. I know that if I am feeling discouraged about anything, I can look to God’s word for wisdom and truth. This is one way we can use the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6) to fight off the fiery darts of discouragement and despair from the evil one.

So when I am feeling guilty and ashamed of how I lived the majority of my life (apart from Christ), I turn to Joel and Psalms:

{Joel 2:25}
I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm—
my great army that I sent among you.

{Psalm 103:12}
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

When I am down because of various trials and sufferings, either caused by my own actions (boldness for Christ or even discipline for a sin) or just general sufferings (like sickness), I turn to 2 Corinthians, James and Philippians:

 {2 Corinthians 1:5}
For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance,
so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.

{James 1:2-4}
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
And let endurance have its perfect result,
so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

{Philippians 1:6}
For I am confident of this very thing,
that He who began a good work in you will perfect it
until the day of Christ Jesus.

When I feel I will never have victory over a specific sin in my life, I turn to Romans:

{Romans 6:12-14}
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body
so that you obey its lusts,
and do not go on presenting the members of your body
to sin as instruments of unrighteousness;
but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead,
and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
For sin shall not be master over you,
for you are not under law but under grace.

And when I am upset because it seems the unrighteous are being blessed while they curse the name of God and the righteous suffer for Christ (I think of this especially when I am praying for the persecuted church), I turn to Philippians:

{Philippians 2:9-11}
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him,
and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow,
of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and that every tongue will confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Thank You, Lord for Your Holy Word. It is perfect, infallible, accurate, and complete.  

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching,
 for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;  
so that the man of God may be adequate,
equipped for every good work.
{1 Timothy 3:16-17}