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, September 6, 2014

From One Wife to Another...

I've been a wife for over 22 years. I absolutely love married life and I LOVE this wonderful husband of mine and don't take a second of this blessing for granted. But marriage can be tough. I don't claim to know it all and there are still many things I learn on a daily basis. That's part of the incredible journey of married life. What I do know is that I am called to love Christ first and also to honor the covenant of my marriage that I made with my husband and our God! I also know that marriages all around us are crumbling and that burdens my heart.

I am often asked by young women/wives how to be a godly wife and have a good marriage. Well, first, I refer them to scripture because God set the standard for marriage and being a godly wife in his love note to us. (Ephesians 5:22-33, Genesis 2:24, Proverbs 18:22, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 1 Peter 3:1, Proverbs 31:10-31). That should be our "go to" in marriage, parenting and life! I am no expert on marriage and had plenty of mess-ups in my own, but if I had the opportunity to sit down with you young wives over a cup of coffee, there are some valuable treasures I've learned along the way that I would love share with you.

But, since we are not at the coffee shop sipping coffee and listening to soothing music, just go ahead a brew your own cup and imagine we are sitting across the table from one another discussing the beautiful blessing of marriage!

From one wife to another, here are some treasures I've learned:

Weddings are wonderful and most of us have envisioned our weddings from young ages as we fastened pillowcases on our heads and pretended they were veils. We dreamt of the moment the organ played "Here Comes the Bride" as the doors of the church opened and our handsome groom stood at the altar tearing up as we walked towards him. Then there were the cheers of onlookers as we ran through the rice that was thrown on us while being whisked away to our honeymoon getaway. And then shortly after came the dreams of pink and blue baby bonnets and rocking chairs. O, the elaborate dreams of the perfect marriage...the perfect family. Yes, yes, I had those dreams too and remember playing wedding and family on the playground in elementary school! It was so much fun!

My wedding was wonderful! My amazing man...even more wonderful! The memories are still so precious of that beautiful day!

But then what happens? Life continues after the wedding and there are some things we need to remember....

Don't forget that after the wedding is over...and the babies start arriving...and your "dream" has been fulfilled, that you still have a husband that needs continual love, respect and attention.

Life gets hard. Parenting, bills, jobs, and responsibilities all pile up but you still need to honor the covenant you made to that special man you fell in love with to have and to hold till death parts you. Children are time consuming. So are jobs and household responsibilities but never forget the one you fell in love with.

Continue nurturing the relationship you began with your husband when you were dating and cultivate new and exciting ways to show your love and affection toward him. He is the one that will be with you long after your kids leave the nest.

Love him. Love on him. Honor him. Pray for him.

The wedding bells stop ringing and turn into marriage. The excitement of expecting that baby fades as parenting begins. The visions of "white pickets fences" turn into mortgage payments and bills. BUT the journey of married life with the man of your dreams will continue and can be the most amazing and beautiful journey ever....even through the trials!

Marriage is a blessing and your husband an incredible gift from God. Take time to pause and reflect on how you fell in love and remember that anything worth having takes great care and lots of prayer!

Today, I am thankful for my wonderful husband! Matt, though the road has been rocky at times over our 22 years, navigating our marriage through the pages of scripture and the lens of Christ has been the best days of my life. I love you more today than the day we said, "I do"! There is no one else I would rather spend the rest of my life with and I look forward to continuing every day with YOU!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Great First Night at Bible Study!

What an amazing first night of Fall Bible Study! So many ladies that we ran out of books! No worries though, we will order more! 
It's going to be a great season of studying the Word! Woohoo! 

Wednesday Fun at Granny's!

Wednesday fun at Granny's consisted of the girls giving Granny a pedicure and discussions of who will pluck Granny's chin hair when she's too old to get it herself. Lol! Oh my....Wednesdays are interesting!! Lol!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A New School Year!

Well, it has been a great day all around! SHCA had the most amazing first day, my kiddos began the first day of homeschooling for the year and our first science co-op was soooo much fun!

For those of you wondering how in the world we homeschool when I work part time (well it's supposed to be part time. Haha!) I thought I would give you a little glimpse into our untraditional schooling.

This is our second full year of homeschooling and though we hadn't actually planned to do it this long, we loved it so much that we continue! Homeschooling looks different for each family and this is ours!

This year Caleb is homeschooling full-time in 5th grade, Callie chose to do full-time homeschool this year and is in 8th grade and Ben is part-time homeschool and doing part-time at WCA to finish out his senior year. The kids do so good getting their work done together and I love the extra time in the afternoon learning with them. Life skills have been a wonderful asset to our homeschool and we love the flexibility! We are really settling into the homeschool groove and praying for God to continue guiding us in this calling.

Callie and Caleb will attend a science and PE co op every other week that Caleb & I joined last year and today was our first time. Callie was a little nervous going in because it is new for her but she LOVED it and is so excited to be making some new friends. Our group grew this year and we love having it at our sweet friends' farm, which is right down the road from our house. What sweet time with other homeschooling families!

We are by no means traditional but this works for us! I love the opportunity to homeschool my children and spend this time of their lives with them. No, I don't have it all together and doubt myself many days BUT this is what God has called us to and He continues to prove so faithful in giving us exactly what we need. We will move forward in this 2014-2015 school year knowing there will be bumps along the way but we will rejoice in all things and trust God to carry us through. We are all learning together! We covet your prayers this year as we press on for God's glory!

My heart is encouraged tonight as we had a great beginning! I love this precious family of mine! Thank you, Lord, for each and every one of them!

