Thursday, December 30, 2010

How Was Your Christmas?

People often ask around this time, "How was your Christmas?" 

Most reactions are: "Oh, we had a great time with our family." Or "It was great; I got a ___." 

Rarely if ever will you hear anyone respond, "Wow, I am more in awe of Jesus than ever!"

Supposedly we are celebrating Christ's birth. That is what most Christians will claim as their focus. Yet their response about how their Christmas was rarely mentions His name. And sadly, if they did, they would probably be viewed as "hyper-spiritual" or "holier-than-thou."

"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:" ~ I Peter 2:21

If Christ is "all and in all" (Colossians 3:11), and we claim to be His followers, would not His Birthday be all about Him? Would not every day of our lives become increasingly more about Him, rather than less about Him?

Here are some practical ways in which in this New Year, I want to endeavour to allow Him to be ALL. (And I would love for you to comment below on some practical ways He is leading you to allow Him to be ALL in your life too!)

1. Priorities.

I have to admit that many times my ministries at church take priority over my home (and thereby priority over my husband and family). God has been speaking to my heart about priorities; causing me to come to realize that better is not always His best. If I consistently have time to edit the bulletin, work on church flyers, facebook and email, etc., but my house is consistently neglected {ouch!}, my priorities are out of wack!

2. Patience.

The more I yield to the Spirit, the more I realize that I have no patience of my own. "In my own flesh dwelleth no good thing" (Romans 7:18). I have noticed that when I find myself becoming impatient with a brother or sister, many times I can find within myself the very trait causing my impatience! For example, when I am impatient with someone because he is acting selfish, I can usually find selfishness in my own heart. 
"Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also hath received us to the glory of God" (Romans 15:7). 
When I am more aware of the vast amount of grace with which Christ received me and that He continues to accept me by grace, I can fully receive others by grace, without judgment. Knowing and realizing how much I have been forgiven makes me more patient with the next person.

3. Pleasantness. 

Who wants to be around a miserable person? Pleasantness comes from God through a grateful heart. 
All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast. ~ Proverbs 15:15
When my focus is continually on my afflictions or the things I wish were different in my life, I cannot fully appreciate the good things with which God has blessed me.
Blessed be the Lord our God, which daily loadeth us with benefits. ~ Psalm 68:28
Daily loads of benefits are ours, and yet usually we complain to Him more than we praise Him! As a parent, does an ungrateful child make you want to give him more or less? Yet God, the perfect, loving Father, keeps loading us down with blessings, even as the complaints come out of our lips! His patience with us and love for us--though consequences to our actions remain--knows no bounds!

I know that I truly want my New Year to be increasingly about Him. These are my three areas of focus: my priorities, patience, and pleasantness (which comes directly from praise). What are yours?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Strange Phrase

Paul wrote in Romans, "I die daily." What a strange thing to say! How can one "die daily"? If you're dead, you're dead! You can't die again the next day! Of course, it's a metaphor. Paul was not speaking literally, but he was definitely speaking spiritually.

This passage came up when Psalm 116:15 caught my eye in a different way.
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."
In the past I always supposed that to be in reference to a martyr's death or the death of an old saint who had walked with God many years and was now called Home to Glory. However, when I read the next verse along with it, I saw it in a new light.
"O Lord, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds."
For me to be "truly God's servant," I must die to myself--my will, my desires--and surrender or yield to His Holy Spirit Who lives in me. When I do this (on a moment-by-moment basis), I am "dying daily," as the Apostle Paul said.

When I accepted Christ, "I yielded myself to His tender embrace, and faith taking hold of the Word..." as the old hymn says ("The Haven of Rest"). Then what happened? "My fetters fell off and I anchored my soul! The Haven of Rest is my Lord!" And look back at verse 16 again (Psalm 116):
"...thou hast loosed my bonds."
How did this happen? By my simply yielding to Him, to His Holy Spirit power that is already living in me. Not by my trying harder to be good or to do right. It is nothing about me! All I do is yield, and I am free! Look at verses 13-14 of Psalm 116:
"I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord" (first step: salvation). "I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all people" (next step, and every step on the way to Heaven: yielding to Him)!
The Psalmist repeats it again in verse 18:
"I will pay my vows..."
To die daily is to yield. To "pay my vows" is to yield to Him Who loves me unconditionally and has only my good in mind (Romans 8:28)! In this case, I'd be crazy not to lay down and die!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thoughts from Psalm 71

My God is a continual resort (verse 3).
Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.
My mouth should speak continual praise (verse 6).
By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee.
I can have a continual hope (verse 14).
But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.
I love God's Living Word!

