I'm amazed at how my Savior can take any and every circumstance around me to show me more about him. My prayer has always been that this journey of life I'm on would continually bring honor and glory to him, so by using every opportunity; my mistakes, my successes, and my day-to-day adventures, he teaches me how to use it for his glory. This life he blessed me with is ALL about him! So, these are my thoughts, my heart cries, and my lessons from his glorious Word. These are the teachable moments from my Savior!

Psalm 25:4-5 "Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Countdown to 2017 Has Begun...

So the countdown has begun to say a formal farewell to 2016 and welcome another new year. I've read the posts about how 2016 was a horrible year and everyone is ready to see it go and move on. There have been memes and cartoon strips to, as sarcastically as possible, show that 2016 was not endeared upon. Lol! The election was at the top of that list of everyone's horribles, among many other things. But I think we miss one important fact...just because the clock strikes midnight and the confetti flies as the calendar changes over to 2017, it doesn't mean that all our difficulties and trials will magically disappear with the number 2017. The old year doesn't take those particular challenges with it. 
Now I'm on no way trying to rain on your parade here. This doesn't mean you need to stop the New Year's party and curl up in the corner in a fetal position and cry. But one thing I've learned in my 43 years of life is that the difficulties I've encountered have purpose in the pain of them. Purpose that makes me lean more heavily into the big fatherly arms of my God for comfort and guidance. Purpose that sometimes changes the course of my life to line it up closer with a heavenly perspective. Purpose that keeps my eyes fixed Christ!
So what happens if those difficulties carry over to the new year?
I'm sure some of those trials will continue on in the new year but hopefully with a renewed sense of resolve to surrender them to THE God who can turn each mess into a beautiful message. God has been with me through every trial I've encountered and though they haven't been pleasant, He has taught me more about Him in its midst. Even when that difficulty was caused by my own selfishness and sin. He has shown me grace and mercy around each sharp turn of difficult and, even more so, brought me closer to His heart. 
Yes, yes, I am like you too and would love for each difficulty to dissipate and stroll leisurely on the easy street of 2017 but I also know that when my perspective moves from "impossible" to "God-possible", the umbrella that tried to cover the downpour of rain gives way to praise as I dance in said rain. 
Sometimes our negative outlook can cloud the blessings He continually does pour out on us. That doesn't make light of your difficulty. The challenge in front of you may be taking your breath and your breathing becomes more labored with every new blow to your gut. Dear friend, rest in His arms and begin to breathe in the breath of a Father who cares about you, who adores you, and really is for you. Maybe you're not seeing it that way right now but remember those patriarchs of scripture that traveled treacherous journeys as well and know that God doesn't give up on His children. He sees you through and strengthens you in the process. Press on dear friend! Keep the faith in HIM! 
He is a good, good Father and I pray that no matter how 2016 ends and 2017 begins that we keep our focus on Him! He brings beauty out of ashes and I know YOU are beautiful! 
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭61:1-3‬

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:1-2

“A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:9‬

Monday, December 26, 2016

Twas the Day After Christmas...

It's the day after Christmas! For us it means mandatory rest...pajamas all day, eating leftovers, and watching movies. Yes! Being lazy and not feeling guilty about it at all!!  I soak in all the memories of get-togethers with family & friends and the whirlwind of activity that took place the last 9 days and try not to think of all the cleanup that needs to get done (tomorrow 😉). I enjoyed my first full week off in a year and though it was a scurry of activity, it was full of family fun and focus on the true meaning of Christmas! I love my family so much!❤

This morning I sat at the kitchen table with my Bible and coffee and began to pray. I prayed over those I love so dearly that faced not-so-merry days this Christmas and yet rejoiced over what I believe God is going to do through those dark valleys. Christmas should be a time of celebration and excitement but sometimes dreams and plans get clouded by the darkness of sin and hit you like a punch in the gut. 

Maybe that is you this morning too....

