Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Town

'Hummel Village' photo (c) 2004, Mike Willis - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

He’s 19 now and stands tallest in our family...stands tallest when I stand back and watch.

Tradition runs deep with him…even now…especially now.

This day and our tradition. I love that it means something to him still, though probably seems a simple thing to most; a few moments spent placing little buildings and figurines in the perfect Christmas town scene…just like last year and each precious year before it.

He notices that we still pull it from the original box, all taped and torn.

And me all ragged and smiling bright inside, holding on to this moment ~ this perfect, precious shred of "mom and son;" the boy now a man.

How many more years will we be here?

How many more times to dust off the old box and bring out the memories?

To talk and laugh of all the times before; give presence and worth to the past. And I wonder,

will he still do it when I’m gone and it’s only him,

A man grown and smiling bright inside,

When it’s up to him to bring out the box

To set up the town and dust off the memories

So precious and few?

Me & Co

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks



This is the time of year I think of all the ones who have done it before me. Those who have planned the menu, prepared the house, made the calls, revisited traditions, primped and planned for the blessed gathering time; the gathering of those closest to the heart for an official day set aside to give thanks.

I think of those who work tirelessly at making it all just right; the ones who make the day sparkle with tradition and warmth. The wonderful aromas, sights, sounds that make the memories for those we cherish. The hours spent tending to all the details. The aching back and tired muscles…all for love.

For all of you who love with your whole heart and enjoy tending the fires of hearth and home, I wish you every blessing this Thanksgiving.

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands

the foolish one tears hers down. (Prov. 14:1)

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (Titus 2:3-5)

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Stuff of Life



Ever find yourself in the middle of “stuff” and wonder what in the world God was thinking to have allowed you to experience such…..stuff?

I have.

Several times.

It’s only been recently that I’ve realized just how almighty, all-knowing and powerful He truly must be because I know now that if I hadn’t gone through the stuff, the blessing that followed, in some cases many years later, would have been completely overlooked…. taken for granted.

I know now that all the stuff of life matters ~ the good and the not so good. There’s a reason for the stuff, whether embraced or defied, and how it all kneads together to make us who we are.

I look back to the days when I couldn’t see beyond the stuff. Back when the stuff ruled me, dictated who I was, stood firm between me and the Lord. Back then, the stuff blocked out the Word and its meaning and its power.

Do you find yourself in the middle of stuff today? Maybe you can’t see beyond it to the blessings on the other side. Maybe all you can think about is the stuff and you wonder why in the world God lets you sit in the middle of so much of it all at once. Sometimes, the stuff isn’t just all around. It rains down from above and pounds its way into your heart and you fight back until your strength is shredded…until you are shredded.

Maybe it’s time to give your stuff to Jesus.

All of it! Give it over to Him through prayer and trust…by reading His Word.

Why?

Because only Jesus can make something God glorifying

out of all our stuff!

We surely can't!

We can only stir it up, you and I. We live it and come out damaged and bruised from the battle, but it takes the God who loves us, who died for us and rose for us to bring the blessing out of our pile of stuff.

Give Him your stuff today. He’s faithful to bring the blessing tomorrow.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9
“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's Finally Here...

...and I wanted to share it with you first!

I know…it’s not quite “Thanksgiving” yet, but we're getting a head start on the celebration with the release of our very first issue of Christian Women’s Voice Magazine! Best of all, we wanted to share the news with YOU first!

New Publication

New Publication

Bi-monthly Christian Women's Magazine

Find out more on MagCloud

Click on the link above to order your copy for $12.50, OR give the gift of encouragement for Christmas with a 1-year subscription (6 issues for $60) by leaving a comment below.

Christian Women’s Voice

IS the magazine with heart created with YOU in mind.

Encourage someone today

(Philippians 2:1-4)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Transformation



I remember when my days ran along in an endless, boring strand. Back when the only leading I followed was my own. It seemed I was “mom,” lower-case, and nothing more; confined to a tiny world of self pity and constant seeking. I couldn’t see beyond the piles of Play-Do, Hot Wheels race tracks and dismembered Barbie dolls with crazy, ratty hair. I lived in my little world of 4 walls nearly paralyzed with an inner turmoil consuming my days as I struggled to find peace, meaning…worth. Not a temporary peace, but one that begins deep within~a peace meant to be shared.

But such things can only come from the Lord’s presence; a real

relationship with Him and a constant communication.

I’m praising God today for that relationship. I’m praising God for transformation. For lifting me out and carrying me far from the monotonous and the stagnant me that I was. He has brought light and purpose and goals as I’ve grown closer to Him over the past 10 years or so.

This past year, in particular, I’ve found myself stepping out more and more in faith, believing I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13)

It’s been a year of “Yes, I can…only because of Jesus!” He’s allowed me the joy of surprise and the deepest thanksgiving with the many situations in which He’s placed me….and it’s not over yet!

Christian Women's Voice

The Lord continues to surprise and amaze me as I stand on the brink of a new venture. My proof copy of “Christian Women’s Voice,” a bi-monthly women’s magazine, is on its way. The articles are written from the hearts of ten Christian bloggy sisters (plus myself) who have agreed to ride the waves of this journey with me. I’m so excited about this project and can’t wait to see how God will use it to help bring encouragement and hope to women all over the country. I would love to see it utilized in women’s ministries, women’s facilities, mom’s groups, individually, etc. My hope is that we will be the hands and feet of Him bringing women the same hope and light that lifted me out of my dark world and gave me purpose; to share the truth that you are "YOU," in all caps...all because of Jesus!

Be sure and leave a comment if you'd like to be notified via email of our first issue release date and do check out our web site at: http://christianwomensvoice.blogspot.com/


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Decorate the Heart

'Holiday Decorations - Kit Lens' photo (c) 2007, ccharmon - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/



I watch as the clouds rush and twist to be first in line, first to pour heavy with all the wonders of fall and winter. Inside, lights glow. The fire pops. Flames dance and warm my home.

Home; the place where life happens – where we love and grow

and let the meaning of “family” knit our hearts together

with “forever” thread.

Meanwhile, cookies bake. Christmas is penned out and kept on secret lists. There are gifts to buy, menus to prepare, gatherings to plan for, and excitement builds.

We bring color, swag garlands, adorn forgotten spaces with simple elements of nature, fill each room with wonderful scents. We dust off old memories to revisit and cherish and allow the very blessing of them to resonate once more.

'pine tree branch' photo (c) 2006, Martin Cathrae - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

This season, as we plan, prepare, consider….why not decorate our hearts, as well? Why should our homes get all the attention? My hope is that, regardless of the year it’s been for you, may you capture each precious passing moment and savor it in your heart. Let it embellish who you are and add warmth and color to your soul that will last the whole coming year. Let conversations around the table, quiet moments with loved ones, the simple smell of coffee in the morning or sunlight sparkling through icicles all be like little snapshots captured and fully enjoyed. As one goes out and gathers elements of nature to bring beauty to her home, the richest blessings are born from our internal “gathering” moments settled by the fire or in the bustling of our kitchens….funny how the simplest, sweetest joys seem to last the longest.

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11)

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