Photo: Strasbourg, France, by Brian J. Nibbe

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


In the midst of the gratefulness challenge sent out by Joy, this morning I read Psalm 116 and was especially encouraged by verse seven: 
Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.
Reminds me of Hebrews 4:9...
There remaineth therefore a rest unto the people of God.
That rest is for us here and now, on this earth. We do not have to wait until heaven to rest in Him! He IS our peace (Ephesians 2:14)! And He is right where you are--with YOU--right now!

If you're feeling anxious or more irritable than thankful today, go read Psalm 116. Then listen to this song by the Talley Trio. Hope it blesses you as it does me. Let me know...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Outline of Psalm 107

I think it's neat how this chapter can be divided in sections that represent areas and stages of my life:
Verses 1-3 Thankful for redemption
Verses 4-7 What I was before salvation
Verses 8-9 Thankful for the needs of my soul being met
Verses 10-13 Rebellion after salvation
Verses 14-16 Thankful for freedom from the sin of rebellion
Verses 17-19 Affliction due to sin (after salvation)
Verses 20-22 Thankful He still delivers even when I brought it on myself
Verses 23-27 Troubles allowed by God for a reason
Verses 28-32 Thankful He takes me through storms; does not leave me to face them alone, even though the storms are there to mature me!
Verses 33-41 Synopsis/summary of what God does in my life
Verse 43 Take heed and observe! Understand His lovingkindness!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

God Says, I Remember...

Last night, I lay in bed, praying. I started telling God that I had such a longing in my soul. I was feeling emotionally needy, and my husband was, well, "unavailable." My Peter was asleep!

As I was pouring out my heart to God (Psalm 62:8), I used the words, "God, I just have such a deep longing in my soul..."

He almost immediately brought this verse to my mind:

For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. ~ Psalm 107:9

Wow. That was all I needed. God doesn't just promise to meet my physical needs, but my emotional ones too--and being a woman, I have a LOT of emotional longings! I feel very deeply--God made me this way. But there are times my husband just needs to sleep! Ha ha!

This is not the end of my story... This morning, I opened my one-year Bible to today's reading. Yes, you probably guessed it: there was Psalm 107:9 looking back up at me! It seemed God was saying, "See? I remember. I'm here to fulfill your longings." God is such an amazing Best Friend! Who could have orchestrated that, but God?!

Photos: One-year Bible blog and King David blog

Anti-Procrastination Day!

I've been trying to put into practice the housekeeping principles my mother taught me as a child and teen. Wow! About time, huh?! But seriously, many of us "learn" these things from our mothers, but until we actually have to "do" them all on our own, scheduling the time for them along with everything else in our lives, we don't really see how much of a challenge it can be to master the art!

Flylady is a great blueprint for housekeeping. It's very helpful to get email reminders that your fridge needs to be cleaned out--somehow we become blind to it!--or that the mopboards/moulding in your house need a wipe down. Though I'm an average height, I still seem to need the reminder to look up and see the cobwebs in the upper corners of the room!

Doesn't that spill on the fridge shelf just give you a wonderful appetite?! Yuck! I can't believe I actually took a picture inside my fridge!!! But yes, this is the ugly truth that I needed this Flylady reminder (below) today!

Who's going to join me in cleaning out the fridge and clearing out some unused kitchen gadgets today? I also have some other "procrastination spots" in the house I want to hit today... the forementioned cobwebby corners I always seem to "ignore." How about you?

Thanks to The Stay at Home Missionary for directing me to Flylady through her helpful blog! Email Reminder:
It Is Anti-Procrastination Day...
We are diving into the refrigerator!

Grab your trash can and take it over to the refrigerator and throw open the door. First, toss out any leftovers that have gotten pushed to the back and have now started to turn into a science project. Second, check the fruit/vegetable drawers and toss what no longer is appealing to eat. Third, check the meat and cheese drawer, check the expiration dates on your items in there and toss what needs to go. Fourth, check out the doors of the fridge, toss the empty condiment jars and bottles that always seem to magically go back into the fridge when empty, LOL, but when full get left on the counter. Last, grab a damp rag and wipe down the shelves.

Do not take every single thing out of your refrigerator and then take the shelves out to clean them. Just wipe them down. How many times have we decided to tear the fridge apart and three hours later we would rather move out than ever do it again?!

Don't let yourself get sidetracked!! Have fun and enjoy your sparkling refrigerator!

~ Flylady Kelly

Decorating on the FlyZone
This week we are in Zone 2-The Kitchen.

