Dec 29, 2008

What Are You Looking Forward To?

I get in ruts. I especially get in ruts when I don't have something to look forward to in the future. My blogging takes a backseat, I spend way too much time on Facebook and my house easily becomes a disaster area. Distracting behaviour keeps me from the important things in life, and I usually say enough is enough, and get serious again.

I love a New Year because it gets me motivated, even though it is sometimes short lived. It gets me focused on new goals and new things to look forward to accomplishing. So far, these are the things that will hopefully get this girl going and motivated to be all that I can be this year.

*Losing 20lbs. (I've already lost 3 over Christmas break) and eating healthier

*Starting the Beth Moore bible study Esther in my home (anyone up for it?)

*Planning a vacation to Estes Park, Colorado in June staying at the YMCA of the Rockies (our family's favorite place in the world)

*Encouraging women to connect, feel hope and love God with all their heart.

*Write more in my free time

*Begin walking again

Simple things, but could make all the difference in getting out of the winter rut. What are you looking forward to this year?

Dec 21, 2008

Inviting You to Experience CHRISTMAS With Real Life Fellowship

This Tuesday and Wednesday our church is inviting all to come celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. I can't wait for everyone to bring friends who don't know Christ and to see the impact on the community we are trying to reach for Him.

May God truly bless all your churches this Christmas season, and may many put their faith in the one true Saviour.

I have many things this Christmas that I won't get a chance to do, but experiencing the true meaning of Christmas with those I love, will definitely be accomplished.

I love you all my sweet blogging buddies! Merry Christmas:)

Dec 19, 2008

A Giveaway and A Blessing to Share

A little over a year ago when we moved from Corpus to Victoria, I happened upon a wonderful blog that has kept me coming back each week. It is called 4 Reluctant Entertainers: Real Entertaining for Real People and I love it! She is celebrating her 300th post this week.

I have enjoyed learning so much from Sandy who is an expert in everything involving entertaining, yet when you read her blog she is just a normal girl using simple ideas to make your home an open and inviting place for others to come and be blessed.

I have hesitated so much to entertain over the last year of downsizing into a smaller home now that we are back in Corpus. I only have family and very close girlfriends into my home for entertaining. Sandy has helped me so much in affirming that it doesn't matter your surroundings or the foods on the menu, people will appreciate your heart.

My blog was started about three years ago for a personal family journal, but also to encourage all you "pink carnation" types out there to be the girl God called called you to be, no matter the circumstances of life, your talents or the lies you've believed in your past- to use the gifts God has given you. Sandy helps remind me of that everytime I go by.

If you would like to know more about Sandy and browse through her amazing archives, go here. She is also hosting a giveaway right now in honor of her 300th post. Go by to join in on a gift that you can't put a pricetag on. You can learn all about the giveaway on her site. Thank you SANDY!

Dec 17, 2008

Skip Paints

Hey Blogging Friends, I wanted to let you know about a new business my husband is beginning. It is called Skip Paints and he is doing individual paintings in an impressionistic style. Skip has been painting since before we married, but only recently has felt the longing to make his hobby into something more in his limited free time.

If you are interested in seeing just a few of his works, go here. He is starting to take orders, and you can get a price list by emailing him from the website if you are interested in learning more. Each painting is done in heavy oil paints, and can be shipped if needed.

I only have a few original paintings in my home, but there is just something so special about an original work of art. The feel/texture and look which is different from what anyone else has, as well as the artist's eye and interpretation of it's subject.

Go by and take a look. A painting of your children would make an excellent gift for your spouse, parents, or yourself.

Dec 12, 2008

It's Christmas Time!

There is no way I am getting Christmas cards done this year, so I am calling this post my official Christmas card to you. I haven't even bought one gift yet, so my time is going to be spent tracking down some really good deals over the next two weeks. I pray peace, joy and Christ's love to all of you this Christmas.

This year has been good. It is so nice to see those words written on my blog. Seasons of trials are never fun, but trust me when I say that God is working even when we don't understand. I read over last year's Christmas post and even though things are still stabilizing, we are in such a better place as a family.

I am thrilled with all that God is doing in the lives of each of my children. The tuition I pay for private school is really putting a pinch on things, but when I see them excelling and enjoying their environment so much, it warms my heart more than anything. It also reminds me that I may eventually get a new car in the year 2020.

Here are Seth and Annie right before they left for their school's Christmas program.

Annie was belting out "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." She was so nervous even though she was singing with a group of children. She looked so pretty and always had a huge smile on her face.

Probably the biggest blessing of the year has been my son coming into his own in junior high. He has found a love for music and literally plays non-stop everyday. He loves keyboard, but his passion is electric guitar. Skip and I held back tears as we saw him rocking out on stage for Jesus. He tends to gravitate towards bands like Queen and Guns and Roses for guitar licks, but thankfully his school lets them play contemporary worship music which does have a lot of guitar. The band leaders are young and have such a heart for God that I know Seth is in excellent hands to develop his talent. It doesn't hurt that he can jam out with his daddy each night too.

