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30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 30} The Greatest Gift of All

1 Dec The Reason For the Season

I was reading to Micah last night prior to our bedtime routine, in an attempt to settle his wild soul down.  So, of course we were reading, “Where the Wild Things Are.”  It was adorable to hear him repeat Max’s phrases, “Be Still!” and “Let the wild rumpus start.”

And as I sat tonight trying to settle my soul into this special season that is upon us, it instead felt like the world declaring, “Let the wild rumpus start!”

For many, the rumpus of the Christmas season began the very night we give thanks for all we have.  What better way to reflect on our abundance of blessings than to rush out and get more, right?  I don’t have a problem with those wanting to get a jump on giving and save while doing it, but the retailers pushing it earlier and earlier is just ridiculous.  I just avoid it all together!  Was the Dollar Tree even running a Black Friday special?  That’s where my DIY gifts will hail from!

We are in a consumer society that teaches us to want more, need more, and be satisfied with none.  Trying to teach little ones what Christmas really means is tough.

I am all for passing on Christmas traditions from childhood, Santa, gift giving, and The Grinch.

But I am all about the greatest and first Christmas gift, Christ.

To be cliche, He is the reason for the season, in this heart and hearth, and I hope in yours.  There is nothing better to give or to get than the FREE gift of God’s grace, wrapped beautifully in swaddling clothes, and delivered in the humble form of His son, Jesus Christ.

But I’ve been struggling on how best to deliver this message to my children’s hearts (and ours) without robbing them of simple, fun Christmas magic and joy that comes in many commercial forms ….

Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 16} Cream-Filled Goodness

17 Nov hostess-cupcakes

I can’t help myself.  With the news of the Hostess demise, I feel compelled to share my thankfulness for the many cream-filled wonders I have consumed.

I have been lol’ing at all the memes floating around Facebook, namely about how well-timed the downfall of Hostess is in relation to the Mayan’s prediction of the end of the world.

It’s hard to imagine a world where my children may never know the joy of a Hostess Cupcake or Twinkie.

When I heard the sad news, I had a few thoughts: Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 6} Freedom

6 Nov

I voted!

No, I will not reveal who I voted for.  I learned that lesson the first time I voted in 2000.  It can turn ugly when one reveals who they vote for.  The important thing is that I voted.

We have the privilege and duty in our country to freely vote for who we want and even if we feel like our vote might not make a difference, we need to make our voice heard.

While this country has many problems, it is a country built on freedom, and I freely choose to vote and help decide the future of the U.S.

I am grateful to have the freedom to vote without fear of retribution, intimidation, or worse.  It is great to see long, long lines of voters turning out to help exercise our freedom.  Aaron and I have discussed that the future of voting may change with the rapid rise and prevalence of social media.  Imagine if all you had to do was click “Like” for President in 2016!

What about you?  Did you vote?  What do you think about the future of voting in this country?

Gracefully~~Heather

Taxes and Paying it Forward

16 Apr

“6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.  8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”

Romans 13: 6-8

It may be April 16th, but it is TAX DAY!  Yay? Sorry to those who thought they could escape it since the 15th fell on a Sunday this year.  I’m sure most didn’t, but I wouldn’t put it past some individuals.

I thought I’d share some scripture pertaining to the wonderful world of taxes.  Yep.  Even way back in biblical times (and before) people paid their dues and hated it just as much as we do.  What I enjoy about this particular scripture passage is that the focus is not just on giving taxes.  Yes, we are to respect the governing authorities and pay our dues, but we also are to give to others what is due them.

What does that mean? Should we only respect and honor those in position over us or only those we think deserve it?  What about only those who first respect and honor us?  Is this a good way to live with others? Continue reading

Beautiful Sacrifice: Day 36: Lent Journey~

4 Apr Extravagant Love

6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 7a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” – Matthew 26: 6-13

I can imagine the disciples grumbling to one another about how foolish this woman was for wasting such an inexpensive gift.  “How can she be so wasteful?”  “Imagine all the good that we could do with the money that perfume would bring.”  “Why is Jesus just letting her do that?”

Instead of ignoring them and letting their grumblings linger, Jesus immediately silences them by defending the gracious actions of this woman.  He calls what she did beautiful.  Jesus acknowledges the disciples concern and the fact that yes, there are the poor to help, but that the poor would still be there to take care of, and he would not.  He was reminding them not only of his impending death, but of a deeper lesson; to be able to see the big picture of how they were to serve, as well as those who had an immediate need of extravagant grace and love.

Sometimes the need to demonstrate God’s extravagant love is the only way to bring healing, hope, or grace to a broken life.  Perhaps through an expensive gift offered in an extreme demonstration of loving surrender says, “You are valued and worthy of this sacrifice.”