This is the time of the year we begin our holiday baking and gift giving.

Let's work on retiring those unused, unloved kitchen appliances by blessing others with those "smart" gadgets that we still have not figured out how to use, as well as decluttering our junk drawers. Spend 15 minutes doing this.

If you have not used an item for over 6 months, chances are you will not in the next 6 months.

You may even find that you "freed" up some space for the items you douse. No more "mad searches" for that spatula in the middle of your stirring!! LOL

Have FUN and Happy Holidays!!!

~ Flylady Laura

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Little Buddy

Here's my little buddy, Espresso. She follows me all over the yard and is a real companion.
Comment and tell me about a special "buddy" in your life.

Here are some other recent photos I've enjoyed taking...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Winter Crock Pot Hot Cocoa!

Can't wait to try this when winter hits! This recipe copied from Comfy in the Kitchen blog.

Homemade Hot Cocoa
(Serves 10)
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp salt
1 cup hot water
1/2 gallon milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1-8 oz whipped cream (Cool Whip)
*extra whipped cream or marshmallows to garnish

In a medium/large pot on the stovetop (medium/high heat) pour in hot water, sugar, cocoa powder and salt; whisk well. Add chocolate chips; whisk well until melted. Add milk and whisk again until well combined. Add vanilla and cinnamon then stir in whipped cream. Serve and garnish!

If you are making this in advance (for example, going caroling, etc.) simply place in the crockpot on low heat--it will be waiting for you when you come in from the cold!!!!


Saturday, October 30, 2010

I Am Redeemed!

Do you really know what it means to be redeemed by Jesus?
Sometimes when I'm doing a word study in the Bible, it's meaningful to me to simply look in the dictionary. gives this definition of "redeem":
1. To recover ownership of by paying a specified sum.
2. To pay off.
3. To turn in and receive something in exchange.
4. To fulfill.
5. To convert into cash: redeem stocks.
6. To set free; rescue or ransom.
7. To save from a state of sinfulness and its consequences.
8. To make up for.
9. To restore the honor, worth, or reputation of.
Well, that was enough for me!
Lord Jesus, I thank You that You recovered ownership of my soul from the prince of the power of the air, the enemy of my soul by paying the price of Your death on the cross.
Thank You for paying off my sin debt!
Thank You for turning over Your body and life in exchange for mine!
Thank You for fulfilling me--that You are all I need. Ever.
Thank You, Jesus, for converting me from worthless to something worthwhile through Your indwelling Spirit in me.
Thank You for setting me free, rescuing and ransoming me from the devil!
Thank You for saving me from my sinful state and its consequences, which would have been to be eternally separated from God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and from you.
Thank You for making up the difference for everything in my life. All things are but loss for the excellency of Your power!
Thank You for providing me honour, worth, and reputation by allowing me to just BE IN YOU.
Thank You, Jesus, that I AM REDEEMED!

Note: If you have trouble playing the video, you may need to pause it until it completely loads. Then try playing it. It's worth the wait!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Haven of REST

"There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." (Hebrews 4:9)

Most of us are familiar with the old hymn "The Haven of Rest" by Henry L. Gilmour (music by George D. Moore). Yet sometimes we sing these old songs ho-hum with little thought to the powerful words, theology, and doctrine that characterize them.

Consider these words slowly and prayerfully. Was this not each of us prior to salvation?

1. My soul in sad exile was out on life’s sea,
So burdened with sin and distressed,
Till I heard a sweet voice, saying,
“Make Me your choice”;
And I entered the “Haven of Rest”!

I’ve anchored my soul in the “Haven of Rest,”
I’ll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep over wild, stormy, deep,
In Jesus I’m safe evermore.

Yes, in Jesus, I am safe evermore! I never have to question my eternal destiny or whose child I am! No matter what storms come my way, I'm safe!

But now what? Daily cares of life start to crowd my joyous heart. My flesh is still bound by bad habits, wrong reactions, binding emotions! So what do I do? Take a look at verse 2:

2. I yielded myself to His tender embrace,
(He's TENDER with me!)
In faith taking hold of the Word,
(His Word is my only help, and I accept it by faith!)
My fetters fell off, and I anchored my soul;
(Woo hoo! I'm FREE! My soul--mind, will, emotions--is ANCHORED!)
The “Haven of Rest” is my Lord.
(I'm at REST and in PEACE, because I've made Him my LORD. I've yielded to His embrace. I'm not fighting against His loving, tender control anymore.)