Maybe you wake up on this day after Christmas discouraged by the sadness you are feeling and wonder how things got like they did. Maybe you're ready to be done with Christmas and move on. 

Let me encourage you within the pages of the greatest love story ever. A love story written for you by a God that adores you and is for YOU! Read them out loud! Don't be timid....shout them out! They are for YOU!

“For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
‭‭Zephaniah‬ ‭3:17‬

“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:1-2‬

“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭42:5‬

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:20‬

These are only a few of the passages immersed within those blessed pages for YOU! Though the way in front of you may be dark, God is light and His light will carry you through. Just hold tightly to HIM! Stay strong in your faith & focus and hold tightly to the HOPE that is JESUS! 

“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭1:5‬

“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:31‬

Make this day after Christmas a day of hope renewed! Celebrate who HE is, what HE has done, and what HE will do through YOU! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What Christmas is All About!

When I was a child, I could not wait for Christmas!  It was always such a special time and I loved everything about it! My mom made Christmas so special! Even with 5 children and finances being extremely tight, Christmas was always exciting and memorable for each of us.  I can’t remember the gifts I received from year to year, but the things I remember are the special times that we experienced as a family.  I loved waking up on the days preceding Christmas and hearing the Christmas music playing, smelling the wonderful goodies mom had cooking, and seeing my mom on the couch reading her Bible!

There was one Christmas that will forever be embedded in my heart!  This was a particularly hard year financially for our family and we were not able to afford a Christmas tree.  Well, my mom still made it so special for us as we were preparing to head to Virginia to be with our family.  Just a few days before we left, I went to the grocery store with my mom, and as we left we noticed the leftover Christmas trees that were still out front.  There was one that was very small and didn’t have many branches.  Most people would have laughed at it, but we noticed that it was only $1.99 and my mom said we could get it!  We were so excited!  We took it home, propped it up on a table and decorated it so special!  We still, to this day, call it our “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree”! 

When I was 9 years old we moved away from Virginia where all of our extended family was, so at Christmas, we would travel back and stay with my grandparents.  We would go to my dad’s parent’s house for Christmas Eve with that group and put on shows with singing and acting with my cousins. We would open presents and enjoy that time with them.  Then we would stay at my mom’s parent’s house and all 7 of us slept upstairs.  It was a little cramped, but they are memories I will never forget! Lol! My parent’s had one bedroom and the other bedroom consisted of all 5 of us kids!  Good thing we all liked each other! Haha! My 3 sisters slept in 3 twin beds, my brother on the floor, and me, well, I slept in the baby crib they had in there! Yes, that’s right! Even at 10 years old, I slept, all cramped up in that baby bed!  I used to sleep with a watch and a flashlight because I was so excited to get up early!  I couldn’t wait to wake up Christmas morning and see what Santa had left for me!  When we all got up, the rule was we couldn’t go downstairs until all 7 of us had gone to the bathroom.  What torture! Seven people using one bathroom took an eternity!

After we opened our gifts, my Granny would make breakfast and my Granddaddy would read from the Bible!  Even through all the fun and chaos of Christmas get-togethers, we all settled down and listened as my Granddaddy read to us about the meaning of Christmas!

As a child, I would get caught up in the materialism of Christmas but foundations were being set by my parents & grandparents of what Christmas really was all about.  Not the gift that was wrapped under the tree, but the Gift that came in the form of a baby! That Gift was the Messiah!

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
Luke 2:11

Even before I was born, God knew I needed a Savior and he sent his son! As an adult, it can be easy to get caught up in the materialism of Christmas.  Are there enough presents for everyone? Did I get what everyone wanted? But, as a parent, I want to set the foundations for my kids as well! I want my children to know what the true meaning of Christmas is! 

Oh sweet Lord, forgive me for getting caught up in the chaos!  Christmas is all about YOU!  You are the Reason for the season and all glory goes to YOU and you alone!