Our oldest Ashley is having a wonderful year at Annapolis Christian Academy. This school is so challenging for her, but she is pushing through with flying colors. She was reading a greek paragraph the other night, but it all sounding greek to me. Hee hee. Seriously, she loves the teachers, the courses (especially drama), and the friendships she has made.

To conclude this very long Christmas post, I want to give God the most praise for our new church family. Skip has a job there, but they have reached out to us like a family. I am so proud of the pastors, the staff and the volunteers who make it such a honor to be apart of the Real Life Fellowship team. We had our new campus opening this past week and we were blown away by God's blessings. We more than doubled our attendance and gave away 80 bibles. I can't wait to see how many will come to know Christ at RLF Flour Bluff and will begin to make changes in their lives to honor God.

If you are in Corpus or the surrounding area, we are having our Christmas Eve Services on Dec. 23rd at 7:00pm, Dec. 24th at 2:30, 4:00, 5:30 and 7:00 pm. We would love to have you join us for a Christmas Experience you won't want to miss!

Dec 4, 2008

Thankful Thursday: Hope and Trust

"Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my sighing.
Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.
In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." Psalm 5:3

I am so thankful for God giving me such a blessed heart this Christmas season. Even though it is going to be a different kind of Christmas for our family, I feel joy. We won't be giving many gifts, we won't be putting up a big tree(no room this year), and we will not have some of our loved with us anymore. However, there is peace, there is excitement, there is joy and there is love.

I am thankful that despite my concern for what do do in our current housing situation, I know God is moving and orchestrating something just for us. We had decided we would most likely be moving back to our home in January even though we knew this would financially make things tighter. We didn't feel there was a choice. We have been praying God would provide a way to help us when things just wouldn't add up, and last night we received a call from our renters saying they want to continue renting. They will also pay the full price of our mortgage payment. Praise God! We can continue to pay down our home while the market is crazy and now find something to rent with 4 bedrooms and at a more affordable price. I am hoping, praying and expecting something wonderful. We are seeking Him and trusting Him!

I am thankful for my husband who is leading our family with such love and humor. Our home is loud, but so fun! Thank you God for giving my husband a heart for You and for the gifts he has that make life so interesting and colorful!
Lastly, I am thankful for my sweet kids for being so understanding over all the changes that we have put them through over the last 2 years. They are willing to be flexible and seem to go with the flow even when their expectations have not been met.

What are you thankful for today??? I would love to know.

If you want to post your Thankful Thursday, just go to Grace Alone and leave your link. Be blessed friends!

Dec 2, 2008

Put It Into Practice

As Christians we are told it is wise to study scripture, to meditate on God's word and to plant His word deep in our hearts. When we are consistently doing the above, and then trials and circumstances enter our lives, we can use what truth we know to sustain ourselves and find peace and comfort. I could not agree more with these practices, but why is it always so hard to actually share these wise words when someone is hurting? I don't just mean hurting, I mean grieving.

Over the last several months I have lost my grandfather, Skip's grandmother, a dear friend and mentor of mine, relationships I once held dear and yet, despite all that, I have joy and peace like never before. I am not the problem right now.

I have friends and family who are deeply hurting. It ranges from losing a parent to finding out your child has been diagnosed with a questionable future, and a friend ending a relationship that she thought was her happily ever after. It truly breaks my heart that my words are empty when I try to give them an encouraging verse. I know The Word is not empty, but sharing what I feel God has laid on my heart is where it gets tricky. I don't know what they are going through. I may have dealt with similiar circumstances at times, but no one can truly feel another's pain. I try to remind them that God loves them more than they can imagine, yet when you are truly grieving, it isn't what they want to hear. They want you to just be there. I'm trying to just be there and listen, cry with them, or make a stupid meal if that will help. What I wish is that there were no pain in this world, that those I love could have every prayer answered and just go back to a time before the call, the diagnosis, or the sudden tragedy.

Time will heal so much I know, but I want to convey to my loved ones not to give up on turning to God during these times. He does have a plan and purpose for everything that happens, and He WILL use it for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.

For now I'll continue to pray my heart out for them and ask God to specifically show himself good to them. I am praying for glimpses of heaven throughout their days and for joy to fill their hearts once again. I want their individual season of pain to stop and for there to be rest and assurance for their future. One particular friend is facing so much, I just can't believe how life is consistently hitting her so hard and from every angle. For this particular friend, please stop and pray for her now, just a quick prayer. She needs it so much.

If you are one, like many of my friends today, that is feeling hit from all angles of life and discouragement is beating you down, please know that God needs to be your source of comfort, of strength, and of peace. He is the only one who truly knows how you feel and can give you want you need to continue fighting the fight, as hard as it may be.

These are just some of the verses that God gave me today to share with you:

"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." Psalm 34:8

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.