This is so powerful! It is THE KEY to the Christian life! Yielding my rights to His control. HE calls the shots; I am RESTING in HIS capable hands, which only act in my life out of PURE LOVE for me!

Now, what does this do to me? How do I now respond to His tender embrace? With anger? With striving? With trying harder? NO! By RESTING, I now feel free to SING the song of my SOUL, which is the OLD STORY, ever new!

3. The song of my soul, since the Lord made me whole,
Has been the old story so blest,
Of Jesus, who’ll save whosoever will have
A home in the “Haven of Rest.”

I want everyone to know this "old story so blest"!
"I am nobody, telling everybody, that Somebody died to save anybody!" (unknown)

4. How precious the thought that we all may recline,
Like John, the belovèd so blest,
On Jesus’ strong arm, where no tempest can harm,
Secure in the “Haven of Rest.”

Wow! We ALL have access to this grace wherein we stand (I Peter 5:12)! It's already available to us who are saved. It's there for the taking. Why, oh why do we struggle along through life, having no power, angry and bitter, or striving to do right on our own, when our REST awaits?

4. O come to the Savior, He patiently waits
To save by His power divine;
Come, anchor your soul in the “Haven of Rest,”
And say, “My Belovèd is mine.”

I’ve anchored my soul in the “Haven of Rest,”
I’ll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep over wild, stormy, deep,
In Jesus I’m safe evermore.

"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." (Hebrews 4:1)

If you have never heard this rendition of "The Haven of Rest," sit back and be blessed!

Tranquil garden photo:

Monday, October 18, 2010

"Clutter Clear!" Celebration

Courtney at Women Living Well is hosting an autumn challenge: Making Your Home a Haven. Being in the thick of fall cleaning, I think this week's challenge fits right in! Hope you'll go over and read the challenge along with Courtney's encouraging words.

My clutter challenging spots are:
1. The small room where my deep freezers are. Here a coat rack with a shelf above it is the lucky spot in which our outdoor wear has accumulated, including a row of boots on the floor beneath. It's not time to completely "revamp" this space, but I want to straighten it up and clear out the items not being used.
2. My desk area! I'll be honest, this is a continual problem for me and has been ever since I can remember. As a teen, I always fought the messy desk syndrome in my bedroom. I want to make a more efficient system for the papers on my desk to be filed away quickly and easily so that things do not pile up quite so much.

Comment (or email me) and tell me what areas you're working on decluttering. Clearing clutter feels great! Especially clearing clutter from your heart! Don't forget the inside of you too!

Happy Autumn Organizing!

I'll close with another one of my favourite fall photos of late:

This is my grandbaby Kyla (23 months),
"asking" the kitten to smell her Chinese Lantern flower!
So precious!
Thank You, Lord, for Your blessings!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Becoming a Minimalist

I am becoming a minimalist. I'm simplifying my life.

A few years ago I read a book that made an impact on me: Simplify Your Life by Elaine St. James. Ms. St. James does not claim to be a believer or follower of Jesus, as far as I know, but she has much good to say about "keeping it simple."

It's impossible to implement everything at once, and it's not even logical to try to apply everything on her list into our lives. These are ideas that worked for her and her husband, or people she knows. We are all different. What works for them may or may not work for us. Yet her list will make you evaluate what you do or what you have and also why you do it or have it.

I took notes; here are some things that may help you get started...

Household Simplifying
Reduce clutter
Speed clean
Cut grocery shopping time in half
Buy in bulk
Plant a garden
Run all errands in one place
Cut laundering chore in half (mix and match; basics)
Stop buying dry-clean-only clothes
Leave shoes at the door
Go for patterned carpets
Use food trays
Keep outdoor plants only
Get rid of your lawn
Simplify pets

Lifestyle Simplifying
Move to a smaller house
Drive a simple car
Sell the boat (or other "toy" you rarely or never use)
Build a simple wardrobe (lots of basics that mix and match)
Reduce go-go (going out) entertainment
Rethink your meals with friends (how often do you "hang out" just to "hang out"?)
Turn off the TV
Stop junk mail
Cancel magazines
Stop the newspaper
Drop call waiting
Don't answer the phone all the time
Don't answer the door either!
Get rid of the cell phone
Bow out on some holiday gatherings
Stop sending Christmas cards
Simplify gift giving
Simplify travel (pack only items you will use; don't try to do/see everything!)
Take a vacation at home

Financial Simplifying
Get out of debt
Live on half of what you earn; save the other half
Rethink your buying habits
Change the way you shop
Reduce needs for goods and services
Get rid of all but one or two credit cards
Consolidate chequing accounts
Consolidate investments
Pay off your mortgage
Buy secondhand cars