Here are a few pictures of our first day!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Fall Bible Study

In two days, our fall MTM sessions begin back at SHBC! I love this time of year! Everyone gets back to a somewhat normal routine and the halls of the church begin to fill up again for midweek services. The kids are busting through the doors and the parents are toting their Bibles and heading to a Bible class....I LOVE IT!

Well, ladies, I would be honored if you would join me for a great time in God's Word as we study two different 6-week sessions. The first is, "The Best Yes" by Lysa TerKeurst as we look at how the stress of an overwhelmed schedule leads to the ache of an underwhelmed soul. Then we will study, "Move On" by Vicki Courtney as we realize that it is in the middle of our messes that Mercy shows up and offers us a safe place to process our struggles, imperfections, doubts, and fears. It is going to be a great time in God's Word together!

It all begins Wednesday, September 3, from 6:45-8:00! Make this fall about going deeper in God's Word! There are classes for everyone!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Singin' the Hymns

"I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses.
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me and He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.

He speaks and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing
And the melody, that He gave to me,
Within my heart is ringing.

And He walks with me and He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.

I’d stay in the garden with Him,
Though the night around me be falling
But He bids me go, through the voice of woe,
His voice to me is calling." Written by ~ Charles Austin Miles

This beautiful old hymn has been ringing in my heart for the last month so this morning, I sit and rock and sing on my front porch!

Country living...front porch swinging...Bible reading...hymn singing...Jesus praising!

Yep...it's going to be a beautiful Lord's day!! 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Front Porch Rockin'

My front porch! O, how I love it! Though I've missed most of my summer mornings out here from working so much, I will take every second I can right here in my rocking chair with my cup of coffee, Bible on my lap and of course, big Golden Retriever at my feet. This is my happy place (or one of them. Lol)!

We are coming up on our 9th anniversary of living in this house and that is the longest I've ever lived anywhere in my 41 years of life! We moved quite a bit in my childhood and then the first half of our marriage followed the same pattern but I am so thankful to have planted some roots right here in this little Burgaw town. Yes, Burgaw! It is the butt of quite a few jokes but for us, it is home and God has grown us so much through these last 9 years.

When we first looked at this house 9 years ago, we were coming off of a rocky time. We had sold just about everything we owned and trekked to Florida for a short time while Matt had begun a new job. At that time, we didn't know where we would end up permanently. We were totally relying on God to guide every baby step we were taking. Except, every baby step ended up to be huge leaps of faith! Haha! Finally in October of 2005, we found out we'd be back this way so Matt sent me on to Wilmington to find us a new residence. He was working 6 days a week and couldn't take off to come with me. Yes, he trusted me enough to find us a home! Lol! As we began searching in Wilmington, my heart wasn't in it. Housing was outrageous and we just didn't want to get caught up in the Wilmington "rat race" again. So we decided to look on the outskirts. I had never really been to Burgaw even though I had lived in these areas since I was 10. But I found a neighborhood and thought we'd give it a look. I took Ben & Callie (Caleb was not with us yet as adoption was just being put on our hearts) with me and we drove 20 minutes outside Wilmington to this neighborhood and immediately fell in love with it. Situated right across the street from a beautiful cotton field, this house with a large backyard and humble setting brought tears to my eyes as God had prepared us for this. We had gone from a large beautiful home in a desirable Wilmington neighborhood to a one-bedroom apartment in Florida as God showed us what was truly important. So, this was absolutely perfect....for us! This house was substantially less than the Wilmington equivalent and nestled in the quiet away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Just what we felt God was leading us!

I remember standing in the front yard, the house was almost finished construction, and calling Matt on the phone telling him all about it. We prayed together and knew this was our home. We had recently given up a contract for a home in what everyone called the "perfect" location but we knew....THIS was our home. So, we (or me with Matt's blessing and power of attorney) signed on our new home in late November 2005. I got us all moved in and Matt finally walked through the door late on December 21, 2005. His home...our home....GOD'S HOME!

Is this house perfect? No! At this moment, we are missing some shutters that have blown off in storms and the carpet is in dire need of replacing. But, it is home and it needs continual care just like our lives.

The people that dwell in this home are not perfect either. Sometimes the shutters on the windows of our soul get blown off and need replacing and the many areas where tough situations of life have drug their dirty feet on us need either a good cleaning or just a fresh new lay of carpet. But that is all part of life. Our souls needs continual care and that care comes from our Father!

This front porch has become a sacred place of prayer for me. Many moments of praise through word or song have been lifted from this place. Many hours of tears and conversations with God have been had right here. Many pages of scripture have been poured over while rocking in this very chair. Right here.......

So, this morning I sit here and look across the street as the cotton fields just begin to burst open and I rock and thank God for his magnificent presence! I sip my coffee and think back on all that God has brought us through. Tears come to my eyes because we've been through A LOT but God has so faithfully brought us through it all! Many trials still before us and we will walk in confidence as we trust HIM! I read his promises in scripture and thank him for this Word...LIFE to my soul! Then I rock some more and think about all the beautiful memories this home holds! Memories forever etched in my heart that I hold dear. The voices and sights this home holds....PRECIOUS! Thank you, Holy Father!

When I'm finished rocking in this chair this morning, I'm going to enter that front door praising God for it ALL! Then I'm going to make a big breakfast for the special blessings that reside here with me...that's right, my FAMILY! These are the precious souls that God knit with mine and make this little house in Burgaw a HOME!

Happy Saturday everyone! Take time today to give praise to God! Every victory and every trial...God is faithful and worthy of praise!

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."
Psalm 100:4-5 (NIV)

"But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 (NIV)