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30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 25 & 26} Gratitude and Grace

27 Nov

Yesterday was a beautiful, holy day.  Despite waking up from too little sleep with a throat that was on fire and a head that felt like an elephant was sitting on it, the day was wonderful.

We celebrated this little guy’s baptism at our church.  Yes, I cried.

My littlest tiger after his baptism

Papa Tiger performing the baptism

Yes, yesterday was awesome, despite feeling physically lousy.  We celebrated with family and rejoice that our son, Kasen, is baptized and covered by God’s grace.  We would need that grace. Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 24} Boomer, Baptisms, and Blessings

25 Nov keep-calm-and-boomer-sooner-13

The past few days have been a fantastic blur of family, friends, and some awesome bedlam football.  I am so incredibly grateful to be able to be close to family.

Our sweet baby boy, Kasen, has also been sick the past couple days and that has made for a very tired mommy and daddy.

I think we kinda look like the walking dead a bit, but The Hubs looks wayyy better on less sleep than me.  Life is so unfair sometimes.  Eh, whatcha gonna do?

I guess I am going to attempt to get some beauty rest before the wee one wakes, which should be in less than 3 hrs if sick patterns hold.

So, in order to get my tired behind to bed and keep up with the thankful posts, here is a quick list of what I am grateful for today. Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 18} Answered Prayers

19 Nov Community Worship

It’s Sunday.  In this house that means we spent most of the day at the church.

That happens when you are the pastor’s family.

It was a long day, as most Sundays are, and I didn’t even have time for my Sunday afternoon nap.

After a great sermon by The Hubs this morning, focused on John 3:16-21 and The Gift of Grace, our Abundant Life Small Group provided a spaghetti and lasagna lunch for the congregation, taking up donations to help fund various mission work in the conference.  It was delicious and I am incredibly thankful to share life with this amazing group of individuals.

We were able to have a brief respite at home after lunch, even though I had to run back up to the church to decorate and tidy up for the Community-wide Thanksgiving Service our church was hosting that evening.  I think The Hubs and the boys got a little bit of an afternoon nap, and I did manage 30 minutes to relax on the couch!

We headed back up to the church a bit before 5 and I corralled the kids while The Hubs prepared to welcome a few hundred people into our church. Continue reading

He is Risen! Day 40

8 Apr

5 “The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

Matthew 28: 5-7

Alleluia!

Christ the Lord is risen!

He is risen indeed!

We no longer wait in anticipation, but we celebrate Jesus’ victory over sin and death.

The cross is empty.

The grave could not contain him.

He is risen, and because of His grace we are restored!

His free gift of grace, bought and paid by his own blood, is for all.

Celebrate the risen Christ and accept the gift of life.

Alleluia!

I want to share the words from one of the great Christian hymns,

Continue reading

For Everything a Season: Day 34: Lent Journey

2 Apr beauty from pain

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:”

11 He has made everything beautiful in its time.”  -Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 11

A friend handed me a copy of a devotional on Ecclesiastes 3:11 at church Sunday.  She said she was doing her devotional and thought of me since I had recently been posting on this very idea; beauty.  I was very grateful for two reasons: 1) She cared enough to think of me and make me a copy, and 2) She cares enough to read my little blog and remember something I wrote!  Makes my heart happy.

The funny thing is that she didn’t realize she was sending me a much needed message from God.  I didn’t read the devotional until after we had returned home from the Community Easter Service (yep, a week early), and I desperately needed to read that scripture and the accompanying message by then.

The author of the devotional, Nicole Johnson, focuses on the need for us to embrace beauty as part of who God created us to be.  Instead of getting so caught up in seeing the pain or ugliness in and around us, we often need to spend time focused on the beauty God has created in and around us; not to mention the beauty He is working to create through us.  Continue reading

Seeing Hope: Day 17: Lent Journey

12 Mar

 

 

“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”

Psalm 25:5 (NIV)

Sunday was a very busy, very long day for the hubs and I.  Sunday mornings are not a quiet, restful peaceful time.  It’s time for us to be up, kicked in gear, and ready to serve the church we have been appointed to.

I had absolutely no desire to do that yesterday.  Not only did we lose an hour of sleep, I had to get up early to finish my strawberry chocolate cake for the dessert auction to be held after church.  I knew the day would not conclude for us until well 8pm, since we not only had church, but a fellowship lunch, auction, council meeting, and small group.

I was cranky, tired, grumbly, and almost in my 3rd trimester.  I was in no mood to put on my happy face and be a pastor’s wife, in other words.  I told the hubs this.  Verbatim: “I have nooooo desire to do any of this today.  I wish I was still feeling nauseous so I had a reason to sleep.  Do I have to?” (Seriously, I am not a morning person.)  He looked at me, and in a bit too chipper of a voice said, “That’s exactly why you should go.  Because you don’t want to.  It’ll be good for you.  Besides, I am preaching on angry hearts.” WHAT?  My heart was not angry….just sleepy and grumpy, and maybe a little sneezy, as I am getting over a sinus infection. Did I mention it was also raining?  Yay….