Job Simplifying
Stop being a slave to your planner
Work where you live, or live where you work
Do what you really want to do (make financial adjustments if you enjoy a lesser paying job)
Turn your hobby into your job
Work less and enjoy it more
Stop the busy work
Include family in your work life

Health Simplifying
Simplify eating habits
Always split a restaurant meal
Fruit/juice fast one day per week
Make water your drink of choice
Eat a muffin
Pack your own lunch
Take a walk
Get up one hour earlier
Be in bed by 9:00 one night per week
Throw out everything but asprin or a multi-vitamin
Create your own rituals (i.e., cup of tea)
Learn to laugh
Slow down to the speed limit

Personal life Simplifying
Clean up your relationships: learn to communicate
Just be yourself as God made you
Trust your intuition (better: trust the Holy Spirit living in you)
If it's not easy, don't do it (Be careful here; not everything God asks us to do is easy!)
Stop trying to change (let God change you)
Spend one day per month in solitude
Teach your kids the joy of solitude
Do a retreat once a year
Keep a journal
Do one thing at a time
Do nothing
Take time to watch the sunset (or sunrise)
Just say no
Learn to reinterpret the past (let it go!)
Change your expectations
Review your life regularly to keep it simple

Special Issues on Simplifying
Ten minutes to drop-dead gorgeous (simplify your primp time!)
Take off plastic nails and throw out nail polish
Reduce size of purse
Minimize accessories

Hard Core Simplifying
Rent instead of own
Get rid of cars
Get rid of phone
Stop making the bed (Wow! I'm not sure if I can do this, but there are days I skip it, in order to simplify.)
Get rid of all extras
Build a very simple wardrobe (everything mixes and matches)

An area in which I personally am simplifying is choosing to display fewer knick-knacks and "things" that I have to clean or dust. Less is more. You'd be surprised how big your sigh of relief is when you just clear off your coffee table completely! Just let it be bare for a few days! Dusting becomes a breeze! Same thing in the bathroom: hair dryer, curling iron, bottles, hairsprays, etc. all hide in drawers or cupboards. Nothing is out on the countertop except the soap dispenser. Nothing is on the back of the toilet except a basket of washcloths and a can of Febreze. It's an amazing feeling to look into such a simple washroom!

The most important way I'm simplifying is by a continual choosing to turn things over to God's control. Someone did not do something I wanted them to do? Can I trust God has a reason for this happening in my life? Or do I get myself all mad and stressed out?

More and more I am seeking to remind myself that it's better to live one day at a time. Does this mean that I make no future plans? Absolutely not; but my future plans are to be made in the framework of yieldedness to His plans.

I don't know about tomorrow, I just live from day to day;
I don't borrow from its sunshine, for its skies may turn to gray;
I don't worry o'er the future, for I know what Jesus said;
And with His loving hand to guide me, I won't fear what lies ahead.
Many things about tomorrow I don't seem to understand,
But I know Who holds tomorrow, and I know Who holds my hand!

A word of caution concerning the "simplifying"

When you decide to simplify, there is a strong tendency to flipflop to the other ditch and completely live for yourself. One can become very self-absorbed. Be sure to pray about each change you implement, and be sure it is something that God will be pleased with, that will help you live for Him, and that your spouse is happy with as well. Don't adopt the philosophy: If it feels good, do it; if it doesn't feel good, don't. This slogan is only another of the enemy's lies.

Note: to watch the video, you'll first need to scroll down to the blue playlist at the bottom of the blog and pause that music. Then scroll back up and press play on this video.
If you have trouble loading it, you can view the song here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Gratefulness List

This is not--and can never be--an exhaustive list! In fact, I plan to add to it as time goes on.

Today we celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada, so I was reminded once again to cultivate a heart of gratefulness, and to express it!
So here goes. I am grateful for...

1. My Jesus who saved me and called me with a holy calling, and loves to walk with me "in the garden."

2. My wonderful husband who loves me unconditionally and is always honest with me.

3. That God setteth the solitary in families... that He has given me a family to love.
4. Music that encourages, inspires, and refreshes me spiritually and emotionally

5. Beauty all around me in God's world, and simple little joys such as a warm, soft blanket

Grateful to Be Back!

I'm back in the blogging world! I apologize for the gap between my blog entries. There were issues that, as it turned out, related to my use of Firefox. Now that I have attempted an entry in Internet Explorer, I'm seeing success!

I will post soon... Today though... Thanksgiving dinner with our kids and grandbaby!