My heart is overwhelmed as I sit here this morning and read my Bible! In the quietness of this moment, with the Christmas lights on, I have a love for my Savior that goes beyond any love I could ever have for anyone or anything!  He came for me in the form of a baby and walked on this earth and endured death and the cross only for one purpose…for me (and you)! 

So with a few days left before Christmas, I let go of everything and grasp on to my special Gift…my sweet Savior!  He set the standard for giving and receiving and I will focus on him! My prayer for all of you is the same! May you relish this Christmas in the true meaning and find sweet peace in your wonderful Savior! Enjoy your time with family and friends and together, praise His name! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

True Love...messy, wonderful, love!

I stood at the front door one night and my teenage daughter burst into laughter as I started clapping and squealing with excitement when I saw my husband pull in the driveway from work! Lol! Yes, I still get butterflies every time I see that man of mine and I also love embarrassing my children! Haha! It was another good opportunity to show my daughter what true love really is and not just what is portrayed on television love stories. 

This is real life. Finding romance and joy in the everyday....

After almost 25 years of marriage Matt and I still cherish every second of our time together! Would we love regular date nights with a quiet dinner and moonlit walk? ABSOLUTELY! But with 2 busy jobs (one that takes him out of the country quite a bit), 3 children, and all the responsibilities of housework, bill paying and homeschooling...we don't always get THOSE dates. Lol! We have learned to get creative in our dating and keep that romantic spark! 😉

One afternoon we spent a romantic date at our local grocery store, shopping together up and down the aisles for our family as we sipped our peppermint white chocolate mochas that we purchased from under the big Golden Arches of the Rocky Point McDonald's drive-thru. 

Now if that doesn't say "love and romance" than I don't know what does! Haha! 

In all honesty, it doesn't matter what we are doing. Spending time with my amazing husband of almost 25 years still brings a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. 

True love isn't always roses, candlelit dinners, or romantic kisses with soft music playing in the background. It isn't always played out like a Hollywood romance on the big screen with a huge dramatic ending that leaves you feeling all nostalgic and teary-eyed. 

True love is sticking together through the real-life, everyday moments that are often messy and unromantic, thorns and all, with dinners that often come from the drive-thru and the only music playing as you finally get a moment to steal a kiss is the sound of a child yelling, "gross". True love is extending grace and forgiveness through disappointments, persevering through the difficulties of life, highlighting the blessing in each other every day, holding hands as you read scripture together and pray for guidance to navigate parenting and life, seeing true beauty even through expanding waistlines, receding hairlines, & wrinkled faces and recognizing each other as masterpieces from God. 

True love is going through over 24 years of marriage contained of victories and heartaches and realizing that if you had it to do all over again...you wouldn't change a thing! 

Yes...true love. Messy, wonderful, challenging, exciting TRUE LOVE! 

Thank you, precious Lord, for the gift of my husband and the blessing of our marriage! We may not have it all together and some days we may just make a mess of it, but our love is true...and it's real...and we praise YOU for it all! YOU are the center of our marriage and all glory and honor are YOURS! 


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Leaky eyes and a full heart... Christmas Season 2016 begins!

The Christmas season has officially begun and I sit here in silence this morning pondering many things. I love this time of the year! I've been so emotional the last few days as I've shared with those in my life my gratitude towards them. As I put my thoughts into words and shared my love for each one of them and what they mean to me, my eyes would begin to leak and my heart swell. It was a mess! Lol! But coming into this season of Thanksgiving and Christmas brings a whole new level of devotion, first to my God but then to my people. So much to be thankful for!

My heart is tender this morning as I open the Word. Oh how I crave it! The one place I can read every word and know God penned them for me. His love letter, His guide map, His instruction, His correction, His healing balm, His heart. In the raw places of my soul, it soothes and comforts but it also reminds me how to press on in this crazy world. 