Let me paint a picture…. Continue reading

Defining Beauty Part 1: Day 33: Lent Journey

30 Mar

“The bride, the beautiful princess, a royal daughter, is glorious. She waits within her chamber, dressed in a gown woven with gold. Wearing the finest garments, she is brought to the King. Her friends, her companions, follow her into the royal palace. What a joyful, enthusiastic, excited procession as they enter the palace! She comes before the her King, who is wild for her!”   – Psalm 45: 13-15 (as interpreted by Holly Wagner)

beau-ty  (from dictionary.com)
1. the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).
2. a beautiful  person, especially a woman.
Who we do let define our beauty?  Our worth?  Where does true beauty lie? Do others see us as someone whose beauty they wish to emulate?  Where does our beauty come from? Is it worth emulating?
I saw the above quote on Pinterest today, and it went along with the Scripture I had read in my devotional.  I’m focusing on this idea of beauty, and what it really means.  Am I someone who sees herself as beautiful? Honestly, it’s difficult to do when you are 30 wks pregnant.  I am tired because I’m not sleeping well.  I don’t feel like I get anything accomplished.  I don’t FEEL beautiful.  Is that my worth?  Doesn’t God see me as beautiful no matter how I feel?
I’m going to be reflecting on this concept of beauty today and tomorrow.  Think on this until then–
“Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.”  ~Philippians 4:8
How do you view your own beauty or the beauty in your life?
Gracefully~~Heather

Beauty in the True You: Day 31: Lent Journey

28 Mar

“You are altogether beautiful, my love;
    there is no flaw in you.”   – Song of Songs 4:7 (ESV)

God created each one of us; lovingly crafting His children from the inside out.  He knows us.  He chooses us.  He loves us.  The real us.

God isn’t fooled by the images we try to create of ourselves; what we present to the world.  He is interested (and He already knows) the real story.  He looks at each of us and desires for us to know our story as well.  He wants us to accept the offer of grace that is freely given, so we might discover our true story.  A love story.

We are masterpieces of God.  When we are covered by grace, God sees us and says, “There is no flaw IN you.”  God sees the true story inside us because He shaped us.  He is waiting for us to see our own true beauty.

I want to share the lyrics from Ginny Owens’s song, True Story, one of my favorite songs.  I encourage you to download it if they speak to you.

True Story

I am a gifted artist
I’ve learned to paint this canvas well
I work until I’ve finished
An ideal image of myself
But you know better

I am a storyteller
Quite brilliant, if I do say so
I tell them tales they want to hear
And they believe it’s me they know
But you know better

Chorus:
You see my imperfections
Still You say I’m a masterpiece
A marvelous reflection
The image of Yourself in me
You paint with strokes of grace
Undoing my disguise
You say beauty lies in the true story

The world might think me foolish
If they could see beneath my mask
They might find my dreams laughable
Or be embarrassed by my past
But you know better

(Chorus)

Of where I’ve been
And where you’ve brought me to
Of who I am
All because of you

-Ginny Owens

I hope you have a day full of beauty.

Gracefully~~Heather

Let Your Light Radiate Love: Day 30: Lent Journey

27 Mar

1 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
2 See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
3 Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.  4 “Lift up your eyes and look about you:
All assemble and come to you;
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters are carried on the hip.
5 Then you will look and be radiant,
your heart will throb and swell with joy;”

-Isaiah 60: 1-5

Many people are familiar with the song, “This Little Light of Mine.”  It is a Sunday School staple but it also one that has made its way into popular culture through quotes, movies, and other media.  It is a song to help teach children that they should hold the light of Christ that is within them, up high for all to see.  They are taught not to hide it under a bush or a basket, or to let the light go out.

What light? Continue reading

He Knows Your Name: Day 29: Lent Journey

26 Mar Name Tag

9 “As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.   10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.  11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew 9: 9-13

Name

Seven days old in the icu tonight

Little baby boy, they don’t want to have to say goodbye

Your mother’s on the phone

Your father’s in the hall

Prayin’ “God,save this life”

He sees you

He’s near you

He knows your name

He knows your pain

He sees you and He loves you

He knows your name

He knows your name

Four doors down there’s a man who just won’t wake up

He crashed so hard

And the doctor’s want to pull the plug

Your wife is by your side sayin’ “Not tonight”

Prayin’ God will just show up.

He sees you

He’s near you

He knows your name

He knows your pain

He sees you and He loves you

He knows your name

He knows your name

Maybe you’re alone

In a corner of an empty house

Or maybe you’re the one

No one notices in the crowd

He sees you

He’s near you

He knows your name

He knows your pain

He sees you and He loves you

He knows your name

He knows your name

He knows your name

He knows your name

-NAME LYRICS – FIREFLIGHT

A hospital is a place where we expect to encounter pain. It is a place of the sick and the dying, but it is also a place of healing and recovery.  Even in the midst of terrible pain, you can find hope. Continue reading

Can Only Be Me: Day 20: Lent Journey

15 Mar

*There is an original poem for today’s post…but you have to read the whole thing to find it!**

 

“Be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs.  God’s strong hand is on you, he’ll promote you at the right time.  It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ- eternal and glorious plans they are!- will have you put together and on your feet for good.  He gets the last word; yes he does.

1 Peter 5-6, 11 (The Message)

au·then·tic: not false or copied; genuine; real

(according to dictionary.com)

God created us to be authentic people.  We are created as unique, yet we spend so much time and energy trying to be just like everyone, or someone, else.  Why?

When did being yourself stop being enough?  Continue reading

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