With a Grateful Heart,

Here's the song that played as I came down the boardwalk at our beach wedding...

We are so blessed, with the gifts from Your hand,
I just can't understand why You love us so much!
We are so blessed, we just can't find a way--
Or the words that can say, Thank You, Lord, for Your touch!

When we're empty, You fill us till we overflow!
When we're hungry, You feed us, and cause us to know,

We are so blessed, take what we have to bring,
Take it all, everything, Lord, we love You so much!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

1950s Housewife?

You have probably seen the list of housewife's traits that supposedly appeared in a 1955 home economics book. Though the source and truth is actually undetermined (according to Snopes), when you read about that era (and prior), it doesn't seem too far fetched. In truth, many of the 1950s housewives' ways were more biblical than the habits of the majority of modern-day women. We would do well to "eat the meat and throw out the bones" and not "throw the baby out with the bath water."

One admonition that comes through numerous points on this list is the importance of attitude. So many women today have a complaining spirit that is entirely self-centered. We want to tell Husband all our woes of the day the minute he walks through the door, and we continue complaining about everything that needs to be fixed or male jobs he needs to do around the house all the way until bedtime.

Think about it. Put yourself in his shoes. Would you want to come home to that negativity every night after a long, hard workday? Imagine Little Miss Office Chic, who never has a hair out of place, always has her make-up and hair done, and flirtatiously admires him every day. Now think of your appearance and the tone of your home. If you were your husband, would you look forward to coming home at night?

Does this imply that I should always just "put on" an act of happiness and never approach my husband with anything negative? Of course not. This is dishonesty, which never pleases God. There are correct ways we should approach our husbands with issues. This keeps our relationships healthy.

However, we need to think about the tone we set in our homes. You know the phrase, "When Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" Think about your own home. It's true! We mamas affect the mood of the entire household. We may not like it, but no matter how much we dislike it, it's still true.

I remember my mom getting us kids together and ready to shout, "My Daddy's the GREATEST!" when he came through the door. It was one of the greatest feelings I had as a kid, knowing that my parents loved each other and supported each other.

Scripture teaches that "All the days of the afflicted are evil..." (Proverbs 15:15). When you look on the bad side of things, that's all you will see and it's all you will talk about. Ever met a miserable woman? Every word out of her mouth is a complaint and all you can think about is how to get away from her and how to avoid her in the future? Yeah. Well, the rest of the verse says "...he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast." When your heart has made the choice to see the merry things of life, you have a continual flow of joy!

I have a friend from college who lives this so plainly. She has seven happy, contented children (ages 15 years down to eight months), she doesn't hide her adoration for her husband, and she herself radiates happiness! In her words, she "can't help but smile." And... her husband has been out of work for three months. She has made 50 pies already this week and will make 62 additional pies before the week is over, in order to help her husband from home! She is also working nights, full-time, as a front desk clerk at a hotel! And she's still oozing gratefulness!

Now, just picture her husband's response IF he came home to this...

She is on the couch watching TV or she's on the Internet... in her bathrobe... he steps over clutter... the entire house wreaks and it's a wreck... there is no dinner ready... kids are screaming and fighting...


He walks in the door... she is dressed and has fixed her hair and make-up... the children are clean and dressed... there is soft music playing... the smell of dinner is in the air... the house is neat and clean (at the least, clutter is cleared)... the children are playing contentedly... she rushes to greet him at the door, overjoyed to see him, taking his coat, asking him about his day...

I ask you: Which scene would make her husband look forward to coming home?

Check out Courtney's post on her grandmother, a real 1950s housewife, at Women Living Well: Comparing Myself to a Real 1950s Wife.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Calm or Defensive?

There is a stillness that lets God work for us, and holds our peace; the stillness that ceases from its contriving and its self-vindication, and its expedients of wisdom and forethought, and lets God provide and answer the cruel blow, in His own unfailing, faithful love. How often we lose God's interposition by taking up our own cause, and striking for our defense. God give to us this silent power, this conquered spirit! And after the heat and strife of earth are over, men will remember us as we remember the morning dew, the gentle light and sunshine, the evening breeze, the Lamb of Calvary, and the gentle, holy heavenly Dove. ~ A. B. Simpson

On trying to see the face of Christ in those with whom I differ:

When this spirit actuates us we shall be preserved at once from a narrow bigotry and an easy-going tolerance, from passionate vindictiveness and everything that would mar or injure our testimony for Him who came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them. ~ W. H. Griffith Thomas

Source: Streams in the Desert, Mrs. Charles Cowman

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Does Acceptance Equal Peace?