I begin this season in joyful anticipation of all He has in store! Yes, I'll probably still be a blubbering mess of emotions all season because of the rawness and tenderness of this last year, but it's truly out of a heart of gratitude for Him meeting me where I have been at every turn. We've been through a lot together this year. It hasn't always been pretty. Our conversations have been real and downright hard but He specializes in hard places and met my every need of Him. He is so good! He continues to meet my every need and my love for Him has deepened to a whole new level I didn't know existed. So now when my hands grasp around the leather cover of my Bible, those dang eyes begin to leak again...every time. Lol! I open it and every word on those blessed pages of my Bible come alive in a beautiful way! I love Him so much! 

So this morning I'm ready to kickoff the Christmas season in this precious Book! I think I'll begin right here in Matthew 1:18,

“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about...."

Doesn't that give you chills? I can hardly wait to read and immerse myself in the story of how He came....for ME! Read along with me and let's be reminded together of the wonder of Him! I pray your Christmas season is blessed and full of joy in the One who came for YOU! And watch out, the more you read and "get it"...your eyes will be a leaky mess too! Ha! 😉

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fixed Focus!

Conversations with your 12-year-old son at 4:00 in the morning while waiting for his nose bleed to stop can be interesting. Even more interesting when he's covered up in a towel for additional warmth because the extra AC unit in my bedroom has him shivering like he's out in a blizzard. Me, on the other hand, well I was not the least bit cold. I'm a woman in my forties who doesn't like to be hot so I welcome the frigid temps when I sleep and all who else dare to enter must learn to cope. Lol! Even my sweet husband sleeps under layers of extra blankets just so I can be comfortable. He truly is the best! 

My day doesn't usually begin with being awakened by a child anymore. Those toddler years are long gone in this house. My kids are preteen to young adult so I'm usually the one waking them up. But this morning the day began chatting with Caleb as he pinched his nose with a wad of tissue and waited for the bleeding to subside. Once we realized it had finished, he headed back to bed and I headed down for a strong cup of coffee and and even stronger time in the Word. Once mom is awake, there is no going back to sleep. When this brain of mine is up, well...the fun begins. The to-do list starts going and the multitasking commences. 

I sat at the table with my coffee and Bible. Just for a few minutes, I sat in silence as I watched the steam rise over my cup and prayed for the Lord to clear my focus. My mind wants to wander so much over the many things that have to be accomplished. There are mountains of things to do at home and at work and I could very easily start mapping out my strategy for getting them done. I love a good checklist and an organized fashion to get them completed.  But God so sweetly reminded me that the only thing that needed to be accomplished at that hour was time with Him. And you know what? He was absolutely right. (He is always right 😉)

So I turned to Isaiah 26 and read over and over verses 3 & 4. 

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭26:3-4‬

...all whose thoughts are fixed on you!...

Merriam-Webster defines "fixed" as, "placed or attached in a way that does not move easily". 

I sure have been in a busy season over the last few weeks where my focus has been easily distracted. So many things to keep up with that focus has not been fixed on any one thing but sifted among many. It's like the browser on your computer screen having about 50 tabs open at one time. Lol! 

But I love how the Lord will take a moment and get my attention like He did today. Life is busy and there is always something to be done, organized, planned and carried out but we have to place our focus on Him first and foremost. When our gaze is fixed on Christ, we can be sure that no matter what churns around, there will be peace...perfect peace. HE is the Rock eternal!

So today, Lord, I fix my mind on YOU! Not on my to-do list and all the things that have to get done. Not on the world around me in all its political craziness. But on YOU!! YOU are the Rock on which I stand!! 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Wake up call!

When the Lord gently nudges you awake at 4AM you can either complain that you're awake way before your alarm or you can get up with anticipation of what He has in store for you in His Word. So, after my initial response (which wasn't so joyful), I slid out of my bed and spent time immersed in His Word and conversation with Him. And what an honor that He spent that time with me! I'm so thankful that He loves me enough to unsettle me so I won't miss what He has for me! 

An early morning rendezvous with the Most High! ❤️

“O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:1-6‬