Despite my pouting, I got up and began to get ready.  As I was gathering the ingredients to finish putting the cake together, I realized I had no way to actually transport said cake to the church once constructed.  GREAT!!  Don’t ask me why I didn’t think of this sooner.  Probably because I normally don’t bake cakes, and when I do, they are flat and square.  I have containers for those cakes, but not for a pretty, round, two-tiered confection.  I figured I could not drive to the church with a cake in my lap (baby belly in the way), and I was too worried it would slip off the plate or seat of my car, my only option was to get ready quickly and finish the cake at the church.  Okay…no problem.

After showering, getting dressed, and quickly throwing my damp hair into some sort of styled, braided, thing (not Pinterest worthy for sure!), I almost left the house without the cake and ingredients.  Seriously.  I grab the bag of goodies, debate grabbing some knives for slicing and cutting, decide not to carry sharp weapons in the car, and I head to the church. I had an hour until the service started. Continue reading

Have you Friend Requested Jesus? Day 11:Lent Journey

5 Mar friend request

 

 

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.  Instead I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

 

John 15:15 (NIV)

It’s obvious by the sheer amount of social media available today, that people are desperate to connect with each other.  Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or a slew of dating sites, we want to feel connected to others.  This is a part of our created being.  God created us to be in relationship; with others and with Him. As Jon Bon Jovi said, “No man (or woman) is an island.” We are not meant to live life alone. The good news is, our very creator and savior wants to be our friend.

So how do we “friend request” Jesus?  Continue reading

One Step at a Time: Day 8: Lent Journey

1 Mar Lantern

 

 

 

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Psalm 119:105, Amplified

 

I am a child of the 80’s.  MTV and I were born the same year.  (Cool, right?!) Needless to say, but my focus in the 80’s centered on the kid culture.  I had the original Cabbage Patch Dolls, Teddy Ruxpin, Pound Puppies, Care Bears, Rainbow Brite, My Little Ponies, and a Glo-Worm to cuddle up to each night.  I was up early every Saturday to watch my friends, The Smurfs, Thunder Cats, Masters of the Universe, She-Ra, Muppet Babies, Alvin and The Chipmunks, Disney’s The Gummy Bears, Fraggle Rock, and as the decade ended, Saved by the Bell.  I am was a New Kids on the Block fanatic, and my wonderful mother braved a concert with screaming 8 & 9 year old girls in tow when they came to Tulsa, OK.  I made a sign for Jordan and proudly displayed it high above my 4 ft something head.  I was going to marry him.  Guess he didn’t see me?

Image Courtesy of liketotally80's.com

I still have the original green Glo Worm in the back.

Image courtest of liketotally80's.com

Yes, I had the castle too!

I could keep going and allow myself and all to reminisce about jean jackets, puff paint, neon leggings, popped collars, poofed hair, and the rise of the mullet.  However, 80’s fashion trends seem to be creeping back in (really?) so just run on down to the local mall to see for yourself.  We have more important things to illuminate. Continue reading

Heart of Worship: Day 4: My 40 Day Lent Journey

25 Feb Courtesy of Valley Community Baptist Church

“Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”

Psalm 100:2, NIV

I love a great time of worship; praising God for all He has done, is doing, and will do.  The writer of Psalm 100 writes about worshiping the Lord with gladness.  What does that mean?  Worship by definition is paying reverent honor and homage to someone or something regarded as sacred.  So we are to give honor or pay homage, or tribute, to God by worshiping Him.  But how?  With offerings or material gifts?  While there is a place and time to give of our material gifts, in this instance and most frequently we should worship God with our thanks, joyful praise, and most importantly our presence.

I’m afraid the word gladness has lost some of its luster over the years.  I’ve heard it uttered and used it myself as a glib remark such as, “Yes, I’m so glad to do that for you.” (Now imagine that being said with tones of sarcasm throughout.)  Even when it is used sincerely, “I am very glad to meet you,” I’m not sure if we fully understand what we are saying.  Gladness is about feeling and expressing joy, pleasure, and delight at something or someone.  It’s more than a nice, fuzzy feeling.  Think about it. When was the last time you used the word glad to define how you felt?  Did you really mean that you were filled with joy and expressing your delight and pleasure?  Or, were you just a shade of happy?  Nothing wrong with that.  I just think that the type of gladness the Psalmist is referring to comes from a place of deep, abiding joy that wells up from our very soul and can’t help but be poured forth from our lips; an overwhelming sense of gratitude for God.

I can only say these things because I have experienced them.  I have substituted shades of happy and tried to convince myself I was glad.  I have entered into a time of worship and brought only feelings of obligation and not joy at the chance to express my gratitude and love to God.

Now, I know that there are seasons in our lives where joy and gladness are much harder to come by, and sometimes completely void from our presence.  I have known those seasons and am aware of their lurking shadows.  Are we to worship in those times as well?  Yes!  It is in those times that we need to worship the most.  God wants us to worship Him in spirit and in truth, no matter the season of our soul.  If we come into worship with a weak smile plastered to our face, yet our soul cries within us, it is our soul that God hears and sees.  We can fool those around us by our outward appearance, but God looks and sees our heart, and He beckons us to come.  Continue reading