"In acceptance lieth peace." ~ Amy Carmichael

God has much to say about peace, and it's all about HIM. Acceptance is merely a yielding to HIM. Whatever my situation, when I believe that God is sovereign and that He is nothing but GOOD, I can accept my situation, because I know in my soul that He is always working for my good (Romans 8:28).

"Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful." ~ Colossians 3:12-15

Did you read those verses carefully? God has called me, as the elect of God, to put on mercy, kindness, humility, etc. When offenses come--and they will come!--if forgiveness and love are my heart, though Christ's power within me, through that YIELDING to His Spirit, I can LET the peace of God rule in my heart. The result is not only an inner calm, but an outer thankfulness. An attitude of gratefulness comes when I am at peace on the inside. A grateful woman is so much more pleasant than a worried or angry woman!

"Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 4:6-7

When I am YIELDING to His Spirit within me, and not my own spirit, I will not be anxious or worried about anything. I will immediately bring my request to the God that I KNOW and BELIEVE I can trust (Isaiah 43:10). When I leave it at His feet--the best I know how--THEN the PEACE OF GOD beyond all understanding will KEEP or guard both my heart and my mind!

And it's all through Christ Jesus!

Acceptance does equal peace, but only if the acceptance is a yielding to God, not just a mere resignation to one's fate. Delighting in God and what He is doing in my life no matter what the trial is not easy, but that is what will bring me streams of water in the desert place.

"And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not." ~ Isaiah 58:11

Let me know how God has been your personal spring of water! Comment below.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Completing Him Challenge--Final Rundown

Well, I'll be honest... I got a quite a bit behind on this Completing Him Challenge! If you did too, here's the run-down from Courtney at Women Living Well.

#8's my favourite! :)
I'm still in love...

As you look ahead to the fall, do not lose your focus on building a strong marriage.

1. We must continue to remember those dating days and what made us fall in love with our husbands in the first place.

2.Remember our sacred vows.

3.Remember to ask your husband how you can be praying for him daily.

4.Remember to tell your husband how you admire him.

7.Remember to respect your husband.

8. Remember to keep kissing him like you mean it!

No matter what season you are in, God longs for you to follow His design for marriage.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Meditating on Hymns

Do you think about the words you are singing during the hymn time at your church? Hymns are rich in doctrine as well as encouragement and exhortation.

My favourite hymns are usually those that describe the intimate relationship that we as Christians can have with the Lord. Below is one of my all-time favourites. As you read, contemplate the depth of meaning in these words. They are beautiful!

I Am His and He Is Mine
Wade Robinson, 1838-1877
James Mountain, 1844-1933

Loved with everlasting love,
Led by grace that love to know;

Gracious Spirit from above,
Thou hast taught me it is so!

O this full and perfect peace!
O this transport all divine!

In a love which cannot cease,
I am His, and He is mine.

In a love which cannot cease,
I am His, and He is mine.

Heav’n above is softer blue,
Earth around is sweeter green!

Something lives in every hue
Christless eyes have never seen;

Birds with gladder songs o’erflow,
Flowers with deeper beauties shine,

Since I know, as now I know,
I am His, and He is mine.

Since I know, as now I know,
I am His, and He is mine.

Things that once were wild alarms
Cannot now disturb my rest;

Closed in everlasting arms,
Pillowed on the loving breast.

O to lie forever here,
Doubt and care and self resign,

While He whispers in my ear,
I am His, and He is mine.

While He whispers in my ear,
I am His, and He is mine.

His forever, only His;
Who the Lord and me shall part?

Ah, with what a rest of bliss
Christ can fill the loving heart!

Heav’n and earth may fade and flee,
Firstborn light in gloom decline;

But while God and I shall be,
I am His, and He is mine.

But while God and I shall be,
I am His, and He is mine.

How sweet to know that I can rest in His arms no matter what is happening around me! All that matters is that I am His and He is mine! We belong to each other! Through Him I can rise above any situation. I can mount up with wings as eagles (Isaiah 40:31). He is all I need. I am HIS and He is MINE!

Listen to the hymn tune here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

Watch David Phelps sing this old hymn with passion you don't often hear hymns sung with anymore. Think about the words... let them sink in.

His love will never let you go!

Will you give Him back the life you owe?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fullness of Joy

Joy Forney is a blogging friend I have never met face-to-face. Yet she encourages me so much!

Joy is a missionary wife and mother in Indonesia. Her husband is a missionary pilot who is frequently gone for days at a time in places where there is no way to reach him. Joy is left at her home on foreign soil with her five young children--homemaking in the truest sense of the word, homeschooling, and on top of it all, inspiring hundreds via her blog.

Her recent post In His Presence especially encouraged me:

I am a mother, wife, missionary, friend, neighbor, daughter, sister, and many other things. And as such, there are so many times in my life that I feel that I am just surviving. Surviving from one mess, one meal, one exhausted morning, one tantrum, one homeschool day to the next.

However, as I am (slowly) learning, there is so much more to my life than merely surviving. I can choose to have deep, rich communion with my Heavenly Father in the midst of these seemingly mundane things that fill up my life.

I can choose to live my life in His presence, minute by minute. In Psalm 16:11 it says, "in His presence is fullness of joy." I can have the fullness of joy each and every day, no matter how difficult it may seem to do anything more than simply survive!!

I pray that this will be a reality in your life and mine as we serve the Lord in whatever He has called us to do!

In His strength and for His glory!

Will you pray for Joy and other missionary wives around the world today?

...And will you live in HIS presence today? There you will find "fullness of joy"!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sister Shoebox Swap

I entered this opportunity through a blog I read and was matched with Molly, a missionary in Peru. We each filled out a questionnaire with some of our favourite things listed and then prepared a box (actually she and I used padded envelopes because of international mailing) of goodies for each other! It was a lot of fun to put her package together!

Here's what I got from Molly... Lemongrass tea, Peruvian coffee made by believers she knows, a black/white Peruvian hat, some chocolate almonds from Peru, and a purple scarf similar to what they wear in Peru.

So much fun... and now I have a new friend!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Completing Him Challenge

Two New Challenges from Courtney at Women Living Well:

1. Let Him Prioritize.

Make a list five things you currently do, and then ask your husband to prioritize them for you according to what is important to him. For example: a clean home, home-cooked dinner, coupon clipping, service at church, having friends over for dinner, watching/doing sports with him, etc.

2. Admire Your Husband.

Pop quiz:

a) List all the flaws of your husband.

b) List all the things that you admire about your husband.

Grade yourself: Which question was easier to answer?

Comment below and list the things you admire about your husband and then show your list to him!

Check out more ways to Complete Him at Women Living Well.

Here are just a few things I admire in my Peter:
-His love and passion for God
-His sensitivity to the Voice of God
-His preaching... I'm so proud of him every time he's in the pulpit.
-His smile... It makes me smile.
-His laugh... It makes me laugh.
-His ability to dress up in a suit and tie and also to dress down and also be a redneck cowboy on a horse
-His work ethic

I love, respect, and admire you so much, Honey! I'm so grateful God put us together!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Completing Him Challenge: Be What Your Man Needs

I love this challenge!

Click the button above for the challenge list of ways we wives can be what our husbands need and/or check back here for each new challenge.

The current challenge is Making Your Bed for the Glory of God.

If you don't normally make your bed each morning, try it for a couple weeks and see how different you feel! There is something about a made bed that makes you feel accomplished and put together. Your husband may say he doesn't care if the bed is made or not, but if he comes home from work to a tidy bedroom with a made bed, I would venture a guess that he will sense that his home is more efficient and that things are more under control, whether he ever says so or not.

Proverbs 31 says that a virtuous woman makes "coverings of tapestry." The harlot attracts her lover by decking her bed "with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt" (Proverbs 7:16). Should we wives do less than a harlot to make our bedroom attractive for our husbands? Let's keep our home attractive and a haven for our husbands to come home to. He won't want to look anywhere else if he's happy and content at home!

Note: This is not to excuse men who cheat on their wives, nor saying that it is always the wife's fault when he does.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Surprise By the Barn Door

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun... ~Psalm 19:1-4

I just love it when God sends little surprises my way--little pleasures to enjoy in His world!

Recently I discovered this solitary columbine growing by the barn door. According to the advice of my green thumbed friend (who gave me the rose to enjoy from her garden!), I was going to wait until it finished flowering and then transplant it to a flower bed. (Unfortunately I didn't tell my husband my plans... He wacked it with the weed eater! But the root is still there, so when it springs back up, I will transplant it right away!)

I so enjoy all the perennial flowers in my yard and garden (most planted by a previous homeowner), but this year, I have especially enjoyed the clematis! It was merely a string last year with no blooms. Look at it this year!

Here’s what I enjoyed during my tea time with God on a recent morning. I love our times together. He’s the best friend ever!

What have you discovered lately in your world that God has given you richly to enjoy? Have you taken notice? Have you thanked Him?
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